Recent CALS Spotlights

  • University of Arizona alumni entrepreneurs Ricardo Hernandez and John Jackson of Grafted Growers, LLC have been awarded a $100,000 Phase I USDA-SBIR grant. Small Business Innovation Research grants support technology innovation by providing federal research funds to help grow small, technology-based businesses.

    With the award, the two are working in collaboration with Chieri Kubota from the School of Plant Sciences and Murat Kacira from the Department of Agriculture and Biosystems Engineering at the UA, as well as with team members from the Arizona Center for Innovation and Tech Launch Arizona. The multidisciplinary team will commercialize novel crop-production strategies that got their start — and are continuing to develop — through UA research.

  • To the Earth, it was just a shudder. The sudden thrust that caused the tragedy of the Nepal earthquake on April 25 occurred about nine miles underground beneath the Himalayas, releasing built-up stress of unimaginable force along the major fault line where the Indian Plate, carrying India, is slowly diving underneath the Eurasian Plate, carrying much of Europe and Asia.

    The shudder raced around the planet, grazing the boundary where the Earth's molten core meets the so-called mantle of partially molten rock, at a depth of about 1,800 miles. Fifteen minutes later, the temblor reached Tucson, too weak to be felt by anyone but with enough force to send a stir through a highly sensitive instrument locked in a vault deep in the granite of the Santa Catalina Mountains just north of the city.

  • A large majority of Arizona residents believes the world’s temperature has been rising and that global warming will be a serious problem for the nation if nothing is done to curb it, according to a survey conducted by the University of Arizona’s Institute of the Environment and Stanford University.

    The survey also found that more than 70 percent of Arizonans support government action to reduce global warming, and a majority of state residents believes people are at least partly to blame for the planet’s warmer temperatures.

  • In the United States, nearly 15 million people and 1 in 13 children suffer from food allergy. In Arizona alone, every classroom contains at least two children with a food allergy.

    Soybeans are one of the eight foods regulated by the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act, or FALPA. Soybean is a major ingredient in many infant formulas, processed foods and livestock feed used for agriculture. Soybeans contain several allergenic and anti-nutritional proteins that affect soybean use as food and animal feed.

  • If you thought that a beetle with a machine gun built into its rear end was something that only exists in sci-fi movies, you should talk to Wendy Moore at the University of Arizona.

    Many beetles secrete foul-smelling or bad-tasting chemicals from their abdomens to ward off predators, but bombardier beetles take it a step further. When threatened, they combine chemicals in an explosive chemical reaction chamber in their abdomen to simultaneously synthesize, heat and propel their defensive load as a boiling hot spray, complete with "gun smoke." They can even precisely aim the nozzle at the attacker.

  • Anivax and the University of Arizona have announced an agreement to license several technologies developed in a broad-based collaborative effort between the UA and Arizona State University. The license is for a revolutionary Campylobacter food safety vaccine designed to be administered to poultry to reduce colonization by the bacteria and ultimately lower the incidence of human disease and associated conditions.

    The team of inventors includes individuals from both institutions, including: Bibiana Law, associate research professor in the UA School of Animal and Comparative Biomedical Sciences, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Anivax’s chief science officer; Alexandra Armstrong, assistant research scientist in the UA School of Animal and Comparative Biomedical Sciences, Food Safety Consortium chair and Anivax’s VP of research; Michael Anderson, Anivax’s VP of products with 25 years of vaccine commercialization experience; and Roy Curtiss III, of the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University.

  • Advances in technology have had a major impact on the way consumers shop. But even with all the retail websites and apps at shoppers' fingertips today, physical stores remain at the center of the retail experience.

    That was one of the major take-home messages from last week's Global Retailing Conference, which focused on the theme of retail being "everywhere at once."

    The two-day conference, hosted by the University of Arizona's Terry J. Lundgren Center for Retailing, drew more than 100 UA students and about 300 industry professionals to the Westin La Paloma Resort and Spa to discuss where the retail industry is headed.

  • Mosquitoes could carry new troubles to Arizona.

    Dengue Fever and a second disease, Chikungunya, have started to crop up in areas surrounding Arizona, putting researchers on high alert about the looming threat the diseases could pose to the state.

    Both of these viruses are known as vector-borne diseases, carried and passed by mosquitoes. One particular type of mosquito, known as the Aedes Aegypti is a known carrier for both Dengue Fever and Chikungunya, and southern Arizona happens to be within this insect’s habitat.

  • Bruce Tabashnik, professor and head of entomology in the University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, has been awarded the Henry and Phyllis Koffler Prize for Research/Scholarship/Creative Activity.

    The award was presented at the annual Awards of Distinction Ceremony luncheon recently at the Student Union Memorial Center on campus.

    Sponsored by the UA provost, the prize was established through the generosity of Henry and Phyllis Koffler in 2000 and consists of a one-time award of $10,000, a medallion and a certificate.

  • Patrons at Rillito Park Race Track in northwest Tucson may have noticed a new presence during the recently completed spring race meet: young adults, dressed in navy shirts, on the TV screens, in the admissions booths and in the racing office. 

    Students from the University of Arizona’s Race Track Industry Program in the School of Animal and Comparative Biomedical Sciences, part of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, had the opportunity to learn about the industry firsthand through a collaboration with the local track. They worked in different capacities at the track and in the classroom on projects related to the track’s operations.