Recent CALS Spotlights

  • Dogs are more than just man’s best friend. Researchers are looking at how the contribution of their gut bacteria might be making their owners healthier.

    Dr. Charles Raison, a professor of psychiatry and CNN mental health expert [and also a professor in the Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences], is investigating whether owning a dog provides health benefits to the owners through positive changes in their microbiota.

    Throughout an individual’s life, the microbiota — or bacterial community — play an important role in maintaining health and well-being. Beneficial bacteria cover human skin and line the gastrointestinal tract, helping to digest certain foods, prevent inflammation and keep disease-causing bacteria from taking root.

  • P. Andrew "Andy" Groseta, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Alumnus of the Year, is a third-generation Arizona rancher who has reached pinnacles of success in his ranching career, industry leadership roles, and service to the community and his alma mater.

    A partner in Headquarters West Ltd., a statewide agribusiness firm, Groseta has served as president of the Arizona Cattle Growers Association and the National Cattlemen's Beef Association.

    Groseta was selected in 2008 by then-President George W. Bush to attend the inauguration of South Korean President Lee Myung-bak as a member of the U.S. presidential delegation. He represented U.S. cattlemen in resolving the U.S.-Korean beef trade issue, allowing U.S. beef back into South Korea.

  • The CALS Communications and Cyber Technologies (CCT) team recently completed a three-month email upgrade that involved migrating over 1,000 @ag and @cals email accounts from their College of Agriculture and Life Sciences server in the Forbes building to the UA campus-hosted email system. All CALS employees can now benefit from the increased server space, server administration and 24/7 desktop support.

    Managing the CALS email server was an around-the-clock operation and migrating this service to UAConnect allows CCT staff to offer an expanded suite of services to clientele throughout the college. The CCT team intends to use this opportunity to spend less time on commodity IT and to refocus their efforts on developing high-quality applications, multimedia and supporting infrastructure.

  • Bats are the quintessential creatures of the night. From ancient mythology to modern pop culture, the winged mammals have long captured our imaginations and inhabited our deepest nightmares. 

    But bats have a vital role to play in the success of local economies as free pest-control providers, according to research by University of Arizona scientist Laura López-Hoffman, assistant professor in the School of Natural Resources and the Environment, part of UA's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

    Contrary to what Halloween movies might lead you to believe, only three out of about 1,240 known bat species feed on blood. Most dine on insects, and among them is the Mexican free-tailed bat, which migrates between the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. This species alone, it turns out, has saved cotton farmers across the region millions of dollars in crop damage and insecticide costs by voraciously consuming the six-legged pests.

  • Tiny soil microbes are among the world's biggest potential amplifiers of human-caused climate change, but whether microbial communities are mere slaves to their environment or influential actors in their own right is an open question. Now research by an international team of scientists from the U.S., Sweden and Australia, led by University of Arizona scientists, shows that a single species of microbe, discovered only recently, is an unexpected key player in climate change. 

    The findings, published in the journal Nature, should help scientists improve their simulations of future climate by replacing assumptions about the different greenhouse gases emitted from thawing permafrost with new understanding of how different communities of microbes control the release of these gases.

  • Ten students in the University of Arizona’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences were selected as delegates to the Agriculture Future of America’s (AFA) Leaders Conference as a result of CALS' commitment as a collegiate partner to AFA. The organization is dedicated to helping students reach their full leadership capabilities by creating “partnerships that identify, encourage and support outstanding college men and women preparing for careers in the agriculture and food industry.” 

    Since 1997, AFA has provided scholarships and leader training to collegiate students pursuing careers in agriculture. AFA’s anchor personal and professional development event is AFA Leaders Conference.

  • Lifelong Arizona 4-H supporter Dan A. Klingenberg is one of 14 honorees inducted into the National 4-H Hall of Fame for their lifetime achievements and contributions to 4-H, the nation’s largest youth development organization that serves over six million youth nationwide. He was honored during a special ceremony on Friday, Oct. 10, at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center in Chevy Chase, Md.

    National 4-H Hall of Fame laureates are nominated by their home states, National 4-H Council, the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents, or 4-H National Headquarters of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) - USDA based upon their exceptional leadership at the local, state, national and international levels.

  • It's not every day that NASA scientists ask kids to design and launch rockets that could deliver food to inhabitants on a storm-ravaged, isolated Pacific island.

    On Oct. 8, thousands of young students across the country took up that challenge as part of 4-H's 2014 National Youth Science Day. The event is held annually to encourage student involvement in STEM-related fields. Each year, 4-H'ers nationwide participate in the same science experiment.

    "4-H is more than cows and cooking," said Kirk Astroth, director of Arizona 4-H Youth Development. "Everything we do is about science. We try to keep up with the changing needs and interests of kids – we teach app development, photography, GPS and rocketry."

  • On Friday, September 19, 2014, over 1,000 Santa Cruz County school-aged children and teachers gathered to celebrate the United Healthcare and Arizona 4-H Kick-Off event at the Santa Cruz County Fair. The University of Arizona Cooperative Extension’s Arizona 4-H Youth Development Program and United Healthcare are partnering to educate youth about healthy living habits.

    The 4-H Healthy Living Ambassador Program is active in Cochise, Pima, and Santa Cruz counties and is led by 4-H agents Darcy Tessman, Elizabeth Sparks, and Amanda Zamudio. The National 4-H Council and United Healthcare are sponsoring the project through a $40,000 grant for the 2014-2015 year.

  • The UA's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences has named Paul Brierley the inaugural director of its recently launched Yuma Center of Excellence for Desert Agriculture.

    The center, based in Yuma, is a public-private partnership between the college and the Arizona and California desert agriculture industry, dedicated to addressing "on-the-ground" industry needs through collaboration and research.

    Brierley, who was identified after a national search, will oversee the center's research activities. He joins the UA after more than a decade of executive service to the Arizona Farm Bureau, where, as the bureau's director of organization, he helped agricultural producers improve their industry by actively identifying and solving problems.