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Busy days for research, economic development this spring

As many of you know, Mississippi State has been developing a collaborative relationship with the Universite Internationale de Rabat in Morocco over the past several months, and after a recent visit there, I am very excited about the new research and academic opportunities for our students, faculty and staff. I encourage you to learn more about this partnership at www.msstate.edu/web/media/detail.php?id=7047 and www.international.msstate.edu/research/events/presentations/morocco.pdf.

With the spring semester racing forward, we have been busy in the Office of Research and Economic Development. Please let me take a moment to share a few details with you.


David Shaw is vice president for research and economic development at Mississippi State University.

International Institute awards grants
In addition to the Moroccan initiative, the university’s other international programs continue to grow. Recently, the International Institute awarded 14 grants ranging from $2,500 to $5,000 to support interdisciplinary research and outreach as part of its inaugural International Working Groups program. Successful proposals corresponded closely to four of MSU’s research focus areas: materials science and engineering, natural resources and environmental sustainability, food safety and health, and international development. MSU researchers will team with experts from partner institutions in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America on these projects.

Responsible Conduct of Research session this month
The university’s Responsible Conduct of Research live sessions continue with an important seminar this month. A session on “Conducting Research with Human Subjects” will take place on Feb. 19 at 3 p.m. in 115 Franklin Center. Please contact Kacey Strickland, director of the Office of Research Compliance, at 662-325-7474 with any questions about Responsible Conduct of Research. To register for the session and to see the full spring schedule, please visit

Spring research seminar series underway
This week, the Research Seminar Series presents “Can One Lab Accident Change the World?” on Thursday at 2:30 p.m. in the Bost Extension Center theater. This panel discussion will explore the repercussions from several recent lab accidents that have taken place around the country, and how these incidents affect individual lives, as well as institutions and agencies. This session will also count for RCR training. Online registration is available at www.research.msstate.edu/workshops and the complete complete series lineup is available online at www.msstate.edu/web/temp/newsfiles/SeminarsSpring2015Web.pdf.

Update from the Human Research Protection Program
Investigators engaged in research with human subjects should be aware of a few updates from MSU’s Human Research Protection Program. First, the project end date an investigator reports on the Institutional Review Board application will now become the expiration date. If needed, the study may be extended -- not to exceed five years. Second, when completing an IRB application, please indicate the external funding source, if any, for the study. This information is important for reporting purposes. Third, if you are interested in having the HRPP staff attend a departmental meeting to talk about human subjects research, please do not hesitate to contact them. And finally, a new training option in myCourses has been added that allows investigators to complete both initial and refresher training. HRPP staff are also available for live training sessions on an as-requested basis. Additional information about the HRPP is online at www.orc.msstate.edu/humansubjects or by calling 662-325-3294.

Kudos and congratulations
I always look forward to sharing success stories about our faculty and staff with you, and here are a few that have crossed my desk:

* Congratulations to Xiaopeng Li, an assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, who has been granted a $500,000 CAREER award by the National Science Foundation for his project, “Pathway to a Driverless Highway Transportation System: A Behavior Analysis and Trajectory Control Approach.” The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program offers the NSF’s most prestigious awards in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research. Well done!

* Kudos to Dan Peterson, director of the Institute for Genomics, Biocomputing and Biotechnology and professor of plant and soil sciences, and Federico Hoffman, an IGBB researcher and assistant professor of biochemistry, molecular biology, entomology and plant pathology, whose work is featured in a recent issue of the prestigious journal Science. Read more about their research and notable publication achievement at www.msstate.edu/web/media/detail.php?id=7049

* Congratulations to Henry Wan, associate professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine, who has been awarded a National Institutes of Health RO1 grant to develop better ways of determining new flu vaccines. Read more about Dr. Wan’s work at www.msstate.edu/web/media/detail.php?id=7058

* Kudos to Patricia Cox, biosafety officer and assistant director of Environmental Health & Safety, who has been elected to the advisory board for Decontamination Professionals International. As a board member, Dr. Cox will provide direction, advice and technical knowledge in the areas of biosafety, decontamination and disinfection, biological weapons of mass destruction, indoor environmental quality and industrial hygiene.

Final words
Thank you for taking the time to read this month’s letter. If you have any questions, suggestions or concerns about Mississippi State’s research and economic development activities, please feel free to contact me at dshaw@research.msstate.edu.

Go Dawgs!

— David


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