OCAST funds seven plant research projects in program’s second year
March 12, 2008
A $540,000 second round of funding for the Oklahoma Plant Science Research program was approved Tuesday by the governing board of OCAST, the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology. Two applied research projects and five basic research projects were approved.
Tuesday’s consideration for 2008 funding marks the second consecutive year OCAST has funded the program that was signed into law at the end of the 2006 legislative session. Research on all seven projects will be conducted over the next two years.
Oklahoma scientists conducting basic and applied research in the field of plant sciences are eligible to compete for the plant sciences program. Applications undergo peer review and funds are awarded based on merit, collaborative effort and the leverage of federal and private funds.
State businesses, institutions of higher learning and nonprofit research institutions are eligible to apply. A dollar-for-dollar match is required.
Mike Carolina, executive director of OCAST, said, “New cures for disease, new sources of energy and innovative new fibers for mankind are potential outcomes from this program. Through our system of peer review, we believe the award recipients represent quality science and the highest potential for success."
- Stillwater – Norman Elliott will serve as principal investigator for a project targeting Russian wheat aphids. Application of a remote sensing system developed by Terraverde Technologies in Stillwater will help researchers detect infestations of the Russian wheat aphid which costs wheat growers millions of dollars each year. The sensing system is expected to be placed on the market following the two year research period. Research will be conducted in concert with the USDA, Agricultural Research Service, Plant Science Research Laboratory. Total cost is $89,000
- Durant – Nancy Paiva was awarded $25,000 for work at Southeastern Oklahoma State University. She will evaluate a native wildflower, centaurea, for its potential as a biodiesel-specific oilseed
- Norman – Susan Schroeder of the University of Oklahoma will study satellite tobacco mosaic virus to seek improved methods for early identification of cancerous cells and provide a better diagnosis. Total cost is $85,205
- Stillwater – Andrew Doust of Oklahoma State University will study foxtail millet to develop switchgrass biomass traits. The millet is closely related to switchgrass which has been identified as a potential source of biomass for alternative fuels. The researcher will produce a set of markers that can be used for comparative mapping to other biomass crops. Total cost is $85,205.
- Stillwater – Gary Thompson of Oklahoma State University will research identification of novel proteins that can impact changes in plant tissue. He plans to develop genetic knowledge to be used in plant productivity, renewable biomass and nutritional improvement. Total cost is $85,205.
- Stillwater – Ming Yang of Oklahoma State University will study certain proteins that will regulate plant reproductive development and provide for genetic or physiological manipulations to improve plant health and productivity. The ultimate goal is improved crop performance. Total cost is $85,205.
- Ardmore – Elison Blancaflor of The Sam Roberts Noble Foundation will research plant polarity to seek ways to improve productivity and yield for renewable biomass. Total cost is $85,180.