Congratulations Dr. Chapkin on receiving the National Cancer Institute’s Outstanding Investigator Award (R35) in cancer research. This very prestigious award is given to “an exceptional and long-established cancer researcher who has been continuously funded by the NIH.” This support is intended to encourage investigators to embark on long-term projects of unusual potential. The award will fund Dr. Chapkin’s cancer research program for 7 years for a total of $6.2 million.
For more than 100 years, Texas A&M College of Agriculture and Life Sciences has maintained a strong tradition of leadership across agriculture, natural resources and life sciences, establishing our college as one of the leading organizations of its kind in the state, nation and world. This distinguished status would not be possible without the dedication of our faculty, staff and students to promote the land-grant mission by feeding our world, protecting our environment, improving our health, and enriching our youth. The Dean’s Outstanding Achievement Awards, established in 2012, recognize, reward and encourage excellence in the work of faculty, staff and students in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
Karen Beathard received the Dean’s Outstanding Achievement Award in Service on Wednesday, September 16, 2015.
This award recognizes and encourages excellence in service or other outreach related activities by faculty or staff. Successful nominees will exhibit outstanding personal engagement in outreach and engagement with the community, university, professional organizations, student organizations or other groups. The award supports Texas A&M’s Vision 2020 plan, “This landmark legislation [the Morrill Act] recognized that education could and should lead to the improvement of the human condition. It also resulted in recognition that learning should be for the many rather than the few. This strong notion of service still prospers at Texas A&M University.”
Dried plums — the fruit formerly known as prunes — aren’t just your grandmother’s go-to snack anymore.
As Texas A&M University professor Nancy Turner explained, there may be some good news for fans of the fruit. Turner was among a team of researchers who found in a recent study that the inclusion of dried plums in a balanced diet helped prevent colon cancer.
The positive effect, Turner said, is being attributed to the plum’s ability to promote the health of microbiota in the colon. Although the study was conducted on rats, Turner explained that this particular research model has done a “good job of replicating a lot of the changes that occur in the human intestine as colon cancer develops.”
For those wondering how long prunes have been called dried plums, it has actually been longer than most might think.
Don Zea, executive director of the California Dried Plum Board said in 2001 prunes were officially renamed dried plums with the U.S. Department of Agriculture as an attempt to give the fruit a broader appeal to consumers. Zea said prunes had become so connected with digestive health, it was “too successful.”
“I think all of us have that image from when we were a kid, we were usually given either the prune juice or the dried prunes because we weren’t feeling well,” Turner said. “It was almost like a punishment.”
While she acknowledged that many have a negative perception of the dried fruit’s taste, Turner said that, in her experience, adults and older children who give them another chance generally end up surprised at “how good they actually are.”
“It’s just a dried fruit, just like a dried apricot or banana,” Turner said. “If you think of it from that perspective and just give it a chance, there is probably a good likelihood that you would find that you actually enjoy the flavor of the dried plums.”
The name change, Zea added, also had the added benefit that dried plums “describe more literally what it actually is” than the name prunes.
The actual benefits delivered by the dried fruit are a combination of few factors, Turner said. She explained that while the dietary fiber of the plums is a vital factor in maintaining good digestive health, it is a combination of the fiber and other compounds inherent in the fruit that work in tandem to provide the benefits.
“We constantly tell people that they need to eat more dietary fiber, but it isn’t just the math of dietary fiber that you’re getting,” Turner said. “It’s about the things that come along with the dietary fiber in the food that you’re eating.”
Turner said that it is these additional compounds and dietary fibers — found in many fruits, vegetables and whole grains — that “seem to be better at providing a beneficial microbial population and ability to suppress the disease.”
The research was conducted in partnership between Texas A&M and the University of North Carolina, with funding from the California Dried Plum Board.
Writer: STEVE KUHLMANN email@example.com
Shannon Swickard is a pre-medical, senior nutritional science major, graduating this May. She has completed two years of student research in Dr. Turner’s lab. Dr. Turner’s research focuses on the chemoprotective ability of certain foods against colonic diseases. My specific research project involves the protective and preventive qualities of plum against colon cancer. Being involved in research has really improved her understanding of science, hard work, and time that goes into research. This year at Student Research Week Shannon was awarded first place in the life science category as well as the Sigma Xi award. She enjoyed meeting other student researchers and discussing how they are all making an impact.
Senior Merit Award
Based on leadership, scholarship and service at the department, college and university level, the Texas A&M College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Senior Merit Award is the highest award given to undergraduates by the College. To be eligible for the award, students must be projected to graduate during the current calendar year.
Alpha Zeta Award
The College also presents three Alpha Zeta Awards to an outstanding freshman, sophomore and junior. This is the highest award given to non-seniors.
Agricultural and natural Resources Policy Internship Program
ANRP Internship Program offers many benefits from paid internships and academic credit to getting connected with the Aggie network!
2015-2016 COALS Student Council
Kallie Fuchs, Elli Diehl, Justin Gor, Alex Swize
Congratulations to Dr. Peter Murano and Dr. Clinton Allred!
Dr.Pete Murano received the 2015 Marion Teaching Award given to a professor who is an exceptional teacher and who has demonstrated outstanding mentorship to underclassmen in our college.
Dr. Clinton Allred was the recipient of the 2015 Honor Scholar Award in recognition of his outstanding record of Academic Achievement and Distinguished Leadership.
Since 1985, the IFTSA College Bowl Competition has tested the knowledge of student teams from across the United States in the areas of food science and technology, history of foods and food processing, food law, and general IFT/food-related trivia.
The College Bowl is designed to facilitate interaction among students from different universities, stimulate the students’ desire to accumulate and retain knowledge, and provide a forum for students to engage in friendly competition. Teams for IFT Student Chapters in eight geographical areas of the Student Association compete in area competitions prior to the IFT Annual Meeting. The winning teams from the eight areas then compete in a final competition at the Annual Meeting.
TAMU Student Research Week 2015: “We would like to recognize Dr. Susanne Talcott’s Ph.D. student from the Federal University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, Vinicius Venancio, MS, on winning in two separate categories: 1st place within the research areas of Health, Nutrition, Kinesiology and Physiology and 1st place in the Sigma Xi Theme Symposium Award for best investigation in disease prevention