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CAHNRS News– December 20, 2013

Posted by l.meyer | December 19, 2013


Holiday gathering brings together CAHNRS/Extension

Ron Mittelhammer would like to thank you for joining him at the CAHNRS Holiday Gathering last Thursday. We had a wonderful turnout with abundant holiday cheer. There aren’t many opportunities for everyone in the magnificent CAHNRS family to gather, from emeritus and active faculty, through graduate and undergraduate students, as well as their children and guests – we are very pleased that so many of you could join us! A tasty spread of food catered by Banyan’s nourished us all, while Northwest beers and Washington wines, donated by CAHNRS Associate Deans Kim Kidwell, Rich Koenig, Jim Moyer, and our Director of Business Operations, Don Holbrook, along with soft drinks were merrily consumed. Over 40 lucky guests had their names chosen for holiday gift items, the photo-with-Butch area was very active throughout the gathering, and activity at the blackjack tables was brisk! See if you can spot yourself in pictures from the party in the CAHNRS Holiday Party 2013 photo album on Facebook. Check out some of the cougar-spirit prizes and lucky winners here.

Friday last day to donate to the CAHNRS and WSU Extension annual food drive

As you may know, a main focus of our annual gathering is giving, especially to those in need in our own communities. Thank you to all who contributed goods for our local food banks. If you couldn’t attend, you can still donate to our annual food drive through Friday, Dec 20. Bring canned and nonperishable food, toiletries or paper products for area food banks to 421 Hulbert Hall. Ron and Linda Mittelhammer will make a matching contribution to the donations received. Last year CAHNRS and WSU Extension delivered over 2,600 pounds of goods to food banks in our communities. There is still time to challenge that record level of donations!

Researchers uncover secrets of destructive plant virus


PULLMAN, Wash.­— A Washington State University professor and a colleague from Australia have deciphered the inner workings of one of the world’s most destructive crop viruses.

Tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV) is a global pest estimated to cause more than $1 billion in crop losses each year. Like the other 25 known tospoviruses, TSWV is spread by thrips, a tiny black-winged insect that feeds on the sap of many food, fiber and feed plants, including bean, lettuce, peanut, pepper, potato and tomato.

The strategy for reducing the damage caused by TSWV is to grow virus-resistant crop varieties. However, viruses are notorious for overcoming resistance. Scientists have known that TSWV carries a gene that overcomes a plant’s defenses, but what part of the gene has remained a mystery until now.

After applying highly sophisticated total genome sequencing technologies and bioinformatics analysis, “the virus finally started giving away its secrets,” said project leader Hanu Pappu, whose lab at WSU focuses on virus genomics and biotechnology.

Pappu, the Sam Smith Distinguished Professor of Plant Virology at WSU, collaborated with Neena Mitter, an associate professor at the University of Queensland in Brisbane and authority on silencing suppressors coded by plant viruses. The researchers identified the regions of the viral genome that are most vulnerable to interference and therefore can be manipulated into suppressing virus replication.

The collaborative effort began in 2011, when Mitter spent three months as a visiting faculty in Pappu’s lab.

Pappu has studied the tospovirus family of viruses for nearly two decades. His research focus is on understanding the biology and molecular biology of the thrips-tospovirus pest complex in order to develop effective and novel virus suppression strategies in both plant hosts and insect vectors.

The results of the research were recently published in the online journal PLOS ONE at

-Kate Wilhite

Shanna Pumphrey awarded outstanding advisor

Shanna Pumphrey-AMDT_2

PULLMAN, Wash. — Shanna Pumphrey, an academic and internship coordinator for the Department of Apparel, Merchandising, Design and Textiles (AMDT) in CAHNRS, received the Outstanding Advisor Award from the local chapter of the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA).

“I am very honored to win this award,” said Pumphrey. “I know there are so many deserving advisors on this campus who are also such positive peers, it is overwhelming.”

Pumphrey currently advises and mentors more than 250 undergraduates and 9 graduate students. “The energy level Shanna maintains in working with her students, constantly amazes me,” wrote Karla Makus, academic coordinator and advisor in the School of Economic Sciences, in her letter nominating Pumphrey for the award. “Shanna is doing a wonderful job as advisor for AMDT. Her students are lucky to have her.”

Pumphrey has been able to strike a balance between providing students with support and tough love, said Brooke Whiting, chair of the awards committee for WSU ACADA. “We were really impressed with the initiative Shanna has taken with helping teach students to be accountable,” Whiting said.

“Shanna Pumphrey raises the bar and sets a new standard for what an academic advisor should be,” wrote Gordon Stumpo, a senior double majoring in Apparel Design and Chinese, in a letter recommending Pumphrey for the award.

Pumphrey joined the AMDT team in 2011. Prior to that she served as an academic advisor in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering in the College of Engineering and Architecture. She also held advising positions at her alma mater, Kansas State University, where she earned a B.S. in Human Resource Management.

Winning this award qualifies Pumphrey to be entered into the NACADA award competition in spring.

Call for Abstracts: Faculty, Staff, Graduate Students, and Professional Students

Leverage the power of your ideas by sharing them with WSU colleagues at the 2014 Academic Showcase.

Submit your abstract of up to 250 words and your contact information no later than Tuesday, January 28. Detailed information about WSU Showcase, the Academic Showcase, and Abstract Submission Guidelines can be found online.

Academic Showcase is a celebration of original scholarship, research, and creative expression by members of the WSU community and will be held Friday, March 28, 2014, on the Pullman campus.

Organic Turkeys available at the WSU Organic Farm

The WSU Organic Farm will be offering organic pastured raised Broad Breasted Bronze turkeys from Pacific Foods for sale on Friday, Dec. 20 from 3 to 5 p.m. The frozen turkeys range in size from 19 to 30 pounds and will be $4.00/#. The sales of the turkeys will go towards the development of the farm’s livestock program which hopes to raise pastured turkeys in the future. The sale will be at the WSU Tukey Horticultural Orchard on the corner of Terra View and Airport Rd. Cash or check only.


Congratulations to WSU Crop and Soil Science graduate student Tai McClellan Maaz for being awarded one of the 2013 International Plant Nutrition Institute Scholar Awards.

Dr. Craig F. Morris, Director of the USDA ARS Western Wheat Quality Lab, and Adjunct Professor in Crop & Soil Sciences and the School of Food Science was awarded an OECD Research Fellowship to study “Farm to Fork” local development of soft durum wheat in Viterbo, Italy at the University of Tuscia. Dr. Morris’ Fellowship runs from March 1 through April 19, 2014.

Gary Chastagner made the national news this month with a story on root rot attacking Christmas trees in the U.S. See the article on NBC News, here.

In eNewsletters

Dec. 18 – WSU’s Green Times- Harvest Time, Sustaining Generations This edition features a look back at this year’s quinoa harvests at the WSU Organic Farm with Hannah Walters and Adam Peterson, research on organic milk by Chuck Benbrook, and a look at passing sustainable farming through generations with David Grantastein. 

Dec. 20- WSU’s Voice of the Vine- Science and Sensibility, Student Wine Label, Raise a Glass This edition features the second part of the Jim Holmes story and growing grapes on Red Mountain and a feature on the first WSU student wine label, Blended Learning.

Nov. 13- WSU’s On Solid Ground- Christmas Trees and Cranberries This edition features a story about cranberry research at WSU Mt. Vernon Research and Extension Center and christmas tree research at WSU Puyallup Research and Extension Center.

Connect with CAHNRS and WSU Puyallup on Facebook


Check out the latest updates on the CAHNRS Facebook page:

Be sure to connect with the the NEW WSU Wine Science Center page here.

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