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CALS Announces Sub-Saharan Networking Event - April 14, 2022

Dr. David Acker, Associate Dean, Global Engagement; and Shelley Taylor, Director, CALS Global Programs, will be hosting a networking event on Thursday, April 14, 2022, geared toward connecting faculty, staff, and graduate students that interested in or currently are conducting research in sub-Saharan Africa. The event will feature presentations from CALS faculty and a graduate student currently conducting research and work in sub-Saharan Africa. Following the presentations, attendees will have time for discussion, mingling, and exchanging of contacts.

  • What: Sub-Saharan Networking event
  • Date: Thursday, April 14, 2022
  • Time: 3:10 – 4:35 PM (Presentations), 4:35 – 5:00 PM (Networking/ Social)
  • Where: Campanile Room, Memorial Union

Through this networking event, we hope to increase opportunities for collaboration across the college.

Program Schedule:

3:10 PM


Shelley Taylor, Director, CALS Global Programs




3:15 PM


An update on ISU’s 19-year collaboration in Uganda through the Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods, including our work in crops/soils, livestock, nutrition, education, water development, sanitation, grain storage, entrepreneurship, and income generation.

David Acker, Director, Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods

3:25 PM


Student programs (study abroad, service-learning, graduate student studies) through the Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods Uganda Program.

Gail Nonnecke, Morrill Professor, Horticulture

3:35 PM


Collaboration at the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) to better understand the role of seed transmission of Maize Lethal Necrosis, a disease caused by virus infection of maize plants. Managing this disease requires improved seed detection methods and an understanding of how seed contamination contributes to disease spread. We will also investigate whether seed disinfection treatments can reduce the risk of seed transmission. 

Gary Munkvold, Professor, Plant Pathology and Microbiology

3:45 PM


A graduate student working with the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center researching the development of maize resistance to Maize Lethal Necrosis (MLN). The project is to establish resistance in the elite inbred lines through CRIPSR-cas9 mediated gene editing. 

Ann Murithi, graduate student, Agronomy

3:55 PM


Genomics to Improve Poultry project funded by USAID, entitled genetic improvement of resilience and adaptation to disease and climate stressors in African poultry production systems, in collaboration with the University of California-Davis (lead), University of Ghana, and the Sokoine University of Agriculture.

Jack Dekkers, Distinguished Professor, Animal Science

4:05 PM


As part of the Borlaug program, research the feasibility of two locally available antimicrobial disinfectants (limewater and vinegar) against spoilage microflora on Iowa-grown tomatoes. The same disinfectants were compared to Malawi varieties of tomatoes. The second part of the research involved product and ingredient preparation and outreach to farmers in capacity-building efforts in production, postharvest handling, and value-chain enhancement.

Buddhi Lamsal, Professor, Food Science & Human Nutrition

4:15 PM


A partnership between ISU, KNUST (Ghana), and Self-Help International, an Iowa-based NGO who have purposefully partnered with the Ullo Traditional Area in the Upper West Region of Ghana to establish sustainable human development and research projects with a focus on food and nutrition security and small-scale community water, energy and health systems. The Consortium focuses on building the academic and entrepreneurial capacity of the next generation by facilitating multi-institutional projects that increase efficiencies in the global food system to sustainably preserve nutrients. 

Dirk Maier, Professor, Agricultural And Biosystems Engineering

4:25 PM


Collaboration with the University for Development Studies (UDS) (Ghana) through student training to develop methodologies for utilizing unmanned aerial systems(drones) technology in small-scale farming systems in Africa. Activities include (1) identification of soil management zones (SMZs) for efficient use of crop production inputs; (2) forecasting and mapping of end-of-season rice yields based on midseason crop reflectance; and (3) use of high-resolution drone imagery to enhance satellite imagery for large scale (possibly national scale) mapping of rice yields. 

Andrew Manu, Professor, Agronomy

4:35 – 5:00 PM