Norovirus Proposal Nets Top Research Funding
By Marcia Wood
October 22, 2007
Figuring out how to prevent
norovirus from clinging to fresh fruits and vegetables ranked as the
top-scoring research proposal in the annual Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Postdoctoral Research Associate
Norovirus causes an estimated 23 million cases of gastrointestinal disease
in the United States each year. Some of these outbreaks have been associated
with fresh produce, according to ARS research microbiologist
Tian. His norovirus research proposal topped more than 300 other entries
submitted by ARS scientists nationwide in the annual competition for special
In all, 50 scientists in ARSthe U.S.
Department of Agriculture's chief scientific research agencywill each
receive $100,000 to fund two years of research by a postdoctoral associate
they'll recruit and mentor. As the author of the top-ranked proposal, Tian will
receive an additional $20,000.
This program gives promising post-docs an opportunity to work alongside
high-achieving scientists who are tackling top-priority projects of national
Tian will be honored at ARS' annual awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., in
February 2008. He will receive a plaque naming him winner of the T. W.
Edminster Award, given to the researcher who submits the highest-rated research
proposal. The award is named after its founder, Talcott W. Edminster, a former
Tian is in the agency's
Safety and Microbiology Research Unit, part of the
Western Regional Research Center in Albany, Calif. Other winners of the
post-doc funding are based in labs in more than two dozen other states.
The studies being planned will span an impressive array of subjects and
scientific disciplines. For example, the investigations will address the role
of healthful fats in combating obesity; new options for protecting chickens,
cows and other farm animals from diseases; and innovative ways to reduce the
dust that's stirred up when stems, leaves and other plant leftovers are
harvested for biofuels, instead of being left on the ground.
Other experiments will seek high-tech options to more quickly and accurately
separate undamaged wheat or corn kernels from ones that insects or fungi have