The magazine for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at
Iowa State University

LAS news

News and information from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Keep up with the college on our news site:

Matthew Hufford leads study that reveals complete genomes for 26 lines of corn from around the globe

Matthew Hufford, associate professor of ecology, evolution and organismal biology, is first author of a study that illustrates corn’s rich genetic diversity. Published in the journal Science, the study details newly assembled genomes for 26 genetic lines of corn. This research could lead to increased yields and more stress-tolerant crops.

Iowa State University launches the first AI graduate program in the state

Iowa State University has launched the first artificial intelligence (AI) graduate program in the state of Iowa. Administered through the Department of Computer Science in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the program offers a two-year Master of Science degree. The first students in the program began classes in fall 2021.

Iowa State Singers record moving rendition of the ‘Bells of Iowa State’

Each year, the Iowa State choirs sing “The Bells of Iowa State.” This year’s performance was scheduled to be live at the 2021 Order of the Knoll reception and celebration of the Forever True, For Iowa State campaign. Due to COVID-19, the decision was made to produce a video recording. The result is a beautiful keepsake of soaring harmonies and pitch-perfect tones. This special recording, shot by videographer Gabe Noll, has been widely shared on social media by students, staff and alumni.

Summer insights from LAS undergraduate researchers

The summer 2021 recipients of the LAS Dean’s High Impact Award for Undergraduate Research conducted a variety of impactful research. From tracking sun superflares to developing genetic models, these budding scientists collaborated with faculty mentors and carried out leadership roles on important research projects.

Young alumni reflect on undergraduate years with 'unbelievable gratitude' for LAS Success Grant Program

The LAS Success Grant program provides emergency funds to undergraduates who need help paying their outstanding university bills. Powered by generous donors, the program has transformed the lives, careers and futures of many students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

New study details enzyme that allows coronavirus to resist antiviral medications

Yang Yang, assistant professor in the Roy J. Carver Department of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology, has mapped out the atomic structure of a SARS-CoV-2 enzyme which destroys helpful antiviral medications. This research could lead to the development of new methods for deactivating the enzyme and open the door to better COVID-19 treatments.

Iowa State researcher: Regional climate change forecast is troubling, but there’s hope

William Gutowski, a professor of geological and atmospheric sciences, is one of 15 lead authors of a chapter that was published in the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report. Providing an unprecedented look at regional climate data, the report includes climate change projections for central North America as well as an interactive, online atlas.

The Department of English partners with John Deere to help close the manufacturing-skills gap in Iowa

An innovative partnership between the Department of English and John Deere will help high school welding apprentices sharpen their communication skills. English faculty members will help students become strong persuasive speakers and communicate about their experiences in the apprentice program. These efforts will help John Deere attract students to welding careers and build interest in the skilled trades.

Hua Bai awarded $1,212,704 NSF CAREER award from the National Science Foundation

Hua Bai, assistant professor in the Department of Genetics, Development and Cell Biology, has earned a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The CAREER award is the NSF’s most prestigious honor in support of early-career faculty members who serve as exemplary teacher-scholars through their outstanding research, teaching and integration of education and research. The grant will support Bai’s research, “Understanding Peroxisomal Stress Responses.”

Psychology professor develops a network of mental health professionals who provide virtual consultations across Iowa

The lack of access to mental health care prompted Warren Phillips, associate teaching professor in psychology and a practicing psychologist, to develop an innovative statewide network of mental health professionals. These experts provide virtual consultations to medical facilities, schools and businesses across Iowa to meet the increasing demand for services in the state.

LAS mathematics program receives 2021 Inspiring Programs in STEM award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine

Bridge the Gap, a post-baccalaureate program in the Department of Mathematics, was selected as one of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine’s 2021 Inspiring Programs in STEM. The magazine is the largest and oldest diversity publication in higher education. It recognized Bridge the Gap for its profound impacts on underserved Iowa State students who are pursuing STEM degrees.

LAS chemistry professor awarded NSF grant for innovative photochemistry research

Arthur Winter, professor in the Department of Chemistry, was awarded a $460,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. The three-year grant will support Winter’s photochemistry research as well as student engagement efforts in the Winter Lab. Winter’s research is focused on cracking the hidden code between molecular bonds and light.