Foreword – Fall 2012

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is all about life. Agriculture is biology in action. Biology is a precursor for agricultural science and practical application.

Whether plant or animal, soil, air or water—it’s all about life.

Here in CALS we break down the stuff of life more than half a dozen ways with faculty expertise in everything from biochemistry, biophysics, molecular biology and organismal biology, to microbiology, genetics, development and cell biology. For those of you who haven’t seen the inside of a lab since organic chemistry, I hope you’ll stick around and keep reading. There’s exciting science happening here every day, chipping away at huge issues facing agriculture and society.

The following pages offer a few examples of life sciences research. Faculty like Jeff Essner and Allen Miller who are searching for deeper understanding of animal and plant diseases with hopes of using their findings to improve human health. Many faculty mentor graduate and undergraduates in their labs, providing unique opportunities for students to be involved in cutting-edge research. Brandi Malchow is a perfect example of a student making the most of every day of her student experience.

Enthusiasm, passion and a drive to help others are common themes I think you’ll pick up on throughout this issue.

Nancy Brannaman has traversed the globe working in embassies for the U.S. State Department and Dr. Anthony Davis treats patients in Ames as a chiropractor. Be sure to check out Carla Persaud, our “In the Margins” profile, who is featured for her work with United Way. Her efforts are anything but marginal. Alum Chet Boruff’s story spotlights his career in agricultural regulatory affairs protecting farmers and consumers. His story also offers a glimpse as to what to expect in our next issue, which will focus on farming and farm programs.

As always, your thoughts on this issue and others are welcome. Please feel free to contact me at I enjoy hearing from you and sharing your news here and in STORIES Online, our monthly e-newsletter. If you’re not already on our e-mail list please sign up at

Kind regards,

Melea Reicks Licht

Director of Alumni Relations

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences