Thursday, January 31, 2013


This year also Nepalese Students Association (NeSA) at South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD organized a most awaited program of the year ‘Nepal Nite  2013′. Theme of the program was ‘Glimpses of Nepal’. As usual, the program was awesome. Food variety, quality and taste was really good. However, after attending nepal nite for several years, it felt quite a bit of repetition. If a nepali can feel the program as repetitive, I can imagine what it feels like for non-nepali people attending it. Nonetheless, the voluntary efforts put by nepali students amid their hectic schedule is really appreciable and they deserve it. Hats off to all nepali studnets. Here are some videos of the program.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

A Visit to Dakota Nature Park, Brookings, SD

Though the Dakota Nature Park is close to my home, it was my second trip to  there.  The park feels more natural than other parks in Brookings. The park is located on the northwest corner of 22nd Ave and 32 Street in Brookings, South Dakota. According to the Brookings City official site the park covers the area of 135 acres. Interestingly the site was a landfill earlier. The park consists of series of connected small ponds and is known for bird watching, trail walking, and catch-and-release fishing in the town area.
Here are some pictures I took during the trip. All pictures were taken with Nikon D3100 camera with 18-55 kit lens. Some pictures were post-processed in picasa.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wheat diseases in South Central South Dakota

A wheat field near Platte, SD
Yesterday I went to south central South Dakota to collect leaf and root disease samples of wheat. I left Brookings, SD at 7:30 AM with our technician Richard and Earl, an undergrad student. We headed directly to near Pukwana taking I-90 W and took samples in a field. From there we went to Reliance and headed south to Winner. After having lunch at Winner we headed to Platte, Crossica and headed back to Brookings. It was almost midnight when I reached my home. We took several random root and leaf samples along the way.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Insects Macrophotography: Fun and learning experience

Last Saturday I was determined to take some macro shots of insects. Since I got camera Nikon D3100 as a gift from my sister, I was interested to take pictures of animals and insects. Probably my profession in the area of biology would have contributed to have such desire! Anyway, last Saturday after dropping my wife to her lab, I went to road constructed in the Innovation Campus area  of the South Dakota State University. It was very very windy. So hard to shoot any plants picture or insects on plants. Thus I decided to shoot insects that I can see on sidewalk as it is easier to spot them. Here are my some shots.

Challenges in genetically engineered crop regulatory process

ScienceDaily (May 8, 2012) — A new innovation can completely reshape an industry– inspiring both optimism and debate. The development of genetically engineered (GE) crops in the 1980′s ignited a buzz in the agricultural community with the potential for higher crop yields and better nutritional content, along with the reduction of herbicide and pesticide use. GE crops grew to play a significant role in the U.S., with more than 160 million acres of farmland used to produce GE crops in 2011. However, the development of new GE crops has recently slowed to a trickle due to litigation over field testing and deregulation. University of Minnesota researchers Esther McGinnis, Alan Smith, and Mary Meyer set out to determine the cause of these litigation lulls responsible for slowing GE progress in the U.S.

To read complete story click the link. Challenges in genetically engineered crop regulatory process.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Human highly vulnerable to small changes in bird flu virus, H5N1

Influenza Virus
According to the Time Magazine, the two scientists — Yoshihiro Kawaoka of the University of Wisconsin–Madison and Ron Fouchier of Erasmus University in the Netherlands — had submitted their research to Nature and Science, respectively. Kawaoka’s research was published in Nature on Wednesday. They have been working on creating variants of a popular bird flu virus, H5N1, so that it can be made more transmissible in human or other mammals. Their aim was to create more human transmissible version of H5N1 virus, so that it will be easier for further studies to develop cure. Though the issue about the experiment on modification of H5N1 bird flu virus and their publication in scientific journal was highly debated within scientific community, finally there is green signal for publication of it. In 2011, the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) ruled that the two papers should be censored if published, primarily limiting the methodology and the viral mutations which was studied. The action came from the fear that some terrorist group may use this information to create deadly bioweapon.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wheat Blast detection in the US: A raised concern

I came through a agnews this week about the wheat blast disease. According to the Nebraska Ag Connection, wheat blast was detected in 2011 on a single wheat head. It was detected by University of Kentucky soil scientist Lloyd Murdock at a  UK Research and Education Center research plot in Princeton. No additional instances was found despite extensive scouting. 

Wheat blast is considered as a new fungal disease and was first discovered in Brazil in 1985. It has become a serious threat to the wheat production especially in tropical and sub-tropical regions of South America. Until it was discovered in Kentucky in 2011, the disease was believed to be restricted to the tropical regions of South America (north-eastern Argentina, lowlands of Bolivia, central and south-central Brazil and Paraguay).

Photography: From Castroville, TX

I took these photos in my last trip to Castroville, TX. Castroville is a small town in the state of Texas. Last week I went to Castroville with Dr. William Berzonsky, a winter wheat breeder at South Dakota State Universities. Dr. Berzonsky has disease nursery at Castroville in collaboration with Dr. Amir Ibrahim at Texas A&M University. So the purpose of our trip was to evaluate winter wheat line for diseases especially rust. This, year at the time we went we did not see stem rust (Puccinia graminis f. sp. tritici) and stripe rust (Puccinia striiformis), however, many plots were fully covered with leaf rust (Puccinia triticina). Here are some pictures I took during the trip. All pictures were taken using Nikon D3100 with AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR or 40mm f/2.8G AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR lenses.
Peace of mind
Peace of Mind