Auburn University

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

NOTE ON FORMATTING: When stories are transferred from the Web, certain punctuation marks and other marks in this report don't carry over and result in symbols and other formatting errors. To see or print the story in full without these translation errors, simply click on "full story" at the end of each item."

Total Clips: 9
Headline Date Outlet
Researchers' data from Scotland and the United States advance endocrinology research 10/17/2006 Life Science Weekly
Recent studies from France and the United States add new data to vectors research 10/17/2006 Life Science Weekly
Coalition of US Colleges and WFP Launch 'War' on Hunger 10/17/2006 Voice of America (VOA)
Quick Takes 10/17/2006 Inside Higher Education
Salvation army planning new story, seeking bell ringers 10/17/2006 Opelika-Auburn News
BirdFest approaches amid ivory-billed enthusiasm 10/17/2006 Press-Register
Raising the Bar in Warehousing 10/16/2006 Logistics Today
AU launches Beat Bama Food Drive 10/16/2006 Opelika-Auburn News
Special Report: Parasite imported from South America kills fire ants 10/16/2006 WPMI-TV


Researchers' data from Scotland and the United States advance endocrinology research
10/17/2006
Life Science Weekly

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**This story mentions research on diabetes at AU and also appeared in Science Letter, Pain and Central Nervous System Week, Proteonics Weekly and Health and Medicine Weekly. (No Web link provided.)**

Data on endocrinology are outlined in reports from Scotland and the United States.

Study 1 According to a study from Scotland, syntaxin 16 (Stx16) controls the intracellular sequestration of Glut4 in 3T3-L1 adipocytes.

The regulated delivery of Glut4-containing vesicles to the plasma membrane is a specialised example of regulated membrane trafficking. Present models favour the transporter trafficking through two inter-related endosomal cycles, wrote K.M. Proctor and colleagues, University of Glasgow.

The first is the proto-typical endosomal system. This is a fast trafficking event that, in the absence of insulin, serves to internalise Glut4 from the plasma membrane. Once in this pathway, Glut4 is further sorted into a slowly recycling pathway that operates between recycling endosomes, the trans Golgi network, and a population of vesicles often referred to as Glut4-storage vesicles. Little is known about the molecules that regulate these distinct sorting steps.

Here, we have studied the role of Stx16 in Glut4 trafficking. Using two independent strategies, we show that Stx16 plays a crucial role in Glut4 traffic in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Over-expression of a mutant form of Stx16 devoid of a transmembrane anchor was found to significantly slow the reversal of insulin-stimulated glucose transport, wrote the researchers.

Depletion of Six 16 using antisense approaches profoundly reduced insulin-stimulated glucose transport but was without effect on cell surface transferrin receptor levels, and also reduced the extent of Glut4 translocation to the plasma membrane in response to insulin, the authors continued.

The scientists concluded, These data support a model in which Stx16 is crucial in the sorting of Glut4 from the fast cycling to the slow cycling intracellular trafficking pathways in adipocytes.

Proctor and colleagues published their study in Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications (Syntaxin 16 controls the intracellular sequestration of GLUT4 in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Biochem Biophys Res Commun, 2006;347(2) 433-438).

For more information, contact G.W. Gould, University of Glasgow, Henry Wellcome Laboratory of Cell Biology, Division of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Davidson Bldg, Glasgow G12 8QQ, Lanark, Scotland.

Study 2 Endothelin-1 inhibits adiponectin secretion through a phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate/actin-dependent mechanism.

According to a study from the United States, Adiponectin is an adipokine with profound insulin-sensitizing, anti-inflammatory, and anti-atherogenic properties. Plasma levels of adiponectin are reduced in insulin resistant states such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. However, the mechanism(s) by which adiponectin concentrations are decreased during disease development is unclear. Studies have shown that endothelin-1 (ET-1), a vasoconstrictor peptide, affects adipocyte glucose metabolism and secretion of adipokines such as leptin, resistin, and adiponectin.

The goal of our study, proposed D. Bedi and colleagues, Auburn University, was to determine the mechanism by which ET-1 decreases adiponectin secretion. 3T3-L1 adipocytes were treated for 24 h with ET-1 (10 nM) and then stimulated with vehicle or insulin (100 nM) for a period of 1-2 h.

The data showed, Chronic ET-1 (24 h) treatment significantly decreased basal and insulin-stimulated adiponectin secretion by 66 and 47%, respectively. Inhibition of phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate (PIP2) hydrolysis by the PLC beta inhibitor, U73122, or exogenous addition Of PIP2 histone carrier complex (1.25 0.625 mcM) ameliorated the decrease in basal and insulin-stimulated adiponectin secretion observed with ET-1. However, treatment with exogenous PIP2 histone carrier complex and the actin depolymerizing agent latrunculin B (20 mcM) did not reverse the ET-1-mediated decrease in adiponectin secretion.

The researchers concluded, We demonstrate that ET-1 inhibits basal and insulin-stimulated adiponectin secretion through PIP2 modulation of the actin cytoskeleton.

Bedi and colleagues published their study in Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications (Endothelin-1 inhibits adiponectin secretion through a phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate/actin-dependent mechanism. Biochem Biophys Res Commun, 2006;345(1) 332-339).

For more information, contact R.L. Judd, Auburn University, Dept. of Anatomy Physiol & Pharmacology, Boshell Diabetes & Metab Diseases Research Program, Auburn, AL 36849, USA.

Study 3 TC10/exocyst complex/SAP97 axis plays an important role in the tethering of Glut4 vesicles to the plasma membrane in adipocytes.

According to a study from the United States, Lipid raft microdomains act as organizing centers for signal transduction. We report here that the exocyst complex, consisting of Exo70, Sec6, and Sec8, regulates the compartmentalization of Glut4-containing vesicles at lipid raft domains in adipocytes.

M. Inoue and colleagues at the University of Michigan report, Exo70 is recruited by the G protein TC10 after activation by insulin and brings with it Sec6 and Sec8. Knockdowns of these proteins block insulin-stimulated glucose uptake.

Moreover, their targeting to lipid rafts is required for glucose uptake and Glut4 docking at the plasma membrane. The assembly of this complex also requires the PDZ domain protein SAP97, a member of the MAGUKs family, which binds to Sec8 upon its translocation to the lipid raft. Exocyst assembly at lipid rafts sets up targeting sites for Glut4 vesicles, which transiently associate with these microdomains upon stimulation of cells with insulin.

These results suggest, concluded the authors, that the TC10/exocyst complex/SAP97 axis plays an important role in the tethering of Glut4 vesicles to the plasma membrane in adipocytes.

Inoue and colleagues published their study in Molecular Biology of the Cell (Compartmentalization of the exocyst complex in lipid rafts controls Glut4 vesicle tethering. Mol Biol Cell, 2006;17(5) 2303-2311).

For more information, contact A.R. Saltiel, University of Michigan, Institute Life Science, Dept. Internal Medicine, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA.

Keywords Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States, Endocrinology, Glucose Uptake, Insulin, TC10/Exocyst Complex/SAP97 Axis, TC10, Glut4 Vesicle, Adipocyte, Exocyst Complex.

This article was prepared by Life Science Weekly editors from staff and other reports. Copyright 2006, Life Science Weekly via NewsRx.com.

Copyright 2006 Life Science Weekly via NewsRx.com


Recent studies from France and the United States add new data to vectors research
10/17/2006
Life Science Weekly

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**Auburn University is mentioned as a collaborater in this research. The story also appeared in Virus Weekly, Science Letter and Health and Medicine Week. (No Web link provided.)**

Investigators in France and the United States have published new vectors data.

Study 1 HIV-1 derived lentiviral vectors provided efficient ex vivo gene transfer into non-human primate hepatocytes.

Lentivirus-mediated ex vivo gene therapy is becoming a promising approach for the treatment of liver metabolic disorders. However, the feasibility of this approach needs to be studied in large animal models. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of ex vivo gene transfer into Macaca hepatocytes with two different HIV-1 derived lentiviral vectors, scientists writing in the Journal of Hepatology report.

A self-inactivating lentivector was constructed to express GFP under the control of the hepatic apolipoprotein A-H promoter, said Alexandre Parouchev at the University of Paris XI and collaborators in France. Freshly isolated and thawed hepatocytes were transduced in suspension with lentiviral vectors expressing the GFP gene under the control of a ubiquitous promoter (EFI-alpha) and the apolipoprotein A-II promoter. Transduced thawed hepatocytes were transplanted into the spleen of newborn mice, and livers analyzed 4 and 12 weeks after transplantation.

We show that lentivectors are efficient in transducing hepatocytes in suspension either freshly isolated or cryo-preserved. We also show that thawed and transduced hepatocytes engrafted and participated in liver growth after transplantation into newborn mice and that the apolipoprotein A-II promoter is functional, the researchers reported.

Our data show that transplantation of transduced hepatocytes into monkeys should allow to evaluate the fate of transplanted cells and transgene expression in a pre-clinical model of ex vivo gene therapy, they concluded.

Parouchev and his coauthors published their study in the Journal of Hepatology (Efficient ex vivo gene transfer into non-human primate hepatocytes using HIV-1 derived lentiviral vectors. J Hepatol, 2006;45(1) 99-107).

Additional information can be obtained by contacting Anne Weber, INSERM EMI-020 and University Paris XI, IFR 93, Hopital du Kremlin-Bicetre, Le Kremlin-Bicetre, France. anne.weber@kb.inserm.fr.

Study 2 Investigators review lentiviral-mediated delivery of siRNAs for antiviral therapy in a recent issue of Gene Therapy.

According to the review, Lentiviral vectors portend a promising system to deliver antiviral genes for treating viral infections such as HIV-1 as they are capable of stably transducing both dividing and nondividing cells. Recently, small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) have been shown to be quite efficacious in silencing target genes. RNA interference is a natural mechanism, conserved in nature from yeast to humans, by which siRNAs operate to specifically and potently downregulate the expression of a target gene either transcriptionally (targeted to DNA) or post-transcriptionally (targeted to mRNA).

The specificity and relative simplicity of siRNA design insinuate that siRNAs will prove to be favorable therapeutic agents, wrote Kevin V. Morris at Scripps Research Institute and John J. Rossi at the City of Hope National Medical Center. Since siRNAs are small nucleic acid reagents, they are unlikely to elicit an immune response and genes encoding these siRNAs can be easily manipulated and delivered by lentiviral vectors to target cells. As such, lentiviral vectors expressing siRNAs represent a potential therapeutic approach for the treatment of viral infections such as HIV-1.

The authors noted, This review will focus on the development, lentiviral based delivery, and the potential therapeutic use of siRNAs in treating viral infections.

Morris and Rossi published their study in Gene Therapy (Lentiviral-mediated delivery of siRNAs for antiviral therapy. Gene Ther, 2006;13(6) 553-558).

For additional information, contact John J. Rossi, Division of Molecular Biology, City of Hope National Medical Center, Beckman Research Institute, 1450 East Duarte Road, Duarte, CA 91010, USA. JRossi@coh.org.

Study 3 Foamy virus vectors expressing siRNAs inhibit simian immunodeficiency virus.

According to researchers in the United States, Viral vectors available for gene therapy are either inefficient or suffer from safety concerns for human applications. Foamy viruses are nonpathogenic retroviruses that offer several unique opportunities for gene transfer in various cell types from different species. In this report, we describe the use of simian foamy virus type 1 (SFV-1) vector to examine the efficacy of therapeutic genes.

Hairpin short-interfering RNA (siRNA) that targets the simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) rev/env was placed under the control of the PolIII U6 snRNA promoter for expression and screened for silencing target genes using cognate target-reporter fusions, said Jeonghae Park and collaborators at the University of Florida and Auburn University. We have identified an effective siRNA (designated R2), which reduces the rev and env gene expression by 89% and 95%, respectively. Using the simian foamy virus type 1 (SFV-1) based vector, we delivered the MITI expressed R2 siRNA into cultured cells and challenged with SIV.

The results show that the R2 siRNA is a potent inhibitor of SIV replication as determined by p27 expression and reverse transcriptase assays, reported the researchers. Vectors based on a non-pathogenic SFV-1 vector may provide a safe and efficient alternative to currently available vectors, and the SIV model will help devise protocols for effective anti-HIV gene therapy.

Park and associates published their study in Virology (Inhibition of simian immunodeficiency virus by foamy virus vectors expressing siRNAs. Virology, 2005;343(2) 275-282).

For additional information, contact Ayalew Mergia, Department of Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610, USA. mergiaa@mail.vetmed.ufl.edu.

Keywords Gainesville, Florida, United States, Vector Development, Vaccine Vector, Viral Vector, Foamy Virus, Vaccine Development, Immunology, Immunotherapy, Gene Therapy, Proteomics, AIDS and HIV Vaccine, Human Immunodeficiency Virus, Virology.

This article was prepared by Life Science Weekly editors from staff and other reports. Copyright 2006, Life Science Weekly via NewsRx.com.

Copyright 2006 Life Science Weekly via NewsRx.com


Coalition of US Colleges and WFP Launch 'War' on Hunger
10/17/2006
Voice of America (VOA)
Catherine Madddux, Washington

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**This story cites AU as the leader of the alliance that forms Universities Fighting World Hunger. Both Nell Fortner, women's basketball coach at AU and Alabama Congressman Spencer Bachus were quoted in the story.**

An alliance of American colleges and universities along with the U.N. World Food Program kicked off a new campaign Monday, choosing World Food Day to announce a new partnership to tackle world hunger.

The program is called Universities Fighting Hunger. The idea is to bring a sense of urgency to the problem of chronic hunger by mobilizing thousands of college students across the United States.

Students from Georgetown University in Washington are selling food and other items on campus to help publicize the new initiative.

Malnourishment in Niger
According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, about 852 million people around the world do not have enough to eat - a number that represents more people than the populations of the United States, Canada and the European Union combined.

An estimated 24,000 people - mostly children - die everyday from hunger and related causes.

Helping announce the new hunger initiative was U.S. Congressman Spencer Bachus, a Republican from Alabama, who spoke to an audience of students, faculty and hunger experts at Georgetown University. The congressman appealed to students to get involved and stay that way. He sought to inspire them by using an analogy from the title of Charles Dicken's famous novel, A Tale of Two Cities.

"I hope that what you do with what you have is that you enter a tale of two cities," he said. "Today - sadly - it is a tale of two worlds. One very rich. One very poor. We are talking about two worlds. And we are talking about what our world will do to help our sisters and brothers in that other world."

Congressman Bachus also reminded students that solving the problem can be as easy as spending what hunger experts say it takes to feed a hungry child - just 19 cents a day.

James Morris, executive director of the U.N. World Food Program, told the audience that feeding the hungry is simply a very important moral cause. And he called on students to begin a grassroots movement against chronic hunger.

"My hope, my prayer, my dream, my wish is that the world will build a movement, not unlike the movement that has addressed civil rights in this country or the environment," he said. "And the world needs to say today, 2006, it is reprehensible, sinful, shameful, unacceptable for 400 million children in the world to starve, to be hungry, to be malnourished."

Also rallying students at Georgetown to join the fight was fashion model Lauren Bush, a niece of President Bush. At age 22, Ms. Bush is also a student ambassador of the U.N. World Food Program. She said students are curious and energetic, making them ideal contributors in the effort to end world hunger. And Bush gave the example of a new handbag she designed and is selling to show exactly how students can help.

"We all need to encourage students to use their individual talents to fight hunger," she said. "For example, I have always been interested in fashion and design. As a result, I have started the feedbag project, which will raise money and awareness for WFP's school feeding program. Each bag will feed one child for one year."

The leader of the alliance is Auburn University, based in the southern U.S. state of Alabama. Nell Fortner is head basketball coach at the University. She is also an Olympic gold medalist, having coached her team to victory in the 2000 games. Along with the other speakers, she challenged the Washington audience to spread the message about chronic hunger.

"Somebody is going to come up with the solution to our world food problem. Somebody is," she said. "Why not somebody right here in this room? Or, why not somebody in this room that affects somebody else that comes up with the solution. You have got to believe it. Go for it."

The new coalition of more than 50 American colleges and universities and experts from the World Food Program hope that by getting their message out they will be able to raise enough money to declare victory in the war against hunger around the world.
Full Story


Quick Takes
10/17/2006
Inside Higher Education

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**AU and Universities Fighting World Hunger are mentioned in this roundup of briefs.**

Quick Takes: U.S. Position in International Education, Indians or Nothing at McMurry, Universities Fighting World Hunger, Crackdown on Parties at UMass, Cause of Student Deaths Debated in La Crosse

A report released by the American Council on Education Monday summarizes data on the enrollment of foreign students, and suggests that American dominance in enrolling the best and brightest is endangered. The report features data both on the United States and other countries that enroll students from outside their own borders.

McMurry University, under pressure from the National Collegiate Athletic Association to change its Indians nickname, has decided that it will have no nickname at all. In a statement, John Russell, the president, said, "McMurry's values are reflected less by what our athletic teams are called than by who we are and what we do."

More than 50 North American universities on Monday officially unveiled a partnership with the United Nations World Food Program, to be called Universities Fighting World Hunger. The initiative focuses on encouraging students to raise awareness of hunger issues and to raise funds for food for those in need. An Auburn University Web site details efforts there and at other institutions that are participating.

University and law enforcement officials are cracking down on partying students at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, The Boston Globe reported. More than 200 students have been arrested since the start of the academic year, an increase of a third from last year at this time.

The death of a drunk basketball player at the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse who drowned last month has set off a debate about why so many such tragedies have taken place, The Chicago Tribune reported. There have been eight such deaths in La Crosse since 1997.
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Salvation army planning new story, seeking bell ringers
10/17/2006
Opelika-Auburn News
Tamiko Lowery

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**The AU Design-Build Master's Program in mentioned in this story.**

Plans for a new Salvation Army store in Auburn were discussed at an Opelika Lions Club meeting Monday at Golden Corral.

About two years ago, the Salvation Army store in Auburn closed, but already plans are in the works for a new store at the same location, 1038 Opelika Road.

"We're partnering with the Auburn University Design-Build Master's Program to build this new store," said Wayne Burnette, director of the Lee County Salvation Army.

Construction of the 10,000-square-foot building began Sept. 11, and completion is expected in June 2007.

The cost of construction is estimated at $600,000 but could run over, according to Burnette.

"Donations of materials and cash are needed to keep the cost down," he said.

Burnette says the Salvation Army serves as a church that symbolically houses those in need.

He spoke of the homeless and said there is a real need in Lee County for a shelter and soup kitchen that operates year round, not just at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

"There are homeless in Lee County who have no place to go," said Burnette, who conducts day-to-day operations out of the Opelika Salvation Army store at 720 Columbus Parkway.

Already the Salvation Army of Lee County has served 2,816 meals this year and delivered 2,343 meals.

Those in need of energy assistance this year totaled 544.

With Christmas fast approaching, Burnette said volunteers are needed to ring bells for the upcoming Kettle Campaign scheduled to kick off in Lee County the Monday prior to Thanksgiving.

"Come out and ring for a day at the location of your choice," he said.

While most of the Kettle cash stays in Lee County, Burnette says 21 percent goes to the national pot to help in times of natural disaster such as Hurricane Katrina.

Kettle contributions last year totaled almost $90,000.

"We want to help those who need it most," he said.

For volunteer information call the Salvation Army at 741-4149 and for Lions Club information, visit www.Opelikalions.org.
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BirdFest approaches amid ivory-billed enthusiasm
10/17/2006
Press-Register
Ben Raines

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**This story mentions AU scientists reporting sighting of ivory-billed woodpecker.**

Fresh on the heels of the possible discovery of an ivory-billed woodpecker population about two hours east of Mobile, the third annual Alabama Coastal BirdFest opens Thursday with four days of bird-watching expeditions, dinners, lectures and an all-day bird-themed fair in Fairhope.

The BirdFest will once again feature several lectures by Bobby Harrison, a professor at Oakwood College in Huntsville, who was part of a yearlong effort to document the presence of the large and elusive woodpecker in a remote Arkansas swamp. More recently, Harrison spent time along Florida's Choctawahatchee River, where Auburn University scientists reported several ivory-billed woodpecker sightings over the past year.

The BirdFest consists of lectures, displays and 20 guided bird-watching trips between Thursday and Sunday. The trips require advance registration and cost between $20 and $40 per person.

Among this week's activities, birders can participate in the annual Fort Morgan migratory bird banding program, watch shorebirds on Dauphin Island and tour the Mobile-Tensaw Delta region by boat.

Hundreds of bird species migrate through this area each fall, traveling along the Dauphin Island Trans Gulf Migration Flyway, one of the most important bird migration corridors in the world.

Harrison's lectures will be held at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday in Centennial Hall Giddens Auditorium on the grounds of Faulkner State Community College in Fairhope during the Bird and Conservation Expo. Admission to the expo is free and open to the public. The event also features demonstrations with live owls, raptors, snakes and sea creatures.

Harrison said he has seen ivory-billed woodpeckers on five occasions in the Arkansas swamps and appears to have captured one on a videotape. The first sighting occurred with Tim Gallager, an ornithologist from Cornell University in New York, and touched off a large-scale search for the bird. For the image captured on video, Harrison said he carved a decoy of an ivory bill, attached it to a tupelo tree in the swamp and pointed a camera at it.

Then he left the area for about half an hour while the camera ran. When he returned, a large bird flew off a tree about 200 feet away from the camera. Harrison said there are two images on the tape of that bird, which experts believe -- based on a frame-by-frame analysis -- is an ivory-billed woodpecker.

"I'll show the tape in Fairhope and people can make up their minds," Harrison said. "It's a big bird, but it's a much bigger swamp. It is amazing how big this bird is, yet can hide itself so well. It will always keep a tree between itself and you. It will always be on the opposite side of a tree from where you are. I think they are just wary."

Harrison, who lives in Alabama, said he holds out hope that the bird will be found in this state, perhaps in the

Mobile-Tensaw Delta, which he described as good habitat.

He said the birds likely have home ranges of about 13 square miles, making them even harder to locate.

"This bird is made for speed and long-distance flight. It would have no trouble flying those kinds of distances," Harrison said. "These birds just really love their solitude. It's not that they are fearful of man, they are just wary of man."
Full Story


Raising the Bar in Warehousing
10/16/2006
Logistics Today
Roger Morton

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**Kevin R. Gue, a professor at AU, is mentioned in this story.**

A recent research brief from Aberdeen Group (www.aberdeen.com), Breaking Out of the Mold with Your Warehouse Assessing New Technology Options, takes a strategic look at warehouse customer demands, available technology and new tactics to meet those requirements. Specific customer demands cited in the study are for 'faster and more tailored fulfillment,' among other needs. Aberdeen points to 'enhanced visibility technology and updated throughput strategies' as real opportunities to enhance supply chain operations.

Based on the study, the top technology priorities of warehouse managers are those that support changing value-added processes and unique warehouse workflows, followed by labor management, lightweight inventory control, slotting optimization, integrated dock and yard management and RFID.In broad strokes, the study points to three strategies that can provide warehouse managers with solutions to meeting ever-increasing customer requirements

One answer to the quest for new and better ways for storing and moving product in the warehouse has come from the academic community. Russell Meller, Ph.D, a professor of industrial engineering at the University of Arkansas and Kevin R. Gue, Ph.D., a professor at Auburn University have modeled a more efficient and productive rack layout for distribution centers.

In examining warehouse space and how it is used the two researchers asked if traditional ways of bringing pallets in and moving pallets out of present facilities are the best ways to speed the process of getting product to the customer. The quick answer is 'no.' For the unit-load warehouse Meller and Gue have devised several new designs that can lead to faster retrieval rates and significantly reduce costs for operating distribution centers. 'There are some classic works in our field of operations research and industrial engineering that have considered how to route workers within a warehouse to minimize the amount of time they spend traveling around the warehouse to gather picks and this sort of thing,' says Gue. 'We were considering some of this work and reflecting on it and it occurred to us in sort of a moment of inspiration that all of those works assumed that warehouses had to look like what we all see in warehouses today and so I think the first step was to ask, 'Why does it have to look like that?' And of course the answer was that it doesn't.' That insight led to the development of several mathematical and computer models. 'Many companies now stress the speed with which they can get a shipment to the final customer,' adds Meller. 'The kinds of designs we're talking about definitely have the potential to reduce lead-time it takes to fill orders.' As they explain, in conventional warehouse designs a system of parallel picking aisles are sometimes connected by one or more cross aisles. Within this configuration, the unquestioned design assumptions are that cross aisles are straight and must meet picking aisles only at right angles; and that picking aisles are straight and oriented in the same direction. The two alternatives designed have lower overall density of storage space but improve order-picking response times.

The first alternative is one the researchers call the 'optimal cross aisle' design, which inserts two diagonal cross aisles that originate at the same pickup and deposit point. The cross aisles form a 'V' in approximately a half of the total space occupied by picking aisles and rack rows. In their simulations, Meller and Gue determined that this design reduced picking costs by 11% when compared to traditional designs. 'The Vshaped aisle in the proposed design,' notes Gue, 'is not something we just thought up, but is the output of an optimization model that seeks the best cross aisle possible.' The V-shaped diagonal cross aisles are retained in the second alternative design in which the researchers added vertical picking aisles. Calling this model ' fishbone aisles,' horizontal rows of picking aisles occupy the two sections outside the diagonal, V-shaped cross rows. 'In looking at the fishbone,' explains Dr. Meller, 'the bottom aisle is replaced by a diagonal aisle going up through it, so all of the flow is on one aisle. In the optimal cross aisle some picks will actually go along the bottom and then up to the picking point where others will travel along the diagonal cross aisle. The Fishbone confers more advantages in terms of reducing travel distance. We're comfortable saying that although the Fishbone design may not be the best possible, it garners nearly all of the possible improvements.' The models indicate that a 20% reduction in travel times is possible. 'When we say 20%, we're not talking about 20% of total labor cost. Our 20% benefit applies to the amount of time spent traveling in the warehouse,' Gue cautions. 'It's easy for someone to imply we mean they're going to be able to cut the labor force and reassign every fifth worker. That would be true only if workers spent all of their time traveling, which they don't.' The researchers have applied for a patent on the designs. They have received so many inquiries that Gue has posted answers to some of the most common questions on his own blog (http //whaisles.blogspot.com).

Heavy lifting

To ship 2,000 metal items weighing up to 777,000 pounds each day requires sturdy, reliable lift trucks. For Doug Jones, facilities manager for the 500,000 sq.-ft. Southington, Conn., headquarters of Yarde Metals Inc. (www.yarde.com), dependability is key. Jones is responsible for all equipment maintenance. 'The majority of our equipment is Toyota. We have about 68 of their propane forklifts in this facility,' he reports. There are seven Yarde Metals service centers outside of Connecticut and several international branches that serve as shipping and processing centers. The company's inventory includes aluminum, stainless, carbon steel, brass and copper products. 'We distribute bar stock, sheet stock and plate,' Jones explains. 'We saw cut, shear and plasma cut as well.' In addition to Toyota lift trucks (www.toyotaforklift.com), Yarde uses some electric side loaders from Raymond (www.raymondcorp.com) and Combilift (www.combilift.com) for specialized handling of marine alloy sheets, which can measure 8 feet wide by 30 feet long.

Yarde stacks to 12 feet and racks reach as high as 26 feet. Material handling operations are fairly straightforward, moving palletized or bundled metal from trucks to rack locations. Running 24 hours a day, five days a week, makes preventive maintenance critical. 'From this location we control all of the equipment used at all of our branches,' Jones notes. 'We do all of our own maintenance here, in the main facility. At the branches we call people in from the outside for maintenance. The Toyota trucks are very dependable and easy to work on. We have two or three different models of their trucks, typically in the 8,000- and 10,000-pound range. When there's warranty work, we let the Toyota dealer come in and service the trucks.' Rather than lease, Yarde Metals purchases its material handling equipment. Jones estimates the company averages five years of service on its lift trucks.

Tried and true material movement and some new thinking combine to keep the supply chain supple.

Innovative rack layout designs from researchers at University of Arkansas and Auburn University.

Fishbone Aisle

Optimal Cross Aisle

Electric trucks feature intuitive controls

The 4700 Series AC-powered lift trucks from Raymond.

Simple to learn and operate, Raymond's (www.raymondcorp.com) new 4700 Series fourwheel, sit-down ACpowered electric lift trucks offer operators a roomy compartment to sit in and intuitive, ergonomic controls for running the machine. The unique steering system design delivers a tight turning radius for fast right angle stacking. ACR System for both lift and drive uses less energy, saving on batteries, chargers and downtime. The 4700 Series is available in a wide variety of capacities, ranging from 3,000 to 6,000 pounds, and in 36- or 48-volt configurations.

Walkie stackers maximize efficiency

Toyota's 7-Series walkie.

To maximize battery and operator efficiency, the 7-Series of electric walkie straddle stacker lift trucks from Toyota Material Handling, U.S.A. (www.toyotaforklift.com) employ 'separately excited' (SepEx) drive motor technology and a metal oxide semiconductor field effect transistor (MOSFET) controller. Together they work to offer excellent acceleration and top travel speed whether the truck is loaded or unloaded. Available in 2,000- and 2,500-pound capacity models, the lift trucks use a 24-volt electrical system and offer interlocking mast channel construction and a spring-loaded control handle that automatically applies the parking brake when the handle is released.

Turret stockpicker wins design award

Crown's TSP 600- works in very narrow aisles.

Multi-task controls that merge multiple load handling tasks simultaneously save positioning time for operators. The TSP 6000 Turret Stockpicker from Crown Equipment Corp. (www.crown.com) does just that. The main mast can raise and lower while the auxiliary mast raises and lowers, or pivots and traverses, while the truck is moving.

Winning a Silver IDEA Award from the Industrial Designers Society of America, the TSP 6000 can transport, store and pick palletized goods in very narrow aisle environments. Its auxiliary mast can traverse and pivot automatically to keep pallets evenly centered between warehouse racks. The truck's MoveControl seat swivels to four different positions to provide maximum flexibility and operator comfort.

Reach trucks have tipover protection

Jungheinrich offers the ETV Series 1 for stacking to high lift heights in confined space.

All models in the ETV Series 1 of mast moving reach trucks have Curve Control, a feature that limits travel speed and acceleration during cornering to help reduce tipover risks. Offered by Jungheinrich Lift Truck Corp. (www.jungheinrich-us.com), all of these trucks employ a proprietary 3-phase AC technology to power travel, lift and steering motors.

There are four models in the ETV line. For aisles as narrow as 105 inches, Models ETV 110 and 112 have a 44-inch wide chassis with load ratings of 2,000- and 2,400-pounds. Models ETV 114 and 116 offer an outer chassis width of 50-inches, and can handle loads up to 2,800 and 3,200 pounds respectively.

Three-wheel, AC-powered trucks navigate tight aisles

Mitsubishi's new forklift series features interchangeable components.

Offered in three models with capacities ranging from 3,000- to 4,500-pounds, the FB16NTFB20NT Series of NGeneration three-wheel electronic forklift trucks from Mitsubishi Forklift Trucks, (www.mitlift.com) are entirely ACpowered. N-Generation offers a control system with modifiable performance setting to control top travel speed, lifting speed, regenerative braking and auto regenerative braking. The AC drive system employs innovative heat dissipation technology to deliver maximum performance while reducing battery consumption.

Three-wheel design and hydrostatic steering deliver increased maneuverability to navigate areas with tight aisles. Torque and speed are controlled separately to maximize driving performance.
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AU launches Beat Bama Food Drive
10/16/2006
Opelika-Auburn News
Amy Weaver

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It may be a month before the University of Alabama and Auburn University meet head-to-head in the annual Iron Bowl, but the schools are already tangled up in a fierce battle off the field.

For the past 12 years, Alabama and Auburn have waged war over who could collect the most food for the West Alabama Food Bank and East Alabama Food Bank, respectively. The annual food fight kicked off Monday on each campus, coinciding with World Food Day.

In Auburn, the month-long contest is known as the Beat Bama Food Drive. In Tuscaloosa, it's called Beat Auburn Beat Hunger.

Representatives from AU were also at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Monday to officially launch Universities Fighting World Hunger, a movement started at Auburn two years ago, in partnership with the United Nations World Food Programme, to mobilize colleges and universities both nationally and worldwide to create a grassroots student campaign to conquer world hunger and malnutrition.

Since then more than 50 universities have joined Auburn in the worldwide fight, including Georgia, Mississippi State, Kentucky, Alabama, Clemson and Florida. Many hosted various events Monday to coincide with the launch and to mark World Food Day. All participating schools could be a part of a worldwide teleconference, which featured the debut of an AU documentary, "To a Willing Mind: Universities Fighting World Hunger." It was shown simultaneously at four locations at Auburn.

Sophomore Meredith Raley watched it at the Haley Center. As a member of the Committee of 19, the AU student group formed to raise awareness on campus, she knows hunger is a widespread problem and this generation could be the solution.

"We are going to be the one's who can fix the problem," she said.

The Committee of 19 got its name from the 19 cents a day it takes for the WFP to feed a hungry child in the developing world. Its members represent all the colleges and seven major student organizations. Raley serves on behalf of Greek Life. Since UFWH started at Auburn with the UN, she called it a huge honor to be a part of the effort at its birthplace.

"It may have started here, but it's not (just) here any more," Raley said. Efforts are underway to increase membership to 100 colleges and universities across the nation.

Coinciding the launch with the kickoff of the Beat Bama Food Drive was wise, she said. The rivalry between the two schools draws so much attention and participation across campus -Auburn has won the last eight times - it's an ideal opportunity to spread the word about UFWH.

Food Drive director Jessica Dewberry admitted organizers deliberately changed plans to hold the kickoff event with World Food Day and the launch in D.C. "to make a big deal of it. We hope it pays off."

AU collected nearly 100,000 pounds of food last year. This year's goal is 125,000, she said. All proceeds from Auburn go to the East Alabama Food Bank. Donations can be made at the Student Government Association office, EAFB or online at www.beatbamafooddrive.com. Dewberry remains confident AU will not only beat Bama but will surpass its goal.

"It's their hearts, the atmosphere here," she said. "Everyone just wants to help."
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Special Report: Parasite imported from South America kills fire ants
10/16/2006
WPMI-TV
Bruce Mildwurf

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**Fudd Graham with the AU Department of Entomology is a source for this story.**

(Mobile, Ala.) October 16 - Fire ants - you can't beat them, you can only hope to contain them.

Experts say pesticides are not the long term solution to reduce fire ant populations. An experiment is now taking place in southwest Alabama imported from thousands of miles away and it does not involve chemicals.

It was back in the 1930's by accident that a cargo ship from South America first brought red imported fire ants into the United States through the port of Mobile. These pesky pests have since spread coast to coast invading at least 18 states.

Fire ants are spreading so far so fast in the U.S. in part because there hasn't been a natural predator or parasite to slow them down. "However there are some fascinating attempts by the Department of Agriculture to deal with this." said Dr. Richard DeShazo with the University of Mississippi.

The USDA has imported a parasite from South America. It's a tiny fly about the same size as an ants head. "And this fly lays an egg in the head of the fire ant." added DeShazo.

The flies go from ant to ant laying egg after egg. Once the egg hatches inside the ant, the ants head falls off which is why this parasite is called the decapitating fly.

"There are experiments in some areas of Alabama where they now have released the so called decapitating fly." said DeShazo.

For the first time the experiment is happening right now in Mobile County. Fudd Graham with the Department of Entomology at Auburn University has collected thousands and thousands of fire ants from the west part of Mobile County near Big Creek Lake. He then sends them to a government lab in Gainesville, Florida.

Holding a container of ants, Graham said, "These ants were shipped to Gainesville last week and they were exposed to the flies in the laboratory and shipped back to us yesterday. You can see they're ready to get out right now."

Graham releases the ants back in the same mounds from which he got them. "Because the ants are territorial. And if I put these ants that have been exposed to the flies in the wrong mound the ants in that mound will actually kill the ants we're putting in so we want to definitely make sure we have them in the correct mound." said Graham.

The goal once the eggs hatch is for the South American decapitating flies to survive in our area and spread state wide, overlapping with other fly releases across the state.

Graham added, "We think they're a part of the puzzle maybe to help us manage fire ants here."

They may not know for five to ten years whether this piece fits the puzzle. experts do believe however the flies are not the ultimate solution.

"what we're for is smaller number of ants in the mounds and hopefully a less aggressive ant population. Eradicating fire ants is a dream that'll never, that I can't see happening." said Graham.

But these flies may at least help take the sting out of living in the south.

The decapitating flies live three to five days. Experts don't believe they will be a nuisance to anything but fire ants.

Meantime, Fudd Graham said the fly has also been released in Florida, South Carolina, Georgia, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas.
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