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Leading Lights

Tammy Bray thumb

Tammy Bray

Ancestral Values

Tammy Bray grew up in Taiwan after Chiang Kai–shek’s anti–communist forces fled ahead of the People’s Liberation Army sweeping across mainland China. But wars and revolutions never darkened Bray’s childhood. Her father, a legal advisor to Chiang, and her mother, a striking beauty, wrapped their children in a cocoon of Chinese tradition, shielding them against the strife raging in the wider world.

Eda Davis-Butts thumb

Eda Davis-Butts

Opening Doors to Science

One humid afternoon in rural Georgia a half–century ago, 5–year–old Eda Davis learned her first lesson about race in America. Sitting on the porch, she watched a truck approach her family’s farmhouse, kicking up dust as it passed the fields of tobacco and peanuts. A man and a small boy got out. The man shook hands with Eda’s father, and the two went inside to do business. The boy eyed Eda shyly. She smiled and picked up a giant cocklebur from the rough wooden planks and rolled it toward him. He grinned and rolled it back. Suddenly, Eda’s mother flung open the screen door...

Chris Higgins thumb

Chris Higgins

One for the Road

The road under our wheels is, for most of us, an avenue from point A to point B. But for Christopher Higgins, the road is the destination. While we breeze over Oregon’s highways and bridges without a second thought, the OSU civil engineering professor is analyzing and testing the materials and structures on which our tires roll.

Jim Carrington thumb

Jim Carrington

Odds on Science

When Jim Carrington graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 1986, he could not have gotten a job in his current field of research. It didn’t exist. The idea that cells routinely silence genes, their own and those of viruses and other invaders, was unknown. Since then, molecular biologists in Carrington’s lab and elsewhere have discovered a powerful natural mechanism of gene regulation. They have helped to launch a growing global research enterprise in what is known as "RNA silencing."

Anita Grunder thumb

Anita Grunder

Ground Truth

Anita Grunder reads the land like other people read newspapers. For her, every feature, every outcrop tells a story about how the Earth’s crust stretches, squeezes and sometimes explodes in episodes of volcanism. While her research has taken her to Alaska, Mexico, Chile and Eastern Oregon, it’s at the OSU geological field station in Mitchell or in a valley in the Cascades where she shares what she has learned with her students.