CORVALLIS, Ore. – A positive test for HIV used to be a death sentence. Now, with advances in treatment, the virus that causes AIDS can be held at bay. At the Jan. 13 Corvallis Science Pub, Dr. Sugat Patel, infectious disease physician at Good Samaritan Hospital, will discuss trends in HIV/AIDS and how he and his colleagues treat people in the mid-Willamette Valley.
The Science Pub presentation begins at 6 p.m. in the Old World Deli located at 341 S.W. Second St. in Corvallis. It is free and open to the public.
A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Dr. Patel came to Corvallis in 2009 after serving in the U.S. Navy. He received his training at the Internal Medicine Facility of the Naval Medical Center in San Diego.
-30-Generic OSU Media Contact: Nick Houtman Source:
Dr. Sugat Patel, 541-768-5810
The 1920 German horror film “Der Golem: How He Came into the World” will be shown at the Whiteside Theatre in Corvallis on Monday, Jan. 13, beginning at 6 p.m.
The 1920 German horror film “Der Golem: How He Came into the World” will be shown at the Whiteside Theatre in Corvallis on Monday, Jan. 13, beginning at 6 p.m.
The silent film will be accompanied on the piano by Portland musician and composer Beth Karp, who has written her own score for the screening. The event is sponsored by the Oregon State University School of Language, Culture, and Society in the College of Liberal Arts.
The German Expressionist film, which was directed by Paul Wegener and Carl Boese, is about a 16th-century Prague rabbi who creates a giant creature from clay – a Golem – whom he brings to life in order to protect the city’s Jewish population from persecution.
Karp is a faculty member at Portland Community College, where she teaches composition, piano, music theory, and 20th-century music history. She is also a frequent performer, collaborator and solo artist.
Admission to the screening is free and open to the public. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.College of Liberal Arts Media Contact:
Celene Carillo, 541-737-2137Source:
Sebastian Heiduschke, 541-737-3957, Sebastian.email@example.com
Researchers have discovered an ancient flowering plant preserved in amber, the oldest known fossil specimen of sexual reproduction in plants.
CORVALLIS, Ore. – A 100-million-year old piece of amber has been discovered which reveals the oldest evidence of sexual reproduction in a flowering plant – a cluster of 18 tiny flowers from the Cretaceous Period – with one of them in the process of making some new seeds for the next generation.
The perfectly-preserved scene, in a plant now extinct, is part of a portrait created in the mid-Cretaceous when flowering plants were changing the face of the Earth forever, adding beauty, biodiversity and food. It appears identical to the reproduction process that “angiosperms,” or flowering plants still use today.
Researchers from Oregon State University and Germany published their findings on the fossils in the Journal of the Botanical Institute of Texas.
The flowers themselves are in remarkable condition, as are many such plants and insects preserved for all time in amber. The flowing tree sap covered the specimens and then began the long process of turning into a fossilized, semi-precious gem. The flower cluster is one of the most complete ever found in amber and appeared at a time when many of the flowering plants were still quite small.
Even more remarkable is the microscopic image of pollen tubes growing out of two grains of pollen and penetrating the flower’s stigma, the receptive part of the female reproductive system. This sets the stage for fertilization of the egg and would begin the process of seed formation – had the reproductive act been completed.
“In Cretaceous flowers we’ve never before seen a fossil that shows the pollen tube actually entering the stigma,” said George Poinar, Jr., a professor emeritus in the Department of Integrative Biology at the OSU College of Science. “This is the beauty of amber fossils. They are preserved so rapidly after entering the resin that structures such as pollen grains and tubes can be detected with a microscope.”
The pollen of these flowers appeared to be sticky, Poinar said, suggesting it was carried by a pollinating insect, and adding further insights into the biodiversity and biology of life in this distant era. At that time much of the plant life was composed of conifers, ferns, mosses, and cycads. During the Cretaceous, new lineages of mammals and birds were beginning to appear, along with the flowering plants. But dinosaurs still dominated the Earth.
“The evolution of flowering plants caused an enormous change in the biodiversity of life on Earth, especially in the tropics and subtropics,” Poinar said.
“New associations between these small flowering plants and various types of insects and other animal life resulted in the successful distribution and evolution of these plants through most of the world today,” he said. “It’s interesting that the mechanisms for reproduction that are still with us today had already been established some 100 million years ago.”
The fossils were discovered from amber mines in the Hukawng Valley of Myanmar, previously known as Burma. The newly-described genus and species of flower was named Micropetasos burmensis.College of Science Media Contact: David Stauth Source:
George Poinar, 541-752-0917Multimedia Downloads Multimedia:
The Oregon State University Board of Trustees will meet on Thursday and Friday, January 9-10, 2014, on the OSU campus.
The Oregon State University Board of Trustees will meet on Thursday and Friday, January 9-10, 2014, on the OSU campus.
The meeting will be held in the CH2M Hill Alumni Center, located at 725 S.W. 26th St. in Corvallis. The purpose of the meeting is to orient trustees to their new role and responsibilities and to introduce trustees to the leadership and operations of the University.
Board members may choose to elect an interim chair and vice-chair of the board, adopt bylaws and establish one or more committees. The board’s meeting times are Thursday, January 9, 8:45 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., and Friday, January 10, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
An initial meeting of the Board of Trustees was scheduled for December 10-11, 2013, but was postponed because of a snowstorm.
Members of the public who may require special accommodations should contact Mark Huey at 541-737-8260 at least 72 hours in advance of the meeting.
More information about the OSU Board of Trustees is available online at: http://oregonstate.edu/leadership/trusteesGeneric OSU Media Contact: Mark Floyd Source:
Steve Clark, 541-737-3808; firstname.lastname@example.org
Oregon State University has named Dan Larson executive director of University Housing & Dining Services.
Oregon State University has named Dan Larson executive director of University Housing & Dining Services.
Larson, who formerly was associate director for operations and facilities with the department, has worked there for 13 years. He succeeds longtime director Tom Scheuermann, who is transitioning to a teaching role in OSU’s College Student Services Administration graduate program.
Known for his collaborative work, Larson provided leadership in the development of a curriculum for the Weatherford Residential College’s Austin Entrepreneurship Program partnership with the College of Business. The program is known for combining academic pursuits with life skills to provide a holistic experience for students.
He also was instrumental in the construction and design of the International Living-Learning Center, dedicated in fall 2011, and the continued collaboration with INTO OSU to provide a global experience for international and domestic students.
Larson has represented University Housing & Dining Services and OSU through participation in community boards and discussions, including the Collaboration Corvallis Neighborhood Planning Workgroup.Generic OSU Media Contact:
Jennifer Viña, 541-737-8187Source:
Dan Larson, 541-737-4771
Jim Lichatowich, a noted biologist and author, will discuss the fate of Pacific salmon during a presentation on Wednesday, Jan. 15, at Oregon State University.
CORVALLIS, Ore. – Jim Lichatowich, a noted biologist and author, will discuss the fate of Pacific salmon during a presentation on Wednesday, Jan. 15, at Oregon State University. The free, public event begins at 7 p.m. in the rotunda of the Valley Library on campus.
Lichatowich will speak about his new book, “Salmon, People, and Place: A Biologist’s Search for Salmon Recovery,” which was just published by the OSU Press.
Joining Lichatowich will be Carmel Finley, an OSU science historian, and author of “All the Fish in the Sea,” which was published in 2012 by the University of Chicago Press.
In his OSU Press book, Lichatowich points out many misconceptions about salmon that have hampered management and limited recovery programs. These programs will continue to fail, he argues, as long as resource managers look at salmon as “products” and ignore their essential relationship with the environment.
Finley and Lichatowich will discuss the status of salmon recovery, address its problems and outline the potential for revitalization. Audience members will have the opportunity to pose questions to the scientists, purchase books and have them signed.
Earlier on Jan. 15, Lichatowich will present a seminar, “Salmon Management and Salmon Science at a Crossroads” as part of the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife seminar series. It takes place from 4-5 p.m. in Nash 206.
“Salmon, People, and Place” is available in bookstores, online at http://osupress.oregonstate.edu, or can be ordered by calling 1-800-621-2736.Generic OSU Media Contact: Mark Floyd Source:
Micki Reaman, 541-737-4620; Micki.email@example.com
Authors Jay Ponteri and Natalie Serber will read from their most recent books at Oregon State University on Friday, Jan. 17, beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the Valley Library rotunda.
CORVALLIS, Ore. – Authors Jay Ponteri and Natalie Serber will read from their most recent books at Oregon State University on Friday, Jan. 17, beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the Valley Library rotunda. A question and answer session and book signing will follow.
This event is part of the 2013-2014 Literary Northwest Series,
Ponteri is author of the memoir, “Wedlocked,” (2013) and “Darkmouth Strikes Again,” a chapbook of short prose, which will be released this summer. His essay, “Listen to This” was mentioned as a Notable Essay in “Best American Essays 2010.” Ponteri directs the undergraduate creative writing program at Marylhurst University and Show:Tell: The Workshop for Teen Writers & Artists.
Renee Nicholson of “The Los Angeles Review” writes, “Sometimes filled with raw sexual ambition, other times quietly sad and contemplative, Ponteri dares memoir to go in a bold direction, with precedence on the intimacy between writer and reader."
Serber’s debut story collection, “Shout Her Lovely Name,” (2012) was a New York Times Notable Book of 2012 and a summer reading pick by “O, the Oprah Magazine.” Serber teaches at Marylhurst University and is working on a novel set in Boring, Ore.
Joan Frank of The San Francisco Chronicle writes that Serber’s story collection “plunges us into the humid heat and lightning of a perfect storm: that of American mothers and daughters struggling for power, love, meaning, and identity…Serber's writing sparkles: practical, strong, brazenly modern, marbled with superb descriptions.”
The Literary Northwest Series brings Pacific Northwest writers to OSU. This program is made possible by support from the Valley Library and OSU Press, the OSU School of Writing, Literature, and Film, the College of Liberal Arts, Kathy Brisker and Tim Steele, and Grass Roots Books and Music.College of Liberal Arts Media Contact: Mark Floyd Source:
Rachel Ratner, 516-652-5817; firstname.lastname@example.org
The University Theatre production of “The King of Spain’s Daughter," postponed in December because of a snowstorm, will resume showing beginning Jan. 17.
CORVALLIS, Ore. – After a successful opening night performance on Dec. 5, the Oregon State University Theatre had to postpone its production of “The King of Spain’s Daughter” because of a major snowstorm that blanketed the area.
The play has been rescheduled for Friday and Saturday, Jan. 17-18, at the Lab Theatre in OSU’s Withycombe Hall beginning at 7:30 p.m. An additional matinee performance has been scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 18, beginning at 2:30 p.m. at the Majestic Theatre in downtown Corvallis.
Tickets for the Lab Theatre production are $5 for general admission and $3 for students. Tickets for the matinee at the Majestic are $8 for general admission and $6 for students. More information is available at: http://oregonstate.edu/dept/theatre. Because of the configuration of the Lab Theatre, latecomers cannot be seated once the production has begun.
“The King of Spain’s Daughter” is a one-act comedy by Irish playwright Teresa Deevy, a prominent Abbey Theatre dramatist of the 1930s. Deevy was deaf and could lip-read in three languages. The OSU production of the play will be unique – for every speaking actor in the production, there will be an interpreting actor using American Sign Language.
Director Charlotte Headrick said this is the first time an OSU production will be “shadowed” by interpreters using American Sign Language.
Jo Alexander, a nationally certified sign language interpreter who manages accommodations at OSU for hearing-impaired students, faculty, staff, and visitors, will interpret the role of Mrs. Marks working alongside actress Vreneli Farber who is her speaking counterpart.
“The King of Spain’s Daughter” follows Annie Kinsella, a young woman with a rich imagination who has to deal with the limited opportunities for young women in 1930s Ireland. Live music before the performance will be provided by Jean Dick on violin playing traditional Irish tunes with Richelle Jean-Bart performing the title song.
Voiced actors are Rick Wallace as Annie Kinsella’s father Peter, Caitlin Reichmann as Annie Kinsella, Michael Beaton as her love interest Jim Sheridan, and Davey Kashuba as Roddy Mann, the loafer. Actors who are interpreting are Cheryl Witters as Annie, Peter Norland as Jim Sheridan, Steve Rianda as Peter Kinsella, and Lee Rianda as Roddy.
The production is underwritten by the office of the Vice-Provost of Student Affairs with the support of the OSU Theatre.College of Liberal Arts Media Contact: Mark Floyd Source:
Charlotte Headrick, 541-737-4918; email@example.com
CORVALLIS, Ore. – A $1 million grant to a research team led by Steve Strauss, Oregon State University distinguished professor of forest biotechnology, aims to boost America’s energy independence by helping to develop a tree-based bioenergy industry.
The funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will support an investigation into the genetics of fast-growing cottonwood trees. The researchers will focus on the molecular mechanisms of hybrid vigor, which promote growth and productivity. All commercially grown cottonwoods in the Pacific Northwest are hybrids between different species, and it is costly and time-consuming for industries to identify the most productive hybrids.
“The research may enable more rapid development of highly productive and stress-tolerant varieties,” Strauss said.
The research will be carried out in collaboration with Portland-based GreenWood Resources, the major grower of cottonwoods in the Pacific Northwest. Other major scientific collaborators include Stephen DiFazio of West Virginia University and Todd Rosenstiel of Portland State University.
The grant is part of an $8 million national bioenergy initiative supported by the USDA and the U.S. Department of Energy.
-30-College of Forestry Media Contact: Nick Houtman Source:
Steven Strauss, 541-737-6578
OSU and the state of Oregon will participate in testing of new systems for unmanned aerial systems, the FAA has announced as part of a national initiative.
CORVALLIS, Ore. – The Federal Aviation Administration has chosen the states of Alaska, Oregon and Hawaii to operate one of six test sites for unmanned aircraft systems, the agency announced today.
The test site, led by the University of Alaska and including Oregon State University, will be collectively known as the Pan-Pacific Test Site. It will offer unique terrain and scientific capabilities to help develop the future of unmanned aerial vehicles for civilian uses, in everything from crop monitoring to search-and-rescue or fighting forest fires.
The initiative is also a critical step forward for Oregon to be a major player in the evolution of this new industry, with the advances in science, manufacturing and employment opportunities that it offers.
“This will help put OSU and the state of Oregon on the map for the future of unmanned aerial systems,” said Rick Spinrad, vice president for research at OSU. “As one of only six test sites in the nation, we’ll be able to fly UAVs more freely and actively, get our students involved in an evolving industry, and help Oregon take advantage of research, development and manufacturing that will be needed.”
The FAA was given a mandate by Congress to integrate civilian use of unmanned aerial vehicles into the nation’s skies by 2015, and the six test sites just announced will explore airspace use, safety, certification, technological development, environmental and human factors and many other issues.
The FAA made its decision on the sites after considering 25 proposals from 24 states.
The Pan-Pacific Test Site will combine OSU’s historic strengths in remote sensing, platform development and other fields with extensive flying experience and Department of Defense collaboration at the University of Alaska and in Hawaii. The three states also offer an extraordinary range of terrain in which to test new systems: mountains, rivers, valleys, high desert, Arctic tundra, volcanoes, many types of forest and agricultural areas, and tropical islands.
Three specific areas in Oregon are already designated for use in the new test sites, Spinrad said. They include the Warm Springs Reservation in the central Oregon Cascade Range; the Pacific Ocean off Tillamook; and areas near Pendleton in eastern Oregon.
A range of air operations are already under way near Pendleton, and the Tillamook site will offer interesting marine and coastal research options. In cooperation with their tribal council, work done at the Warm Springs Reservation site will provide a range of alpine, river, forest and agricultural areas in which to test various types of devices.
Unmanned aerial systems in civilian use are expected to become a multi-billion dollar industry while opening new opportunities in scientific research and student education. OSU has worked closely with such collaborators as Economic Development for Central Oregon, the U.S. Department of Defense, OSU-Cascades Campus, the state of Oregon, Oregon Congressional leaders, private industry and others to help get the state involved.
It’s envisioned that a multitude of devices in the future will fly, walk, swim or crawl to perform valuable or dangerous tasks at very modest expense. Largely because they will be so much cheaper, routine uses in agriculture are planned, environmental monitoring could be improved, forest or crop diseases could be spotted early, fire fighting or search-and-rescue might be enhanced.
Oregon already has a large aviation industry in such fields as helicopters, small aircraft, aviation components and other technology. Along with the state’s exceptional range of terrain in which to test new devices, this makes it a natural location in which to help unmanned aerial systems grow.
Further development of the industry, officials say, will require technological advances, regulatory work to ensure privacy rights, improved manufacturing to lower costs, and many other steps.
Other locations for test sites announced today included universities or facilities in Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Texas and Virginia.Generic OSU Media Contact: David Stauth Source:
Rick Spinrad, 541-737-0664
Korey Jackson has been named the new Gray Family Chair for Innovative Library Services at Oregon State University Libraries and the OSU Press.
CORVALLIS, Ore. – Korey Jackson has been named the new Gray Family Chair for Innovative Library Services at Oregon State University Libraries and the OSU Press.
Established with a $2 million endowment, the Gray Family Chair is designed to identify innovative means for accessing and improving the delivery of information to students, faculty and staff – and establish OSU Libraries and Press to the forefront as an information provider.
“It is an exciting time for an organization like ours that combines the skills and expertise of both librarians and university press professionals,” said Faye A. Chadwell, the Donald and Delpha Campbell University Librarian and OSU Press director.
“We have established a reputation for experimenting to enhance existing services or create new ones,” Chadwell said. “In the coming years we intend to focus on innovative ways to enable the creation and dissemination of knowledge and enhance digital scholarship. Dr. Jackson brings the right blend of experience, vision and talent to lead a deeper investigation of digital publishing opportunities for the Libraries and Press.”
Before coming to OSU, Jackson was an American Council of Learned Societies public fellow at Anvil Academic, a digital humanities publisher sponsored by the Council on Library and Information Resources and the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education. While at Anvil he served as program coordinator, helping to create editorial partnerships, engage in social media relations and implement digital publishing strategies for a number of humanities projects.
Prior to this he was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Michigan’s Michigan Publishing, where he developed campus-wide outreach efforts around open access publishing and digital humanities training and discussion.
Jackson earned his Ph.D. in English Language and Literature from the University of Michigan.
Jackson is the third holder of this position. It was first awarded in 2003 to Jeremy Frumkin, followed by Terry Reese in 2008.
The Gray Family Chair for Innovative Library Services was created by the late Portland developer and philanthropist John D. Gray. A 1940 Oregon State alumnus, Gray was widely known for his commitment to education. Among his other gifts to OSU, he gave $1 million for the construction of John D. Gray Hall at the Oregon 4-H Conference and Education Center in Salem.
Media Contact: Theresa Hogue Source:
Faye Chadwell, 541-737-7300Multimedia Downloads Multimedia:
The restoration of Northwest salmon and steelhead has focused largely on rural areas, but researchers increasingly are looking at the impact of urban areas on the well-being of fish.
CORVALLIS, Ore. – The restoration of salmon and steelhead habitat in the Pacific Northwest has focused largely on rural areas dominated by agricultural and forested lands, but researchers increasingly are looking at the impact of urban areas on the well-being of these fish.
Metropolitan areas – and even small towns – can have a major impact on the waterways carrying fish, researchers say, but many progressive cities are taking steps to mitigate these effects. The issues, policies and impacts of urban areas on salmon, steelhead and trout are the focus of a new book, “Wild Salmonids in the Urbanizing Pacific Northwest,” published by Springer.
The influx of contaminants and toxic chemicals are two of the most obvious impacts, researchers say, but urban areas can heat rivers, alter stream flows and have a number of impacts, according to Carl Schreck, a professor of fisheries and wildlife at Oregon State University and a contributing author on the book.
“One of the biggest issues with cities and towns is that they have huge areas of compacted surfaces,” Schreck pointed out. “Instead of gradually being absorbed into the water table where the ground can act as a sponge and a filter, precipitation is funneled directly into drains and then quickly finds its way into river systems.
“But urban areas can do something about it,” Schreck added, “and Portland is very avant-garde. They’ve put in permeable substrate in many areas, they’ve used pavers instead of pavement, and the city boasts a number of rain gardens, roof eco-gardens and bioswales. When it comes to looking for positive ways to improve water conditions, Portland is one of the greenest cities in the world.”
The origin of the “Wild Salmonids” book began in 1997, when the Oregon Legislature established the Independent Multidisciplinary Science Team (IMST) to address natural resource issues. In 2010, the group – co-chaired by Schreck – created a report for Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber and the legislature that provided an in-depth look at the issues and policies affecting salmonid success in Oregon and the influence of urban areas. That report was so well-accepted by Oregon communities, the researchers wrote a book aimed at the public.
The new book, “Wild Salmonids in the Urbanizing Pacific Northwest,” is available from Springer at: http://bit.ly/J5Dn8x. Dozens of scientists contributed to the book, which was edited by Kathleen Maas-Hebner and Robert Hughes of OSU’s Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, and Alan Yeakley of Portland State University, who was senior editor.
“One of the things we’re trying to do is add the social dimension to the science,” said Kathleen Maas-Hebner, a senior research scientist and one of the editors of the book. “The science is important, but the policies and the restoration efforts of communities are a huge part of improving conditions for fish.”
Many Northwest residents are unaware of some of the everyday ways in which human activities can affect water quality and conditions, and thus fish survivability. Products from lawn fertilizers to shampoos eventually make their way into rivers and can trigger algal blooms. Even septic tanks can leach into the groundwater and contribute the byproducts of our lives.
“Fish can get caffeine, perfume and sunblock from our groundwater,” Schreck said. “The water that flows from our cities has traces of birth control pills, radiation from medical practice, medical waste, deodorants and disinfectants. We could go on all day. Suffice it to say these things are not usually good for fish.”
The most effective strategy to combat the problem may be to reduce the use of contaminants through education and awareness, and ban problematic ingredients, Maas-Hebner said.
“Phosphates, for example, are no longer used in laundry detergents,” she said. “Fertilizer and pesticide users can reduce the amounts that get into rivers simply by following application instructions; many homeowners over-apply them.”
Another hazard of urban areas is blocking fish passage through small, natural waterways. Many streams that once meandered are channeled into pipe-like waterways, and some culverts funnel water in ways that prevent fish from passing through, Schreck said.
“If the water velocity becomes too high, some fish simply can’t or won’t go through the culvert,” said Schreck, who in 2007 received the Presidential Meritorious Rank Award from the White House for his fish research. “Some cities, including Salem, Ore., are beginning to use new and improved culverts to aid fish passage.”
Other tactics can also help. Smaller communities, including Florence, Ore., offer incentives to developers for maintaining natural vegetation along waterways, the researchers say.
Despite the mitigation efforts of many Northwest cities and towns, urban hazards are increasing for fish. One of the biggest problems, according to researchers, is that no one knows what effects the increasing number of chemicals humans create may have on fish.
“There are literally thousands of new chemical compounds being produced every year and while we may know the singular effects of a few of them, many are unknown,” Schreck said. “The mixture of these different compounds can result in a ‘chemical cocktail’ of contaminants that may have impacts beyond those that singular compounds may offer. We just don’t know.
“The research is well behind the production of these new chemicals,” Schreck added, “and that is a concern.”College of Agricultural Sciences Media Contact: Mark Floyd Source:
Most clinical trials of vitamin supplements are fundamentally flawed and are providing a misleading picture of the value of such supplements.
The study this story is based on is available online: http://bit.ly/1lbi4PB
CORVALLIS, Ore. – Most large, clinical trials of vitamin supplements, including some that have concluded they are of no value or even harmful, have a flawed methodology that renders them largely useless in determining the real value of these micronutrients, a new analysis suggests.
Many projects have tried to study nutrients that are naturally available in the human diet the same way they would a powerful prescription drug. This leads to conclusions that have little scientific meaning, even less accuracy and often defy a wealth of other evidence, said Balz Frei, professor and director of the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, in a new review published in the journal Nutrients.
These flawed findings will persist until the approach to studying micronutrients is changed, Frei said. Such changes are needed to provide better, more scientifically valid information to consumers around the world who often have poor diets, do not meet intake recommendations for many vitamins and minerals, and might greatly benefit from something as simple as a daily multivitamin/mineral supplement.
Needed are new methodologies that accurately measure baseline nutrient levels, provide supplements or dietary changes only to subjects who clearly are inadequate or deficient, and then study the resulting changes in their health. Tests must be done with blood plasma or other measurements to verify that the intervention improved the subjects’ micronutrient status along with biomarkers of health. And other approaches are also needed that better reflect the different ways in which nutrients behave in cell cultures, lab animals and the human body.
The new analysis specifically looked at problems with the historic study of vitamin C, but scientists say many of the observations are more broadly relevant to a wide range of vitamins, micro nutrients and studies.
“One of the obvious problems is that most large, clinical studies of vitamins have been done with groups such as doctors and nurses who are educated, informed, able to afford healthy food and routinely have better dietary standards than the public as a whole,” said Frei, an international expert on vitamin C and antioxidants.
Vitamin or mineral supplements, or an improved diet, will primarily benefit people who are inadequate or deficient to begin with, OSU researchers said. But most modern clinical studies do not do baseline analysis to identify nutritional inadequacies and do not assess whether supplements have remedied those inadequacies. As a result, any clinical conclusion made with such methodology is pretty much useless, they said.
“More than 90 percent of U.S. adults don’t get the required amounts of vitamins D and E for basic health,” Frei said. “More than 40 percent don’t get enough vitamin C, and half aren’t getting enough vitamin A, calcium and magnesium. Smokers, the elderly, people who are obese, ill or injured often have elevated needs for vitamins and minerals.
“It’s fine to tell people to eat better, but it’s foolish to suggest that a multivitamin which costs a nickel a day is a bad idea.”
Beyond that, many scientists studying these topics are unaware of ways in which nutrients may behave differently in something like a cell culture or lab animal, compared to the human body. This raises special challenges with vitamin C research in particular.
“In cell culture experiments that are commonly done in a high oxygen environment, vitamin C is unstable and can actually appear harmful,” said Alexander Michels, an LPI research associate and lead author on this report. “And almost every animal in the world, unlike humans, is able to synthesize its own vitamin C and doesn’t need to obtain it in the diet. That makes it difficult to do any lab animal tests with this vitamin that are relevant to humans.”
Even though such studies often significantly understate the value of vitamin supplements, the largest and longest clinical trial of multivitamin/mineral supplements found a total reduction of cancer and cataract incidence in male physicians over the age of 50. It suggested that if every adult in the U.S. took such supplements it could prevent up to 130,000 cases of cancer each year, Frei said.
“The cancer reduction would be in addition to providing good basic health by supporting normal function of the body, metabolism and growth,” he said. “If there’s any drug out there that can do all this, it would be considered unethical to withhold it from the general public. But that’s basically the same as recommending against multivitamin/mineral supplements.”Linus Pauling Institute Media Contact: David Stauth Source:
Balz Frei, 541-737-5078Multimedia Downloads Multimedia:
The wettest September on record didn't make up for a dry year in Oregon - especially in the southern part of the state, which was historically dry.
CORVALLIS, Ore. – The weather couldn’t seem to make up its mind what it had in store for Oregon in 2013. The state saw drought and the wettest September on record, as well as withering heat and sub-zero temperatures in the Willamette Valley.
An early December storm dropped several inches of snow on Corvallis, yet snowpack levels in the nearby Cascades are well below normal.
The United States drought monitor listed 100 percent of the state as at least abnormally dry in 2013, according to Kathie Dello, deputy director of the Oregon Climate Service at Oregon State University.
“All of Oregon is listed as dry, but southern Oregon has been historically dry in 2013,” said Dello, “and Medford and the southern coast have a chance to have their driest year on record.” As of mid-December, the Medford Airport had received just 8.97 inches of precipitation; the record dry year was set 1959 with 10.42 inches. The North Bend Airport was nearly five inches short of its driest year on record.
Despite abnormally dry conditions throughout Oregon for most of the year, it was soggy September. The month began with an enormous thunder and lightning storm that covered much of the state, triggering hundreds of fires and contributing to what Dello called a “bad wildfire year in Oregon.” The storm also dumped nearly three inches of rain on the southern Willamette Valley.
Near the end of the month, the remnants of a typhoon named Pabuk swept into the state and hammered western Oregon. Some precipitation monitors near Coos Bay recorded as much as 5.77 inches of rain on Sept. 29.
“Unfortunately, the September precipitation was not enough to offset dry conditions the rest of the year,” Dello said. “When it’s dry, that’s not how you want to receive you rainfall – in two major events. Rivers get only temporary relief and the torrential downpours can cause damage to agricultural crops.
“It’s better to have smaller, sustained rainfall events than a couple of major outbursts,” she added.
Oregon experienced a comparatively warm summer with more days than usual when temperatures exceeded 90 degrees, including the end of June and in September between the two rain events. On the other end of the spectrum, temperatures in early December plummeted to near-record lows as an Arctic front moved in.
Eugene, for example, recorded its second coldest day on record when the mercury hit minus-10 degrees on Dec. 8. Interestingly, it was not the coldest Dec. 8 on record as the all-time record low for Eugene of minus-12 degrees also occurred on Dec. 8 in 1972.
The December Arctic front hit the Corvallis area the hardest, though the weather station north of town at Hyslop Farm officially recorded just 4.5 inches of snow. Much of the area received 9-10 inches of powdery snow, forcing weeklong shutdowns of many schools and activities.
Dello said the lack of official weather recording stations in Oregon is one reason volunteers are needed for a statewide network that uses Oregon citizens to collect local data on rain, snow and even hail. The program is part of the national Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network, or CoCoRaHS.
The Oregon Climate Service, which is part of OSU’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, coordinates the Oregon network. Persons interested in volunteering should go to the CoCoRaHS website at http://www.cocorahs.org/ to sign up.
“Data collected by volunteers throughout the state help provide us with much more accurate data, which leads to better precipitation maps and over the long haul, more accurate forecasting,” Dello said.
Among other highlights of Oregon’s 2013 weather year:
- As of mid-December, the Eugene Airport had recorded 21.04 inches of precipitation; the record low was set in 1944 with 23.26 inches. Records there date back to 1911.
- The Salem Airport had logged 23.41 inches through mid-December. The driest on record, dating back to 1940, is 23.77 inches.
- The North Bend Airport is well ahead of the record dry year, set in 1976 with 33.52 inches. Through mid-December, the station had only recorded 28.67 inches. Records date to 1928.
Dello frequently provides weather facts and historical data via Twitter at: www.twitter.com/orclimatesvc.College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences Media Contact: Mark Floyd Source:
Weatherford Hall in the snow
The late Oregon Gov. Tom McCall’s pioneering fight to clean up the state’s waterways and to control development in the late 1960s still resonates today.
CORVALLIS, Ore. – The late Oregon Gov. Tom McCall’s pioneering fight to clean up the state’s waterways and to control development in the late 1960s still resonates today. At the Nov. 11 Corvallis Science Pub, Oregon State University historian Bill Robbins will discuss the significance of McCall’s leadership.
Robbins will also show McCall’s famous documentary, Pollution in Paradise, which aired on KGW-TV in 1962.
The Science Pub presentation begins at 6 p.m. in the Old World Deli located at 341 S.W. Second St. in Corvallis. It is free and open to the public.
“With an aristocratic, East Coast family background and a large-sized ego, McCall proved himself a man of the people, one who inspired deep affection for his adopted and beloved state,” Robbins said. “In a significantly less-polarized political environment, he worked across party lines to achieve significant policy objectives that we live with to the present day.”
Robbins is an emeritus distinguished professor of history at Oregon State and the author of 12 books, including Landscapes of Promise: The Oregon Story, 1800-1940 (1997); Landscapes of Conflict: The Oregon Story, 1940-2000 (2005); and Oregon: This Storied Land (2006).
-30-Generic OSU Media Contact: Nick Houtman Source:
Bill Robbins, 541-602-3867
CORVALLIS, Ore. – High school students will explore college and career opportunities in a new 4-H program coordinated by the Oregon State University Extension Service.
The 4-H Outreach Leadership Institute aims to prepare high school students from diverse cultural backgrounds to attend college and pursue a variety of career paths, according to organizer Mario Magaña, an outreach specialist for OSU Extension 4-H. Magaña hopes the leadership institute will reach Latinos, Native Americans, Asians, Pacific Islanders and African-Americans, as well as rural Caucasians who would be first-generation college students.
It's set for Nov. 15-17 at OSU in Corvallis, with additional multi-day sessions in March of 2014 at OSU and May of 2014 at the Oregon 4-H Conference and Education Center in Salem. The leadership institute is an expansion of the former 4-H Camp Counselor Trainings and the replacement of the high school International Summer Camp.
"I really believe that high school is the time to expose kids to college information and leadership activities," Magaña said. "The leadership institute will help them gain the knowledge, confidence and skills needed to apply for competitive scholarships and to apply for top universities. If kids start attending the leadership institute during their freshman year, we're going to mentor them three times a year for every year of their high school careers."
On the OSU campus in Corvallis, students will get hands-on practice from several Oregon universities on how to file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, fill out a college application, write a college admissions essay and compose a personal biography. They will learn about careers from OSU student and faculty mentors in engineering, forestry, veterinary medicine, health and nutrition, fisheries and wildlife, solar energy, wave energy, science and robotics.
The session in May in Salem will train students to become camp counselors for 4-H International Summer Camps in 2014. It will offer students activities to develop leadership skills. Activities will include campfire skits, games, songs and role-plays. Workshops will teach students about a camp counselor's roles and responsibilities, as well as camp rules and regulations. Students will also learn about the physical and educational activities that will take place during summer camps, ranging from swimming to archery to building Lego robotics, as well as other workshops related to science, engineering and technology.
Jessica Casas of Salem participated in 4-H International Summer Camps as a camper and counselor. She is a sophomore at OSU majoring in sociology and hopes to earn her master's degree in public policy.
"I did see myself in college, but I did not know how I was going to get there,” Casas said. “I got to know about the resources available when I attended 4-H International Summer Camps. After I got to meet Latino and Latina students attending college and getting financial aid, I talked to my mom and knew I was going to college."
Now Casas is attending OSU on a Gates Millennium Scholarship. Her ultimate career goal is to represent Latinos in government-level legislature, with the hope of creating positive change in public policy for the Latino community. She is already on the path to pursuing that dream. At the leadership institute, Casas will coach students on applying for the competitive Gates Millennium Scholarship, which includes writing eight essays.
Applications to the leadership institute are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. High school students in grades 9-12 from anywhere in Oregon are encouraged to apply. There is no cost to attend but an application is required. Students can apply at http://bit.ly/Outreach_Institute.
The Oregon Outreach project, which oversees the leadership institute, is an initiative of the OSU Extension 4-H Youth Development Program. Oregon Outreach aims to support and expand the quality and quantity of community-based, culturally relevant educational programs for underserved populations. For more information, go to http://oregon.4h.oregonstate.edu/oregonoutreach.
4-H is the largest out-of-school youth development program nationwide. The OSU Extension Service administrates Oregon's 4-H program within OSU's College of Public Health and Human Sciences. 4-H reached nearly 117,000 youth in kindergarten through 12th grade via a network of 8,534 volunteers in 2012. Activities focus on areas like healthy living, civic engagement, science and animal care. Learn more about 4-H at: http://oregon.4h.oregonstate.edu.Extension Service Media Contact: Denise Ruttan Source:
Mario Magaña, 541-737-0925Multimedia Downloads Multimedia:
The Northwest is facing increased risks from the decline of forest health, earlier snowmelt, and issues facing the coastal region, according to a new climate assessment report.
CORVALLIS, Ore. – The Northwest is facing increased risks from the decline of forest health, earlier snowmelt leading to low summer stream flows, and an array of issues facing the coastal region, according to a new climate assessment report.
Written by a team of scientists coordinated by the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute (OCCRI) at Oregon State University, the report is the first regional climate assessment released since 1999. Both the 1999 report and the 2013 version were produced as part of the U.S. National Climate Assessment; both Washington and Oregon produced state-level reports in 2009 and 2010.
OSU’s Philip Mote, director of the institute and one of three editors of the 270-page report (as well as the 1999 report), said the document incorporates a lot of new science as well as some additional dimensions – including the impact of climate change on human health and tribal issues. A summary of the report is available online at: http://occri.net/reports
Amy Snover, director of the Climate Impacts Group at the University of Washington, said there are a number of issues facing the Northwest as a result of climate change.
“As we looked across both economic and ecological dimensions, the three that stood out were less snow, more wildfires and challenges to the coastal environment and infrastructure,” said Snover, who is one of the editors on the report.
The report outlines how these three issues are affected by climate change.
“Studies are showing that snowmelt is occurring earlier and earlier and that is leading to a decline in stream flows in summer,” Mote said. “Northwest forests are facing a huge increase in wildfires, disease and other disturbances that are both direct and indirect results of climate change. And coastal issues are mounting and varied, from sea level rise and inundation, to ocean acidification. Increased wave heights in recent decades also threaten coastal dwellings, roads and other infrastructure.”
OCCRI’s Meghan Dalton, lead editor on the report, notes that 2,800 miles of coastal roads are in the 100-year floodplain and some highways may face inundation with just two feet of sea level rise. Sea levels are expected to rise as much as 56 inches, or nearly five feet, by the year 2100.
Earlier snowmelt is a significant concern in the Northwest, where reservoir systems are utilized to maximize water storage. But, Dalton said, the Columbia River basin has a storage capacity that is smaller than its annual flow volume and is “ill-equipped to handle the projected shift to earlier snowmelt…and will likely be forced to pass much of these earlier flows out of the system.”
The earlier peak stream flow may significantly reduce summer hydroelectric power production, and slightly increase winter power production.
The report was funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, through the Oregon Legislature’s support of the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute at OSU, and by in-kind contributions from the authors’ institutions.
Mote said new research has led to improved climate models, which suggest that the Northwest will warm by a range of three to 14 degrees (Fahrenheit) by the year 2100. “The lower range will only be possible if greenhouse gas emissions are significantly reduced.” In contrast, the Northwest warmed by 1.3 degrees from the period of 1895 to 2011.
Future precipitation is harder to project, the report notes, with models forecasting a range from a 10 percent decrease to an 18 percent increase by 2100. Most models do suggest that more precipitation will fall as rain and earlier snowmelt will change river flow patterns.
That could be an issue for agriculture in the future as the “Northwest’s diverse crops depend on adequate water supplies and temperature ranges, which are projected to change during the 21st century,” the report notes. Pinpointing the impacts on agriculture will be difficult, said Sanford Eigenbrode of the University of Idaho, another co-author.
“As carbon dioxide levels rise, yields will increase for some plants, and more rainfall in winter could mean wetter soils in the spring, benefitting some crops,” Eigenbrode pointed out. “Those same conditions could adversely affect other crops. It is very difficult to say how changing climate will affect agriculture overall in the Northwest, but we can say that the availability of summer water will be a concern.”
Mote said there may be additional variables affecting agriculture, such what impacts the changing climate has on pests, diseases and invasive species.
“However, the agricultural sector is resilient and can respond more quickly to new conditions than some other sectors like forestry, where it takes 40 years or longer for trees to reach a harvestable age,” noted Mote, who is a professor in OSU’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences.
The Northwest has not to date been vulnerable to many climate-related health risks, the report notes, but impacts of climate change in the future are more likely to be negative than positive. Concerns include increased morbidity and mortality from heat-related illness, air pollution and allergenic disease, and the emergence of infectious diseases.
“In Oregon, one study showed that each 10-degree (F) increase in daily maximum temperature was associated with a nearly three-fold increase of heat-related illness,” said Jeff Bethel, an assistant professor in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences at OSU and one of the co-authors of the report. “The threshold for triggering heat-related illness – especially among the elderly – isn’t much.”
Northwest tribes may face a greater impact from climate change because of their reliance on natural resources. Fish, shellfish, game and plant species could be adversely affected by a warming climate, resulting in a multitude of impacts.
“When tribes ceded their lands and were restricted to small areas, it resulted in a loss of access to many species that lived there,” said Kathy Lynn, coordinator of the Tribal Climate Change Project at the University of Oregon and a co-author of the report. “Climate change may further reduce the abundance of resources. That carries a profound cultural significance far beyond what we can document from an economic standpoint.”
Snover said that the climate changes projected for the coming decades mean that many of the assumptions “inherent in decisions, infrastructure and policies – where to build, what to grow where, and how to manage variable water sources to meet multiple needs – will become increasingly incorrect.
“Whether the ultimate consequences of the climate impacts outlined in this report are severe or mild depends in part on how well we prepare our communities, economies and natural systems for the changes we know are coming,” Snover said.
Other lead co-authors on the report are Rick Raymondi, Idaho Department of Water Resources; W. Spencer Reeder, Cascadia Consulting Group; Patty Glick, National Wildlife Federation; Susan Capalbo, OSU; and Jeremy Littell, U.S. Geological Survey.College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences Media Contact: Mark Floyd Source:
OSU biochemists have unlocked some of the genetic constraints on a common fungus, in work that may lead to important new antibiotics.
CORVALLIS, Ore. – Researchers at Oregon State University have discovered that one gene in a common fungus acts as a master regulator, and deleting it has opened access to a wealth of new compounds that have never before been studied – with the potential to identify new antibiotics.
The finding was announced today in the journal PLOS Genetics, in research supported by the National Institutes of Health and the American Cancer Society.
Scientists succeeded in flipping a genetic switch that had silenced more than 2,000 genes in this fungus, the cereal pathogen Fusarium graminearum. Until now this had kept it from producing novel compounds that may have useful properties, particularly for use in medicine but also perhaps in agriculture, industry, or biofuel production.
“About a third of the genome of many fungi has always been silent in the laboratory,” said Michael Freitag, an associate professor of biochemistry and biophysics in the OSU College of Science. “Many fungi have antibacterial properties. It was no accident that penicillin was discovered from a fungus, and the genes for these compounds are usually in the silent regions of genomes.
“What we haven’t been able to do is turn on more of the genome of these fungi, see the full range of compounds that could be produced by expression of their genes,” he said. “Our finding should open the door to the study of dozens of new compounds, and we’ll probably see some biochemistry we’ve never seen before.”
In the past, the search for new antibiotics was usually done by changing the environment in which a fungus or other life form grew, and see if those changes generated the formation of a compound with antibiotic properties.
“The problem is, with the approaches of the past we’ve already found most of the low-hanging fruit, and that’s why we’ve had to search in places like deep sea vents or corals to find anything new,” Freitag said. “With traditional approaches there’s not that much left to be discovered. But now that we can change the genome-wide expression of fungi, we may see a whole new range of compounds we didn’t even know existed.”
The gene that was deleted in this case regulates the methylation of histones, the proteins around which DNA is wound, Freitag said. Creating a mutant without this gene allowed new expression, or overexpression of about 25 percent of the genome of this fungus, and the formation of many “secondary metabolites,” the researchers found.
The gene that was deleted, kmt6, encodes a master regulator that affects the expression of hundreds of genetic pathways, researchers say. It’s been conserved through millions of years, in life forms as diverse as plants, fungi, fruit flies and humans.
The discovery of new antibiotics is of increasing importance, researchers say, as bacteria, parasites and fungi are becoming increasingly resistant to older drugs.
“Our studies will open the door to future precise ‘epigenetic engineering’ of gene clusters that generate bioactive compounds, e.g. putative mycotoxins, antibiotics and industrial feedstocks,” the researchers wrote in the conclusion of their report.College of Science Media Contact: David Stauth Source:
Michael Freitag, 541-737-4845Multimedia Downloads Multimedia:
Don Walsh, a pioneering oceanographer famous for his 1960 dive to the deepest part of the ocean, will visit OSU's Hatfield Marine Science Center on Tuesday, Nov. 12.
NEWPORT, Ore. – Don Walsh, a pioneering oceanographer famous for his 1960 dive to the deepest part of the ocean, will visit Newport on Tuesday, Nov. 12.
Walsh will give a free public lecture at Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center. His presentation, “Lunch on Board the Titanic: Two Miles Deep in the Atlantic,” begins at 6:30 p.m. In his talk, Walsh will share his experience diving in a submersible down to the Titanic and other adventures from his career of more than 40 years.
A retired captain from the U.S. Navy, Walsh went on to enjoy a lengthy career as an oceanographer and ocean engineer who explored the deep oceans and polar regions. He has commanded submarines as a naval officer and deep-sea submersibles as a researcher.
In 1960, Walsh and Swiss oceanographer Jacques Piccard boarded the bathyscaphe Trieste and descended to the floor of the Mariana Trench in the northern Pacific Ocean – a depth of more than 35,000 feet, or nearly seven miles. It took five hours to reach the seafloor, and at 30,000 feet they heard a loud crack. Upon reaching the bottom, they discovered cracks in the window, and quickly began ascending.
The historic dive received worldwide attention. It also remained a world record dive for 52 years until James Cameron piloted his Deepsea Challenger to the same place in 2012.
Walsh, who has a courtesy appointment in OSU’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, will also visit schools in Newport during the week and give a seminar at the Hatfield Marine Science Center. That talk, intended for a research audience, is titled “Going the Last Seven Miles – Looking Backwards at the Future.” It begins at 3:30 p.m. on Nov. 12 in the Hennings Auditorium.Hatfield Marine Science Center Media Contact: Mark Floyd Source:
Maryann Bozza, 541-867-0234; firstname.lastname@example.orgMultimedia Downloads Multimedia:
A former fugitive who spent 23 years on the run from the FBI is returning to Corvallis to talk for the first time about her experiences.
CORVALLIS, Ore. – A former fugitive who spent 23 years on the run from the FBI is returning to Corvallis to talk for the first time about her experiences as a student activist, a wanted criminal, and a woman who now embraces peace activism rather than violent revolution.
Katherine Ann Power has written a book titled “Surrender,” about her life on the run. She will speak on that topic at Oregon State University at noon on Thursday, Oct. 31, in Memorial Union Room 206.
In 1970, while a student at Brandeis University, Power was involved in a bank heist. She and four other activists were hoping to use the money to buy explosives that would help them procure weapons to arm the Black Panthers. During the robbery, one of the participants shot and killed a Boston police officer responding to the crime. Power, who was the getaway driver, escaped capture and disappeared for more than two decades.
She ended up in Lebanon, Ore., working in Corvallis and Albany, as well as teaching cooking classes at Linn-Benton Community College. She took on the name of Alice Metzinger, raised a son and married a local man.
But in 1993, Power decided she had lived in hiding long enough. She negotiated terms of surrender and pled guilty to two counts of armed robbery and manslaughter. She was released from prison in 1999, and returned to Oregon. She completed a master’s degree at Oregon State University in interdisciplinary studies, and taught English as an instructor. She later moved to Boston.
Part of Power’s sentence restricted her from speaking and publishing about her experiences until her 20-year probation period ended in 2013.
The talk, titled “Surrender: Gorilla to Grandmother,” is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by the OSU Peace Studies Program, the School of History, Philosophy and Religion and the Annares Project.College of Liberal Arts Media Contact: Angela Yeager Source:
Joseph Orosco, 541-737-4335