OSU News Releases
OSU pharmacy researchers have discovered that co-enzyme Q10 appears in laboratory tests to offset a serious side effect of statin drugs - an increase in adult onset diabetes.
CORVALLIS, Ore. – A laboratory study has shown for the first time that coenzyme Q10 offsets cellular changes that may be linked to a side-effect of some statin drugs - an increased risk of adult-onset diabetes.
Statins are some of the most widely prescribed drugs in the world, able to reduce LDL, or “bad” cholesterol levels, and the risk of heart attacks or other cardiovascular events. However, their role in raising the risk of diabetes has only been observed and studied in recent years.
The possibility of thousands of statin-induced diabetics is a growing concern, and led last year to new labeling and warnings by the Food and Drug Administration about the drugs, especially when taken at higher dosage levels.
The findings of the new research were published as a rapid communication in Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders, and offer another clue to a possible causative mechanism of this problem.
Pharmacy researchers at Oregon State University who authored the study said the findings were made only in laboratory analysis of cells, and more work needs to be done with animal and ultimately human studies before recommending the use of coenzyme Q10 to help address this concern.
“A number of large, randomized clinical trials have now shown that use of statins can increase the risk of developing type-2 diabetes by about 9 percent,” said Matthew K. Ito, an OSU professor of pharmacy and president-elect of the National Lipid Association.
“This is fairly serious, especially if you are in the large group of patients who have not yet had a cardiovascular event, but just take statin drugs to lower your risks of heart disease,” Ito said.
A suspect in this issue has been altered levels of a protein called GLUT4, which is part of the cellular response mechanism, along with insulin, that helps to control blood sugar levels. A reduced expression of GLUT4 contributes to insulin resistance and the onset of type-2 diabetes, and can be caused by the use of some statin drugs.
The statins that reduce cholesterol production also reduce levels of coenzyme Q10, research has shown. Coenzyme Q10 is needed in cells to help create energy and perform other important functions. And this study showed in laboratory analysis that if coenzyme Q10 is supplemented to cells, it prevents the reduction in GLUT4 induced by the statins.
Not all statin drugs, however, appear to cause a reduction in GLUT4.
The problems were found with one statin, simvastatin, that is “lipophilic,” which means it can more easily move through the cell membrane. Some of the most commonly used statins are lipophilic, including simvastatin, atorvastatin, and lovastatin. All of these statins are now available as generic drugs, and high dosage levels have been most often linked with the increase in diabetes.
Tests in the new study done with a “hydrophilic” statin, in this case pravastatin, did not cause reduced levels of GLUT4. Pravastatin is also available as a generic drug.
“The concern about increasing levels of diabetes is important,” Ito said. “We need to better understand why this is happening. There’s no doubt that statins can reduce cardiovascular events, from 25-45 percent, and are very valuable drugs in the battle against heart disease. It would be significant if it turns out that use of coenzyme Q10 can help offset the concerns about statin use and diabetes.”
Before that conclusion can be reached, the researchers said, additional studies are needed on coenzyme Q10 supplementation and the pathogenesis of statin-induced diabetes.College of Pharmacy Media Contact: David Stauth Source:
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PORTLAND, Ore. - Oregon State University will bring an annual event, “Sing Out: The Orange & Black Choral and Vocal Scholarship Concert,” to Portland on Sunday, April 21.
The concert, previously held only in Corvallis, benefits the Orange & Black Scholarship Fund, which helps OSU music programs attract and maintain talented singers to study vocal performance and choral music education.
It features the best that the award winning OSU vocal program has to offer, including performances by OSU Meistersingers, Bella Voce, and Chamber Choir, with instrumental accompaniment and soloists.
The event will be at 4 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church, 1200 S.W. Alder St. Admission is $10 in advance, $12 at the door. Advance tickets are available for purchase at TicketTomato.com. A limited number of free student tickets will be available at the door while seats last.
“This concert features Oregon State’s three premier choral ensembles in a performance to raise funds for scholarships that assist talented singers, many who come from Portland area high schools,” said Steven Zielke, director of choral studies. “It’s a great opportunity for us to share the quality of our program with our friends in Portland, and for our friends and alumni there to support a great cause.
“For Beaver fans in the Portland metro area who love singing, this is the ‘can’t miss’ concert of the year,” he said.
Highlights will include the OSU women’s choir, Bella Voce, performing the premiere of “Viva Sweet Love,” by Joan Szymko. The piece was commissioned for Bella Voce with funding from the Oregon State University Women’s Giving Circle. The choir will also perform “Wedding Qawwalli” by Ethan Sperry, with choreography by OSU student Daniel Fridley, a senior in music education and assistant conductor of the OSU Meistersingers. Bella Voce, directed by Tina Bull, is a select, 50-member chorus that performs each term and tours regionally and internationally.
The OSU Meistersingers, a 50-member, auditioned men’s ensemble, will perform “Dies Irae,” by Z. Randall Stroope, conducted by Fridley; the beautiful “Lux Aurumque,” by Eric Whitacre; and the traditional Celtic folk piece, “Loch Lomond,” featuring soloist Rich Meier, a senior in electrical engineering. The popular choir is conducted by Russell Christensen and performs in concert each term, tours regionally, and frequently entertains at community and campus sporting and special events.
Chamber Choir, OSU’s preeminent vocal ensemble, is a mixed voice choir comprised of 47 carefully selected singers, directed by Zielke. The choir will perform Movement One (“O Come, Let Us Worship”) of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s “All Night Vigil,” as well as Morten Lauridsen’s “Sure on this Shining Night,” and a Mark Butler arrangement of the traditional spiritual, “Signs of the Judgment.” The Chamber Choir performs on campus each term and tours regionally or internationally each spring.
As is tradition at many Oregon State University choral events, the audience will have an opportunity to sing along with the choirs on “Carry Me Back,” the OSU alma mater song.
In May, all three choirs will head to New York for a tour that includes a performance in Alice Tully Hall at the Lincoln Center. That concert will feature three OSU alumni soloists who have launched professional singing careers.College of Liberal Arts Media Contact: Erin Sneller Promote to OSU home page: Not Promote to the OSU home page
HERMISTON, Ore. – Two small, remote-controlled aircraft are expected to start flying over potato fields in the Hermiston area this month as part of Oregon State University's efforts to help farmers more efficiently use water, fertilizers and pesticides to bolster yields and cut costs.
While taking photographs, the aircraft will fly over 50 acres of OSU's 300-acre Hermiston Agricultural Research and Extension Center (HAREC), as well as several crop circles totaling about 1,000 acres at a research cooperative farm west of Boardman. The flights will take place at least three times a week until the potatoes are harvested in the fall, beginning with a test run Wednesday at the Boardman farm.
OSU researchers will use various cameras on the aircraft to photograph the potato plants. The cameras will include ones that detect different wavelengths of light. One of these wavelengths, infrared, is reflected by plants, but unhealthy plants reflect less of it, and in infrared photographs sick plants are much darker. Researchers will also explore using other wavelengths of light to determine which ones will be most helpful in identifying troubled plants.
Researchers aim to see if the cameras, which are capable of zooming in on a leaf, can detect plants that aren't getting enough fertilizer and water. They'll purposely reduce irrigation and fertilizer on some plants and will then see how quickly, if at all, the equipment detects the stressed plants. If it works, the scientists hope that the project will continue in subsequent years so they can test the cameras to also find plants that are plagued by insects and diseases. The idea is to help farmers take action before larger crop losses occur and it becomes more difficult and expensive to control the problem.
"The key is to pick up plants that are just beginning to show stress so you can find a solution quickly, so the grower doesn’t have any reduced yield or quality issues," said Phil Hamm, the director of HAREC. "This in turn can save money. It's an early warning system for plants with issues as well as an opportunity for growers to reduce costs by being more efficient in water and fertilizer use."
Potatoes were chosen as the focus of the research because they're a high-valued crop, expensive to raise and must be carefully managed to reduce internal and external blemishes and irregular growth spurts, said Don Horneck, an agronomist with the OSU Extension Service. One of Oregon's leading crops, the state's farmers sold $173 million of potatoes in 2012, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But spuds are prone to devastating problems caused by diseases and insects, said Horneck, who is the lead researcher from OSU on the project.
"They are one of the most difficult and expensive crops to grow," he said, adding that it typically costs Hermiston farmers $4,000 or more per acre to grow them. That equates to about $500,000 for the average size of field in the area.
OSU hopes that the aircraft it tests will reduce these costs. The aircraft that will fly over OSU's land is called a HawkEye and is sold by a company called Tetracam. About the size of a suitcase and weighing only 8 pounds, its maximum flight time is 10-30 minutes. The hull-less, battery-operated machine is easy to operate and was made for farmers with plots of land that are less than one square mile. A motor and propeller allow it to take off on four wheels. A parachute keeps it in the air. Photos and videos of it are at http://bit.ly/10LDbjt.
A delta-winged aircraft made of plastic foam will fly over the private farm. Made by Procerus Technologies and called a Unicorn, it has a wingspan of no more than 6 feet and weighs less than 6 pounds. A bungee cord launches it like a slingshot. A factsheet on it is at http://bit.ly/XTqioS.
OSU is inviting the public to see the HawkEye fly during its potato field day at its Hermiston research center on June 26.
Allaying concerns about privacy, Hamm said, "These unmanned aircraft are for agricultural research only and will be used to do nothing more than that. This is about helping our local growers do a better job of growing crops, something HAREC has been doing for the past 102 years."
The Federal Aviation Administration has authorized the flights of the aircraft, which aren't allowed to fly higher than 400 feet and must stay within sight of the operator, typically less than a mile away.
OSU is leasing the aircraft from Boeing Research & Technology. n-Link, an information technology firm in Bend, is also a partner in the project. Ray Hunt, a plant physiologist with the USDA in Beltsville, Md., will collaborate with OSU's Horneck on the data analysis.
OSU aims to become one of the nation's premiere universities using unmanned aircraft for research. It is using or has plans to use them in studies on natural resources, wildlife, land-use management, forestry, oceanography and engineering.Generic OSU Media Contact: Tiffany Woods Source:
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A new health promotion program aimed at people with physical mobility issues seeks participants from the Corvallis area.
CORVALLIS, Ore. – A new health promotion program aimed at people with physical mobility issues seeks participants from the Corvallis area.
Simon Driver, an associate professor in exercise and sport science at Oregon State University, is creating the program based on a successful model he created at a medical facility in Texas. The eight-week program is aimed at people ages 18 to 75 who have limited mobility – defined as having difficulty walking one block, or using an assistive device such as a walker, cane or wheelchair.
In addition, participants must be able to communicate in English.
The eight-week program is part of a research project by Driver to determine the effectiveness of the program on increasing physical activity for people with a mobility disability. The program will take place in the Health Promotion for People with Disabilities Lab in the Women’s Building on the OSU campus. Participants must be able to attend the program once a week for 90 minutes during an eight-week period.
The program helps people learn social and behavioral skills to become healthier. Participants will learn about setting goals, rewarding themselves for making their goals, and overcoming barriers to being healthy and active.
To learn more information on qualifications for the program and to sign up to participate, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 541-737-5927.College of Public Health and Human Sciences Media Contact: Angela Yeager Source:
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“Frida, un Retablo,” a play detailing the creative life of acclaimed Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, will be presented at Oregon State University on Friday, April 26, beginning at 7 p.m.
The performance will take place in the Lab Theatre of Withycombe Hall, 30th and Campus Way, Corvallis. Admission is free. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.; latecomers will not be seated.
Written by Dañel Malán of Portland’s Teatro Milagro (Miracle Theater), the play follows the iconic Kahlo through her life as a visual artist, while intertwining the story of the streetcar accident that left her crippled and her torrid relationship with the muralist Diego Rivera.
The play was initially performed by Teatro Milagro in 2007, and was brought back by the group due to popular demand.
In this newest rendition, three Fridas take the stage: Tricia Castañeda-González as Frida, Dañel Malán as the spirit of Frida, and Oregon State alumnus Ajai Terrazas-Tripathi as Old Frida. Daniel Moreno plays Diego Rivera, and the play is directed by Gabriela Portuguez.College of Liberal Arts Source:
Susana Rivera-Mills, 541-737-4586Multimedia:
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(left to right) Dañel Malán, Ajai Terrazas-Tripathi, Tricia Castañeda-Gonzáles, and Daniel Moreno in Milagro's production of "Frida, un retablo", a play detailing the creative life of one of Mexico’s most acclaimed artists, Frida Kahlo, will show at Oregon State University on April 26 at 7 p.m. (photo by Russell J. Young)
CORVALLIS, Ore. – The work of 17 handpicked artists is on display in the 31st year of an Oregon State University exhibit inspired by agriculture and its bounty.
The Art About Agriculture exhibit, sponsored by OSU's College of Agricultural Sciences, runs through April 25 at LaSells Stewart Center on campus in Corvallis. The public is invited to meet the artists at a reception in the center's Giustina Gallery April 19 from 6-8 p.m.
The artwork will then be on tour May 10 to June 30 in Roseburg at the Umpqua Valley Arts Association at 1624 W. Harvard Ave. A public reception will take place there on the opening night from 5-7 p.m.
This year's work explores agricultural bounty and community – from consumers to marketers to farmers – in drawings, paintings, photographs, prints, wood and sculptures. Artists drew inspiration from vineyards, farmers markets and their own vegetable gardens. They hail from Oregon, Washington and Alaska.
One of them, Sally Finch of Portland, created an abstract piece depicting rainfall graphs of dryland farming. She used graphite and acrylic ink. Christine Bourdette of Portland produced six-inch bronze figurines riding potatoes. Lynn Miller of Sisters painted "Corn Shatter – Ditch Parrot's Dream" in oil on canvas.
The College of Agricultural Sciences convened a committee of art professionals to nominate artists to participate in the exhibit. Sally Houck, director of the Newport Visual Arts Center, and Irene Zenev, executive director of the Benton County Historical Society and Museum, judged the artwork. With more than $4,500, from patrons’ annual gifts and program endowment earnings, the judges recommended purchasing some of the works for the college's permanent collection, and awarding Mike Van this year's only cash honorarium for his watercolor-and-charcoal piece, "All Will Be Fed."
"Art About Agriculture was created in response to a need to develop a bridge between rural and urban Oregonians," said OSU Professor Gwil Evans. He wrote the original grant proposal that funded the inaugural exhibit in 1983.
Three decades later, 250 works of art in the exhibit's permanent collection grace the hallways, meeting rooms and offices at OSU, state agencies in Salem and government agencies throughout Oregon year-round, said Shelley Curtis, the directing curator for Art About Agriculture.
Debra Beers - Portland, Oregon
Christine Bourdette - Portland, Oregon
Harrison Branch - Corvallis, Oregon
Mark Clarke - Eugene, Oregon
Sally Finch - Portland, Oregon
Caryn Friedlander - Bellingham, Washington
Yuji Hiratsuka - Corvallis, Oregon
Tracy Leagjeld - Portland, Oregon
Denise McFadden - Vancouver, Washington
Lynn Miller - Sisters, Oregon
Connie Mueller - Eugene, Oregon
Adam Ottavi - Ester, Alaska
Mike Rangner - Albany, Oregon
Sara Tabbert - Fairbanks, Alaska
Gary Tepfer - Eugene, Oregon
Maurice "Mike" Van - Eugene, Oregon
Jennifer Williams - Ridgefield, WashingtonCollege of Agricultural Sciences Media Contact: Denise Ruttan Source:
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Mark Lieberman has been named as the new chief startup officer and co-director of the OSU Venture Accelerator, an initiative to help move university research to commercial success.
CORVALLIS, Ore. – Mark Lieberman, an expert in business commercialization, entrepreneurship and international finance, has been named as the new chief startup officer and co-director of the OSU Venture Accelerator, an initiative to help move university research to commercial success.
The Venture Accelerator and a related effort, the Industry Partnering Program, are two key parts of the Oregon State University Advantage, a major new program to boost the university’s impact on job creation and economic progress in Oregon and the nation. It began this spring.
Lieberman most recently has been executive director of the Business Technology Center of Los Angeles County, and was named one of the 50 “Most Innovative Men for 2012” by THE Magazine. He has taught entrepreneurship programs at various colleges, consulted with several governments, worked in international finance, and served on President Obama’s “Rank Review Committee” for 2010.
“Mark brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in launching new enterprises and in mentoring management teams,” said Ron Adams, executive associate vice president for research at OSU. “His leadership as chief startup officer will help ensure OSU’s success in fostering job creation and in developing Oregon’s future entrepreneurial talent.”
The Venture Accelerator is designed to identify innovation or research findings that might form the basis for profitable companies. It will aid their development with legal, marketing, financial and mentoring assistance to help turn good ideas into real-world businesses.Generic OSU Media Contact: David Stauth Source:
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Lee McIntire, chairman and CEO of CH2M HILL, will give a free, public lecture on Monday, April 15, at Oregon State University, discussing the opportunities and risks of running a global business.
Part of the OSU Division of Business and Engineering Lecture Series, the talk begins at 5:30 p.m. in the Austin Auditorium of LaSells Stewart Center, 875 S.W. 26th St., Corvallis.
McIntire’s talk, “Working on the Frontier: The Changing Nature of Global Business,” focuses on the increased globalization of business, the reasons companies have for expanding internationally and how they can best accomplish it.
McIntire took over as CEO at CH2M HILL in 2009 and has more than 30 years of international engineering and construction experience. The firm serves clients on six continents, with 30,000 employees and annual revenue of $6.4 billion.
This will be McIntire’s first visit to the Oregon State campus. CH2M HILL was founded in 1946 by an OSU professor and his three students, and Corvallis remains home to one of more than 160 global offices.
Prior to joining CH2M HILL, McIntire was a partner and board director of the Bechtel Group. He is a non-executive director of BAE Systems, PLC and lends his leadership to forums such as the Business Roundtable and World Economic Forum. He was awarded the Woodrow Wilson Award in 2011.Generic OSU Media Contact: Angela Yeager Source:
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An OSU engineering student has invented a way to use spent nuclear fuel for a useful purpose: the irradiation of medical supplies, food or other products.
CORVALLIS, Ore. – A researcher at Oregon State University has invented a way to use spent nuclear fuel to produce the gamma rays needed to irradiate medical supplies, food and other products – an advance that could change what is now a costly waste disposal concern into a valued commodity.
The technology, if widely implemented, might allow each of the 104 nuclear reactors in the United States to create a revenue stream of $10 million a year while providing thousands of new jobs. And by lowering the cost of irradiation, it could become commercially feasible for a wider range of uses.
A provisional patent has been issued on the technology, and commercialization efforts are under way through a private company, G-Demption LLC, created for that purpose.
“This is essentially a way to re-use spent nuclear fuel for a valuable purpose,” said Russell Goff, a masters student in the OSU Department of Nuclear Engineering and Radiation Health Physics. “Until now no one really thought to do this. But this approach is safe, practical and economical. Instead of treating all nuclear waste as a disposal problem, we could be putting much of it to good use.”
Irradiation is a growing industry, and is commonly used in the sterilization of medical supplies such as bandages or syringes. It’s also widely approved for helping to preserve foods – many spices, and some fruits and meat products are irradiated. The use of gamma radiation for these purposes does not make the underlying product radioactive, and generally has no effects on it that are any more pronounced than other sterilization or preservation technologies.
However, the gamma ray sterilization industry is constrained by the need for cobalt 60, the radioactive isotope most commonly used.
“The U.S. already uses about half of the world’s supply of cobalt 60 for various types of irradiation, and the process can be expensive,” Goff said. “The new system we’ve created should be significantly less expensive, and as such could open the technology to more routine uses. We could double the world supply of gamma rays with this new technology and still won’t come close to meeting the market demand for this valuable resource.”
Sterile medical supplies are a huge market for gamma irradiation, Goff said, and increased used of irradiation could reduce the need for sterilization with ethylene oxide gas, which is a highly toxic and flammable gas.
The system Goff has invented adds another level of protection to prevent unwanted fission products from escaping the spent nuclear fuel and entering the environment, but allows gamma radiation to be released in a controlled manner for irradiation purposes. Because recently spent nuclear fuel – less than 12 years old - still has fairly intense levels of radiation, it provides an economical way to irradiate products.
The nuclear waste handling systems needed to use the new technology are similar to those already being used at nuclear power plants, he said, and the process of sterilizing the products is almost identical to processes used in the cobalt 60 irradiation industry today.
Aside from providing a commercial use for spent nuclear fuel, the approach would also reduce the significant expense of otherwise storing it, Goff noted. This system might also have special appeal in developing countries, where refrigeration and other approaches to preserving food, as well as access to sterile medical supplies, are not always readily available.College of Engineering Media Contact: David Stauth Source:
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PORTLAND, Ore. – Six alumni of Oregon State University and one business partner will be honored for their achievements at the OSU College of Business’ Celebration of Excellence on Tuesday, May 7, at the Portland Marriott Downtown Waterfront.
The 12th annual Alumni and Business Partner Awards will recognize outstanding professional achievements and services to the college by alumni and business partners. This year individuals from four different states and an alumnus working in the United Arab of Emirates will be honored.
The evening begins with a reception at 5:30 p.m., followed by the dinner and the awards presentation at 6:30 p.m. For more information or to register, go to http://business.oregonstate.edu/awards or contact Rachelle Nickerson at email@example.com.
The 2013 award winners representing alumni from around the globe include:
Hall of Fame: Robert G. Zahary ’65, higher education consultant (United Arab Emirates);
Distinguished Service Award: Frank Morse ’70, Oregon State senator and businessman (Albany, Ore.);
Distinguished Business Professional: Gordon Clemons ’65, chairman and CEO, CorVel Corporation (North Carolina); and Don Atkinson, senior executive in sales management, marketing and business development (Federal Way, Wash.);
Distinguished Early Career Business Professional: Meadow Clendenin Stahlnecker ‘99, attorney, Patton Boggs LLP (Dallas, Texas);
Distinguished Young Business Professional: Alicia Miller ‘05, senior financial analyst, Nike, Inc. (Beaverton, Ore.)
Distinguished Business Partner: Oregon Department of TransportationCollege of Business Media Contact: Angela Yeager Source:
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A "permitted" left turn in heavy traffic poses a serious risk to pedestrian safety, a new study shows, because drivers may not look to see if pedestrians are present.
The report this story is based on is available online: http://bit.ly/kZJkWs
CORVALLIS, Ore. – A study to examine driver behavior in permitted left turns has identified what researchers call an “alarming” level of risk to pedestrians crossing the street – about 4-9 percent of the time, drivers don’t even bother to look and see if there are pedestrians in their way.
As opposed to a “protected” left turn, in which a solid green arrow gives a driver the complete right of way in a left-turn lane, a “permitted” left turn is often allowed by a confusing hodgepodge of signals, and drivers may have to pick their way through narrow windows of oncoming traffic.
This difficult driving maneuver, which is played out millions of times a day around the world, is fraught with risk for unwary pedestrians, who too often appear to be an afterthought.
The danger is much higher than had been realized, experts say.
“There are far more pedestrian crashes in marked crosswalks than anywhere else on roads, and pedestrians already have a false sense of security,” said David Hurwitz, an assistant professor of transportation engineering at Oregon State University. “This study found that one key concern is permitted left turns.”
As they wait to turn left, sometimes taking a narrow opportunity to lunge into a stream of oncoming traffic, drivers focus most of their attention on the vehicular traffic and the traffic signal, rather than any pedestrians crossing the street, the research showed. The heavier the traffic, the less attention paid to pedestrians.
In a controlled analysis in a full-scale driving simulator that monitored specific eye movements, the engineers found that about one time in 10 or 20, the driver didn’t even look to see if a pedestrian was there before moving into the intersection. This suggests a major level of risk to pedestrians, researchers said, if they assume that drivers not only will look for them, but will allow them to cross the street.
The problem is aggravated by “permitted” left turn signals that vary widely, from state to state and sometimes even from one city to the next. Such turns might be allowed by a circular green light, a flashing circular yellow light, a flashing circular red light, or even a flashing yellow arrow. More consistent national standards regarding the flashing yellow arrow were recommended as recently as 2009, but the process of upgrading signals across the nation takes time.
The danger is sufficiently high, the researchers concluded, that more states and cities should consider prohibiting permitted left turns while pedestrians are allowed to be in the crosswalk. In Washington County, Ore., traffic managers recently did just that, after receiving a high number of complaints about pedestrian-vehicle conflicts.
“In traffic management you always have multiple goals, which sometimes conflict,” Hurwitz said. “You want to move traffic as efficiently as possible, because there’s a cost to making vehicles wait. You use more fuel, increase emissions and waste people’s time. The permitted left turn can help with efficiency.
“But the safety of the traveling public is also critical,” he said. “Sometimes the goal of safety has to override the goal of efficiency, and we think this is one of those times.”
Also of some interest, the study found preliminary evidence to suggest that the currently-mandated type of signal, which uses four heads instead of three, offers no change in driver behavior. However, the cost to implement a four-head signal is about $800 more than retrofitting the three-head version, which is widely used around the nation. Many millions of dollars might be saved nationally by using the simpler signal.
The findings of these studies have been compiled in a report by OSU and Portland State University researchers to the Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium, which funded the research. They will also be presented this year at the Driving Assessment Conference in New York and the Western District ITE meeting in Arizona.
OSU has a sophisticated driving simulator research facility, which allows test subjects to see, experience and react to realistic driving experiences while scientists study their reactions and behavior. This study was done with 27 subjects experiencing 620 permitted left turn maneuvers.College of Engineering Media Contact: David Stauth Source:
David Hurwitz, 541-737-9242Multimedia:
Oregon State University has received a grant of nearly $5 million to develop an obesity prevention and healthy lifestyle program for teenagers.
CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University has received a grant of nearly $5 million to develop an obesity prevention and healthy lifestyle program for teenagers.
Unlike many programs that focus on treatment of children already at risk of obesity, this new program will aim at active high school-age teens involved in 4-H soccer programs in Oregon.
OSU project directors Siew Sun Wong, an assistant professor of nutrition and a specialist with the Extension Service, and Melinda Manore, a professor of nutrition, were awarded $4.7 million to start the program, called “The WAVE Ripples for Change: Obesity Prevention for Active Youth in Afterschool Programs Using Virtual and Real-World Experiential Learning.” It was awarded by the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
“These youths are active now, but what happens when they don’t have a team sport to motivate them?” Manore said. “Many parents of active teens allow their kids to eat unhealthy food, because they don’t worry about their weight. This is about building healthy behavior that becomes part of their life.”
The intervention program will begin June 2013 in three Oregon counties – Marion, Polk and Yamhill. About 500 teens ages 15 to 19 will engage in three different life skills programs developed by OSU. One of the programs will be a real-world scenario where teens will learn about growing their own food, cooking healthy, preparing inexpensive meals at home, and staying active.
The other two programs use new cutting-edge technology to create virtual environments, led by Jon Dorbolo with OSU’s Technology Across the Curriculum, where teens will practice these same skills but as an avatar in a 3-D virtual world. One virtual world will be “realistic,” based on the real environment; the other will be a fantasy world where anything is possible.
“Kids are into technology and they spend a lot of time with it, so we want to know if there is a way to tap into that and develop a program that can be used both at home and in the classroom to encourage healthy behavior,” Manore said.
Wong, who is an expert on the use of technology to improve dietary habits, said the virtual world can be used to reach out to teens and discover their skills and potential.
“Jake, the character in the movie ‘Avatar,’ saw how good this virtual world can be and it inspired him to make a change, which is the idea behind this part of the intervention,” Wong said. “Likewise, the idea is to create an ideal virtual world where participants can experience creative learning, be inspired and motivated to transform this positive experience back to the real world to make it a better place.”
At the end of the five-year project, OSU biostatistician Bo Zhang will lead the researchers to examine the data to see which of the three programs – the real world, the virtual “real” world, and the virtual fantasy world – resulted in better outcomes.
The research team will measure the teens’ body mass index, physical activity levels (using sensor and cloud infrastructure developed by OSU engineering faculty Patrick Chiang and Christopher Scaffidi), and their ability to meet USDA’s Choose MyPlate recommendations.
According to the researchers, the goal is to see how teens who are already physically active due to involvement in team sports can develop lifestyle skills that will stay with them past school age. Part of the intervention will include working with the young people’s parents or primary caregivers to ensure they understand about proper nutrition and exercise.
The project’s OSU team members include faculty from nutrition and exercise sciences, engineering, Information Services, Extension, SNAP-Ed Educators, KidSpirit, and 4-H programs. Other participants on the project include Bob’s Red Mill, Cooking Matters at the Store, Marion-Polk Food Share, as well as University of Arizona and San Diego State University’s Center for Behavioral Epidemiology and Community Health.College of Public Health and Human Sciences Media Contact: Angela Yeager Source:
Siew Sun Wong, 541-737-5855Multimedia:
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(left to right) Patrick Chiang, Jon Dorbolo, Siew Sun Wong, Melinda Manore, Bo Zhang, Christopher Scaffidi are part of an OSU research team who received a $5 million USDA grant to help teens stay active and eat healthy. March 2013. (photo courtesy of OSU College of Public Health and Human Sciences)
CORVALLIS, Ore. – Sex may sell everything from magazines to perfume, but the effects of pervasive sexuality in marketing and consumer products go far beyond the cash register. At the Corvallis Science Pub on April 8, two Oregon State University psychologists will discuss their research on the impacts of sexually explicit images on children and youth.
The Science Pub presentation begins at 6 p.m. at the Old World Deli, located at 341 S.W. Second St. in Corvallis. It is free and open to the public.
Elizabeth Daniels teaches at OSU-Cascades in Bend and has surveyed middle and high school-aged boys and girls about their reactions to images of athletes. Aurora Sherman has worked with young girls to understand how such toys as Barbie, Bratz and Mrs. Potato Head dolls influence the girls’ self-image.
Daniels and Sherman suggest that it takes media savvy and strong role models to promote healthy development in the face of what the American Psychological Association calls “the massive exposure to portrayals that sexualize women and girls and teach girls that women are sexual objects.”Generic OSU Media Contact: Nick Houtman Source:
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A new study, published online ahead of print in the Journal of Marketing, finds there is a greater backlash by the public when a product branded with human characteristics fails.
CORVALLIS, Ore. – When companies put a human face on their brand, the public usually responds positively. This advertising approach has brought us alarm clocks with sleepy faces and color-coated chocolate candies with legs and arms.
But a new study, published online ahead of print in the Journal of Marketing, finds there is a greater backlash by the public when a product branded with human characteristics fails.
Lead author Marina Puzakova, an assistant professor of marketing at Oregon State University, said even though consumers can tell a camera designed with human characteristics such as little eyes and legs isn’t a person, the very act of humanizing a product can be a powerful tool.
“Somehow, now the product seems alive and mindful, and therefore can be perceived as having intentions and its own motivations to act in a certain way,” Puzakova said. “This perception of intentions can be extremely strong – consumers now see the brand as performing bad intentionally and therefore consumers develop more negative sentiments toward the brand.”
Puzakova conducted five experiments with products that had experienced negative publicity. As a general procedure, participants saw advertisements of both existing and fictitious products, where “human” characteristics, such as arms, legs, or facial-like features were manipulated. Then Puzakova showed participants news reports about how the product had failed in some way, not lived up to its advertising claim, or did not function based on consumer expectations.
In every instance, participants reported that they had stronger negative reactions to the products that were given human characteristics, also known as “brand anthropomorphization.”
“Brand anthropomorphization can be a very powerful advertising tool, so I am definitely not saying that companies shouldn’t use it,” Puzakova said. “However, they need to be aware that when they imbue their products with human-like characteristics, any backlash when something goes wrong could be stronger.”
Puzakova’s study found that the strength of negative reactions depended on consumer personality differences as well. Based on a personality test she gave participants, she found that people who believe in “personality stability,” or that personality traits are always the same and don’t change over time, tended to have stronger negative feelings towards anthropomorphized brands.
“Broadly speaking, men tend to believe in personality stability more than women, and seniors as well,” Puzakova said. “Also, some cultures tend to believe in this more than others. This can be important for advertisers to know, depending on who their target market is.
Having a deeper knowledge about their target markets, companies can also design their advertising communications tailored for different types of consumers. For example, marketers may want to emphasize flexibility and change in an ad campaign in order to reverse negative attitudes by male consumers, who tend to believe in personality stability.
Puzakova’s research also has a lesson for companies whose brands fail because of a product malfunction.
“As consumers who believe in stability of personality traits react to product failures more negatively, our research finds that companies need to provide either monetary compensation or give away coupons,” Puzakova said. “Offering a public apology is not enough. For instance, companies that have a humanized brand marketed heavily towards seniors may need to be prepared to generously compensate those consumers if something goes wrong.”
The bottom line, Puzakova said, is companies need to know their audience and the possible dangers of humanizing a brand when a product malfunctions. It can be a powerful advertising tool, but if the product fails in some way, the damage control could be costly and timely.
Hyokjin Kwak of Drexel University and Joseph Rocereto of Monmouth University contributed to this study.College of Business Media Contact: Angela Yeager Source:
Marina Puzakova, 541-737-4297Multimedia:
An image showing a humanized versus non-humanized product.
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The film documentary Kel Wer tells the story of a group of Oregon State University students who traveled to the small village of Lela, Kenya, to help the community gain access to safe water.
CORVALLIS, Ore. – In July of 2012, a group of Oregon State University students traveled to the small village of Lela, Kenya, to help the community gain access to safe water.
The story of their journey will be told in Kel Wer ("to bring song" in the native Dholuo language), a documentary that will debut at OMSI in a free public screening on Tuesday, April 9. It will explore the challenges the students faced and the incredibly welcoming and resilient people they met along the way.
Doors will open to the public at 6:30 p.m., a photography exhibit of the people of Lela will be available for viewing in the lobby, and the 35-minute documentary will start at 7:15 p.m.
Following the screening, members of Oregon State's chapter of Engineers Without Borders will share their personal experiences and answer questions. Seating is limited and available on a first-come basis.
EWB-USA is a non-profit humanitarian organization that works with developing communities world-wide to improve their quality of life through environmentally and economically sustainable engineering projects, while developing internationally responsible engineering students.
The documentary was directed by Justin Smith. The project is a collaboration between the OSU College of Engineering and OSU University Relations and Marketing.Multimedia:
CORVALLIS, Ore. – U.S. Bank has committed $100,000 to Oregon State University’s Presidential Scholarship program, which supports high-achieving incoming freshman from Oregon. It is the university’s most prestigious scholarship, and pays tuition costs for nearly 240 students each year.
U.S. Bank has been supporting scholarships at OSU since 1988. Their most recent gift creates a permanent endowment for the scholarship in their name.
“Presidential Scholarships are among the best tools the university has to recruit Oregon's best and brightest students to our campus,” said OSU President Ed Ray. “This gift will help these talented students get the most out of their time at Oregon State, while freeing them as graduates to make career choices without the constraints of educational debt.”
U.S. Bank’s gift is part of OSU’s Presidential Scholarship Match Program. As part of the match, OSU provides funds immediately to qualified students while donors complete pledge payments to fully fund their endowed scholarship.
“The match program is a great incentive to create a permanent endowment for a program that is already very rewarding,” said Mitch Benedict, market president of U.S. Bank’s Linn-Benton office. “We are thrilled to know that with this newest gift, U.S. Bank will continue to support these impressive students for generations to come.”
Lake Oswego freshman Michael Conan was named the U.S. Bank Presidential Scholarship recipient as a result of this most recent gift. A business major with aspirations of becoming a certified public accountant, Conan credits the scholarship program as the reason he chose OSU.
“This scholarship was the deciding factor in which college I would attend, and I believe that the decision to attend Oregon State University is the best choice I could have made,” said Conan. “The community and learning environment at OSU has exceeded all expectations, and I believe it will continue to impress me as I move through the business program.”
The Presidential Scholarship program awards an average of $8,000 per year to students. Scholarships are renewed each academic year for up to four years to students who remain in good standing.
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With this gift, donors have committed nearly $155 million in support of scholarships and fellowships, toward The Campaign for OSU’s overall $1 billion goal, including more than 500 new scholarship and fellowship funds.
NEWPORT, Ore. – Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center will allow the public to explore “behind the scenes” of this unique facility on Saturday, April 13, when the Newport facility hosts its annual Marine Science Day.
The free event, which runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., will feature scientists and educators from OSU, federal and state agencies, Oregon Coast Aquarium, and the new NOAA Marine Operations Center-Pacific. It is a chance for the public to explore one of the nation’s leading marine science and education centers.
An online schedule of events is available at: hmsc.oregonstate.edu/marinescienceday
In addition to a diversity of marine science presentations, two research themes will be highlighted. One is the science behind bycatch reduction devices, which will be featured by researchers from NOAA Fisheries, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, OSU, Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission, and Foulweather Trawl, a Newport netmaker.
Marine Science Day visitors will see actual bycatch reduction devices and have an opportunity to view videos showing how fish are excluded or retained, depending on their size, swimming ability or other characteristic. Other research will highlight genetics or other tools used to distinguish between wanted and unwanted catch. Scientists will be on hand to answer questions and discuss their research.
“Visitors will learn not only about the problem of bycatch but also about the solutions, which range from simple and elegant to complex and cutting-edge,” said Maryann Bozza, program manager of the center. “All of the different HMSC research displays on bycatch reduction will be grouped together.”
A second theme will be wave energy, highlighting the efforts of the OSU Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center to improve and facilitate testing of wave energy devices and evaluate their potential effects on marine habitats. HMSC’s Sarah Henkel, a senior research assistant professor in the OSU Department of Zoology, will present an update of wave energy developments on the Oregon Coast.
Henkel’s talk begins at 3 p.m. in the Visitor Center auditorium.
Among other highlights of Marine Science Day:
- Visitor Center activities will include new wave energy exhibits, the recently dedicated Japanese tsunami dock exhibit and a new interactive wave tank.
- The center’s new octopus, named “Miss Oscar,” will be featured in a 1 p.m. interpretive talk and octopus feeding demonstration.
- The public can take self-guided tours through the facility’s marine research labs, library and classrooms, where scientists will have interactive exhibits explaining their research. Visitors may also take guided tours of HMSC’s seawater facilities and aquatic animal husbandry laboratory.
A number of educational activities for children and families will be available, presented by Oregon Sea Grant, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Oregon Coast Aquarium.
The OSU Hatfield Marine Science Center is located at 2030 S.E. Marine Science Drive in Newport, just south of the Highway 101 bridge over Yaquina Bay.Media Contact: Mark Floyd Source:
Maryann Bozza, 541-867-0234Multimedia:
OSU engineers designed a new system to create wetlands that could help farmers in the Midwest avoid catastrophic floods and retain water for when it's needed by crops.
CORVALLIS, Ore. – Engineers at Oregon State University have developed a new interactive planning tool to create networks of small wetlands in Midwest farmlands, which could help the region prevent massive spring floods and also retain water and mitigate droughts in a warming climate.
The planning approach, which is being developed and tested in a crop-dominated watershed near Indianapolis, is designed to identify the small areas best suited to wetland development, optimize their location and size, and restore a significant portion of the region’s historic water storage ability by using only a small fraction of its land.
Using this approach, the researchers found they could capture the runoff from 29 percent of a watershed using only 1.5 percent of the entire area.
The findings were published in Ecological Engineering, a professional journal, and a website is now available at http://wrestore.iupui.edu/ that allows users to apply the principles to their own land.
The need for new approaches to assist farmers and agencies to work together and use science-based methods is becoming critical, experts say. Massive floods and summer droughts have become more common and intense in the Midwest because of climate change and decades of land management that drains water rapidly into rivers via tile drains.
“The lands of the Midwest, which is one of the great food producing areas of the world, now bear little resemblance to their historic form, which included millions of acres of small lakes and wetlands that have now been drained,” said Meghna Babbar-Sebens, an assistant professor of civil and construction engineering at Oregon State. “Agriculture, deforestation, urbanization and residential development have all played a role.
“We have to find some way to retain and slowly release water, both to use it for crops and to prevent flooding,” Babbar-Sebens said. “There’s a place for dams and reservoirs but they won’t solve everything. With increases in runoff, what was once thought to be a 100-year flood event is now happening more often.
“Historically, wetlands in Indiana and other Midwestern states were great at intercepting large runoff events and slowing down the flows,” she said. “But Indiana has lost more than 85 percent of the wetlands it had prior to European settlement.”
An equally critical problem is what appears to be increasing frequency of summer drought, she said, which may offer a solid motivation for the region’s farmers to become involved. The problem is not just catastrophic downstream flooding in the spring, but also the loss of water and soil moisture in the summer that can be desperately needed in dry years.
The solution to both issues, scientists say, is to “re-naturalize” the hydrology of a large section of the United States. Working toward this goal was a research team from Oregon State University, Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis, the Wetlands Institute in New Jersey, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. They used engineering principles, historic analysis and computer simulations to optimize the effectiveness of any land use changes, so that minimal land use alteration would offer farmers and landowners a maximum of benefits.
In the Midwest, many farmers growing corn, soybeans and other crops have placed “tiles” under their fields to rapidly drain water into streams, which dries the soil and allows for earlier planting. Unfortunately, it also concentrates pollutants, increases flooding and leaves the land drier during the summer. Without adequate rain, complete crop losses can occur.
Experts have also identified alternate ways to help, including the use of winter cover crops and grass waterways that help retain and more slowly release water. And the new computer systems can identify the best places for all of these approaches to be used.
The work has been supported by the Indiana State Department of Agriculture and the National Science Foundation.College of Engineering Media Contact: David Stauth Source:
Meghna Babbar-Sebens, 541-737-8536Multimedia:
Screenwriter Mike Rich will appear at Oregon State University on Thursday, April 4, for a special screening of his award-winning film, “Finding Forrester.” A question-and-answer session will follow.
The screening will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Construction & Engineering Hall of OSU’s LaSells Stewart Center. It is free and open to the public.
Rich, who attended OSU until 1982, created a buzz in Hollywood with his first screenplay “Finding Forrester.” It was picked up by Columbia Pictures and was a holiday season release in 2000, starring Sean Connery and directed by Gus Van Sant. Rich’s second screenplay “The Rookie,” starring Dennis Quaid and Rachel Griffiths, was a success for Disney in 2002.
His other notable screenplays also include ‘Radio,” “The Nativity Story” and “Secretariat.”
The Visiting Writers Series brings nationally-known writers to campus each year and is made possible by support from The Valley Library, the OSU School of Writing, Literature, and Film, the Office of the Provost, the College of Liberal Arts, Kathy Brisker and Tim Steele, and the OSU Beaver Store.Media Contact: Angela Yeager Source:
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CORVALLIS, Ore. – The Oregon State University Press, which was founded more than 50 years ago, is publishing its first book aimed at children.
“Ellie’s Log: Exploring the Forest Where the Great Tree Fell” continues the press’ tradition of publications about Pacific Northwest forests and natural history. But this seven-chapter book is aimed at eight- to 12-year-olds.
It tells the story of two children exploring an old-growth forest in the Oregon Cascades – specifically the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest, a long-term ecological research (LTER) site of the National Science Foundation for more than 50 years.
“A common theme in many of the books we’ve published is the importance of getting people out into nature and learning about our region’s flora and fauna,” said Faye Chadwell, the Donald and Delpha Campbell University Librarian and director of the OSU Press. “By combining elements of science and storytelling, ‘Ellie’s Log’ will, we hope, capture the attention of younger readers and encourage them to observe the natural world in new ways.”
Written by Judith Li, an emeritus faculty member in OSU’s Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, the book focuses on the children’s discovery of the forest’s natural wonders and processes. The narrative, which ranges from the forest’s biodiversity to seasonal change – is based on Li’s experience as stream ecologist at H.J. Andrews.
She said she wrote Ellie’s Log to “inspire children to explore nature, to observe, and to begin thinking like scientists.” The book, vividly illustrated by illustrator and science communicator M.L. Herring, also of OSU, is part of the LTER’s national Schoolyard Book series.
A learning website, ellieslog.org, developed in collaboration with OSU Libraries, and an online teacher’s guide, complement the book. Both provide ways for children to investigate natural habitats where they live and share their results with “Ellie’s friends.”
Ellie’s Log can be ordered from the OSU Press at: http://osupress.oregonstate.edu/book/ElliesLogMedia Contact: Mark Floyd Source:
Micki Reaman, 541-737-4620Multimedia: