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Marine Science Day: An opportunity to explore behind-the-scenes

News - Wed, 04/02/2014 - 3:14pm
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OSU's Hatfield Marine Science Center will host its popular Marine Science Day on Saturday, April 12, offering the opportunity to meet scientists working at the research facility, take tours and explore the exhibits.

NEWPORT, Ore. – Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center will host its popular Marine Science Day on Saturday, April 12, offering the public an opportunity to meet many of the scientists working at the research facility, as well as take tours and explore the exhibits.

The center also will commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Coastal Oregon Marine Experiment Station (COMES), which is the nation’s first Experiment Station dedicated to marine sciences.

The activities are free and open to the public, running from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Hatfield Center, located at 2030 S.E. Marine Science Drive in Newport, just south of the Highway 101 bridge over Yaquina Bay. An online schedule of events is available at: hmsc.oregonstate.edu/marinescienceday

The event will feature scientists and educators from OSU, federal and state agencies, Oregon Coast Aquarium, and the 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.

Visitors can tour the research facilities of the Hatfield Marine Science Center, and see genetics laboratories, animal husbandry areas, and get a close-up view of ongoing research projects. Interactive research exhibits will feature larval fish ecology, bioacoustics of whales, volcanoes and deep ocean vents, and oceanographic tools such as a glider to study low-oxygen on the West Coast. Activities for children include a Bird Beak Buffet from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Mystery Fossil Dig by Oregon Sea Grant. Scheduled events include:

  • 10 a.m. – The open house begins, lasting until 4 p.m.
  • 11 a.m. – “Pumped up for Pinnipeds: Seals and Sea Lions of the Oregon Coast,” a presentation by Oregon Coast Aquarium staff, Hennings Auditorium (repeated at 2 p.m.);
  • 1:30 p.m. – Octopus feeding in the Visitor’s Center;
  • 3 p.m. – “A Food Chain of Fisheries Research: The Amazing Story of Oregon’s Marine Experiment Station,” a presentation by Gil Sylvia, director of COMES; Terry Thompson, a commercial fisherman, county commissioner and COMES board member; and Michael Morrissey, director of the Food Innovation Center in Portland. State Sen. Arnie Roblan will introduce the speakers.

The Coastal Oregon Marine Experiment Station is located in both Newport and Astoria. Researchers in Newport focus on fishery policy and management, marketing, fish stock assessment, aquaculture, ecology, genetics and marine mammal conservation. Astoria researchers at the OSU Seafood Laboratory work on seafood science, processing, safety and innovation.

Hatfield Marine Science Center Media Contact:  Mark Floyd Source: 

Maryann Bozza, 541-867-0234; maryann.bozza@oregonstate.edu

Categories: Research news

Scientists gather in Bend for “Week of Fire” April 7-10

News - Tue, 04/01/2014 - 8:35am
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In what organizers have dubbed a “Week of Fire,” forest scientists and fire managers will meet in Bend April 7-10 to discuss the latest research on fire ecology and its implications for forest management.

CORVALLIS, Ore. – In what organizers have dubbed a “Week of Fire,” forest scientists and fire managers will meet in Bend April 7-10 to discuss the latest research on fire ecology and its implications for forest management.

The week will include a series of events: the 3rd biennial Central Oregon Fire Science Symposium, the first meeting of the newly formed Oregon Prescribed Fire Council and a four-day training course, The Ecological and Social Effects of Fire in Central Oregon.

All activities will be held at the Central Oregon Community College. The public is welcome to attend, but registration fees apply to the training course and to the symposium. Attendance at the prescribed fire council meeting on April 10 is free. Schedule and registration information are available at http://centraloregonfiresymposium.org/.

“Fire science and management experience are coming together to really allow our profession to be able to deal with the growing challenge of managing forest fires,” said John Bailey, a professor in the Oregon State University College of Forestry and one of the event planners. “The spatial extent and cumulative severity of wildland fires are unprecedented recently in much of the West and are likely to continue or increase. Fuel accumulations have and continue to markedly outpace treatment rates, feeding these fires.”

The fire-science symposium will run April 8-9. Bailey and speakers from Oregon State, the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management and other organizations will address fire ecology, fire science and the potential benefits of using prescribed fire as a tool to reduce future fire risk. 

“Forests in Central Oregon have evolved with fire,” said Bailey. “It’s not a matter of if they will burn; it’s when and how. The science is there to show that working with fire to steer it instead of trying to stop it is safer, cheaper and more ecologically fitting for the land.”

Since 2001, more than a million acres burned in Oregon alone during two fire seasons. Nationally, more than 8 million acres burned in six of those 12 years. Of particular concern is the growing number of large fires that burn uncontrollably and threaten life and property. In that same time, annual fire suppression costs have increased markedly and now consistently approach $2 billion.

“This is a bigger issue than the federal government can handle alone,” said Geoff Babb of the Bureau of Land Management, one of the symposium organizers. “These fires cross jurisdictional boundaries and require that we work together with local and state governments and university scientists.”

Highlights of the symposium include a presentation by Scott Stephens of the University of California, Berkeley, on the policy and management implications of last year’s Rim Fire in California. A special memorial will be held for Bob Martin, a pioneer of prescribed burning who inspired generations of fire managers in Central Oregon.

The Oregon Prescribed Fire Council’s inaugural meeting on April 10 will provide people with interests in prescribed burning — fire and fuels managers, natural resources specialists, private landowners, industry, air quality regulators, ranchers — to address a variety of issues. The council was founded in 2013 to address issues such as smoke management, worker training, legal liability and sharing of resources. Since the 1970s, such councils have been forming throughout the country, most recently in Washington and California.

“The opportunities and challenges in implementing prescribed fire are complex and in need of attention through collaboration,” said Amanda Stamper, chair of the Oregon council. “Ecological restoration and wildfire hazard reduction often depend upon the application of fire after treatments such as thinning and mowing, particularly in the dry forests and rangelands east of the Cascades.”

“Ultimately prescribed burning and wildfire management efforts need to focus on creating more resilient ecosystems and fire-adapted communities,” said Timothy Ingalsbee of the Association for Fire Ecology, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to fire ecology research, education and management. “The sooner we learn how to work safely and live sustainably with wildland fire, the better.

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Editor’s Note: Reporters are welcome at the Central Oregon Fire Science Symposium. To make arrangements, contact Timothy Ingalsbee, 541-338-7671, fire@efn.org.

Fire maps, risk ratings for Oregon communities and other information about forest fires in Oregon are available at Oregon Explorer’s Wildfire Risk Explorer, www.oregonexplorer.info/wildfire.

College of Forestry Media Contact:  Nick Houtman Media Contact: 

Jean Nelson-Dean, U.S. Forest Service, 541-383-5561

Source: 

John Bailey, Oregon State University, 541-737-1497

Amanda Stamper, U.S. Forest Service and Oregon Prescribed Fire Council, 541-968-5851

Geoff Babb, Bureau of Land Management, 542-383-5521

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2013 prescribed burning operations on the Oregon State University’s McDonald Forest near Corvallis, Ore. OSU researchers and students conducted the burn with assistance from the Oregon Department of Forestry. Photo: Taylor Fjeran, Oregon State University

Categories: Research news

Interactive “Beaver BarCamp” conference planned at OSU

News - Mon, 03/31/2014 - 9:46am
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Beaver BarCamp 14 will be held at the Kelley Engineering Center on Saturday, April 12, with many sessions on science, art, technology and more.

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Beaver BarCamp 14, an informal conference where participants can explore anything from science to art, technology, food, culture or other topics, will be held Saturday, April 12, at Oregon State University.

The free event is open to the public, and will be held at the Kelley Engineering Center on the OSU campus from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. It is hosted by the Open Source Lab at OSU, and sponsored by Rackspace.

Session topics at Beaver BarCamp are not predetermined. Anyone can propose their own session based on a project, hobby or research area, or join a session that interests them. Past sessions have included coffee roasting, green computing, Google App Engine, compressed air vehicles and yoga.

The open format provides a collaborative environment that promotes audience participation through discussions, demonstrations or projects. Session planning and scheduling begins at 9:30 a.m. and the first session starts at 10:30 a.m. Registration at http://beaverbarcamp.org is encouraged but not required.

The Open Source Lab, which provides host and support services to more than 160 open source projects, will also have information sessions at Beaver BarCamp for those who are interested in learning more about the Open Source Lab and opportunities to become involved.

The Beaver BarCamp has been a biannual event for the last six years. In the future the Open Source Lab will host it as an annual event with more outreach to the community.

College of Engineering Media Contact: 

By Rachel Robertson, 541-737-7098

Source: 

Lance Albertson, 541-737-9975

Categories: Research news

Proteins discovered in gonorrhea may offer new approach to treatment

News - Fri, 03/28/2014 - 2:20pm
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OSU pharmacy researchers have discovered a new avenue of attack against gonorrhea, a venereal disease with growing resistance to antibiotics.

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Researchers at Oregon State University have discovered novel proteins in, or on the surface of the bacteria that causes gonorrhea, which offer a promising new avenue of attack against a venereal disease that is showing increased resistance to the antibiotics used to treat it.

Only a single, third-generation cephalosporin antibiotic still shows good efficacy against gonorrhea, creating a race against time to find some alternative way to treat this disease that can have serious health effects. It’s the second most commonly reported infectious disease in the United States.

Investigations based on these proteins might lead to new ways to combat the disease, including a vaccine, new types of drugs to block the growth of the bacteria, or even restoring the efficacy of some older antibiotics that have lost their usefulness, said Aleksandra Sikora, an assistant professor in the OSU College of Pharmacy.

“This could be a milestone in finding new ways to treat a global problem,” Sikora said. “It appears that one or more of these proteins, either within the bacterial cell envelope or on its surface, are essential to its growth and survival. Now we have a new target to aim at.”

World health officials have raised alarms that the growing resistance of gonorrhea to antibiotics could cause it to become untreatable. There are more than 60 million cases of this venereal disease treated around the world every year – and 300,000 just in the U.S. – in people who experience clear symptoms. But some of the worst damage is done among millions of other cases that are very mild or asymptomatic.

Such symptomless infections, most common in women, can cause pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy and infertility, as well as increase the transmission of the HIV virus. Gonorrhea can also affect joints and heart valves, and cause blindness in infants infected during birth.

The new findings were just published in Molecular and Cellular Proteomics, by researchers from OSU and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. The research has been supported by OSU and the Medical Research Foundation of Oregon.

Using the evolving science of proteomics - which is the large-scale, high-throughput study of proteins and their functions - researchers identified a plethora of proteins that reside in a space in the gonorrhea bacteria, an “envelope” and its small outpouchings, or membrane vesicles.

This cell envelope shields the interior of gonorrhea from the environment and is essential for survival of the microbes, as well as their ability to cause disease. The proteins localized there help acquire nutrients, provide a permeability barrier, suppress the immune response and keep the bacteria fit.

Other proteins on the bacteria surface also help it attach to the host. The membrane vesicles are spherical structures that contain proteins and DNA, and are involved in antibiotic resistance, microbe communication and delivery of factors important for infection.

Any or all of these proteins may now offer a way to attack the survival and spread of the gonorrhea bacteria, Sikora said. None of them have yet been used for that purpose.

“Some past approaches to create a gonorrhea vaccine failed because they were focused on proteins essential to infection, which were quite unstable,” she said. “Because they were changing so constantly they were unsuitable for a vaccine. The proteins we’ve now identified offer a much more stable and vulnerable target.”

Researchers have already quantified their abundance of these cell envelope proteins and are learning their basic function, and in continued studies will screen compounds for activity against some of them.

“With this information, the chance to create either a vaccine or new drug treatments is very promising,” Sikora said.

The gonorrhea bacteria, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, is a pathogen specific to humans and no other animals. It dates to antiquity and it’s uncertain when it first developed. Many epidemics have been reported in world history.

College of Pharmacy Media Contact:  David Stauth Source: 

Aleksandra Sikora, 541-737-5811

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Membrane vesicles

Categories: Research news

Religion, spirituality influence health in different but complementary ways

News - Thu, 03/27/2014 - 1:32pm
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Religion helps regulate behavior and health habits, while spirituality regulates emotions, new research from OSU indicates.

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Religion and spirituality have distinct but complementary influences on health, new research from Oregon State University indicates.

“Religion helps regulate behavior and health habits, while spirituality regulates your emotions, how you feel,” said Carolyn Aldwin, a gerontology professor in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences at OSU.

Aldwin and colleagues have been working to understand and distinguish the beneficial connections between health, religion and spirituality. The result is a new theoretical model that defines two distinct pathways.

Religiousness, including formal religious affiliation and service attendance, is associated with better health habits, such as lower smoking rates and reduced alcohol consumption. Spirituality, including meditation and private prayer, helps regulate emotions, which aids physiological effects such as blood pressure. 

The findings were published recently in the journal “Psychology of Religion and Spirituality.” Co-authors were Crystal L. Park of the University of Connecticut, and Yu-Jin Jeong and Ritwik Nath of OSU. The research was supported by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation.

“No one has ever reviewed all of the different models of how religion affects health,” said Aldwin, the Jo Anne Leonard endowed director of OSU’s Center for Healthy Aging Research. “We’re trying to impose a structure on a very messy field.”

There can be some overlap of the influences of religion and spirituality on health, Aldwin said.  More research is needed to test the theory and examine contrasts between the two pathways. The goal is to help researchers develop better measures for analyzing the connections between religion, spirituality and health and then explore possible clinical interventions, she said.

College of Public Health and Human Sciences Media Contact:  Michelle Klampe Source: 

Contact: Carolyn Aldwin, 541-737-2024; Carolyn.aldwin@oregonstate.edu

Categories: Research news

Spoken word/hip hop poets perform at OSU

News - Thu, 03/27/2014 - 12:26pm
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A performance by Climbing PoeTree will take place Thursday, April 10, 7-9 p.m., in the Memorial Union Ballroom at Oregon State University. 

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A performance by Climbing PoeTree will take place Thursday, April 10, from 7-9 p.m. in the Memorial Union Ballroom at Oregon State University.

Climbing PoeTree interweaves spoken word, hip hop, pan flute beat boxing and award-winning multimedia theater to expose injustice, heal from violence, and make a better future visible, immediate and irresistible.

Boundary-breaking soul sisters Alixa Garcia and Naima Penniman's performance explores diverse themes, including healing from state and personal violence; environmental justice; civil rights; sexuality; and women's empowerment. They weave together their voices to draw vital connections between shared struggles and common solutions in a critical moment in human history.

Praised by everyone from Angela Davis to Cornel West, Climbing PoeTree has performed around the world, and alongside performers and speakers including Alicia Keys, Erykah Badu and Vandana Shiva.

Climbing PoeTree will share multimedia excerpts of their latest theater production “Hurricane Season: the Hidden Messages In Water.”

For more information: http://www.climbingpoetree.com

Generic OSU Media Contact:  Theresa Hogue Source: 

Charlene Martinez, 541-737-7298

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Categories: Research news

Documentary about 2012 Paralympic athletes to air in Corvallis

News - Wed, 03/26/2014 - 10:27am
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Free screenings of the 2012 documentary “Gold – You Can Do More Than You Think,” will be held April  6, 7 and 10 at Darkside Cinema in Corvallis.

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Free screenings of the 2012 documentary “Gold – You Can Do More Than You Think,” will be held April  6, 7 and 10 at Darkside Cinema in Corvallis.

“Gold” chronicles the journeys of three athletes as they prepare for and participate in the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. The screenings are sponsored by the School of Language, Culture and Society in the OSU College of Liberal Arts, and are co-sponsored by the OSU Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and by Parapictures Film Production.

“The motivational and intercultural aspects of the film make it a great piece for high school and college students, showing them how having a positive attitude helps you overcome obstacles in your life,” said Sebastian Heiduschke, coordinator of World Languages and Cultures at OSU.

“I was looking for something I could do in collaboration with OSU athletics, so I approached them with this film, and they were excited to join us as co-sponsor.”

The film follows Henry Wanyoike, a blind marathon runner from Kenya; Kirsten Bruhn; a paralyzed swimmer from Germany; and Kurt Fearnley, an Australian wheelchair racer, in their day-to-day personal and professional lives. Director Michael Hammon examines what makes these athletes role models to people in their countries. The film reaches its peak at the 2012 Paralympics in London.

Screenings will be held at 6 p.m. Sunday, April 6; 7 p.m. Monday, April 7; and 9 p.m. Thursday, April 10. To enhance accessibility for the visually-impaired, the April 6 screening will include audio descriptions of the scenes.

All screenings will be held at the Darkside Cinema, 215 S.W. 4th St., Corvallis. They are free and open to the public but attendees need to obtain a free pass at the snack bar after entering the theater. Movie posters signed by the three featured athletes and other prizes will be raffled at the screenings.

To watch a trailer for the film, visit: http://bit.ly/PBBzZe

College of Liberal Arts Media Contact:  Michelle Klampe Source: 

Sebastian Heiduschke, 541-737-3957, Sebastian.heiduschke@oregonstate.edu

Categories: Research news

Rubber wristbands show pollution in air, water and food

News - Tue, 03/25/2014 - 10:49am
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Oregon State University scientists have created a fashion accessory that doubles as a pollution detector.

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University scientists have created a fashion accessory that doubles as a pollution detector.

Similar in style to the popular wristbands supporting various charitable causes, OSU's new silicone bracelets have a porous surface that mimics a cell, absorbing chemicals that people are exposed to through their environment.

"The wristbands show us the broad range of chemicals we encounter but often don’t know about and may be harming us," said Kim Anderson, a professor in OSU's College of Agricultural Sciences. “Eventually, these bracelets may help us link possible health effects to chemicals in our environment.”

In an OSU experiment, 30 volunteers wore the bracelets for a month. The bracelets soaked up nearly 50 chemical compounds, including traces of fragrances and other personal care products. They also detected flame-retardants, pesticides, caffeine, nicotine, and chemicals from pet flea medicines.

Roofers also wore the wristbands, showing exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, 12 of which are on the Environmental Protection Agency's priority list. The bracelets, however, cannot detect some metals, like lead and chromium, or gases like carbon monoxide.

To extract the pollutants, the users send the bracelets to OSU where they are soaked and shaken in a mix of solvents, which pull chemical compounds into a liquid that can be tested in a lab. Researchers can screen for 1,200 chemicals that may accumulate in the wristbands.

To create the wristbands, OSU scientists modified widely available silicone bracelets – similar to the yellow "Livestrong" bands – by washing them in chemical solvents. The university can make 400 wristbands a week.

The bracelets are not yet available to the public. Anderson's lab is recruiting participants for upcoming studies with the bracelets. Citizen scientists – or nonprofessional scientists – can also propose projects to Anderson's lab at http://citizen.science.oregonstate.edu. The bracelets and testing come with a customized fee. Eventually, OSU researchers may license the bracelets to a company or start their own.

OSU's research was published in the article “Silicone Wristbands as Personal Passive Samplers” in the journal Environmental Science and Technology. The full study, which is available at http://bit.ly/OSU_WristbandStudy, was funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the OSU Food Safety and Environmental Stewardship Program, and the National Institutes of Health.

OSU is also using the bracelets in an ongoing study in New York City to measure the chemical exposure of pregnant women in their last trimester and how that affects their children after birth. The volunteers are wearing the bracelets as well as a traditional air sampling unit, which consists of a 5-pound backpack with a fan and battery.

Test participants prefer the lightweight wristbands, Anderson said, because they don't require energy or maintenance and are easy to wear.

"People are more likely to wear bracelets that are not bulky, expensive or require a lot of preparation,” she said. “The wristbands are small and easy to wear.”

OSU scientists are also using the technology to study pesticide risks in West Africa by placing samplers in irrigation canals and adjacent rivers and recently published a study in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, available at http://bit.ly/OSU_WAStudy.

Later this year, OSU will hand out the bracelets to West African farmers so they can learn how to reduce their exposure to agricultural chemicals.

College of Agricultural Sciences Media Contact:  Daniel Robison Source: 

Kim Anderson, 541-737-8501

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OSU scientist Kim Anderson discovered common silicone wristbands absorb chemicals from air, water and food. (Photo by Stephen Ward.)



In an OSU experiment, rubber wristbands absorbed almost 50 chemical compounds, including pesticides and caffeine. (Photo by Stephen Ward.)

Categories: Research news

‘Philosophy Talk’ to visit Oregon State April 2

News - Mon, 03/24/2014 - 11:28am
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Christopher McKnight Nichols, OSU assistant professor of history, will be the featured guest for a discussion of "The New Surveillance Society: Big Brother Grows Up," on the radio show.

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The nationally syndicated public radio show “Philosophy Talk” will visit Oregon State University on April 2 for a live taping.

Show hosts Ken Taylor and John Perry, both of Stanford University, will discuss “The New Surveillance Society: Big Brother Grows Up.” Their guest will be Christopher McKnight Nichols of the School of History, Philosophy and Religion in OSU’s College of Liberal Arts.

The event begins at 7 p.m. in the Austin Auditorium at the LaSells Stewart Center, 875 S.W. 26th St., Corvallis. It is free and open to the public, and there will be an opportunity for audience participation.

“One of the most pressing issues today is the increasing surveillance of individuals by the government as well as by corporate entities,” said Nichols, an assistant professor of history and author of Promise and Peril: America at the Dawn of a Global Age. “This is not new. It has a history that helps explain how and why we have arrived at this point.”

Among the questions to be considered on the show: How should we treat whistleblowers that break the law for moral or political ends? How do we strike a proper balance between national and corporate security and individual rights? What rights and responsibilities does a proactive citizenry have when confronted with transgressions committed by the state and others?

“The central issue is privacy rights and how very often in U.S. history those rights have been curtailed in wartime,” said Nichols. “I want us to interrogate the legal, diplomatic, and intellectual history of ‘wartime’ to better understand the decisions that have propelled the rise of a surveillance state.”

“Philosophy Talk” airs on dozens of public radio stations internationally, including on the radio network of Oregon Public Broadcasting. On OPB, the show is broadcast at 9 p.m. Thursdays.

Perry and Taylor will continue their trip to Oregon with two Portland events. They’ll take calls live on the air on OPB at 9 p.m. Thursday, April 3, when they talk about conspiracy theories with Brian Keeley of Pitzer College.

On Saturday, April 5, “Philosophy Talk” will record a new program at the First Congregation United Church of Christ in downtown Portland. The topic is “Remixing Reality: Art and Literature for the 21st Century," with special guest David Shields, author of Reality Hunger: A Manifesto.

College of Liberal Arts Media Contact:  Michelle Klampe Source: 

Robert Peckyno, 541-737-8560

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Christopher McKnight Nichols

Categories: Research news

Keck Foundation supports innovative materials research

News - Mon, 03/24/2014 - 9:08am
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A large grant will help OSU engineers study materials that can change shape when exposed to light, with many potential applications.

 

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The W.M. Keck Foundation has made a $1 million grant to Oregon State University to study new types of materials that can change shape when exposed to light, and might create an innovative way to store hydrogen.

The research will be done in the School of Mechanical, Industrial, and Manufacturing Engineering at OSU and the Department of Chemistry at Ohio University.

“We’re excited about the possible applications of these materials,” said Brady Gibbons, an OSU associate professor of mechanical engineering. “They can absorb and store hydrogen like a sponge, but also squeeze themselves when light shines on them.”

This could make the materials useful to store hydrogen. Hydrogen fuel cells are one of the most promising technologies for automobiles of the future – producing only water as a byproduct when they generate electricity – but storage of the hydrogen is a primary challenge in meeting auto industry requirements.

Other applications may include gas separation, carbon dioxide capture, environmental monitoring and solar energy conversion and storage.

The shape change in the materials is caused by photoisomerization.

“Photoisomerization is very common, it’s the chemical process that our eyes use to see,” said Alex Greaney, the principal investigator and an OSU assistant professor of mechanical engineering. “We hope to design materials that can harness the process in a directed way, to create light-driven changes in shape, porosity or properties."

Other collaborators are professors Rob Stone and Irem Tumer from the OSU College of Engineering and professor Jeffrey Rack from Ohio University.

The grant to Oregon State comes as part of The Campaign for OSU. University leaders announced in January that campaign donors had pushed the campaign past its $1 billion goal with 11 months to spare, making OSU one of only 35 public universities to achieve the billion-dollar milestone in a campaign.

 

College of Engineering Media Contact:  David Stauth Source: 

Brady Gibbons, 541-737-2427

Categories: Research news

OSU’s Beth Ray, 67, dies Friday

News - Fri, 03/21/2014 - 9:12pm
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Oregon State University First Lady Beth P. Ray died this evening (Friday, March 21) after battling cancer. She was 67.

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University First Lady Beth P. Ray died this evening after battling cancer. She was 67.

She arrived at OSU in 2003 when her husband, Edward J. Ray, was named OSU’s 14th president. A lifetime educator, Beth Ray was previously a business law professor, academic counselor and assistant dean for academic advising.

Born Aug. 18, 1946, Ray was raised in Prairieton, Ind. She received a bachelor of arts in English and philosophy from Rice University in 1968, and a law degree from Ohio State University School of Law in 1972.

The Rays, who were married for 44 years, have three children: Michael Ray, Katherine Hall and Stephanie Pritchard.

Beth Ray was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic lung cancer in May 2013 and had been receiving chemotherapy treatments. In January 2014, she and her family joined the campus community in a ceremony renaming the OSU Student Success Center as the Beth Ray Center for Academic Support. The push to rename the center in her honor was largely driven by student enthusiasm.

Her commitment to OSU students was well-known. OSU graduate Bridget Burns, an American Council of Education Fellow, said she considered Beth a surrogate parent. Burns was ASOSU president when the Rays came to OSU.

"I  always looked up to her and Ed, not just for their supportive love story spanning almost a half century, but because they were totally grounded, honest and good people," she said. "My heart aches about losing her.  She was such a special person who brought clarity, light, and kindness into the world. We are all better for having known her."

A celebration of Beth Ray’s life is tentatively scheduled for June 2 on campus. The family requests no flowers but suggests those wishing to honor Beth consider a gift to the Ed and Beth Ray Choral Leadership Endowment or the Ed and Beth Ray Scholarship Endowment at the OSU Foundation, or a gift to the Good Samaritan Hospital Foundation to support programs treating childhood cancer.

Generic OSU Media Contact:  Theresa Hogue Source: 

Steve Clark, steve.clark@oregonstate.edu; 503-502-8217

Categories: Research news

FIRST robotics competition planned at OSU

News - Fri, 03/21/2014 - 3:28pm
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The FIRST Robotics Competition in April will attract high school student teams to OSU for a range of competitive robotic events.

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The FIRST Robotics Competition for high school students across Oregon will be held Friday and Saturday, April 4-5, at Oregon State University. It is free and open to the public.

The event at Gill Coliseum will feature robots built by students, in which teams of three robots compete in various games. The best opportunities to see the competitive games will be Saturday between 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Students spend six weeks designing, building and testing robots for this competition, and will be available to interact with and answer questions from the public.

FIRST, or “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology,” is an organization that runs robotic events for grade school through high school students. More information can be obtained at http://www.usfirst.org

Organizers of the program say that FIRST participants are significantly more likely to attend college and major in science or engineering.

College of Engineering Source: 

Molly Stieber

Categories: Research news

OSU, industry experts to teach digital marketing

News - Fri, 03/21/2014 - 3:09pm
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CORVALLIS, Ore. - Oregon State University will partner with industry experts to explore new career opportunities in digital communications for participants in an online certificate program.

The program, called Strategic Approach to Digital Brand Management, will be offered in collaboration with Jeremy Darlow, digital brand marketing manager for Adidas, and Zach Gallagher, director of interactive strategy at Wieden+Kennedy.

“People always ask about ‘what’s next in digital marketing?’” Darlow said. “But I think the most successful marketers lean on their particular brand marketing philosophy year after year, versus reacting to trends and the latest industry buzz.”

Real-world case study assignments in this program will involve creative thinking, problem-solving and interactions that explore opportunities for telling a brand’s story through websites, social media, email, internet searches and mobile devices.  

Developed by Professional and Continuing Education at Oregon State University, the program is made up of four courses. Each course will be seven weeks in length and priced at $475 individually.  The first course, Digital Brand Strategies, starts on April 7.


For more information on the certificate program, visit: http://pace.oregonstate.edu/digitalcomm.

 

Ecampus: Source: 

Lynn Makela, 541-737-5741,

Categories: Research news

NOAA planning leader to direct Oregon Sea Grant program

News - Fri, 03/21/2014 - 9:59am
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Shelby Walker, a marine scientist and administrative leader with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, has been named director of the Oregon Sea Grant College Program.

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Shelby Walker, a marine scientist and administrative leader with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, has been named director of the Oregon Sea Grant College Program.

She will assume leadership of Oregon Sea Grant, the Oregon State University-based marine research, outreach, education and communication program, on July 7.

Walker has been the strategic planning team leader for the Office of Policy, Planning and Evaluation in NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research since August 2009. In that role, she has been responsible for the agency’s research and development planning efforts.

She also has been associate director for the NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program, an initiative funded through civil penalties resulting from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill that aims to increase scientific understanding of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem and improve the region’s sustainability.

“Oregon Sea Grant deals with a range of marine issues that impacts the lives and livelihoods of Oregonians,” said Rick Spinrad, vice president for research at Oregon State. “Shelby Walker is an experienced leader and a superb collaborator who will be able to develop partnerships in research, education, communications and outreach to address these issues, which include natural hazards, climate change and managing our marine resources in a responsible and sustainable manner.”

Prior to joining NOAA, Walker was associate program director in the National Science Foundation’s Ocean Sciences Division, where she worked in the Ocean Technology and Interdisciplinary Coordination Program. She served as program officer for the Ocean Observatories Initiative, one of the largest oceanographic infrastructure investments in history. The OOI is a $386 million project to monitor the world’s oceans for environmental changes and their effects on biodiversity, coastal ecosystems and climate, led by several universities including OSU.

Walker also has been project manager for the Joint Subcommittee on Ocean Science and Technology, a group of 25 federal agencies with responsibilities for ocean research and technology development.

Her research has focused on organic contaminants in coastal systems, including highly industrialized urban estuaries. Walker received her Ph.D. in marine science from the College of William and Mary, and worked as a post-doctoral researcher at the Naval Research Laboratory.

Generic OSU Media Contact:  Mark Floyd Source: 

Rick Spinrad, 541-737-0664; rick.spinrad@oregonstate.edu

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Shelby Walker

Categories: Research news

OSU finds new compound that could treat autoimmune diseases

News - Thu, 03/20/2014 - 10:27am
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CORVALLIS, Ore. – Scientists at Oregon State University have discovered a chemical compound that could be a safer alternative for treating autoimmune diseases.

Although studies in humans are still needed, the finding could bring hope to people suffering from conditions caused by their immune system attacking their bodies. Autoimmune diseases can affect almost any part of the body resulting in diseases such as colitis, multiple sclerosis and psoriasis.

"We mostly treat autoimmune diseases with high-dose corticosteroids or cytotoxic drugs to suppress the immune response, and the side effects can be very difficult to deal with," said lead researcher Nancy Kerkvliet. "But if this chemical works in clinical studies, it could result in a safer alternative to conventional drugs."

Kerkvliet collaborated with OSU professor Siva Kumar Kolluri and other colleagues who tested thousands of chemical compounds and found that one of them, 10-Cl-BBQ, binds to a protein called the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) inside T cells, which are essential white blood cells. They found that the chemical and AhR then pass into the nucleus and change the cells into regulatory T cells (called Tregs), which shut down the immune response.

Kerkvliet said 10-Cl-BBQ is different from other treatments used to suppress the immune system because it acts directly in the T cells to turn them into regulatory T cells. She believes this will result in fewer side effects than currently used drugs. The scientists also discovered two other compounds in the benzimidazoisoquinoline (BBQ) family that induced regulatory T cells.

The researchers tested 10-Cl-BBQ in mice that had graft-versus-host disease, a condition in which the immune system tries to eliminate foreign cells. The disease can occur in humans when they receive stem cell or bone marrow transplants. The scientists found that daily injections of 10-Cl-BBQ completely suppressed the disease.

The compound was rapidly metabolized and excreted and wasn't toxic at the dosage used, thereby making it a potential candidate for drug development, said Kerkvliet, a professor of immunotoxicology in OSU's Department of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology in the College of Agricultural Sciences.

On a cellular level, the chemical works like the notorious environmental contaminant that's known as TCDD, a type of dioxin. But the chemical doesn't have the harmful side effects, Kerkvliet said. TCDD is perhaps best-known for its presence in the jungle-defoliating Agent Orange herbicide used during the Vietnam War. Kerkvliet has spent most of her career studying how the dioxin suppresses immune responses.

"We spent all these years studying dioxin because people have been concerned about its presence in the environment," she said. "Yet, look what we have now discovered from those basic toxicology studies."

The journal PLOS ONE published the research with the title "Benzimidazoisoquinolines: A New Class of Rapidly Metabolized Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor (AhR) Ligands that Induce AhR-Dependent Tregs and Prevent Murine Graft-Versus-Host Disease." It is online at http://hdl.handle.net/1957/46244.  

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences funded the research.

College of Agricultural Sciences Media Contact:  Tiffany Woods Source: 

Nancy Kerkvliet, 541-737-4387

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Nancy Kerkvliet, a professor of immunotoxicology at Oregon State University, has discovered a chemical compound that could be a safer alternative to current treatments for autoimmune diseases. (Photo by Stephen Ward.)

Categories: Research news

OSU’s Hatfield Center to host regional STEM hub

News - Thu, 03/20/2014 - 9:17am
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NEWPORT, Ore. – One of six regional “STEM” hubs funded by the Oregon Department of Education and serving the Oregon coast from Astoria to Coos Bay will be headquartered at Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport.

A series of meetings will begin next month along the coast to help launch the initiative.

The Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, or STEM hubs are designed to boost the proficiency of K-14 students in these areas.

The Lincoln County School District was awarded a grant of $664,000 to coordinate the effort, partnering with OSU, Oregon Sea Grant, the Tillamook School District, and the Oregon Coast Aquarium. The new regional STEM hub will expand an existing program called the Oregon Coast Regional STEM Center, according to Tracy Crews, project manager for the newly formed coastal hub.

“Lincoln and Tillamook counties, along with 23 other partners, have been offering STEM support under a grant from the U.S. Department of Education,” Crews said. “What this new grant will do is allow us to expand the program up and down the coast, and enlist new partners and offer more resources for STEM-related instruction.”

In the first phase of the project, Crews and other hub coordinators will host a series of meetings along the coast to conduct a needs assessment and engage new partners. These meeting are scheduled as follows:

  • Newport: April 17, at Oregon Coast Community College;
  • Astoria: May 1 at Clatsop Community College;
  • Tillamook: May 7 at Tillamook Bay Community College;
  • Coos Bay: May 15, at Southwestern Oregon Community College.

Times and location will be set later, with information available by contact Tracy Crews at 541-867-0329, or tracy.crews@oregonstate.edu. A website is being be developed for the coast STEM hub.

“We hope to engage not only the K-12 schools and community colleges, but industry, local government, scientific agencies, community leaders and parents,” Crews said. “Once we determine some of the needs, we can begin connecting people with the appropriate resources.”

Hatfield Marine Science Center Media Contact:  Mark Floyd Source: 

 Tracy Crews, 541-867-0329; tracy.crews@oregonstate.edu

Categories: Research news

Researchers find evidence of bighorn sheep on island – now what?

News - Wed, 03/19/2014 - 2:36pm
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Introducing a supposed non-native species into an environment in which they previously had lived - called "unintentional rewilding" - has serious management implications, researchers say.

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A research team has found evidence that bighorn sheep inhabited Tiburón Island in the Gulf of California some 1,500 years ago – a surprising find that calls into question just how to manage the population of bighorns that were introduced to the island in 1975.

The experimental introduction almost 40 years ago of what was thought to be a non-native species was intended to create a large breeding population of bighorn sheep at a site safe from predators that could be used to restock bighorn populations on the mainland. The discovery that bighorn sheep previously had lived on the island raises philosophical questions, the researchers say.

They report on the dilemma, which they call “unintentional rewilding,” this week in the journal PLOS ONE.

“This is a microcosm for situations in which animals regarded as non-natives are introduced into an area where they actually lived in the past,” said Clinton Epps, a wildlife ecologist at Oregon State University and co-author on the PLOS ONE article. “There are some interesting implications.

“If, for example, one goal was to restore native habitat and it looked like the introduced animals were having an impact on the flora, the solution might be to remove the animals,” Epps pointed out. “But now you’d have to say, ‘not so fast.’ What is the right thing to do? Does it matter if the animals lived there 10, a hundred, or a thousand years ago?”

The development first began to unfold with the incidental discovery by lead author Ben Wilder of the University of California, Riverside, of a dung mat on the floor of a small cave in the Sierra Kumkaak, a rugged mountain range on the east side of Tiburón Island. Samples of the sheep pellets were sent for DNA sequencing to Oregon State.

“The first thing we had to do was eliminate the possibility that the material had come from deer, mountain goats, domestic sheep or cows, or some other animals,” said Rachel Crowhurst, a faculty research assistant in OSU’s Department of Fisheries and Wildlife. “It closely matched bighorn sheep. Then we used a second genetic marker to compare it to the modern population of bighorns on the island – and it was completely different.”

The OSU researchers determined that the sequences from the bighorn sheep that lived on the island some 1,500 years ago exactly matched sequences from desert bighorn sheep living today in Arizona.

In 1975, 16 female and four male bighorn sheep were introduced to Tiburón Island, which is a large, mostly uninhabited island just off the coast of Sonora Mexico. On the mainland, historical land use had decimated populations of wild bighorn sheep. By the mid-1990s, the Tiburon herd had grown to some 500 animals and was considered one of the most successful large mammal introductions in the world.

As it turns out, this supposed introduction was actually an “unintentional rewilding” – a phrase coined by the authors and a concept that has implications for future research, according to Julio Betancourt, a paleo-ecologist with the United State Geological Survey and co-author on the paper.

“Molecular studies will become more than an afterthought in paleo-ecological studies to address previously unanswerable questions about evolutionary responses to climate change,” Betancourt said.

The research by Epps and Crowhurst was supported by Oregon State University.

College of Agricultural Sciences Media Contact:  Mark Floyd Source: 

Clint Epps, 541-737-2478; Clinton.Epps@oregonstate.edu

Categories: Research news

History of hops and brewing chronicled on new OSU archive

News - Tue, 03/18/2014 - 12:36pm
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 The Special Collections & Archives Research Center at OSU Libraries & Press has established the Oregon Hops & Brewing Archives. 

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon is at the epicenter of a thriving craft-brew industry, and Oregon State University is helping shape the movement – from creating new barley varieties, to offering courses for home brewers, to its growing fermentation science program, which has a Pilot Plant Brewhouse where student brewers create new beers.

Now, the university is going a step further as it actively preserves the rich history of hops and craft brewing.

Recognizing the need to document the intertwined story of hop production and the craft brewing movement in Oregon, the Special Collections & Archives Research Center at OSU Libraries & Press established the Oregon Hops & Brewing Archives in summer 2013. This month, the official launch of the online archives will be celebrated in appropriate style with “Tap into History” on March 28 at the McMenamins Mission Theater in Portland.

The archive’s goal is to collect and provide access to records related to hops production and the craft brewing industries in Oregon. The first archive in the United States dedicated to hops and beer, it will bring together a wealth of materials in hardcopy and digital formats enabling people to study and appreciate these movements. The work melds the social and economic aspects of brewing in Oregon with the hard science behind the beer research being done at OSU.

The university already has strong collections related to the history of hops, barley, and fermentation research at OSU, but scholars are gathering resources from beyond the campus as well.

“There are valuable items in historical societies, in the boxes of marketing materials in a brewer’s garage, in the computer records of operations at hop farms, on beer blogs, in social media communities, and in the stories that haven’t been recorded,” said Tiah Edmunson-Morton, archivist for the collection.

“While we are interested in adding new items to build the archive, we also want to be a portal to collections through the state, partnering with people in heritage and history communities, state agencies, hops farmers, craft brewers, home brewers, and the general community to think collectively about how to preserve and provide access to this history.”

The free "Tap into History" event at the Mission Theater, which begins at 7 p.m., includes a panel on brewing history in Oregon. Among the topics:

  • Edmunson-Morton will talk about the project and its impact.
  • Peter Kopp, an agricultural historian, will talk about his use of archival materials and the relevance for researchers.
  • John Foyston, an Oregonian writer since 1987 and noted beer columnist, will talk about his work documenting the Oregon beer scene.
  • Irene Firmat, CEO and co-founder of Full Sail Brewing Company, will talk about her work as a female brewing pioneer.
  • Daniel Sharp, a Ph.D. student in the OSU College of Agriculture's Fermentation Science program, will talk about his research and the program.

The event concludes with screenings from "Hopstories," a collection of short videos showcasing breweries in Oregon, and OPB's Beervana, a documentary about the history of beer and the rise of craft brewing in Oregon. The McMenamins Mission Theater is located at 1624 N.W. Glisan St., Portland.

For more information: https://www.facebook.com/brewingarchives

 

 

 

 

Generic OSU Media Contact:  Theresa Hogue Source: 

Tiah Edmunson-Morton, 541-737-7387

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Categories: Research news

Mistrust, discrimination influence Latino health care satisfaction

News - Mon, 03/17/2014 - 1:56pm
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Mistrust of the medical community and perceived discrimination by health care providers can affect young Latinos' satisfaction with their health care and could influence health outcomes, affect participation in health care programs and more, researchers say.

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Mistrust of the medical community and perceived discrimination by health care providers can affect how satisfied young adult Latinos in rural Oregon are with their health care, new research from Oregon State University shows.

Health care satisfaction, or the lack of, could influence health outcomes for patients, affect participation in health care programs under the new Affordable Care Act, and contribute to disparities in health care access for Latinos, said lead researcher Daniel López-Cevallos, associate director of research for the Center for Latino/a Studies and Engagement at OSU

“Health care reform is about people getting insurance so they have access to services, but mistrust may lead people to delay care,” López-Cevallos said.

Findings of the research were published recently in “The Journal of Rural Health.”  The article was co-authored by S. Marie Harvey, associate dean and professor of public health, and Jocelyn T. Warren, assistant research professor in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences. Harvey received funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the research.

Researchers surveyed 387 young adult Latinos, 18 to 25, living in rural Oregon. Patient satisfaction information was collected as part of a larger study about health issues among young, rural Latinos. Participants were not asked about their immigration status; more than half, about 58 percent, were born outside the U.S. and the average length of U.S. residency was 13.8 years.

The majority of participants, about 73 percent, reported being moderately or very satisfied with their health care. Among those who were not satisfied, medical mistrust and perceived discrimination were identified as factors. Other factors including age and health insurance did not affect satisfaction, the study showed.

The research suggests a need to improve “cultural competency” among health care providers, from the doctors to the receptionists to the lab technicians, so Latinos are treated with respect and dignity, the researchers said. A bilingual/bicultural workforce may be more effective in addressing health issues affecting a patient.

“Trust is huge; it allows patients to disclose concerns and be honest,” Harvey said. “In a previous study we conducted, young adult Latino men reported that ‘confianza,’ a term that encompasses trust, respect, level of communication and confidentiality, affected their access to and use of health care services.  

Efforts to enroll Latinos in health care programs under the Affordable Care Act won’t be successful if patients don’t feel comfortable at their doctor’s office, López-Cevallos said.

“These are young, healthy adults,” he said. “We want them in our health insurance pools to help average the risk and keep costs down. This is an opportunity, but we have a lot of work to do.”

College of Public Health and Human Sciences Media Contact:  Michelle Klampe Source: 

S. Marie Harvey, 541-737-3824, Marie.harvey@oregonstate.edu

Daniel López-Cevallos, 541-737-3850, Daniel.lopez-cevallos@oregonstate.edu

Categories: Research news

House committee OKs exemption allowing OSU Experiment Station flexibility to relocate

News - Fri, 03/14/2014 - 11:03am
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OSU's Hermiston Agricultural Research & Extension Center is one step closer to gaining the flexibility to relocate following legislation approved this week by the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee.

HERMISTON, Ore. – Oregon State University’s Hermiston Agricultural Research & Extension Center, which is mostly located within the city limits, is one step closer to gaining the flexibility to relocate when necessitated by population growth, following legislation approved this week by the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee.

The OSU research and extension center is subject to an obscure federal rule, known as a “reverter,” which would be triggered if changes of use and/or location of the facility were enacted. This rule would lead to ownership of the land and infrastructure reverting back to the federal government.

The U.S. House Natural Resources Committee approved an exclusion to this federal reversionary clause – exempting the OSU facility from the requirement – and forwarded it to the floor of the House for its consideration. Full House consideration has not yet been scheduled.

Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., led the push to gain the exemption, with support from community stakeholders, local elected officials, OSU agricultural leaders and OSU President Edward J. Ray.

“The growth of Hermiston and the expanding scope of the center will make it desirable to move the center to a more appropriate location in the future,” said Philip B. Hamm, director of the OSU facility. “The move has had the support of city and regional leaders, as well as the agricultural industry that the center supports. Thanks to the efforts of Rep. Walden and his staff, we are now a step closer to resolving this problem.”

The Hermiston Agricultural Research and Extension Center is one of 12 OSU Agricultural Experiment Stations located throughout the state. It has supported agriculture in the Columbia River basin for more than a century. The region is a highly diversified agricultural region where more than 200 different crops are grown.

With its state-of-the-art laboratories, irrigation technology capabilities, research programs and extension efforts, the center supports crops on nearly 500,000 acres of high-value irrigated land, much of it in Morrow and Umatilla counties. In recent years, the center’s research and outreach helped local growers diversify production and convert 30,000 acres of traditional commodity crops to different, high-value crops – resulting in more than $50 million in annual economic returns.

“While the station has no immediate plans to move in the near future, the removal of this reversionary clause will allow OSU to sell the property when development in Hermiston reaches the center’s border,” Hamm said. “It will allow the center to purchase new land, erect laboratories, and install irrigation infrastructure to continue supporting agriculture with new research based on information – as it has for the past 104 years.”

H.R. 3366 provides for “the release of the property interests retained by the United States in certain land conveyed in 1954 by the United States, acting through the Director of the Bureau of Land Management, to the State of Oregon for the establishment of the Hermiston Agricultural Research and Extension Center of Oregon State University in Hermiston, Oregon.”

College of Agricultural Sciences Media Contact:  Mark Floyd Source: 

Philip Hamm, 541-567-6337; philip.b.hamm@oregonstate.edu

Categories: Research news

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