Archive » May, 2012

Life-Saving Science
May 30, 2012

Life-Saving Science

At a recent meeting of the American Meteorological Society in New Orleans, I participated in a discussion of early warning systems that give the public time to take cover from tornadoes and to prepare for hurricanes. Today, we have hours or days to get out of harm’s way. Contrast that with the hurricane in Galveston, […]


Running Clear
May 30, 2012

Running Clear

Gary Klinkhammer turned water analysis into environmental protection

The Arctic Ocean, 1997. Gary Klinkhammer had strapped a water chemistry analyzer onto the hull of a retired U.S. Navy nuclear submarine to measure carbon. He had come to this bleak and desolate place looking for organic matter, fertile detritus dumped into the ocean by massive rivers in Siberia and North America. “The Arctic in […]


Battling the Superbugs
May 30, 2012

Battling the Superbugs

Science wages war on bacteria that are resisting modern drugs

This story has echoes of heroes tramping the Earth (or the galaxy) on a quest to defeat the forces of darkness. Along the way, the travelers encounter strange creatures with remarkable powers. They endure harrowing tests of mental strength and technological prowess. In the end, they prevail, bringing down the enemy and discovering a truth […]


Turncoat Proteins
May 30, 2012

Turncoat Proteins

Scientists scope out the earliest signs of disease

It’s one of life’s little ironies. The proteins in our bodies fight infection, carry messages, ferry oxygen and build tissue. But then, like double agents in a spy novel, they can betray us. They overreact to a virus and attack our own organs. They promote cancer, help clog arteries or set up roadblocks in the […]


Business Partners
May 30, 2012

Business Partners

Entrepreneurs leverage OSU research in startup companies

One sunny spring afternoon, friends sat together in the backyard of a Corvallis home sipping wine, bemoaning the recent hike in gas prices to $3.50 per gallon. Among them were a former product-development specialist for Hewlett-Packard and an Oregon State University chemist. Perhaps inspired by the bioethanol in their glasses, what might happen, they wondered, […]


From Wood to Watts
May 30, 2012

From Wood to Watts

Forest-based fuels could fire up rural development, but at what cost?

About a million years ago in South Africa, a Homo erectus cave dweller used fire on purpose, and some charred bones at the site suggest it may have been for cooking. Thus was born the biofuels industry — and also the first known barbecue. The name of that cave, Wonderwerk, means “miracle” in the Afrikaans […]


Plates of Honor
May 30, 2012

Plates of Honor

Julie Green memorializes final meal choices by death-row prisoners

In 1997, Julie Green had just moved to Norman, Oklahoma, when she sat down to read the local paper with her morning tea and toast. As she was looking at the column of news from around the state, she was riveted by an item describing an execution that had happened the previous night. The column […]


Sowing seeds for business
May 30, 2012

Sowing seeds for business

Startup companies and entrepreneurs work hand-in-hand with researchers

New startup companies are emerging from Oregon State research. Here are three young companies just getting their feet on the ground.


Bits & Pieces
May 29, 2012

Bits & Pieces

News briefs from OSU

A geologist who once helped discover rock-eating microbes a mile beneath the ocean floor soon will be looking for rocks in the other direction: up.


The Exercise Gender Gap
May 29, 2012

The Exercise Gender Gap

Men are more active than women

Men exercise more than women do — 18 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous activity for women versus 30 minutes for men, on average — a study has found. This is bad news for women, who are more prone to “metabolic syndrome” — a cluster of risk factors including so-called “stubborn belly fat” often targeted in diet ads. […]


Of Predators and Herds
May 29, 2012

Of Predators and Herds

Big meat-eaters mean healthy ecosystems

The health of any ecosystem starts with razor-like teeth and an appetite for meat. The “apex” predators — big carnivores like bears and wolves at the top of the food web — keep things in balance, OSU researchers have found in study after study in the western United States. Now, the findings have been confirmed […]


Hail Oceanus!
May 29, 2012

Hail Oceanus!

Marine research vessel switches coasts

It was a beautiful day for a shakedown cruise off the Oregon coast. For a crew based at Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center, March 7, 2012, was also a good day to get to know their new ship, the research vessel (R/V) Oceanus. Scientists and crew took Oceanus, the sister ship to OSU’s […]


The Oh! Zone
May 29, 2012

The Oh! Zone

Far-out findings from science

Ancient Blood Brothers Like the “sloth moth,” which lives only in the fur of the ambling two-toed and three-toed mammals, the “bat fly” exists only in the fur of the winged, cave-dwelling mammals. Now scientists know that the flea-like, blood-sucking fly has been hanging around with bats for at least 20 million years. That’s because […]


Parents Should Chill Out
May 29, 2012

Parents Should Chill Out

Toddlers whose parents anger easily tend to throw more tantrums and become upset, a new study shows. Looking into the nature-versus-nurture question long debated in childrearing, researchers found a clear link between over-reactive parenting and negative emotions in young children. “You set the example as a parent in your own emotions and reactions,” says researcher […]


Infectious Science
May 29, 2012

Infectious Science

The National Institutes of Health is supporting OSU researchers with $4.5 million spread across 16 active projects. Among them: Jon Furuno, College of Pharmacy, studies the incidence and severity of MRSA in hospitals and long-term care facilities. Margaret Dolcini, Department of Public Health, studies the behaviors and attitudes of urban African-American youth at risk of […]


The Power’s in the Purple
May 29, 2012

The Power’s in the Purple

A new type of tomato that’s “as black as an eggplant” is being touted for its health-enhancing properties. Poetically named “Indigo Rose,” the new variety was bred at OSU as a powerful source of antioxidants — micronutrients known to fight the harmful “free radicals” implicated in cancers and other diseases. It’s the purple pigment, in […]


Tracking the Titans
May 29, 2012

Tracking the Titans

A whale named Varvara is following in the fluke-path of a whale named Flex, who surprised scientists last year by taking an unexpected migratory route from Russia to Oregon. Scientists led by Bruce Mate at the Marine Mammal Institute are following Varvara’s incredible journey via satellite signals from an electronic “tag” she received in September. […]


Data Driven
May 26, 2012

Data Driven

Chris Patton uses computer modeling to help build world-champion racecars

When Chris Patton was helping his Formula SAE team design a racecar for international competition, he made an unusual suggestion: angle the rear wheels outward in relation to the car. Common knowledge would warn against that move. Turning the rear tires outward makes the car less stable. But Patton, a Ph.D. student in mechanical engineering […]


Resistance Times Ten
May 25, 2012

Resistance Times Ten

Pathogens resistant to one or more drugs are on the rise. Below are 10 diseases associated with antimicrobial resistance identified by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 1. Anthrax. Occurs rarely in humans. Caused by exposure to infected animals or animal products. Also has been used in […]


Evidence for Change
May 25, 2012

Evidence for Change

Rigorous climate science trumps our senses

Some people take a dim view of the idea that Oregon, as well as the rest of the world, could be expected to continue warming in coming decades. They may cite March snowfall in the Willamette Valley or unpublished comparisons of mean temperatures over a given time period in specific places. Appealing as it is, […]


From Bedside to Public Square
May 25, 2012

From Bedside to Public Square

Drug-resistant staph infections go viral

Most of Portland is still punching the snooze button when morning rounds begin on Pill Hill. By 6 o’clock, teams of doctors, residents and medical students have draped their stethoscopes around their necks, collected their clipboards and greeted their first patients at OHSU’s teaching hospital. Joining one of the white-coated clusters, the family-medicine team, is […]


Green mulch
May 25, 2012

Green mulch

More veggies and more fruit = more plastic mulch on farms. Oregon State students look for alternatives.

Bear with me; here’s the problem. Plastic mulch — those shiny sheets spread across row upon row of veggies, strawberries and other crops — enables farmers to produce more types and greater quantities of food. It makes farming more profitable, preserves soil moisture, reduces weeds and saves on labor costs. But this type of mulch […]


X-ray vision
May 24, 2012

X-ray vision

Discarded data may hold the key to a sharper view of proteins and other molecules

There’s nothing like a new pair of eyeglasses to bring fine details into sharp relief. For scientists who study the large molecules of life from proteins to DNA, the equivalent of new lenses has come in the form of an advanced method for analyzing data from X-ray crystallography experiments. Reported in this week’s issue of […]


Wood or Oil?
May 23, 2012

Wood or Oil?

“The world is a complicated place and there are consequences for every choice we make,” says Hal Salwasser, dean of the Oregon State University College of Forestry. “The research cited here (in From Wood to Watts) shows what some of those consequences, good and bad, might be when we transform wood, a carbohydrate renewable over […]


New Corvallis microtechnology firm launches line of industrial micromixers
May 8, 2012

New Corvallis microtechnology firm launches line of industrial micromixers

Company aims for $2 billion microreactor life-sciences market

Microflow CVO (www.microflowcvo.com), a new company spun off from research in the Oregon State University Microproducts Breakthrough Institute (MBI), has launched its first product line of stainless steel micromixers. Inside the precision-engineered devices are a multilayer network of channels designed to meet manufacturer needs in the pharmaceuticals, petrochemicals, personal care products and other industries. Dime-sized […]