Category » Terra Blog

Taking a Quick Scan
June 29, 2015

Taking a Quick Scan

New instrument promises better, faster information about ancient Earth

We can learn a lot by going back in time, but scientific methods for looking at the past can take, well, a lot of time. Ancient ash, pollen and chemical changes in ocean sediment cores give us glimpses into a long-gone world, but they also provide clues to our future. And yet, analyzing these cores […]


Deep Data
June 25, 2015

Deep Data

Scientists put the last piece into place

Craig Risien overlooks the deck of the Pacific Storm as the Endurance Array team prepares the buoy and anchor for deployment. Photo: Craig Risien. The drizzle faded and the skies cleared as the Pacific Storm slipped under the graceful arch of the Yaquina Bay Bridge. The 85-foot trawler turned research vessel carried a full contingent […]


June 1, 2015

Engaging In Opportunity Creation

Congressional staffers and D.C. lobbyists can be powerful allies for researchers

  YEARS OF KNITTING TOGETHER A network of strategic partnerships have shown me that focusing mostly on proposal writing can limit your research horizons. If you’re trying to build something big, engaging more broadly in what I call “opportunity creation” may be something to think about. I was a graduate student in mathematics departments where […]


June 1, 2015

On the Ground with Kevin Ahern

Tips for Working with Undergraduate Researchers

          There once was a prof in Corvallis Whose abilities made everyone jealous, For his lyrics were fine, His delivery sublime, And his support for his students tremendous. –Limerick by Victoria Bonebrake             DURING HALF OF HIS WORKWEEK, biochemistry/biophysics professor Kevin Ahern is renowned among students […]


Chain of Mentorship
June 1, 2015

Chain of Mentorship

Looping in Underserved Students with Solid Linkages

  WHEN YOU TELL PEOPLE you work in a cryopreservation lab, it sounds like you’re in a sci-fi movie. But the students who work for Oregon State bioengineering professor Adam Higgins say there’s nothing fictitious about the learning they’ve acquired as part of his broader-impact program. In the Higgins Laboratory in the School of Chemical, […]


June 1, 2015

Top of Mind: Capturing Research Dollars

It takes the whole team to win

IN DECEMBER 2013, I LAUNCHED THE Office for Research Development with the goal of establishing a framework to catalyze the competitiveness of faculty researchers in winning funding for their research.  The creation of the office was driven by a task force of visionary faculty recognizing the need for someone to facilitate the development of large-scale […]


The Adams File:  Beyond Appearances
May 13, 2015

The Adams File: Beyond Appearances

Diversity creates opportunities and challenges

“In a multicultural environment, the boundaries of behavior and appearance are wider than they are in a single culture. But they matter less than the content of ideas and the commitment to values.”


Perspectives: Discovering Our “Research-Impact” Identities
May 11, 2015

Perspectives: Discovering Our “Research-Impact” Identities

Transcending the academic rat race and remembering why we do science

“It’s essential to help faculty transcend the rat race, to create something new, to grow research impacts from the set of underlying principles that burn in the heart of each researcher.”


May 5, 2015

GMOs in Agriculture

The science of genetic engineering

To help inform policy discussions and public discussion about genetically engineered (GE) agricultural products, Dan Arp, Dean of OSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences, commissioned a series of white papers to explore five areas of public interest.


Oregon Welcomes Wayfaring Fish
April 15, 2015

Oregon Welcomes Wayfaring Fish

Finned stowaways travel 5,000 miles in a wrecked boat

THEY SCHOOL SILENTLY in a big blue tank, their slender, 2-foot-long bodies slipping through the saltwater like silken sashes. In their midst swims a different fish, smaller and blocky with black-and-white stripes. Outwardly, nothing about this scene at the Oregon Coast Aquarium seems especially noteworthy. But on this Friday afternoon, April 10, TV crews jostle […]


Unraveling the Origins of Heart Disease
April 13, 2015

Unraveling the Origins of Heart Disease

Using big data to shed light on the No. 1 cause of death

TO TEASE OUT THE COMPLEX INTERPLAY of immunity and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), biomedical researcher Stephen Ramsey has designed software that can analyze both gene expression measurements and genetic information. With this new tool, he and his interdisciplinary team have found a significant increase in heart disease among animals deficient in a particular protein […]


Editor’s Note: Getting Along with the Neighbors
April 12, 2015

Editor’s Note: Getting Along with the Neighbors

The wildlife in our yards and neighborhoods may please or sometimes annoy us, but they connect us to a web of life that appears to be unraveling before our eyes.


Communicating for Public Health
April 6, 2015

Communicating for Public Health

Factual information can dispel fear, says ABC News health and medical editor

When Dr. Richard Besser was reporting from the Ebola crisis in Liberia in 2014, he knew how to keep himself safe. But, says the health and medical editor for ABC News, there was more at stake than his personal welfare. “Whenever I’m doing a story, I’m looking for what information I can give people to […]


Adrift in a Sea of Data
April 3, 2015

Adrift in a Sea of Data

Stunning images of rare zooplankton garner worldwide citizen input

  THEY FLOAT IN THE OCEAN BY THE BILLIONS, these wandering animals whose Greek name means “drifter.” Most are smaller than a pinpoint, their adaptive peculiarities (whip-like propellers, bug-like antennae, hair-like fringes for foraging on algae) visible only under a microscope. Others can be seen with the naked eye, ranging in size from a pencil […]


April 3, 2015

Break down barriers for women in STEM fields, says former NSF director

Obstacles still exist to the full participation of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, according to Rita Colwell, former director of the National Science Foundation. Failure to address these barriers threatens the ability of the world to solve pressing problems in the environment, human health and other fields. Colwell considers this issue from a […]


March 23, 2015

Plankton Photo Gallery


Solar Car Race Offers Gold Standard Learning in Abu Dhabi
February 26, 2015

Solar Car Race Offers Gold Standard Learning in Abu Dhabi

Call it the experience of a lifetime. Or just call it part of a great education at Oregon State. In January, nine OSU students took a solar car they built to the United Arab Emirates to participate in the Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge, a four-day, 1,200 kilometer race. This was the first international competition for […]


When Will the Rains Come?
February 23, 2015

When Will the Rains Come?

This weather phenomenon feeds millions

Researchers at the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences are trying to improve our ability to forecast a phenomenon known as the Madden-Julian oscillation (MJO). This eastward-moving pulse of heavy rainfall and strong winds travels around the equator and has broad impacts on climate and weather. While statistical indices of the MJO from past […]


Where Rivers Run in the Human Heart
February 17, 2015

Where Rivers Run in the Human Heart

A stream ecologist tells the story of his watery journey

Kurt Fausch looked the part of a lifelong field researcher, his casual, earth-toned clothes hanging loose and comfortable on his long, lanky frame. But he was about to reveal his alter ego as a philosopher of wild waters.


Understanding Tropical Reefs
February 16, 2015

Understanding Tropical Reefs

Microbes may hold a key to threatened corals

    By David Baker All signs pointed to Ryan McMinds attending Oregon State University as an undergraduate. Both of his parents graduated from OSU, and he grew up just down the road in Jefferson, Oregon. It was always his default choice. “But at the last minute, I decided that I needed to travel and […]


The Adams File: The Future of Health Care
February 12, 2015

The Adams File: The Future of Health Care

Effective strategy demands a holistic approach

As planning for this issue of Terra got underway, the Ebola outbreak was capturing attention in medical journals and news reports and across the Internet. There were fears of a pandemic. Previously known only in Africa, the disease had appeared in the United States and Spain. Public health specialists struggled to cut the rate of […]


February 12, 2015

Squinting at a Diagnosis

  The wind blew unseasonably bitter the day my sister and I took Mom to her first oncology appointment. As Mom leaned into the gale, her jaunty hat flew up suddenly and whirled away. The hairstyle she’d arranged with such care was defeated. “I’m nervous,” she said as we sat waiting for the doctor at […]


January 30, 2015

The Merging Paths to a NSF Research Center

How OSU became the headquarters for reimagining the computer chip

  I AM OFTEN ASKED ABOUT THE STEPS leading to establishment of the Center for Sustainable Materials Chemistry headquartered at Oregon State University. The story starts with the glimmer of an idea that emerged in the mid-1980s. The idea took hold in the 1990s, and culminated in 2011 with the establishment of a multi-institutional research […]


January 30, 2015

NSF Special Report: Broader Impacts

AS WE AIM FOR SUCCESS of OSU’s broader impacts, it’s important that we understand the national and cultural contexts for broader impacts among researchers and institutions. In November, the National Science Foundation (NSF) released a document titled Perspectives on Broader Impacts, summarizing perspectives of NSF administrators, university leaders, and researchers on the current state and […]


January 14, 2015

Take a Look…

Shining on Portland’s South Waterfront stands a new tower, one that is as functional as it is beautiful. A joint project of Oregon State University, Oregon Health & Science University and Portland State University, the Collaborative Life Sciences Building is emblematic of a new, interdisciplinary era in biomedical research and education. By bringing together top […]


A Greenhouse Gas Finds New Purpose
January 13, 2015

A Greenhouse Gas Finds New Purpose

Someday, CO2 may improve energy storage for your hybrid electric car

WHAT IF WE COULD TURN EXCESS CO2 into a boon for electronics and other industries? Chemists and engineers at Oregon State University have discovered a way to do just that. David Ji and his research team have captured atmospheric carbon dioxide — a greenhouse gas — and used it to make an advanced, high-value material […]


Nuclear Sleuthing
January 12, 2015

Nuclear Sleuthing

The science of nuclear forensics helps thwart terrorist attacks

  “There’s still much too much material — nuclear, chemical, biological — being stored without enough protection.  There are still terrorists and criminal gangs doing everything they can to get their hands on it. And make no mistake, if they get it, they will use it; potentially killing hundreds of thousands of innocent people, perhaps […]


Seeking the Secrets of Old Growth
January 12, 2015

Seeking the Secrets of Old Growth

Under a towering canopy, scientists uncover a million mysteries

  OREGON’S OLD-GROWTH FORESTS host thousands upon thousands of animal, plant and insect species: owls and beetles, mosses and ferns, salmon and salamanders, lichens and vines, spiders and songbirds, and trees that are older than the Aztecs and taller than Niagara Falls. For more than 60 years, the rich biological and physical connectivity of this […]


Hub for Health Sciences Media Gallery
January 8, 2015

Hub for Health Sciences Media Gallery


A Hub for Health Sciences
January 8, 2015

A Hub for Health Sciences

Biomedical research takes on a towering presence in Portland

Seen from Portland’s hilly Corbett district, the towers of the city’s new health sciences complex punch upward at optimistic angles from the South Waterfront.  The bridges to its north and south, the Ross Island and the Marquam, bracket the bluish stone-and-glass structure like a pair of parentheses. Just beyond the front entrance, Tilikum Crossing, the […]