Stories

End-of-Life Dilemma
October 10, 2013

End-of-Life Dilemma

Hospice workers struggle with assisted death

When dying people choose to hasten death with a doctor’s help, their caregivers often face a troubling dilemma. In particular, hospice — the final stop for many terminal patients — poses an overlooked problem, OSU researchers report. That’s because hospice objects to physician-assisted death, yet most patients who choose assisted death are in hospice care. […]


Biological Origami and Naked Mole Rats
October 10, 2013

Biological Origami and Naked Mole Rats

Seeking the secrets of longevity in misfolded proteins

A half-ounce flying mammal, a tiny marsupial that glides from tree limb to tree limb, and a hairless, burrowing rodent with supersize front teeth all share a trait that makes them intriguing to researcher Viviana Perez: exceptional longevity. The little brown bat (Myotis lucifungus), common across North America, has been known to live more than […]


New Flu Clues
October 10, 2013

New Flu Clues

Vaccine strategies need rethinking

When flu season rolls around, hundreds of thousands of Americans will get sick. Nearly a quarter-million will be hospitalized. Tens of thousands will die. Despite the risks, only about a third of Americans will get vaccinated. Researchers now say the nation’s vaccination priorities need to shift. That’s because the groups least likely to get the […]


A Cheaper Cell
October 10, 2013

A Cheaper Cell

Antifreeze shows promise in solar cell manufacturing

Faster, cheaper, better. The conventional wisdom says you can’t get all three at the same time. But researchers at Oregon State say otherwise — at least when it comes to new materials for making solar cells. Engineers have found a less expensive, less toxic, better performing — and surprising — substance for solar cell manufacturing: […]


Peak Water
October 10, 2013

Peak Water

Global warming likely to shrink snowpack

Oregon is warming, and snow is waning. The clear, clean water that supplies many of Oregon’s cities and farms originates high in the Cascades. Stored on snowy peaks, the water feeds rivers and aquifers that supply some of the state’s most populous regions. In one key watershed, the McKenzie, snowpack is predicted to drop more […]


Deep Trouble
October 10, 2013

Deep Trouble

Lionfish get bigger, go deeper

When a submersible dove into deep waters off Florida not long ago, the scientists aboard saw an alarming sight: big lionfish, lots of them. “This was kind of an ah-ha moment,” says OSU researcher Stephanie Green. “It was immediately clear that this is a new frontier in the lionfish crisis.” Lionfish, native to the Pacific […]


“I’ve Never Been So Excited”
October 10, 2013

“I’ve Never Been So Excited”

A young scientist goes to the White House

Portland ninth-grader Meghana Rao was scouring the Web for information on biochar when she stumbled across an intriguing paper by a researcher named Markus Kleber. When she realized he was at Oregon State University, just 90 miles down the freeway from where she was a student at Jesuit High School, she emailed him with “a […]


Seedbed for Startups
October 9, 2013

Seedbed for Startups

Advantage Accelerator adds fuel to Oregon State’s entrepreneurial fire

Methane-powered engines. Autonomous helicopters. Online shopping assistants. Electricity from wastewater. These new products and the business opportunities they generate are in the pipeline at Oregon State University’s Advantage Accelerator. They are among 14 research concepts or spinoff companies selected to participate in a program that spurs the creation of new companies from university-based research. Five […]


“I Thought I Wanted to Work with Fish”
October 9, 2013

“I Thought I Wanted to Work with Fish”

Profile of an Antarctic scientist

When Andrew Thurber started his journey in marine biology at Hawaii Pacific University, he got a surprise. “I thought I wanted to work with fish,” he says. “Turns out I don’t.” Instead, in an Antarctic research lab, he became enamored with worms. “Worms are incredibly diverse. That was one of the most amazing things to […]


Creating Great Writers
August 28, 2013

Creating Great Writers

The peaks of the Wallowa Mountains in Eastern Oregon are still snow-capped in July. The lake is clear and still. The sun shines down hard, and writers at Summer Fishtrap chase shade even at breakfast. Guzzling coffee among them is Jon Ross, a creative writing graduate student at Oregon State University, who wears a tentative […]


Getting the Lead Out
August 20, 2013

Getting the Lead Out

Erik Dove investigates toxic glazes in Ecuador

An International Studies biology student delves into a health risk in rural Ecuador: lead contamination in local pottery.


Eco-Excellence
July 31, 2013

Eco-Excellence

Five extraordinary students shoulder the task of preserving biodiversity

They all grew up immersed in nature: catching frogs, climbing rocks, diving reefs, combing beaches, camping out. Now, they’re all committed to studying and restoring the natural world, each in his or her own way. For Justin Conner, that means investigating the chytrid fungus and other threats to amphibians. Allison Stringer’s ecosystem studies have taken […]


Mapping the Columbia
July 30, 2013

Mapping the Columbia

Cartography students create atlas for iBooks

The Columbia River Basin comes to life in a new digital atlas produced by Oregon State University cartography students. They have created an iBook — accessible via Apple’s iPad — which combines the look and feel of a traditional paper book with the touch-screen features of a tablet computer. Through colorful maps, animations, photos and […]


“eButterfly” Can Change a Summer Hobby into a Scientific Venture
July 25, 2013

“eButterfly” Can Change a Summer Hobby into a Scientific Venture

Build a virtual butterfly collection

With the arrival of sunny summer days and creation of a new “citizen science” project called eButterfly, every 7-year-old child in the United States and Canada just gained the ability to become a working scientist. This project, which is now online at e-butterfly.org, is one of the first of its type, and will allow everyone […]


Like Birds? Project Seeks Citizen Scientists for Bird Surveys
July 25, 2013

Like Birds? Project Seeks Citizen Scientists for Bird Surveys

Volunteer birders can learn to contribute sitings to national database

Oregon State University researchers are hoping to tap into the state’s growing population of bird-watching enthusiasts to create a volunteer team of “citizen scientists” to gather data on Oregon’s resident and visiting birds. Their project, called Oregon 2020, is seeking to fill some of the large gaps in data about Oregon birds, organizers say. Information […]


Singing His Story
July 19, 2013

Singing His Story

OSU master’s student explores deep questions through music

When Joshua Rist walked into the music department’s audition room at Oregon State University in 2009, he aimed to impress the faculty with a composition combining the driving energy of rock ‘n’ roll with the emotional power of a classical symphony. “I had written this piano concerto that was exciting to me, and I thought […]


From Zebrafish to You
July 2, 2013

From Zebrafish to You

Popular aquarium fish provides a window on environmental chemicals

On average, an individual encounters about 80,000 synthetic chemicals every day. So says Robert Tanguay, a toxicologist at Oregon State University. Many of those chemicals — from fire retardants in fabrics to drying agents in paint — are untested for toxicity to people. Tanguay and his research team are working to change that. Their results […]


July 1, 2013

Designing an Experiment from Scratch

A neophyte learns the ropes of doing science

Designing an experiment from scratch is hard enough. Doing it in six months is a staggering feat. But Oregon State University graduate Kristin Jones pulled it off, immersing herself in scholarly papers, writing a detailed proposal, acquiring materials and constructing equipment in preparation for an intensive period of fieldwork — all while working as a […]


Threshold for Thriving
July 1, 2013

Threshold for Thriving

How much forest management is too much for northern house wrens?

Kristin Jones’ research aims to discover whether intensive forestry practices, such as herbicide use, interfere with wrens’ habitat.


A Bird’s-Eye View
June 28, 2013

A Bird’s-Eye View

Planners are looking at landscapes through a wider lens

Miles Hemstrom was a young boy when he began looking at the landscape from a bird’s-eye view. It started when he went fishing with his dad on the Grand Mesa in Colorado. He recalls driving up an old dirt road that wound along the side of a mountain through aspen and spruce-fir forest. “We could […]


Purrs, Moans and Shrieks from the Deep
June 28, 2013

Purrs, Moans and Shrieks from the Deep

“Rapunzel Project” studies humpback vocalizations in Alaska

In their foraging grounds of the dark, frigid waters in southeast Alaska’s Fredrick Sound, humpback whales are calling to one another with “purrs,” “shrieks,” “wops” and “moans.” To find out why they speak and what they might be saying, Oregon State University graduate student Michelle Fournet is listening.


Jake Tepper: “Coral reefs are dying.”
June 18, 2013

Jake Tepper: “Coral reefs are dying.”

When Jacob (Jake) Tepper was an eighth-grader, he and his dad traded in their 20-gallon saltwater aquarium and transferred its inhabitants — an anemone and a pair of clownfish — to a spacious 50-gallon reef tank. They added corals and a porcupine pufferfish who begged for food by squirting water at passersby. And then there […]


Katlyn Taylor: “OMG, so much science!”
June 18, 2013

Katlyn Taylor: “OMG, so much science!”

Katlyn Taylor’s life has bumped into practically every phylum of the Animal Kingdom. Ask her how she got into science, and she’ll spin a narrative that spans sea lemons, orphaned chickens, 4-H rabbits, endangered Asian elephants, gray whale migration, sea lion pups, the genetics of microbacterial phages and the coloration of sea stars. And she’s […]


Elliott Finn: “Blanket solutions aren’t the answer.”
June 18, 2013

Elliott Finn: “Blanket solutions aren’t the answer.”

What runs through the life of author Norman McLean is a river. In the life of Elliott Finn, it’s a plant. Vegetation, wild and domestic, wends through every childhood memory: playing hide-and-seek among fruit trees in his parents’ sprawling Soap Creek garden near Corvallis. Dashing through botanical gardens and greenhouses with his little brother Ian. […]


Allison Stringer: “There’s still hope.”
June 18, 2013

Allison Stringer: “There’s still hope.”

Siberia seldom tempts Western travelers to explore its vast taiga forests and endless permafrost  — unless that traveler happens to be Allison Stringer. For the OSU biology student, nothing could be more enticing than spending a summer month “out in the middle of nowhere”— living on a barge at the Northeast Science Station near a […]


Justin Conner: “Amphibians are crashing.”
June 18, 2013

Justin Conner: “Amphibians are crashing.”

When manatees and alligators are members of your backyard ecosystem, it’s like living with a ready-made science project. Justin Conner took full advantage of the biodiversity bursting in and around the Florida canal that linked his childhood home to the ocean. There were peacock bass and cichlids to hook. There were frogs and toads to […]


Jane Lubchenco kicks off OSU speaker series at da Vinci Days
June 11, 2013

Jane Lubchenco kicks off OSU speaker series at da Vinci Days

Popular arts and science festival celebrates 25 years

Jane Lubchenco, Oregon State University professor and former administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, will give the opening night keynote address at Corvallis’ annual da Vinci Days festival on Friday, July 19. Her presentation, “From the Silly to the Sublime: Stories about Science in D.C,” will begin at 7 p.m. in the Whiteside […]


An Evolutionary Tale
June 11, 2013

An Evolutionary Tale

Stress leads to genetic changes in laboratory worms

A tiny worm is wiggling its way toward our understanding of evolution and the genetics of aging. We know that mutations in DNA enable organisms to evolve. But how? Jeremy Northway, an undergraduate in the Oregon State University Honors College, is intent on using this worm, known as C. elegans, to find answers. Few animals […]


June 4, 2013

After the Quake

Saving lives is everybody's business

As an epidemiologist, Jeff Bethel understands the vital role of public health in saving lives after a natural disaster. Most at risk, he says, are vulnerable populations — migrant laborers and people who live alone or have chronic illnesses. “If you’re in your little bubble, you’re at higher risk,” says the assistant professor in the […]


Oregon 9.0
May 25, 2013

Oregon 9.0

When the next Big One comes, will we be ready?

Professor Scott Ashford has seen the consequences of “megathrust” quakes in Chile, Japan and New Zealand: buildings and bridges tilted and broken like toys, beachfront tourist towns reduced to rubble, pipelines squeezed out of the ground like toothpaste out of a tube, businesses closed or forced to relocate.