Microbiology to celebrate its centennial


CORVALLIS - The Department of Microbiology at Oregon State University will celebrate its 100th year on Aug. 20-22, with a variety of activities, prominent speakers and publications.

From its origin in 1899 as the Department of Bacteriology at what was then Oregon Agricultural College, this OSU department has since evolved into an internationally recognized center of research, service and undergraduate and graduate education, which has produced many prominent scientists and greatly expanded the frontiers of knowledge in microbiology.

Some of the earliest programs focusing on agriculture, food production and medicine still exist, officials say, but are complemented by pioneering work in biotechnology, genetic engineering, immunology and some of the other most promising new fields of scientific advancement.

OSU microbiology researchers have helped nurture the Oregon dairy industry, improved food plant sanitation, and developed vaccines that made possible world aquaculture. In more recent advances they have worked to develop new vaccines for use in human and animal medicine, explored how plants respond to environmental stress and even done research on some of the earliest bacterial life forms that could form the basis for life on Mars or other planets.

An open house will be held Friday, Aug. 20, from 1-4 p.m. in the departmental facilities in Nash Hall on the OSU campus, and includes a poster session.

On Saturday, Aug. 21, prominent alumni and other researchers will speak at the CH2M-HILL Alumni Center, including Jim Bowen, emeritus vice president for academic affairs at the University of Texas; Don Orth, director of scientific affairs at Neutrogena Corp.; Mary Lindstrom, associate dean in engineering at the University of Washington; Kala Paul, assistant vice president at Whitehall Robins Healthcare; Jay Nelson, director of the Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute at the Oregon Health Sciences University; Leo Parks, professor of microbiology at North Carolina State University; and Penny Amy, dean of the graduate college at UNLV. A banquet and dance are also planned.

On Sunday, Aug. 22, activities will include a golf tournament, department tours, visits to the salmon disease laboratory, and tours of other nearby facilities.

Events are open to the public. There is a registration fee of $85 and costs associated with some activities. More information can be obtained from the Department of Microbiology, 541-737-4441.