OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

OSU student to meet Nobel laureates in Germany

06/19/2009

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A molecular toxicology student at Oregon State University will attend a meeting in Germany this month that aims to forge bonds between Nobel Prize winners and the world's most promising young researchers.

Ed O'Donnell, who was born and raised in Coos Bay, Ore., is one of 580 young scientists from 67 countries who will attend the 59th annual Nobel Laureate meeting in Lindau from June 28 to July 3. More than 20,000 people applied to attend it, said Christian Rapp, the press officer for the event. The panel that reviewed the finalists' applications deemed those selected to be some of the most talented young researchers in the world.

O'Donnell, 25, will rub elbows with 23 Nobel Prize recipients, listen to their lectures, and discuss topics of current interest with them during meals and social activities. Most of the laureates are in the field of chemistry, the focus of this year's gathering.

"I'm especially looking forward to meeting the 2008 Nobel Prize winners in chemistry, who worked on the discovery and development of green fluorescent protein, which I use frequently in my research," said O'Donnell, who is working on a doctorate and conducts cancer research. "I'm also looking forward to meeting other graduate students to develop lasting friendships and potential future research collaborations."

O'Donnell, who earned a 3.97 GPA while getting a bachelor's degree in biochemistry and biophysics from OSU, hopes to become a professor and continue researching cancer. He is interested in the disease in part because a grandmother of his died of breast cancer. In his research he is studying how nuclear receptors control cell growth and is trying to develop drugs that will control this growth.

O'Donnell works in the lab of OSU cancer biologist Siva Kolluri, who nominated him for the meeting.

"Eddie is one of the best you could ever find as a grad student," Kolluri said. "He's very talented, methodical and determined. He puts 100 percent into what he does. He's generated some pretty exciting results in the lab."

Kolluri remembers one Sunday last year when O'Donnell was working in the lab while Kolluri was writing a paper in his office.

"He ran down the hall, banged on my door and held up a paper and was breathing so hard and said, 'Here it is. Can you believe it?'" Kolluri recalled.

O'Donnell was holding up a printout of an X-ray that showed an unexpected protein complex. Kolluri said it was an important discovery because it might lead to the development of a new cancer-fighting drug.

"Identifying this protein complex has helped to shape my current research and has led to a number of exciting discoveries that Dr. Kolluri and I hope to publish," O'Donnell said.