college of science

Natural carbohydrate shows promise as weapon against food poisoning

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Chitosan, a natural carbohydrate derived from crustacean shells, is showing promise as a weapon against a bacterium that annually sickens more than a million people in the United States.

After salmonella poisoning, the second-most common bacterial foodborne illness in the U.S. is Clostridium perfringens food poisoning.

Present in soil, decaying vegetation and the intestinal tracts of vertebrates, C. perfringens typically infects humans when they eat meat that hasn’t been thoroughly cooked or properly stored, allowing the bacteria to multiply.

Symptons of C. perfringens food poisoning include abdominal pain, stomach cramps, diarrhea and nausea; patients often mistake it for a 24-hour flu.

“People aren’t dying, but they’re getting sick,” said Oregon State University researcher Mahfuzur Sarker. “And many times people don’t report it, so there are likely way more people getting infected than we know about.”

Sarker and OSU graduate student Maryam Alnoman were part of an international collaboration that studied the effect of chitosan on C. perfringens. Chitosan is a linear polysaccharide that results from treating the exoskeletons of shrimp and other crustaceans with an alkaline compound.

The tests involved both laboratory growth medium – bacteria in solution – and cooked, contaminated chicken meat left for several hours at 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. The study looked at the full life cycle of the C. perfringen bacterium, which produces tough, metabolically dormant spores that are able to survive many food processing approaches.

Results were recently published in Food Microbiology.

The researchers found chitosan blocked C. perfringens growth in cooked chicken and also found chitosan inhibits:

  • Spore germination and outgrowth;
  • The spore core from releasing dipicolinic acid, which is associated with an early step of spore germination;
  • The growth of vegetative cells – cells that are actively growing as opposed to producing spores. 

“In lab conditions, low concentrations of chitosan were effective,” said Sarker, professor of microbiology in OSU’s colleges of science and veterinary medicine. “In meat, the concentration needs to be higher because there are a lot of ingredients in the cooked meat that can inhibit the activity of the antimicrobial chemicals.

“But the larger dose of 3 milligrams per gram of food is still a good dose that can be used in making food products. This is the first time chitosan was shown to work consistently both in lab conditions and in chicken meat.”

Sarker said the next steps are researching chitosan’s effectiveness in other types of meat and meat products and optimizing the conditions for using it. It’s possible, for example, that chitosan may work best when combined with other food preservative chemicals such as sorbate and benzoate.

“It could be a combination of multiple agents,” he said “There are options we can try."

The OSU researchers collaborated with scientists at Taibah University in Saudi Arabia and Kasetsart University in Thailand.

Oregon State’s Agricultural Research Foundation supported the study. Funding also came from the U.S. Army Research Office.

Media Contact: 

Steve Lundeberg, 541-737-4039

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C. perfringens

Clostridium perfringens cells

OSU marine ecologist receives top National Academy of Sciences honor

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The National Academy of Sciences is honoring Oregon State University marine ecologist Jane Lubchenco with its most prestigious award, the Public Welfare Medal.

The academy has annually presented the award, which recognizes distinguished contributions in the application of science to the public good, since 1914. The medal honors individuals “who have worked tirelessly to promote science for the benefit of humanity.”

Lubchenco’s selection as the 2017 Public Welfare Medal recipient was announced today.

“It’s an incredible honor, especially since it comes at a time in history when it’s more important than ever for scientists to engage with the public in meaningful ways and demonstrate how our work improves people’s lives,” Lubchenco said. “And I’m humbled at having my name join the list of amazing individuals who’ve received this tremendous award.”

Past winners include Neil deGrasse Tyson, Bill and Melinda Gates, Carl Sagan, Alan Alda, C. Everett Koop, David Packard, Jimmy Doolittle, Herbert Hoover and Gifford Pinchot.

The academy is honoring Lubchenco, university distinguished professor and advisor in marine studies in the OSU College of Science, for “successful efforts in bringing together the larger research community, its sponsors and the public policy community to focus on urgent issues related to global environmental change.”

“Jane Lubchenco is not only an eminent scientist in her own right but also a passionate advocate for science who has dedicated her career to public service,” said Susan Wessler, home secretary of the National Academy of Sciences and chair of the selection committee for the award. “In doing so, she has inspired and encouraged countless other researchers to follow in her footsteps.” 

The former administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the first woman to serve in that role, Lubchenco just completed a two-year term as the first U.S. Science Envoy for the Ocean. An internationally recognized expert on marine ecology, environmental science and climate change, she is one of the world’s most highly cited ecologists and has received numerous honors, including a MacArthur “genius” award.

At NOAA from 2009 to 2013, Lubchenco focused on restoring oceans to a healthy state, returning fisheries to sustainability and profitability, strengthening science and scientific integrity, ensuring continuity of weather and other environmental satellites, and delivering climate science information and services. 

She led NOAA’s response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and advised President Obama on the federal government’s response to that and other disasters, including the earthquake and tsunami in Japan in 2011.

“Jane Lubchenco is my hero,” said National Academy of Sciences President Marcia McNutt. “She does it all. She begins by providing the fundamental science that is the beacon for a better way to manage our ocean resources for the benefit of present and future generations. Then she steps forward to put knowledge into action through leadership both nationally and internationally. We couldn’t be more pleased to present her with our highest award.”  

Lubchenco will be presented with the medal April 30 in Washington, D.C., during the academy’s 154th annual meeting.

The National Academy of Sciences, of which Lubchenco has been a member since 1996, is a private nonprofit established under a congressional charter signed by President Lincoln in 1863. It recognizes achievement in science and provides science, engineering and health policy advice to the federal government and other organizations.

“I cannot think of a better person to receive this than Jane,” said Sastry Pantula, dean of the Oregon State University College of Science. “She is a jewel in OSU's crown. She is not only a tireless ambassador for developing science-based policies, but also committed to the vision of having healthy people, living on a healthy planet, in a healthy economy.”

Media Contact: 

Steve Lundeberg, 541-737-4039

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Jane Lubchenco 1

Jane Lubchenco

Volunteers sought for study to measure actual metabolic impact of multivitamins

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Participants are being sought for a study at Oregon State University that hopes to answer a long-overdue question – does the use of multivitamin supplements really improve the nutritional status, and ultimately the health, of elderly adults?

Oddly enough, almost no research has been done that measures what improvements in nutritional status actually occur when people take a multivitamin and mineral supplement. Even less is known about effects in the elderly, a time of life when substantial evidence shows that vitamin and mineral demands are higher and more difficult to meet.

In this research, which will be a double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 40 men age 70 or older, in generally good health, will be tested to measure their response to the use of a multivitamin, or lack of one.  Men are being chosen because, even more than women, their diet as older adults is known to often be deficient in vitamins A, C, D, E, and K, as well as calcium, magnesium and potassium.

For four months two groups of men will receive either a placebo or the multivitamin Centrum Silver, and measurements will be made of any changes in their nutritional status as well as markers of health, such as activity levels, energy reserve and cognitive function. The study is being funded by a grant from Pfizer Consumer Healthcare, the company which markets that product.

“It’s clear that older individuals have even higher nutritional deficiencies than the general population, at a time in their life when those nutrients may be more important than ever,” said Tory Hagen, the Helen P. Rumbel Professor for Healthy Aging Research in OSU’s Linus Pauling Institute.

“Older adults often have poor nutrition, they lose some of their sense of taste and flavor, and they absorb micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals less effectively. They are getting fewer of these nutrients even as the demand for those nutrients increases with age. This can increase their risk for chronic disease.”

Hagen, a biochemist in the OSU College of Science, said it is worth noting that almost all research to establish the recommended daily allowance for micronutrients is based on the needs of younger adults, ages 18-48. As aging takes its natural toll and the ability to absorb micronutrients decreases, the amounts needed may increase significantly in older adults, he said. This study will examine how well a multivitamin and mineral supplement can improve markers that reflect optimal metabolic status.

“We’ll finally learn more about how these micronutrients are being used in the body, especially in older adults, and whether or not the levels being taken will help address health issues,” Hagen said.

Measurements will be made on the effect of supplements on a complete metabolic panel using plasma or blood cells, on such issues as antioxidant status, lipoprotein profiles, metabolic health, and inflammation. Individuals will also be required to wear an activity monitoring device,  along with other measurements made of “cellular energy transduction” that show general energy reserve, and cognitive testing will assess common functions that do or do not decline with age.

Any eligible men interested in participating in the study may contact Alex Michels in OSU’s Linus Pauling Institute, via email at alexander.michels@oregonstate.edu

Individuals will be eligible if they have no current or past history of serious chronic illness, such as cancer, heart disease, or diabetes. Men who are already taking a multivitamin supplement are eligible, if they are willing to stop taking it for a period before the study begins.

Older adults are at increased risk of various chronic diseases, Hagen said, in which inadequate levels of vitamins and minerals may play a significant role, including cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, liver disease and cancer.

The Linus Pauling Institute offers recommendations for supplements that could be of value to older adults, in some cases at levels substantially higher even than those found in a multivitamin. It can be found online at http://bit.ly/1W2azki

Story By: 

Tory Hagen, 541-737-5083


Massive online database lays the foundation for mathematics of the 21st century

CORVALLIS, Ore. – An international team of mathematicians that includes an Oregon State University professor has released a massive mathematical database that catalogs objects of central importance in number theory and maps out the intricate connections between them.

The “L-functions and Modular Forms Database,” or LMFDB, serves as an atlas of mathematical functions and other objects, and also reveals deep relationships in the abstract universe of mathematics. 

L-functions are like DNA in that having the same L-function distinguishes when mathematical objects are related. The LMFDB can be viewed as analogous to the DNA sequencing of many genomes. An example of objects with this type of DNA are elliptic curves, which form the basis of cryptographic protocols used by most major Internet companies, including Google, Facebook and Amazon. 

By coordinating efforts, researchers have made these relationships visible by developing new algorithms and performing calculations on an extensive network of computers. Free and open source, the database is accessible online for anyone to use to learn and discover uncharted mathematical worlds. 

The team includes over 70 mathematicians from 12 countries and more than a dozen research areas. They represent a range of institutions including the American Institute of Mathematics; Arizona State University; University of California, San Diego; MIT; Oregon State University; University of Vermont; University of Vienna, Austria; University of Warwick, UK; and others. By joining forces, the mathematicians were able to develop a site that serves as one-stop shopping for big data on key mathematical objects.

Holly Swisher, an associate professor of mathematics in OSU’s College of Science, has been a member of the project since its first official workshop in Paris during the fall of 2010. Work on the database generally happens during weeklong workshops where participants cycle between individual work, small group teamwork and large group discussions. The group has no leader—all decisions are made by consensus at workshop meetings. 

The quantity and depth of data is staggering. The LMFDB tabulates data which has been produced over many decades, and which is now available in one place in a unified format. Hundreds of CPU years of computing time were involved in compiling the database along with thousands of hours of human effort.

Many of these calculations are so intricate that only a handful of experts can do them, and some computations are so big that it makes sense to only do them once. For example, a recent computation by Andrew Sutherland at MIT used 72,000 cores of Google's Compute Engine to complete in hours a tabulation that would have taken more than a century on a single computer.

The application of large-scale cloud computing to conduct research in pure mathematics is just one of the ways in which the project is pushing the frontier of mathematics forward. Large-scale computer experiments can now take the place of computations by hand or with a calculator, which is rapidly speeding up the process of testing and discovery.

“Our project is akin to the first periodic table of elements,” said project member John Voight, an associate professor of mathematics at Dartmouth. “We have found enough of the building blocks that we can see the overall structure and begin to glimpse the underlying relationships.” 

Similar to the periodic table, fundamental objects in mathematics fall into categories with names like L-function, elliptic curve, and modular form. These broad categories naturally divide into smaller subcategories, each with its own personality. Every object has connections to objects in other categories, which project members refer to as its “friends.”

One of the major goals of the project is to determine the “friend” network and to understand how the quirky behavior of a particular object can influence its “friends.” The database provides a coherent picture of this web of mathematical relationships.

 “The LMFDB is really the only place where these interconnections are given in such clear, explicit, and navigable terms,” OSU’s Swisher said. “Before our project it was difficult to find more than a handful of examples, and now we have millions.”

The database has been funded by the National Science Foundation; the United Kingdom’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council; the American Institute of Mathematics; the EU 2020 Horizon Open DreamKit Project; and the Institute for Computational and Experimental Research in Mathematics.

The official release of the LMFDB will take place on May 10 at public lectures occurring at the American Institute of Mathematics, Dartmouth College and University of Bristol. The public release is planned for 1 p.m. Pacific time. The Dartmouth event will be broadcast online at http://math.dartmouth.edu/.

Media Contact: 

Debbie Farris, debbie.farris@oregonstate.edu, 541-737-4862


Worldwide decline of coral reefs is focus of Corvallis Science Pub May 9

CORVALLIS, Ore. Research on the worldwide decline in coral reefs will take center stage at the Corvallis Science Pub on Monday, May 9.

Rebecca Vega-Thurber investigates the microbial ecology of reefs in the Red Sea, the Caribbean and the Pacific and will describe what she has learned about how microbes influence reef health.

Coral species differ in their susceptibility to bleaching and disease, but these differences are only partially explained by the evolutionary history of corals,” said Vega-Thurber, an assistant professor of microbiology at Oregon State University.

The Science Pub is free and open to the public. It begins at 6 p.m. at the Old World Deli, 341 S.W. Second St. in Corvallis.

Better understanding of the coral microbiome, Vega-Thurber added, could lead to new methods for conserving reefs.

In addition to her presentation, the Science Pub will offer a preview of scenes from Saving Atlantis,” a new movie about the worldwide Coral Microbiome Project.

Sponsors of Science Pub include Terra magazine at OSU, the Downtown Corvallis Association and the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.

Story By: 

Rebecca Vega-Thurber, rebecca.vega-thurber@oregonstate.edu, 541-737-1851

Hydropeaking of river water levels is disrupting insect survival, river ecosystems

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A group of researchers concluded today in a study in the journal BioScience that “hydropeaking” of water flows on many rivers in the West has a devastating impact on aquatic insect abundance.

The research was based in part on a huge citizen science project with more than 2,500 samples taken on the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon, and collaboration of researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey, Oregon State University, Utah State University and Idaho State University. 

It raises serious questions about the current practice of raising river volumes up and down every day – known as hydropeaking – to meet hour-by-hour electricity demand, which has nearly wiped out local populations of some insects that feed local river ecosystems.

“Insects have evolved to live with occasional extreme floods and droughts, and gradual or seasonal changes in river levels,” said David Lytle, a professor of integrative biology in the OSU College of Science. 

“These large daily rises and peaks in river flows due to hydropower dams are not normal. Prior to the construction of dams, there were almost no major daily changes in river levels. This can interrupt the egg-laying practices of some species, and the impact of this is poorly appreciated. Until now no one really looked at this, and it’s a serious problem.”

Hydropeaking is used around the world and is particularly common with hydropower dams in the American West. Rivers are some of the most extensively altered ecosystems on Earth, the researchers wrote in their study, and more than 800,000 dams exist globally. Hydropower provides 19 percent of the world’s electricity supply and far exceeds the generation of all other renewable sources combined. 

Lytle is a national expert on how organisms and communities are shaped by disturbances such as floods, droughts, and dams, with much of his research focused on aquatic insects. Hydropower dams, in this case, have a particular impact on insects that lay their eggs near the shore of streams, such as a mayfly, stonefly or caddis fly. Given normal water conditions, the eggs are laid slightly below the water surface and soon hatch. But if the water level drops suddenly, they can be stranded, dry out and die before hatching.

In this study, the researchers found a clear correlation between hydropeaking and the number of insect species present, and an almost complete absence of certain insects in some parts of rivers where they should have been present – including the Colorado River downstream of Glen Canyon and Hoover Dams. A majority of aquatic insects are vulnerable to this phenomenon, the scientists said in their report, and they can be “subject to acute mortality.” 

Some of these insects, Lytle said, are the food base for fish, birds, bats, and other wildlife.

“The loss of these aquatic insects can have a major impact on fisheries and other aspects of ecosystem health,” Lytle said. 

The researchers did point out in their study that one possible way to address the problem might be to leave river levels stable for several days at a time – possibly on weekends when electricity demands did not vary as much – so that insects could lay their eggs with success. This might help address but not totally solve the problem, Lytle said.

It’s been known that dams can impose serious environmental problems, including alterations of flow, temperature, sediment regimes and migratory fish barriers. However, the researchers called the impact of dams on aquatic insects a “hitherto unrecognized life history bottleneck.”

“For the first time, this study determines the ecological impacts of hydropeaking separated from other dam-imposed stressors, and identifies the specific cause-and-effect relationships responsible for biodiversity loss below hydroelectric dams,” said Ted Kennedy, a USGS scientist and lead author of the study. “These results may help resource managers improve river health while still meeting societal needs for renewable hydroelectricity.”

Funding for this study was provided by the Bureau of Reclamation’s Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Program, the U.S. Geological Survey’s Southwest Biological Science Center, and the Department of Energy’s Western Area Power Administration.

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Coal-tar based sealcoats on driveways, parking lots far more toxic than suspected

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The pavement sealcoat products used widely around the nation on thousands of asphalt driveways and parking lots are significantly more toxic and mutagenic than previously suspected, according to a new paper published this week by researchers from Oregon State University.

Of particular concern are the sealcoat products based on use of coal tar emulsions, experts say. Studies done with zebrafish – an animal model that closely resembles human reaction to toxic chemicals – showed developmental toxicity to embryos. 

Sealcoats are products often sprayed or brushed on asphalt pavements to improve their appearance and extend their lifespan. Products based on coal tar are most commonly used east of the U.S. continental divide, and those based on asphalt most common west of the divide.

The primary concern in sealcoats are polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, which are common products of any type of combustion, and have been shown to be toxic to birds, fish, amphibians, plants and mammals, including humans. 

There are many different types of PAHs. This study was able to examine the presence and biologic activity of a much greater number of them in sealcoats than has been done in any previous research. The OSU program studying PAHs is one of the most advanced of its type in the world, and can identify and analyze more than 150 types of PAH compounds.

It found some PAHs in coal tar sealcoats that were 30 times more toxic than one of the most common PAH compounds that was studied previously in these products by the U.S. Geological Survey. 

The OSU study also showed that new PAH compounds found in coal tar sealcoats had a carcinogenic risk that was 4 percent to 40 percent higher than any study had previously showed. Among the worst offenders were a group of 11 “high molecular weight” PAH derivative compounds, of which no analysis had previously been reported.

By contrast, the study showed that sealcoats based on asphalt, more commonly used in the West, were still toxic, but far less than those based on coal tar. Use of coal tar sealcoats, which are a byproduct of the coal coking process, is most common in the Midwest and East. 

The research was reported this week in Environmental Science and Technology Letters, in work supported by the National Institute of Environmental Health Science’s Superfund Research Program, and done by researchers in the OSU College of Agricultural Sciences and OSU College of Science.

“Our study is consistent with previous findings made by the USGS,” said Staci Simonich, a professor with appointments in OSU’s departments of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology and Chemistry. “But we were able to study a much wider number of PAH compounds than they did. As a result, we found even higher levels of toxicity in coal-tar based sealcoats than has previously been suspected.” 

“This should assist individuals and municipalities to make more informed decisions about the use of sealcoats and weigh their potential health risks against the benefits of these products,” said Simonich, the corresponding author on the study. “And if a decision is made to use sealcoats, we concluded that the products based on asphalt are significantly less toxic than those based on coal tar.”

The previous research done by the USGS about the potential health risks of sealcoat products has been controversial, with some industry groups arguing that the federal government agency overstated the risks. The new OSU study indicates that previous research has, if anything, understated the risks. 

A 2011 report from the USGS outlined how PAH compounds from sealcoat products can find their way into soils, storm waters, ponds, streams, lakes, and even house dust, as the compounds are tracked by foot, abraded by car tires, washed by rain and volatilize into the air. They reported that the house dust in residences adjacent to pavement that had been treated with a coal tar-based sealcoat had PAH concentrations 25 times higher than those normally found in house dust.

Some states and many municipalities around the nation have already banned the use of coal tar-based sealcoats, due to the human, wildlife and environmental health concerns. In the European Union, use of coal tar-based sealcoats is limited or banned.

Story By: 

Staci Simonich, 541-737-9194 or staci.simonich@oregonstate.edu

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Researcher Staci Simonich

Staci Simonich, OSU professor

Corvallis Science Pub holds two sessions in April

CORVALLIS, Ore. — The Corvallis Science Pub will offer two science topics — microbes in the human gut and gravitational waves — in two separate meetings on Monday, April 11, and on Tuesday, April 12.

The Science Pub is free and open to the public. It begins both days at 6 p.m. at the Old World Deli, 341 S.W. Second St. in Corvallis.

On April 11, Tom Sharpton will discuss the human microbiome and its influence on health. An assistant professor in the College of Science at Oregon State University, Sharpton uses genetic data to determine what organisms are present and how they function.

Changes in the microbiome have been linked to acute and chronic diseases and can even affect behavior.

On April 12, Shane Larson will discuss the recent announcement that scientists had detected gravitational waves from the collision of two black holes. A member of the team that made the discovery, Larson is an Oregon State alumnus and an astrophysicist at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.

Larson will discuss this momentous discovery — how it emerged, what it shows about the universe and what the future holds.

Sponsors of Science Pub include Terra magazine at OSU, the Downtown Corvallis Association and the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry

Story By: 

Nick Houtman, nick.houtman@oregonstate.edu, 541-737-0783

Lubchenco receives Linus Pauling Legacy Award

CORVALLIS, Ore. -  Jane Lubchenco, an internationally recognized marine ecologist at Oregon State University, has received the 2016 Linus Pauling Legacy Award sponsored by the Oregon State University Libraries and Press.

The Pauling Award recognizes outstanding achievement in a subject of interest to the famous scientist and two-time Nobel laureate. Lubchenco is the ninth winner of the prestigious award, and several of the previous recipients were Nobel Prize winners.

As part of the celebration marking the award, Lubchenco will deliver a free public lecture in Portland, Ore., on Tuesday, April 26, at 7:30 p.m. at the Oregon Historical Society, 1200 S.W. Park Ave. Her presentation is titled “Scientists Making Waves and Bringing Hope.”

Lubchenco is the university distinguished professor and advisor in marine studies at OSU, and was formerly the administrator of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere. As one of the most highly cited ecologists in the world, she has received numerous honors including a MacArthur “genius” award and 20 honorary doctorates.

In addition to her work at OSU, Lubchenco is currently serving as the first U.S. Science Envoy for the Ocean and is an international expert on marine ecology, environmental science and climate change. She is a pioneer in the development of marine protected areas and reserves, and in fisheries reform, which are complementary efforts to return fisheries to sustainability and profitability while protecting habitats and biodiversity.

“Your accomplishments and leadership in ecology and environmental sustainability are impressive,” said Faye A. Chadwell, the Donald and Delpha Campbell university librarian and OSU press director who announced Lubchenco as the recipient of the award.

“Linus Pauling would have applauded your focus on the interactions between the environment and human well-being, as much of the work that he undertook during his long and varied career was dedicated to improving the human condition.”

Pauling, the most distinguished graduate in OSU history, is the only recipient of two unshared Nobel Prizes, for chemistry and peace. The papers of Pauling and his wife, Ava Helen Pauling, are held by OSU Libraries Special Collections and Archives Research Center, and the Linus Pauling Institute at OSU continues to pursue Pauling’s interest in the study of micronutrients and phytochemicals in diet and optimum health.

Lubchenco’s lecture in Portland is wheelchair accessible. Individuals requiring other accommodations should contact Don Frier at 541-737-4633 or don.frier@oregonstate.edu by April 20 so that appropriate arrangements can be made.

The OSU Libraries enhance and support the university’s instructional and research programs with traditional and innovative services and collections.

Media Contact: 

Daniel Moret, 541-737-4412


Larry Landis, 541-737-0540

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Jane Lubchenco
Jane Lubchenco

Oregon Academy of Science announces award winners

CORVALLIS, Ore.‒The Oregon Academy of Science has made its 2016 awards for outstanding scientist, college educator and K-12 teacher to three Oregon State University researchers and educators, and a Beaverton high school teacher.

Awards were made to:

  • 2016 Outstanding Scientist Award, Mas Subramanian, OSU professor of chemistry, College of Science
  • 2016 Outstanding Educator in Science and Mathematics, Higher Education, Tevian Dray, OSU professor of mathematics, College of Science; and Corinne Manogue, OSU professor of physics, College of Science
  • 2016 Outstanding Teacher in Science and Mathematics, K-12 Education, Bradford Hill, Southridge High School, Beaverton

These awards promote merit in research and education by recognizing individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to science. Academy officials say that award winners serve as inspirational leaders to members of the Oregon Academy of Science, and embody the core values of serving students and advancing science for the common good.

Subramanian, OSU’s Milton Harris Professor of Materials Science, was recognized for his innovative contributions to materials discovery.

“His discovery of the first new stable blue pigment in nearly two centuries is a singular scientific achievement,” said Michael Lerner, an OSU professor of chemistry. This pigment efficiently reflects heat, could contribute to energy conservation, protects plastics and other materials from sun damage, and can extend useful lifetimes and enhance sustainability.

Dray and Manogue have co-authored dozens of publications addressing ways to improve mathematics and physics education. Through initiatives such as “Paradigms in Physics” and the “Vector Calculus Bridge Project,” they have helped change how students learn math and physics, while working with professional organizations regionally and nationally to improve teaching and foster awareness of best practices.

“Their teaching prowess in the classroom is unmatched and continually praised by students,” said Thomas Dick, an OSU professor of mathematics.

Hill engages students in his classroom through authentic scientific inquiry and consensus-building discussion. His students have the highest internal assessment scores in the Beaverton School District and score above international averages. He collaborates with other high school teachers to help struggling students, serves the entire school district to improve teacher practice, and has served on the Oregon University System’s Advisory Panel on Engineering.

“I have not seen another educator matching Brad’s commitment to student success and implementation of best practices,” said Southridge Principal Todd Corsetti.


Douglas A. Keszler, 541-737-6736

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Mas Subramanian

Mas Subramanian


Corinne Manogue

Corinne Manogue

Tevian Dray
Tevian Dray