Oregon Research & Innovation News — June/July 2015
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Oregon Research & Innovation News

June/July 2015


Harms selected as Pew Scholar in Biomedical Sciences

Michael Harms, an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Oregon, is among 22 promising early-career researchers named as Pew Scholars in the Biomedical Sciences by The Pew Charitable Trusts. Harms joins the ranks of more than 600 outstanding scientists who have been selected as Pew scholars in the 30 years since the program’s inception. 

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Boettcher wins Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award

UO chemist Shannon Boettcher is among 13 U.S. scientists to win a 2015 Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award. The award recognizes young faculty in the chemical sciences. Dreyfus Teacher-Scholars are chosen in the first few years of their careers, based on their early scholarship and demonstrated commitment to education.

The award to Boettcher comes with an unrestricted grant of $75,000 for his project "Semiconductors, Electrocatalysts and Interfaces in Energy Conversion and Storage."

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Parthasarathy receives award to examine the intersection of biology and physical sciences

Inspired by recent research revealing the health benefits of microbiota in the gut, UO physics professor Raghu Parthasarathy has embarked on a long-term project with researchers from two other universities. Using zebrafish larvae, the team aims to find ways to manipulate microbial communities in people's stomachs and intestines to treat specific health and medical needs.

Their project, Rebooting the Gut Microbial Ecosystem using Bacterial Dueling, has received support from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the Research Corporation for Science Advancement as part of the 2015 Scialog conference: Molecules Come to Life.

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Grad student awarded honorable mention by National Geographic

Christine Grummon, a master’s student in the Department of Geography, was awarded an honorable mention in the National Geographic Award in Mapping for her entry, â€œMapping an epidemic: the spread of the mountain pine beetle in the American West.” 

The map grew out of Grummon's thesis work examining the mountain pine beetle epidemic in western North America with geography professor Christopher Bone. 

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BioBE Center receives renewed support from the Sloan Foundation

The Biology and the Built Environment (BioBE) Center  has just been awarded a 2-year $1.325M renewal grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to investigate the relationship between architectural design and the indoor microbiome — the collection of bacteria, fungi and viruses found inside of buildings.

In this next stage, the BioBE Center will expand the exploration of the indoor microbiome to understand how daylighting and chemicals in the built environment impact the function of microbial communities. The grant also includes resources to host a conference at the University of Oregon focused on experimental design in built environment microbiome research as it relates to public health

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Research News

Natural forms: science and art collaboration explores creativity of barnacles

A winning collaboration between UO faculty researchers is on display at the Bellevue Arts Museum, with a little help from the Office of the Vice President for Research & Innovation

Colorful, barnacle-covered vessels are the focal point of the latest project by Trygve Faste, a professor in the UO Department of Product Design and Jessica Swanson, an instructor in the Department of Art. The objects were designed to be submerged in the ocean to attract and support barnacles, and then serve as functional or sculptural vessels after they are removed from the ocean. Faste received an Idea Award from the Office of the Vice President for Research & Innovation which helped support a collaboration with UO marine biology professor Richard Emlet and the Oregon Institute for Marine Biology (OIMB)

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May 2015 Monthly Award Report

Researchers at the University of Oregon received 21 new awards and one competitive continuation totaling more than $17.7 million in support of research activities in April 2015.

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Undergraduate Symposium spotlights research and creativity

More than 120 students presented their research on topics ranging from black markets in North Korea to cybersecurity to the works of rapper Ice Cube. Now in its fifth year, the Undergraduate Symposium was started by adjunct assistant history professor Kevin Hatfield, who wanted to give undergraduate students a forum at which to share their research and original ideas with the public.

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Video workshop brings stories into focus at Summer Institute

Storytelling has long been a part of the Northwest Indian Language Institute (NILI) Summer Institute. This year the nine-day summer program will feature a collaborative video storytelling workshop on Saturday, June 27, involving NILI and the UO School of Journalism and Communication. Young language leaders will sharpen their video skills and create short films examining their motivation for learning their language and why language is vital to them as individuals.

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RG on recruitment ramp-up for Clusters of Excellence

The Register-Guard reported on the UO's plan to move forward with funding for two of the proposals identified last year in the Clusters of Excellence hiring program. Across three different clusters, recruitment is underway for nearly a dozen new positions. The story focuses on the plan to spend $1.7 million in initial funding to recruit leading scientists to help pursue alternative approaches to meet tomorrow's needs in energy and sustainable materials and to expand genomics research. Additionally, it details the fully funded obesity prevention cluster program, which is actively courting a handful of top researchers.

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Crowdsource funding for research projects coming soon

Crowdfunding is coming to the UO. Starting this fall, the university will begin accepting proposals from faculty and students seeking to raise money for research and other projects. The new crowdsource funding platform will go live in early 2016. Selected projects will be highlighted with a video and receive additional communications support.

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Telling the story of scientific research

For many researchers, telling a great story can be a challenge, but a group of two-dozen faculty, post-docs, and graduate students found the process got easier after spending two days sharpening their communication skills in a workshop at the UO led by faculty from the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University. The workshop was made possible by support from several organizations at the UO, including the Science Literacy Program, STEM CORE, and a program grant from the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS).

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In battle of the sexes, a single night with a New York male is enough to kill

A new study from the University of Oregon and Bowdoin College published online in BioMed Central's open-access journal BMC Evolutionary Biology shows that sexual conflicts can evolve rapidly in natural populations, driven by competition among males for mating success. While conducting a set of experiments using the tiny nematode Caenorhabditis remanei, researchers in the UO biology lab of Patrick C. Phillips discovered that females that mated with males originally collected from New York tended to die quickly in comparison to those that mated to males from Ohio or Germany.

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OUR Journal accepting submissions

Oregon Undergraduate Research Journal (OUR Journal) is now accepting submissions for Fall 2015 issue. OUR Journal is student-run, open-access undergraduate research journal showcasing some of the best research and publications by UO undergraduate students across all disciplines. Submission deadline: June 30, 2015.

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Call for photo submissions

Have a photo you'd like to share? If so, we'd love to feature it in an upcoming exhibition of photos depicting research, innovation and scholarly activities at UO. It could be something artistic, abstract, scientific, humanistic, journalistic or just plain cool like the above image of mating tiny nematodes, Caenorhabditis remanei. Scientific photos are great, but so are images depicting research in the humanities, the social sciences and other areas of inquiry — the exhibit will reflect the breadth of research activity taking place on campus. Please submit photos to

Parting Shot

Excellence Awards

Professor of Anthropology Sandra Morgen receiving the Outstanding Career Award at the combined 2015 Distinguished Teaching Awards and the Research Faculty Excellence Awards ceremony.

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The Office of the Vice President for Research & Innovation (OVPRI) promotes excellence in research at the University of Oregon — the state’s only Association of American Universities member. Research, both basic and applied, is fundamental to the mission of the University and is essential to Oregon’s economic and civic vitality. The office is committed to enhancing these efforts by providing administrative and financial support for sponsored programs, including identification of funding opportunities, proposal submission, research compliance, and contracts and grant administration.
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