Oregon Research & Innovation News — April/May 2015
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Oregon Research & Innovation News

April/May 2015

Editor's Note: Starting with this this issue, the Oregon Research newsletter will be distributed monthly as two separate editions. This month's issue, devoted to research & innovation news across campus, will be followed next month by an edition focused on announcements from the Office of the Vice President for Research & Innovation. Our goal is to streamline the delivery of news and announcements. We hope you enjoy the changes and we welcome your feedback.


Tichenor one of 32 Andrew Carnegie Fellowship recipients

UO political scientist Daniel Tichenor has won a 2015 Andrew Carnegie Fellowship from the Carnegie Corp. of New York.

Tichenor, the Phillip H. Knight Chair of Social Science and a Senior Faculty Fellow at the Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politics, will receive a $200,000 fellowship award funding a year-long sabbatical to pursue his research examining the future of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants residing in the U.S.

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UO spinoff companies receive state innovation grants

Two companies spun out of research conducted at the University of Oregon are among five Oregon startups that will share $300,000 in state innovation grants for small businesses. The companies—SupraSensor Technologies and NemaMetrix—will receive a combined total of more than $110,000 from Business Oregon, the state’s economic development office, to help prepare them to compete for larger investments from the federal government. The grants are part of a new state initiative focused on growing local startups in order to generate jobs and opportunities in Oregon.

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Slovic elected into American Academy of Arts and Sciences

University of Oregon psychologist Paul Slovic is among a select group of accomplished world leaders chosen from academia, business, public affairs, the humanities, and the arts elected as members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. With Slovic's election, the UO now has 16 current or retired faculty members of the academy

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UO history professor receives ACLS Ryskamp Fellowship

Vera Keller is the first UO professor to be awarded the major humanities fellowship for her research on Cornelis Drebbel (1572-1633), the Dutch Renaissance inventor, alchemist and philosopher who, among his many inventions, created a perpetual motion machine, the first self-regulating oven, and the first submarine. A science historian and noted Drebbel scholar, Keller will use the fellowship to complete her second book, expanding on the research from her Ph.D. dissertation.

Read more about Keller's research →

UO chemistry student awarded AHA Predoctoral Fellowship

Rachael Cunningham, a fourth year Ph.D. student in the DeRose lab, will receive a two-year $50,000 award from the American Heart Association to help initiate a career in cardiovascular and stroke research.Cunningham's research focuses on interactions of Pt(II) anticancer therapeutics with biomolecules in the cell, with the goal of increasing the efficacy of Pt(II) anticancer therapeutics by reducing their adverse side effects, such as cardiotoxicity. 

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Research & Innovation Events

RAIN@UO Colloquium: Scaling Renewable Fuels

RAIN@UO presents entrepreneur and UO alum Virginia Klausmeir speaking about the Science and Business of Scaling Renewable Fuels at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, May 19 in 331 Klamath Hall. Selected by Forbes for its “30 under 30 in Energy” list, Klausmeir is the co-founder and CEO of Sylvatex, Inc., an early stage clean technology company. The colloquium provides a forum to discuss the unique scientific and business hurdles faced by technology-driven startups. RAIN@UO is led by a consortium of faculty, staff, and students interested in innovation and entrepreneurship affiliated with the Regional Accelerator & Innovation Network (RAIN).

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Three-Minute Thesis UO Finals, Friday May 1

The final UO round of the Three Minute Thesis competition takes place at 5 p.m. on Friday, May 1 in Lawrence 177. The competition pits graduate students against the clock and each other as they try to explain their research in just three minutes. The top three presenters will receive financial awards and the opportunity to compete in the statewide finals against teams from other Oregon institutionsThe Three Minute Thesis Statewide Finals take place at 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 16 at Oregon Health & Science University

The Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation (OVPRI) and the Office of Academic Affairs are partnering together to recognize the recipients of the 2015 Distinguished Teaching Awards and the Research Faculty Excellence Awards. Please join us as we celebrate teaching and research excellence at UO at 5 p.m. on Thursday, May 28 in the Global Scholars Hall Great Room, 1710 E. 15th Ave. Beer, wine, and hors d’oeuvres will be served. RSVP to

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Fourth annual CSWS Northwest Women Writers Symposium

"Our Daily Bread: Women’s Stories of Food and Resilience" is the theme of the 4th annual Center for the Study of Women in Society (CSWS) Northwest Women Writers Symposium, to be held May 7-9, 2015. The symposium features keynote author Diana Abu-Jaber ("Crescent," "The Language of Baklava," "Birds of Paradise") who will be joined by writers Novella Carpenter ("Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer"); scholar, activist, social justice novelist, editor Breeze Harper ("Sistah Vegan," "Scars"); poet Donna Henderson ("The Eddy Fence"), and others.

Research News

Researchers glimpse how the brain transforms sound

When people hear the sound of footsteps or the drilling of a woodpecker, the rhythmic structure is striking, says UO professor of psychology Michael Wehr. Neurons in the lower subcortical region of the brain fire in sync with the rhythmic structure of the sound, almost exactly encoding its original structure in the timing of spikes, Wehr says, discussing the study he co-wrote for the journal Neuron.

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UO expands its role in earthquake early warning system

The University of Oregon will soon be playing an active role in preparing West Coast residents for the next magnitude 9 earthquake. Working in cooperation with the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network, the UO will maintain 15 seismometers previously owned by the National Science Foundation. The seismic network is a cooperative between the UO and the University of Washington, and is a key player in the development and testing of a West Coast earthquake early warning system.

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Study shows preterm young adults may have lungs of elderly

Adult survivors of preterm births may have a lung capacity that resembles the healthy elderly or casual smokers by the time they reach their early 20s, says Andrew Lovering, associate professor of human physiology. Lovering was lead author on a study published in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society, comparing the lung function of adults born after fewer than 32 weeks to adults born full-term.

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2015 I3 Awards Announced

Three interdisciplinary faculty teams representing diverse departments from Architecture to Chemistry and Biochemistry were the recipients of the 2015 Incubating Interdisciplinary Initiatives (I3) awards. The I3 awards have a successful track record of jump starting promising interdisciplinary research projects by providing a year of funding for new interdisciplinary research projects in areas likely to generate extramural funding.

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Research by UO undergraduate draws media attention

UO undergraduate student Sean Hixon of the Robert D. Clark Honors College has drawn media attention for his April 16 talk at the Meeting of the Society for American Archeology in San Francisco. An archaeology student, Hixon discussed his team's research on "The Colossal Hats (Pukao) of Monumental Statues: An Analysis of Shape Variability among the Pukao of Rapa Nui."

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Two UO-hosted National Academies Summer Institutes

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), the National Academies, and the Science Literacy Program invite UO faculty, post-docs and graduate students to attend a free Summer Institute on Scientific Teaching  June 22-25, 2015 (UO participants) OR  July 13-18, 2015 (National teams) at the University of Oregon. The Summer Institute will expand and sharpen participants' teaching skills through workshops facilitated by national science education experts. Attendees will develop original, innovative classroom materials ready for immediate implementation and will be named 2015-16 National Academies Education Fellows at the end of the institute. Applications for the UO Local Summer Institute are due May 4, 2015. Applications for the West Coast Summer Institute are due May 15, 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 gecko toe hairs, which fray at the ends allowing the lizard to scamper up walls. 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

UO research and innovation on display at EUG 

During the month of April, UO achievements in research and innovation were on display for travelers passing through the Eugene Airport. 

View the display in detail →


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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