Oregon Research & Innovation News — August/September 2015
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Oregon Research & Innovation News

August / September 2015


Patent granted for UO-led effort on fractal-based nerve connections

Richard Taylor's vision of using artificial fractal-based implants to restore sight to the blind is now covered under a broad U.S. patent.

The patent goes far beyond efforts to use the emerging technology to restore eyesight. It covers all fractal-designed electronic implants that link signaling activity with nerves for any purpose in animal and human biology.

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Chartoff receives thermal analysis award

Dr. Richard Chartoff has been honored with a 2015 METTLER Award in Thermal Analysis by the North American Thermal Analysis Society (NATAS). The award recognizes distinguished achievement in the field of thermal analysis and recognizes outstanding sustained work in the utilization, creation, or refinement of thermal analytical techniques of generally wide interest and impact. It is the highest honor bestowed by the society.

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Faste named Young Educator of the Year in product design

Trygve Faste, an assistant professor in UO’s Product Design Program, has received the 2015 IDSA Young Educator of the Year award, by the Industrial Designers Society of America. The award, which was won by Product Design Program Director Kiersten Muenchinger in 2011, recognizes the contributions of younger faculty members who have dedicated their careers primarily to the education of the next generation of designers. 

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Research News

Exploring microbial mysteries at META 2015

The University of Oregon's Microbial Ecology and Theory of Animals (META) Center for Systems Biology hosted its annual summer symposium, July 31-Aug. 2 at the Hilton Eugene. Synthesis + Selection of Host-Microbe Systems was the theme of this year's conference, which drew some 160 attendees. One of 13 systems biology centers funded by the National Institutes of Health, the META Center continues to build an international reputation as a hub for innovative microbiome research and the symposium is a part of the Center’s growing renown.

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Undergraduate research program engages humanities students

The University of Oregon is launching a new program that will bring mentored research opportunities in the humanities to undergraduate students. Funded by the Office of the Vice President for Research & Innovation, the Humanities Undergraduate Research Fellowship is an academic-year research experience created in partnership with the Oregon Humanities Center, Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program and the Division of Undergraduate Studies.

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Earthquake event draws a crowd in wake of New Yorker article

The popularity of the recent New Yorker article "The Really Big One," which examined the possibility of a magnitude 9.0 earthquake in the Pacific Northwest, provided UO geologists Rebecca Dorsey and Douglas Toomey with a timely teachable moment. They organized a public forum that drew several hundred attendees to Straub Hall for a discussion about recent advances toward regional preparedness and efforts to expand a West Coast earthquake early warning system. The event website will continue to serve as a resource for those seeking information on earthquake preparedness and the science of the Cascadia subduction zone.

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Archaeologists to return to Oregon's Fort Rock Cave

A team of archaeologists from three universities, including scientists from the UO's Museum of Natural and Cultural History, is headed back to Fort Rock Cave, where in 1938 the UO's Luther Cressman found the world's oldest shoes.

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Vehicle's first dive delivers a win for UO marine science team

Using an unmanned underwater vehicle fitted with equipment resembling two bazookas, University of Oregon biologists and scientists from three other U.S. institutions have successfully collected deep-sea animal larvae from more than a mile deep in the Atlantic Ocean. The expedition also uncovered a centuries-old shipwreck.

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Research Highlights

Doctoral student Kathryn Jankowski pursues autism research

Kathryn Jankowski, a developmental psychology doctoral student in Jennifer Pfeifer’s developmental social neuroscience lab, aims to foster “a more interdisciplinary understanding of autism across multiple fields of research." Earlier this year, Jankowski became one of eight young investigators to be named a Weatherstone Predoctoral Fellow by the Autism Speaks organization. The award provides her with funding, training and a mentorship with one of the field's leading scientists.

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July 2015 Monthly Award Report

Researchers at the University of Oregon received 26 new awards and one competitive continuation totaling more than $10.3 million in support of research activities in July 2015.

July Award Report →

'Creating a safe place for curiosity to flourish'

Profiles in Excellence: Josh Snodgrass
Josh Snodgrass's research examining human adaptation to environmental stressors is featured in a new video that's part of the UO's "Profiles in Excellence" series. The Richard A. Bray Faculty Fellow and Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Oregon, Snodgrass has traveled the world, from Siberia to South America, to study how the physiology and health of indigenous peoples shifts with changing lifestyles. The video also highlights research assistants Tyler Barrett, Devan Compton, and Geeta Eick.

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Regional innovation takes center stage at Tech Lunch

UO President Michael Schill discussed the value of human capital and the contributions a research university can make toward the innovation ecosystem during an Aug. 25 gathering of local entrepreneurs, innovators and others associated with local technology companies at the Ford Alumni Center. Dubbed the Tech Lunch, the event was presented by ACT/The App Association and Silicon Shire.

In the News

'Big ideas' from Goode, Richmond featured in Eugene Weekly

UO education studies professor Joanna Goode and chemistry professor Geri Richmond were both featured in a Eugene Weekly story about "big ideas" that originated in Eugene. The article highlighted Goode's efforts to increase and enhance the computer science learning opportunities for underrepresented groups and focused on Richmond's work to advance the careers of women scientists and engineers around the world through the COACh organization.

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Richmond delivers Gender Summit keynote address

In other Geri Richmond news, the UO chemist continued her efforts to advance the careers of women in the sciences at the sixth annual Gender Summit in Seoul, South Korea, August 26-28. Richmond delivered one of the keynote addresses at the summit, a series of interconnected conferences held all over the world to bring together scientists, policymakers and gender equality experts to discuss ways of advancing the cause of gender equality, especially in the sciences.

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Oregon researchers studying ‘good’ bacteria in homes

A recent article in The Register-Guard detailed the research of UO architect Charlie Brown and microbiologist Jessica Green examining indoor air quality in weatherized homes with an eye toward encouraging beneficial bacteria. The team won a $1 million U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant to study 72 houses in Portland and Bend as they are weatherized over the next two years.

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Cleaning Up a Legacy of Pollution on an Alaskan Island

A story in The New York Times on efforts to clean up abandoned Alaskan military installations highlighted the work of a team of scientists that included UO professor of biology John Postlethwaite. The group spent five days collecting and dissecting fish on remote St. Lawrence Island to study the effects of pollution downstream from a 4,800-acre radar station littered with electrical components containing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

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Parting Shot

META Symposium 2015

Julie Segre, a senior investigator with the National Institutes of Health, shares a lighter moment with Curtis Huttenhower (left), an associate professor of computational biology and bioinformatics at Harvard University, and UO biology professor Brendan Bohannan (right) during the opening night reception for the UO's Microbial Ecology and Theory of Animals (META) Center for Systems Biology summer symposium, Synthesis + Selection of Host-Microbe Systems. Segre's keynote address “Genomic Epidemiology,” focused on the use of genome sequencing to track antibiotic resistant bacteria in hospitals. Bohannan — along with Nicolae Morar, an assistant professor of philosophy and environmental studies — co-produced a half-day interdisciplinary workshop examining the ethics and philosophy of microbiology.


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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