Roy Haggerty

Words from the Dean

February 2019

Dear colleagues,

This is always an important time of year for student recruitment, but it is particularly significant this year. As you all know, student enrollment supports and enables much of what we do in the classroom and in the lab through revenue generation for our College.

The provost has charged all deans with increasing the number of matriculated students, which means getting more admitted students to deposit, register and enroll fall term. I ask all of you to get involved in ways you can to improve our spring recruitment efforts, whether it is calling admitted students, responding to emails, organizing department tours, meeting with students and parents or attending OSU recruitment events. College enrollment is increasingly competitive, and the pool of college-bound students is shrinking, especially in Oregon. While we can't change these factors, we can influence them. Please increase your efforts to provide enhanced personal attention to admitted science students. Taking the types of action I've listed above can help boost our enrollment.

Faculty especially are some of the most credible ambassadors we have to strongly influence admitted students' perceptions of the College of Science and their decision to enroll at OSU. Discussing your research, innovative teaching and recent student outcomes go a long way in establishing a personal connection with students and parents and reinforcing a student's commitment to enroll at OSU. I see it as an essential part of our jobs to set aside a small amount of time to meet potential students and highlight the majors and programs we have worked so hard to build. Peak recruiting season is now through May 1. I know we are all faced with many projects and commitments vying for our time, but I ask that you make time for this important initiative. We have a shared responsibility for student recruitment, which ultimately strengthens our College all around. 

Given that, research remains a high priority for me. I am proud to see the recent impact our faculty are making in research highlighted in this newsletter. 

In the fall, we launched the Science Research and Innovation Seed program, SciRIS, to support transformative research. This program funds new research projects over three stages for high-impact collaborative proposals that build teams, pursue fundamental discoveries and produce societal benefit. We funded four teams $10,000 each for projects that contribute to human health, drug development and marine science. Congratulations to Assistant Professor of Physics Bo Sun who received a SciRIS-II award of $10,000 earlier this month for his project that explores the migrational phenotype plasticity of metastatic tumor cells, which contributes critically to the process of cancer metastasis. We look forward to exciting outcomes from Bo's project. The next deadline for Stage 2 and Stage 3 SciRIS proposals is April 15.

I encourage you to submit nominations for OSU's Impact Award for Outstanding Scholarship or the Promising Scholar Award. Department heads are coordinating nominations by March 4. In addition, please consider nominating a colleague for one of the other university awards, which are due March 18.

Despite our budget challenges, I remain committed to student and faculty success and to supporting innovative research. We will continue to invest in faculty and research support to spur discovery and innovation. Thank you for joining in our concerted efforts to strengthen the health and future of the College of Science.

Roy Haggerty
Dean, College of Science

All the news that's fit to print.

Please submit news, honors and awards, discoveries, events, research funding, student news, alumni updates and more. Just use this handy ONLINE FORM by the 10th of each month.

Research Highlights

Read more of the most recent research happening on our iMPACT blog site.

Microbiologist Andrew Thurber documented a group of tanner crabs vigorously feeding at a methane seep on the seafloor off British Columbia. This discovery may mean that methane seeps could provide some seafloor-dwelling species a hedge against climate change.

Entomologist George Poinar has discovered that the microorganisms that cause malaria, leishmaniasis and a variety of other illnesses today can be traced back at least to the time of dinosaurs, according to a study of amber-preserved blood-sucking insects and ticks.

Research Proposal Support

The College of Science Research and Innovation Seed Program (SciRIS) is currently seeking Stage 2 and 3 proposals. The deadline is April 15, 2019.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is inviting grant proposals for three new Grand Challenge Explorations (GCE): Emerging Technologies for New Solutions in Global Health Priority Areas; Environmental niches of Salmonella Typhi; and Increasing Demand for Vaccination Services. Applications will be accepted until 11:30 a.m. PDT Wednesday, April 10, 2019. GCE grants have already been awarded to over 1,420 researchers in more than 65 countries. Initial grants are for USD $100,000, and successful projects are eligible to receive follow-on funding of up to USD $1 million.

Interesting funding opportunity: National Science Foundation's RFP on Growing Convergence Research Program. Growing Convergence Research (GCR) at the NSF was identified as one of 10 Big Ideas. Convergence research is a means for solving vexing research problems, in particular, complex problems focusing on societal needs. It entails integrating knowledge, methods and expertise from different disciplines and forming novel frameworks to catalyze scientific discovery and innovation.

Funding opportunities can be found on ECOS. To access a suite of tools and resources available to faculty, visit the College of Science Proposal Support webpage.

Nominations Wanted

The Larry W. Martin & Joyce B. O'Neill Endowed Fellowship, awarded to any graduate student in the College of Science whose research involves computational modeling, is currently seeking nominations. The deadline is April 15, 2019.

Consider nominating your faculty or staff for a university award. In most cases, you can submit your nominations directly by March 18. However, the Impact Award for Outstanding Scholarship and the Promising Scholar Award nominations require a letter from the dean. For these two awards, department heads or their designee should submit complete nomination packages (minus the dean's letter) to Kim McQueen by 8 a.m. on Monday, March 4.

Global Honors

Pioneering climate scientist and alumnus Warren Washington ('58, '60) is co-recipient of the 2019 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, which is often referred to as the "Nobel Prize for the Environment." Washington is the first African-American to receive the prize in its 46-year history.

A 2019 Fulbright research scholarship will take mathematician Elise Lockwood to Norway where she will investigate the role that computing can play in students' learning of mathematical concepts. The competitive U.S. Fulbright Scholar Program offers nearly 470 teaching, research or combination teaching/research awards in over 125 countries.

National Honors

Congratulations once again to molecular geneticist Michael Freitag, biologist David Maddison and chemist Mas Subramanian who were named Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in recognition of their extraordinary achievements in advancing science. The new Fellows were recognized on February 16, 2019, in Washington, D.C., during the AAAS annual meeting.

University Honors

Biology major Regina Varesio was one of five future Navy Surface Warfare Officers (SWOs) from Oregon State University who were selected for their first ship assignments last week. This prestigious event is billed as the NFL draft but for SWOs, an honor made possible because of faculty dedication to students' academic success.

Congratulations to biologist Jaga Giebultowicz for being named the Honors College Eminent Mentor for her outstanding teaching and mentorship of honors students.

College Honors

Assistant Professor of Physics Bo Sun received the College of Science's SciRIS-II award of $10,000 for his project that explores the migrational phenotype plasticity of metastatic tumor cells, which contributes critically to the process of cancer metastasis. Though metastasis causes the vast majority of cancer-related deaths, to date there are no effective treatment options.

Microbiologist Rebecca Vega Thurber was quoted in a New York Times article about a new study connecting sea star wasting disease to rising ocean temperatures.

Chemist Mas Subramanian's YInMn Blue pigment is the star of "How a New Blue Pigment Became a Crayon" on HowStuffWorks.com.

Advanced Micro Devices CEO Lisa Su's keynote at CES 2019 in Las Vegas showcased diverse applications for new computing technologies with the potential to redefine modern life – and features a segment on OSU with contributions from chemist Paul Cheong, Christopher Sullivan at Center for Genomic Research and Biocomputing GRB and U.S. Department of Agriculture NIFA postdoc fellow Alexandra J. Weisberg. Watch the OSU segment which starts at about 1:18 in the keynote video.

OPB will feature marine ecologists Jane Lubchenco and Bruce Menge and their grandchildren in another Oregon Field Guide story about tide pools on the Central Oregon Coast. That feature has just gone live online and will air at 8:30 p.m., February 28 on OPB-TV.

Welcome new statistician James Molyneux

A warm welcome to James Molyneux, who joined the Department of Statistics as an assistant professor in fall 2018. Molyneux joined the department from UCLA, where he completed his dissertation on earthquake forecasting models based on statistical and computational methods. In his new role, Molyneux, who brings deep expertise in statistic pedagogy and education to OSU, teaches a wide variety of undergraduate and graduate courses, including online courses, to both statistics students and those from majors in engineering and biological sciences in the areas of data analytics, statistical methods and theory.

Microbiology graduate student Quinn Washburn developed a board game called Oligotrophic designed to help K-8 students understand the microbial ecology of the oceans and movement of biomass.

Mathematician Tevian Dray recently returned from three weeks in West Africa where, through the Visiting Lecturer Program of the International Mathematical Union, he was invited to teach a graduate course in Lorentzian Geometry and General Relativity at the Institut de Mathémathiques et de Sciences Physiques of the Université de Abomey-Calavi in Benin.

Fingers crossed! Four College of Science students (out of 10 at OSU) are semi-finalists for the 2019-20 Fulbright competition: Delaney Smith, graduating senior in Honors Biochemistry and Biophysics; Allison Tep, graduating senior with a double major in Honors Biology and Public Health; Lorraine "Mamo" Waianuhea, Honors Biology '18; Andrea Burton, Biology Ph.D. candidate. Please wish them luck in the finals!

The College's Science Success Center launched a new biweekly student newsletter, Recalibrate, this month. The new undergraduate communication channel, Recalibrate features upcoming events, advisor tips, deadlines, "Beyond the Classroom" opportunities, science lectures, community events and more. So far, response is strong, with almost 1,500 students opening the email.

This term mathematician Vrushali Bokil is offering the graduate seminar, "Building Inclusive, Equitable, Respectful and Welcoming Mathematical Communities." The seminar included two OSU guest lecturers: Anne Gillies, search advocate program director, addressed "Implicit Bias" on February 6; and Scott Vignos, assistant vice president of strategic diversity initiatives, lectured on "Advancing Cultural Competency in Learning Environments" on January 31.

Upcoming events

March 5
You are invited to attend the first guest lecture in a series focused on the intersection of STEM education, language and equity featuring Troy Sadler, associate dean of research at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro's School of Education. The series is sponsored by OSU's College of Education. Sadler will deliver two lectures:
"Socio-scientific issues and model based learning: Research on student learning and teacher practices," 10 a.m., Kidder Hall, room 202
"Using issues as contexts for STEM education: Research-based insights for improving teaching and learning," 4 p.m., Hallie Ford Center, room 115

March 7
8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Memorial Union
OSU is hosting the second annual Undergraduate Student Success Summit to take place at the Memorial Union. The summit is designed to bring together thought leaders and innovators across campus to address ways to enhance the student experience and outcomes at OSU. Register online to attend.

April 18
Memorial Union, Horizon Room
The College of Science 2019 F.A. Gilfillan Memorial Lecture will feature Professor of Chemistry May Nyman who will present a talk entitled, "Scientific discoveries from the alphabet soup of nuclear wastes."

Recent Events

February 2
A celebration of life event honored alumnus and Distinguished Emeritus Professor of Chemistry Ken Hedberg ('43) on what would have been his 99th birthday.

February 5
5 Under 5, hosted by the OSU Alumni Association, provided an opportunity for College of Science students to connect with five science alumni who are all within five years of graduation and learn about their life after graduation. The event included an interactive panel discussion and opportunity to network over appetizers.

February 11
Biologist Benjamin Dalziel discussed his research on a timely topic, how the flu virus is transmitted, at the Corvallis Science Pub.