Roy Haggerty

Words from the Dean

February 2021

Dear Colleagues,

This last year has been like no other. The sudden need to confront unprecedented challenges thrust many in our College into heroes' journeys – requiring rapid and wide-reaching action to protect and educate our students.

As we faced obstacles created by the pandemic, most had little choice but to venture into strange new territory. I am proud of how many of you have gone above and beyond to serve students well and advance research during this time.

Across the departments, I have observed remarkable ingenuity, creativity and quick thinking as you overcame challenges. Many of you logged hundreds of hours to redesign courses, transform face-to-face courses and labs into remote environments, organize remote tutoring centers, manufacture and distribute COVID-19 safety supplies and equipment, communicate with students and colleagues, move advising to virtual home offices, and bring a virtual Science education to life.

I always look forward to celebrating achievements of faculty, advisors and staff at College award ceremonies, but this year will be particularly meaningful. Please take time to nominate your colleagues for an award by Feb. 15 (extended deadline) if you haven't done so already. Students can nominate advisors and instructors for the Carter and Boedtker awards until March 1. Please help spread the word!

This year, we will combine ceremonies for our Faculty and Staff Awards and Teaching and Advising Awards into one virtual event on April 22 (see events below). There is much to celebrate.

It's clear that many adaptations made during this difficult time will transform our educational model in lasting ways and leave us stronger for students. Our university and College will be better equipped to provide access to more learners – a goal OSU President King Alexander often emphasizes.

This Thursday, you will have the opportunity to hear firsthand President Alexander's longterm vision for OSU and what he sees as the College's role in achieving that vision. I encourage you to join an exclusive College of Science discussion with President Alexander and Provost Ed Feser. The meeting will begin with a short intro talk and then open up for a live Q&A session. Please join us February 4, 1:30 – 2:15 p.m. on Zoom.

I look forward to the virtual gathering of our community to think about the future and how we will leverage new lessons and applications. The conflict and adversity you have experienced is significant. It's encouraging to look to the hopeful time ahead when we complete our current journey and return to a new normal, transformed.

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 20th of each month.

Graphic showing pulsar light traveling to Earth amid a sea of gravitational waves. (Image by: NANOGrav/T. Klein)

Research Highlights

Astrophysicist Xavier Siemens and fellow NANOGrav researchers – including College of Science students – took a big step forward in their quest to detect gravitational waves caused by supermassive black holes. Success in the next stage will unravel questions about how the Universe forms and grows over cosmic time.

Emeritus Professor of integrative biology George Poinar Jr., has identified two new species trapped in ancient amber: a spectacular new genus and species of flower from the mid-Cretaceous period, part of a forest that existed 100 million years ago, and a new genus and species of cylindrical bark beetle

Research Funding

Microbiologist Stephen Giovannoni received $260K from the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences for a project entitled "BIOS-SCOPE II – A Collaborative Program for the Study of Microbial Oceanography in the North Atlantic Subtropical Gyre."

Microbiologist James Fox received $140K from NASA for a project entitled "Global assessment of climate driven trends in marine primary productivity."

Chemist Marilyn Mackiewicz received two grants in December and January:

  • $76K from the National Science Foundation for a project entitled "Collaborative Research: Teasing apart how specific nanoparticle features relate to environmental fate and contribute to ecotoxicity."
  • $69K from Oregon Health & Science University for a project entitled "Development of Novel Markets to Contextualize X-ray Fluorescence and Microscopy."

Microbiologist Thomas Sharpton received $410K from the National Institutes of Health – Department of Health and Human Services for a project entitled "Development across Lifespan and Generations and the Behavioral Consequences."

Microbiologist Sascha Hallett received $78K from the University of California – Santa Cruz for a project entitled "Monitoring and Modeling Pathogen Exposure in Salmon Migrating to the Delta."

Biologist Virginia Weis received $98K from the University of Florida for a project entitled "URoL: MTM 1: Chemistry of cnidarian symbiosis: microbiomes role in association, morphogenesis, and protection."

Research Proposal Support

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

Korean Gold Plum yew, Cephalotaxus harringtonia (Photo by Iva Villi)

Nominations Wanted

Consider taking some time over the winter break to nominate your colleagues for a College of Science award. This has been a tough year, and many of you have gone above and beyond. The College will celebrate its Faculty and Staff Awards and Teaching and Advising Awards at one combined ceremony in the spring. All nominations are due February 1, 2021. Learn more about the awards and submit a nomination!

College Honors

Two interdisciplinary teams received SciRIS awards in late 2020.

Congratulations to microbiologist Maude David, biochemist Kenton Hokanson, chemist Chris Beaudry, biochemist Victor Hsu and others on their teams for receiving SciRIS grants to advance projects on the biological mechanisms of how anxiety disorders manifest differently in men and women and the development of new medicines for multiple forms of cancer from a plant alkaloid.

Pycnopodia helianthoides is critically endangered after being decimated by a marine epidemic.

Biochemistry Ph.D. student Heather Masson-Forsythe is using science to demystify the COVID-19 vaccine. Her viral TikTok video, which is creating a sensation in the scientific community, combines scientific facts and Megan Thee Stallion's "Body" to explain why the COVID-19 vaccine is safe. Check out the fantastic video! Great work, Heather!

YInMn Blue pigment now available for sale for artistic use is featured in the Smithsonian Magazine.

Several of our scientists were featured in the Corvallis Advocate's Oregon State's Year in Science article.

OPB covered the news that the sunflower sea star has been enlisted as critically endangered after a global study shows the species population has been decimated by a marine epidemic. OSU integrative biology researcher Sarah Gravem is the lead author on the groundbreaking study done in collaboration with The Nature Conservancy & other conservation groups.

Marine ecologist and Distinguished University Professor Jane Lubchenco gave some timely and excellent advice to the Biden-Harris administration in the Scientific American: Make science prominent in decision-making, implement Scientific Integrity guidance and policy, modernize science and depoliticize science.

Mathematician Nathan Gibson co-authored an article in SIAM News featuring OSU's longstanding participation in COMAP's Mathematical Contest in Modeling.

The Journal of Physical Chemistry published a paper in honor of Ken Hedberg. Ken was famously the first to publish the gas phase structure for fullerenes (buckyballs) - C60 and C70. This new paper involves the structural determination of a fluorinated fullerene and was selected as a supplemental cover.

Aerial view of Redmond Oregon from Smith Rock State Park (Image courtesy of VisitOregon)

Welcome

New chemistry professor Marilyn Mackiewicz joined us in fall 2020. A highly inspiring educator and scientist, her research uses gold nanoparticles to address knowledge gaps in ophthalmology, particularly in diagnostic tools for eye disorders like macular degeneration.

Meet our Science alumni!

The College interviewed several College of Science alumni to see where their degrees have taken them. Read some of their stories here.

TRACE updates

Oregon State University expands TRACE COVID-19 sampling to Redmond at the end of January.  

Equity and justice

General science and aerospace alumnus Román Hernández received the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Alumni Legacy Award on OSU's 39th annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration. Hernández is a nationally recognized attorney specializing in labor and employment law and commercial litigation. He has spent his career encouraging minorities to pursue and succeed in legal education and legal careers.

The College of Science has two important forms on our website:

  • The College Feedback Form is available for all students, faculty, staff,  alumni, and guests as a mechanism to provide both positive and negative feedback to the College of Science related their experiences in the College.
  • The College of Science Equity Promise Scholarships are available for students who may have experienced sudden, extreme circumstances or life events that may hold up their progress to continue or complete their degree at OSU. The information is found through our COVID-19 resource page on the COS website.

Upcoming

A COS community discussion with President Alexander
Thursday, February 4, 1:30 – 2:15 p.m.

Join us this week on Zoom for a special College of Science session with OSU President King Alexander and Provost Ed Feser. In the meeting, you will hear President Alexander's vision and plans for the College and OSU over the coming years. Q&A session to follow.


Provost's Lecture featuring Dr. Mae C. Jemison
Thursday, February 4, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Dr. Jemison served as a NASA astronaut and leads 100 Year Starship, a bold, far reaching nonprofit initiative. She is the first woman of color in space, national science literacy ambassador, advocate for radical leaps in knowledge, technology, design and thinking on Earth and beyond. Learn more.


Gilfillan lecture by Michael Blouin (remote)
April 8, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.

An evolutionary and population geneticist with strong regional and global impact, integrative biology Professor Michael Blouin will present the F.A. Gilfillan Memorial Lecture this year.


Provost's Lecture featuring Ibram X. Kendi (remote)
April 14, 5 – 6 p.m.

Save the Date! Boston University Professor Ibram X. Kendi, author of bestselling books, How to be an Antiracist and Stamped from the Beginning, will present a lecture to the OSU community, co-sponsored by the College of Science.


College of Science Awards Ceremony (remote)
April 22, 4:30 – 6 p.m.

We will celebrate our annual Faculty and Staff Awards and Teaching and Advising Awards at one combined ceremony. We also will recognize the contributions of leaders Jerri Bartholomew, Doug Keszler and Virginia Weis.