The university offers undergraduate, graduate, doctoral degrees and a multitude of research opportunities. There are more than 200 academic degree programs offered through the university. OSU’s programs in microbiology, nuclear engineering, ecology, forestry, public health, biochemistry, zoology, oceanography, food science and pharmacy are recognized nationally as top tier programs.
The OSU’s liberal arts programs have also grown significantly and the department is considered a “cornerstone” of the institution. More than 200,000 people have attended OSU since its founding. The Carnegie Foundation classifies Oregon State University as part of its top tier of research institutions.
As of 2008, OSU is one of 73 land-grant universities. The school is also recognized as a sea-grant, space-grant and sun-grant institution, making it one of only two US institutions to obtain all four designations and the only public university to do so (Cornell is the only other with similar designations). OSU receives more funding for research, annually, than all other public higher education institutions in Oregon combined.
Oregon State University (OSU) research articles from Innovation Toronto
- A better way to boil water – May 6, 2016
- Paper demonstrates autonomous underwater vehicles can be pre-programmed to make independent decisions – February 24, 2016
- New therapy copper-ATSM halts progression of Lou Gehrig’s disease in mice – January 30, 2016
- Storage advance may boost solar thermal energy potential – November 4, 2015
- Spring-mass” technology heralds the future of walking robots – October 28, 2015
- Discovery about new battery overturns decades of false assumptions – October 10, 2015
- “Quantum dot” technology may help light the future – August 20, 2015
- Toxic blue-green algae pose increasing threat to nation’s drinking, recreational water – August 14, 2015
- Nothing fishy about new way to produce sunscreen pill and lotion – May 19, 2015
- Inspired by humans, a robot takes a walk in the grass – May 4, 2015
- Global decline of large herbivores may lead to an “empty landscape” – May 2, 2015
- Innovation boosts Wi-Fi bandwidth tenfold – April 21, 2015
- A mile deep, ocean fish facing health impacts from human pollution – March 26, 2015
- “Glowing” new nanotechnology guides cancer surgery, also kills remaining malignant cells – January 11, 2015
- Wave energy integration costs should compare favorably to other energy sources – January 8, 2014
- Running robots of future may learn from world’s best two-legged runners: birds – November 4, 2014
- Mechanized human hands: System designed to improve hand function lost to nerve damage – September 28, 2014
- New assay to spot fake malaria drugs could save thousands of lives – July 16, 2014
- Sophisticated radiation detector designed for broad public use – July 13, 2014
- “Molecular movie” technology will enable extraordinary gains in bioimaging, health research – July 4, 2014
- Wind turbine payback – June 21, 2014
- Findings point toward one of first therapies for Lou Gehrig’s disease – June 15, 2014
- Research explains action of drug that may slow aging and related disease – May 22, 2014
- Trees go high-tech: process turns cellulose into energy storage devices
- Energy breakthrough uses sun to create solar energy materials
- Turkeys inspire smartphone-capable early warning system for toxins
- War on lionfish shows first promise of success
- Large study shows pollution impact on coral reefs – and offers solution
- Oregon lab changes game for synthesizing new materials
- The College Classroom Behind Oregon’s Bold Plan For Tuition-Free College
- Portland State University students’ invention tops the field at national engineering competition
- Large study shows pollution impact on coral reefs – and offers solution
- “Flipping the switch” reveals new compounds with antibiotic potential
- Breakthrough in study of aluminum should yield new technological advances
- Beyond antibiotics: “PPMOs” offer new approach to bacterial infection
- California’s new mental health system helps people live independently
- Online citizen scientists: Classify plankton images
- Cognitive decline with age is normal, routine – but not inevitable
- Pass the salt: Common condiment could enable new high-tech industry
- Carnegie Mellon-Developed Chemicals That Break Down Water Contaminants Pass Safety Test
- Antifreeze, cheap materials may lead to low-cost solar energy
- New dispatch system could save money for trucking industry, make life easier for drivers
- Flu vaccines aimed at younger populations could reduce transmission
- Microwave Cooks up Solar Cell Material
- A solar booster shot for natural gas power plants
- Mobile LIDAR Technology Expanding Rapidly
- Researchers Invent “Acoustic-assisted” Magnetic Information Storage
- Cows fed flaxseed produce more nutritious dairy products
- Medical Vital-Sign Monitoring Reduced to the Size of a Postage Stamp
- “Semi-dwarf” trees may enable a green revolution for some forest crops
- MICROWAVE OVENS MAY HELP PRODUCE LOWER COST SOLAR ENERGY TECHNOLOGY
- STUDY FINDS A NEW PATHWAY FOR INVASIVE SPECIES – SCIENCE TEACHERS
- 20,000 colleagues under the sea
- Breakthrough could double solar energy output
- Possible Biological Control Discovered for Pathogen Devastating Amphibians
- Football Analysis Leads to Advance in Artificial Intelligence
- MABEL: the world’s fastest knee-equipped bipedal robot
- Researchers cut waste and lower cost of solar cells using inkjet printing technology
- Using Waste Heat from Automobile Exhaust
- ‘Ultrawideband’ Could Be Future of Medical Monitoring
- New Nanostructure Technology Provides Advances In Eyeglass, Solar Energy Performance
- ‘Rich Interaction’ May Make Computers A Partner, Not A Product
- Tires Made From Trees: Better, Cheaper, More Fuel Efficient
- Eat for the ecosystem
- Advance Could Change Modern Electronics
- Microlamination speeds nanoparticle production by 500 times
- Nanotech coatings offer possibility of ‘brown’ electricity from sewage
- Nanostructure coatings remove heat four times faster
- Walking and Running Robots
- Human cloning developments raise hopes for new treatments
- New Geothermal Data System Could Open Up Clean-Energy Reserves
- Amazon deforestation brings loss of microbial communities
- Cooled coal emissions would clean air and lower health and climate-change costs
Oregon State University researchers have developed a new weapon in the battle against antibiotic-resistant germs – a molecule that neutralizes the bugs’ ability to destroy the antibiotic.
Scientists at OSU were part of an international collaboration that demonstrated the molecule’s ability to inhibit expression of an enzyme that makes bacteria resistant to a wide range of penicillins.
The molecule is a PPMO, short for peptide-conjugated phosphorodiamidate morpholino oligomer. The enzyme it combats is known as New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase, or NDM-1, and it’s accompanied by additional genes that encode resistance to most if not all antibiotics.
“We’re targeting a resistance mechanism that’s shared by a whole bunch of pathogens,” said Bruce Geller, professor of microbiology in OSU’s College of Science and College of Agricultural Sciences, who’s been researching molecular medicine for more than a decade. “It’s the same gene in different types of bacteria, so you only have to have one PPMO that’s effective for all of them, which is different than other PPMOs that are genus specific.”
The Oregon State study showed that in vitro the new PPMO restored the ability of an antibiotic — in this case meropenem, an ultra-broad-spectrum drug of the carbapenem class — to fight three different genera of bacteria that express NDM-1. The research also demonstrated that a combination of the PPMO and meropenem was effective in treating mice infected with a pathogenic strain of E. coli that is NDM-1 positive.
Results of the study, supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health, were recently published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy.
Geller says the PPMO will likely be ready for testing in humans in about three years.
“We’ve lost the ability to use many of our mainstream antibiotics,” Geller said. “Everything’s resistant to them now. That’s left us to try to develop new drugs to stay one step ahead of the bacteria, but the more we look the more we don’t find anything new. So that’s left us with making modifications to existing antibiotics, but as soon as you make a chemical change, the bugs mutate and now they’re resistant to the new, chemically modified antibiotic.”
That progression, Geller explains, made the carbapenems, the most advanced penicillin-type antibiotic, the last line of defense against bacterial infection.
“The significance of NDM-1 is that it is destroys carbapenems, so doctors have had to pull out an antibiotic, colistin, that hadn’t been used in decades because it’s toxic to the kidneys,” Geller said. “That is literally the last antibiotic that can be used on an NDM-1-expressing organism, and we now have bacteria that are completely resistant to all known antibiotics. But a PPMO can restore susceptibility to antibiotics that have already been approved, so we can get a PPMO approved and then go back and use these antibiotics that had become useless.”
Incentives that are designed to enable smarter use of the ocean while also protecting marine ecosystems can and do work, and offer significant hope to help address the multiple environmental threats facing the world’s oceans, researchers conclude in a new analysis.
Whether economic or social, incentive-based solutions may be one of the best options for progress in reducing impacts from overfishing, climate change, ocean acidification and pollution, researchers from Oregon State University and Princeton University say in a new report published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
And positive incentives – the “carrot” – work better than negative incentives, or the “stick.”
Part of the reason for optimism, the researchers report, is changing awareness, attitudes and social norms around the world, in which resource users and consumers are becoming more informed about environmental issues and demanding action to address them. That sets the stage for economic incentives that can convert near-disaster situations into sustainable fisheries, cleaner water and long-term solutions.
“As we note in this report, the ocean is becoming higher, warmer, stormier, more acidic, lower in dissolved oxygen and overfished,” said Jane Lubchenco, the distinguished university professor in the College of Science and advisor in marine studies at Oregon State University, lead author of the new report, and U.S. science envoy for the ocean at the Department of State.
“The threats facing the ocean are enormous, and can seem overwhelming. But there’s actually reason for hope, and it’s based on what we’ve learned about the use of incentives to change the way people, nations and institutions behave. We believe it’s possible to make that transition from a vicious to a virtuous cycle. Getting incentives right can flip a disaster to a resounding success.”
Simon A. Levin, the James S. McDonnell distinguished university professor in ecology and evolutionary biology at Princeton University and co-author of the publication, had a similar perspective.
“It is really very exciting that what, until recently, was theoretical optimism is proving to really work,” Levin said. “This gives me great hope for the future.”
The stakes are huge, the scientists point out in their study.
The global market value of marine and coastal resources and industries is about $3 trillion a year; more than 3 billion people depend on fish for a major source of protein; and marine fisheries involve more than 200 million people. Ocean and coastal ecosystems provide food, oxygen, climate regulation, pest control, recreational and cultural value.
“Given the importance of marine resources, many of the 150 or more coastal nations, especially those in the developing world, are searching for new approaches to economic development, poverty alleviation and food security,” said Elizabeth Cerny-Chipman, a postdoctoral scholar working with Lubchenco. “Our findings can provide guidance to them about how to develop sustainably.”
In recent years, the researchers said in their report, new incentive systems have been developed that tap into people’s desires for both economic sustainability and global environmental protection. In many cases, individuals, scientists, faith communities, businesses, nonprofit organizations and governments are all changing in ways that reward desirable and dissuade undesirable behaviors.
One of the leading examples of progress is the use of “rights-based fisheries.” Instead of a traditional “race to fish” concept based on limited seasons, this growing movement allows fishers to receive a guaranteed fraction of the catch, benefit from a well-managed, healthy fishery and become part of a peer group in which cheating is not tolerated.
There are now more than 200 rights-based fisheries covering more than 500 species among 40 countries, the report noted. One was implemented in the Gulf of Mexico red snapper commercial fishery, which was on the brink of collapse after decades of overfishing. A rights-based plan implemented in 2007 has tripled the spawning potential, doubled catch limits and increased fishery revenue by 70 percent.
“Multiple turn-around stories in fisheries attest to the potential to end overfishing, recover depleted species, achieve healthier ocean ecosystems, and bring economic benefit to fishermen and coastal communities,” said Lubchenco. “It is possible to have your fish and eat them too.”
A success story used by some nations has been combining “territorial use rights in fisheries,” which assign exclusive fishing access in a particular place to certain individuals or communities, together with adjacent marine reserves. Fish recover inside the no-take reserve and “spillover” to the adjacent fished area outside the reserve. Another concept of incentives has been “debt for nature” swaps used in some nations, in which foreign debt is exchanged for protection of the ocean.
“In parallel to a change in economic incentives,” said Jessica Reimer, a graduate research assistant with Lubchenco, “there have been changes in behavioral incentives and social norms, such as altruism, ethical values, and other types of motivation that can be powerful drivers of change.”
The European Union, based on strong environmental support among its public, has issued warnings and trade sanctions against countries that engage in illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing. In the U.S., some of the nation’s largest retailers, in efforts to improve their image with consumers, have moved toward sale of only certified sustainable seafood.
Incentives are not a new idea, the researchers noted. But they emphasize that their power may have been under-appreciated.
“Recognizing the extent to which a change in incentives can be explicitly used to achieve outcomes related to biodiversity, ecosystem health and sustainability . . . holds particular promise for conservation and management efforts in the ocean,” they wrote in their conclusion.
New colors, a new world of pigments continue to evolve from accidental blue discovery
A bright blue compound that was first discovered by accident seven years ago in an Oregon State University laboratory – and has since garnered global attention – has now led to the more rational and methodical development of other colors that may ultimately change the world of pigments.
Findings on the newest pigments, in shades of violet and purple, were just published in Inorganic Chemistry, a journal of the American Chemical Society.
More important, researchers say, is that progress made since the first accidental discovery of this family of inorganic compounds has allowed intensive science to take the place of luck. What’s emerging is a fundamental understanding of the chemistry involved in these “trigonal bipyramidal” compounds.
As the basis for pigments, they are quite remarkable.
Compared to the flaws that exist in many of the compounds they replace, they are all thermally stable, chemically inert, non-toxic and non-carcinogenic. For commercial use, they also have the extraordinary characteristic of reflecting heat, which is highly unusual for dark colors and potentially of great value for saving energy.
All of the compounds have been patented, and are being developed commercially by a private company. Yellow, green and orange colors have already been created, along with the original blue. The research has been supported by the National Science Foundation.
These developments began in 2009 when OSU researchers were studying some manganese oxide compounds for their potential electronic properties, and when one compound came out of an extraordinarily hot oven – about 2,000 degree Fahrenheit – it had turned a vivid blue, now known as “YInMn” blue.
The scientists noticed and took advantage of this unexpected result. They used the compound to create a pigment that was environmentally benign, resisted heat and acid, and was easily made from readily available raw materials.
“No one knew then that these compounds existed,” said Mas Subramanian, the Milton Harris Professor of Materials Science in the OSU College of Science, and corresponding author on the new publication.
“Now we’ve been able to move beyond the accident and really understand the chemistry, including its structure and synthesis. We can produce different colors by using the same basic chemical structure but tweaking things a little, by replacing manganese atoms by iron, copper, zinc and/or titanium. And we’re slowly moving toward what we really want, what everyone keeps asking for, the Holy Grail of pigments – a bright, new, durable, nontoxic red.”
Along with blue, Subramanian said, a stable, nonorganic red pigment would have huge commercial demand.
In this process, the OSU researchers are opening the door to new, inexpensive types of pigments that leave behind some of the toxic compounds historically used to create colors – lead, cadmium, mercury, even arsenic and cyanide. And the bonus of solar heat reflection has huge value for many applications, such as building construction or vehicles, where this characteristic can reduce cooling expenses and something other than white is desired.
Based on the novelty of the discovery and the growing value of these pigments, this research has captured international media attention and broad public fascination – a single online video received 14 million views.
The newest colors of violet and purple, the researchers noted in their study, have long been associated with royalty, aristocracy, piety and faith. The first pigments of these colors date back to cave paintings in France in 25,000 B.C., they said. And Chinese Han purple, the first synthetic purple pigment, was found in some murals in tombs more than 2,000 years old.
Pigments still being used to produce these colors are in some cases chemically and thermally unstable, and subject to increasing environmental regulations.
Applications of the new pigments, the researchers said in their report, may be found in high-performance plastics and coatings, building exteriors, cool roofing, vinyl siding, automobiles, and even art production or restoration.
Researchers have created a new drug delivery system that could improve the effectiveness of an emerging concept in cancer treatment – to dramatically slow and control tumors on a long-term, sustained basis, not necessarily aiming for their complete elimination.
The approach, called a “metronomic dosage regimen,” uses significantly lower doses of chemotherapeutic drugs but at more frequent time intervals. This would have multiple goals of killing cancer cells, creating a hostile biological environment for their growth, reducing toxicity from the drug regimen and avoiding the development of resistance to the cancer drugs being used.
A system just published in Chemistry of Materials by a group of researchers from Oregon and the United Kingdom offers an even more effective way to deliver such drugs and may be able to greatly improve this approach, scientists say. Further testing is needed in both animals and humans for safety and efficacy.
“This new system takes some existing cancer therapy drugs for ovarian cancer, delivers both of them at the same time and allows them to work synergistically,” said Adam Alani, an associate professor in the Oregon State University/Oregon Health & Science University College of Pharmacy, and lead author on the new study.
“Imagine if we could manage cancer on a long-term basis as a chronic condition, like we now do high blood pressure or diabetes. This could be a huge leap forward.”
This approach is still in trial stages, Alani said, but shows promise. In some prior work with related systems in animal tests, OSU and collaborating researchers have been able to completely eradicate tumors.
Total remission, Alani said, may be possible with metronomic dosage, but the initial goal is not only to kill cancer cells but to create an environment in which it’s very difficult for them to grow, largely by cutting off the large blood supply these types of cells often need.
Most conventional cancer chemotherapy is based on the use of “maximum tolerable doses” of a drug, in an attempt to completely eliminate cancer or tumors. In some cases such as ovarian cancer, however, drug-free intervals are needed to allow patient recovery from side effects, during which tumors can sometimes begin to grow again or develop resistance to the drugs being used.
The types of cancers this approach may best lend itself to are those that are quite complex and difficult to treat with conventional regimens based on “maximum tolerable dose.” This includes ovarian, sarcoma, breast, prostate, and lung cancers.
One example of the new metronomic regimen, in this instance, is use of two drugs already common in ovarian cancer treatment – paclitaxel and rapamycin – but at levels a tenth to a third of the maximum tolerable dose. One drug attacks cancer cells; the other inhibits cancer cell formation and the growth of blood vessels at tumor sites.
The new system developed in this research takes the process a step further. It attaches these drugs to polymer nanoparticles that migrate specifically into cancer cells and are designed to release the drugs at a particular level of acidity that is common to those cells. The low doses, careful targeting of the drugs and their ability to work in synergy at the same time appeared to greatly increase their effectiveness, while almost completely eliminating toxicity.
“Our goal is to significantly reduce tumors, slow or stop their regrowth, and allow a person’s body and immune system time to recover its health and natural abilities to fight cancer,” Alani said. “I’m very optimistic this is possible, and that it could provide an entirely new approach to cancer treatment.”
In a paper published April 26th in mSystems, a team of researchers led by microbiologists at Oregon State University, in Corvallis, describe a successful trial of a new method of identifying the carbon uptake of specific marine bacterioplankton taxa. The technique uses proteomics – the large-scale study of proteins – to observe directly the metabolic processes of communities of microorganisms.
Oregon State microbiologist Ryan Mueller, senior author on the paper, says the technique illuminates the carbon uptake process at three levels. “It shows how much is being used, by which microbes, and how they’re using it to produce new proteins,” he says. “It provides information about which organisms are taking up different substrates.”
Marine bacterioplankton play a critical role in the carbon cycle. They recycle chemicals and decompose carbon-rich material like dissolved free amino acids (DFAA), which can result from many processes including lysing cells or phytoplankton bloom die-offs. Bacterioplankton process half of the organic carbon fixed by phytoplankton and other microbes through photosynthesis, but not all microbial communities have the same uptake rates. Linking particular taxa to metabolic responses has been an open question in the field for decades.
The researchers tested their new method, called proteomic stable isotopic probing, or proteomic-SIP, on eight seawater samples, including six collected from the ocean at Monterey Bay, California, and two from Newport, Oregon. To those samples they added DFAAs enriched with the isotope carbon-13. Using high-resolution mass spectrometry, they extracted and analyzed proteins from the samples – half of the samples after 15 hours, and the other half after 32 hours. They used software developed by researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, in Tennessee, to analyze the proteomics data.