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Over-the-shoulder view of a scientist pipetting a dark liquid from a test tube.

Science faculty research funding totals $24.2M in fiscal year 2023

By Sharon Betterton

Over the 2022-2023 fiscal year, College of Science researchers received $24.2 million in research grants to support groundbreaking science, up 31% from the previous year. Most of that funding came from federal and state agencies in recognition of proposals with broad societal impacts, like increased human health, sustainable energy, climate change mitigation and resilient ecosystems supporting local economies. College of Science research expenditures totaled $18.3M.

The figure below illustrates the breakdown of funding sources for the College, with the National Science Foundation ($10.8M) and National Institutes of Health ($5.5M) at the fore.

A pie chart representing the breakdown of research funding sources in the fiscal year 2022-2023. Detail is provided in the caption.

Research funding in 2022-23 ($24.2M total) comprised investments mostly from federal and state agencies, including the National Science Foundation (45%–$10.8M), National Institutes of Health (23%–$5.5M), Department of Energy and National Labs (9.6%–$2.3M), and others (6.6%—$1.6M). Additional funds were provided by other universities (8.8%—$2.1M), foundations (5.5%–$1.3M), foreign governments (1.4%–$331K) and industry (0.6$–$150K).

Team Science shoots for the stars. Research funding helps us get there.

Many science faculty received grants last year in support of discovery, education and innovation—these are just some of them:

Marine ecologist Francis Chan is the lead on a new $4.2M grant from NOAA to investigate how multiple climate change-related stressors are impacting marine ecosystems off the coast of Oregon, Washington and Northern California. The study will focus on Dungeness crab and krill, specifically. Francis Chan and fellow marine ecologist Sarah Henkel were also among five scientists at Oregon State to receive $1.15M from Oregon Sea Grant.

Two people on a fishing boat haul in a crab pot containing Dungeness crabs.

Dungeness crab is an economically and culturally valued resource to communities all along the Pacific Coast. But climate-related marine stressors threaten the lives of crabs and the livelihoods of the communities they support. Francis Chan’s project will examine these stressors and work with commercial fisheries and state and Tribal resource managers to create more resilient fisheries in the face of climate change.

Physicist Heidi Schellman is part of a new $3.2M consortium funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science to train the next generation of computational high-energy physicists. Schellman is developing online training materials as part of this project.

Chemist David Ji received a $3M grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to lead the development of a new, high-energy-density battery that does not rely on rare elements. “Understanding the Interfaces for High-Energy Batteries Using Anions as Charge Carriers” includes collaborators from Howard University, the University of Maryland and Vanderbilt University. Ji also received multi-year grants ($400K and $398K) from the National Science Foundation in support of more sustainable, economic and safe battery chemistries.

Integrative Biology Senior Instructor Adam Chouinard is part of a multi-institution research team to receive a $2.88M grant from the National Science Foundation for a project aimed at shifting the landscape of biology education on a national scale through graduate teaching professional development.

Astrophysicist Xavier Siemens received $1.95M from the National Science Foundation for the NanoGrav Physics Frontiers Center, which recently confirmed Einstein’s theory of gravitational wave effects on pulsars.

Evolutionary biologist Molly Burke received two grants from the National Institutes of Health. The first is a five-year, $1.8M Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA), which will support multiple projects focused on aging and infertility. MIRA grants support early-stage investigators by providing a flexible umbrella of support. The second grant is a $359K grant for a project entitled “Experimental evolution of complex traits.”

Computational biochemist David Hendrix received $1M from the National Science Foundation for a project entitled “Collaborative Research: Ideas Lab: Discovery of Novel Functional RNA Classes by Computational Integration of Massively-Parallel RBP Binding and Structure Data.”

Population biologist Ben Dalziel, along with statistician Katherine McLaughlin and other OSU co-investigators received $1M from the National Science Foundation to identify, model, predict, track and mitigate the effects of future pandemics – “Coupling predictive intelligence with adaptive response to create pandemic-resilient cities.” This grant is part of a new $26M NSF program called Predictive Intelligence for Pandemic Prevention. Dalziel also received support ($26K) from Cornell University for research on the epidemiology of Equine hepacivirus.

Ecologist Rebecca Terry received $912K from the National Science Foundation for her project entitled “The Small Mammals of the Paisley and Connley Caves: Disentangling Drivers of Diversity in Pleistocene Extinction Survivors.”

Marine biologist Kristen Grorud-Colvert received $800K from Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors for “A Guide for Achieving Effective Ocean Protection: Tracking MPAs and OECMs for 30x30.” Grorud-Colvert also received $170K from the Oregon Ocean Sciences Trust for a project entitled, “The missing link: Quantifying juvenile dynamics of key commercially and recreationally important fishes along Oregon’s nearshore.”

Physicist Matt Graham received a three-year, $600K DEPSCoR grant from the Department of Defense Air Force Research Laboratory for a project entitled “Emergent Magneto-Optoelectronics in 2D, 1D and 0D Twisted Layer Graphene Systems.”

Microbiologist Rebecca Vega Thurber received $528K from the National Philanthropic Trust for her project entitled “Integration of eDNA into island-wide reef ecological measures to identify conservation and restoration priority areas across the Moorea lagoon.” The State of Florida Department of Environmental Protection also supported Vega Thurber’s project ($143K), “Meta-transcriptomics to determine if and how viruses are involved in SCTLD infection status and/or disease susceptibility.”

Chemist Chris Beaudry received $482K from the National Science Foundation for his project entitled “Connective Stereospecific Generation of Alkenes Continued.”

Microbiologist Tom Sharpton received a $403K grant from the National Institutes of Health for a project entitled “Impacts of Benzo[a]pyrene on Microbiome Development across Lifespan and Generations and the Behavioral Consequences.”

A bisection of earth shows a deep layer of permafrost below the regular soil in Russia.

Almost a quarter of the Northern Hemisphere’s landmass is covered by permafrost: permanently frozen soil. When permafrost warms, there are local and global consequences — destabilized landscapes and human infrastructures, changes to local waterways and ecosystems, and the release of greenhouse gasses like methane and carbon dioxide. The models developed in Malgo Pezynska's research and their use for predictive simulations will ultimately provide data valuable to mitigate the effects of permafrost thaw and other related processes.

Malgo Peszynska received $388K from the National Science Foundation Computation Mathematics Program for her project entitled “Computational Mathematics of Arctic Processes,” which will develop computational models and their mathematical analyses for coupled phenomena in the Arctic including thermal, hydrological, and mechanical processes in permafrost soils as well as selected biosphere processes. The grant also supports training graduate and undergraduate students in computational mathematics, with efforts toward an effective mentoring support structure for underrepresented groups.

Michael Blouin received $371K from the National Institutes of Health for “Genetic mechanisms of snail/schistosome compatibility.”

Biophysicist Bo Sun received $352K from the National Institutes of Health for a project entitled “Understanding the control mechanisms of 3D cell migration from new dimensions.”

Chemist Claudia Maier received a $278K grant from Oregon Health & Science University for a grant entitled “Botanicals enhancing neurological and functional resilience in aging.”

Marine ecologist Sarah Gravem received $230K from The Nature Conservancy for her project entitled “The ‘landscape of fear’ created by sunflower sea star and its effects on sea urchin behavior and kelp abundance.” Gravem also received support ($33K) from The Ocean Foundation to support surveys of Oregon kelp forests.

Marine biologist Bruce Menge received $190K from the Oregon Ocean Sciences Trust for a project entitled “Do Tipping Points Loom? Extending 20+ Years of Long-Term Monitoring to Assess Impacts of Climate Change on Rocky Shore Macrophyte Assemblages.”

Biologist David Lytle received a $100K grant from the US Geological Survey for a project entitled “Grand Canyon food base population modeling and eDNA monitoring.” Lytle also received $25K from the USDA Forest Service for “Wilderness canyon ecosystems: From streamflow to bugs to birds.”

Supporting collaborative innovation with internal funding

In addition to our external funding, the College of Science also invests in faculty through research seed funds (SciRIS) and other programs. These competitive internal grants enable scientists to work across disciplines and accelerate research, discovery and innovation.

SciRIS Stage 1

Stage 1 provides $10K to support research planning, team formation and initial experiments.

  • Yuan Jiang and Anna Jolles – “Harnesses longitudinal microbiome data to define the ecological roles of host-associated microbes”
  • Anna Jolles and Claudia Häse – “Oysters, Vibrio and its bacteriophages: A model system for understanding population and coevolutionary host-pathogen-hyperpathogen dynamics”
  • David Hendrix, Colin Johnson, Claudia Maier, and Patrick Reardon – “Computational discovery, functional characterization, and structure determination of microproteins”
  • David Lytle, Justin Sanders and Anna Jolles – “Bioinformatics for integrated river health”

SciRIS Stage 2 / 3

Microbiologist Kimberly Halsey, along with microbiologist James Fox, statistician Duo Jiang and collaborators from Eugene Water and Electric Board, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and the City of Salem received $75K for “Expanding a new toxic harmful algal bloom monitoring strategy to multiple Oregon lakes.”

Microbiologist Steve Giovannoni and marine ecologist Francis Chan received $75K for their project entitled “The hypoxic barrier: Oxygenase enzyme kinetics and ocean health.”

Microbiologist Maude David and collaborators biochemist Kenton Hokanson and Kathy Magnussun and Patrick Chappell from the Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine received a $125K SciRIS Stage 3 grant for “Accelerating neuroactive microbial compounds discovery with gut-brain chip technology.”

SciRIS-ii (Individual Investigator)

The SciRIS-ii program provides seed funding ranging from $10K to $20K to individual investigators to establish partnerships, accelerate project development, generate data and manuscripts and foster proposal submissions.

  • Clayton Petsche – “Exceptional maps in arithmetic dynamical systems”
  • Bo Sun – “Mechanical programming of four-dimensional tissue self-assembly”
  • Ethan Minot – “Ultra-miniaturized spectrometers”

Disease Mechanism & Prevention Fund

Provided by a generous gift from David and Donna Gould, this fund supports research into the mechanism, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of human disease.

  • Alysia Vrailas-Mortimer – “Why is a fly a good model to study my grandmother’s tremors?”

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