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Fall 2019

Science: An Innovation Ecosystem

cell icons above test tubes in lab
Understanding and curing diseases such as cancer requires continuous innovation. Learn how Oregon State science innovations are contributing to human health and beyond on page 6 of the magazine.

We are eager to welcome the Class of 2023 and all of our returning students to campus. The campus is a little empty without students, and I look forward to having them back soon for fall term. It is such a privilege to see our students grow and develop as scientists during their time in the College of Science.

Last spring, we graduated 617 students with baccalaureate degrees with nearly 80% of them in the life sciences. We awarded 64 master’s degrees and 70 Ph.D.s, more than one-fifth of OSU’s 329 Ph.D.s. We graduated 20 new chemistry and 16 new mathematics Ph.D.s. We are extremely proud of the Class of 2019, and we look forward to their future accomplishments and innovations in science.

The theme of this issue is innovation. In science we see Innovation as the application of research to benefit society, whether it is through economic growth, solving a pressing problem, or providing popular insights about life and the universe. The College is prioritizing growth in research and student opportunities. Innovation is a strategic way to do both because innovation generates funding opportunities for research, while creating opportunities for internships and permanent jobs for our students. The goal is to harness the synergy between scientific research, market needs and student learning and development. This type of approach will better position the College of Science to develop innovative and effective solutions to society’s greatest challenges.

One way we are generating innovation is through our Science Research and Innovation Seed (SciRIS) program, which is supported in part by generous alumni and friends. SciRIS funds multiple teams in three stages: several teams at the early stage of innovation, a couple of teams at mid-stage that show increasing promise, and one team at late-stage research that is making excellent progress toward a project that will increase research and innovation at OSU and beyond. To increase our ability to provide solutions to pressing problems for the state, nation and the world, we need to build teams of inspired scientists working across disciplines.

Our faculty and students continue to enhance the impact of Oregon State University through the resourceful application of science, technology and innovation. I encourage you to read about our faculty’s promising innovation projects on the following pages.

Roy Haggerty
Dean, College of Science


Oregon State Science, an innovation ecosystem

Scientific discovery at OSU is driven by big thinking, insatiable curiosity and out-of-the-box ideas that find a way into the economy.


Legendary climate scientist and alumnus presents Fall Distinguished Lecture

Pioneering climate scientist and alumnus Warren Washington to present the 2019 Distinguished Lecture on October 11, 2019.

August 30, 2019
Biochemistry & Biophysics

Biochemist’s startup technology will advance wide range of scientific research

Biochemist Joe Beckman has found a new molecule fragmentation technology to allow scientists to conduct research in new ways and across many diverse fields.


Biochemistry and biology students win 2019 Fulbright awards

Congratulations to 2019 Fulbright scholars: biochemistry and biophysics senior Delaney Smith and biology Ph.D. student Andrea Burton.

Faculty and Staff

New physics professor to significantly expand astrophysics program

The College of Science welcomes renowned astrophysicist Xavier Siemens as a new professor of physics.


Biology and biochemistry seniors, graduate students, alumna win NSF fellowship for outstanding research

Four College of Science students and alumni have received prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program awards in 2019.


Physics, mathematics and biochemistry students named Goldwater Scholars

College of Science launches three of four OSU winners of the prestigious 2019 Goldwater Scholarship.

Faculty and Staff

Two distinguished professors share their impacts in science

Faculty members who have received one of the university’s top honors will offer Distinguished University Professor lectures on May 13.


Support science worth doing on Dam Proud Day

On April 30, the College of Science community is coming together for 2019 Dam Proud Day, one exciting day to support science worth doing.


New diffractometer opens door to discovery

In its first week, Oregon State’s new diffractometer has already generated data for eight publishable articles in peer-reviewed science journals.

Alumni and Friends

Biochemist alumna named 2019 AAAS Fellow

Malin Young (’92, ’94), an Oregon State University alumna and biochemist, was elected a 2019 Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).


Gilfillan Lecture: Scientific discoveries from the alphabet soup of nuclear waste

Renowned inorganic chemist May Nyman presents the 2019 Gilfillan Memorial Lecture, “Scientific Discoveries from the Alphabet Soup of Nuclear Waste.”

Biomedical Science

Research paves way for new source for leukemia drug

Chemists patent a method for making anti-leukemia compounds that until now have only been available via an Asian tree.

Faculty and Staff

Two lives intertwined by biochemistry and a passion for teaching burn bright beyond retirement

If anything is certain, it is that Kevin Ahern and wife Indira Rajagopal won’t lose their passion for teaching anytime soon after retiring following a 30-year tenure at OSU.


Scientists find tanner crabs feeding vigorously at methane seeps

Microbiologist Andrew Thurber's discovery is one of the first times a commercially harvested species has been seen using methane seeps as an energy source.


Proton transport ‘highway’ may pave way to better high-power batteries

Chemist Xiulei (David) Ji and his team have found that a chemical mechanism first described more than two centuries ago can revolutionize energy storage.


Statistician who helped create new data science curriculum for California high schools joins OSU

The College of Science welcomes James Molyneux, who joined the Department of Statistics as an assistant professor in Fall 2018.


From nuclear research to award-winning communicator: A young scientist does it all

Lauded for her exceptional research presentations, chemistry Ph.D. student Ana Arteaga has had an unconventional path to academic success.

Faculty and Staff

Fond farewell to chemist Ken Hedberg, champion of science and inspiration to students for seven decades

Alumnus and Distinguished Emeritus Professor of chemistry Ken Hedberg (’43) passed away on January 5, 2019, just a month shy of his 99th birthday and after seven decades of service.


Noted microbiologist William Sandine dies at 90

Bill Sandine, emeritus professor of microbiology, was known for his formidable contributions to the science of fermentation.


Three OSU scientists elected 2018 AAAS Fellows

All three OSU professors named 2018 Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science are in the College of Science.

Biochemistry & Biophysics

Pharmaceutical scientist credits biochemistry and biophysics Ph.D. as key to success

Justin Hall (Ph.D. ’10) is excited to return to Oregon State University and give back to the community that helped jumpstart his success at Pfizer Pharmaceuticals.