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Spring 2018

150 Years of Science: Land and Sun Issue

IMPACT title peering over sandy desert hill
The 1862 Morrill Act stated that the purpose of land-grant colleges was “to teach such branches of learning as are related to agriculture and the mechanic arts…in order to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes.”

Fellow Beavers,

As a scientist, I am always thinking about the state of science globally, nationally, and in Oregon. Science is the single greatest force for good in human history. That’s why we have done the work that we do — seek knowledge that explains how the universe works and that allows us to improve our lives, grow our economy and protect our planet. We have done that for more than 150 years.

We pursue science because we are optimistic about the future and we know that the knowledge that science brings us can solve many of our problems. In February, several science faculty were featured in the OSU-produced feature-length documentary, “Saving Atlantis.” Produced over three years, the film focuses on the devastating decline of our coral reefs in some of the most world’s most beautiful places — Australia, French Polynesia, Colombia, Saudi Arabia and Hawaii — and their profound impact on the communities that depend on them.

The film was screened on campus, at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) in Portland and at film festivals across the West, including the American Documentary Film Festival in Palm Springs this spring. I encourage you to see it if you have the opportunity.

While the College of Science was formally established at OSU in 1932, our programs and departments shaped the foundation of the university and the evolution of its research and education since it received a federal land grant designation in 1868. Since then, we have never looked back and continue to pursue our mission: To conduct internationally recognized, curiosity-driven research and innovative teaching that enables us to tackle the world’s most pressing challenges.

In the following stories, you can read about the extraordinary impact Science has made on our land and sun through research over the past 150 years. I hope you enjoy looking back through history at what we have accomplished and reading about our current momentum as we look to the future to imagine what we can achieve together. With outstanding alumni support and exceptional student and faculty research and innovation, the future of Science at Oregon State never looked so strong.

Roy Haggerty
Dean, College of Science

Student Success

Coaching science students to be career-ready

The College combines both traditional and innovative approaches to make sure our science graduates are well prepared for lifelong success.

April 19, 2018

150 years of science for land and sun

Science programs have guided the evolution of research and education at OSU since its 1868 land grant designation.


Statistical innovations help decode the human microbiome

OSU statisticians were awarded a four-year $770K NIH grant to innovate statistical methods to study the human microbiome and its role in human health.

Alumni and Friends

Biochemistry and Biophysics alumna builds next-gen robots

Rebecca Pankow (’11) was featured in New Yorker for her research on building a new generation of robots that work cooperatively with humans.


Milestones: Oregon State Science at the helm for 150 years

The College of Science is proud to have many significant milestones in the last 150 years.

Faculty and Staff

Mathematician speaks at global geosciences conference

Mathematician Malgo Peszynska was chosen as one of the plenary speakers at the 2017 SIAM Conference.

Faculty and Staff

Dynamic duo in microbiology join OSU

The College of Science welcomes Maude David and spouse Kenton Hokanson, who joined the Department of Microbiology in January.


Gilfillan Lecture: Catalyzing the transformation of science learning

Physics Professor Corinne Manogue will present the College of Science 2018 F.A. Gilfillan Memorial Lecture on April 5.

Faculty and Staff

Celebrating excellence: 2018 teaching and advising awards

Exceptional teachers and advisors honored at the Winter 2018 Teaching and Advising Awards in the College of Science.


Determination and excellence: The making of a Presidential Scholar

First-year chemistry major Maria Lachino Sonato is a recipient of OSU's Presidential Scholarship, which is awarded to the highest-caliber high school seniors in Oregon.


Physics head Heidi Schellman, a leader on campus and abroad

Heidi Schellman is one of those rare academics who has remained engaged and successful in three distinct areas — research, teaching and administration.

Faculty and Staff

Physics professor takes the reins as associate dean

Physics professor Henri Jansen is appointed new Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs in the College of Science, effective January 29, 2018.


Online Environmental Sciences program ranked No.2 in country

Oregon State’s online and on campus environmental sciences bachelor program is setting high standards for excellence.

Biomedical Science

Dirt-dwelling microbe produces potential anti-melanoma weapon

A type of soil-dwelling bacterium produces molecules that induce death in melanoma cells, according to research by chemist Sandra Loesgen.


The significance of OSU's sea-, space-, sun- and land-grant designations

Oregon State University is one of only two universities in the country with Land-, Sea-, Space- and Sun-Grant designations.

Faculty and Staff

Scientist elected AAAS Fellow for distinguished contributions to coastal ecology

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) announced Sally D. Hacker, professor of integrative biology, as a 2017 Fellow last week.

Materials Science

Making the world safer: Nuclear stewardship a critical priority

Chemist May Nyman is part of a five-year, $12.5 million National Nuclear Security Administration grant to study nuclear stewardship.

Graduate students

Ph.D. students awarded ARCS Foundation scholarships

The College of Science is delighted to have two doctoral students among the 24 young scientists and engineers selected as 2017 ARCS Foundation Oregon scholars.

Data Science

Tools used for metagenomic research under scrutiny

A recent critical assessment of software tools represents a key step toward taming the “Wild West” nature of the burgeoning field of metagenomics.

Alumni and Friends

From poverty to prosperity: Refugee, professor and entrepreneur

Satnam Sethi ('68) is no stranger to risk-taking, transforming his life of poverty to prosperity as a refugee, biology professor and an entrepreneur.

Biochemistry & Biophysics

Nanofiber sutures promote production of infection-thwarting peptide

Loading nanofiber sutures with vitamin D induces the production of an infection-fighting peptide, new research shows.

Student Success

OSU nabs national award for first-ever 3-D virtual microscope for online biology courses

OSU wins a 2017 WCET Outstanding Work award for groundbreaking, first-of-its kind 3-D Virtual Microscope and online introductory biology course series.