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Winter 2016

The Big Data Issue

IMPACT title above spiral digital texture
Data Science: Extracting knowledge from a torrent of information.

Congratulations to our new graduates who are now new alumni! I am excited to share so much good news about the College, our students, faculty and alumni with all of you. As we prepare this magazine, I am always amazed at all of the incredible work our science community is doing. It is truly an inspiration and makes me very proud to be part of Science at Oregon State University.

As you read about our accomplishments, I hope you notice the themes of excellence, diversity and harmony that shine through our recruitment, collaborations and achievements.

Our new faculty and alumni are receiving national and global recognition for research excellence, innovation, service, mentoring and teaching. Through the generosity of alumni like Carolyn Hennig (’64) with her pay-it-forward philosophy, generations of students will have access to a science education regardless of their ability to pay. I am deeply grateful to our alumni and friends for their belief in the power of science and their desire to make a difference.

I am thrilled to share our plans for taking leadership in data science. The cover story illuminates the bright future ahead and how we can harness the power of data science to convert tornadoes of data to knowledge that can lead to better lives on a healthy planet. Please read an expanded version online at, where we highlight the fascinating work of faculty like statistics professor Charlotte Wickham, who is doing remarkable work in data visualization and recently won first place in an international contest.

We launched our 2015-2020 strategic plan that is centered on our people, our planet and our prosperity with a clear mission of advancing science and building the next generation of diverse leaders and innovators in science.

I hope you enjoy reading about the successes of our science community. Thank you for being part of our past and our future.

Sastry G. Pantula
Dean, College of Science


Strategic Plan 2015-2020

After 20 months, we are excited to launch the College of Science Strategic Plan 2015-2020: LEAD—Learn, Engage, Achieve, Discover: Global Excellence in Science.

Data Science

Big Data expertise transcends disciplines

The College of Science has made strategic investments to extend the impact of data science on transdisciplinary research.

Biochemistry & Biophysics

Discover: Research Highlights

The College of Science has an extensive research portfolio that is globally recognized, providing our students enriching and life-changing experiences.

Data Science

Data Science

Data science is a key area of growth because it is highly relevant, we have an obligation, we have key strengths and there is opportunity.

Faculty and Staff

A Day in the Life

May Nyman, chemistry professor and mother of three, juggles teaching, research and service that extend widely beyond 40 hours a week.

Faculty and Staff

Faculty Highlight: Afua Nyarko

Growing up in a “curiosity-driven environment," Afua Nyarko excelled in science and mathematics enough to study biochemistry at one of Ghana’s top science universities.


Better than honey?

Oksana Ostroverkhova is developing a formula with blue dyes to stimulate the blue photoreceptor in bees, attracting them to fertile clover fields during pollination.

Alumni and Friends

Making us proud

Alumna Carolyn Hennig ('64) remembers long years of struggling to pay for her science education which is what inspired her to establish an endowed scholarship.

Alumni and Friends

Celebrating excellence: 2015 Alumni Awards

The College of Science honored three distinguished individuals at its 2015 Alumni Awards recognizing their achievements and service.

Marine Science

Biology student dives for science and corals

Katherine Dziedzic travelled to Panama for coral research this summer after winning a College of Science COSSTA scholarship.

Faculty and Staff

Physics professor named APS Fellow

Janet Tate, Dr. Russ and Dolores Gorman Faculty Scholar and physics professor, has been elected an American Physical Society Fellow.


Biology student, science policy award winner, STEM educator

Natalie Hambalek was one of just four students nationwide to be awarded the Ecological Society of America Graduate Student Policy Award.


Materials chemist awarded nearly $800K in NSF grants

Chemistry professor Mas Subramanian and his team will embark on highly significant scientific research and discovery after receiving two prestigious NSF grants totalling nearly $800K.

Biochemistry & Biophysics

Genetic coding research receives $1.83 million in federal funding

Ryan Mehl has received two NSF and NIH grants to explore using genetic code expansion to change how we can use and study proteins.

Faculty and Staff

Science scores big on University Day 2015

Science faculty and students nabbed top honors at 2015 University Day, an annual tradition of ushering in the academic year by honoring extraordinary accomplishments.

Faculty and Staff

Celebrating Staff and Faculty Fall Awards

The College of Science recognized excellence in research, scholarship, administration and service at its 2015 Faculty and Staff Awards.

Graduate students

Mathews Graduate Fellow announced in Biochemistry & Biophysics

Doctoral student Michelle Wiley receives the 2015-16 Christopher and Catherine Mathews Graduate Fellowship in the Department of Biochemistry & Biophysics.

Graduate students

PhD students receive prestigious NSF awards to address global challenges

Integrative Biology doctoral students Holland Elder and Caroline Glidden have received the prestigious NSF's Graduate Research Fellowship Program awards this year.


Record year for research funding

The College of Science had a record year for research funding with more than $26 million in grants.

Faculty and Staff

Thomann named head of Mathematics Department

The College of Science welcomes Enrique Thomann as the Head of the Department of Mathematics

Faculty and Staff

Karplus to lead Biochemistry and Biophysics

We welcome Distinguished University Professor P. Andrew Karplus as the new Head of the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics

Biochemistry & Biophysics

High-powered nuclear magnetic resonance instrument to draw regional, national and international scientists to OSU

Elisar Barbar and her team were recently awarded $1.3 million by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and another $504,000 from M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust