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Science in the news

Science in the news

Media contacts

Journalists are encouraged to contact OSU's Department of News and Research Communications at 541-737-0787 for assistance. Media personnel seeking expert sources for their stories can contact OSU news editor Sean Nealon at 541-737-0787 or

For more specific content, science news writer Steve Lundeberg is also available at 541-737-4039, or

Media coverage highlights

KTVZ news -

OSU partnering with Yurok Tribe to envision Klamath River after 4 dams are removed

OSU microbiologist Julie Alexander is part of a research effort that will embark on a 3½-year partnership with the Yurok Tribe to study what the connections between river quality, water use and the aquatic food web will look like after four Klamath River dams are dismantled

To unravel some of the ocean's mysteries Northwest scientists head to sea

A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration research vessel carried scientists including OSU graduate student Kris Bauer, hoping to catch tiny crustaceans known as copepods. These surveys can provide critical information on how sea life will adapt to climate change.

Researchers identify toxin that tainted Salem’s drinking water in 2018

A new study led by Theo Dreher, emeritus professor of microbiology at OSU, helped pinpoint the type of toxic algae that bloomed in Detroit Lake in 2018 and made the drinking water in Oregon's capital potentially hazardous for some people to drink.
Oregon Business -

The Oregon Cluster Initiative - keeping more local seafood local

Marine ecologist Francis Chan was featured in Oregon Business for his work to launch the Ocean Cluster Initiative that helps keep seafood local. The COVID-19 disruption of supply chains left the fishing industry unable to provide seafood to its own communities.
Hakai Magazine -

Oregon's intertidal ecosystem is approaching a tipping point

OSU marine ecologist Bruce Menge has spent his career trying to detect ecological catastrophes. Now, he is concerned that Oregon's rocky intertidal zones are approaching disaster.

OSU receives $5.6 million for new center to study protein engineering

Biochemistry professor Ryan Mehl and the new GCE4All genetic code expansion center were featured in an interview on KVAL. The new center is the first of its kind in the world and made possible through a $6M grant from the NIH.
Forbes -

Could Hawaiian Corals Tolerate Ocean Warming And Acidification?

Coral ecophysiologist and postdoctoral researcher Rowan McLachlan of the Department of Microbiology is lead author on a two-year study that suggests that some Hawaiian corals may tolerate warming and ocean acidification more than previously thought.
Statesman Journal -

Hike with a scientist: Oregon dunes of Bob Straub hold secrets in the sand

Due ecologist Rebecca Mostow, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Integrative Biology, goes on a hike that turns up a new hybrid of beachgrass, only recently discovered, that could play a big role on the dunes in the future.
The New York Times -

If You Haven’t Thought About Coronavirus in Animals, You Should

Barbara Han, a disease ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, knew it was a question of when, not if, the coronavirus would spread to animals. Han earned a Ph.D. in Zoology from OSU in 2008.
Hakai Magazine -

Catching Crabs in a Suffocating Sea

To better understand how hypoxia — dangerously low oxygen levels — affects crabs, Francis Chan of the Department of Integrative Biology and other researchers and fishers are working together to find a way to adjust to changing conditions in the northeast Pacific Ocean.
News Medical -

Scientists discover a new class of potential drug targets for neurodegenerative diseases

Researchers from the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics have discovered a new class of potential drug targets for people suffering from neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Lou Gehrig's disease.
Wonderful Engineering -

Astronomers are inching closer to discovering a new way to detect gravitational waves

A worldwide collaboration believes that astronomers may be on the verge of discovering gravitational waves from distant supermassive black holes. OSU radio astronomer Xavier Siemens is heading the North American group.
Live Science -

10 coolest non-dinosaur fossils unearthed in 2021

Findings by George Poinar Jr. in the Department of Integrative Biology lead the list of 10 non-dinosaur animal fossil discovered in 2021.

Amber captures rare plant behavior in an ancient, extinct pine cone

The first fossil evidence of a pine cone sprouting seeds has been preserved in 40 million-year-old amber. George Poinar Jr., a paleobiologist in the Department of Integrative Biology, authored a study on the discovery,
Mirage News -

OSU study yields first in fossil research: Seeds sprouting from an amber-encased pine cone

Research from the Department of Integrative Biology's George Poinar Jr. has uncovered the first fossil evidence of a rare botanical condition known as precocious germination in which seeds sprout before leaving the fruit. In a paper published in Historical Biology, Poinar's research describes a pine cone, approximately 40 million years old, encased in Baltic amber from which several embryonic stems are emerging.
River Falls Journal -

Out of the blue, science alum creates new pigment, now a Crayola color

Department of Chemistry alumnus Andrew Smith (Ph.D. Materials Chemistry '10) recounts his work as a graduate student in the lab of Mas Subramanian, where he was part of the team that discovered YInMN blue, the first blue pigment discovered in more than 240 years.
Mind Body Green -

4 Benefits Of Vitamin A, Including Healthy Skin, Immunity & More

Professor of Biochemistry & Biophysics Adrian Gombart explains the role of vitamin A in the human body. Not just essential for eye health, the vitamin helps the immune system function at its best and keeps cells growing and developing as they should. Depending on where in the body vitamin A is needed, the body can convert retinol further into retinol or retinoic acid, which bind to receptors to regulate gene expression.
News Medical -

OSU research shines light on the way malignant cancer cells change shape

Research led by Associate Professor of Physics Bo Sun has shed new light on the way malignant cells change their shape and migration techniques to invade different types of tissue. How well a cancer cell can change shape and shift travel modes plays a huge role in a cancer patient's prognosis. Sun and collaborators in the College used a type of artificial intelligence known as computer vision to track a cell's migration program based on its shape; computer vision derives information from digital photos, video and other visual inputs.
GeekWire -

How the ‘Dune’ science-fiction saga parallels the real science of Oregon’s dunes

Research from Department of Integrative Biology professor Sally Hacker tracks how the two types of beachgrass planted by the USDA — one that’s native to Europe, and another that’s native to the U.S. East Coast — are taking over the dunes.
Spectrum News -

Despite flurry of findings, doubts dog gut microbes’ role in autism

The gut microbiome is having a moment. An explosion of research over the past decade has delved into a possible connection between the microbiome and brain conditions, including autism. In a 2021 study, Assistant Professor of Microbiology Maude David and her colleagues identified 10 microbes as more common among the 60 autistic children they studied, and 11 other microbes more likely to be present in the children’s 57 non-autistic siblings.

Recent research, by topic

Collectively, we plumb a vast breadth of research topics, from aging to zooplankton, from supernovae to superbugs. We pursue scientific research wherever our curiosity leads.