Monthly Archives: July 2015

Can Trees Take the Heat? Climate Tolerance in Conifers and Coffee

As the average temperatures all over the world steadily increase year by year, there may be detrimental effects to economically valuable plant species. Although we here in Oregon are far from the equator and enjoy a generally temperate climate, shrinking habitat ranges and the physiological effect of heat stress on plants are a global concern. Joining us tonight on the show is Danielle Marias, a PhD student at Oregon State University studying underneath Rick Meinzer in the Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society. Danielle’s research examines the influence of environmental stress from climate phenomenon such as drought on plants. Specifically, she studied the importance of heat alone in coffee plants and conifer seedlings.









All pictures courtesy Danielle Marias, OSU Forest Ecosystems and Society, 7.25.2015

Danielle grew up in Connecticut, and didn’t always know that she wanted to study plant physiology and ecology, but she new that she was interested in applying her undergraduate work on the subject to something with a large impact related to current issues. As a first generation college student, Danielle knows well (as many students do) how complicated it can be to find your way in the world of higher education. She participates in a blog called GradHacker which features the stories of graduate students from many different schools, sharing in their successes and their struggles. The blog is a great resource for any graduate student looking for ideas as to how to advance their academic career, or to get a simple reminder that you aren’t alone, which is sometimes crucial to maintaining your sanity in grad school! The blog is also a great resource for undergraduates who might be trying to find out more about what grad school is like, or how to best prepare for and be successful in higher education.

Tune in tonight at 7pm on 88.7 KBVR Corvallis, or stream live online to hear more about Danielle’s research on climate tolerance in coffee and conifers, and her unique personal journey!


The way you(r medicine) move(s through you)

When you take medicine for a headache, it goes through your stomach into your bloodstream. The blood with the medicine eventually goes to your head, relieving you of your pain. Of course, on the way to the brain, the medicine also has to move through other organs including your liver and your heart. How is this medicine affecting your body? How is your body affecting the medicine on its journey? How long does the medicine linger in the other parts of your body? These are the questions that Oregon State University graduate student Wenjing Li is trying to answer. Her research combines pharmacology and statistics to create a mathematical model of how medicine travels through the body.

Tonight, at 7PM PST, Wenjing Li will talk about her journey combining her love of math and background in pharmacology to studying pharmacokinetics here at Oregon State University. On the way, we will discuss the opportunities she has encountered and the many challenges she has faced as an international student from China. Listen to the conversation on 88.7FM in Corvallis or stream live at

Adélie Penguins and the fight for survival on the final frontier

There are very few places on the earth’s oceans that have not felt human impact. In Antarctica, just south of New Zealand, the Ross Sea is one of the most pristine marine ecosystems, host to a vast array of marine life including sea stars, jellies, Orca whales, and Adélie penguins. This final frontier, away from human influence, makes it the perfect place to study the impacts of climate change.

Adiéle penguin jumping on to an ice sheet. (4th image) Photo Credit: John Weller

On Sunday, July 12, 2015 at 7PM (PST), Peter Kappes of the department of Fisheries and Wildlife will tell us about his journey that lead him to studying Adélie penguins on the Ross Sea. From endangered suckers in the Klamath to seabirds on remote islands in the pacific, we will learn how his >10 year journey led him to his research on how the change in sea ice levels might affect the breeding success of Adiéle penguins. In Antarctica, the land is protected, but the sea is not. This research has the potential to change that.

Be sure to tune in at 7PM (PST) on 88.7FM in Corvallis or stream us on the web at



Rise of the Robots


Image from:

Tonight at 7pm Aswin Raghavan will join us on Inspiration Dissemination. Tune in at 88.7 KBVR Corvallis or stream live here to learn about his project preparing for the robotic revolution (imagine household robots and self-driving cars)! Aswin isn’t worried about these machines coming to conquer humanity, in fact he’s hoping that increased use of Artificial Intelligence can make many aspects of human society more efficient.

As a fifth year PhD student  in computer science working under Dr. Tadepalli, Aswin doesn’t build robots or focus much on what the specific application of his A.I. will be- he works on ‘automated planning’. This means that Aswin develops algorithms used by computers in decision making processes. Computers running these decision making programs can more efficiently manage many human affairs, everything from coordinating traffic lights in your home town to running a loading dock full of multiple automated cranes.

From helping your local fire station more efficiently dispatch vehicle to “smart cities” that manage the provision of utilities to millions, artificial intelligence is on the rise! Join us tonight to find out how!