The Research Office and the Office for Commercialization & Corporate Development have  created  two  awards  recognizing excellence by Oregon State research faculty. The recipients  for 2012  were announced at University Day in September.

The Faculty Innovator Award celebrates impact through engagement in commercialization partnerships, recognizing a faculty member whose extraordinarily high impact innovations from research are translated into transformative results that help promote economic development and social progress.

This year it was awarded posthumously to Richard Peterson, who passed away in February.

Dr. Peterson was arominent national expert in heat transfer, thermodynamics and combustion, and a leading researcher in miniature and microscale energy systems. He was a professor of mechanical engineering.


“Rich was a prolific inventor whose research will have a profound impact on lives well into the future. He submitted 34 invention disclosures in the past 15 years. Rich really believed in the potential impact his discoveries could have on millions of lives.”

Brian Wall
Director of the Office for Commercialization and Corporate Development


A resolution by the Board of Directors of the Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute (ONAMI) noted Dr. Peterson’s leadership as one of the core founders and as co-director of the Microproducts Breakthrough Institute, and President, CTO, and co-founder of ONAMI Gap Company Applied Exergy. His  many creative contributions to development of technology, included advances in grid energy storage.

Please view an on-line presentation with more details about Dr. Peterson’s career and about the criteria for the annual award.


“Rich was fiercely independent but passionate about his research making a positive impact.  He also cared deeply about teaching and leaves behind a legacy of engineers who will continue making impact. He will be sorely missed.”

Brian Paul
Professor of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering,
Director of the Microproducts Breakthrough Institute



Oregon State University has established a new Center for Latino/Latina Studies and Engagement, and named a prominent faculty member as interim director.

Susana Rivera-Mills, a professor of Spanish and diversity advancement, will direct the new center, known as CL@SE (pronounced claw-SAY), which is designed to meet the research and outreach needs relating to Oregon’s growing Latino population. Rivera-Mills also is the associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts, and has been an active leader on the OSU campus in advancing diversity.

“Research and outreach on issues surrounding the Latino population
affect every discipline at OSU,
and are integral with our university’s strategic areas and our research agenda.”

– Sabah Randhawa, Provost and Executive Vice President

The new center will integrate studies of Latino communities in the United States with analyses of their histories, politics, cultures and societies, officials say. Among the research themes that will be explored are colonialism, race, gender, nationalism, globalism, immigration, economic development, language and identity.

Rivera-Mills, smiling.“The center will promote engaged research and outreach
devoted to advancing knowledge and understanding of Latino contributions
and the issues surrounding this population in our state, region and beyond.
I am enthusiastic about the opportunities.
Our action-based agenda will promote
economic, political, physical and educational well-being and development.”

–  Susana Rivera-Mills

Rivera-Mills has been on the OSU faculty since 2007, and has mentored Latino students and been involved with the university’s internationalization and transnational efforts, as well as been a leader in student engagement and global learning initiatives. She specializes in Spanish language maintenance and loss, sociolinguistics, and Spanish as a first and second language.

CL@SE will be affiliated with both the OSU Provost’s Office and the Research Office, officials say.

“Our recently developed research agenda emphasizes
relevance, integration, collaboration and leadership.
Its principles support team-based research, student involvement,
partnership with communities, and transdisciplinary research.
CL@SE has at its core all of these principles
and reflects the values of the OSU research community.”

– Richard Spinrad, Vice President for Research

“The advancement of social justice
is among the important things that will be fostered
with Susana’s able leadership.”

– Scott Reed, Vice Provost for University Outreach and Engagement


CL@SE will collaborate with several units on campus, especially the colleges of liberal arts, science and education, and Outreach and Engagement.



Brett Tyler, smiling.I am pleased to announce that Dr. Brett Tyler has accepted the position of the Director of OSU’s Center for Genome Research and Biocomputing (CGRB). He has also been appointed as the Stewart Chair in Gene Research, tenured professor in the Department of Botany & Plant Pathology, and adjunct faculty in the College of Veterinary Medicine. He will assume responsibilities on January 1, 2012.

Tyler has been a professor at Virginia Bioinformatics Institute and the Department of Plant Pathology, Physiology and Weed Science at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Virginia.

As a leader in this important field, he will contribute immensely to our research portfolio, and will inspire expanded discovery as well as impact.

“We are excited about Brett leading the CGRB. He brings world-class credentials to our institution,” said Sonny Ramaswamy, Dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences.

Tyler received his Ph.D. in molecular immunology from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in Melbourne, Australia and postdoctoral training in fungal genetics at the University of Georgia. His current research interests are focused on the systems biology of infectious disease, principally regarding oomycete pathogens of plants. His research employs a combination of structural and functional genomics, bioinformatics, molecular biology, and mathematical modeling to dissect the network of signals that tie together the biochemical and regulatory networks of pathogens and their hosts.

Tyler’s team recently discovered a widespread class of small secreted proteins produced by oomycetes, fungi and insects that can enter plant and animal host cells by binding to phosphoinositides. In 2008 Tyler was awarded the Noel T. Keen Award for Excellence in Molecular Plant Pathology by the American Phytopathological Society.

“I am excited to join the research community of Oregon State University, and to participate in leading the community to excellence, especially in the fast-moving areas of genomics and biocomputing,” said Tyler.

CGRB facilitates the development, application and training in computationally intensive, genome-enabled research at OSU and across the state. Research in the CGRB and faculty affiliate laboratories seeks to improve health, better utilize natural and agricultural resources, understand our global environment, and develop new bio-based products and energy sources. The Center offers leadership and services to faculty, staff and students through core laboratories, computational facilities, seminars and technology workshops and conferences. It also provides a focal point for researchers to establish contacts, initiate collaborations and apply new technologies in their own laboratories.

We appreciate Dan Arp for acting as the Interim Director of CGRB. Tyler will fill the position vacated by Jim Carrington, who became president of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis, Missouri.

Please join me in welcoming Brett Tyler to campus and this leadership role.

Rick Spinrad
Vice President for Research

Link to CGRB


4 baby birds on reed, used with permission, copyright Bruce Marbin.
Tree Swallows ("Gape" coloration around beaks helps parent guide food into open mouths). photo BAM, info MG.

Heron walking in water, photo used with permission, copyright Bruce Marbin.The creek’s world let us in, early one  morning. A yellow-eyed heron, engrossed in its walking meditation/fishing, tolerated our binoculared stares.  Four fluffed round tree swallows, cuddled on a curving reed, were oblivious to everything but the treats swooped to their mouths by their parents. On thick leaf pads, husky yellow blossoms, a local version of lotus?, ignored our bumping as we glided in to peer at their  delicacies.

We relished the benign neglect that the wildlife offered us. Paddling our kayaks silently upstream, we could blissfully feel we were one with nature, and all was right with the environment. Is that sound still the automobiles? No – it’s the swash of the ocean waves.

After disembarking and reloading the kayaks on top of our cars, we became one with that traffic to Newport’s featured human event: the open house for the new Marine Operations Center-Pacific  of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration  (NOAA). We had figured that waiting until the weekend’s final hours would mean “the public” would be gone. Ha. We waited in lines to get in through the doors and out onto the vast pier of our federal government come-to-town. Over three thousand curious people, the gatekeepers figured, had already come through.

Artist's rendering of facilities, bay, bridge, ships.
courtesy Port of Newport and gLAs Architects, LLC.

Because I work for Rick Spinrad, who not long ago was the assistant administrator for research of NOAA, and having for years known Jane Lubchenco, who is now NOAA’s head, I was pretty aware of this Department of Commerce bureau. Yet I had so much to learn. In the warehouse, we shuffled past table-top displays about the science, created especially for this celebration, and in the administrative building we saw permanent exhibits. Scientists and other guides remained intensely enthusiastic after hours of explanations.


We  got to look up-close at antique and new artifacts, including: A lead line mold. Intricate model ships. A chronometer. Drift bottles. Sextants. China from the Captain’s table.  A huge wooden ship’s wheel. A precise level. Tools for hand-drawn maps, including India ink.

There were illustrations of a salmon’s life cycle, and what it needs from its environment at each stage. Hands-on demonstrations of salinity-testing tools. Instructions on how to escape a flood and survive a tsunami.

The information shared made it clear that our species does much more than peep at and enjoy nature, and is trying to figure out how to stop bumping it.

I found that the active verbs of NOAA include “protect, research, collect, understand, support, monitor, maintain, steward, manage, educate, explore, alert, oversee, deploy, provide . . .”

NOAA theme logo for research: test tubes and beaker.NOAA theme logo for coasts: silhouette of heron, grasses.NOAA theme logo - fish.NOAA theme logo: charting instrument.Did you know? : the US Coast and Geodetic Survey began releasing “messages in bottles” in 1959 to learn about ocean currents.  NOAA is home to “the seventh uniformed service” of the United States.  NOAA theme logo: ocean waves.Four of the nine ships in the MOC-P fleet are homeported in Newport.  Rachel Carson worked early-on for NOAA.  NOAA Fisheries has had a presence in Newport for 35 years.  A “NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards,” portable and battery-powered, can automatically alert you to severe conditions, including lightening.  A salmon finds its way home to its breeding ground through its sense of smell.   Susan Solomon, formerly of NOAA, is known as the Ozone Hole Sleuth.  NOAA does not own the Newport property –  it has a 20-year lease. NOAA theme logo: climate - earth.NOAA theme logo satellites

Paddle and splash of water, copyright Jana Zvibleman.Kayaking that day kept me in touch with the brilliance of nature. NOAA’s official vision of the future: “Healthy ecosystems, communities, and economies that are resilient in the face of change” helps assure me that it (and OSU) are helping create a better symbiosis of the natural and human-made environments, for a vital world.

– Jana Zvibleman



If you weren’t among the hordes in  Newport that weekend, you can still view some of the scientific displays at the Hatfield Marine Science Center for a little while. And, if your group arranges a tour, you may be able to get into NOAA’s administrative building to see the mini-museum of photos and artifacts.


We plan to offer the public opportunities to visit the facility and ships as we are able. Visit opportunities will be posted to this website

To view the current location of any NOAA ship:  NOAA Ship Tracker


Boehlert, smiling.OSU centers and institutes are crucial in bringing investigators together for innovative interdisciplinary collaboration,  expanding both the discovery and the application of knowledge.  I salute all our faculty and staff involved in the centers, and especially appreciate the leadership of those who serve as directors.


The Vice President for Research and the Research Office provide direct administrative leadership and support for the following Centers and Institutes. Of course,  even more research units, some within colleges, are integral to the OSU enterprise,  and OSU has a significant leadership presence in key national programs.Lisa Gaines, smiling.


Please see descriptions of the activities of centers and institutes at

Mote, smiling.and photos of the current directors at (where you can identify the people pictured here)

If your unit’s description  is not up-to-date here, please “comment” on the blog so other readers get the word, and send your URL and exact changes to




-Rick Spinrad, Vice President for Research

Certain OSU Centers and Institutes are administered by the Vice President for Research, and those are the ones for which the Research Office site provides descriptions and photos of directors. The Research Office site also lists  Additional OSU research units and affiliated organizations ,  with links to many rich resources and collaborations.

Please subscribe to this blog for notices of future postings.



I am pleased to announce that Helen Diggs, a nationally recognized leader in veterinary medicine and animal welfare, has accepted the appointment as Attending Veterinarian for Oregon State University and Director of the Laboratory Animal Resources Center. Her experience, knowledge and national reputation make her an excellent choice for this critical leadership position. She brings extraordinary leadership to the University’s community of research, education and service.

The Attending Veterinarian has ultimate responsibility for care of all animals involved in research or teaching projects at OSU. The Laboratory Animal Resources Center oversees the care of a wide variety of species, from tadpoles to swine.

Dr. Diggs will provide veterinary guidance on the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, which provides approval for the ethical use of animals. Retaining her academic appointment as clinical professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine, she will continue development of the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine (ACLAM)-recognized Laboratory Animal Medicine Residency program, in collaboration with Oregon Health Sciences University, to train Doctors of Veterinary Medicine in the specialty of laboratory animal medicine.

Since 2008, she has been OSU’s Director of the Lois Bates Acheson Veterinary Teaching Hospital, as well as Associate Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine.

Her contributions to OSU include consolidation of the small animal, large animal and core services of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, and initiation of a comprehensive strategy to assess the quality of clinical services for animal owners and referring veterinarians.

Her own research interests include zoonotic diseases, which can be transmitted between animals to humans.

Dr. Diggs serves on the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care, International (AAALAC) Council and recently completed a term as President of ACLAM.

She earned her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from OSU. The OSU Alumni Association selected her as an Alumni Fellow in 2007 and she delivered the 2008 commencement address.

Formerly, she served as Director the Office of Laboratory Animal Care at the University of California, Berkeley and Consulting Veterinarian for the University of California system-wide. She had been Associate Director for veterinary care at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas,  Assistant Professor of animal care at Oregon Health & Science University and Veterinary Medical Officer at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Portland.

In her new roles, effective September 14, 2011, one of her first tasks will be overseeing the University’s evaluation by AAALAC, which acknowledges adherence to Federal regulations to ensure the humane treatment of animals for research, teaching and testing. She will also oversee activation of the Linus Pauling Science Center’s animal facility.

We heartily thank Rick Nelson for serving as Interim Director of LARC and Raymond Baggs, previous Director and Attending Veterinarian, who retired last year.

Please join me in celebrating and supporting Dr. Diggs’ transition.

Richard W. Spinrad

Vice President for Research

I am pleased to inform you that Dr. Belinda Batten, head of the OSU School of Mechanical, Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering  (MIME), will begin her appointment as the Director of the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center on July 1, 2011.

Belinda has served as Head of the School of Mechanical, Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering since 2007 and was Head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering from 2003-2007.  Prior to her current position at OSU, she held positions as a program manager for dynamics and control at the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, a professor of mathematics at Virginia Tech, and assistant and associate professor of mathematics at OSU. While an assistant professor, she received an Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship and spent a year and a half at the Universitaet Trier in Germany.

Dr. Batten received her Ph.D. in 1991 from Clemson University in mathematical sciences. Her dissertation concerned modeling and control of vibrations in large space structures. She is known for her research in modeling and control of distributed parameter systems, especially for her development of computational algorithms for reduced order controllers. Dr. Batten’s current research group is focused on dynamics and control of novel autonomous air vehicles, and optimization and control of wave energy devices.

She is an associate editor for the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics Advances in Design and Control book series. She was a member of the Scientific Advisory Board for the U.S Air Force from 2004-08. She is a member of the AIAA, ASME and SIAM, as well as a senior member of IEEE. In 2002, she received the Outstanding Young Alumni Award from the College of Science and Engineering at Clemson University.

College of Engineering Dean Ron Adams will disclose plans regarding leadership of the School of Mechanical/Industrial/Manufacturing Engineering in the near future.

Please join me in welcoming Belinda to this new role.

– Rick Spinrad, Vice President for Research