Molecular motor mystery solved: Novel protein rounds out plant cells’ machinery

A research team led by Prof. Weihong Qiu and collaborators from University of California, Davis has discovered a novel motor protein that significantly expands current understanding of the evolution and design principle of motor proteins.

White arrowheads indicate the microtubule plus end, and red and yellow arrowheads indicate the leading ends of two different actin filaments.

The findings of the research team, led by of the OSU College of Science and Bo Liu ­of UC Davis, were published today in Nature Communications.

Read the full OSU announcement at:


Prof. David McIntyre of the Department of Physics, and Marisa Chappell of the School of History, Philosophy and Religion (SHPR) have been named the 2018 Honors College Eminent Professors. The award recognizes faculty for outstanding teaching, research and undergraduate mentorship.

David McIntyre has been teaching physics at Oregon State since 1989, after earning his B.S. from the University of Arizona and a Ph.D. from Stanford University. He has mentored two honors students’ thesis projects and was one of four faculty members who led the inaugural Honors College London Experience in the summer of 2016. He regularly teaches the honors recitation of the introductory physics course. He allows students’ curiosities to drive class discussion, asking them to submit a question each week about the course material or about any sort of physics question on their minds. “When students are first starting out, they’re very eager. I appreciate how curious they are. I try to make it centered around them,” McIntyre says. He has brought in lively demonstrations to spark that curiosity. For instance, he has used a Levitron – a magnetic toy – to show how frogs float using magnetism.

McIntyre in London.

While teaching a course on Isaac Newton in the Honors College London study abroad program, he particularly took advantage of the possibilities for designing tangible experiences that illustrated and underlined course themes, including a trip to Greenwich to do navigational measurements with a sextant. “I try to present things in different ways. Everyone learns differently. In physics we have equations, graphs and words – all different ways to say things.” He says that over the years, he has continuously refined his teaching, finding out how to reach students and better determine what they already know and need to know. And, in turn, the students’ energy and curiosity inspire him in his teaching. “I got into academia because you’re guaranteed to work with younger and younger people and their energy. It’s why I’m in it. It’s just fun,” McIntyre says.

The Honors College Eminent Professor awards are made possible through the generosity of Honors College donors, particularly Ruth Beyer and Joseph (Sandy) and Cheryl Sanders. For a list of previous honorees, see

Trio Receives Prestigious Scialog Award To Study Collective Cancer Cell Dynamics

A cancerous tumor has cells that act as leaders as the tumor invades and degrades the body’s extracellular matrix, a collection of molecules secreted by healthy cells that provides for their structural and biochemical support. Little is known about how cancer cells become leader cells or how a hierarchy is established as the invasion moves forward.

Three scientists — Michelle Digman, University of California Irvine, Steve Pressé, Arizona State University, and Bo Sun, Oregon State University – have formed a collaboration to screen novel metabolic and rheological (i.e., flow) markers within an invading group of cancer cells. Specifically they aim to determine the probabilities of a cell belonging to a certain type within the invading tumor, and also determine how to eliminate leading cells, as well how new leaders are “elected.”

Among the three scientists, who have not worked together before, there is considerable expertise in live cell imaging and analysis, mathematical analysis and statistical modeling, and tumor patterning and cancer migration.

Digman, Presse and Sun formed their collaboration at the most recent Scialog: Molecules Come to Life conference organized by the private foundation Research Corporation for Science Advancement (RCSA).
Scialog is a combination of “science” plus “dialog.” The unique conference encourages early career scientists to form multidisciplinary teams to identify and tackle critical research challenges. The program is designed to fund highly innovative, but untested, ideas with the potential for high impact on challenges of global significance.

“Funding early stage, potentially high-impact research of this nature can be riskier than funding well-established lines of research,” notes RCSA Senior Program Director Richard Wiener, “but it represents an approach to accelerating the pace of breakthrough scientific discoveries.”

The $168,750 in funding for the trio’s research is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, which is co-sponsoring Scialog: Molecules Come to Life.


About Research Corporation for Science Advancement (RCSA):
Founded in 1912, Research Corporation for Science Advancement ( is the second-oldest foundation in the United States (after the Carnegie Corporation) and the oldest foundation for science advancement. RCSA is a leading advocate for the sciences and a major funder of scientific innovation and of research in America’s colleges and universities.

Media Contact:
Research Corporation for Science Advancement
Dan Huff

Physics Dept. Head, Heidi Schellman has been chosen as Chair of Commission of Commission 11 of the International Union for Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP)

US IUPAP representatives in 2015. Beverly Berger, Aihua Xie, Kennedy Reed (IUPAP president-elect) and Heidi Schellman. Courtesy APS news.

IUPAP is an international organization formed in 1922 with the mission “to assist in the worldwide development of physics, to foster international cooperation in physics, and to help in the application of physics toward solving problems of concern to humanity.” In addition to its ongoing role in assuring international cooperation in Physics,  IUPAP is occasionally asked, as the worldwide organization for the field, to endorse international agreements, such as the proposed modifications of the standard for SI units and C11’s reports on authorship standards in particle physics.

Commission C11 is the body concerned with Particle and Fields.  C11 oversees the major international conferences in the field and sponsors the International Committee on Particle Accelerators and a Young Scientist Prize awarded every two years.

See  outgoing IUPAP President Bruce McKellar’s recent article in Physics Today for a longer explanation of IUPAP and its work in international development and equity.  Or check out their website at

OSU’s August 19-21 eclipse event, OSU150 Space Grant Festival: A Total Eclipse Experience, was featured on KMTR on August 19th.

Department of Physics graduate student Dr. Atul Chhotray was interviewed for the story.
You can see the full piece here.

The OSU Astronomy Club was very active in the educational outreach stations at this event.
Thank you to our volunteers for your time and enthusiasm in making last weekend a fun, educational experience.


Oregon NASA Space Grant Consortium Astronomer- in-Residence and Oregon State University Physics and Honors College Instructor Randy Milstein  has had a busy month speaking about the 2017 Great American Eclipse. The links below highlight some of his presentations and interviews.

Follow this link to his interview with Al Jazeera English (The first independent news channel in the Arab world dedicated to providing comprehensive news and live debate).

He spoke with the OSU Alumni Association in Beaverton, Oregon on August 8.
A link to his presentation is here.

On August 14, he was interviewed by OSU’s KBVR radio station.
You can listen to the interview here.

He was interviewed for the CBS This Morning story,  “Man Bikes Across the US to Educate America About the Solar Eclipse,” that aired on August 19. He isn’t the man on the bike. There wasn’t enough time with all of his other outreach events!
The feature is available here.
His portion of the story is at minute 3:16-3:34.

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Headshot of Oksana Ostroverkhova

Oksana Ostroverkhova has been chosen by the American Physical Society as their Woman Physicist of the Month for May 2017. The Woman Physicist of the Month is a program of the APS’s Committee on the Status of Women in Physics (CSWP). It highlights exceptional female physicists, recognizing their positive impact other individuals’ lives and careers.

Read the full article here.