By: David Stauth, OSU News and Research Communications

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Researchers today announced the creation of an imaging technology more powerful than anything that has existed before, and is fast enough to observe life processes as they actually happen at the molecular level.

Chemical and biological actions can now be measured as they are occurring or, in old-fashioned movie parlance, one frame at a time. This will allow creation of improved biosensors to study everything from nerve impulses to cancer metastasis as it occurs.

The measurements, created by the use of short pulse lasers and bioluminescent proteins, are made in femtoseconds, which is one-millionth of one-billionth of a second. A femtosecond, compared to one second, is about the same as one second compared to 32 million years.

That’s a pretty fast shutter speed, and it should change the way biological research and physical chemistry are being done, scientists say.

Findings on the new technology were published today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, by researchers from Oregon State University and the University of Alberta.

“With this technology we’re going to be able to slow down the observation of living processes and understand the exact sequences of biochemical reactions,” said Chong Fang, an assistant professor of chemistry in the OSU College of Science, and lead author on the research.

“We believe this is the first time ever that you can really see chemistry in action inside a biosensor,” he said. “This is a much more powerful tool to study, understand and tune biological processes.”

The system uses advanced pulse laser technology that is fairly new and builds upon the use of “green fluorescent proteins” that are popular in bioimaging and biomedicine. These remarkable proteins glow when light is shined upon them. Their discovery in 1962, and the applications that followed, were the basis for a Nobel Prize in 2008.

Existing biosensor systems, however, are created largely by random chance or trial and error. By comparison, the speed of the new approach will allow scientists to “see” what is happening at the molecular level and create whatever kind of sensor they want by rational design. This will improve the study of everything from cell metabolism to nerve impulses, how a flu virus infects a person, or how a malignant tumor spreads.

“For decades, to create the sensors we have now, people have been largely shooting in the dark,” Fang said. “This is a fundamental breakthrough in how to create biosensors for medical research from the bottom up. It’s like daylight has finally come.”

The technology, for instance, can follow the proton transfer associated with the movement of calcium ions – one of the most basic aspects of almost all living systems, and also one of the fastest. This movement of protons is integral to everything from respiration to cell metabolism and even plant photosynthesis.  Scientists will now be able to identify what is going on, one step at a time, and then use that knowledge to create customized biosensors for improved imaging of life processes.

“If you think of this in photographic terms,” Fang said, “we now have a camera fast enough to capture the molecular dance of life. We’re making molecular movies. And with this, we’re going to be able to create sensors that answer some important, new questions in biophysics, biochemistry, materials science and biomedical problems.”

The research was supported by OSU, the University of Alberta, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Who is your PI? – Sandra Loesgen

How did you learn about the position? – I emailed everyone I could, basically. I emailed Dr. Christopher Beaudry for a position at first, then he referred me to Dr. Sandra Loesgen & I emailed her as soon as I could & began setting up appointments. Once I learned what her research was about, I decided I wanted in immediately.

Why did you get into Undergraduate Research? – I got into UG research for a few reasons; one of them was that I want to gain experience now & have some understanding of what a potential future career may be like for me in the field of Chemistry. Another was so I could go to Grad School; research is mandatory in that regard, so I decided to get into it now. The last is that I want to surround myself with like-minded people & to me, a great way to do that is by research.

What advice might you have for other Undergraduate students thinking of pursuing research or just getting started? – Students getting into research should expect to be smothered with knowledge that they aren’t familiar with. Already being in Dr. Loesgen’s research team, there is plenty that I’ve encountered that I’m not familiar with & that I need to do some reading up on. You’ll have to do some reporting also, but that’s a 6-week sort of thing so it’s not that big of a deal. On top of that, you will be around equipment that you may or may not have used before, so it is a great idea to become acquainted with as much as you can with regards to lab equipment & lab safety.

Congratulations Chem Majors who made the Honor Roll for Spring 2014!!

Chadd Armstrong
Dakota Russell Backus
Kayla Marie Bell
Jordan Daniel Bergstrom
Scott Ryan Best
Kristen Marie Brewster
Corinne Nicole Brucks
Abigail Chitwood
Hyun Jun Cho
Tora Jean Cobb
Mark Daniel P Delgado
Micholas Scott Diaz-Hui
Brandica Wray Durfee
Rogert Hames Figura
Eaton C Fong
Elizabeth Marie Gass
John Elliot Hergert
Adam Paul Huntley
Michael Jeffrey Jagielski
Thomas Handry Ketsdever
Reid Willis Kinser
Alexandra Janice Malone
Phillip Gordon Marks
Dang Alvin Nguyen
Philip Duc Nguyen
Dallas Edward Niemeyer
Thu M Pham
Kristin Cassidy Potter
Jacob Ramsey
Caitlin Rose Riechmann
Brian Evert Riggs
Jordan Sierra Roland
Jason William Sandwisch
Kenneth Trucker Stout
Karen Zhilin Zhen

The Office for Research Development is requesting letters of intent for the National Science Foundation ADVANCE: Increasing the Participation and Advancement of Women in Academic Science and Engineering Careers – Institutional Transformation Catalyst (ADVANCE IT Catalyst) and Institutional Transformation (ADVANCE IT) programs. The goals of this program are (1) to develop systemic approaches to increase the representation and advancement of women in academic STEM careers; (2) to develop innovative and sustainable ways to promote gender equity in the STEM academic workforce; and (3) to contribute to the development of a more diverse science and engineering workforce. Guidelines: and Information: Mary Phillips- Deadline: IT Catalyst: Aug. 10, 2015. IT: Sept. 7, 2015.

The Office for Research Development is requesting letters of intent for the National Science Foundation- Cultivating Cultures for Ethical STEM (CCE STEM) program. This program funds research projects that identify factors that are efficacious in the formation of ethical STEM researchers in all the fields of science and engineering that NSF supports. Guidelines: Information: Mary Phillips- Deadline: Dec. 22.

Instructors Margie Haak and Michael Burand will give a lecture on Less Class Time, More Learning at the 2014 Biennial Conference on Chemical Education, August 3-7 at Grand Valley State University in Michigan.

A hybrid-format general chemistry course for science-majors was implemented in the winter term of 2014. Two sections of approximately 160 students each were included. This course was a “trailer” course insomuch as students began the sequence in the second 10-week term of the academic year. Students in trailer courses have historically been more at risk for poor academic performance.

The format of the course included short, topical videos which were custom-made for this course and were made available to students online. Students were assigned to groups of approximately four for the duration of the term and biweekly class meetings consisted almost exclusively of students working on solving problems within their groups. Generally two faculty members and four teaching assistants were present to assist student groups. Typically some time was reserved at the end of the class periods for student groups (selected at random) to come before the class and present their solution to a problem.

Preliminary data show that students in this hybrid course performed significantly better on exams than historical averages for the traditional lecture format. This result is especially noteworthy given that the students in the hybrid course have only 60% of the class time compared to students in the traditional version of the course. A survey of students’ views regarding this hybrid course format was also conducted and will be discussed.

Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program

Full Proposal Deadline Date: July 21, 2014

Program Guidelines: NSF 14-532

CAREER: The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is a Foundation-wide activity that offers the National Science Foundation’s most prestigious awards in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations. Such activities should build a firm foundation for a lifetime of leadership in integrating …
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Class of 2014 - Graduates who attended the Commencement Luncheon
Class of 2014 – Graduates who attended the Commencement Luncheon

Aaron C Anderson BS (Adv Chem), Chadd Armstrong BS (Adv Chem), James Donald Barnes BS (Mat), Kayla Marie Bell BS (For), Jordan Daniel Bergstrom BS (For), Monica Taylor Best BS (For), Sierra Lynne Breckenridge BS (For), Kristen Marie Brewster BS (Biochem), Derek Francisco Franco BS (Pre-Med), Nicholas Burke Goldring BS (Adv Chem), Jared Michael Harzan (BS (Adv Chem), Jacquellyn Helm BS (Adv Biochem), Brad Hilt BS (Pre-Med), Joshua Aaron Holmes BS (Adv Chem), Michael Paul Hughes BS (Adv Chem), Adam Paul Huntley BS (Adv Chem), Ashley Christine Kastner BS (Env), Nizan Kenane BS (Chem Eng), Kevin Andrew Kovalchik BS (Env), Jordane Elizabeth Lampi BS (Biochem), Min June Lee BS (Adv Chem), Stefan Enrique Lucchini BS (Mat), Tsz Pang Lui BS (Adv Chem), Phillip Gordon Marks BS (Chem Eng), Nick A Martin BS (Adv Biochem), Meghan Rose Megowan BS (For), Ashley Marie Moon BS (Adv Chem), Gary Lee Points BS (Biochem), Jordan M Rains BS (For), Stephanie Marie Sherman BS (Pre-Med), Halley Lynne Todd BS (Bus), Adeniyi Abiodun Adenuga (PhD), Maha Daifullah Alghamdi (MS), Lei Chen (MS), Nathan D Collett (PhD), Thomas Day (MS), Rosa Lea Grajczyk (PhD), Jae Seok Heo (PhD), Amanda L Hoyt (MS), Song Yi Kim (MS), Joseph Lee Lapka (PhD), Xiaochao Liu (MS), Melissa Luana Mc Intosh (MS), Sasidhar Naga Nirudodhi (PhD), Muhammed Quamar Salih (PhD), Whitney LeeAnn Schmidt (PhD), Subrata Shaw (PhD), Weekit Sirisaksoontorn (PhD), Sara D Townsend (MS), Shin-Cheng Tzeng (PhD), Christopher David Walsh (PhD), Chao Wang (PhD), Wei Wang (PhD), Liping Yang (PhD)


In order to help meet fiscal year-end deadlines, please do the following ASAP:


  • If you want reimbursed for travel that occurred on or before June 30th, you must submit your reimbursement within in the next couple weeks so we can get it processed before fiscal year-end deadlines. (To ensure it can be processed in time, please make sure you provide the required itinerary, business purpose, documentation, receipts, index to charge, and approval).
    • Remember, travel policy states that “Requests for reimbursement are to be submitted within 60 days after the trip has been completed, but no later than the close of the fiscal year in which the travel occurred.” Don’t miss the chance to get reimbursed by waiting too long to submit your reimbursement!
    • If you have a trip that starts in June but ends in July you can submit that for reimbursement upon your return and it will be processed in July as a FY15 expense.


  • Submit business expense reimbursements ASAP for expenses incurred on or before June 30th .  (To ensure it can be processed in time, please make sure you provide the required business purpose, receipts, other documentation that may be needed, index to charge, and approval).
    • Remember that if you have purchased an item and are requesting reimbursement, the item must be received by June 30th to use FY 14 funds.


  • Submit any invoices to be paid ASAP with departmental approval and the index to charge
  • If you have contractors/consultants and haven’t already done so, please prompt them to submit invoices ASAP for all services performed/goods received by June 30th.


  • If your department has received any checks (even small amounts), get them to us ASAP.  We have to have everything deposited first thing in the morning on June 30th.
  • If your department is owed money by another unit within OSU or by external parties, let us know ASAP so we can get the billing processed and recorded by fiscal year-end deadlines.

Thanks for your assistance in helping us meet fiscal year-end deadlines.  If you have any questions, please contact Jackie Thorsness or your accountant.