Ariko Iso, OSU Exercise and Sport Science graduate, is the National Football League’s first female athletic trainer.

Iso is the frist female athletic trainer
Iso is the frist female athletic trainer

When she was 14 and living in Japan, Ariko Iso didn’t appear headed to the NFL–or even to the U.S. Then she suffered an ACL injury playing sports, and during her recovery she had the opportunity to talk to college athletic trainers. That experience convinced her that she wanted to be a Certified Athletic Trainer herself–and that she wanted to go to college in the United States.

At that point, she says, a little luck entered the picture. She and her parents met then-Exercise and Sport Science department head Chris Zauner, who was lecturing in Japan. They talked about the possibility of her attending Oregon State. A short time later she was studying at OSU, receiving her degree in 1993 with an option in athletic training.

She worked as a trainer for college women’s and men’s basketball teams, eventually making an NFL contact at a conference.

Five years later, after a lot of hard work, perseverance, and two summer internships, she was hired by the Pittsburgh Steelers as an assistant athletic trainer. She’s now in her second year of experiencing life as an NFL trainer.

Pittsburgh Steelers home page

Tory Hagen’s research suggests it may be possible to slow-and perhaps even reverse-the aging process.

Hagen in his lab
Hagen in his lab

Tory Hagen’s lab in OSU’s Linus Pauling Institute features rats that seem to be in the prime of life. They are active, full of energy, and have good memories.

The amazing thing is that these rats are quite old–in the time of their lifespan when most rats are sedentary, slow, and rather senile.

What makes these rats different from others is that Hagen, associate professor of biochemistry and biophysics at Oregon State, is feeding them two dietary compounds, carnitine and lipoic acid, that can mask metabolic problems caused by cellular aging.

“What we are trying to do is understand how these micronutrients work in the body,” Hagen says. “We need to understand both the proper effective dosage and whether they are completely safe.”

So far, the tests have been short-term studies, Hagen says, so it’s unknown whether the benefits can be preserved over the long term.

“Before going on to human clinical trials, we feel compelled to understand the ramifications of supplementation, including any potential safety problems with the use of these supplements,” he says. “Therefore, I cannot recommend that people use them until this information is available.”

“This research is exploring the fundamental process of aging, and we may in fact find ways to slow down that process and even reverse some of the effects of it,” says Balz Frei, professor and director of the Linus Pauling Institute. “But what we learn about aging is also directly relevant to the chronic diseases that kill most people around the world, such as heart disease and cancer.”

Tory Hagen’s Linus Pauling Institute page

Tory Hagen’s gene research center page

LPI newsletter interview

Students, faculty, and visiting business leaders are living and working in the renovated hall focused on entrepreneurship.

A sketch of Weatherford Hall
A sketch of Weatherford Hall

The College of Business’ new Austin Entrepreneurship Program now has a home of its own with the reopening of historic Weatherford Hall in the fall of 2004.

A College of Business faculty member and visiting professionals live with students in Weatherford to complement the college’s formal and informal entrepreneurial programming.

“Our goal is to help formalize the chaos of entrepreneurship by providing entrepreneurs with business acumen to succeed,” says Mark Green, head of the program. “We’ve graduated many entrepreneurs from this college, and now we’ll have a focused program to encourage more innovativeness that we hope will have a long-term impact on Oregon’s economy.”

Although the renovation of Weatherford wasn’t completed until fall, the first class of students in the entrepreneurship minor begins course work in winter 2004.

The new residential college program was spurred by a gift from OSU alumnus Ken Austin and his wife Joan. It makes OSU one of the few universities in the country where students live, eat, learn, work, and dream together in a business incubator community.

In addition to rooms that accommodate 285 students, the renovated Weatherford features a cyber café, business incubator spaces, a library, seminar rooms, and apartments for visiting faculty and business leaders. The program, which is intended to stimulate economic growth and create new jobs in Oregon, is administered by the College of Business in partnership with University Housing and Dining and the College of Engineering. It is expected to attract top students from a variety of OSU colleges, including engineering, forestry, and pharmacy.

College of Business Entrepreneurship Program site

Weatherford applications being accepted

The world’s largest tsunami wave tank may help reduce death and destruction caused by the big waves. Photo by Sol Neelman, The Oregonian

Visitors watch the wave lab in action
Visitors watch the wave lab in action

With more than half the U.S. population living within 50 miles of a coastline, the danger of a devastating tsunami is very real.

Tsunamis, usually caused by undersea earthquakes, move at the speed of a jetliner and can travel great distances. The waves can be more than 100 feet high as they come ashore and often rush miles inland over low-lying land.

Even distant earthquakes can result in serious tsunami damage. For example, a magnitude 9.2 earthquake that rocked Alaska in 1964 generated a tsunami that killed four children at Beverly Beach on the Oregon coast and killed 11 more people in Crescent City, California. In addition, it caused damage at Seaside, Newport, and other Oregon coastal communities.

Enter OSU’s new Tsunami Wave Basin at the O.H. Hinsdale Wave Research Laboratory on campus.

By combining the latest in information technology with earthquake engineering, the facility, funded by a $4.8 million grant from the National Science Foundation, will enable researchers anywhere in the world to participate remotely in real-time experiments in the basin.

Using the basin, researchers will study how tsunamis behave in different kinds of ocean terrain, depths, and distances, along with the impacts they have when they reach land. “What we’re really interested in is what happens when a tsunami hits a coastline where people are,” says Dan Cox, director of the Hinsdale facility.

Harry Yeh, an OSU civil engineering professor and renowned tsunami researcher, said tsunamis are too unpredictable to allow scientists to conduct research in the field. “With this system, we can model bays and rivers to see how we can mitigate the damaging effects of a tsunami,” he says.

The tsunami basin is one of three wave tanks at the Hinsdale research lab, which has been used for studying the effects of waves since 1972.

The public will have an opportunity to see the facility in action during an open house October 16-18.

OSU news release on basin opening

Oregonian article on basin dedication

Wave basin produces Time Picture of the Week

Wave research laboratory home page

Tsunami facility open house set October 16-18

Suzanne Austin’s undergraduate research internship helps determine why bluebird populations are declining.
Internships help undergraduates succeed
Internships help undergraduates succeed

Working with researcher Tara Robinson, fisheries and wildlife senior Suzanne Austin was involved in a study to examine the population viability of the Western Bluebird.

At issue in Robinson’s research is an effort to determine why young birds often are killed in the nest, and then finding out whether something can be done about it.

Austin’s involvement in the project is part of an OSU Department of Fisheries and Wildlife requirement that students must complete two internships before they graduate. After the internships, most students enter their last year of undergraduate study with a refined sense of what they want to learn and what they want to do after they graduate.

“Most of our students are from urban areas,” says Rebecca Goggans, coordinator of the internship program. “They’ve seen a lot of nature shows on TV but don’t know how that translates into a career. So the internship is one of the best ways to give students an experience that allows them to synthesize the skills and theories they learned in class.”

And it seems to be working.

  • Spencer Rearden spent his internship monitoring salmon return in remote Alaskan rivers. He gathered data on the return to help establish quotas for commercial salmon fishing.
  • Jaimie Wisnowski did his internship in Wyoming working on the wolf recovery program in Grand Teton National Park and the Bridger-Teton National Forest.
  • Nemesia Herzstein learned during her internship as a naturalist at BLM’s Yaquina Head natural area on the Oregon coast that she not only loves to work with animals but also to teach people about them.

“The internship experience seems to make college much more meaningful for the students,” says Goggans. “They feel like they are at OSU for a reason.”

Stephen Giovannoni looks for life in some of the most inhospitable places on Earth–and he usually finds it.

Giovannoni out at sea
Giovannoni out at sea

Stephen Giovannoni and his colleagues have discovered colonies of bacteria thriving beneath one of the coldest, driest deserts on Earth–the McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica.

The find suggests that it’s possible life also exists in the inhospitable climate of Mars. The average temperature in the McMurdo Dry Valleys is about 68 degrees below zero. Within that frigid environment are warmer pockets where a combination of minerals, water, and solar radiation supports a surprisingly vigorous population of bacteria.

Giovannoni and OSU oceanographer Martin Fisk also have discovered evidence of rock-eating microbes living nearly a full mile beneath the ocean floor in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian oceans.

What these discoveries have in common are to primitive processes that were undertaken to create a simple, basic life form. These processes may have taken place hundreds of millions of years ago on Earth and may be taking place right now on Mars or Europa, one of the moons of Jupiter, Giovannoni said.

“It’s been suggested that Mars is too dry and cold for life to exist,” he said. “But it’s also known that both Mars and Europa have frozen water on or near their surfaces. It would be a distinct possibility that similar life forms could exist there.”

Giovannoni’s research team also has shown recently that one of the smallest known bacteria, SAR11, is also one of the most abundant organisms on Earth.

Dr. Giovannoni’s Department of Microbiology page
Dr. Giovannoni’s Center for Gene Research and Bacteriology page
SAR11 news release
Rock-eating microbes news release
Life in Antarctic ice news release

Kalkidan Tadesse is preparing for her future with research that could help protect alpacas and llamas from anemia.
Tadesse working on her research
Tadesse working on her research

This is a busy summer for Kalkidan Tadesse. As a participant in the McNair Scholar program, which provides rigorous academic preparation for doctoral education for low-income, first-generation, and underrepresented minority college students, she is doing lab work, participating in field students, working in the library, and participating in McNair seminars and field trips, while getting ready to write a final paper and give an oral presentation on her research at the end of the summer.

Kalkidan’s research is under the guidance of faculty mentors Susan Tornquist and Luiz Bermudez in the Oregon State University College of Veterinary Medicine.

The research involves the pathogenesis of an organism called Mycoplasma haemolama that attaches to the red blood cells of llamas and alpacas and can cause them to become anemic. “We have developed a very sensitive assay to detect the organism and are trying to find the best antibiotic therapy to actually eliminate the infection,” Tornquist says.

Pretty serious research for a college senior who has only been in the U.S. since 1996. Kalkidan was born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. After graduating from Grant High School in Portland with highest honors, she received a diversity achievement scholarship to attend OSU.

With the research she’s done the past couple of summers through the McNair program, Kalkidan says she expects to be well prepared for graduate work in chemistry.

The McNair Scholars Program

OSU’s Spring Creek Project brings together people from different disciplines to examine the relationship between human culture and nature.

Kathleen Dean Moore and Charles Goodrich
Kathleen Dean Moore and Charles Goodrich

Take an environmental scientist, a philosopher, and a poet. Put them together in a room and ask them to re-imagine connections between human culture and natural landscapes.

Is this a recipe for disaster? No, it’s just a challenge, says Kathleen Dean Moore, OSU philosophy professor and director of the Spring Creek Project.

Created through an endowment from an anonymous donor, the project is designed to explore the relation of humans to the rest of the natural world.

“That’s the idea behind the Spring Creek Project,” Moore says. “Bring together people with different background and perspectives–whether they are forest managers, artists, students, or scientists-and engage them in creative thought about how to live on this beautiful Earth.”

To encourage that cross-fertilization of ideas, the Spring Creek Project promotes what it calls “confluence communities.” These are groups of three or more people, preferably from different backgrounds, who get together to discuss themes that revolve around nature.

The centerpiece of the program is the Cabin at Shotpouch Creek, located on a 40-acre nature reserve and writing retreat in the Coast Range of western Oregon. The cabin serves as a meeting place for workshops and scholarly projects.

In addition to the cabin and confluence communities, the program offers a number of field courses and public events. There is also a Spring Creek Library, located on the second floor of Hovland Hall on the OSU campus.

Moore has high hopes for the interdisciplinary nature of the project. “We need to look beyond our own disciplines,” she says. “When we talk with people whose expertise is different from our own, creative new solutions and perspectives can emerge.”

The Spring Creek Project

Aerin Holman combines her apparel design major and her love for the theater–with outstanding results.

Holman in her element
Holman in her element

When it comes to theater, Aerin Holman has done it all.

The apparel design major from the tiny Willamette Valley town of Monroe, Oregon, has been involved with OSU’s University Theatre throughout her college career.

“She has acted in a variety of shows and has played major roles,” says Marion Rossi, faculty member in the Theatre. “She also has designed costumes, stage managed, done set design, and even worked in the costume shop.”

It’s costume design, a combination of her major and theater involvement, that has brought her the most acclaim. Working with theater professors Barbara Mason and Charlotte Headrick, Aerin conducted period research and designed all of the costumes for the OSU Theatre production of Henry V. It’s unusual enough for an undergraduate to be given the responsibility for costume design on a main stage production, but she did it so well that she won a regional award for costume design at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.

This summer, Aerin is capping off her college career with an internship at the Central City Opera House near Denver, Colorado. A long way from Monroe.

Meanwhile, the OSU Theatre continues its tradition of producing a Shakespeare play each summer. This year’s production of “As You Like It” is scheduled for August 7, 8, 9 and 14, 15, 16, with a revival October 2, 3, and 4.

OSU Theatre home page

Summer Shakespeare play at OSU

Graduate student Jeff Bender won a prestigious Intel Foundation Ph.D. fellowship for his involvement in OSU’s groundbreaking transparent electronics research.
Electrical Engineering has developed the world's first see-through transistor
Electrical Engineering has developed the world's first see-through transistor

When OSU scientists developed the world’s first see-through transistor earlier this year, it was another step toward the next generation of electronics components.

“This is a significant new advance in basic electronics and materials science,” says John Wager, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at OSU. “There’s no doubt it will open the door to some interesting new products and businesses, but we’re not sure what all they might be.

“It’s a little bit like lasers when they were first developed in the 1960s,” Wager says. “People at first thought they were an interesting novelty, but no one was quite sure what they could be used for. Later on, lasers became the foundation of dozens of products and multi-billion dollar industries. Right now, we’re just beginning to think about what you could do with a transistor you can see through.”

OSU’s efforts in this area have been interdisciplinary, featuring researchers in chemistry, physics, and chemical engineering, as well as Wager’s department.

The research has been reported in the journals “Science” and “Applied Physics Letters” and even earned Wager an invitation to appear on the National Public Radio show “Science Friday.”

Jeff Bender, who co-authored the article in “Science,” says OSU’s approach to engineering education allowed him to be so deeply involved in the project.

“A new grad student here can be in the clean room doing research right from the get-go.” Bender says. In many other major universities, graduate students don’t get deeply involved for their first year and may not have much control over what they can do. “OSU is very different from that,” he says. “It’s a lot more hands-on and there is a lot more collaboration with industry on research projects.”

News release, first transparent transistor

Graduate student co-authors “Science” article

Wager appears on “Science Friday”