Melinda von Borstel is getting well-prepared in college so she’ll be ready for whatever curves life throws her way.

Melinda von Borstel is setting a foundation for a solid health care career
Melinda von Borstel is setting a foundation for a solid health care career

Melinda von Borstel is a presidential scholar and University Honors College graduate in nutrition and food management and in international studies, a community volunteer–and a future pharmacist.

Melinda has been preparing herself carefully for her career and her life. She chose nutrition and food management because it provided a good base for a health care career.

She also minored in Spanish, knowing how the country’s demographics are changing. She felt she lacked fluency in Spanish, so she spent several months in Chile, then went on an exchange to Spain. And she took several courses that focused on gerontology, in recognition of our aging population.

That doesn’t even take into consideration the three summers she worked as an undergraduate researcher in the lab of Theresa Filtz, an assistant professor of pharmacy at OSU, for which Melinda received an Undergraduate Research Innovation Scholarship Creativity (URISC) award.

And she’s experienced at working with people in the community. She has earned numerous scholarships for academic excellence and for her volunteer work, which includes teaching Sunday School, working for Habitat for Humanity, staffing soup kitchens, reading to grade school kids, cleaning Oregon beaches and highways, and helping out at food drives.

Her long-term goal is to work as a pharmacist, where she can use her language and people skills, as well as her preparation. “The profession is changing from being a pill counter to working with people in a consultative way,” von Borstel said. “And I can’t wait to be a part of that.”

Joe Hendricks, dean of the University Honors College, puts it into perspective when he says: “If she is going to be a pharmacist, then that is the pharmacy I want to go to in the future.”

College of Pharmacy website

University Honors College website

“Fizzy Fruit” combines the health benefits of fruit and the pizzazz of a bottle of soda.

Fizzy pears
Fizzy pears

Imagine biting into a juicy apple, a pear, or a slice of Hermiston watermelon and having your mouth come alive with a zinging, fizzy sensation.

That will soon be possible thanks to the efforts of OSU researchers who are working on getting Fizzy Fruit to market.

The carbonated fruit was discovered accidentally by Galen Kaufman, a Texas scientist, who bit into a pear that had been in a cooler chilled with dry ice. He sensed a delightful fizziness in the fruit and quickly figured out that some of the dry ice in the cooler had changed from a solid into carbon dioxide gas and entered the fruit.

He contacted the Oregon Food Innovation Center in Portland, a joint effort of OSU and the Oregon Department of Agriculture, asking for the center’s help in developing a patentable process for carbonating fruit on a commercial scale.

OSU’s Qingyue Ling, product development engineer for the Food Innovation Center, came up with designs to make the manufacture of fizzy fruit feasible on a large-scale basis. Patents are now pending, with OSU and Kaufman’s company, Fizzy Fruit North America, as co-owners.

The inventor and the OSU researchers say the fizzy fruit may encourage people to eat healthier by choosing fruit instead of other snack foods. Ling says it could become a big hit with school children and their parents. “Children like something fun like fizzy fruit,” says Ling. “And their mothers like the fact that their kids will be eating more fruit. Eating more fruit will also help with the national obesity epidemic.”

Fizzy Fruit news release

Food Innovation Center

Fighting osteoporosis is a lifelong process, according to researchers at the OSU Bone Research Laboratory.

Jumping can increase bone mass as much as 5 percent
Jumping can increase bone mass as much as 5 percent

Osteoporosis is generally considered only an issue for older people, but researchers at OSU’s Bone Research Lab have found that protection from the disease can start at an early age.

In a recent study, researchers found that a regimen of jumping and other load-bearing activities for children can increase bone mass by as much as 5 percent. “A 5 percent increase may not sound like a lot, but it translates into a 30 percent decrease in the risk of a hip fracture in adulthood,” says Christine Snow, director of the laboratory.

Osteoporosis is a low bone mass disease that reduces bone strength and increases risk of fracture. It’s a significant problem in the United States, and the numbers are startling.

  • Osteoporosis is a serious health threat for 44 million Americans, 80 percent of whom are women.
  • In the United States, more than 10 million people have osteoporosis and another 34 million have low bone mass, putting them at increased risk for the disease.
  • One of every two women and one of every four men over 50 will have an osteoporosis-related fracture in their lifetime.

The Bone Research Laboratory is committed to reversing these trends through a lifespan approach that involves building bone mass during youth and building bone and preventing bone loss in adulthood.

For those most at risk, research at the laboratory has shown that a long-term exercise program with weighted vests reduces hip bone loss and the risk of falling in post-menopausal women.

The laboratory also serves the community by performing clinical bone scans to determine individual risk for fracture and to help people and their physicians determine what treatment might be indicated. All scans require physician referral.

An active education program also is part of the laboratory. Graduate students are actively engaged in teaching and research every year, and there are opportunities for undergraduates to gain practicum and internship experience.

“I came to OSU because of the strong reputation of the Bone Research Lab,” says doctoral student Hawley Chase Almstedt. “The knowledge I have obtained here will enable me to become a professional who can significantly contribute to the field of bone health and osteoporosis prevention.”

Bone Research Lab home page

A little creative thinking, a planning committee, and a pair of talented students turned routine repainting in the College of Pharmacy into a work of art.

Students work on the mural in the College of Pharmacy
Students work on the mural in the College of Pharmacy

When OSU Facilities Services painter Charles Vail and his manager, Joe Majeski, were discussing the need for an interior repainting for the Pharmacy Building, they wondered if they could achieve their department’s mission: “to wow” with something as routine as that.

“When we got to the west entrance, we noticed a beautiful frame with nothing in it,” Vail says. “That led to a ‘what if’ and ‘why not’ discussion of the possibility of murals.” Majeski gave the go-ahead and the idea was off and running.

Vail located an art student, Emidio Lopez and contacted the art department where he found another student, Kim Smith, interested in working on the project. A committee, led by pharmacy professor Lee Strandberg, developed a plan for the murals to depict the past and the future of pharmacy.

With the help of Kay Cooke, director of external relations in Pharmacy, things moved rapidly. Miller Paint Company donated the paint, Facilities Services provided the scaffolding, the College of Pharmacy gave Emidio and Kim a stipend, and the art department agreed to give the students project credit for their creative efforts.

“This has truly been a team effort,” says Vail.

The unveiling of the murals took place during the homecoming celebration on October 23.

College of Pharmacy

Department of Art

Jeff Olivas rode across the country this summer to raise money and awareness for people with disabilities.

Jeff Olivas rode 3,900 miles on his bike across America
Jeff Olivas rode 3,900 miles on his bike across America

Jeff Olivas has never been an avid bicyclist. He biked occasionally, but never really went on long rides. Until this year, that is. In January he started riding a lot, getting in over 1,000 miles in just a few months.

The reason for the change is the opportunity to help others by riding his bicycle. The OSU Business Administration senior has volunteered to help with Push America, Pi Kappa Phi’s national philanthropy, since joining the fraternity in 2002.

This year he went the extra mile—or the extra 3,900 miles to be more precise, participating in the Journey of Hope, a 64-day bike ride from San Francisco to Charleston, South Carolina, which raises nearly $500,000 each year for those with disabilities.

The ride involves 70 members of the fraternity, half of them riding across the southern states and half across the northern states. Each participant is required to raise at least $5,000 for charity. Jeff, a member of the northern team, has raised about $6,200.

“Each day the team rides until about 4 p.m.,” he says. “After that we get out in the community of whatever town we’re in and raise awareness and make friendship visits with kids with disabilities.”

After riding 60 miles or more in a day, the participants often find themselves active well into the evening, dancing during a friendship visit, playing a game of wheelchair basketball, or performing a puppet show for children.

Jeff says he was honored to be part of the Journey of Hope because many Pi Kappa Phi members apply each year, but only 70 are accepted.

Greek Life at Oregon State University

OSU Pi Kappa Phi chapter information

Journey of Hope website

Hung-Yok Ip is exploring the relevance of Buddhism to the modern and postmodern world.

Hung-Yok Ip teaches history at OSU
Hung-Yok Ip teaches history at OSU

Buddhism is based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, a prince of the Sakya tribe of Nepal, who lived about 2,500 years ago.

At the age of 29, he left home to seek the meaning of the suffering he saw around him. After six years he achieved enlightenment and became the Buddha. He then wandered northeastern India for 45 years teaching the path of mental and moral self-purification.

How do the teachings of Buddhism fit into today’s world? Are they still relevant?

That’s the focus of research by Hung-Yok Ip, associate professor of history at OSU and a fellow at the university’s Center for the Humanities. Ip, who was raised in Hong Kong, came to the United States at the age of 24 to attend graduate school at the University of California-Davis. She has been at OSU since 1994.

In her research on Su Manshu, a monk who also was a revolutionary and writer during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, she focused on how Buddhism was integrated into an important dimension of Chinese modernity—the formation of the individual.

“By comparing Su Manshu with his contemporaries as well as writers who were active in the 1920s and 1930s, I expand on how Buddhism helped the individual in his or her pursuit of individuality,” she says. “But more important, I shall concentrate on how Buddhism is relevant to one fundamental problem of modernity—the problem that freedom does not guarantee gratification and happiness.”

Ip also is involved in a book-length research project on Engaged Buddhism in the contemporary world.

“I once again explore how Buddhism is relevant to the modern world—in this case to problems caused by capitalism in the age of transnational capital. I intend to argue that Buddhism represents a new mode of social activism vis-is the injustice created by capitalism,” she says. “To some extent, I compare Engaged Buddhism to secularist and Christian approaches to resistance.”

Center for Humanities newsletter article on Ip’s research

Ip’s faculty 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

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

OSU students in the College of Health and Human Sciences work one-on-one with special-needs kids to improve skills and self-confidence.

Lai Saeturn, a student in the college, works on hand motor skills with Kaycee Settlemire
Lai Saeturn, a student in the college, works on hand motor skills with Kaycee Settlemire

Most Friday evenings, as many as 80 children and young adults excitedly congregate in the OSU Women’s Building gymnasium to do things that most of us take for granted. Catching a ball. Swinging a bat. Climbing warily atop a balance beam.

It’s part of the Special Physical and Motor Fitness Clinic offered by the College of Health and Human Sciences. Benton County United Way and Hewlett-Packard sponsor the clinic, which is designed to help children with all kinds of disabilities work on fitness, motor skills, and aquatic skills. But mostly they just have fun.

The skills these youngsters develop will help them with day-to-day life in their classrooms, on playgrounds, and at home. An even deeper imprint is made on the undergraduate and graduate students who work with children in the clinic. In the photograph, Lai Saeturn, a student in the college, works on hand motor skills with Kaycee Settlemire.

Oregon State is becoming nationally known for its Movement Studies in Disability program, and top doctoral students are lured to campus by this reputation and by outreach programs like the clinic. Undergraduate students in a variety of fields gladly give up their Friday evenings for the chance to work with the kids.

“It’s hard to say who gets more out of it–the OSU students or the kids,” says Jeff McCubbin, who directs the clinic and the movement studies program. “I think it’s safe to say everyone comes out a winner.”

Oregon State educators and researchers are having an impact in the metro area.

Lisa Conroy, Christopher Higgins and Jean Moule
Lisa Conroy, Christopher Higgins and Jean Moule

Lisa Conroy, Christopher Higgins, and Jean Moule are only a few of the links that give OSU an important and visible effect in the Portland area and around the state.

Conroy, a 4-H faculty member in OSU’s Washington County Extension Office, leads the innovative Web Wizards program that mentors Hispanic youth with the help of community partners, including Intel and the Intel Latino Network volunteers.

The students learn emerging technologies from their Intel mentors. In return, they teach computer skills to community members. Participants in the 4-H Web Wizards program have a 95 percent graduation rate, and 98 percent pursue post-high school education. More information

Higgins, assistant professor of civil engineering, is principal investigator in a project teaming OSU with the Oregon Department of Transportation to study the structural integrity of bridges. ODOT gave OSU $1.6 million to examine the severity of cracks in more than 500 Oregon bridges. An on-campus laboratory will enable OSU engineers to conduct full experiments on structural elements. “There is almost no data to determine how bridges actually fail under moving loads,” Higgins says. “This grant will give us the opportunity to address these issues.” More information

Moule, assistant professor of education, developed an “immersion” program that takes OSU student teachers into Portland to teach in predominantly African-American King Elementary School. And each year, busloads of King students visit OSU for exposure to the campus. The program began in spring 1998 and focused on the best ways to teach math and science to culturally diverse students. Moule says some differences in learning, such as emphasis on family or age, can be culturally based, and new teachers need to be aware of these differences. More information