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steelhead trout swimming through shallow creek

Discover: Research Highlights

steelhead trout

The College of Science has an extensive and deep research portfolio that is globally recognized, providing our students enriching and life-changing experiences working alongside leading scientists and researchers in the College.

Our Faculty and Researchers

Marine biologists Jane Lubchenco and Kirsten Grorud-Colvert are important voices in the international ocean conservation community. Lubchenco, who is the U.S. State Department’s science envoy on ocean policy issues and former NOAA Administrator, and integrative biology assistant professor, Grorud-Colvert, published a paper in the journal Science—one of the world’s top academic journals. The paper, “Making waves: The science and politics of ocean protection” calls for greater ocean protection to preserve fish stocks and to ensure the use of oceans in a sustainable fashion.

Ice crawler close up picture

Entomologists Chris Marshall and David Lytle recently discovered a new insect species on Mary’s Peak that appears to live nowhere else in the world. In honor of the Oregon geography, they named the inch-long arthropod Grylloblatta chintimini, the Kalapuya Indian name for Mary’s Peak. The insect is a distant relative of crickets, cockroaches and earwigs.

Steelheads swimming in creek

Integrative Biology professor Michael Blouin’s study found that steelhead trout bred in hatcheries are genetically impaired and their offspring will also have poor reproductive fitness. In a second study, Blouin found DNA evidence that salmon hatcheries cause substantial, rapid genetic changes after just one generation of adapting to hatchery culture.

Biochemist Tory Hagen’s research shows that aging syndromes occur due to a breakdown in genetic communication, in which a protein regulator of stress resistance declines with age.

Seal playing in zoo exhibit

Microbiology doctoral student Stephanie Rosales and assistant professor Rebecca Vega Thurber’s research, made with a powerful investigative method called “meta-transcriptomics,” has proven that a bacterial infection rather than a viral disease killed seven harbor seals on the California coast in 2009.

Professor of biochemistry and biophysics, Joseph Beckman’s trailblazing research has advanced the search for a therapy for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a debilitating and fatal disease. Using a mouse model, Beckman was able to halt the progressions of ALS for nearly two years—allowing the mice to approach their normal lifespan. The findings are some of the most compelling ever produced in the search for a therapy for ALS, according to the scientists.

Fossilized flower

George Poinar, Jr., emeritus professor in the Department of Integrative Biology has discovered a 20-30 million years old flower encased in amber—fossilized tree sap—that is the source of poisons strychnine and curare. The perfectly preserved flower was dug out of the side of a mountain in the Dominican Republic. On February 15, 2016, Poinars discovery was listed as the most popular science story in the world on Google news and appeared in Time, Forbes, BBC, Reuters, UPI, and other websites.