Update regarding federal government shutdown

Updated Monday, Jan. 22 at 5 p.m.: The Senate and House have passed a continuing resolution to fund the government through Feb. 8. The shutdown will end once it is signed by President Trump with government offices expected to open on Tuesday. Lawmakers now have three weeks to pass an appropriations bill to avoid another shutdown.

Updated Friday, Jan. 19 at 5 p.m.: At this time Congress has failed to reach an agreement, although there may be resolution tonight or over the weekend. Preliminary information on operations during a potential shutdown was made available in an Office of Management and Budget memorandum, “Planning for Agency Operations during a Potential Lapse in Appropriations.” This document includes FAQs regarding grants and contracts. You will find those in Section II, pages 3-9. Specific agency contingency plans have also been posted. The guidance document indicates that in case of a shutdown, employees are to report to work on Monday to begin shutdown operations. We will update this post as information becomes available.

The following message from Peter G. Barr-Gillespie, Ph.D., Interim Senior Vice President for Research, was posted at 9 a.m. on Friday, January 19, 2018.

Dear colleagues,

This is to let you know that OHSU leaders are closely tracking current federal budget deliberations in Washington, D.C.

Should Congress fail to agree on a budget by midnight tonight, Jan. 19, 2018, the federal government will see a shutdown of uncertain length, which will affect research and other activities. During previous shutdowns, most research activities were classified as ‘essential’ and were sustained, but the current situation is opaque and fluid, and the impacts are difficult to predict.

During the most recent shutdown, in 2013, NIH and other federal agencies provided guidance about how to navigate the cessation of federal activity. No such guidance has been forthcoming this time. We believe the following will apply:

  • The vast majority of NIH’s extramural staff will be furloughed and unable to provide administrative and programmatic support services to extramural grantees. This will likely apply to other federal agencies as well.
  • PIs can continue spending on grants as awarded during the FY 2017 grant year budget or awarded to date in FY 2018.
  • In the past, clinical trials have been considered ‘essential,’ as have student financial aid, VA operations, Medicare, and Medicaid. We do not know if these categories will be affected this time.
  • PIs should not make any spending changes that would require NIH approval, since agency staff will not be available to approve changes or otherwise provide administrative support. If you change your budget without approval, there is no guarantee that such expenditures will be reimbursed.
  • Federal contracts may be disrupted, and while grant budgets are somewhat protected, contract budgets are more vulnerable: If you receive a stop work order, you should follow it, because you may not be reimbursed for any work carried out during a shutdown. If you receive such an order, please notify your partners in OPAM and they will help you execute the order.
  • Fully executed subcontracts for FY2018 should not be affected.
  • No pre-spending will be allowed on grants that were favorably reviewed but for which you have not received a notice of award.
  • Grants.gov itself may continue to operate under a government shutdown, but the NIH Office of Extramural Research discourages submissions and no applications will be processed.

A major caveat is that this is an extremely fluid situation. We will keep you apprised of new developments as they unfold.

Peter G. Barr-Gillespie, Ph.D.
Interim Senior Vice President for Research


Noise notice: Vollum Institute courtyard, Jan. 13 and 14

To provide a safer walkway from the Vollum to Richard Jones Hall, the courtyard tile will be sandblasted for grip.

VollumThis project will create loud, high-pitched noise and detours into building spaces.

Vollum tile sandblasting
Vollum courtyard
Saturday, Jan. 13 to
Sunday, Jan. 14

If you have any questions, please contact Shelley Bonaduce at Bonaduce@ohsu.edu.

Advanced mapping and spatial reasoning tool for OHSU researchers

OHSU is providing licenses for ArcGIS, an advanced mapping and spatial reasoning tool. ArcGIS allows users to explore data and share location-based insights through a common visual language.

The ArcGIS portal is a collaborative, secure environment for organizing and sharing geospatial assets with the capacity to create maps and perform analytics. The tool provides spatial analytics to identify and quantify implications, consequences and impacts of decisions. The license includes ready-to-use maps, including the Living Atlas of the World, that can be applied to any project.

If you are interested in exploring ArcGIS, please email the OHSU Information Technology Group research applications and informatics team at risxsupport@ohsu.edu. You can find more information about the product at the ArcGIS website.

David Ellison and international team receive $6 million grant from Foundation LeDucq

David H. Ellison, M.D., and a team of international collaborators have been awarded a $6 million Transatlantic Network of Excellence grant from the Fondation LeDucq. They will examine how the kidney handles potassium and why blood pressure is so sensitive to changes in dietary potassium.

David Ellison, M.D.

David Ellison, M.D., director of the OHSU Oregon Clinical and Translational Research Institute

Each year, hypertension causes an estimated 7.5 million deaths worldwide, about 12.8 percent of all deaths, according to the World Health Organization. The condition is rooted in complex genetic and environmental interactions. On the environmental side, high-sodium diets are considered a primary contributor, although growing evidence indicates that low-potassium diets also play an important role.

Ellison, director of the OHSU Oregon Clinical and Translational Research Institute, Paul Welling, M.D., University of Maryland at Baltimore, and members of the Transatlantic Network of Excellence team previously helped explain the mechanisms underlying the effects of potassium. They helped define “the renal potassium switch” and its implications for prevention and treatment of hypertension. Their work indicates that diets low in potassium, common in high-income countries, activate the switch pathway to conserve potassium at the expense of increasing sodium retention — ultimately contributing to higher blood pressure.

The Transatlantic Network of Excellence grant will fund the team’s further research on the molecular, structural and physiologic basis of the sodium-potassium pathway, as well as its genetic determinants. The ultimate goal is to begin identifying key regulators of the pathway.

Find out more about the project on OHSU News.

Interns sought: strategic planning for research development

OHSU Research Development is currently accepting applications from new volunteer team members for strategic planning. Research development encompasses a number of strategic and capacity-building activities so that individual faculty members, teams of researchers, and OHSU can attract extramural research funding. Many research development professionals have advanced degrees, and it is a promising career for STEM Ph.D.s.

OHSU’s research development office was established in 2004. This year, a major goal is to develop a strategic plan for research development to take OHSU into its next phase. Strategic planning interns will work closely with the Research Development leadership and staff, institutional partners and OHSU faculty to identify needs, strengths, and opportunities for central research development at the university. This will include meeting and shadowing various activities, considerable data analysis, and strategic plan development.

The primary duties for this position are gathering data, data management, performing institutional data analysis, and plan development. Depending on interest, we may also consider editorial interns who would like to gain experience editing proposals. Interns will gain valuable, translatable skills in data analysis, competitive intelligence analysis, strategic planning, and, depending on interest, proposal development.The commitment would be approximately five to ten hours per week for six months.

We are seeking applicants with the confidence to work independently, who are proficient with Excel and other database tools, who are enthusiastic about putting their research training to work in a new context to help OHSU, and who can present well. Applicants must be either currently enrolled in graduate school or be postdoctoral fellows. Preference will be given to trainees with research backgrounds.

Application instructions can be found here (Scroll down to Research Development – Strategic Planning)

People Management for Principal Investigators, March 9 & 10

Every principal investigator wants to build and maintain a lab that attracts and retains outstanding trainees and staff members. Juggling this endeavor with everything else the PI must do — writing papers, teaching, mentoring, gaining and maintaining funding, creating collaborative and productive relationships with other PIs — can be challenging at best. This 1.5-day course, led by Melanie Erskine and Rachel Dresbeck from the Office of the Senior Vice President for Research, will help you learn to manage people with a focus on the particular needs of running a lab or research group.

When: Friday, March 9, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., and Saturday, March 11, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Location:  Collaborative Life Sciences Building, 1S008
Register on Compass

In this course you will learn:

  • Strategies for approaching the role of “coach” in the lab —developing your leadership style
  • Recruitment and retention strategies — building (and maintaining) the best team for your lab
  • Steps to take when coaching doesn’t work — performance management in the lab
  • Resources that are available to you to support you and your lab staff

Enrollment is limited; there is no cost to participants.

Register by Jan. 16 to attend the Innovation Workshop, Jan. 18 & 25

Secure a spot today for the Innovation Workshop, a confidential, interactive discussion that provides real-world examples and information that will help you take your idea to market. Hosted by OHSU Technology Transfer and Business Development, the workshop will show you how to perform basic market analysis and evaluate the market potential of your invention. You will also receive coaching to help you pitch your idea to potential partners and investors. OHSU’s Executives-in-Residence members Eric Fogel and Bob Masterson will lead the discussion.

InnovationInnovation Workshop: Spring to Market

The workshop is free; registration by Jan. 16 required
Session 1: Thursday, Jan. 18, 3:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Developing the value proposition and performing market analysis
Session 2: Thursday, Jan. 25, 3:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Creating a business plan and practicing your pitch

OHSU Center for Health & Healing, third floor conference center, room 1B

Participants must attend both sessions and come prepared with a research project or company idea to evaluate. Registration is free and open to all members of the OHSU community. Seating is limited and registration is required.

Register by Jan. 16 to attend.

Questions? Contact Lisa Lukaesko at lukaesko@ohsu.edu.

NIH BRAIN initiative to fund new research on function of amygdala

Tianyi Mao (left) and Haining Zhong

Haining Zhong (left) and Tianyi Mao

A $5 million grant and new imaging technology will enable Vollum Institute neuroscientists to map specific circuits within the amygdala. Evidence suggests that the amygdala, known for circuitry critical for reactive emotions like fight-or-flight, is also involved in higher-level functions, such as memory and emotional learning. A goal of this research is to improve understanding of these circuits’ functions.

Researchers Tianyi Mao, Ph.D., and Haining Zhong, Ph.D., both associate professors and scientists at the Vollum Institute, earned the five-year grant through the National Institutes of Health’s BRAIN initiative.

Read more about the project on OHSU News.


Zhong and Mao are collaborating with Bo Li, Ph.D., a neuroscientist at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York. The research is supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke of the National Institutes of Health (R01NS104944).

New histopathology consultation service

The Histopathology Shared Resource and the Knight Biolibrary are now offering a histopathology consultation service.

HistopathologyServices provided include advice on histologic procedures, histopathological evaluation of both animal and human tissues, evaluation of immunohistochemistry, digital microscopy and microdissection.

Please contact Dr. Rosemary Makar (makar@ohsu.edu) or the Histopathology Shared Resource (hsr@ohsu.edu) to discuss projects.

New resource for researchers: KCVI Epigenetics Consortium

OHSU researchers have established the Knight Cardiovascular Institute Epigenetics Consortium to foster research and education in epigenetics.

This team of experts assists investigators with the analysis of epigenetic regulation by combining evolving technologies and high-throughput sequencing. Services offered include bisulfite sequencing for DNA methylation, ChIP-seq (histone marks or transcription factors), ATAC-seq, and RNA-seq. The epigenetic consortium supports projects from start to finish, including study design, assays, bioinformatic analyses, and help with interpretation of the results.

Email Lucia Carbone for more information.

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Welcome to the Research News Blog

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