Jeff Lichtman, M.D., Ph.D., to give lecture on “connectomics” at OHSU Research Week, May 6

The OHSU Graduate Student Organization is excited to welcome Jeff W. Lichtman, M.D., Ph.D., Jeremy R. Knowles Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology and the Ramon Y. Cajal Professor of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University, to give a keynote lecture at OHSU Research Week. Dr. Lichtman’s talk, “Connectomics: What, Why and How?”, will take place Tuesday, May 6, from 4 to 5 p.m. in the OHSU Auditorium

About Dr. Lichtman’s talk

Connectional maps of the brain may have value in developing models of both how the brain works and how it fails when subsets of neurons or synapses are missing or misconnected. Dr. Lichtman is eager to obtain such maps in neonatal animals because of a longstanding interest in the ways neuromuscular circuitry is modified during early postnatal life as axonal input to muscle fibers is pruned. Work in Dr. Lichtman’s laboratory has focused on obtaining complete wiring diagrams (“connectomes”) of the projections of motor neuron axons in young and adult muscles. Each data set is large and typically made up of hundreds of confocal microscopy stacks of images which tile the three-dimensional volume of a muscle. As a first step to analyze these data sets, his lab developed computer assisted segmentation approaches and to make this task easier, developed second generation “Brainbow” transgenic mice that in essence segment each axon by a unique fluorescent spectral hue. Once the axons are segmented, they have been able to graph the connectivity matrices that result. This effort has led to new insights into the developmental processes which help the mammalian nervous system mold itself based on experience.

Dr. Lichtman did his undergraduate degree at Bowdoin College in Maine and an M.D. and Ph.D. at Washington University in St. Louis. Missouri. His Ph.D. work with Dale Purves concerned the ways in which connections between nerve cells are reorganized as animals begin to experience the world in early postnatal development. This subject has remained the interest of his laboratory (which he moved from St. Louis to Cambridge in 2004).

Two chances to win an iPad Mini at OHSU Research Week

If you haven’t already added sessions from OHSU Research Week to your calendar, here’s another incentive to sweeten the deal: Attend three or more sessions or events throughout the week and be entered to win one of two iPad Minis*. Be sure to pick up a Research Week passport at the check-in desk in the Old Library starting Monday, May 5 at 11 a.m. Must be present at the Awards Reception on Thursday, May 8 at 4 p.m. to win.

View the full OHSU Research Week schedule.

* Note – you will need to pay the tax on value of the iPad Mini.  We will help with the paperwork.

Learn how to engage employees through career development, May 6

Nuts-N-Bolts: Engaging Employees through Career Development
Tuesday, May 6, 9:15 to 11:45 a.m., Mac Hall 2201
Facilitated by Benjy Howe and Matt Morscheck
Registration required through TrainingForce

OHSU managers and supervisors: Did you know that engaged employees have significantly higher productivity, profitability, and customer ratings, less turnover and absenteeism, and fewer safety incidents?  It’s true, according to a recent study by the Gallup organization. Yet, according the same report, up to 70% of American workers are not engaged. As managers, what can we do to engage employees? Gallup recommends aligning employee talents with organizational roles, which is the focus of this upcoming training from the OHSU Career and Workplace Enhancement Center.

This class will provide managers with the skills and resources to engage employees by supporting their continued career development. We will discuss the business case for career development, clarify roles and responsibilities, and identify resources available for employees and managers. The session will focus on the practical “how to” of career development by using the Individual Development Plan (IDP), a step-by-step process to help managers and their direct reports work together to establish a mutually-agreeable career plan. You will learn how to have productive career development discussions and will develop strategies to address common issues in regard to career development.

Questions? Contact Matt Morscheck.

Editor of Science Careers to give OHSU Research Week keynote, May 7

Jim Austin, Ph.D., editor of Science Careers, a publication of Science and AAAS, has been invited by the Oregon Clinical and Translational Research Institute to give a keynote lecture during OHSU Research Week. Dr. Austin’s talk, “I’m not here on business baby, I’m only here for fun,” is inspired by a Bruce Springsteen lyric that he taped to his desk during graduate school. Based on his experience both being a scientist and helping other people figure out how to become scientists, he will lead a thought-provoking conversation on how we should think about becoming a researcher–about the journey, the destination, and the various challenges we face along the way.

Research Week Keynote: Jim Austin, Ph.D.
Wednesday, May 7, 12 to 1 p.m., OHSU Auditorium

About Jim Austin

Despite being the valedictorian of his large public high school, getting really great SAT scores, attending one of the nation’s best colleges (and doing very well there), and earning a Ph.D. in physics from an esteemed university, Jim Austin never quite managed to climb onto a glutted tenure track. He quit research and followed his wife to Maine, where she became a professor of chemistry and he wrote, thought, taught, and hauled firewood up a steep hill. In 2001 he joined Science Careers, the world’s leading online resource for careers in the sciences, and soon became its editor.

Spring 2014 Tech Transfer newsletter

Check out the Technology Transfer & Business Development’s Spring 2014 newsletter. In this issue, we discuss:

  • Non-Patented Technologies – Did you know less than half of the inventions that TTBD manages require patent applications to commercialize? See what technologies fall under this category.
  • Federal Invention Reporting – Read how TTBD handles U.S. federal government invention reporting on behalf of OHSU.
  • MedTech Alliance – This new program allows investors and industry representatives to stay current on early stage collaboration and investment opportunities at OHSU.
  • Healthy Aging Alliance – See who the Healthy Aging Alliance has been working with to gain an international partnership and 15,000 euros in award money.
  • News and Events – Find out more about TTBD’s new office hours in Baird Hall 1027 and add interesting events to your calendar, some of which are right here on campus.

To be added to our distribution list, email us at

If you think you have an invention or if you’d like to know more about our office, contact us at (503) 494-8200.

OHSU Research Week 2014 program highlights

With over 300 OHSU students, postdocs, residents, faculty members, and research staff presenting their work at OHSU Research Week, May 5-9, 2014, in the Old Library Building, there’s no better time to explore the wide array of science being performed across our campuses. In addition to exhibiting our own research, we have an exceptional lineup of visiting keynote speakers joining us for Research Week, ranging from the head of the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute to the editor of AAAS’s Science Careers. We hope you’ll join us – all are welcome. Some highlights from the program are listed below.

Over 300 scientific presentations

Watch OHSU researchers present their work at one of 20 oral sessions, or check out one of the five poster sessions scheduled throughout the week. New for 2014: View abstracts of all 300 oral and poster presentations.


An opening reception will be held Monday, May 5 at 5:30 p.m. Later in the week,  join us for an awards reception on Thursday, May 8 at 4 p.m. Both receptions will be held in the Richard Jones Hall Atrium.

Four keynote talks

  • Gary Gibbons, M.D., director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) at the National Institutes of Health, May 5, 1 to 2 p.m., OHSU Auditorium
  • Jeff Lichtman, M.D., Ph.D., Jeremy R. Knowles Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology and the Ramon Y. Cajal Professor of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University, May 6, 4 to 5 p.m., OHSU Auditorium
  • Jim Austin, Ph.D., editor of Science Careers, a publication of Science magazine and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), May 7, 12 to 1 p.m., OHSU Auditorium
  • Chittaranjan Yajnik, M.D., director of the diabetes unit, King Edward Memorial Hospital & Research Centre in Pune, India, May 8, 12 to 1 p.m., OHSU Auditorium

View all keynote speaker bios.

Career development workshops

  • So you want to be an entrepreneur? May 5, 3 to 4 p.m., OHSU Auditorium
  • How to survive grad school, May 6, 10 to 11 a.m., OHSU Auditorium
  • How to get a postdoc position, May 6, 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., Old Library 211
  • Non-academic careers for scientists, May 6, 2:30 to 3:30 p.m., OHSU Auditorium
  • How to manage a mentoring relationship, May 7, 9:30 to 10:30 a.m., OHSU Auditorium
  • Finding your first faculty job, May 8, 9:30 to 10:30 a.m., OHSU Auditorium

View descriptions all Career Development Workshops.

Three Minute Thesis competition

Think you can describe your research to tram travelers in the time it takes to reach CHH? OHSU will hold its second Three Minute Thesis competition for graduate students on Wednesday, May 7 at 4 p.m in the OHSU Auditorium.

For more information, visit or contact

School of Dentistry students win research awards

Several students in the OHSU School of Dentistry have recently been recognized for their outstanding research efforts. Congratulations to all.

Dental students win award from American Association of Public Health Dentistry

Second-year dental students Amelia Stoker, Sydney Stoker, and Caroline DeVincenzi were awarded first place for the Predoctoral Dental Student Merit Award for Outstanding Achievement in Community Health Dentistry by the American Association of Public Health Dentistry.

The students spent three weeks in Kenya in September 2013 on a Global Health Center Student Summer Scholarship. While in Kenya, the dental students assessed the oral health of 11-to-13-year-olds for the prevalence of dental caries, provided oral instructions, took water samples to determine fluoride content, and interviewed adults, handing out brushes and toothpaste.

“We found a lot of bombed out first molars in the school children, and many kids reported being in pain constantly,” Sydney said.

“There is not much recent research on sugar cane and its effect on oral health,” Caroline said, commenting on the unexpected observation that many children were eating sugar cane regularly.

The dental students head to the National Oral Health Conference in late April to present their research.

Dental students receive student research fellowships

Two first-year dental students have been awarded prestigious American Association of Dental Research Student Research Fellowships:

David Garfinkel (left) will study, “Effects of BDNF on Dendritic Plasticity in Orofacial Pain Pathways,” with mentor Agnieszka Balkowiec, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of interative biosciences.

Thien-Y Hoang, who is mentored by Tom Hilton, D.M.D., M.S., alumni centennial professor in operative dentistry and Jack Ferracane, Ph.D., professor and chair of restorative dentistry, will study, “Effect of Bioactive Glass Incorporated into an Adhesive on Marginal Caries and Bond Strength.”

Only 21 U.S. dental students received AADR fellowships in 2014. Dave and Thien-Y each received a $2,100 stipend and will receive another $600 upon completion of research and presentation at the AADR.

New Clinical & Translational Research Center and Epilepsy Monitoring Unit open house, April 29

Infustion Room render

OCTRI’s Clinical and Translational Research Center and Epilepsy Monitoring Unit has recently undergone construction to provide first class care and research capabilities. Supported by heightened staffing, space and state-of-the-art equipment, this new unit will strengthen and elevate the care of patients with neurologic diseases and support clinical research across a broad spectrum. Please join us for an open house to learn more about the facility, tour and enjoy refreshments.

Clinical and Translational Research Center and Epilepsy Monitoring Unit open house
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
1 to 3 p.m. in Hatfield Research Center 10D

Some improvements in the new unit include:

  • Private inpatient beds available 24/7, staffed by experienced RNs
  • Inpatient sleep study capabilities
  • EEG monitoring in all beds
  • Ability to conduct research studies in acutely or chronically ill subjects

View more facility highlights and images.

Major changes to NIH and AHRQ grant resubmission policy that will make your life easier and better

Few things are as frustrating as writing a great grant that is not funded because the funding percentile is so low–and then having to figure out how to drastically revise it to meet the requirement of writing a “new” application. Effective now, that pain point is going away: As of April 17, 2014, the NIH and AHRQ no longer require new (A0) grant applications to demonstrate significant changes in scientific direction, even if the project was not funded during resubmission (A1). That is, if your project doesn’t get funded after the second try, you no longer need to ditch it and come up with something completely different.

If you are submitting a project as a new (A0) application, you will not be able to explicitly respond to reviewer comments, and reviewers will be instructed to respond to it as a new idea. However, the NIH recommends that applicants take advantage of reviewer comments and use them to make their applications stronger.

Duplicate or overlapping applications are still not accepted. View NOT-OD-14-074 for more information, and check out what Sally Rockey has to say. In the meantime, we will be mulling over the implications of this change. Stay tuned!

Peter Barr-Gillespie, Ph.D., appointed associate vice president for basic research

Dr. Barr-Gillespie

Dr. Barr-Gillespie

Senior vice president for research Daniel M. Dorsa, Ph.D., is pleased to announce the appointment of Peter G. Barr-Gillespie, Ph.D.,  as associate vice president for basic research.

Dr. Barr-Gillespie has been with OHSU since 1999. After undergraduate studies at Reed College, Barr-Gillespie attended graduate school at the University of Washington, working with Joe Beavo; he received his Ph.D. in Pharmacology in 1988. From 1988 to 1993, he worked as a postdoc with Jim Hudspeth, first at UCSF, then at the UT Southwestern Medical Center. He joined the Department of Physiology at Johns Hopkins University as an assistant professor in 1993, becoming associate professor in 1998. In 1999, he joined the Vollum Institute and the Oregon Hearing Research Center as an associate professor of otolaryngology; he was promoted to professor of otolaryngology in 2004. In 2012, Barr-Gillespie was named director of the Hearing Health Foundation’s Hearing Restoration Project (HRP), a consortium of scientists who are developing a strategy for regeneration of sensory hair cells of the inner ear. Barr-Gillespie’s own research focuses on mechanotransduction by hair cells; the lab uses proteomics, genomics, molecular biology, imaging, and electrophysiology to understand how molecules of the hair cell, many of which can be disrupted in genetic deafness, come together to form an extremely sensitive and selective sensory receptor.

In his role as associate vice president for basic research, Dr. Barr-Gillespie will help to guide Dr. Dorsa in operational and strategic areas in the research mission. He will work closely with his counterpart, Eric Orwoll, M.D., the associate vice president for clinical and translational research and director of the Oregon Clinical & Translational Research Institute. Dr. Barr-Gillespie says that in spite of the challenges of the current scientific environment, he remains an optimist: “Modern biomedical research has had astounding successes, and the continued evolution of ideas and technology has produced a remarkable understanding of the basic biology underlying cellular and organ physiology. Because of these successes of basic science, there is more promise than ever for disease therapies. This position will provide an outstanding platform for shepherding OHSU’s growing excellence in basic science, and I am pleased to participate in the institution’s response to the challenges of the present environment.”

Welcome to the Research News Blog

Welcome to the Research News Blog

OHSU Research News is your portal to information about all things research at Oregon Health & Science University. Visit often for updates on events, discoveries, and important funding information.

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