Impact notification: Water system shutdown in Richard Jones Hall, Dec. 12-13

Impact notification: Richard Jones Hall

Impact notification: Richard Jones Hall

As part of the project to improve the OHSU Auditorium cooling system, crews will relocate a water line impacted by chilled water piping installation.

The water line relocation will impact the Richard Jones Hall North (old Basic Science sector) from Tuesday, Dec. 12, 4 p.m., to Wednesday, Dec. 13, 7:30 a.m.

Questions or concerns? Email David Keyser (

New RATE online learning: Brief, convenient, informative

Classroom training is still available but now there’s a more convenient way to launch into learning about select research administration topics from Research Administration Training and Education.

These modules enable new supervisors, investigators, researchers and research administrators to learn about the core components of each topic anytime with their OHSU network credentials. Those with more direct job responsibilities can follow links to further learning at the close of each module.

Effort Concepts

  • Understand the importance of tracking effort and labor distribution
  • Discern the difference between effort reporting and effort certification
  • Identify resources that support effort compliance

To launch Effort Concepts, login to Compass.

OGA Overview ModuleOracle Grants Accounting (OGA) Overview

  • Understand how OGA serves departments’ needs
  • Prepare to request user access
  • Locate guidance to find award information and attachments, run reports, and check encumbrances

To launch OGA Overview, login to Compass.

InfoEd Overview (coming soon!)

  • Understand how InfoEd serves departments’ needs
  • Prepare to request user access
  • Locate guidance and training for InfoEd

RATE expects to complete development of this module in January 2018. Meanwhile, hands-on classroom training for InfoEd is open to enrollment via Compass.

Learners may complete any of these brief modules through Compass and then revisit them anytime to review ideas, guidance, and useful links.

Three questions for Alejandro Aballay

Alejandro Aballay, Ph.D., joined OHSU as chair of the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology in September 2017. He came to OHSU from Duke University Medical Center, where he was a professor of molecular genetics and microbiology and director of the Center for Host-Microbial Interactions.

Alejandro Aballay recruited as new chair of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology

Alejandro Aballay is professor and chair of molecular microbiology and immunology, OHSU School of Medicine

What projects are you currently working on and are there opportunities collaboration?

Overall, our research project is highly interdisciplinary so there are numerous opportunities for synergistic interactions with fellow faculty. In the broad context of host-pathogen interactions, we study cell-autonomous processes that are involved in the activation of both defense mechanisms and mechanisms important for maintaining cellular homeostasis, such as the unfolded protein response or UPR. The UPR is crucial to ensure that all the proteins produced by our cells are assembled in an appropriate manner for their proper function. Thus, the UPR plays very important roles in cancer, neurodegenerative diseases and aging. Indeed, we have recently published a study that highlights the importance of protein homeostasis in aged animals. We also study how cellular pathways are controlled at the whole animal level by the nervous system and how animals respond to infections by eliciting different behavioral responses. Along these lines, we are partnering with Dr. Nathan Selden at OHSU to start exploring potential connections between neural stimulation and inflammation in humans.

What is the most important aspect of support that OHSU provides to you currently and how would you like this or other support to grow in the future?

Interdisciplinarity. This is a relatively condensed campus with highly collegial investigators that work on different angles of similar problems. There are also resources to recruit more investigators together with different units to enhance interdisciplinarity. I would like to advocate for more resources for fostering research among existing laboratories at OHSU that can address an important biological question from different perspectives and using different sets of tools and skill sets. I’m specifically referring to seeding grants to foster interdisciplinary research among investigators at different departments and institutes at OHSU.

A hypothetical: If you could have one tool that would solve a seemingly impenetrable problem in your work, what would it do? You have unlimited resources to design this tool, so think big.

This is a fun question, but it requires some background. Given the simplicity of the neural system of the model animal we use, Caenorhabditis elegans, we can dissect specific neural circuits that control highly sophisticated intracellular signaling pathways that play crucial roles in the defense response that an organism mounts against an infection. All animals, including humans, appear to rely on similar mechanisms to control the activation of the immune system that protects us against not only infections but also against our own cells, when they become cancerous. However, this response must be fine-tuned because inflammation accounts for major physiological, metabolic and pathological responses to infection. Tools such as nanoelectrodes that we could employ to dissect specific neural circuits involved in the control of inflammation and to activate or inhibit the participating neurons would be most useful. This could let us control deficient or excessive inflammation, which can lead to infection, cancer or conditions such as Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease.

About Three Questions

This Q&A series features OHSU School of Medicine faculty members, leaders and staff talking about their work with the goal of getting to know them and different areas across the school. View past articles (login required). Interested in being featured? Want to nominate a colleague? Contact us.

2017 Chemical Biology and Physiology conference, Dec. 10–13

OHSU tramThe 2017 Chemical Biology and Physiology conference will be hosted by the OHSU Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, School of Medicine, from December 10 to 13 in Portland.

2017 Chemical Biology and Physiology conference
December 10 to 13, 2017
Collaborative Life Sciences Bldg.
2730 SW Moody Ave, Portland, OR 97201

Attendees will hear world-class speakers in areas such as chemical physiology, signaling, lipids/metabolomics, proteins and peptides, optical and imaging tools, and therapeutic innovations. Short talks are selected from poster abstract submissions.

Keynote speakers include Dirk Trauner, Ph.D., New York University; Alanna Schepartz, Ph.D., Yale University; Kevan Shokat, Ph.D., UC Berkeley, UCSF, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; and Craig Crews, Ph.D., Yale University.

Visit the conference website for additional information, including a full list of speakers, and to register. OHSU registration is $150.00 and includes food.

Open Science panel: The evolving landscape of scientific communication, Dec. 8

OHSU logoThe landscape of scientific communication is changing dramatically. Diverse stakeholders, including major funders and universities, are demonstrating a growing interest and investment in open scientific principles and practices. Researchers, students, and the institutions that support them are needing to navigate new expectations, workflows, and policies against a backdrop of relatively unchanged means and measures of scientific success.

Open Science at OHSU
Friday, Dec. 8
Panel discussion from 3 to 4 p.m.; refreshments and workshops 4 to 5:30 p.m.
Vollum M1441 (panel and workshop 1), M1443 (workshop 2)
Everyone is welcome to attend.

Sound complicated? Join us for a panel discussion with OHSU leaders and early career researchers on the evolving landscape of scientific communication. We’ll explore the drivers behind the calls for “openness,” what this means in practice, and the real world compatibility and tensions between open science and student, researcher, and institutional success.

Confirmed panelists:

Dr. Hill and Robin Champieux, assistant professor and scholarly communication librarian, will demonstrate tools and methods for building transparency within a lab and onboarding new graduate students and postdocs. Attendees will have access to a GitHub template repository and code of conduct designed to facilitate a healthy and productive learning and research environment. You’ll be able to use these tools to communicate expectations, document protocols, receive feedback, and facilitate the long-term value of students’ and trainees’ contributions.

Daniela Saderi, graduate student in the neuroscience program, will introduce attendees to the current role of preprints in scientific publishing and the importance of giving peer-to-peer early feedback to the authors. Attendees will have the opportunity to test PREreview, a new resource for engaging with other scientists and master peer-reviewing by collaboratively writing preprint reviews after discussing them at journal clubs.

Please contact Robin Champieux ( to RSVP or with questions.

OHSU Researchers: Core Pilot Funds – Update

Update 2 – December 1, 2017: 

The University Shared Resources program would like to thank those who applied for FY2018 USR Pilot Fund Grants. They received nearly double the number of applications from 2016 and are working to process them all as quickly as possible. They hope to notify all applicants with a decision on or before Friday, December 8, 2017–and they appreciate the interest in this program. Stay tuned for future opportunities.

Update: the deadline for this funding opportunity has been extended to November 14.

The OHSU University Shared Resources program and the Senior Vice President for Research Office are soliciting grant applications for the USR Core Pilot Fund Grants program. Individual award amounts will vary depending on projected expenses in the proposed core and will be based on need. An upper limit of $10,000 is set for pilot awards utilizing higher-cost core resources and services, although applications of lower amounts may receive priority. The full award must be used in the cores specified in the grant application and only for the services described. A total of $100,000 is reserved for this funding mechanism in FY 2018.

Eligible costs are for core services associated with the development and submission of new grants, including consultation time, reagents, supplies and technical staff time for assisting investigators.


  • Applicants can use any OHSU core to be considered eligible to receive pilot funding money, but preference will be given to USR cores. Cores must receive all awarded funds. If a portion of the job must be sub-contracted, sub-contracts must be arranged by the core.
  • The competition is open to all OHSU faculty in all schools, institutes, and centers. Projects that support a trainee’s work are also eligible.
  • Previous awardees are eligible to apply with a new project, but new applicants may be given priority.

See full instructions and submit your applications through OHSU’s Competitive Application Portal (CAP).

Please note:  Applicants must consult with the director of the designated core prior to application submission.

Applications are due November 14 and awards will be announced November 30, 2017.


Research Administration: Effort and salary cap classes in December

Very soon, we will be at the end of yet another Effort cycle on December 30, 2017. Get a jump on your effort tracking, reporting process, and salary cap coordination with these upcoming classes.

Effort Certification

Examine not only the federal requirements that shape institutional policy but also details of OHSU’s Effort Certification procedure. This class is for department Effort Coordinators and those supporting or overseeing certification of Effort. See the detailed class description and enroll via Compass using your network credentials.

Tuesday, Dec. 5
1:30 to 3:30 p.m.
Center for Health & Healing, 3171 1A

DHHS Salary Cap
If you’re responsible in some way for sponsored project finances and if this includes any researchers with a salary even a penny above the current DHHS salary cap of $187,000, this class is for you!

Gain tools for making the complex process of budgeting and managing salaries over the cap more manageable. See the detailed class description and enroll via Compass using your network credentials.

Tuesday, Dec. 12
1:30 to 3:30 p.m.
Center for Health & Healing, 3171 1A

These and other classes are described in more detail on the Research Administration Training & Education (RATE) site.

For more information, please contact Margaret Gardner.

Sex, cognition, and stimulating neurons: Katie Wallin-Miller featured in OHSU In the Lab

Men and women suffer from mental illnesses at the same rate, but the kinds of disorders that tend to occur in men and women are very different. Katie Wallin-Miller, Ph.D., studies sex differences in the neurobiological mechanisms underlying mental processes of cognition. Understanding the basis of these differences may lead to more effective treatments for mental illnesses. Wallin-Miller is a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of  Bita Moghaddam, Ph.D., where research focuses on the neurobiology of mental illness.

What are you studying and why is it important?

Postdoc Katie Wallin-Miller presented at NogginFest — part-research presentation, part art show, part benefit concert for NW Noggin — a non-profit that brings neuroscience to the masses.

Postdoc Katie Wallin-Miller presented at NogginFest — part-research presentation, part benefit concert for NW Noggin — a non-profit that brings neuroscience to the masses.

My specific focus is on sex differences in what’s called executive function, which governs decision-making, inhibition and how well we adapt to situations. I work with rats, and I start out looking at behaviors. If there’s a behavioral difference in the males and females, it’s important to understand the cause. I look for differences in brain physiology and anatomy to explain the sex differences in behavior and cognition. In the history of the discipline, almost all neuroscience has studied male subjects. But understanding the differences can help both sexes. Men, for instance, are much more likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia. Understanding what protects women could be helpful in developing avenues for treatments for everyone.

What’s been your most exciting moment of discovery?

It’s not so much a moment of discovery as an experience — the experience of being able to see and manipulate the physical world at the level a single cell. One of the most amazing moments of my life was the first time I stimulated a neuron. It’s very geeky, but I basically took control of a cell that receives, processes and transmits information through electrical and chemical signals. This was something I’d read about and seen in books since I was a sophomore in college. First, we modified the neuron so it was sensitive to light. Then we shined light on it, and it fired. It was amazing. Actually seeing a neuron in action was the neurobiological version of the difference between looking at a photo of the Mona Lisa and seeing it — or understanding the science of an eclipse versus experiencing one.

What’s your day-to-day life as a researcher like?

It involves a lot of thinking. A lot of thinking and reading. The most important aspect of being a postdoc is thinking of good questions and then determining good ways to ask those questions. What’s the best way to design a study? In my case, I need to be careful to create paradigms that can be appropriate for males and females. So I think, design studies, then conduct experiments and analyze the data. And the data always says things that you don’t expect — so I assess and revise my approach.

About In the Lab

OHSU In the Lab publishes every third Thursday on O2 (login required). The series looks at the people in the laboratories who help make OHSU such a vibrant research institution. In each post, researchers describe their current work and answer the same three questions.


New treatment may address imatinib-resistant tumors

Each year, 3,000 to 6,000 people are diagnosed with gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST)—the most common sarcoma of the gastrointestinal tract. Imatinib myeslate, or Gleevec®, has proved to be a highly effective therapy for many patients with GIST, although long-term survival is poor due to the development of imatinib-resistant GIST mutation types.

Michael Heinrich, M.D., Heinrich, professor of hematology and medical oncology in the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, School of Medicine, and practicing physician at the VA Portland Health System, demonstrated that the highly selective compound BLU-285 inhibits well-characterized disease-driving KIT mutants both in vitro and in vivo in preclinical models

Michael Heinrich, M.D., Knight Cancer Institute, and an international team of scientists reported data showing promise for treatment of rare stomach cancer.

Research recently published in Science Translational Medicine demonstrated promising results for a new treatment, BLU-285, which specifically targets two of the most common imatinib-resistant GIST mutations: KIT and PDGFRA.  With an international team of researchers, co-author Michael Heinrich, M.D., professor of hematology and medical oncology in the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, School of Medicine, and practicing physician at the VA Portland Health System, showed that the highly selective compound BLU-285 inhibits well-characterized disease-driving KIT mutants both in vitro and in vivo in preclinical models.

The data show 67 percent of patients with heavily pretreated KIT-driven GIST treated with BLU-285 had radiographic tumor reductions. Based on this data, the current Phase I trial remains ongoing and Blueprint Medicines is planning for a Phase III randomized study.

See OHSU News for more about the BLU-285 clinical trial


Disclosures: Heinrich has worked with Blueprint Medicines, the company that developed BLU-285, as a consultant and is an investigator for Blueprint Medicines’ ongoing Phase 1 GIST study. He has received research funding from Blueprint Medicines and has provided expert testimony for Novartis. Brian Druker, M.D., director of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, is a scientific co-founder of Blueprint Medicines. He was not involved in this clinical trial.

In the interest of ensuring the integrity of our research and as part of our commitment to public transparency, OHSU actively regulates, tracks and manages relationships that our researchers may hold with entities outside of OHSU. Review details of OHSU’s conflict of interest program to find out more about how we manage these business relationships.


Innovation Workshop: Spring to Market, registration now open

Are you wondering if your innovation has market potential? OHSU Technology Transfer and Business Development is hosting an Innovation Workshop, where business executives will teach you to evaluate the market potential of your invention, perform basic market analysis, and create a successful business model to begin taking your idea to market. They will also coach you in pitching your idea to potential partners and investors.

TTBD business developmentOHSU’s Executives-in-Residence members Eric Fogel and Bob Masterson will lead this confidential, interactive discussion, providing real-world examples of successful commercialization pathways.

Innovation Workshop: Spring to Market

The workshop is free but registration is required. Register by Jan. 5

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
3303 S.W. Bond Ave., Portland

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, so please register by Jan. 5.

Register to attend.

Questions? Contact Lisa Lukaesko at

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 OHSU. Find updates on events, discoveries, and important funding information.

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