Two trees to be removed from Research Courtyard

UPDATE Tuesday, Aug. 2: The two trees were removed on Saturday, July 30.

Within the coming weeks, two tall conifer trees in the Research Courtyard between Mac Hall Cafe and the new Center for Radiochemistry Research will be removed due to an imminent safety hazard. During the course of CRR construction and courtyard renovations, crews discovered the conifers in the southwest corner had inadequate root systems to support their height, posing a toppling risk. The trees could be removed by OHSU’s arborist as soon as Saturday, July 30. The removal will take place over a weekend to avoid disturbing campus activities.

New course requirements for Responsible Conduct of Research

If you’re a researcher at OHSU, you know that the university and funders such as NIH require you to keep up to date in your knowledge of the responsible conduct of research. In the past, we used our in-house Big Brain tool and in-house courses. But as of May 1, 2016, RCR education has moved to the University of Miami’s CITI Program. The CITI Program meets NIH standards and is the standard for the majority of academic institutions in the U.S. and the Veteran’s Administration.

Depending on your work, you will need to take at least one of the following modules.

  • Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR). Previously called “RCR for All” in Big Brain. This course is required for anyone involved in research at OHSU.
  • Animal Care and Use (ACU): Working with the IACUC. Previously called “RCR involving Animal Subjects” in Big Brain. This course must be completed by researchers who use animals.
  • Human Subjects Research (HSR): Human Researchers. Previously called “RCR involving Human Subjects” in Big Brain. This course must be completed by researchers conducting research with human subjects.
  • Biosafety/Biosecurity: Working with rDNA/Infectious Agents/Toxins. Previously called “RCR involving rDNA, Synthetic Nucleic Acid Molecules and Infectious Agents/ Biological Toxins” in Big Brain. This course must be competed if you work with recombinant DNA, synthetic nucleic acid molecules in cells, organisms or viruses, infectious agents, or biologically derived toxins.
  • Good Clinical Practices (GCP). Previously called “RCR for FDA Regulated Products” in Big Brain. This course must be completed by investigators or staff on a clinical trial of an FDA-regulated product (drug or device).

Changes for all researchers

In the past, you may have taken one class and then only needed to take a booster every year. You will now be required to renew your CITI training every three years in lieu of taking a research-specific booster training. Refresher training is important because the regulatory environment is always changing—and it’s the standard at many institutions, such as UCSF, University of Arizona, Case Western among many others.

Other changes: the CITI modules take longer than Big Brain modules. Expect to devote at least an hour to each one.

First time user of CITI?

Please follow these instructions for accessing OHSU’s CITI account.

Advantages of CITI

Because CITI is so well adopted across the U.S., it allows a high degree of reciprocity for multicenter research as well as for faculty conducting research at the VA and faculty transferring from other universities.  Be sure to follow the instructions for linking an already established CITI account to get credit for modules already completed!

Additionally, using the CITI program allows OHSU to take advantage of regularly updated content and new course options.

When do I have to complete CITI training?

If you completed the RCR course in Big Brain before May 2014:

  • You will be notified beginning July 2016 that you must take the required CITI course modules
  • You must complete the CITI course before May 31, 2017 to be considered compliant for grant funding, eIRB applications, etc.

If you completed the RCR course in Big Brain after May 2014:

  • You will be notified beginning  July 2017
  • The course certification expires beginning May 31, 2018 on a rolling 3-year basis, dependent on when you last completed the Big Brain course. For example, if you completed your course between June 1, 2014 and May 31, 2015, you will not be due until May 31, 2018. After this, your certification will expire every 3 years.

Log into Compass to find your due date. You will also receive periodic reminders from OHSU Research Integrity about the deadline.

If you no longer need to complete a course that has been assigned to you, please reply to Let them know which course specifically no longer applies to you and why; they will remove the course from your transcript and stop sending you reminders.

Visit the website for more information on RCR education and contact with any questions.

Who’s new at OHSU? Raymond Bergan, M.D.

Raymond Bergan, M.D., is an internationally regarded cancer researcher who joined OHSU as head of hematology and medical oncology in the School of Medicine and as associate director of medical oncology for the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute. He is also a practicing clinician who sees patients at OHSU and the Veterans Administration Portland Health Care System.Bergan Raymond_15

What brought you to OHSU?
My decision to leave Northwestern University and come to OHSU was two-fold. The opportunity to lead the Hematology & Medical Oncology Division was a big draw but I came in large part because of what OHSU is doing for the field. I’m a medical oncologist and have been in drug discovery and therapeutics – that’s my area of focus. I had been at Northwestern for a long time and got to a point where I asked myself “What do I want to do with the rest of my career?” A career I’ve spent helping patients, developing better therapeutics for patients, and I could see where the field was going – toward precision medicine and personalized therapy. So I thought “Do I want to stay [at Northwestern] and wait for the new guidelines to come out or do I want to go and help shape and define those guidelines? I wanted to help move that science forward and felt this was the right place because of what OHSU was doing for cancer, providing a visionary way forward as objectively measured by the Knight Challenge.  It’s not about the money per se but about the tools and capabilities it affords and how OHSU is using the money that is significant.

What is the focus of your research?
I came to this division because I thought it had huge potential for further advancing therapeutics. What our group does scientifically is to understand why cancer cells move and therapeutically inhibiting that process. The example I often use is, say a woman discovers a lump in her breast and it turns out to be breast cancer. If it’s just that lump, it’s easy to treat and cure using a local therapy such as surgery or radiation or sometimes chemotherapy; if that cancer hasn’t moved, the woman is cured. If, however, that cancer has moved throughout her body, we can treat it but we can’t cure it. The analogy for breast is true for most cancers. The leading cause of death from cancer is metastatic cancer. So how does that cancer go from the original point and move throughout the body? What kills patients is that process of cell movement, so if you can block that process, you can cure people.

There are many things that are attractive about focusing on motility as a therapeutic target. Until recently, no one had actually been able to do it. But we have. We were the first group to successfully therapeutically target pathways in humans that act to inhibit that process. To clarify, we’ve inhibited a pathway inside cells that’s an important driver of that process. We have not yet shown that we can stop cancer cells from moving in patients and thus have not yet demonstrated benefit to patients. So this is the focus of our laboratory. We’re starting out with prostate cancer, but the research isn’t necessarily limited to that. The overall aim is to discover what regulates and controls cell movement or transformation to a metastatic phenotype and then what part of that process can be therapeutically targeted. We’ve taken agents from bench into clinic through phase II trials, and now we’re putting a lot of effort into discovery of a novel class of agents and moving that forward. This is what’s nearest and dearest to my heart in terms of what our group is working on.

Bergan labLinked to that, I’m also involved in early phase clinical trials. I have a long history in the field of chemo-prevention.  At Northwestern, I put together–and served as PI for over a decade–one of only five National Cancer Institute-funded early phase chemoprevention consortia groups. I built the group to 19 institutions, including two in China, and ran a variety of clinical trials. Early phase trials are what you would consider “go – no go” trials for larger, expensive and potentially risky trials. If you have a promising agent and you’ve run it through a Phase I trial and are confident the drug isn’t toxic, you go to the next phase to see if it does anything of use. If it’s an effective chemoprevention agent acting as expected, you would run a trial in humans looking at target cells in the target tissue in the body to see if you get a response.  The outcomes of these early stage trials have molecular endpoints that allow you to say, yes, this is worth further investigation because we know that a certain dose given to a targeted cohort exerts the pharmacologic effect we want in the exact organ we want to target. Tamoxifen is an example of a very successful chemoprevention drug that blocks the actions of estrogen, which is effective against tumors that require estrogen to grow.

But say you developed a drug and in early trials, you didn’t get the response you’d anticipated. We wouldn’t just throw the drug out. We would look at it closely and ask “is it a bad drug? Did we not administer the correct dose?” We might be able to rescue the drug if we find it was a case of bad formulation or we didn’t administer the drug properly. So that’s the purpose of this consortium – to run these types of trials which are very complex and require experts in a particular cancer type or methodology, etc. A single research group or institution can’t cover all those bases which is why a consortium is needed. When I came here I had to give up my leadership of the group, which was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do professionally. Ultimately, the award is made to the institution, so it stayed at Northwestern.  But I’m still heavily involved. When I came here, I made OHSU a site and I’m now chair of the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group Prevention Committee.

I’m passionately committed to this work. I think the way we’re going to have the biggest impact on cancer is in early detection and early intervention.

What do you do when you’re not at work?
I love Portland. I knew nothing about it prior to coming here other than having read a few things. There’s so much about it that reminds me of home. I grew up in a rural area of upstate New York in a small town, and I spent a lot of time in the woods when I was young.  Here I walk to work and when I’m done working, I’m running on a wooded trail right outside my door. I’m happy anywhere and very much liked living in Chicago.  However, Chicago is a large city, and it would take you a long time to get out of it. Here, you have a real city with a downtown that’s vibrant, but you can get out of town in half an hour. I’m also currently learning Chinese, I read a lot of biographies, and I have three wonderful kids that I love spending time with.


Postdoctoral fellowships from the Human Frontier Science Program


Attention Postdocs!

The Human Frontier Science Program encourages postdoctoral scientists to broaden their research skills by moving into new areas of study while working in a new country. The program provides awardees with approximately $50,000 per year for three years (with additional travel and child allowances) and invites applications for two international mechanisms that offer postdoctoral fellowships for basic research training:

Long-Term Fellowships – For applicants with a Ph.D. in a biological discipline to embark on a new project in a different field of the life sciences. Preference is given to applicants who propose an original study in biology that marks a departure from their previous Ph.D. or postdoctoral work so as to learn new methods or change discipline.

Cross-Disciplinary Fellowships – For applicants with a Ph.D. from outside the life sciences (e.g. in physics, chemistry, mathematics, engineering or computer sciences) who have had limited exposure to biology during their previous training. Applicants should propose a significant departure from their past research (e.g. changing from material science or physics to cell biology, from chemistry to molecular biology, or from computer science to neuroscience).

Registration deadline: August 11, 2016
Application deadline: August 25, 2016

Fellows must begin their fellowship between April 1, 2017 and January 1, 2018. To be eligible, the applicant must hold a research doctorate or a doctoral-level degree comparable to a Ph.D. with equivalent experience in basic research and the degree must have been conferred in the three years prior to the submission deadline or by December 31, 2017. Applicants must have at least one lead author paper either accepted for publication, in press or published, in an English peer-reviewed international journal. Applicants who have spent 12 or more months in their proposed host country or with their proposed supervisor are ineligible.

Learn more here.

West Coast Nature Awards for Mentoring in Science: nominations due Aug. 8

mentor-bigThe guidance and support mentors provide in labs is too often overlooked. In response, in 2005 Nature created an award aimed at recognizing outstanding scientific mentorship which recognizes different regions of the world each year. This year’s Nature Awards for Mentoring in Science will go to exceptional mentors from the US West Coast states – Washington, Oregon, and California – and nominations are now open.

Two prizes of $10,000 will be awarded, one for a mid-career mentor and one for life-time achievement in mentoring.

Eligibility: Nominees may be working in any discipline within the natural sciences and should be residents of one of the West Coast states. Nominees may be nominated by colleagues and ex-colleagues or nominate themselves. Nomination packages must include independent testimonials by five researchers mentored by the nominee, not all over the same period.

The closing date for nominations is Monday, Aug. 8, 2016. Further information about eligibility and how to submit a nomination is available here. You can find further background information on the program including past awardees here and here.

Breast cancer conference focuses on technology, biology around early detection, Aug. 6

This August, leading breast cancer researchers from around the world will travel to Portland for the 30th International Association for Breast Cancer Research Conference. The theme for this year’s event is “Confronting the confusion: How to think about breast cancer screening.” Programming will focus on the biology and technology needed to enable earlier detection of lethal breast cancers.

OHSU_Mktg_EventFlyer_uStore_O_237913_57861Breast Cancer Research Conference
Saturday, Aug. 6, 2016
2 to 5 p.m.
Collaborative Life Sciences Building

After the forum, attendees will have the opportunity to visit with scientists during an interactive reception. Speakers include:

  • Judith Salerno, M.D., M.S., president and CEO, Susan G. Komen
  • Joe Gray, Ph.D., professor and Gordon Moore Endowed Chair of Biomedical Engineering, OHSU Knight Cancer Institute
  • Heidi Nelson, M.D., M.P.H., medical director, Providence Women and Children’s Program and Research Center, and research professor, departments of Medical Informatics and Clinical Epidemiology and Medicine, OHSU
  • Thea Tlsty, Ph.D., professor of pathology and director of the Center for Translational Research in the Molecular Genetics of Cancer, UCSF; director, Program in Cell Cycling and Signaling, UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • Toni Storm-Dickerson, M.D., breast surgical oncologist, Compass Oncology
  • Pepper Schedin, Ph.D., professor, Cell, Developmental and Cancer Biology, OHSU Knight Cancer Institute
  • Sue Best, M.S.W., L.C.S.W., palliative care services, OHSU
  • June Cooley, breast cancer survivor and Knight Cancer Institute research advocate

This event is free and open to the public. Seating is limited, so please register by Friday, July 29.

Visit the conference website for more information.

This event is co-hosted by Susan G. Komen, the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, and the International Association for Breast Cancer Research.

OHSU Emerging Technology Fund, letters of intent due Sept. 15

The Office of the Senior Vice President for Research is seeking applications for the OHSU Emerging Technology Fund, which provides funds for OHSU faculty members to purchase major equipment or technology needed to conduct state-of-the-art research. Technologies funded by this award could include novel instrumentation previously unavailable at OHSU, as well as the replacement of high-end equipment that has become obsolete due to technical advances. Funds may be awarded to a group of investigators, a department, center, or institute, or a university core facility. Successful applications must include a sound financial plan ensuring that major infrastructure elements, including space and personnel, will be provided from other sources for a minimum of five years.

The purpose of this program is to support emerging science by funding high-end instruments or technologies that will substantially advance OHSU research or keep it at the forefront of a particular research area. It is designed to support equipment that has few other mechanisms of support other than private philanthropy; thus, the minimum total cost of the equipment must be $400,000 or above (including necessary accessories). Funding is available up to $500,000.

Letters of intent are due Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016. Full applications are due Sept. 30, 2016.

View more information, including application instructions and previous recipients.

Coming soon: MIRA funding for early-stage investigators

We first reported on the Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA) for New and Early-Stage Investigators (R35) mechanism when it was introduced by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences about a year ago. The pilot program represented a new funding strategy focused on supporting PIs rather than specific projects. The rationale behind this novel funding strategy was to improve funding distribution and invest in scientists, thereby providing them with funding stability to explore new, creative directions in their research.

Pilot testing of this program is now being expanded to target early-stage investigators. NIGMS intends to publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement this summer with an expected application due date in fall 2016. The FOA will be a reissue of the parent announcement with the notable change that new investigators who are no longer early stage investigators will not be eligible. A few additional minor changes to improve clarity are expected.  The pre-announcement issued on July 12 encourages early stage investigators engaged in research related to the NIGMS mission to consider applying in the fall. We’ll be tracking the release of this FOA, so stay tuned.

Heads up: new required attachment for NIH F series applications

If you are a graduate student or postdoctoral fellow who is planning to apply for an F30, F31, or F32 (otherwise known as NRSAs), you should be aware of a new required attachment, “Description of Institutional Environment and CommitmeNIH_Master_Logo_Vertical_2Colornt to Training.”  This new requirement as of May 25, 2016 calls for a new 2-page attachment that documents the institutional resources devoted to career enhancement and the overall intellectual environment. This new attachment also encompasses the “Additional Educational Information” required for F30 and F31 applications.

Here’s what the instructions say:

The sponsoring institution must document a strong, well-established research program related to the candidate’s area of interest, including the names of key faculty members relevant to the candidate’s proposed developmental plan. Referring to the resources description (Section F.220 – R&R Other Project Information Form, Facilities and Other Resources), indicate how the necessary facilities and other resources will be made available for career enhancement as well as the research proposed in this application. Describe opportunities for intellectual interactions with other investigators, including courses offered, journal clubs, seminars, and presentations. This information should be coordinated with information provided under Sponsor and Co-Sponsor Statements, Training Plan, Environment, Research Facilities.

Additional Educational Information (required for F30 and F31 applications):
Describe the institution’s dual-degree (F30) or graduate (F31) program in which the applicant is enrolled, e.g. the structure of the program, required milestones and their usual timing (number of courses, any teaching commitments, qualifying exams, etc.) and the average time to degree over the past 10 years. Describe the progress/status of the applicant in relation to the program’s timeline, and the frequency and method by which the program formally monitors and evaluates a student’s progress. This information is typically provided by the director of the graduate program or the department chair. Include the name of the individual providing this information at the end of the description.

Note that a listing of the applicant’s courses and grades must be included in the Fellowship Applicant Biographical Sketch, and NOT in this attachment.

Attach this information as a PDF file.

This attachment is required. Follow the page limits for Fellowship Applications in the Table of Page Limits at, unless specified otherwise in the FOA.

These instructions leave some room for interpretation, so here are some initial suggestions until we get more clarity or the instructions are updated. Essentially, this attachment seems to be asking you to distill information that will also be elsewhere in the application, perhaps to aid review. This attachment may feel a bit redundant–just make sure you don’t use exactly the same wording (which reviewers tend to find irritating) and that the information is consistent with other parts of the application.

For graduate (F30, F31) applications, your program director or department chair will supply the “Additional Educational Information,” as before. That leaves you about a page to describe the overall intellectual environment, list the key faculty members and their titles, the major journal clubs and seminars that you’ll participate in, and additional professional development resources available to you.

For postdoctoral (F32) applications, you should contact our Office of Postdoctoral Affairs for help with filling out this attachment. Mike Matrone, the postdoctoral affairs officer, can supply you with text about all the professional development resources that this office provides. Otherwise, the advice is similar: start out with a description of the intellectual environment, list the key faculty members you’ll interact with (whether they are mentors or not), the journal clubs and seminars, and any other important details. If you have access to special instrumentation, you may want to note that here as well.

For all applications: a couple of suggestions. First, you don’t need to put this on letterhead to ‘document the commitment.’ Our Office of Proposal and Award Management indicates that simply including the attachment is documentation, since when we submit the application, we are certifying that everything in it is true.

Second, in the Facilities and Resources section, you may want to refer to the attachment and vice versa. The Facilities and Resources section does not have a formal page limit, so you may want to include additional detail there if the page limits of the attachment don’t allow you to provide all the information you think is relevant (although don’t abuse the lack of page limits here, either–you don’t want to go on and on).  Conversely, especially for postdoctoral applications, you may want to mostly refer to the attachment when you’re describing the professional and career development resources and spend the bulk of Facilities and Resources detailing the facilities you need to accomplish the work–the laboratory, animal, clinical, computer and office, and core facilities.

In our experience, general boilerplate about OHSU and our scope and funding of research is not particularly useful for fellowship applications. It’s better to describe the department or institute where you’ll be carrying out your work. The reviewers want to know what it’s like to be a trainee in the particular intellectual milieu, not that OHSU overall had $376 million dollars in research in FY2015. Reviewers tend to like specificity. They want to know how the environment will help you become a productive scientist.

Guidelines for this section may change again when information addressing rigor and reproducibility will be required beginning in 2017. We will keep you posted.






Co-invented by OHSU’s David Huang 25 years ago, OCT technology helps detect and stop blindness

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the invention of Optical Coherence Tomography technology, co-invented by Oregon Health & Science University Casey Eye Institute’s David Huang, M.D., Ph.D., while Huang was a Ph.D. student with James Fujimoto, Ph.D. at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. To commemorate the anniversary, the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) published a special anniversary edition in their journal Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science with more than 70 articles.

David Huang, M.D., Ph.D., and his team at the Center for Opthalmic Center for Ophthalmic Optics and Lasers Lab, or COOL Lab, at Casey Eye Institute

David Huang, M.D., Ph.D., and his team at the Center for Opthalmic Center for Ophthalmic Optics and Lasers Lab, or COOL Lab, at Casey Eye Institute

OCT is the most commonly used ophthalmic diagnostic technology worldwide, with an estimated 30 million OCT imaging procedures performed every year. The technology has evolved over the past 25 years to help diagnose and treat the most common causes of blindness: age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma. OCT use continues to grow exponentially in ophthalmology and other medical specialties, including cardiology, dermatology, neurology, and gastroenterology.

OCT has transformed the way ophthalmologists are able to diagnose, monitor and treat devastating eye diseases, and it has advanced drug discovery and development. The technology is particularly suitable for the early detection of glaucoma and macular degeneration, diseases that may cause significant damage prior to the appearance of symptoms. OCT is also widely used for diabetic macular edema, the leading cause of blindness in young patients.

“Dr. Huang’s contribution to the field of ophthalmology has been tremendous and we are very fortunate to have such a brilliant mind here at Casey Eye Institute and in Oregon,” says David J. Wilson, M.D., director of the OHSU Casey Eye Institute and chair of the Department of Ophthalmology in the OHSU School of Medicine. “This anniversary is a perfect opportunity to celebrate OCT as a truly transformative medical technology. Such transformations do not occur often in medicine.”

OCT technology has also evolved over the past 25 years with great advances in imaging speed and quality. Ophthalmologists can now study disease at the microscopic level without biopsy, and with complete patient comfort. For the first time, eye physicians can visualize and measure blood flow in the smallest of blood vessels, without the need to inject contrast agents.  Non-invasive visualization and measurement of blood flow gives great insight into the cause and progression of eye disease.

Huang, who was recently ranked the 4th most influential figure in the world of ophthalmology by The Ophthalmologist PowerList 2016, runs the Center for Ophthalmic Optics and Lasers Lab, or COOL Lab, at Casey Eye Institute which includes a team of top scientists from around the world who have been perfecting OCT technology for more than 15 years. Several members of the lab have contributed articles for the special issue in IOVS (see Related Content for links to articles).

Key OHSU collaborators with Huang’s lab include Ou Tan, Ph.D., John C. Morrison, M.D., Yali Jia, Ph.D., Winston Chamberlain, M.D., Ph.D., Steven Bailey, M.D., Thomas S. Hwang, M.D., and Douglas D. Koch, M.D. at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

The papers published in the ARVO special issue by OHSU faculty were supported by the National Institutes of Health, Research to Prevent Blindness, Optovue, Inc. and the Oregon Clinical and Translational Research Institute.

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