NIH Shared Instrumentation Grant (S10), internal applications due Mar. 18

The Shared Instrumentation Grant Program (S10) provides groups of NIH-supported investigators funds to purchase or upgrade shared equipment costing $50,000 to $600,000. Types of instruments supported include, but are not limited to, X-ray diffraction systems, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and mass spectrometers, DNA sequencers, biosensors, electron and confocal microscopes, cell-sorters, and biomedical imagers.

OHSU is not limited in the number of applications submitted, provided the applications are for different types of equipment.

INTERNAL COORDINATION IS REQUIRED: To apply, you must submit a brief 1-3 page preliminary proposal to Dr. Sue Aicher, who is coordinating the review process, by Friday, March 18, 2016. The external application can be submitted as early as April 16, 2016 with May 16, 2016 being the deadline. Your email should include the following:

  1. What instrument will be requested, and why it is needed
  2. Cost of the instrument, including vendor quote
  3. Cost of maintenance contract
  4. Where the instrument will be located
  5. Major group users’ info (a minimum of three major users who are PIs on active NIH research grants must be identified)
  6. Institutional support

Applications will be evaluated based on whether the instrument will enhance the proposal research, whether there is a good match between the proposal science and the requested instrument, the justification of need, the organization of the project, continuing commitment to the instrument, and the benefit to the overall research community.

Contact Dr. Aicher for more information.

TTBD Lunch and Learn: Evaluating and licensing biomaterials

If you’re interested in working with biological materials such as mouse models, antibodies, and cell lines, this presentation can give you important insights into what you need to know for success. Technology development manager, Trina Voss, will lead this informal, panel-style presentation. Discussion will focus on how biomaterials produced at OHSU are evaluated, and how the office of Technology Transfer and Business Development (TTBD) can help make them available to the public. Voss-Trina_11-copy

Tuesday, Feb. 16
12 to 1 p.m.
Mackenzie Hall 2201

Marquam Hill Campus

Other panelists in this discussion will include past and current TTBD interns, who have successfully licensed biomaterials during their internship period:

• Khoa Tran, Ph.D., past TTBD intern
• Uchenna Emechebe, Ph.D., past TTBD intern
• Sudeshna Dutta, Ph.D., current TTBD intern

This presentation will provide a crucial and unique opportunity to hear about the evaluation and licensing process at OHSU from an inventor’s perspective. Postdocs, investigators, students, and faculty members will benefit from this discussion.

This event is open to all OHSU employees, faculty, and students. Admission is free, no RSVP is necessary, and snacks and beverages will be provided.

Update on NIH policy and guideline changes

NIG-logo_Wikimedia_NIHAs we reported in October, several changes to NIH policies, forms, and instructions go into effect for applications submitted on Monday, Jan. 25, and beyond (Phase I of the change rollout).  Additional changes apply to applications submitted on or after May 25 (Phase II), while several modifications scheduled for Phase II have been pushed back to fiscal year 2017 (those related to rigor and transparency for career development awards).

Because the changes are many and nuanced, Research Funding and Development Services has created a framework document that provides full details of the changes as well as a timeline for the rollout of various stages. Contact RFDS at with questions.

Hope for patients suffering from vision loss due to glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy

New findings from OHSU’s von Gersdorff lab shed light on the underlying mechanism of progressive vision loss caused by diseases such as glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. In a paper published on Jan. 21, in the journal Neuron, the team led by postdoctoral researcher Mean-Hwan Kim, Ph.D., details their discovery of a new synaptic mechanism that uses the eye’s inhibitory neurons to block toxic excitability occurring in the retina of those suffering from glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. This discovery suggests the basis for future therapeutic interventions while also increasing understanding of the underlying mechanisms of other diseases such as epilepsy and neurodegeneration.

Two neurons embedded in the retina are shown in this 3-D image. One is an excitatory neuron (red), called a bipolar neuron, and the other is an inhibitory neuron (green), called an amacrine cell. Note that there are small contacts points between the neurons in the bottom of the figure. These are the synapses where neurotransmitter is released allowing these neurons to communicate with each other.

Two neurons embedded in the retina are shown in this 3-D image. One is an excitatory neuron (red), and the other is an inhibitory neuron (green), called an amacrine cell. The small contact points between the neurons in the bottom of the figure are the synapses where neurotransmitter is released allowing these neurons to communicate with each other.

Certain synapses have receptors located in their cell membrane called calcium-permeable AMPA receptors (CP-AMPARS) that, when activated, lead to a rapid increase in calcium within the synapses. Excessive release of the excitatory neurotransmitter (glutamate) due to high levels of calcium in the synapses causes some of the initial damage to the neurons of the retina. An imbalance between excitatory and inhibitory synapses, caused by various disease conditions, can trigger the early stages of vision loss.

A specific synaptic connection studied by the research team is formed by an excitatory neuron that makes contact with an amacrine cell, an inhibitory neuron.  The team discovered that repeated activation of CP-AMARS strengthens the synapse and leads the amacrine cell to release more inhibitory neurotransmitters, which may be neuron-protective to the retina.

Based on these and previous findings from last August, the von Gersdorff lab is currently testing various drugs that promote synaptic inhibition in the retina.

The title is “Postsynaptic Plasticity Triggered by Ca2+-Permeable AMPA Receptor Activation in Retinal Amacrine Cells”; Neuron, 89, 1–14. This research was supported by a grant from the National Eye Institute (5R01EY014043-13).


OHSU among “Best Small Universities”

THE logoEach year, The Times Higher Education (THE) publishes their ranking of the “World’s Best Small Universities.” This year, OHSU is listed at #7. THE categorizes an institution a “small university” if it has enrollment of less than 5,000 across the entire institution. All universities featured in this category must also cover four or more broad subjects.

The list, released on Jan. 25, includes an overview of the top 20 schools in this category. OHSU, which ranks highest among medical schools on the list, boasts a student to faculty ratio of just over one student per staff member, despite a student body of close to 3,000. To highlight the advantages of a small university, OHSU’s overview includes a blog post by first-year School of Nursing student Angelina Pham, in which she discusses her reasons for choosing OHSU and how the small-scale environment has allowed her to develop close-knit relationships with both students and faculty.

CalTech takes the top spot in the ranking. Other health care schools on the top 20 list include Tokyo Medical and Dental University (#12) and National Yang-Ming University (#13).


Open Insight lecture double-feature: Shreejoy Tripathy, Ph.D., Jan. 27

Open Insight LogosDon’t miss these two exciting events at the OHSU library this week:

Shreejoy Tripathy, Ph.D., postdoc at the Centre for High-Throughput Biology at the University of British Columbia and founder of will be visiting campus this Wednesday, Jan. 27, as part of the OHSU Library-sponsored Open Insight lecture series.

The Library is hosting a lunch-time event with Tripathy from 12 to 1 p.m. in BICC 429.  The session, “More than your results:  A roundtable discussion on making data open, smarter and more productive,” is open to all and lunch will be provided.  Please RSVP to Robin Champieux if  you plan on attending.

Later that day, Tripathy will also present a talk entitled “A genome-wide approach for identifying novel genes regulating neuronal electrophysiology” from 2 to 3 p.m. in Vollum M1441.  All are welcome.

The Open Insight lecture series is organized by the OHSU Library and students.  The project is funded by the National Library of Medicine, and aims to prompt discussion around open access, open data, and broader trends in scientific communication and collaboration.

TTBD Startup Spotlight: Gobiquity Mobile Health, Inc.

David Huang, Ph.D, M.D.

David Huang, Ph.D, M.D.

Of the 25 million children between the ages of six months and six years old, more than 15 percent show risk factors for amblyopia, the leading cause of visual impairment in children. In addition, only 20 percent of children receive proper vision screenings. Gobiquity Mobile Health, Inc., an OHSU startup company founded in 2010, specializes in prescribed mobile health diagnostics. Gobiquity is on a mission to end amblyopia through early screening and diagnosis. Its flagship technology, GoCheck Kids, is a smartphone application that provides specialty testing in primary care, turning a standard smartphone into an optical photo screening device.

Since the company’s creation, GoCheck Kids has screened more than 50,000 children. Using an integrated photo screener, a highly engaging approach to derive visual acuity measurements, and recommended screening protocols, physicians can detect amblyopia risk factors in children as young as six months old. By helping pediatricians detect amblyopia risk factors in patients at such a young age, children can receive treatment early when it is most effective.

The GoCheck Kids platform is unique from other technologies in this space due to its:

  • Multi-functional abilities, making it much more cost-effective compared to single-purpose “in office” photo screening instruments
  • Easy-to-use and time-saving operation for primary care (e.g. pediatricians) offices, which may eliminate the need for seeing a specialist
  • Mobile network that sends data directly to physicians, streamlining the early detection and diagnostic processes to ultimately improve patient care

David Huang, M.D., Ph.D., a leading ophthalmologist and co-inventor of the first Optical Coherence Tomogoraphy (OCT) imaging technology, is the inventor of GoCheck Kids and founder of Gobiquity Mobile Health. The GoCheck Kids technology was licensed from OHSU to Gobiquity in 2014.

Gobiquity hit several major milestones in 2015. In addition to an iPhone 6 compatible release of GoCheck Kids, the company also added a visual acuity test for children, which makes the technology more broadly useful to physicians. It plans to add connectivity to electronic health records to the next set of software releases. A round of Series A funding was successfully completed, and Gobiquity now has its sights set on closing Series B in 2016.

The current Gobiquity management team recognizes that mobile health is a fast moving space with several challenges. For digital health to be successful, it should be able to improve workflow efficiency and/or reduce costs. To make the business case, physicians have to be able to use Gobiquity apps on every patient encounter in order for it to be continually useful. As such, next steps for the company include expanding their pediatric vision platform, as well as adding early detection solutions for adults. Their end goal is to provide a comprehensive vision platform for both adults and children. The Gobiquity team hopes to be the “go to” company for mobile vision assessment.

Demolition of Vollum south side facade scheduled Jan. 18 – Feb. 29

Vollum south facade demolition scheduled flier 012916

Click image to download flier.

The demolition of the south facade of the Vollum Institute began Monday, Jan. 18, and will continue through Friday, Feb. 29. Work will take place during weekdays after 3:30 p.m. to minimize impacts.

The project will replace the aging terracotta facade of the Vollum, and includes:

  • Installation of covered scaffolding for access and protection from falling debris
  • Removal of all existing terracotta on the Vollum facade
  • Installation of a new weather barrier
  • Replacement of all windows on the courtyard side of the building

Safety and minimizing impacts to daily operations are the top priorities during this time.

Is your work impacted by planned or ongoing construction? Contact OHSU Project Manager Lee Weidman at or Turner Construction Superintendent Randal Lutes at

Five OHSU researchers among the most influential scientific minds of 2015

Thomson Reuters has named five OHSU researchers among their list of the world’s most influential scientific minds 0f 2015. The annual list comprises authors whose work has consistently wielded great influence in the form of citations from fellow scientists. This year’s list includes five OHSU researchers from three different disciplines:

Biology and Biochemistry

Eric Gouaux


Eric Gouaux, Ph.D.
Senior Scientist, Vollum Institute
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Jennifer and Bernard Lacroute Term Chair in Neuroscience Research



Clinical Medicine


Brian Druker, M.D.
Director, OHSU Knight Cancer Institute
JELD-WEN Chair of Leukemia Research
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute



Michael Heinrich


Michael Heinrich, M.D.
Professor of Medicine and Cell and Developmental Biology






Eric Fombonne, M.D.
Director, Autism Research Center, OHSU Brain Institute
Professor, Department of Psychiatry




Social Sciences
Joan Ash


Joan Ash, Ph.D.
Professor and Vice Chair, Department of Medical Informatics and Clinical Epidemiology




Susan Norris, M.D., M.P.H., formerly of OHSU and now with the World Health Organization, is also named.

The list was compiled by analyzing citation data over an 11-year period (2003-2013), and identifying those who published the greatest number of highly cited papers in that time frame. Highly cited papers rank in the top 1% of the citation distributions of comparable papers, matched for field and age.

Career Dev. Opportunity for Patient-Centered Outcomes Research K12 Scholars

Applications are currently being accepted for the third class of patient-centered outcomes/comparative effectiveness research (PCOR/CER) K12 scholars (beginning in August 2016). If you are a clinical, behavioral, health services, policy, public health, or applied junior faculty researcher interested in pursuing a research career in comparative effectiveness research applied to patient-centered outcomes, you may be eligible for this mentored K12 career development program.

The program provides 75% protected time for mentored research career development and includes training in patient-centered outcomes research, applied experience and training in research synthesis methods, as well as a significant mentored research experience. Scholars will receive salary support plus fringe benefits, and will be appointed as an OCTRI scholar.

See the Request for Proposal for details.

Please submit all application materials via OHSU’s Competitive Application Portal (CAP) by March 1, 2016.

If you have questions or would like more information, please contact Daniel Johnson or Jeanne-Marie Guise, M.D., M.P.H.

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