OHSU-led research team first in gibbon DNA sequencing

Lucia Carbone, PhD

Dr. Carbone

A team led by Oregon Health & Science University researcher Lucia Carbone, Ph.D., has sequenced and annotated the genome of the only ape whose DNA had yet to be sequenced — the gibbon, an endangered small ape that inhabits the tropical forests of Southeast Asia. Gibbons, together with the other apes — orangutans, gorillas, chimpanzees and bonobos — are the closest relatives to humans.

Like the DNA sequencing of other apes and non-human primates, the team’s work gives science new insight into the human genome. Unraveling primate genomes is vitally important as researchers try to understand the genetic factors in human health and disease. Their work also gives scientists new insight into the evolution of the gibbon genome and its extraordinary number of chromosomal rearrangements. These rearrangements are often problematic in other species, including causing cancer in humans.

The team’s work has been published in the September 11 edition of Nature.

Additional new faculty join OHSU School of Dentistry

The OHSU School of Dentistry welcomes a number of new faculty members this month. Dean Phillip Marucha, D.M.D., Ph.D., with the support of the provost’s office, is increasing the number of dental faculty, with the goal of having a six-to-one student-to-faculty ratio on the predoctoral clinic floor.

“Our faculty needs are very important right now,” said Dr. Marucha. “We want to take care of the full- and part-time faculty we have currently, by rewarding them for their hard work and ensuring they have the training and development they need, as well as bringing on new faculty to ensure excellent patient care and education.”

Please help us welcome the following individuals:

Amit Punj, D.M.D., B.D.S., has joined the faculty as an assistant professor of restorative dentistry. Dr. Punj recently received his certificate in prosthodontics from Montefiore Medical Center. Prior to advanced education, Dr. Punj was managing clinical director at Aspen Dental in Machesney Park, Illinois, and managing clinical director at Allcare Dental and Dentures in Rockford. Dr. Punj received his doctor of dental medicine from the Tufts University School of Medicine in 2005, and a bachelor of dental surgery from K.L.E. Society’s Institute of Dental Sciences in Karnataka, India.

Craig Robbins, D.M.D. `04, is an assistant professor of restorative dentistry, after having joined the school as an affiliate faculty member earlier in the year. Dr. Robbins owns Harmony  Family Dentistry in Vancouver. Prior to opening his private practice, Dr. Robbins was an associate at Grin & Bear It Family Dental Center, Dental Care Today, and Permanente Dental Associates. Dr. Robbins received his bachelor of science in urban planning from Brigham Young University, and was a history minor.

Ying Wu, D.D.S., M.S.D., Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the department of pathology and radiology. Dr. Wu was most recently an assistant professor of oral diagnosis and oral medicine in the department of general dentistry at Boston University Goldman School of Dental Medicine. She completed her doctor of dental surgery at Harbin Medical University in China, a master’s degree in periodontology from Capital University of Medical Sciences in Beijing, a doctoral degree in oral biology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a master’s degree in oral medicine from the University of Washington. Her research interest is orofacial pain.

Specimen Retrieval opportunity with Kaiser NW Biobank, meet with Kaiser Investigator deadline Oct. 23

The Oregon Clinical & Translational Research Institute (OCTRI) is now accepting proposals for Specimen Retrieval with the NW Biobank at Kaiser Permanente. With this announcement, we are inviting investigators to submit a proposal for specimen retrieval and use.

Meet with Kaiser Investigator deadline: October 23, 2014
Proposal deadline:
November 3, 2014
Eligibility: Principal investigators must fit OHSU eligibility requirements.

Grant applications often fail because investigators lack access to the needed biological samples or because the cost of acquiring samples is prohibitive. A researcher taking advantage of this opportunity could be in the position to submit a very compelling application. Similarly, researchers with existing programs of funded research could benefit significantly by augmenting their existing sample resources with a new collection.

Learn more about this and other OCTRI funding opportunities.
Learn more about the NW Biobank at Kaiser Permanente and associated data resources.

2014 Oregon Bioscience Conference, Sept. 15-17

The Oregon Bio 2014 Annual Conference highlights exciting trends and opportunities that are emerging in Oregon’s bioscience community. The overarching mission of the Oregon Bioscience Association is to promote the growth and quality of the bioscience industry in Oregon through community, collaboration and commercialization. The conference will be held at Marylhurst University; the keynote dinner will be at the Collaborative Life Sciences Building.

Conference schedule:

Day One explores Oregon’s best bioscience research and ideas for industry growth, highlighted by keynotes from Thomas Fogarty, M.D. and William Goldstein, Ph.D.

Day Two brings together stakeholders and keynotes who examine recent successes and explore future needs to cultivate a thriving bioscience industry.

Day Three, Biosensor Day, profiles exciting developments shaping the emerging biosensor market, strategies for analyzing biosensor data and efforts driving consumer adoption.

The Oregon Bio 2014 Keynote Dinner promises world class wine tasting, a spectacular setting and keynotes from Brian Druker, M.D. and Sean Robbins.


Project funding available for biomedical commercialization, LOIs due Nov. 12

The Oregon Clinical & Translational Research Institute (OCTRI) is now accepting letters of intent to apply for its Biomedical Innovation Program. The Program cultivates and selects promising translational projects that develop new biomedical devices, diagnostics, and software. Via commercialization from academia to the marketplace, the objective is to move innovative technologies to clinical application, and thus to make a meaningful impact on human health. All applicants are strongly encouraged to take advantage of the Biomedical Innovation Program Q&A discussion led by OCTRI Director, Eric Orwoll, being held October 13th, 2014, from 12pm to 1pm in Mac Hall 1162. Representatives from OCTRI, and Technology Transfer & Business Development will be on hand to answer questions about the program and application process.

Deadline: Letters of intent due November 12, 2014
Amount: Up to $40,000 over one year
Eligibility: Principal investigators must fit OHSU eligibility requirements.

Don’t miss the Biomedical Innovation Program Q&A discussion!
October 13th, 2014, from 12pm to 1pm in Mac Hall 1162.


Critical elements of successful proposals will be a well-developed idea or vision for the end product and a collaboration between clinicians, scientists, and bioengineers; that collaboration will make possible the identification of a significant clinical problem, an innovative idea for a device or diagnostic to address the problem, bioengineering approaches for device or diagnostic development, voice of consumer studies, and early clinical trials.

Learn more about this and other OCTRI funding opportunities.

Enhancing clinical research and subject recruitment: A Partnership Between OHSU and The Vancouver Clinic

The Vancouver Clinic logoOHSU’s Clinical and Translational Research Institute (OCTRI) and The Vancouver Clinic have an established collaboration to improve the success of clinical studies.

The partnership between OHSU and The Vancouver Clinic can provide several advantages for investigators, including:

  1. A large population for expanded recruitment for clinical studies, and expert clinician collaborators.
  2. A large primary and specialty care system for health systems research.
  3. Single, OHSU IRB review for OHSU investigators.

Experience gained by the collaboration has streamlined methods for estimating numbers of eligible patients for clinical studies (via EPIC), developed easier access to project development and costing, and established effective recruitment strategies. For more information on the ways this collaboration can benefit your research and to learn about the process of initiating a potential collaborative project, please contact the OHSU Clinical Research Navigator (Kitt Swartz) at 503-346-3540.


Louis Picker Lab awarded $25 million gift from Gates Foundation

Louis Picker, M.D., and his team have been awarded a $25 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that will spur their work on a vaccine candidate against HIV.  This work is based on previous findings that this candidate, which uses cytomegalovirus as a vector, can boost effector memory T cells to successfully target simian immunodeficiency virus. This new award will test the safety of a prototype human version of the vaccine in a phase I clinical trial in humans, as well as optimize the vaccine for phase II trials. Read the OHSU media release here, and here’s the Oregonian story.

Applications for American Cancer Society Research Scholar Grants due Oct. 15

Research Scholar Grants are intended to provide support for investigator-initiated projects across the cancer research continuum. These grants provide up to $165,000 per year for up to four years and typically cover the costs of salaries, consumable supplies, and other miscellaneous items required to conduct the proposed research. This funding mechanism supports basic, preclinical, clinical, epidemiological, psychosocial, behavioral research, and research in palliative care and symptom management.

Independent investigators within the first six years of an independent career, within a total of 12 years from the awarding of their terminal degree, and with no more than one R01-type grant are eligible to apply.

Applications are due October 15, 2014

Take a look at other current funding opportunities.

OHSU Researchers at the 2014 Military Health Systems Research Symposium

Eleven OHSU scientists presented to enthusiastic colleagues at the 2014 Military Health System Research Symposium (MHSRS) Aug. 18-21 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. This unique scientific conference, known for its interdisciplinary subject matter and networking opportunities, is the Department of Defense’s major research meeting to address the medical needs of warfighters. Scientists from academia, industry, and three branches of the military, as well as military clinicians, program heads, and other officials, gather to discuss the latest findings in “military-unique”  research. Topics range widely, including research that addresses the direct results of combat, such as traumatic brain injury diagnosis, hemorrhage control, wound treatment, and rehabilitation, to new developments in regenerative medicine and vaccines to occupational health concerns such as fitness, sleep, and balance. All the research at this conference, however, strives to improve the health and well-being of those in military service.

In 2013,  senior vice president for research Dan Dorsa initiated a program to defray the travel costs for OHSU researchers whose projects are accepted for poster or podium presentations. It’s an opportunity for OHSU faculty to network with scientists from across the world with the eventual goal of fostering productive long-term collaborations and relationships. Last year’s attendees have gone on to form new research collaborations, become peer reviewers for DoD programs, and apply for new funding. This year, presenters included Martin Schreiber, M.D., division chief of Trauma, Critical Care & Acute Surgery in the School of Medicine Department of Surgery; a new faculty member from that division, David Zonies, M.D., associate professor;  and two residents from the same division, Nicole Gordon, M.D., and Alexis Moren, M.D.; Kenton Gregory, M.D., director of the OHSU Center for Regenerative Medicine, and Cynthia Gregory, Ph.D., senior scientist at the OHSU Center for Regenerative Medicine and research scientist at the Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center; Matthew Butler, Ph.D., assistant scientist, Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences; Laurie King, Ph.D., assistant professor in the School of Medicine Department of Neurology; Paul Cordo, Ph.D., professor, School of Medicine Department of Bioengineering; Kerry Kuehl, M.D., Dr.P.H., professor of medicine and co-director of the Human Performance Laboratory in the School of Medicine Division of Health Promotion & Sports Medicine; and Kathleen Carlson, Ph.D., assistant professor in Public Health and Preventive Medicine and core investigator, PVAMC.

Interested in attending next year? OHSU’s Research Funding and Development Services will be sponsoring a workshop later this academic year to talk about DoD funding in general and this conference in particular.

Anonymous Knight Challenge donor revealed?

We report, you decide.


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