Vaccine & Gene Therapy Institute’s Jay Nelson awarded vaccine adjuvant discovery contract

Jay Nelson, director of the OHSU Vaccine & Gene Therapy Institute, has been awarded a $10 million contract from the National Institutes of Health for discovery work on new ways to improve vaccines. They were one of seven groups awarded such contracts. Vaccine adjuvants are compounds that bolster the innate immune response, essentially super-charging the vaccine. While adjuvants show great promise in improving vaccines and fighting disease, currently  just three are in use–scientists at VGTI and other institutions will begin to screen millions of molecules in search of more. Read the NIH press release here.

Orexigen featured in the Portland Business Journal

You may have read that a drug from an OHSU startup received FDA approval last month. In 2003, OHSU’s office of Technology Transfer & Business Development (TTBD) created a start-up company called Orexigen Therapeutics, Inc., with Michael Cowley, then a neuroscience researcher at the Oregon National Primate Research Center. Cowley’s work looks at the appetite-regulating pathways in the brain and how these pathways are affected by obesity. Orexigen Therapeutics became public in 2007, and now the drug based on this work, Contrave, is set to go live. Orexigen’s story was featured on the cover of the October 3rd edition of the Portland Business Journal, and you can read it HERE. (Update: we should let you know that the Business Journal article requires a subscription to read the entire article, though the link will give you a preview).

New Compass learning management system is now accepting class registrations

It’s October, and with the new month comes a new learning management system, Compass!

Compass replaces the TrainingForce online registration system across OHSU, and those of us used to searching for classes in the old system will be happy to see a more user-friendly interface. All class enrollment formerly accessed through TrainingForce can now be found in Compass. This includes research-related learning opportunities from RATE’s Essentials of Grant Administration to CRBO’s eCRIS training. Users can browse for educational topics, register for instructor-led classes, view assigned training, and eventually launch online courses.

Ready to sign up for a class? The process is simple:

  1. Open your browser and navigate to O2
  2. On the home screen, click the Compass option in your shortcut menu
  3. On the welcome screen, log in with your OHSU credentials by clicking the small “click here to log in” link located toward the top right of the screen, and NOT in the big obvious box.
  4. Type the name of the course or explore your options by using a keyword (e.g., “research”) in the search bar to the upper right.
  5. Select the desired session from the list of results
  6. Review session details and requirements
  7. To register, click “Request”.

You can search and browse for other courses by returning to the Compass home page and clicking the “browse” icon. You can then search classes by subject, date range, location, or even check out what courses are popular at OHSU. Please note that this system does not replace Big Brain–you will still go there for integrity-related classes and training.

Questions about Compass? Check out the Compass FAQ or contact the Compass support team at For questions about research-related training, contact Margaret Gardner.

Write Winning Grants: A seminar for clinician scientists, Nov. 14

John D Robertson

Presenter John D. Robertson, Ph.D.

Friday, November 14, 2014
8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Old Library Auditorium

The Oregon Clinical and Translational Research Institute (OCTRI) is sponsoring “Write Winning Grants: A Seminar for Clinician Scientists,” on November 14, 2014. This 8-hour seminar, taking place in the Old Library Auditorium, is geared toward clinicians and scientists who wish to improve their skills in obtaining research grant funds. The seminar will address both the conceptual and practical aspects of grant writing. The cost for the seminar is $80. Payment and registration is due by October 31, 2014. The seminar agenda and registration form are available through the following link:

Please contact Kimberly Poole with any questions.

NRSA Application Workshop, Oct. 20

If you’re planning to apply for a pre- or post-doctoral NRSA fellowship from the NIH in the near future, we encourage you to attend this workshop to learn about essential, non-research elements of your fellowship application. Topics covered include elements needed for an InfoEd proposal, how to develop a budget, how to manage reference letters, biosketches and PMCID numbers,and elements of a great training plan.

This workshop is lead by Johanna Colgrove, M.D./Ph.D., program coordinator; Jerry Robertson, grants and contracts administrator; and Rachel Dresbeck, Ph.D., director of research development.

NRSA Application Workshop
Monday, October 20, 2014
2:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the Vollum Institute, 4M

Open to both researchers and administrators. Please RSVP to

Reminder: Feedback requested about the Oregon Genetic Privacy Law

Are you a involved in genetic research? The Oregon Advisory Committee on Genetic Privacy and Research is soliciting stakeholder input to determine if the Oregon Genetic Privacy Laws are understood and that the goals of the Oregon legislature regarding genetic privacy are being accomplished. This group needs your help in identifying possible problems with laws that apply to use and retention of tissue samples or test results. You can provide feedback by taking this 10-15 minute survey.

If you would like to learn more, contact Kara Drolet in the Research Integrity Office.

Mentored career development program in women’s health, applications due Nov. 3

The Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health (BIRCWH) K12 program has announced a mentored career development opportunity for OHSU junior faculty members interested in interdisciplinary women’s health research. Potential clinically prepared applicants can propose projects across the full spectrum of research including basic science, clinical research, information technology, health services, patient-centered outcomes, policy, public health, behavioral and applied science. In addition to salary support (75% FTE up to $95,000), and travel and research funds of up to $25,000 per year, awardees will be appointed as OCTRI scholars, gaining access to a variety of core OCTRI services.

To be eligible, applicants must be U.S. citizens, non-citizen nationals or individuals lawfully admitted for permanent residence (by November 3, 2014) who hold a clinical or health professional doctoral degree or its equivalent and have no more than six years of research or research training experience beyond their last doctoral degree. The applicant must commit a minimum of 75% full-time professional effort to conducting women’s health research, have identified mentors with extensive research experience, and must NOT be a PI on an R01, R29, program project, center, or K award. The applicant’s department must agree to commit at least $10,000 per year in discretionary funds to the scholar, if appointed, which is matched by the institution with $15,000 per year toward the scholar’s research projects and training. This is an interdisciplinary research training program and as such scholars must have multiple mentors who represent different disciplines.

Applications due November 3, 2014.

Invention, innovation & commercialization: OCTRI Biomedical Innovation Program Funding Q&A session, Oct. 13

OCTRI will be holding an informational Q&A session for the Biomedical Innovation Program Award, hosted by Eric Orwoll, M.D., Monday, October 13, 2014. This session is strongly recommended for those thinking about applying before the November 14th deadline. Current RFA and full opportunity information can be found here.

Biomedical Innovation Program Award Q&A session
October 13, 2014 at 12pm
Mac Hall, rm 1162

Bench-to-beside device, diagnostic, and software development is the focus of OCTRI’s Biomedical Innovation Program. Formed in partnership with Technology Transfer & Business Development in 2012, the Biomedical Innovation Program has funded a total of nine projects, led by a diverse group of principal investigators, including clinicians, scientists, and bioengineers. Several of these projects have reached proof-of-concept as a result of this funding and are being actively marketed by Technology Transfer & Business Development for licensing agreements with biomedical corporations or have formed the basis for start-up companies.

Questions? Please contact Jonathan Jubera.

For more information about OCTRI Awards and the Biomedical Information Program please visit the OCTRI Funding Opportunities page.

Applications for Burroughs Wellcome Fund Preterm Birth Initiative due Dec. 1

The Burroughs Wellcome Fund Preterm Birth Initiative offers up to $600,000 over four years to both creative individual scientists and multi-investigator teams to approach the problem of preterm birth using creative basic and translation science methods. Molecular and computational approaches such as genetics/genomics, immunology, microbiology, evolutionary biology, mathematics, engineering, and other basic sciences hold enormous potential for new insights independently or in conjunction with more traditional areas of parturition research such as maternal fetal medicine, obstetrics, and pediatrics. The formation of new connections between reproductive scientists and investigators who are involved in other areas will give preterm birth research a fresh and unique look, and stimulate a new workforce to tackle this challenge.

Proposals must be submitted from degree-granting institutions in the U.S. or Canada. The PI must be a postdoctoral fellow in the final 1-2 years of postdoctoral training or hold a faculty appointment (assistant/associate/professor-level status) at a degree-granting institution in the U.S. or Canada. The PI must be a citizen or permanent resident of the U.S. or Canada. Proposals should address the biomedical causes and molecular mechanisms underlying (preterm) parturition including but not limited to peri-implantational events, placentation, fetal determinants, fetal-maternal immune responses, biological basis for racial-ethnic disparities, mechanisms relating preterm birth to other adverse pregnancy outcomes, biology of normal labor, genomics, evolutionary influences and other approaches. Proposals seeking to identify biomarkers predicting preterm birth are welcome. Postdoctoral fellows nearing their transition to independent investigator status through senior established investigators are encouraged to apply.

Applications due December 1, 2014.

Reminder: register for the 2014 TTBD Awards, Oct. 6

The office of Technology Transfer & Business Development invites the OHSU community to attend the 2014 TTBD Awards Ceremony. Awards will be presented to OHSU community members for their collaborations and efforts in licensing, sponsored research, patenting, and entrepreneurship. In addition, top honors will be awarded in the categories of New Inventor of the Year, Business Development Partnership, Technology Transfer Achievement, and TTBD Appreciation.

Monday, October 6, 2014
Collaborative Life Sciences Building, PSU Lecture Hall, First Floor
5:00-8:00 PM
Drinks and hor d’oeuvres will be served at the opening reception starting at 5 PM. Ceremony will begin promptly at 6 PM. 

Please join TTBD for this special event to support your colleagues and to learn more about innovation and entrepreneurship at OHSU. Register here to attend 2014 TTBD Awards ceremony.

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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