Construction update: Vibration, noise testing at Vollum and Richard Jones Hall, Sept. 11-13

As you may be aware, OHSU currently has two significant projects under way on the research side of campus. The first is focused on updating the Old Library and the second is to replace the exterior terra cotta skin of the Vollum Institute. Both projects have work that needs to be completed in the near future and the nature of the work will create noise and vibration disruptions to the buildings as well as adjacent spaces. Some work and vibration and noise testing related to these projects will take place Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, Sept. 11, 12, and 13.

The work on the Old Library includes a new primary power service that originates under RJH. The service will be routed from the power vault on the second floor of RJH (adjacent to the tunnel) and will travel through the tunnel under the Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences (formerly CROET) and out to a junction vault at the top of the hill behind the Old Library. The conduit must be mounted to the underside of the concrete structure, and the attachment method requires that a series of holes be roto-hammered into the structure. This will create significant noise and vibration through both RJH and CROET.

The work for the Vollum Institute is related to removing the exterior skin from the building next summer. The attachments holding the terra cotta exterior in place are failing, resulting in the entire façade on the courtyard side having to be removed and replaced. In order to determine the noise and vibration levels, as well as the best removal method, a series of tools tests will take place on the lower front façade of the building. This work will include the use of hammers, drills, and electric-powered chippers. The stone is attached with steel fasteners as well as mortar which is adhered to the concrete structure of the building. The work will be very loud and the vibration will be significant. We will monitor the results with sensors and direct feedback.

Please keep in mind that this initial work is to prepare for the full removal of the face, which begins next spring. The dates have not been set for that phase of work, but we will be working very closely with everyone to plan for that event.

This work is tentative pending OHSU’s Research community feedback. Please provide your feedback to Lee Weidman as soon as possible if you think the work  scheduled for Sept. 11 through 13, might disrupt your work to any capacity. If we do not hear your concerns, we will be instructing our contractor to proceed with the work as outlined below.

Friday, Sept. 11
10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Vollum Institute
Test demolition and boring on the facade: A limited effort aimed at collecting data and feedback on the various tools and techniques that could be employed on removing and reinstalling the exterior skin.

Saturday, Sept. 12 and Sunday, Sept. 13
7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Vollum Institute

Removal of the remaining section of exterior siding on the lower left hand façade

Saturday Sept. 19
7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Richard Jones Hall/CROET
A contractor will be using a roto-hammer to install anchors for an electrical line. This work will reverberate throughout the building and will be disruptive to people and animal populations.


Your patience, understanding, and partnership during construction is greatly appreciated.

Fall Vollum writing class starts Sept. 30

The Vollum Writing Class is a six-week professional science writing course open to OHSU graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty.

This class uses short lectures, class discussion, and workshop-style writing assignments to help researchers learn to write better papers and grants. Topics include:

  • The basic elements of good scientific writing style, including sentence and document structure
  • Insight into scientific conventions regarding grammar, punctuation, and usage
  • Strategies for revising
  • Dealing with writer’s block and time management
  • Best practices for writing introductions, results, discussions, and grant proposals

The class runs for six weeks, Wednesdays, 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., beginning Sept. 30, 2015. Six individual tutorials with the instructor are included. There are no prerequisites for this non-credit professional development course, but you should not take the class unless you have enough data to write about.

The course carries a fee of $500 per student (unless you are in a Vollum lab or part of certain graduate Ph.D. programs). Questions? Contact

Access Compass to register for the Vollum Writing Class.

OHSU Research Safety Fair, Oct. 9

Environmental Health and Radiation Safety is hosting its annual Research Safety Fair. Please join us in this exciting event dedicated to enhance safety culture at OHSU.

Research Safety Fair
Friday, Oct. 9, 2015
10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Richard Jones Hall Atrium and lecture halls 4340 and 4320

Food and drinks will be available. Don’t forget to stop by Portland Fire & Rescue’s hazmat truck located outside of RJH.


10 a.m.:  Fire extinguisher training, RJH 4340

11 a.m.: Hazardous waste, RJH 4340

12 p.m.: Biological safety cabinets, fume hoods, clean benches – What’s the difference? RJH 4340

1 p.m.: Export control, RJH 4340

1 p.m.: What to expect from a laboratory safety audit, RJH 4320

1:30 p.m.: Dangerous goods shipping, RJH 4340

Vendors and booths
Total Worker Health
AED Overview
American Red Cross
Fisher Scientific and Fisher Friday
Laboratory Ergonomics
Risk Management
Harris Work Systems
Air Gas
Export Control Regulations
Transportation Safety
Incident Command



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

The Office of the Senior Vice President for Research seeks 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 Oct. 15, 2015. Full applications are due Oct. 30, 2015.

View more information, including the application packet and previous recipients.

New online resource available – Metabolomics in Medicine


A new website is available offering free online instruction for clinicians and researchers studying the rapidly developing field of metabolomics which is concerned with the comprehensive characterization of the small molecule metabolites in biological systems. Metabolomics in Medicine was designed to develop a core curriculum in metabolomics with materials that teach the scientific foundations for understanding current technologies, analytical strategies, and practical applications. The many course offerings cover topics such as:

  • Metabolomic profiling in clinical research
  • Sample collection
  • Selection of metabolomic platforms
  • Quality control
  • Making sense of the metabolomics data
  • Integration of genetic data
  • Databases and other online resources

Learn more and register for an online course here.

HHS proposes update to governance around research study participants

Big changes are coming the Common Rule – the set of regulations that govern how research participants are protected. The changes proposed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services include:

  • Strengthened informed consent provisions to ensure that individuals have a clearer understanding of the study’s scope, including its risks and benefits, as well as alternatives to participating in the study.
  • Requirements for administrative or IRB review that would align better with the risks of the proposed research, thus increasing efficiency.
  • New data security and information protection standards that would reduce the potential for violations of privacy and confidentiality.
  • Requirements for written consent for use of an individual’s biological samples, for example, blood or urine, for research with the option to consent to their future use for unspecified studies.
  • Requirement, in most cases, to use a single institutional review board for multisite research studies.
  • The proposed rule would apply to all clinical trials, regardless of funding source, if they are conducted in a U.S. institution that receives funding for research involving human participants from a Common Rule agency.

The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) issued this week reflects that input and requests comments for HHS to consider as it drafts the final rule. To view the NPRM, click here. HHS will take public comment on this NPRM for 90 days, beginning Sept. 8.

This news release provides additional background.

Eric Gouaux to Receive 2016 Anatrace Membrane Protein Award from the Biophysical Society

Er422_2ic Gouaux, Ph.D., senior scientist at the Vollum Institute and Howard Hughes Medical Investigator, will receive the 2016 Anatrace Membrane Protein Award from the Biophysical Society. The award recognizes outstanding investigators who make a significant contribution to the field of membrane protein research. Gouaux was selected for his work on the atomic structure of neurotransmitter transporters and ion channels that has revolutionized our understanding of the molecules underlying synaptic transmission in the brain.

Gouaux will accept this award at the society’s annual meeting in Los Angeles this March.

Clinical scientists: Free workshop on PCORI’s pragmatic clinical studies initiative

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) is hosting a free one-day workshop on understanding their pragmatic clinical studies initiative. The main speaker will be Dr. David Hickam, program director of the Clinical Effectiveness Research program at PCORI and former OHSU professor.

This workshop is specifically designed for experienced clinical investigators and will address:

  • PCORI’s funding opportunities, letters of intent and application requirements.
  • PCORI’s priority clinical areas and targeted research topics.
  • Problems and questions that may arise in the early stages of conducting a large pragmatic clinical study.
  • Challenges in conducting clinical trials.
  • Insights into ways to overcome the common pitfalls associated with clinical trials.
  • Approaches to mapping out the recruitment process.
  • PCORI’s model of stakeholder engagement and team science.
  • Case studies that highlight effective models for developing clinical studies.

Reception Dinner
Sunday, Sept. 20, 2015
6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Monday, Sept. 21, 2015
9 a.m. to 5 p.m

Embassy Suites Portland – Airport
7900 NE 82nd Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97220
Register here.

For questions, email

Research Courtyard: Construction testing on Vollum and RJH, Sept. 4-6

vollum_instituteUPDATE 9/2/15 at 11 a.m.: The testing scheduled for Sept. 4-6 has been postponed. More details to come.

OHSU has embarked on large renovation project on the Vollum Institute—and part of this renovation includes replacing the façade, which is damaged in places and thus represents a potential hazard. With construction to remove the façade of the building expected to begin next May, crews will be performing a series of tests this weekend to determine sound and vibration impacts of the project. Beginning at 10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 4, and continuing through Sunday, Sept. 6, crews will remove tile and a window from the lower left front of the building, removing brick on the east side of the first and third floors, and doing some minor test drilling on other parts of the façade. This exploratory work is necessary to determine what will be involved in the complete removal of the building’s aging terra cotta tile exterior. Note: Occupants in the Vollum and adjacent buildings should expect to experience a fair amount of noise. There is unlikely to be any vibration that would disrupt imaging or electrophysiology work.

At the same time, a new high-voltage conduit for the Old Library service will be installed. Crews will be running electrical conduits under CROET through the tunnel into the electrical vault beneath Richard Jones Hall. This work will be done Friday and Saturday morning from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. and will involve rotohammering anchors into the underside of the concrete building structure. The noise will transmit throughout both RJH and CROET. It will be most intense on the lower floors, but noticeable on all.

The Vollum and surrounding buildings are no strangers to construction noise and related disruptions. The research courtyard has been the site of several large-scale projects in the past year, including completing the North Campus Utility Plant behind RJH and Vollum. Currently, the courtyard is Ground Zero for the construction of the Center for Radiochemistry Research, which will be located between the Medical Research Building and Mackenzie Hall.

Building occupants are asked to provide feedback to the team conducting this test. How were you impacted? What was the level of disruption, if any? What specific areas were affected? What are your biggest concerns? Feedback and questions should be directed to Lee Weidman at Individual outreach is also planned to collect further data on the potential impacts.

Who’s new at OHSU? Mitchell Sally, M.D.

Mitchell Sally, M.D. is an assistant professor of surgery, Division of Trauma, Critical Care, and Acute Care Surgery at OHSU. He is also assigned to the section of surgical critical care, and is the GME site director, Surgical ICU with the VA Portland Health Care System. His research focus is identifying factors that contribute to organ donation success.

Where were you before coming to OHSU and what brought you here?

I grew up in Chapel Hill, N.C., and attended the University of Pennsylvania for undergraduate studies, majoring in English. I’d always had an interest in medicine; I minored in biology and chemistry at Penn. After graduating, I decided to switch gears by taking more classes and spending a year in a lab doing gene therapy research. I went to medical school at the University of North Carolina and then came to OHSU for my residency, working with Markus Grompe, M.D., for a couple of years during training. After completing residency, I wosallyrked as a general surgeon at Kaiser in Portland but decided that wasn’t what I wanted to do, ultimately. There was little time for research, and I missed the academic environment. I returned to OHSU for a trauma and critical care fellowship. Now my job is just fantastic because I get to do a little bit of everything. I feel very lucky.

What areas of research are you involved in?

I’ve always been drawn to the field of transplant surgery and associated immunology. When I first started training, I was interested in becoming a transplant surgeon. But along the way, I discovered critical care and really enjoyed being able to care for patients in that setting. Fortunately, one of the surgeons at the Portland VA, Darren Malinoski, M.D., had a tremendous background in research on potential organ donors, looking at the critical care of these patients and the immunologic process behind the determination of “death by neurologic criteria,” commonly referred to as “brain death.” I was able to stay connected to the field by getting involved with his research. I first worked with Darren during my fellowship, and was able to expand on some of the work that he had initiated, using a robust database looking at critical care values as they relate to organ outcomes. Darren and his collaborators had developed a system of donor management goals – critical care endpoints to potentially maximize the number and quality of organs from each donor. Early studies showed that if you targeted these basic normal physiologic variables in the donor, outcomes were much better in terms of the number of organs donated, as well as the success of the organs after they’re transplanted.

To illustrate, a study that I completed was to determine the optimal threshold for glucose control in organ donors after neurologic determination of death. Before the study, a standard baseline of 150 mg/dL was considered optimal, but was inconsistent with critical care guidelines. So we looked at what would happen if we raised levels. It turns out we have better outcomes when donors have slightly higher glucose levels, which was consistent with current standards of care in the ICU. These types of projects bring together my interests and experience as both a critical care physician and someone who is interested in organ donation research.

The evolution of the overall project began by looking at how meeting critical care endpoints results in more organs transplanted per donor. A database of roughly 70 to 80 values at different time points in a donor’s course was established, examining many critical care parameters and interventions. We were able to analyze the number of organs procured and the transplantation success. This database is constantly evolving, and to-date, has focused mainly on organ usage. What we’ve done in the last year or so is taken those data and combined them with data from the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients (SRTR), which provides information on organ recipient outcomes. This gives us a more complete picture. We can now look at certain donor characteristics, how those impact the number of organs transplanted, and, of those transplanted, how many showed long-term success in recipients. We can then make associations and create different models as to what really does affect organ utilization and organ outcomes. It’s an evolving process that started maybe six or seven years ago, and we’ve made a lot of progress. But there’s still much to do.

So the main project is ongoing and started by piecing together the big picture, and we’re now focusing on individual organs and trying to figure out what will predict successful grafts with each. One of these focused studies I’m working on right now is examining the factors that predict pancreatic graft success, which may be completely different than what makes for a successful cardiac or liver graft, based on management in the donor.

What avenues of research do you plan to explore next?

All of my research has been very clinically based so far, but my interest lies in going to the bench and examining more closely what happens during the process of “death by neurologic criteria.” We know a tremendous inflammatory reaction occurs, but we don’t fully understand what’s happening on a molecular or cellular level. So the first step is to learn more about the process, and then look at whether there’s some way to manipulate it to improve outcomes. For instance, living donor kidneys do much better than deceased donor kidneys when transplanted, so there are clearly processes at work that we have yet to fully appreciate. I’m interested in looking at epigenetic and genomic regulation around the time of “death by neurologic criteria” – what happens during and after, and is that a modifiable process?

I’m also involved in a smaller study examining coagulation in donor patients. Most appear to be hypercoaguable, and there is evidence of graft failure due to thrombosis (clotting), possibly as a result of this hypercoaguable state. My question centers on there being a way to anti-coagulate donors, which we currently don’t do, to improve success.

On a practical level, my goal is to help people waiting for organs, and make the possibility of transplantation more likely to be successful. There is a huge organ shortage in the United States with the number of people needing organs climbing, but the number of organs being donated staying the same. I want to help bridge that ever-widening gap and potentially, help narrow it.

What do you do when you’re not at work?

Spend time with my wife and daughters, four and six years old, doing normal, Northwest parent things. What could be better?

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