Potential Mentor Research Projects

Below is a list of some potential research projects submitted by scientists from the Pacific Northwest who are willing to serve as mentors in the Partners in Science Program.

If you see a project of interest at an institution in your area, (and you are qualified to participate in this program – see Partners in Science Guidelines at www.sciencepartners.org) please contact the researcher to discuss a potential partnership. If you are interested in the program but don’t see a project that would match your interest, please call or email a Research Institution Contact at an institution in your area (see Research Institution Contacts at website above) to request help in finding a scientist who is doing research more closely matching your interest.  If you have any questions, please contact Jill Tatum at the Trust office in Vancouver, Washington 360.694.8415 or jillt@murdock-trust.org.

This list of potential projects will be updated periodically.  Mentorships are listed by states, in alphabetical order: Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington.



Name: Jerzy Maselko, Chemistry Department
Email address: jmaselko2@uaa.alaska.edu
Phone: 907-786-4697

Professor Maselko is conducting research on the Chemical Garden funded by the NSF. He has discovered new complex structures and behaviors that put them between the nonliving and living matter and are related to the origin of life. He and his group have already published 12 papers in high quality journals. These research are perfect for high students to teach them about complex chemical structures, properties and chemical evolution and attract them to science.


Name: Jonathan Stecyk, Department of Biological Sciences
Email address: jstecyk@uaa.alaska.edu
Website: http://www.uaa.alaska.edu/biology/facultyandstaff/stecyk.cfm

Professor Stecyk is a comparative physiologist whose primary area of research is discerning physiological mechanisms that enable the hearts of some animals to function for hours to weeks without oxygen. His main study species are the freshwater turtle, goldfish and Alaska blackfish. Professor Stecyk’s lab has the capacity to conduct research from the level of the whole animal (i.e., measure cardiovascular function in live animals), tissue (i.e., isolated hear preparations), cell (i.e., electrophysiology/patch-clamping), and gene (i.e. measuring gene expression).


Name: Liliya Vugmeyster, Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry
Email address: lvugmeyster@uaa.alaska.edu

Professor Vugmeyster’s interdisciplinary research investigates flexibility (dynamics) of protein molecules, which is believed to be important for their ability to perform various biological functions. Her research employs tools from chemistry, physics, biology, math, and computer science. In particular, students in her group learn aspects of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, computational modeling, and protein folding.



Name: Rachel Shively
Email address: rdshively@alaska.edu
Phone: 907-474-5031

Rachel has already started working with the Lower Yukon School District on the citizen science component of the project. She has also made some contacts in the Fairbanks School District and should be able to host someone locally. Little Brown bats are found in the lower 48 but are new to Alaska. We want to know the distribution of these bats in interior Alaska. The Yukon drainage is a natural corridor with several communities that can provide information by reporting sightings and by setting up roost boxes for bats. Bats are small animals that are vulnerable to the low temperatures in Alaska. We want to know how long these animals can stay active in Alaska and if they are using winter roosts in the State. Rachel will be locating roosts and monitoring temperatures and diets through summer. The project includes presentations to communities and schools, field work to capture bats and lab work to analyze diets.


Name: Anupma Prakash, Professor, Remote Sensing Geology and Geophysics
Email: prakash@gi.alaska.edu
Phone: 1-907-4741897
Web: http://www.gi.alaska.edu/~prakash

Professor Prakash’s research interest is in using data collected from satellites, aircrafts, and in the field to study the Earth. In terms of High School Science curricula this best fits under their teaching efforts in geography, environmental science, mapping, spatial orientation (geometry) and scientific methods.  Examples of some of the past activities that tie the research to high school education (teachers and students) can be seen athttp://www2.gi.alaska.edu/~prakash/outreach/index.html


Name:  Elisabeth Nadin, Assistant Professor, Geology
Email: enadin@alaska.edu
Phone:  907-474-5181

I am interested in how rocks deform in the middle and lower parts of Earth’s crust. Most of my focus is on the natural environment, so I study the roots of fault zones that are now exposed at the surface, through erosion or uplift. I sample the rocks in the field–here in AK I am looking into the deep levels of the Talkeetna Arc–and then bring them back to the lab to study. I use microscopes to examine the deformed minerals, and the microprobe to study chemical compositions.


Name: Uma Bhatt
Email: usbhatt@alaska.edu
Phone: 907-474-2662

Climate Variability in Alaska:  We as humans are most interested in what our climate will be this season and possibly the next season. To improve our forecasts for seasonal and shorter time-scale prediction, we must understand the key processes that cause our climate. This involves analyzing long term observations of sea ice, sea level pressure, ocean temperatures, and other variables. From the analysis of the observations, one develops a possible mechanism, which is then tested by additional observational data analysis and modeling. 


Name:  Lawrence K. Duffy, Ph.D., Professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry, University of Alaska Fairbanks
Email: lkduffy@alaska.edu
Phone: 907-474-7525

Dr. Lawrence Duffy is current working on the question of how the central nervous system protects itself from these contaminants, especially considering the extreme environment of the Arctic.  His group has observed a significant variation in melatonin levels in Alaskans and has demonstrated that melatonin can reduce free radical damage which has major implications for the prevention and treatment of stroke.  Current research projects also include developing a dog model as a sentinel species for the arctic and a mouse model to determine the effects of mercury and arsenic on neurogenesis.



Department of Biological Sciences

Name: Jennifer S. Forbey
Email: jenniferforbey@boisestate.edu
Phone:  208-426-4426
Web: http://biology.boisestate.edu/faculty-and-staff/faculty/jennifer-forbey/

I am interested in understanding the behavioral and physiological consequences of exposure to plant secondary metabolites (i.e. toxins) and the mechanisms that herbivores employ to mitigate the negative effects of exposure to plant toxins.  I evaluate the evolutionary diversity of plant secondary metabolites (PSMs) and the evolutionary diversity of receptor targets and mechanisms of absorption, distribution, metabolism, excretion and toxicity (ADMET) of PSMs in animals. I also integrate the fields of ecology (both physiological and chemical) and pharmacology (science of drugs, including their composition, uses, and effects) to discover the biological activity of natural product for human health.


Name: Cheryl L. Jorcyk
Email: cjorcyk@boisestate.edu
Phone: 208-426-4287
Web: http://biology.boisestate.edu/faculty-and-staff/faculty/cheryl-jorcyk/

Our laboratory studies the role of the inflammatory factor oncostatin M (OSM) in breast tumor progression and metastasis.  We perform both in vitro and in vivo studies using genetically modified human and mouse mammary breast cancer cell lines to determine important OSM-regulated signal transduction pathways.  A long-term goal of ours is to develop a novel breast cancer therapeutic to block OSM signaling, reduce breast cancer metastases, and improve patient lives.


Name: Julie Oxford
Email: joxford@boisestate.edu
Phone: 208 426-2395
Web: http://biology.boisestate.edu

Our laboratory studies the role of extracellular matrix in normal development and in the onset and progression of disease.  Some diseases that we are studying are osteoarthritis, hearing loss, vision problems, and cancer.  We are also interested in cell and tissue engineering approaches to treat or prevent these diseases.


Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Name: Danny Xu
Email: dxu@boisestate.edu
Phone: 208-426-1031
Web: http://www.dxulab.com

In the Xu research lab, we pursue a broad range of cutting-edge and interdisciplinary computational research projects at the interface of chemistry, biology, physics and pharmacology. We are particularly interested in driving translational research and advancing novel methods in the emerging areas such as molecular targeted therapeutics and renewable energy through close collaboration with experimentalists. Powered by massive petaflops and GPU computing technologies, large-scale computer simulation is at the forefront of chemical and biomedical discovery.


Name: Rajesh Nagarajan, Assistant Professor of Chemistry
Email: rajnagarajan@boisestate.edu
Phone: 208-426-1423
Web: http://chemistry.boisestate.edu/nagarajan/

Interbacterial communication via quorum sensing, facilitated by small molecules called autoinducers, aid bacteria to become pathogenic that result in enhanced plasmid-mediated antibiotic resistance, biofilm formation and toxin production. Small molecules inhibitors for AHL synthase enzymes hold significant promise as antimicrobials in treating multidrug resistant bacterial infections. Projects in Dr. Nagarajan’s laboratory are focused at discovering AHL synthase inhibitors using the tools of organic chemistry, biochemistry and mechanistic enzymology.


Department of Physics

Name: Byung Kim
Email: byungkim@boisestate.edu
Phone: 208-426-3659
Web: http://www.boisestate.edu/physics/kim

Professor Kim’s research focuses on the molecular-scale investigation of biomolecular systems such as proteins, DNAs, cells, and bacteria using the SPM techniques.  Recently his research group has made an important breakthrough in this research area, by developing a novel SPM technique called cantilever-based optical interfacial force microscope (COIFM) (Appl. Phys. Lett.  92, 103124 (2008), Rev. Sci. Instrum. 82, 053711 (2011), Appl. Phys. Lett. 99, 201902 (2011)). With support from the National Science Foundation, we are currently probing metastable states in bio-molecular interactions — difficult ones to be observed because of their relatively short lifespan and their non-equilibrium nature in a solution phase — using the novel COIFM to understand their role in biological functions.


Name: Dmitri A. Tenne
Email: dmitritenne@boisestate.edu
Phone: 208-426-1633
Web: http://www.boisestate.edu/physics/tenne/

Research area: multifunctional oxide and semiconductor materials and nanostructures for electronic and optoelectronic applications.  Metal oxides are a vast class of materials that have a wide variety of properties. They can be dielectrics, semiconductors, superconductors; possess piezoelectricity, ferroelectricity, ferromagnetism, nonlinear-optical and electro-optical properties, colossal magnetoresistance, etc. This opens huge opportunities for novel device applications of these materials. Artificially engineered nanostructures, e.g. strained ultrathin films and superlattices made of oxide materials, open new ways to manipulate their properties. I apply optical spectroscopic techniques (Raman, photoluminescence) to study the fundamental physical properties of these materials.


Department of Computer Sciences

Name: Alark Joshi
Email: alarkjoshi@boisestate.edu
Phone: 208-426-5734
Web: http://cs.boisestate.edu/~alark

Scientists worldwide are drowning in the massive amounts of data being measured and collected. Interactive exploration of data as well as statistical analysis of data can significantly improve the understanding of the underlying science.  In my research group, we develop novel data visualization techniques that can help with making sense of large datasets and gaining insight into the data. Some of the ongoing projects are focused around improved navigation for neurosurgeons in the operating room, visualizing complex animal colonies for seamless colony maintenance, automated visualization of driving directions based on a user’s cognitive abilities at various speeds and so on.



Department of Chemistry

Name: Patrick Hrdlicka
Email: hrdlicka@uidaho.edu
Phone: 208-885-0108
Webpage: http://www.webpages.uidaho.edu/~hrdlicka/index.htm
I am interested in the development and characterization of chemically functionalized oligonucleotides and nanomaterials, and their applications in life sciences, medicine, and materials science. Specifically we aim to develop: i) novel methodologies for site-specific and sequence-unrestricted targeting of double-stranded DNA; ii) RNA-targeting oligonucleotides with improvised hybridization and pharmacokinetic properties; iii) probes for detection of nucleic acid targets including those with single nucleotide polymorphisms; and iv) nanomaterial-based sensors for detection of biological and chemical threat agents. 



Name: Dr. John G. Rowley
Email: jrowley@carroll.edu
Phone: 406-447-4467
Web: http://www.carroll.edu/jrowley

In our research group we interrogate, develop, and advance the understanding of the fundamental chemical mechanisms behind the harvesting of renewable solar energy. Currently we are focused on the discovery of materials with previously unknown photoelectrolsis properties and the development of new mechanism for visible light initiated carbon-carbon bond formation. Our goal is to discover new materials that absorb sunlight and use that energy to form solar fuels.


Name: Dr. Mary E. Burrows
Email: mburrows@montana.edu
Phone: 406-994-7766
Cell: 406-599-9966
Web: http://www.gpdn.org

Our pulse crop acres (peas, lentils, chickpeas) have expanded in Montana to cover approximately 500,000 acres. The value of this crop ($1.1 billion) is almost as much as our 5.4 million acres of wheat ($1.4 billion). It has been challenging to serve those new pulse crop producers with basic pest management information. One of the most important pests I see on the horizon is Ascochyta blight. In the 2012 cropping year, seed tests indicate 79% of lentil seed lots, 40% of pea seed lots, and 80% of chickpea seed lots had at least one seed in 500 that had the pathogen. This means there’s a lot of fields in Montana that have the potential to have the disease if the weather is favorable in 2012. We only have one recommended fungicide right now for reducing the seed transmission rate of Ascochyta blight – LSP/Mertect. It would be really useful if we could get a teacher to help us test some of the seed treatments in the lab (blotter tests) and in the field to see if seed treatment fungicides reduce ascochyta blight in the crop. We could also get them involved in foliar fungicide trials and disease assessment. This would be useful both to Montana and other pulse-producing states including Washington and North Dakota. We’ve got some preliminary studies in the field this summer, so we’ll have a lot of the methods worked out next year. The teacher, if they were interested, could also get trained in diagnostics (identification of pests), invasive species monitoring and detection, or extension.


Name: Robert K. Szilagyi, Ph.D.
Email: Szilagyi@Montana.edu
Phone: 406-994-4263
Web: http://computational.chemistry.montana.edu

Structural molecular chemistry is one of the most spectacular areas of the chemical sciences in which experimental techniques and theoretical methodologies reveal atomic level information about the positions of the nuclei and the electrons. These correspond to the highly sought geometric and electronic structural information, respectively that are critical in understanding, optimizing, and predicting chemical properties, reactivity, and stability.  We offer a unique opportunity for gaining experience in modern synchrotron-radiation enabled X-ray spectroscopic technique (may include a field trip to national synchrotron facility) and combined molecular modeling with electronic structure calculations. The participant will acquire enough knowledge in computational chemistry and molecular modeling that would be adequate for creating and teaching of an AP level chemistry class, which could aid students to even better prepare for a successful college career in chemistry.


Name: Tracy Dougher, Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology
Email: tracyaod@montana.edu
Phone: 406-994-6772
Web: http://plantsciences.montana.edu/facultyorstaff/faculty/dougher/dougher.html

My research attempts to gain an understanding of the breadth and limitations of the growth of Montana native plants, particularly 1) native grasses under turfgrass applications and 2) native perennial plants for both commercial production and survival in the built landscape.


Name: Elinor deLancey Pulcini, Ph.D., Research Manager, Medical Biofilm Laboratory
Email: Elinor_p@biofilm.montana.edu
Project Title: Effects of Serum Proteins on Initial Adhesion and Biofilm Formation in Bacterial Clinical Isolates.

In vitro testing is a crucial first step in the FDA approval process for a medical device, which can also include in vivo testing and clinical trials. While no in vitro test can ever completely replicate conditions of use for that device (i.e. host immune system, blood, chemicals applied during use, etc.), it is important that the device be tested under stringent laboratory conditions which mimic aspects of use (i.e. temperature, fluid use and flow rate, relevant bacterial species, etc.). The goal of this project will be to examine the effects of serum proteins on bacterial adhesion in both Gram positive and Gram negative bacteria on different surfaces including silicon, polycarbonate, hydroxyapatite and antimicrobial coated materials.  This work will be performed in the Medical Biofilms Laboratory at the Center for Biofilm Engineering, a world leader in fundamental research, science and engineering education, industrially relevant technology and the synthesis of biofilm-related information.


Name: Bob Sharrock, Department of Plant Sciences
Email: sharrock@montana.edu
Phone: 406-994-2472
Web: http://plantsciences.montana.edu/facultyorstaff/faculty/sharrock/sharrock.html

My laboratory studies plant developmental responses to light, such as growth and flowering responses to shade and day-length. These are controlled by photoreceptor molecules that sense red or blue light – the “eyes” of the plant. We work with a small model plant called Arabidopsis thaliana and do mostly genetics, molecular biology (DNA cloning, etc.), and plant physiology experiments (in growth chambers, not outside unfortunately). Possible summer projects could involve constructing a DNA clone, analysis of the effects of various light environments on mutants, and/or performing and analyzing genetic crosses.


Name: Michelle Flenniken, Research Assistant Professor, Plant Science & Plant Pathology
Email: michelle.flenniken@montana.edu
Phone: 406-994-7229

Professor Flennikn’s research program is aimed at elucidating the molecular mechanisms underlying host-pathogen interactions in honey bees (apis mellifera). Projects in the lab focus on three principal aspects of honey bee biology: (1) determining the mechanisms and contributions of RNA-triggered pathways in honey bee antiviral defense, (2) honey bee pathogen monitoring, detection and discovery with an emphasis on candidate etiologic agents of Colony Collapse Disorder, and (3) investigating the pathogenesis of the recently discovered Lake Sinai viruses. Honey bees are an excellent model in which to investigate immune mechanisms at both the individual bee and entire colony level.  High School science teachers will learn basic molecular biology techniques while tackling semi-independent projects to address questions such as: How does pesticide exposure effect honey bee health? How do honey bees detect and defend themselves against virus invaders? Specific responsibilities may include: honey bee sample collection and storage (including work with live honey bees), molecular biology techniques (e.g. RNA extraction, cDNA synthesis, qPCR, PCR, in vitro transcription, clongin), protein manipulations (Western blots, immunofluorescence, pull-downs), cell culture techniques, computational analysis (excel, R, programming experience) and potentially work with insect viruses (transfections, preparation, tittering and inoculations).


Name: Steve Stowers, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience
Phone: 406-994-5672

Our lab investigates how fruit fly larva process sensory information from the environment and translate it into behavioral responses. Current efforts are focused on mapping the neural circuitry underlying a mechanosensory behavior. The approaches being used include optogenetics, fluorescent imaging, and cutting-edge molecular genetic methods.  Possible projects include using optogenetics to identify essential neurons of a mechanosensory neural circuit or genetically-engineering fruit flies that will be useful for neutral circuit mapping.


Name: Mike DeGrandpre, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Email: michael.degrandpre@umontana.edu
Phone: 406-243-4118
Web: http://www.cas.umt.edu/chemistry/facultyDetails.cfm?id=528

My research focuses on the development of autonomous chemical sensors for applications in aquatic (marine and freshwater) chemistry. One of our primary goals is to further our understanding of the sources and sinks of carbon dioxide within the world’s oceans. Most recently, we have discovered a new technique for performing alkalinity measurements (an important ocean carbon parameter) that greatly simplifies the instrumentation, making possible future development of an autonomous alkalinity system like the SAMIs. The new technique has many potential field applications for analysis of a wide range of chemical species.


Name: Nicholas R. Natale, Department of Health Professions and Biomedical Sciences
Email: nicholas.natale@umontana.edu
Phone: 406-243-4132
Web: http://www.health.umt.edu/schools/biomed/faculty/natale.htm

Our research interests are in the area of medicinal chemistry, our approach is to develop new chemistries to study important biological problems. Three areas of active interest are: antihypertensive agents in the dihydropyridine class, anticancer agents for visualizing gliomas, and selective neutrotransmitters ligands. We are especially interested in catalytic asymmetric synthesis to arrive selectively at our molecular targets, and focus on the isoxazole heterocyclic scaffold.


Name: Ragan Morrison Callaway
Email: ray.callaway@mso.umt.edu
Phone: 406-243-5077
Web: http://plantecology.dbs.umt.edu/

The primary focus of the research in my lab is on how organisms interact with each other, but I am interested in all aspects of ecology. These interactions include direct interactions, such as competition for resources, allelopathy, and facilitation; and indirect interactions mediated by herbivores, soil microbes, and other competitors. Most of my time is now spent on exploring how exotic invaders dominate habitats without much of an opportunity for local adaption, and suppress native species that have had thousands of years to locally adapt.


Name: Sarah Certel, Division of Biological Sciences
Email: sarah.certel@umontana.edu
Phone: 406-243-6479
Web: http://certellab.dbs.umt.edu/Certel_Lab_Home.html

The primary research goal in the lab is to understand how neuronal networks are assembled and modified to mediate aggression and reproductive behavior in Drosophila. Our research uses multiple imaging and behavioral approaches to address how genes, neurons, and experience determine and shape aggressive behavior. An example of a project doable in a two summer time frame would be to select a gene of interest (based on previous lab results) and; set up fights between control and experimental male flies, score and analyze the fight intensity and behavioral patterns of the recorded fights, and learn to dissect Drosophila brains to visualize individual neurons that express the gene of interest using immunohistochemistry techniques.


Name:  Valeriy Smirnov, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Email: valeriy.smirnov@umontana.edu
Phone: 406-243-6470
Web: http://www.cas.umt.edu/chemistry/facultyDetails.cfm?id=1389

My area of research is inorganic/biophysical chemistry. My research interests lie at the interface of chemistry and biology. An umbrella theme is the mechanistic studies of enzymatic reactions involving molecular oxygen and reactive oxygen species (ROS). The scope of these reactions can be quite large; the specific projects underway in my laboratory cover areas from cancer-related research to clean energy production and environmental studies.


Name: Larry N. Smith, Associate Professor, Dept. of Geological Engineering, Montana Tech of the University of Montana
Email: lsmith@mtech.edu
Phone: 406-496-4859

Understanding the lake-level and flood history of glacial Lake Missoula takes description of sediment deposited in the lake, and those deposited during multiple catastrophic lake-drainage events. Descriptions of exposures of lake sediments has led to discovery of exposure surfaces in lake-bottom positions in various portions of the lake basin. In the proposed research Dr. Smith and the science partner will focus on a small area in Lake, Mineral, or Sanders county, producing a geologic map of the area, a thorough description of the lake-bottom sediments, and come up with an apparent lake-level history for that area, which can then be compared to other areas in the lake basin. The research will entail weeks of field work, camping on or near the site (if the site is far from the science partner’s home), and some digging in soft and dusty sediment.



Name: Greg Hermann
Email: hermann@lclark.edu
Phone: 503-768-7568

Forming cellular compartments: Dr. Hermann’s research group studies the formation of a lysosome-related organelle called the gut granule during embryonic development in the model system C. elegans. Lysosome-related organelles comprise a varied group of cellular compartments that include melanosomes, pigment granules, and lytic granules in humans. Interestingly, they each have unique contents and functions while sharing significant overall similarity to the conventional lysosome. Dr. Hermann’s group is using genomic approaches to identify all of the genes that contribute to the construction of these important cellular compartments .


Name: Michael V. Danilchik, Ph.D., Professor, Dept. of Integrative Bioscience
Email: danilchi@ohsu.edu
Phone: 503-494-8568
Web: http://www.ohsu.edu/xd/education/schools/school-of-dentistry/about/academic-departments/integrative-biosciences/danilchik.cfm

The main goal of the laboratory is to understand the cellular basis of embryonic morphogenisis – how cellular activities, movements, and cell-fate decisions are coordinated to carry out the dramatic tissue rearrangements that shape early embryos. We use eggs and embryos of the frog Xenopus laevis as our model system. Xenopus readily lay thousands of eggs at any time of year. The embryos are exceptionally hardy, so they have become one of the most useful model systems for studies involving direct cell manipulations, and microsurgery to investigate key cellular behaviors such as cell locomotion, prostrusive activity, and cell rearrangements. Two current projects in the lab are focused on 1) membrane and cytoskeletal interactions involved in large-scale cellular activities, including cell division and cell rearrangement; and 2) how cells communicate with each other across relatively large distances within the embryo.  In conjunction with the mentor, the teacher would develop a project oriented around one of the main research aims of the lab, essentially to test a discrete hybothesis directed at a cellular process important for early vertebrate development.  This research will involve the teacher becoming familiar with rearing and handling Xenopus adults for the purpose of harvesting eggs and embryos. Learn how to fertilize and culture embryos to various stages, learn microinjection, microsurgery, and various microscopic techniques, including time lapse micrography, confocal microscopy, immunofluorescence labeling techniques, and how to analyze captured image data with various image-analysis software packages.


Name: William Messer, MD, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Division of Infectious Diseases and Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology
Email: messer@ohsu.edu
Phone: 503-494-7768

The Messer lab focuses on dengue virus, a pathogen transmitted by mosquitos and endemic throughout the tropical and sub-tropical world. His particular interest is in viral genetics and evolution and how those factors affect viral fitness, viral pathogenicity and the human immune response to dengue virus infection. Dr. Messer’s lab has three areas of active research: 1) the genetic determinants of virus fitness in the mosquito vector Aedes aegypti, 2) strategies to identify the critical targets of neutralizing antibodies following dengue infection and, 3) using biochemically derived RNA structural models and dENV reverse genetics to identify RNA secondary structures critical to dengue virus viability. As a former middle school science teacher, Dr. Messer has a particular interest in advancing science education at the secondary school level and have several years experience as an outreach educator working with middle school students. The teacher/intern would be given the opportunity to be come competent in the fundamental tools of virology, including tissue culture, molecular virology, including PCR, sequence analysis, nucleotide mutagenesis and cloning methods. Together, the teacher and Dr. Messer would develop a self-standing project within the framework of the current work to develop and test a specific hypothesis regarding the role of dengue virus genetics in one of several spheres of virology in which they work. The teacher intern will take the lead in the design, execution and evaluation of the results of his/her experiments The teacher/intern would also have the opportunity to function as a full member of the lab, including presenting at lab meeting, journal clubs, and, if opportunity arises, regional or national meetings.


The Oregon National Primate Research Center (ONPRC) is an institute of Oregon Health & Science University, located on OHSU’s West Campus, in Beaverton, OR. One of 8 National Primate Research Centers located throughout the country, and supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), ONPRC serves as a national resource to biomedical scientists who require nonhuman primate models for their research. To learn more about the research programs conducted at ONPRC, visit http://www.ohsu.edu/onprc .

Research that takes place at ONPRC/OHSU is undertaken to improve understanding of human health and disease. Animal models are essential in this pursuit, and applicants need to be aware that in certain cases invasive animal procedures are necessary. Ethical issues associated with research in humans and other animals can evoke strong controversy, yet animal research is presently our only means of answering certain critical questions that we hope will lead to improved therapies and/or cures for disease. Federal law mandates adherence to regulations that ensure our research procedures are both humane and justified in terms of their contribution to knowledge and medical practice. Persons who apply for apprenticeship positions at ONPRC should support the ethical conduct of animal research that is carried out in compliance with federal laws and regulations.

The following ONPRC scientists are interested in mentoring a high school teacher. If you are interested in partnering with one or more of these scientists, please contact Diana Gordon (503-690-5201 or gordondi@ohsu.edu).


Name: Kristine Coleman, PhD, Assistant Scientist, Division of Animal Resources
Email: colemank@ohsu.edu
Phone: 503-533-2418
Web: http://www.ohsu.edu/xd/research/centers-institutes/onprc/scientific-discovery/scientists/kristine-coleman.cfm

As Head of the Behavioral Sciences Unit at the ONPRC, Dr. Coleman’s role is to oversee the
psychological well-being of the non-human primates who live at the Center. In addition to making daily
observations of the monkeys for husbandry and scientific purposes, she and her staff are engaged in a
number of behavioral research studies. Such studies have included the influence of behavioral
inhibition (shyness vs. boldness) on the trainability of animals, mate selection behavior and dominance
in group-housed animals, and the effects of density on group dynamics.
The teacher/intern will learn behavioral methodology, including the design and use of ethograms, how to use software specifically designed for behavioral observation, and statistical methods. S/he will also learn about species specific monkey behavior and will have the opportunity to use operant conditioning (positive reinforcement) to train monkeys to cooperate with husbandry and research procedures.


Name: Larry Sherman, PhD, Senior Scientist, Division of Neuroscience
Email: shermanl@ohsu.edu
Phone: 503-690-5217
Web: http://www.ohsu.edu/xd/research/centers-institutes/onprc/scientific-discovery/scientists/larry-sherman.cfm

Dr. Sherman’s lab is focused on understanding ways to promote the repair of the damaged nervous system in a number of conditions including multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s Disease, and following chemical insults including cancer chemotherapy drugs and heavy drinking. The Sherman lab discovered that a sugar molecule, called hyaluronan (HA), regulates how neural stem cells and progenitor cells differentiate and proliferate, and that abnormal synthesis and degradation of HA prevents nervous system repair. A major goal of the lab is to develop novel strategies to promote nervous system repair by altering the catabolism of HA. They are currently looking at gene therapy, stem cell-based therapies, and drug discovery approaches to achieve this goal. The successful candidate will be expected to actively participate in designing, performing and interpreting data from these experiments. Candidates will be included on any publications arising from their time in the laboratory.
The teacher/intern will learn a variety of biochemical, molecular and cell biology approaches to address a critical problem in the field of neuroscience research. These techniques will include primary cell culture, RT-PCR, immunocytochemistry, ELISA, and laser confocal microscopy.


Name: Mary Zelinski, PhD, Associate Scientist, Division of Reproductive and Developmental Sciences
Web:  http://www.ohsu.edu/xd/research/centers-institutes/onprc/scientific-discovery/scientists/mary-zelinski.cfm

Dr. Zelinski and her team are studying the development, growth and maturation of the ovarian follicle and its enclosed oocyte (egg) in nonhuman primates. Current research is focused on preventing follicle and oocyte damage induced by cancer treatments to develop new therapies for preserving fertility in female cancer patients. Dr. Zelinski’s studies merge ovarian physiology with the fields of tissue bioengineering and cryobiology, and focus on new technologies for growing follicles in vitro as well as cryopreservation and transplantation of ovarian tissue.
The teacher/intern will learn cellular approaches to studying ovarian function in the rhesus monkey. S/he will learn how to use general laboratory equipment as well as the techniques of ovarian hormone assays, immunohistochemistry, stereology and morphometrics, cryobiology, and computer-assisted image analysis and statistical analyses of experimental data.


Name: Jon Hennebold, PhD, Associate Scientist, Division of Reproductive and Developmental Sciences
Email: henneboj@ohsu.edu
Phone: 503-614-3720
Web: http://www.ohsu.edu/xd/research/centers-institutes/onprc/scientific-discovery/scientists/jon-hennebold.cfm

The Hennebold laboratory focuses on defining the processes in the ovary that are necessary for female fertility. We are conducting molecular and cellular studies that will provide insight into the mechanisms responsible for follicle rupture and the release of the oocyte as well as the development and regression of the corpus luteum. Through recent genomic studies conducted in our laboratory we are beginning to understand how various cellular activities lead to the rupture of the ovulatory follicle and the release of a fertilizable oocyte. Areas of focus include defining the significant cellular reorganization and extracellular matrix remodeling that occur prior to and following ovulation, as well as the role bioactive
lipid metabolites such as prostaglandins play in coordinating events necessary for follicle rupture. The teacher will participate in studies that ultimately contribute to the development of novel approaches to control fertility, including the identification of processes that promote fertility in women seeking to have children or for the development of non-hormonal female contraceptives. The teacher/intern will perform cellular and molecular studies of the primate follicle and/or corpus luteum. The teacher/intern will have the opportunity to participate in studies designed to quantitate the level of specific mRNAs using state of the art real-time or microfluidic PCR, the expression of proteins by Western blot, and cellular localization of protein expression using immunohistochemistry.

Name: Henryk Urbanski, PhD, Senior Scientist, Division of Neuroscience
Web: http://www.ohsu.edu/xd/research/centers-institutes/onprc/scientific-discovery/scientists/henryk-f-urbanski.cfm

Dr. Urbanski’s research group is investigating how the environment interacts with sex-steroid hormones to affect various brain functions. Currently, studies are focused on those brain circuits that control sleep-wake cycles, circadian hormone rhythms, and seasonal mood changes. This basic research is expected to provide new insights into the causes of perturbed circadian rhythms and centrally-originating reproductive disorders; it should also help us to elucidate the causes of seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Overall, a better understanding of the underlying neuroendocrine circuits will help with the future development of effective therapies.
The teacher/intern would gain proficiency in the use of molecular and cellular approaches in neuroscience research. He or she would become familiar with the use of general laboratory equipment and also become experienced with specialized techniques such as immunohistochemistry and computer-assisted image analysis.


Name: Kerry Mc Phail, Associate Professor of Medicinal Chemistry
Email: kerry.mcphail@oregonstate.edu
Phone: 541-737-5808
Web: http://pharmacy.oregonstate.edu/faculty-staff/directory/kerry-l-mcphail

Structurally complex natural products from diverse biological organisms continue to be a critical source of new chemical entities that serve as lead compounds for drug development and as molecular research probes. Taking advantage of recent advances in a range of analytical techniques, with an emphasis on nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and mass spectrometry, our laboratory focuses on the discovery and characterization of natural products relevant to cancer and infectious disease research.


Name: Malgorzata Peszynska, Professor, Department of Mathematics
Email: mpesz@math.oregonstate.edu
Phone: 541-737-9847
Web: http://www.math.oregonstate.edu/~mpesz/

M. Peszynska’s research is in applied and computational mathematics with applications in geosciences and alternative energy engineering such as mathematical and computational modeling of carbon dioxide sequestration, or groundwater flow, contamination, and remediation, or solar cells. She is working on problems which involve computations at microscopic scales using x-ray images of rock and engineered materials as well as at large scales. Some new computational models that she is developing involve fluid particles and change transport in semiconductors. Peszynska‘s interdisciplinary projects and educational activities in computational and applied mathematics attract many students and are open to further participants from high school.


Name: Rich G. Carter, Professor and Chair of Chemistry Department
Email: rich.carter@oregonstate.edu
Phone: 541-737-9486
Web: http://www.chemistry.oregonstate.edu/carter/

Our group is interested in the development of new reactions in organic chemistry and their application to natural products. In our reaction development, we have been recently focused on an environmentally friendly family of organocatalysts call proline sulfonamides. These catalysts have significant potential to provide safer and chemical alternatives to traditional chemical processes. Our natural product work is focused on the development of new therapeutic leads – including in the areas of cancer and Alzheimer’s disease as well as new antibiotics.


Name: Jerri Bartholomew, Professor/Director John L. Fryer Salmon Disease Laboratory
Email: Jerri.Bartholomew@oregonstate.edu
Phone: 541-737-1856
Web: http://microbiology.science.oregonstate.edu/fac_bartholomew

Professor Bartholomew is the director of the John L. Fryer Salmon Disease Laboratory, and her research focuses on diseases in salmon, specifically the pathogens that affect the health of wild Pacific salmon populations, particularly myxozoan parasites, which have a complex life cycle, requiring both a fish and annelid host.


Name: Douglas Keszler, Director, Center for Sustainable Materials Chemistry
Email: douglas.keszler@oregonstate.edu
Phone: 541-737-6736
Web: http://sustainablematerialschemistry.org

Summer research opportunities are primarily focused on the study and development of aqueous based chemistries of interest for the production of advanced electronic materials. Research is conducted through the Center for Sustainable Materials Chemistry, which offers programs for advancing student achievement in Oregon high schools.


Name: Alena Paulenova, Associate Professor, Nuclear Engineering and Radiation Health Physics
Email: alena.paulenova@oregonstate.edu
Phone: 541-737-7070
Web: http://people.oregonstate.edu/~paulenova/

Radioanalytical, separation and speciation of actinides and fission products, radiochemical sensors environmental and biomedical applications of radiotracers. Chemistry of actinides and fission products, and their speciation in aquatic matrices; Spectroscopy and mass spectroscopy of f-elements; Research in actinide solid phases as waste forms or fuels; Advanced nanomaterials, nanoradiochemistry and nuclear material science.


Name: David Ji, Assistant Professor, Chemistry Department
Email: David.Ji@oregonstate.edu
Phone: 541-829-2569
Web: http://chemistry.oregonstate.edu/ji

We work on solutions for high energy and power batteries based on device-level methodologies and chemistries. One approach is to prepare light, highly conductive and robust 3D monoliths as electrode current collectors. We draw upon preparation techniques from sol-gel chemistry, solid-state chemistry, and nano-fabrication methods, including e-beam, and atomic layer deposition. We also work on novel high-energy capacitors with a mechanistic combination of the advantages of capacitors and batteries. We are interested in investigating electrochemical phenomena on tailored material platforms, such as electrodeposition, solid electrolyte interphase (SEI) formation, electrical double layers, and their applications in energy storage and conversion.


Department of Physics

Name: James Butler
Email: jjbutler@pacificu.edu
Phone: 503-352-2035
Web: http://www.pacificu.edu/as/physics/faculty/james_butler.cfm

Research Interests: The nonlinear optics group does experimental studies of materials whose optical properties depend on the intensity of light incident upon them.  Currently the group is working on projects in two primary areas: (1) Optical Limiters where the goal is to do the basic science research that will help in the development of materials that can protect sensitive equipment (including human eyes) from high intensity laser damage and (2) the development and characterization of Quantum Dots that have the potential to be used as tools in performing diagnostic measurements of cancer cells.


Name: Andrew Dawes
Email: dawes@pacificu.edu
Phone: 503-352-3171
Web: http://www.pacificu.edu/as/physics/faculty/Dr.AndrewM.C.Dawes.cfm

Research Interests: The photonics and quantum optics research group studies light-matter interactions, specifically the effects that arise when coherent (laser) light interacts with atoms in the vapor state. Current projects include atom cooling and trapping, nonlinear wavelength conversion, and optical pattern formation. Future projects will also include more fundamental explorations of quantum optical effects as we develop new techniques for measuring the quantum state of light.


Department of Biology

Name: Gyorgyi Nyerges
Email: nyerges@pacificu.edu
Phone: 503-352-2223
Web: http://www.pacificu.edu/as/biology/faculty/gyorgyi_nyerges.cfm

Research Interests: Nyerges investigates the presence of antibiotic resistance bacteria in soils using molecular methods.


Name: Stacey Halpern
Email: shalpern@pacificu.edu
Phone: 503-352-3109
Web: http://www.pacificu.edu/as/biology/faculty/halpern.cfm

Research Interests: Halpern studies the ecology and evolution of plant-insect interactions. Her current research asks whether insect herbivores help regulate populations of a weedy and invasive plant. She is starting new projects in how clonal plants send signals of damage between connected stems, and how that affects overall plant performance.


Department of Chemistry

Name: Joel Gohdes
Email: gohd2802@pacificu.edu
Phone: 503-352-2028
Web: http://www.pacificu.edu/as/chemistry/faculty/gohdes.cfm

Research Interests: Work in our lab focuses on stabilizing metal coordination complexes in highly-porous, cross-linked polymers.  We are developing these materials for potential catalysis and gas separations applications.  The work involves organic and inorganic synthesis as well as physical measurements of reactivity.


Name: Kevin Johnson
Email: johnsonk@pacificu.edu
Phone: 503-352-2762
Web: http://www.pacificu.edu/as/chemistry/faculty/johnson.cfm

Research Interests: Johnson utilizes computational tools to investigate chemical questions. He uses Density Functional Theory to investigate novel optical properties of phthalocyanine based compounds. He also uses Classical Molecular Dynamics methods to study the effects of surfactants at the interface between water and oil.


Department of Biology

Name: Anne W. Thompson, Research Assistant Professor
Email: awt@pdx.edu
Phone: 503-725-8052

Phytoplankton in the oceans are responsible for half of the oxygen in our atmosphere and have been important in shaping the atmosphere of Earth as we know it today. These abundant and ubiquitous populations of microorganisms are also the foundation of marine food webs and play important roles in the global carbon cycle. In our lab, we study the ecology of the very abundant cyanobacterium called Prochlorococcus, which is the most abundant photosynthetic cell on the planet Earth. Prochlorococcus is very diverse at the genetic level, but the consequences of this diversity to their role in global processes is poorly understood. In my lab, we study natural populations of Prochlorococcus in the open ocean and laboratory cultures to discover the relationship between genetic diversity and ecosystem function. Projects in my lab could involve techniques such as field sampling in the open ocean, flow cytometry, molecular biology, microbiology, and bioinformatic analysis.


Department of Chemistry

Name: Dean Atkinson, Associate Professor
Email: atkinsonD@pdx.edu
Phone: 503-725-8117
Web: http://web.pdx.edu/~atkinsdb

We measure atmospheric aerosol properties via their interaction with light. We use an interesting laser based technique to make in situ and laboratory measurements of extinction, scattering and absorption. This can tell us about the physical and chemical nature of the particles that are out there, which helps us estimate their impact on Earth’s climate and on public health.


Name: Robert M. Strongin, Professor
Email: strongin@pdx.edu
Phone: 503-725-9724
Web: http://web.pdx.edu/~jescobed

Research in the Strongin group is focused on the synthesis of new redox and chromophore materials for biomedical applications, including the early detection of ovarian cancer as well as a range of metabolic disorders. A research partner might work on a variety of different projects including synthesizing new dyes as biomolecular indicators, developing new methods for biomoledule detection, or examining the spectroscopy and fundamental properties of functional new organic dyes.


Name: David H. Peyton, Professor, Department of Chemistry
Email: peytond@pdx.edu
Phone: 503-725-3875
Web: http://web.pdx.edu/~peytond

Research in the Peyton Laboratory is centered on medicinal and biophysical chemistry, with emphasis in understanding how structures impact functioning in biological systems, and developing therapies to overcome drug resistance, particularly in malaria.


Name: Erik Johansson, Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry
Email: ejohansson@pdx.edu
Phone: 503-725-2566
Web: http://johansson.chem.pdx.edu

Research in the Johansson group is focused on inorganic materials for solar-to-electrical energy conversion.  A research partner might work on many different projects, including high-temperature synthesis of single crystals, quantum-dot synthesis, electrochemistry of solar cell materials, and solar cell assembly and testing.


Name: Shankar B. Rananavare, Research Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry
Email: ranavas@pdx.edu
Phone: 503-725-8511
Web: http://web.pdx.edu/~ranavas/shankar11a.html

Research in the Rananavare group is focused on synthesis, characterization, and device application of nanomaterials.  A research partner might work on a variety of different projects, synthesizing new doped nanoparticles/nanowires for chemical sensing applications, creating new wet etch chemical formulations, or developing new sub-50nm lithographic techniques working in partnership with local semiconductor companies.


Name: Niles Lehman, Professor of Chemistry, Portland State University
Email: niles@pdx.edu
Phone: 503-725-8769
Web: http://web.pdx.edu/~niles/Lehman_Lab_at_PSU/Home.html

Research in the Lehman lab focuses on catalytic RNA (ribozymes) as a model system to study the origins of life on the Earth. A research partner could expect to be given a project involving the study of how RNA molecules can replicate themselves in solution in the absence of a protein replicase enzyme. The lab uses standard molecular biological techniques including PCR, RNA transcription, gel electrophoresis, and DNA sequence analysis. No prior expertise in these techniques is required, only a willingness to learn and work in a very clean and sterile environment.


Name: Dirk Iwata-Reuyl, Professor of Chemistry
Email: iwatard@pdx.edu
Phone: 503-725-5737
Web: http://web.pdx.edu/~arjay/index.html

Research in the lab focuses on problems at the interface of chemistry and biology, and addresses diverse aspects of protein function, mechanism, structure, evolution, and design. The inspiration for all of our research is post-transcriptional processing of RNA, specifically the phenomena of nucleoside modification in the maturation of transfer and ribosomal RNA. This process results in the generation of a rich mosaic of structurally modified nucleosides, and we’re working to discover the biological roles of nucleoside modification, elucidate the biosynthetic pathways responsible for the formation of these fascinating molecules, and understand the biochemistry of the enzymes making up the pathways. We employ a multidisciplinary approach that includes enzymology, kinetics, molecular biology, and organic synthesis, and our close collaborations with other research groups allow us to further broaden the scope of our work to include structural biology, computational genomics, genetics, and physiology.


Name: David R. Stuart, Assistant Professor
Email: dstuart@pdx.edu
Phone: 503-725-2969
Web: http://web.pdx.edu/~dstuart/

Research in the Stuart group is aimed at the discovery of new chemical reactivity for the advancement of organic synthesis. A particular focus is placed on the development of sustainable synthetic methods that obviate the use of toxic and expensive reagents. Research partners that are imaginative and enjoy the process of creating (analogy to cooking) may find our research particularly rewarding. Research partners may anticipate being involved in the preparation of reagents that will aid in the discovery process, exploring the breadth of scope of a newly discovered reactivity, or applying a newly discovered method to the synthesis of a biologically active molecule.


Name: Theresa M. McCormick, Assistant Professor
Email: t.m.mccormick@pdx.edu
Phone: 503-725-2332

In the McCormick group we are focused on developing new molecules that can transform light into chemical or electrical energy. In my group you would have the opportunity to synthesize complexes that absorb light and study their utility in energy storing reactions. You will be trained to use a variety of techniques including computational chemistry, air-free synthesis, and a spectroscopic analysis while you are contributing first hand to solar energy research.


Name: Marilyn R. Mackiewicz, Research Assistant Professor
Email: mackiewi@pdx.edu
Web: http://web.pdx.edu/~mackiewi/

Professor Mackiewicz’s research is designed to bridge concepts in inorganic, analytical, and nanomaterials chemistry in efforts to engineer new materials using rational design of functional inorganic nanomaterials for technology transfer in renewable energy, environmental and biomedical sectors. We envision that fundamental chemistry developed in our lab will help improve our understanding of major diseases that impact the quality of human life. This is key to other efforts in our lab geared towards the design of sensors and therapeutics for the very same diseases whose mechanism we aim to elucidate.


Department of Physics

Name: Pui-Tak Leung
Email: hopl@pdx.edu
Phone: 503-725-3818
Web: http://web.pdx.edu/~hopl

Professor Leung’s research is in mainly the theoretical study of nano optics. A research partner might work in plasmonics which studies the response of the free electrons in metallic nanostructures; or in metamaterials which are fabricated optical materials with unusual properties like negative refration. The partner can help in both literature research and in computer modeling of the various phenomena studied in these areas.


Name: Jack C. Straton, Associate Professor, Physics & University Studies
Email: straton@pdx.edu
Phone: 503-725-5844
Web: http://web.pdx.edu/~straton

Professor Straton’s research includes the theoretical study of atomic excitations via particle scattering.  Because the atomic states and interactions are simple functions, one does not need extensive background in theory to be a productive partner in this process.  Depending on your interest, I could use help at any of the three stages of solving a problem: algebraic manipulation of terms that contribute to the process, solving integrals involving exponentials and powers, and modifying computer code for the new problem.


Name: Ralf Widenhorn, Assistant Professor, Department of Physics
Email: ralfw@pdx.edu
Phone: 503-725-3898
Web: http://web.pdx.edu/~ralfw

Digital sensors are ubiquitous in today’s society and found in places ranging from the Hubble space telescope to cell phones.  There are two main types of digital sensors: Charge-Coupled Devices (CCDs) and Complementary Metal-Oxide-Semiconductors (CMOS).  Dr. Widenhorn studies the performance of these sensors with the goal to understand the characteristics better and improve image quality.  He also investigates other material properties of semiconductor devices.


Department of Environmental Sciences

Name: Cat de Rivera, Associate Professor, Department of Environmental Science & Management
Email: derivera@pdx.edu
Phone: 503-725-9798
Web: http://www.clr.pdx.edu/people/faculty/derivera

We are investigating the effects of sea level rise and dike removal on salt marsh habitat and communities.  We are interested in whether the regeneration and uphill spread of this important habitat can keep pace with sea level rise, whether the disturbance of changed inundation favors invasive species, and whether restoration via dike removal should be accompanied by plantings or other assisted colonization.  Partner teachers can join a collaborative team investigating how soils (Dr. Martin Lafrenz, PSU Geography), plants (Dr. Sarah Eppley, PSU Biology), and animals that live in the mud (this project) change at each elevation when salt water newly inundates mudflat and marsh areas.  The project will entail some field work on the Oregon coast for data collection and experiments and also microscope work back in Portland sorting out and identifying the polychaetes, clams, crustaceans, and other animals we find.


Department of Geography

Name: Martin Lafrenz, Assistant Professor, Department of Geography
Email: lafrenz@pdx.edu
Phone: 503-725-3163
Web: http://www.pdx.edu/geography/martin-lafrenz

In my research I study the possible impacts of sea level rise on coastal ecosystems.  Through fieldwork, laboratory analysis, statistical testing, and modeling with a Geographic Information System (GIS), I investigate the nature of shifting habitat mosaics along an environmental gradient of intertidal, salt marsh, transitional marsh, and uplands.  I specialize in the analysis of soil conditions and work with other researchers to collaborate on vegetation dynamics (Dr. Sarah Eppley, PSU Biology) and animal community composition (Dr. Cat de Rivera, PSU Environmental Science) of these changing environments.  A teacher working with me would learn how to conduct a field project in marsh soil analysis including field collection, laboratory processing of soil samples, and GIS mapping of results.  This project would assist a teacher in gaining real-world experience toward implementing the Oregon Common Core State standards in math related to functions, modeling, and statistics as well as the Oregon State standards in Science for H.2 Interaction and Change and H.3 Scientific Inquiry.



Department of Physics

Name: Dr. Benjamin McMorran, Assistant Professor
Email: mcmorran@uoregon.edu
Phone: 541-346-8624
Web: http://physics.uoregon.edu/faculty/mcmorran.html

Electron microscopes can be used to image specimens and materials with unprecedented detail. An important tool for research in a variety of scientific and engineering fields, the electron microscope can also be a useful tool for education purposes. For example, the ease with which these instruments can be used to image a variety of materials and objects, and their ability to rapidly zoom in smoothly from millimeter to nanometer feature sizes without refocusing, provides students with a visceral understanding of lengthscale, as well as detailed knowledge about the composition and structure of specimens. Furthermore, the operating principles of the electron microscope itself can also be used to educate. Concepts central to an electron microscope – electromagnetism, electrons, gas pressure, optics, atomic composition of matter – are accessible to high school science students. The McMorran Lab uses these instruments for fundamental experiments in electron optics and quantum physics. This work involves development of cutting edge nanoscale manufacturing techniques and application of advanced physics concepts, yet nevertheless much of this is accessible to new students of physics. This lab is looking to partner with K-12 educators who are interested in contributing to this research, and who would like to help develop curriculum featuring these tools.


Name: Dr. Frank Vignola
Email: fev@uoregon.edu
Phone: 541-0346-4745
Web: http://solardata.uoregon.edu

The University of Oregon Solar Radiation Monitoring Laboratory operates a 30 station solar monitoring network to characterize the region’s solar resource.  The network includes monitoring of photovoltaic systems to help assess the performance of PV systems in the northwest.  The reference station is in Eugene at the University of Oregon and is where we perform tests to calibrate and characterize the performance of solar monitoring instruments. This summer we will be performing spectral radiation measurements to more fully characterize the performance of photodiode based pyranometers and the performance of solar cells under a variety of weather conditions. We are seeking assistance in these measurements and the data analysis. Preliminary analysis of winter data are being presented at the World Renewable Energy Form this May. In addition we are continuing work on our PV lesson plans and lab kit.  Information on our publications and the PV lesson plans can be found on our website is http://solardata.uoregon.edu.


Name: Eric I Corwin, Assistant Professor
Email: ecorwin@uoregon.edu
Phone: 773-706-0488
Web: http://phasmid.uoregon.edu

Self-assembly describes the formation of ordered structures or patterns via the autonomous organization of components without human intervention.  Self-assembly processes are largely governed by the structure and nature of the components involved and random forces typically (but not always) related to temperature. Understanding these processes is key to designing components for application that organize themselves into desired patterns that perform a desired function.  We have designed a macroscopic analog for microscopic self-assembly using the “Cheerios” effect (surface tension induced interactions) as our driving force.  Small Teflon discs will spontaneously organize into two-dimensional crystals when placed on a water surface. By exciting random vibrations on the water surface we are able to mimic thermal forces acting on the Teflon disks.  This summer we hope to use this system to explore two-dimensional melting and crystallization/glass formation.  We will record data with a video system and analyze collective particle motions and positional order using computerized tracking algorithms.


Department of Biology

Name: Alice Barkan, Professor
Email: abarkan@uoregon.edu
Phone: 541-346-5145
Web: http://www.molbio.uoregon.edu/facres/barkan.php

My laboratory investigates the genes and mechanisms underlying the biogenesis of the chloroplast, the subcellular organelle in plants that carries out the process of photosynthesis. Projects in my laboratory use “genetic” and “biochemical” approaches. We take advantage of mutant plants with non-functional chloroplasts to identify relevant genes, and we investigate mechanisms by which such genes act through detailed biochemical studies of their gene products.  Our projects focus primarily on understanding how genes in the nuclear genome promote the proper expression of the small genome in the chloroplast, which was retained from the chloroplast’s bacterial ancestor.


Chemistry Department

Name: Angela Hoffman, Assistant Professor
Email: hoffman@up.edu
Phone: 503-943-7173
Web: http://college.up.edu/chemistry/default.aspx?cid=6200&pid=908

Plants and fungi can’t get up and move when they are challenged with competing organisms like insects or pathogens. They protect themselves from such environmental challenges by making interesting compounds that humans may find useful. Professor Hoffman’s lab isolates and studies these compounds for their antimicrobial, anticancer or pesticidal properties. These natural products studies integrate concepts and techniques used by chemists (extraction, chromatography and chemical characterization), biologists (assays of biological activity) and environmental scientists (interactions between organisms).



Name: Gary Chang, Biology Department
Email: chang@gonzaga.edu
Web: https://connect.gonzaga.edu/chang
Phone: 509-313-6637

The European wool carder bee is an introduced, solitary bee species with territorial males. Our research seeks to evaluate whether attacks by wool carder bees alter the behavior and abundance of other local pollinators. Our primary method of data collection will be to observe the behavior of bees in campus gardens, supplemented by field experimentation and mathematical modeling.



Name: Alejandro Garcia, Professor of Physics
Email: agarcia3@u.washington.edu
Web: http://faculty.washington.edu/agarcia3

We conduct experiments in search for new physics using the nucleus as a probe. Most of our experiments use the local Tandem accelerator. Presently we are working on trapping the short-lived isotope 6He using lasers. The motivation is to search for Tensor currents (a form of new physics predicted by some models that try to illuminate some of the arbitrariness of the Standard Model of particle physics).  The participant would learn to tune beam throguh our accelerator, electronics needed for control and data acquisition, the physics of the new phenomena we are searching for, and techniques used for trapping atoms with lasers.


Name: Shih-Chieh Hsu, Assistant Professor in Physics
Email: schsu@uw.edu
Phone: 510-529-8657
Web: http://faculty.washington.edu/schsu

Project 1: Preparation and commissioning of the ATLAS Pixel Insertable B-Layer at CERN
The Insertable B-Layer (IBL) is a new layer of the pixel detector for the ATLAS detector upgrade. The teacher will spend 6-8 weeks at CERN in Geneva in Switzerland to work on the preparation of the IBL detector installation with a focus on the commission of the data acquisition system. Prerequisite skills for the teacher: C/C++ programming in Unix (Solaris or Linux).

Project 2: Search for the Supersymmetric Higgs Boson at LHC
The discovery of a Standard Model-like Higgs Boson near 126 GeV at LHC is not only consistent with the Standard Model but also with Supersymmetryy. The teacher will generate Monte Carlo events to optimize the search strategy of extra light Higgs Boson as a crucial test of Supersymmetry which predicts a minimal number of five Higgs Bosons. Prerequisite skills for the teacher: C/C++ programming in Unix (Solaris or Linux).

Extra comments:
Project 1 requires a high school teacher who is willing to spend his stipend to be based at CERN. It costs $840/week to be based at CERN. Project 2 is a pure computing project and the teacher can even work remotely.


Name: Champak Chatterjee, Assistant Professor of Chemistry
Email: chatterjee@chem.washington.edu
Phone: 206-543-2349
Web: http://blogs.uw.edu/champak1

My lab is interested in understanding how chemical changes to proteins inside our cells can influence their structure and function. We combine the tools of protein chemistry and molecular biology to make chemically modified proteins that we then study in biochemical and biophysical experiments in our lab. The precise project details would be arranged based on mutual interest, and would involve elemnts of chemical synthesis as well as protein expression in bacteria.


Name: Sarah L. Keller, Ph. D., Adjunct Professor of Physics
Email: keller@chem.washington.edu
Phone: 206-543-9613
Web: http://faculty.washington.edu/clkeller

My laboratory uses concepts from biophysics and physical chemistry to investigate self-assembling soft condensed matter systems. Recently, our research has focused on how simple lipid mixtures within bilayer membranes give rise to complex phase behavior. Further descriptions can be found on our websites.


Name: D. Michael Heinekey
Email: heinekey@chem.washington.edu
Phone: 206-543-7522
Web: http://depts.washington.edu/chem

Projects are in inorganic and organic chemistry. Focus is on catalysis of reactions such as hydrogenation, particularly of biomass derived substances such as carbohydrates. Some of this work occurs under the auspices of a catalysis center funded by the National Science Foundation. (See the website above for more details).


Name: Frantisek Turecek
Email: turecek@chem.washington.edu
Phone: 206-685-2041

My research is in analytical chemistry, specifically in developing new methods in mass spectrometry for structure determination and sensitive detection of peptides, proteins, and enzymatic products. My group has expertise in instrument design, method development, mechanistic studies, and computations.


Name: Niels H. Andersen
Email: andersen@chem.washington.edu
Phone: 206-543-7099
Web: http://depts.washington.edu/chem/people/faculty/andersen.html

The Andersen laboratory provides opportunities for high school chemistry and biology teachers to observe (and participate in) molecular modeling as a guide for understanding biomolecular recognition phenomena. This is a key feature for designing molecules that bind at therapeutic targets and for understanding protein folding and misfolding. Participants also synthesize and purify peptide ligands and models of secondary structure motifs.


Name: Gabriele Varani
Email: varani@chem.washington.edu
Phone: 206-543-7133
Web: http://depts.washington.edu/chem/people/faculty/varani.html

We study the structure of RNA and RNA-binding proteins to understand the molecular basis for their biological function. We use this knowledge to discover small drug-like molecules that target RNAs with essential functions in the development of chronic and infectious diseases such as cancer and HIV. We use spectroscopic and computational methods to analyze the structure, as well as biochemical and cell-based techniques to assay biological function.


Name: Verónica S. Di Stilio
Email: distilio@uw.edu
Phone: 206-616-5567
Web: http://faculty.washington.edu/distilio/

Over evolutionary time-scales, plants have adapted to the terrestrial environment in striking ways. The successful adaptations that have enabled diversification are known as key innovations. We strive to explore the genetic underpinnings of key innovations, with a focus on flowers and the evolution of different flower types. To that end we explore the evolution of genes that pattern flowers and of those that enable adaptation to different pollinator types. Our lab can provide training on wet lab as well as greenhouse activities. We will work with DNA, gene expression and function, and prepare hands-on activities on pollination syndrome and case studies on domestication, such as double flowers.


Name: Douglas Walsh, Professor of Entomology, Dept. of Entomology
Email: dwalsh@wsu.edu
Web: http://ipm.wsu.edu/seedcrops/seedcrops.html

We conduct research on the biology and foraging behaviors of the pollinators of alfalfa produced for seed. The alklali bee Nomia meladeri is a solitary native ground nesting bee that has been domesticated and managed by alfalfa seed growers in the Walla Walla Valley to provide pollination services in their fields of alfalfa being produced for seed. There are more than 20 geographically distinct managed alkali bee beds in the Walla Walla Valley. The participant will capture bees from these geographically isolated sites and perform a pcr-based test on sperm within mated adult female bees to determine the number of times these bees mate. Older literature, based on observational data in the 1950s cites that alkali bee females mate only once. This was similar to observational studies on honey bees Apis melifera. New techniques have determined that honey bee queens mate on average 9 to 12 times during their nuptial flights. Employing new molecular-based techniques on the sperm contained within mated alkali bees will determine if alkali bees truly mate only once, or if the old observational data was incorrect and the bees mate multiple times. Either conclusion will result in a potential publishable manuscript.


Name: Vincent Hebert, Laboratory Research Director, WSU Food and Environmental Quality Laboratory
Email: vhebert@wsu.edu
Web: http://feql.wsu.edu

Research focus is on the fate and transport of man-made chemicals in air, water, and soil. Regional projects also evaluate benefits of plant natural products in wine and agricultural crops. Chemical separation techniques using gas and liquid chromatography with a wide variety detection systems are employed in laboratory research investigations.


Name: Stephen Bollens, Professor and Director, School of the Environment
Email: sbollens@wsu.edu
Phone: 360-546-9116

Dr. Bollens’ research is broadly concerned with the ecology of marine and estuarine zooplankton and fish, and spans the sub-disciplines of behavior, population biology, community ecology and ecosystem dynamics. His research often has an applied aspect to it, touching upon such areas as conservation biology, restoration ecology, fisheries oceanography, global change, and invasive species. He employs a wide variety of approaches to “doing science”, including field (observational), modeling and experimental techniques.


Name: Gretchen Rollwagen-Bollens, Associate Clinical Professor, School of the Environment
Email: rollboll@vancouver.wsu.edu

Dr. Rollwagen-Bollens’ research interests fall broadly within Biological Oceanography and Aquatic Ecology, with a focus on the community ecology of zooplankton, in particular the role of mesozooplankton (organisms < 2mm in size) and microzooplankton (organisms


Name: Craig Moyer, Professor of Biology
Email: cmoyer@hydro.biol.wwu.edu
Web: http://fire.biol.wwu.edu/cmoyer/research.html

Professor Moyer’s interests are marine microbiology and geomicrobiology focusing on molecular approaches for exploring microbial diversity, community structure and ecological interactions. Presently, his lab is focused on the study of iron-oxidizing Zetaproteobacteria acting as the ecosystem engineers in microbial mats found at strong redox boundaries, including seep, spring and vent habitats. The lab is also examining the evolutionary divergence of surface and deep subsurface Zetaproteobacteria in hydrothermal systems.