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    Hello! Welcome to Breakthroughs, a site devoted to sharing with you the latest, greatest advancements from the College of Science at Oregon State University. From breakthroughs in research to transformational philanthropy to interesting tidbits from the daily life of the College, we'll post frequently to keep you up-to-date. Please visit often and absolutely let us know what you might like to learn more about. Enjoy, and of course, GO BEAVS!
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Archive for the ‘Microbiology’ Category

Surprise in Sargasso

Posted by The College of Science at OSU on February 1, 2011

Surprise in Sargasso

Lee Sherman, terra Magazine

Microbes are masters of adaptation.

In some of Earth’s most extreme environments — Antarc- tica’s frigid ice fields, Yellowstone’s sulfuric hot springs, Crater Lake’s lightless depths, the oceans’ deep-sea basalts — Stephen Giovannoni has discovered thriving communities of bacteria. As the holder of the Emile F. Pernot Distinguished Professorship in Microbiology, he has discovered some of the most abundant life forms on the planet.


Posted in Microbiology, Terra | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Biologists rally to sequence ‘neglected’ microbes

Posted by The College of Science at OSU on November 18, 2009


The GenBank sequence database, the central repository of all publicly available DNA sequences, counted its thousandth complete microbial genome this month. But a thousand genomes is only a small fraction of the diversity that exists in the microscopic world. Now, scientists want to fill in the gaps.

“The broad brush strokes of microbial diversity are not adequately represented in that first thousand,” says Stephen Giovannoni, a microbiologist at Oregon State University in Corvallis. “It’s absolutely important that we sequence more.”

Click here for the full article.

Posted in Microbiology | Leave a Comment »

Breakthrough in Food Safety

Posted by The College of Science at OSU on May 1, 2009

fightingfishBack in October, we posted about an exciting advance in Microbiology that could revolutionize the food industry, providing solutions to determining food safety and avoiding costly waste. We now have an article in the Spring 2009 issue of Terra to share with you!

Until now, there’s been no quick, accurate way to directly test food products for bacterial toxicity. But a breakthrough in the laboratory of OSU microbiologist Janine Trempy promises to help limit food-borne illnesses and spare lives while potentially saving companies millions in unnecessary recalls.

This very big discovery turned up in cells of a very small fish.

In addition, Janine, our associate dean in the College of Science, appeared on a Canadian Discovery Channel show called Daily Planet. You can view the video clip here at the Daily Planet website.

Posted in Microbiology | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

OSU Mentors

Posted by The College of Science at OSU on December 9, 2008


“It’s very difficult to have one model that you follow with all students,” says Bottomley. “You have to see students individually, giving them opportunities to recognize their own strengths.”

Mentorship is not a new thing for Peter Bottomley, professor of microbiology in the College of Science. Back in 2006, Peter became the very first recipient of the Excellence in Graduate Mentoring Award, given by the OSU Graduate School.

These days, Peter is part of the Mentor Program at OSU. He and former student Shawn Starkenburg (’08) are featured on banners around campus, and here on the Mentor website. They also appeared in the Summer 2008 edition of Terra Magazine.

Posted in Microbiology | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Assessing the Threat of Whirling Disease

Posted by The College of Science at OSU on December 2, 2008

Risk Assessments May Help Control Spread of Whirling Disease in rainbow trout and other salmonids:

There are no effective ways to control the disease once it’s introduced. This makes it important, researchers say, to identify the most vulnerable river systems and take all the necessary steps, including public education efforts, to prevent it from becoming established.

“Some river systems in Colorado and Montana have lost 90 percent of their rainbow trout, and because of that fishery managers take this issue very seriously,” said Jerri Bartholomew, an OSU associate professor of microbiology.

Posted in Microbiology | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

The New Spokesanimal in Town

Posted by The College of Science at OSU on October 11, 2008


give a hoot

Smokey the Bear says: Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires!

Owl says: Give a Hoot! Don’t Pollute!

Siamese Fighting Fish says: This Food Is Not Bad for You! Do Not Waste Millions of Dollars By Telling Everyone It is Bad for Them When It is Not!!

According to an OSU media release, Dr. Janine Trempy, professor of microbiology and associate dean of the OSU College of Science, has teamed up with this Siamese fighting fish to revolutionize food safety.

She has developed a new technology to detect illness-causing bacteria – an advance that could revolutionize the food industry, improving the actual protection to consumers while avoiding the costly waste and massive recalls of products that are suspected of bacterial contamination but are perfectly safe. Dr. Trempy’s research was just published in the journal Microbial Biotechnology.

Posted in Microbiology | Leave a Comment »

Another article about Beijing air quality

Posted by The College of Science at OSU on August 15, 2008

Pollution levels unclear but a key concern, from USA Today.

Simonich has been taking air samples for the last seven days. She hasn’t finished her analysis and doesn’t have exact figures, but her rough estimate is that pollution levels are between two and seven times higher than in a typical larger American city and six times higher than the average during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, the Oregon State University researcher says.

Posted in Microbiology | Leave a Comment »

Update from Beijing

Posted by The College of Science at OSU on August 4, 2008

Dr. Staci Simonich writes a quick e-mail from Beijing:

In one of the most polluted atmospheres I have ever been in on Monday in Beijing with visibility only 0.5 miles or so with air sampler. Very hot and humid (see hair). The student is from Peking University (Mr. Wentao Wang) and will be spending 1 year in my lab analyzing the samples we are collecting.

On Friday night, Dr. Simonich was able to attend a rehearsal of the opening ceremony where she expected security to be very tight!

She shared a link to this article with us, to help illustrate what she’s up to: Beijing Considers New Curbs as Pollution Threatens Games


Posted in Microbiology | Leave a Comment »


Posted by The College of Science at OSU on July 17, 2008

Why, you ask, is Dr. Staci Simonich, Assistant Professor of Microbiology and Toxicology, standing on the rooftop of Peking University during the Olympics, holding a bunch of of white rectangular things?

She’s not competing in the emerging “waving white things” segment of the pentathalon.

Well, maybe she is. And we think she would bring home the gold if so.

But mostly she’s collecting air.

Those white rectangular filters will trap the air that contains particles that contain hydrocarbons, which she will later analyze back at her lab in Corvallis. She’ll be determining which hydrocarbons exist, whether they cause cancer and if the emissions clean-up prior to the Olympic games in Beijing has improved air quality there.

Her study is funded by the Chinese goverment and NSF. Dr. Simonich says she is hopeful that her research will help the Chinese government to better understand how it can control air quality in large cities.

So, if you’re in Beijing sometime in the next month and you see Staci at the games, give her a big high five.

Here’s the press release with way more info.


from OSU News and Communications:

Simonich specializes in studying how pollutants travel through the atmosphere. She runs a lab at OSU that identifies and tracks chemicals, like pesticides, that hitch rides along airstreams that start in Asia and blow across the Pacific Ocean to mountains in the western United States. She also is a member of a National Academy of Sciences committee that studies pollutants entering and leaving the United States.

Posted in Microbiology | Leave a Comment »

Parasites Found on Ducks! Beavers Not Surprised!

Posted by The College of Science at OSU on March 25, 2008

Jerri Bartholomew, PhD and professor of microbiology at OSU studies fish parasites. In a study announced today and  published in the International Journal of Parasitology, she identifies nine cases of a newly found species of myxozoa in ducks.

It would be unsportsmanlike to say that we’ve always known that ducks are dirty, but we’ll say so anyway.

Posted in Microbiology | Leave a Comment »