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Newsletter - The Biology Genome

Fall 2016 - Volume 2, Issue 5 **current issue

Summer 2016 - Volume 1, Issue 4 

Spring 2016 - Volume 1, Issue 3 

Winter 2016 - Volume 1, Issue 2 

Fall 2015 - Volume 1, Issue 1


PSU Biology alum Meghan Martin-Wintle from the Deborah Duffield lab partners with Oregon Zoo on “matchmaking” research to boost population of endangered giant panda.  Martin-Wintle's research was recently published in Nature Communications.  

Biology faculty Kenneth Stedman and Justin Courcelle each presented at the Oregon State University Microbiology Student Association's Research Symposium in Corvallis on Saturday, April 4th.

The title of my talk was : Viruses from Hell: Unique Viruses from Extreme Environments.

The title for Justin's talk was: The Importance of Finishing What you Start: The Completion of DNA Replication

p>Biology faculty member Deborah Lutterschmidt was selected as the recipient of the 2015 Gorbman-Bern New Independent Investigator Award by the North American Society for Comparative Endocrinology (NASCE). She will present a special lecture on her research at the society meeting in Ottawa, Canada in June 2015.For More information visit the NASCE website is

PSU receives $24 million Diversity Award from NIH, "Enhancing cross-disciplinary infrastructure training at Oregon (EXITO)", to establish collaborative partnerships between programs in Oregon, Alaska, Hawaii, and Pacific Islands that will support education and training of students from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds pursing careers in health sciences research!  The EXITO team includes Carlos Crespo (CUPA; lead), Suzanne Estes (Biology), Thomas Keller (School of Social Work), Dawn Richardson (CUPA), and Thomas Becker and Cynthia Morris (OHSU).

Dr. Ken Stedman and PhD student James Laidler from the Center for Life in Extreme Environments are featured in the latest Journal of Virology for their article, "How do viruses get around?"

Dr. Ken Stedman and his student Geoffrey Diemer (PhD) won the 7th BioMed Central Research Award, supported by  The researchers received their award for their article titled "A novel virus genome discovered in an extreme environment suggests recombination between unrelated groups of RNA and DNA viruses."

 YouTube trailer for "Edge of Life: Virus Among Us" starring Dr. Ken Stedman

Press for Rosenstiel et al. Nature paper: ScienceScientific American, OregonianOPBNew York Times

Nature News Blog: "Hot Spring Yields Hybrid Genome."  Click here to read more.

Dr. Deb Duffield was featured in the Oregonian for her work with two whales that washed up on shore recently. You can read about it here.



Wernick, Riana, Dana Howe, Suzanne Estes, and Dee Denver. "Paths of Heritable Mitochondrial DNA Mutation and Heteroplasmy in Reference and Gas-1 Strains of Caenorhabditis Elegans." Frontiers of Genetics 7 (2016). 

Adrienne Godschalx, Lauren Stady and Benjamin Watzig from the Ballhorn lab just published a paper in BMC Plant Biology. Godschalx et al. BMC Plant Biology (2016) 16:32, DOI 10.1186/s12870-016-0719-2
Biology graduate student Monte Mattsson and Biology professor Luis Ruedas published a paper in Ecology and Evolution (2015) doi: 10.1002/ece3.1826. Rapid and repeatable shifts in life-history timing of Rhagoletis pomonella (Diptera: Tephritidae) following colonization of novel host plants in the Pacific Northwestern United States. 
Biology graduate student Meghan Martin published a paper on her Ph.D. work in Nature Communications (2015) 6:10125 | DOI: 10.1038/ncomms10125.  Free mate choice enhances conservation breeding in the endangered giant panda.

Millar J.A., Ballhorn D.J. (2013). Effect of mycorrhizal colonization and light limitation on growth and reproduction of lima bean (Phaseolus lunatus L.). Journal of Applied Botany and Food Quality: 86(1): 172-179.

Stedman, K., "Mechanisms for RNA Capture by ssDNA Viruses: Grand Theft RNA" Journal of Molecular Evolution: Volume 76, Issue 6 (2013), pp 359-364.

Tidwell, K. S., D. J. Shepherdson, and M. P. Hayes. "2013 Interpopulaton Variability in evasive Behavior in the Oregon Spotted Frog (Rana pretiosa)" Journal of Herpetology. 47: 93-96.

Tidwell, K. S. and M. P. Hayes. "Difference in Flight Initiation Distance of Recently Metamorphosed Oregon Spotted Frogs (Rana pretiosa) and American Bullfrogs (Lithobates catesbeianus)" Herpetological Conservation Biology. Accepted.

S. Cancellieri, M. Murphy. "Experimental examination of nest reuse by an open-cup nesting passerine: savings of time/energy, or nest site shortage?" Animal Behaviour. Accepted.

A. Shipley, M. Murphy, and A. Elzinga. "Residential edges as ecological traps: Postfledging survival of a ground-nesting passerine in a forested urban park"  The Auk. Accepted.

Bartos-Smith, S., J. E. McKay, Jennifer K. Richardson, and M. T. Murphy.  2012. "Edges, trails and reproductive performance of Spotted Towhees in urban greenspaces." pp. 167-181, In Urban Bird Ecology and Conservation (Eds. C. A. Lepczyk and P. S. Warren). Studies in Avian Biology No. 45

Redmond, L. J., and M. T. Murphy.  2012.  Using complementary approaches to estimate survival of juvenile and adult Eastern Kingbirds.  Journal of Field Ornithology  83:247-259.

Ceballos, RM, Marceau, CD, Marceau, JO, Morris, S, Clore, AJ, Stedman, KM (2012). "Differential Virus Host-Ranges of the Fuselloviridae of Hyperthermophilic Archaea: Implications for Evolution in Extreme Environments." Frontiers in Extreme Microbiology.

Cheeke, T.E., Coleman, D. C., Wall, D.H. (Editors) 2012. "Microbial Ecology in Sustainable Agroecosystems. Advances in Agroecology Research." CRC Press.

Rosenstiel, TN, Shortlidge, EE, Melnychenko, AN, Pankow, JF, and Eppley, SM (2012). "Sex-specific volatile compounds influence microarthropod-mediated fertilization of moss." Nature.

Diemer, J. and Stedman, K. "A novel virus genome discovered in an extreme environment suggests recombination between unrelated groups of RNA and DNA viruses." Biology Direct, 2012; 7 (1): 13 DOI: 10.1186/1745-6150-7-13

Kautz S, Ballhorn DJ, Kroiss J, Pauls SU, Moreau CS, et al. (2012). "Host Plant Use by Competing Acacia-Ants: Mutualists Monopolize While Parasites Share Hosts." PLoS ONE 7(5): e37691. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0037691

Lutterschmidt, D.I.  "Chronobiology of reproduction in garter snakes: Neuroendocrine mechanisms and geographic variation."  General and Comparative Endocrinology, in press. Invited Review.

Deshler, J., and M.T. Murphy. 2012. "The breeding biology of the Northern Pygmy-owl: Do the smallest of the small have an advantage?" Condor. 114:314-322. 


Student News

Biology major Kimberly Gottschalx has been chosen for one of the coveted Wood's Hole Oceanographic Institution/MIT 2016 Summer Student Fellowships. The 2016 Summer Student Fellowship is a 12-week REU program sponsored by NSF on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  Kimberly is a LSAMP & McNair Scholar as well as an EXITO peer mentor!

Kyle Tidwell, of the Duffiled Lab, was awarded the Les Eberhardt Award for Best Student Presentation at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the Oregon Chapter of the Wildlife Society.

Caitlin Maraist is an MS student in the Epply lab. Her awarded project is titled "Effects of Endophytic Fungi on Sexual Effort and Chemical Cues of the Dioicous Moss, Ceratodon Purpureus".
Jess Millar is an MS student in the Raghavan lab. Her awarded project is titled "Horizontally acquired tRNA facilitates adaptation to an extreme environment."

Timea Deakova, a PhD student from the Rosenstiel Lab won second place in the Graduate Outstanding Research Award for Biological Science at the 12th annual Sigma Xi C-W Chapter Student Research Symposium.

Lindsay Holden, Ph.D. Student in Biology, is a 2015 Science, Mathematics, and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship-for-Service Program awardee. The funding line for Bioscience applicants was ~3% in 2014. This program is through the National Defense Education Program and Lindsay's work has been sponsored by the US Army Public Health Command at Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland. She is funded from August 1, 2015 - July 1, 2018 (stipend + tuition/fees = ~$153,500 over 3 years), plus 2 summer internships and a civilian job in toxicological research at the Public Health Command post-graduation.

Lindsay Holden also is a 2015 Summer Institute for Statistical Genetics scholarship awardee ($2400), hosted by the University of Washington Biostatistics department - July 6-15, 2015

Timea Deakova, Ph.D. student in Biology, Received 2015 Forbes-Lea Research Award. " The effect of variation in species and sex on moss BVOC emission".

Timea Deakova, a graduate student in the Rosenstiel lab, received an NSF graduate research fellowship.

Claire Riggs, a graduate student in the Podrabsky Lab received a NSF DDIG grant.

Adrienne Godschalx, a graduate student in the Ballhorn lab received a NSF DDIG grant.

Dr. Ken Stedman and PhD student James Laidler from the Center for Life in Extreme Environments are featured in the latest Journal of Virology for their article, "How do viruses get around?"

Undergrad Jess Millar has received the American Society for Microbiology Undergraduate Research Capstone Award. The ASM capstone program seeks to enhance the presentation skills of underrepresented minority students by providing them with resources to transition to disciplinary scientific meetings. Each ASM awardee receives a two-year ASM student membership and $1,500 in travel support to the ASM Capstone Institute and to the 114th ASM General Meeting.

Three PSU Biology students won awards for best posters at the Sigma Xi Columbia-Willamette Student Research Symposium held April 15. Grad student Timea Deakova won first place under the Biological Science category for her work titled, "Moss as a possible bioindicator for nitrogen deposition."  Doctoral student Brittney Davidge won top prize under the Biomedical Science category for her work, "Temporal control of cyclin E levels by the ubiquitin proteasome system."  Undergraduate Tan Nguyen received second place for undergrads for his poster, "Monitoring iron uptake onto gold nanoparticle surfaces for use as theranostic agents in cancer therapy." 

Catherine Dayger has been funded to attend ComSciCon, a communication science workshop for graduate students hosted by Harvard University. Over 800 students applied for the 50 spots available.

Congratulations to Catherine Dayger, a Biology PhD student in the Lutterschmidt Lab! She received a Grants-in-Aid of Research from the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology for her proposal "Plasticity in stress responses: A role for glucocorticoid receptor?"

James Powell (PhD student) and Dr. Deborah Duffield were recently awarded research grants from the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund ($18,474) and the Greenville Zoo ($1,000) for their work entitled "Bone Density of the Bottlenose Dolphin: A Model for Detecting Effects of Anthropogenic Contaminant Exposure."

In collaboration with CyberLogic, Inc., a research and development company based in New York City, James Powell (PhD student, Duffield Lab) was awarded a $150,000 Phase I NSF Small Business Innovation and Research grant for "Ultrasonic assessment of bone mineral density of the bottlenose dolphin: a proposed method for monitoring dolphin and ecosystem health."

James Powell (PhD student, Duffield Lab) received a $750 travel grant to assist in the 2013 Sarasota Dolphin Research Project Bottlenose Dolphin Health Assessments. Information about the research program can be found at

The University Student Achievement Award Winners for the previous academic year were announced on June 13.  The following is a list of Biology students who received this distinguished honor.

Dean's Award for Academic Achievement
Jess Millar, Undergraduate
Tanya Cheeke, Doctoral

Dean's Award for University Service
Eddie Ramirez, Undergraduate

President's Award for Academic Achievement
Geoff Diemer, Doctoral  

Duffield lab members Matthew Holdgate (PhD) and Kessina Lee (MS) both won poster awards at the GIS in Action 2013 Conference held at PSU April 29-May 1.  Matthew won the Spatial Choice Award for his poster titled, "Can GPS be used to improve zoo animal welfare? A case study of Asian and African zoo elephant movement." Kessina won the Real World Problem Solving award for her poster titled, "Sea lion mortality in Oregon & Washington, April to July 2012: GIS analysis of confirmed and suspected human interaction."

Undergraduate Jess Millar recently received two awards. One was a $800 travel grant from Harvard to attend an undergraduate professional development conference: America's Next Top Infectious Disease Model: HIV and Influenza; Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics in Chicago.  She also received $4,000 for an Opportunities in Genomic Research Undergraduate Scholars Fellowship to study at the Genome Institute this summer.

Catherine Dayger (PhD) and Kyle Tidwell (PhD) tied for second place in the Graduate Biological Sciences division at the Sigma Xi Student Research Symposium held on April 5. Catherine's poster was titled, "Body Condition Modulates Responses to Capture Stress and Exogenous Corticosterone in Female Garter Snakes" and Kyle's title was "Quantifying the effect of the Invasive Bullfrog (L. catesbeianus) on the Oregon Spotted Frog (R. pretiosa)."

Geoffrey Diemer (PhD) won the 'Computational and high-throughput studies in genomics and systems biology' category award from the BioMed Central's Annual Research Award for his article, "A novel virus genome discovered in an extreme environment suggests recombination between unrelated groups of RNA and DNA viruses." Geoffrey will compete with nine other subject-specific category winners for the prestigious BioMed Central Research Award.

Luke Remond (Phd) won the Best Student Paper in the Journal of Field Ornithology for 2012. 
Redmond, L. J., and M. T. Murphy.  2012.  Using complementary approaches to estimate survival of juvenile and adult Eastern Kingbirds.  Journal of Field Ornithology  83:247-259.

Amanda Kelley (PhD) was awarded a $500 travel grant to attend the 2013 SICB meeting in San Francisco where she will present her research on the ecophysiology of the invasive European Green Crab.

S.B. Sim, M. Mattsson, Jasmine L. Feder, D.H. Cha, W.L. Yee, R.B. Goughnour, C.E. Line Jr., Jeffrey L. Feder (2012). "A field test for host fruit odour discrimination and avoidance behaviour for Rhagoletis pomonella flies in the western
United States." Journal of Evolutionary Biology.

Kiley Hicks' (PhD student, Estes Lab) manuscript, "In vivo quantification reveals extensive natural variation in mitochondrial form and function in Caenorhabditis briggsae", was accepted for publication in PLoS One.

Sam Smith (MS Student, Estes Lab) was honored to receive the 2012 PSU Commendation Award and the President's Award for Outstanding University Service for his contributions to the Biology Department and to the university.

Fatema Fareh (Undergraduate Student in Biology) won the Cancer Research Training Award offered by NIH/NCL.  

Matthew Holdgate (MS, Duffield Lab) was awarded the Pittsburgh Zoo's "PPG Industries Sustainability & Conservation" grant to study lateral recumbency in zoo elephants. 

Catherine Dayger (PhD, Lutterschmidt Lab) received an ASIH Gaige Award for her research on "The role of corticosterone in reproduction: Implications for understanding the physiological impacts of climate change". 

Christina Howard (MS, Lutterschmidt Lab) received an ASIH Gaige Award for her proposal entitled "Do melatonin and arginine vasotocin interact to regulate reproductive behavior?"

Matthew Holdgate (MS, Duffield lab) received "best poster" in the technical innovation category at the "GIS In Action" conference.  The title of Matthew's poster is " Have Trunk, Will Travel: Using GPS to Understand Zoo Elephant Movement ." 

Erin Shortlidge (PhD, Eppley lab) received an NSF doctoral dissertation improvement grant for work "Testing mutualistic function in a multi-trophic mating system in mosses."

Julia Ruppell, PhD, Murphy was recently awarded a Fulbright for her work with the crested gibbon in Laos. You can see her talk about her research here. 

Nicole Paterson, an undergraduate researcher in the Stedman lab was just awarded a $5000 NASA Oregon Space Grant Undergraduate Research Scholarship for work on a novel DNA polymerase from an acidic hot lake.