Available Internships

Winter/Spring 2022 Beginning Researchers Support Program

Sustainable technologies to reduce food waste

Sustainable technologies to reduce food waste

Faculty Mentor Name: Mike Penner
Faculty Mentor Department: Food Science and Technology
Student research work will be: In-person
Student research location: Wiegand Hall

Project Abstract:

This project aims to contribute to the development of economically viable, chemistry-based technologies to reduce food waste and thus foster more sustainable food systems. The project includes two broad approaches to food waste reduction. The first approach is to improve the functional properties of food processing byproducts such that these materials can be used for subsequent food applications (rather than being deemed low-value byproducts). This work involves extending our understanding of the functionality of major components present in food byproducts (e.g., proteins, fibers, antioxidants), developing recovery methods to selectively enrich the different components in food byproducts, and developing methods to alter the functionality of these components in a food-safe manner and thus expand their applicability in formulated foods. ‘Functionality,’ as used herein, refers to properties of food components that dictate their behavior in actual food products – such as their impact on foams, emulsions, oil retention, color stability, etc. An example of this type of work is the development of methods for improving the water retention properties of brewers spent grains for applications as, among other things, meat extenders. The second general approach used in this work is to develop technologies to improve the general acceptability of existing nutrient-rich foods and thus minimize their waste. This work focusses on food-safe methods to modify the sensory properties of foods, such as aroma, taste, and appearance. An example of this type of work is the development of strategies for improving the consumer acceptability of cruciferous vegetables.

The Job - Project Description:

The projects that this person could potentially work with have multiple aims; the aims change somewhat as different projects come into the laboratory. Current projects focus on (1) the use of chemical approaches for the stripping of off-flavors from vegetable purees to enhance  consumer acceptability, (2) the use of sonication (ultrasound) to improve the functional properties of food macromolecules, particularly dietary fibers, and thus improve their quality for use in formulated foods, and (3) extraction processes for the recovery of protein from seafood byproducts in order to minimize the amount of high quality protein being wasted. Each of these projects uses the same approach, that being the application of chemical principles, i.e., applied chemistry, to maximize the use of food-byproduct materials that are heretofore wasted.

Description of work environment:

The work will be done in a traditional university science laboratory.

Description of Student Responsibilities:

Conduct experiments, which includes participating in experimental design, taking the lead on data collection, participating in data analysis, and documenting findings. This person will also be participating in lab maintenance and laboratory optimization for efficient research productivity.

Skills:

Able to follow directions, able to do basic chemical calculations, capable of safely working in a laboratory, capable to paying attention to details, has effective communication skills (written and oral), able to take responsibility for actions, able to get along with others.

Learning Outcomes: The primary learning outcome from this experience is that students will be familiar with the application of the scientific method to solve problems in applied chemistry, with special reference to problems of relevance to food systems. Because these are applied chemistry projects, the students will have a familiarity and comfort level for working in such laboratories.

Expected start and end date: early January; early May
Anticipated hours per week: variable, but must be able to work a minimum of 3 hour shifts
Anticipated hourly wage: $14

Microbiome interactions with Influenza virus

Microbiome interactions with Influenza virus

Faculty Mentor Name: Hannah Rowe
Faculty Mentor Department: Microbiology
Student research work will be: In-person
Student research location: Nash Hall

Project Abstract:

The Rowe lab examines direct and indirect interactions between Influenza viruses and the microbiome during infection and transmission.  The reservoir of Influenza A virus is wild birds, and transmission from wild birds to poultry species or to swine threatens animal welfare and production.  Further, Influenza A is a zoonotic threat and has pandemic potential.  Ongoing projects in the lab are to characterize what bacterial factors are responsible for the binding of Influenza virus to bacteria, and alteration of both bacterial and viral infectivity to cell lines; characterization of how bacteria and bacterial products can alter the environmental stability of influenza viruses in the environment; how genetic exchange is altered by formation of bacterial-viral complexes (with impacts on spread of antibiotic resistance and evolution of new influenza strains).

The Job - Project Description:

The undergrad who joins our lab will be responsible for culture of bacterial and viral strains and testing the formation and stability of interactions between bacterial cells and viral particles. You will assist the PI and graduate students in design and analysis of experiments and interpretation of results.  Students participate in lab meetings and journal club and lab activities. You will get to learn molecular biology (PCR, RT-PCR, agarose and polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, western blot), and culture of bacteria, mammalian and avian cell lines, viral culture in cells and in eggs.  After several terms in the lab, a student may also be trained in murine and chicken models of infection.

Description of work environment:

The Rowe lab is a small and growing lab. The PI is in her second year at OSU and loves being at the bench, so you will have lots of interactions with the PI.  There are two first year graduate students at the moment, but the lab is growing.

Description of Student Responsibilities:

You will be expected to communicate with the PI and fellow lab members, come to the lab when you are expected (though we are flexible around your classes and other commitments), follow the lab SOPs, keep good records of your methods and results while performing experiments, participate in lab meetings and journal club, present your work at OSU.

Skills: Be willing to learn!

Learning Outcomes:

Molecular biology techniques, bacterial and viral culture techniques, design and interpretation of experiments, communication with labmates and PI, communication of results.

Expected start and end date: Jan 2022-whenever (Ideally several terms)
Anticipated hours per week: 5-20
Anticipated hourly wage: 13

Evaluating the use of High Tunnels and Low Tunnels for Season Extension of Organic Strawberries

Evaluating the use of High Tunnels and Low Tunnels for Season Extension of Organic Strawberries

Faculty Mentor Name: Erica Chernoh
Faculty Mentor Department: Horticulture
Student research work will be: Hyrbid and In-person
Student research location: North Willamette Research and Extension Center (NWREC)

Project Abstract:

Oregon-grown strawberries are a valuable product with high-quality and exceptionally flavorful fruit. This project will focus on tunnel production of organic, day-neutral strawberries for the fresh market. This will contribute to the larger work of the Berry Research Initiative, which conducts research to assist our Oregon growers in developing better production practices for Oregon berries. The selected student will work in the field at the North Willamette Research and Extension Center (in Aurora) on an organic strawberry plot with high tunnels and low tunnels used for extending the harvest season. The student will develop a research project of their choice focused on an aspect of strawberry production under high tunnels or low tunnels. This may include crop biology, cultural production practices or any type of organic management practice. In winter term, the student will develop their research project and experimental design, and in the spring will manage the project, collect data, and contribute to the general maintenance of the strawberries.

The Job - Project Description:

Strawberries for fresh market are commonly grown on raised beds with plastic mulch to achieve better weed management, temperature regulation, and water drainage. These strawberry cultivars are “day-neutral” and therefore produce fruit all season long, beginning in late-May and continuing through early October depending on the season’s weather conditions. This harvest window can be extended, and the fruit quality improved, through the use of low tunnels and high tunnels for frost and precipitation protection, and optimized pest-management practices. Growers who use organic practices can achieve significant price premiums on their fruit, as the demand for local, organic strawberries is not met with current production methods in the early and late season. We seek a student to help manage a project related to the production of organic strawberries in the Willamette Valley. We are continuing previous season extension research with a new strawberry field that utilizes low tunnels, high tunnels, and low tunnels under high tunnels to study which methods are most effective and efficient. Potential projects could focus on management practices of high tunnel production, including fertilizer application, irrigation optimization, nutrient sampling methods, as well as cultural practices, and organic pest management methods for common strawberry pests.

Description of work environment:

Work will primarily be field work and greenhouse work (~80%) at the North Willamette Research and Extension Center (NWREC), with some computer-based data entry and analysis (~20%) done remotely. Please note that NWREC is in Aurora, a 1-hour drive from Corvallis. Opportunities for carpooling are possible but not guaranteed. Work at NWREC during the winter term will not be required on a regular basis, however during spring term students will be expected to work 1-2 days per week at NWREC. The majority of work onsite will be completed outdoors or in open-air greenhouse settings, and the student must be willing to comply with relevant COVID safety precautions. Students must have a valid driver’s license.

Description of Student Responsibilities:

The student will focus on project design and planning during part of winter term, approximately 5 hours per week starting in March. The student will be expected to work 8-20 hours a week during spring term depending on funding and work availability. During this time, the student will be expected to spend an estimated total of: (a) 25 hours assisting with the preparation of the study, (b) 100 hours preparing the planting, managing the crop, and collecting data, and (3) 25 hours working remotely giving regular progress reports and collaborating with student coworkers. Additional duties include literature review, data collection and analysis, and writing up results. The student may be given opportunities for more hours if they are a good fit for the team and are interested in more work. The student will have a flexible schedule but must be communicative and responsible for this system to work. Scheduling may need to be adjusted depending on weather and the needs of the project.

Skills:

It is preferred that students have a basic understanding of plant biology, academic research, and data collection. Good organization, communication, and problem-solving will be critical to student success. The student must have an interest in agriculture, especially in the development of new techniques in a certified organic setting. All essential training will be provided to the student, so experience and knowledge in these areas is not required.

Learning Outcomes:

The chosen student will actively participate in the development and management of the entire research project, including but not limited to field preparation, trial set-up, planting and field maintenance, data collection, harvest, analysis, and write-up. The mentor will provide training on research and field trial management basics, study design, and data collection and analysis, as necessary. There will be additional learning opportunities to prepare and develop educational materials and activities. Students will likely learn to use hand tools, power tools, and a lot about organic strawberry production methods.

Expected start and end date: Start date – March 2021. End date – June 10, 2021. There is potential to continue as a summer intern or continuing researcher de
Anticipated hours per week: 8-20 hours/week
Anticipated hourly wage: $12.7

Evaluating patterns and effects of disease on eelgrass communities

Evaluating patterns and effects of disease on eelgrass communities

Faculty Mentor Name: Fiona Tomas Nash
Faculty Mentor Department: Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Sciences
Student research work will be: In-person
Student research location: Corvallis (with some field work along Oregon estuaries)

Project Abstract:

The seagrass Zostera marina (eelgrass) creates critical habitats in estuaries worldwide, providing food and shelter for many organisms. Unfortunately, seagrasses are threatened by several human-induced stressors, such as climate change, pollution, or invasions. This project will perform field work (sampling in Oregon estuaries), and laboratory analyses (at OSU) to examine the patterns and impacts of disease on eelgrass communities. The student will gain skills in experimental design, seagrass and microbial ecology, as well as field and laboratory sampling techniques, and will be interacting with graduate and undergraduate students involved in different aspects of the project.

The Job - Project Description:

This project entails several different types of activities. On the one hand, there will be field work conducted in Oregon estuaries, mainly Coos Bay and Yaquina Bay. In these estuaries we will sample the intertidal eelgrass beds, where we will conduct in situ counting of seagrass parameters, and where we will also collect samples that will be transported in to the laboratory, where we will measure different plant traits, including disease.

In addition to field work, the student will also be involved in laboratory work, examining different aspects of disease growth on seagrass (e.g. seasonal patterns, virulence…). This will include sample processing to examine plant traits, laboratory work growing different strains of disease, and molecular work to extract and characterize the microbial communities associated with seagrass.

Description of work environment:

Main work will be based in Corvallis OSU campus, where the student will be performing lab work in collaboration with other undergraduates and under the supervision of the PI and collaborators (graduate students and co-PI Dr. Mueller from Dept. Microbiology). Field work will be conducted in two estuaries in Oregon (Coos Bay and Yaquina Bay). When performing this fieldwork, housing and transport will be covered by the PI. Transport to and from Corvallis and Newport will be covered by PI.

Description of Student Responsibilities:

The student will be involved in different activities that require different organizations and logistics. For example, laboratory work will imply a regular normal schedule Mon-Fri 9am to 5pm (approximately; hours are flexible). On the other hand, given that the field sampling times are driven by the tides, this means that field work can imply some early morning rises / or late nights and long days of work (in order to process the time-sensitive samples collected during the morning). Those long work days however, will be restricted to the low tide series (once a month approximately), each sampling lasting about 2 to 3 days.

Students will be involved in the fieldwork (e.g. counting seagrass, collecting water samples), and with laboratory work (e.g. culturing cells of seagrass wasting disease, extracting DNA, etc.), as well as in recording data and entering the data in a database.

Skills:

The student will gain skills in experimental design, skills in field and laboratory sampling techniques, particularly regarding seagrass physiology and ecology, microbial ecology, and molecular biology.

Learning Outcomes:

Students will develop an understanding of the organisms, environments, and ecological processes occurring in estuarine systems, particularly regarding the ecological processes that affect estuarine habitats, such as seagrass beds, and how different environmental (e.g. warming) and biological (e.g. disease, microbes) factors affect plant health.

Students will develop the ability to understand how experimental design works (for both field sampling and laboratory experiments) and will also be able to evaluate seagrass physiology and ecology, and develop an understanding of molecular biology approaches to the study of plant - microbe interactions.

Expected start and end date: December 1st 2021 to April 1st 2022
Anticipated hours per week: minimum of 5, all the way to 20, depending on time availability
Anticipated hourly wage: $12/hr

Identifying the chemical markers indicative of aquatic ecosystem health

Identifying the chemical markers indicative of aquatic ecosystem health

Faculty Mentor Name: Gerrad Jones; Ivan Arismendi
Faculty Mentor Department: Biological & Ecological Engineering; Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Sciences
Student research work will be: Hyrbid
Student research location: Corvallis, OR

Project Abstract:

Tens of thousands of chemicals exist in environmental water samples. At first glance, this chemical "soup" may seem like a random assortment of molecules, but our overall hypothesis is that the chemical composition of a sample is the sum of all ecosystem processes occurring upstream. All ecosystem processes generate chemical byproducts, and if we can decode the information that is recorded in these chemical signatures, we can theoretically monitor all processes occurring within an ecosystem simply by analyzing the chemical composition of a single water sample. In this project, we are particularly interested in identifying the chemical signatures that are predictive of stream health. A student will collect water samples and perform macroinvertebrate surveys in order to link the holistic chemical composition of a stream to ecosystem health. This project will involve a mixture of fieldwork, lab work, and machine learning programming. The student will work closely with graduate students within the colleges of Agricultural Sciences and Engineering.

The Job - Project Description:

This project is part of a collaboration between Gerrad Jones and Ivan Arismendi. We are looking for a student interested in ecosystem health, environmental chemistry, and/or macroinvertebrate ecology. The student will work closely with both labs to gain the training necessary to complete the fieldwork, lab work, and data analysis.

Field work will consist of traveling to local wadable streams to collect water samples and perform macroinvertebrate surveys. Water sampling will consist of grab samples and macroinvertebrates surveys will be conducted using kick nets. Samples will be processed and preserved onsite and taken to the lab for further analysis.

Lab work will consist of processing water samples for chemical analysis. Nonpolar organics will be extracted from water, transferred to liquid chromatography (LC) vials, and analyzed at OSU's Mass Spectrometry Center. Macroinvertebrates will be sorted by taxa and counted. Macroinvertebrate communities are sensitive to changes in water quality and are thus can be used to generate stream health indices.

Machine learning modeling will consists of using existing scripts that select those chemical features that best predict our macroinvertebrate stream health index. This work will be done using Jupyter notebook, which is an open-source web-based Python editor that runs in a web browser. Thus, this portion of the project can be conducted anywhere.

Overall, this project is multidisciplinary, collaborative, and is more than any single undergraduate student can do in one year. Therefore, we expect a student to work as a member of a team of undergraduate and graduate students and faculty.

Description of work environment:

What we expect of students: In general, we expect students to be safe, courteous, and enjoy themselves. While lab work and fieldwork are fun, negligence can result in dangerous situations for students and their coworkers. Therefore, we expect students to be safe and follow lab operating procedures at all times. In addition, we strongly encourage open communication, especially when mistakes are made. We have made many laboratory mistakes, and these mistakes should not be hidden. Therefore, we strive to cultivate a positive and comfortable atmosphere where open communication is encouraged, especially when it comes to laboratory safety. Students must treat the lab and their coworkers with respect. We will get farther by working together and by lifting one another up. Finally, we expect students to take ownership of their projects. We do not have all the answers, and we need creative out-of-the -box thinkers to help break down scientific roadblocks.

We expect to meet with a student ~1x per week, either in the office or on zoom. We believe it is important to foster good social relationships with students to lower barriers for interaction and open communication. The student for this project will work with a PhD student on all aspects of fieldwork, lab work, and data analysis.

What students can expect of us: Working with students is one of the most rewarding parts of our jobs. We get a lot of fulfillment working with students, and we are grateful for the opportunity to do so. You can expect us to be enthusiastic that you are here! We are your mentors, and you should expect us to help give you guidance on a wide variety of topics (class, research, and life). Mentoring is a lifelong commitment. You can expect us to give you strong, sound, and objective advice to help you move forward, both now and in the future. Getting a degree can be very challenging and very emotional. Sometimes there are tears, sometimes life throws unexpected curve balls, and sometimes you will have I-don’t-give-a-darn moments. We get it‚ we have been there. It is our job to help you navigate this time. You can expect us to be encouraging, supportive, and respectful during your best times and your worst. We will do our best to provide you with opportunities to do cool research, to explore your interests, and to let you fail. Yes, failure is important. Everybody struggles in science, and only those who can overcome failure will succeed. You can expect us to look for and provide opportunities for you.

Description of Student Responsibilities:

We expect the student to take a leadership role in fieldwork, lab work, and/or data analysis. This means that it will be up to the student to organize research activities including trips, to collect and processes samples, and analyze data. In addition, the student will follow research and safety protocols or develop/write them when necessary. The student will be required to maintain a laboratory notebook to ensure high quality scientific data.

To help the student succeed, the student will receive training in both the Jones and Arismendi research labs. When needed, help will always be available from graduate students, technicians, and faculty. Therefore, the student will be well supported throughout all aspects of the project.

Skills:

Required Skills-students must be creative, excited, and willing to fail. For me (Gerrad), ~80% of research is problem solving. Most ideas do not work as originally planned, but with creative out-of-the-box thinking, we can overcome any problem we encounter. It is important for students to take control and be invested/excited about their project. Otherwise, students will not be able to find creative solutions to move forward.

Learned Skills-at the end of this research experience, students will be familiar with general environmental chemistry and ecological concepts as well as basic laboratory techniques. In addition, students will get exposure to advanced statistical analysis tools that are relatively easy to code in Python. The ultimate goal is to improve ecosystem, so students will use these skills to make sustainable management recommendations that can be used to improve ecosystem health.

Learning Outcomes:

There are two technical outcomes and one broad outcome of this project.

First, students will have a greater understanding of environmental sampling in the field. Whether it is biological or chemical, having a rigorous protocol for collecting environmental samples in a consistent manner is necessary for ensuring high quality data.

Second, students are expected to hone their analytical and computational skills. Advances in science and engineering are limited only by our imagination. There are multiple ways to analyze large environmental datasets, and with creative and insightful questions, we can push the boundaries of science in to new realms. We all play a part in advancing science, and undergrads can make substantial contributions with a little creativity.

Finally, students will have a greater understanding of ecosystem function. Ecosystem health is linked to a wide variety of processes. By understanding the linkages between different environmental compartments, we will be better equipped to make management decisions that have a positive impact on ecosystem health.

Expected start and end date: January 2022
Anticipated hours per week: 5-10
Anticipated hourly wage: $12.75/hr

Production and analysis of carbohydrates for Human Tasting

Production and analysis of carbohydrates for Human Tasting

Faculty Mentor Name: Juyun Lim
Faculty Mentor Department: Food Science and Technology
Student research work will be: In-person
Student research location: Wiegand Hall

Project Abstract:

Research points to a novel mechanism for human taste perception of complex carbohydrates. This discovery has the potential to add “starchy” to the five documented taste qualities – salty, sweet, sour, bitter, and umami. To study potential mechanisms for this newly discovered taste, it is imperative to manufacture defined, low cost, and food grade samples for human testing. Food-grade starch mixtures are first prepared using ethanol fractionation, taking advantage of the differential solubility of starch components in ethanol. These preparations are then further separated using large-scale preparative column chromatography. Solvent is removed via rotary evaporation before lyophilization. Resulting fractions are characterized by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), thin layer chromatography (TLC), and spectrophotometric analysis.

The Job - Project Description:

his job will apply principles of chemistry to food/food ingredient production. We prepare starch products for human testing, which involves chromatographic separation and chemical analysis. Working with food-grade starting materials, you will learn several separation techniques (including, but not limited to: fractionation, evaporation, filtration, and liquid chromatography) with the goal of mass-producing high quality samples for further study. You may also be asked to analyze samples with several analytical methods, including thin layer chromatography and high performance liquid chromatography, or to perform chemical assays.

Description of work environment: Working under two faculty members (Drs. Juyun Lim and Mike Penner) and a post-doctoral researcher with three graduate students. Both the food-grade and chemistry laboratories are located in Weigand Hall.

Description of Student Responsibilities:

  • Prepare starch mixtures using ethanol fractionation or enzyme digestion
  • Purchase supplies as needed online and at the Chemistry Store
  • Pack columns and monitor eluting material for preparative chromatography*
  • Monitor pressure and restock forced air
  • Facilitate freeze drying with Linus Pauling Institute
  • Analyze samples as needed (including but not limited to: HPLC and TLC)

Skills:

Separations chemistry, food-safe requirements, analysis methods Learning Outcomes: Comprehensive understanding of analytic methodology, food-safe methods for isolating materials for humans sensory testing, communication skills

Expected start and end date: December 2021/January 2022; minimum of 2 terms
Anticipated hours per week: Up to 20 hrs
Anticipated hourly wage: $12.75

Evaluation of re-naturalization (aka Stage 0) as a river restoration technique

Evaluation of re-naturalization (aka Stage 0) as a river restoration technique

Faculty Mentor Name: Desiree Tullos
Faculty Mentor Department: Biological and Ecological Engineering
Student research work will be: Hyrbid and In-person
Student research location: Corvallis

Project Abstract:

River restoration is a $1B+ business that is often characterized by failures at individual projects and by a widespread failure to recover declining species. To avoid the same problems that emerged with previous practices in river restoration, rigorous scientific review of emerging restoration practices is essential (Lautz et al. 2019). These emerging practices, such as renaturalization (aka “Stage 0”) projects, need scientific evaluation to evaluate the conceptual models that provide the basis for the restoration work and to support improvements to the practice. Stage 0 river restoration is an innovative but untested approach to river restoration that involves resetting a single-thread channel into the multi-threaded, wood-rich, and hydraulically-diverse configuration that some believe represent the historical condition (Cluer and Thorne 2014). Designs are simple and largely done during construction, with the expectation that the river will shape itself post construction. However, it is not clear if and where sediment is retained, passed, or eroded, and if and how the desired bedforms evolve under different flow conditions. In addition, it is not clear how much habitat these projects produce and for whom, or whether fish simply move from other habitats or if more fish are produced as a result of these new habitats. These geomorphic experiments are expected to produce more biologically productive and resilient environments, but the physical processes and ecological outcomes are largely unstudied.

This project involves field and modeling research at two Stage 0 sites in Oregon. The interdisciplinary and scaffolded research questions are: 1) Environmental sensing: What configuration  and workflow is needed for integrating, novel environmental sensors to adequately quantify local hydraulics, sediment transport, and roughness characteristics in a complex river? 2) Geomorphology: How does sediment move through at Stage 0 site and how do bedforms evolve at low and high gradient sites? and 3) Fish bioenergetics: Do hydraulic, sediment, and foraging conditions in a Stage 0 site predict higher growth rates than at an unrestored site?

Research will be conducted at the Lower South Fork McKenzie River (LSFM) and at Five Mile-Bell site. The LSFM is a gravel dominated river with a gradient of ~1%, draining the western Cascades, whereas Five Mile-Bell is located near the Oregon coast, with a bed dominated by sand and a gradient of only 0.1%.

For research questions 1 and 2, We will utilize “Smart” rocks developed by OSU's OPEnS lab makerspace. These low-cost sensors can be instrumented with pressure transducers, thermisters, and radio frequency identification tags and will be placed throughout the study sites to measure depths and temperature and to track the movement of sediment through the site. The placement sites for the SMART rocks will be located in areas of flow concentration where sediment is expected to erode, areas of low velocities where sediment may deposit, and, and areas associated with different salmon habitats (e.g., spawning, rearing). In addition, we will use UAVs to collect imagery of the site and Structure from Motion photogrammetry techniques to map the channel topography. Sites will be revisited quarterly to download rock data and resurvey the channels; We will also prioritize adding surveys following large flow events.

The Job - Project Description:

This student will work as part of a team of undergraduate and graduate students in the deployment, collection, and analysis of environmental sensors within two recent river restoration projects.

Description of work environment:

This field work involves a 1.5 hour drive to project sites, challenging (but safe) scrambles and wading through a river with a lot of large wood, potential exposure to cold water, and processing and analysis of data. Safety is the first priority in my lab and students will never be in the field alone.

Description of Student Responsibilities:

The student will be part of a team collecting and placing sensors in the field, bring them back into the lab, downloading the data, processing the data into Excel data files, and producing summary plots.

Skills:

  • attention to detail - required
  • willingness to search for answers independently before asking questions - required
  • ability to show up on time to meetings and commit to a work schedule - required
  • respect for and value of diversity - required
  • Excel experience – required
  • Interest in and ability to work outside in beautiful but potentially difficult circumstances – required
  • GIS experience - preferred

Learning Outcomes:

This student will gain experiences in:

  • Field work safety
  • Field work design and environmental sensory
  • Team work
  • Data management
  • River habitats and hydraulics

Expected start and end date: 02/15/2022 - 06/15/2022
Anticipated hours per week: 5hrs/week for weeks we are in the field, approximately on alternate weeks
Anticipated hourly wage: 15

Agricultural sciences and natural resources communication research

Agricultural sciences and natural resources communication research

Faculty Mentor Name: Cara Lawson
Faculty Mentor Department: Ag Education & Ag Sciences
Student research work will be: Hyrbid, Remote, and In-person
Student research location: Corvallis, or anywhere

Project Abstract:

My research is in agricultural sciences and natural resources communications. Specifically, my research focuses on understanding the media’s role in issues facing rural society – mostly from a health standpoint. I enjoy learning about complex issues unfolding (from drug abuse to wildfires) and impacting rural communities and figuring out ways to use communication to make things hopefully better. Part of this is understanding public opinion on issues.

The Job - Project Description:

I am currently collecting data from Oregon residents on their information seeking preferences during natural disasters. I am also looking at trust in science and trust in the media. There are other ideas I have in mind, but I am interested in learning about student interests and finding a topic of mutual curiosity.

Description of work environment:

Social science research can take place from a home or office. Field work can take place, but I do not anticipate field work for any of the projects I have in mind.

Description of Student Responsibilities:

Students will be responsible for helping to design studies, conduct literature reviews, analyze data, and report findings.

Skills:

I am looking for students who are curious about social science research with emphasis in issues facing rural society, public policy implications, and rural health issues.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Students will apply appropriate research methods to research problems.
  • Students will develop skills in data collection and analysis.

Expected start and end date: start winter quarter, end spring quarter
Anticipated hours per week: 4-5
Anticipated hourly wage: $12

Studying the foraging ecology and ecosystem impacts of salmon sharks in the Pacific Northwest.

Studying the foraging ecology and ecosystem impacts of salmon sharks in the Pacific Northwest.

Faculty Mentor Name: Taylor Chapple
Faculty Mentor Department: Coastal Oregon Marine Experiment Station/Fisheries Wildlife and Conservation Sciences
Student research work will be: In-person
Student research location: Hatfield Marine Science Center

Project Abstract:

The Pacific Northwest (PNW) of the United States supports numerous ecologically and economically important marine resources. Over the last 45 years, many overfished species here have started to recover due to fisheries management. However, species such as Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) in the Columbia River basin are still declining. Multiple runs of Chinook salmon in the Columbia River are now listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) as threatened or endangered. Recent evidence suggests that natural predation also inhibits the recovery of ESA-listed salmon stocks. Yet predation rates are often excluded from population-level assessments of salmon, although they can significantly influence our understanding of how a given salmon population is faring.

In the PNW, the Salmon shark (Lamna ditropis; SS) is thought to be responsible for increasing oceanic salmon mortality, but its impact on salmon remains unquantified. A predator whose range extends throughout the North Pacific, the SS has been observed to seasonally occupy waters along the PNW coastline, possibly to exploit different types of prey. Given that they are known to have a high metabolic rate, SS likely have higher food consumption rates than even marine mammals, eating significant amounts of commercially valuable species such as salmon, squid, sablefish, herring, and hake. However, we do not yet have the data to determine the impact of SS predation on any managed species in the PNW, particularly the threatened salmon runs from the Columbia River basin.

Understanding the impact of SS on salmon populations is critical to establishing why some populations of salmon are still declining. Consequently, a major objective of this project is to determine what prey species SS are consuming, and how much of each species, to assess their impact on salmon stocks and other managed prey populations.

The Job - Project Description:

The student will work primarily with the project leader (Alexandra McInturf) and principal investigator (Taylor Chapple) at the Hatfield Marine Science Center to analyze stomach, muscle, liver, and blood samples from salmon sharks. These will be used to determine the composition of salmon shark diet (i.e. what these sharks are consuming, and how much), through stomach content and stable isotope analysis. In addition, the student will be responsible for leading a complementary, individual project cataloguing any plastics observed in salmon shark stomachs, with potential for authorship on a scientific publication (with assistance from collaborator Dr. Matthew Savoca).

Description of work environment:

Student will principally work from our designated laboratory space at the Hatfield Marine Science Center. There is a small possibility of fieldwork to collect shark samples, either along the Oregon coastline or during day trips out at sea.

Description of Student Responsibilities:

This position will be primarily laboratory based, focused on data collection with some opportunity for analysis. Student will be responsible for dissecting shark stomachs and cataloguing their contents, first working alongside the project leader and then independently, depending on student progress. They may assist in preparation of muscle, liver, and blood samples, which will be sent to other collaborators for stable isotope analysis. They will also lead an individual project analyzing the frequency of plastic consumption by sharks, by cleaning and cataloguing all plastic fragments found throughout the dissection according to the size, sex, and location of the shark and the shape and color of the plastic. There is an opportunity for the student to analyze and write up these results into a publishable manuscript.

Skills: No prior experience necessary. However, the student should be highly communicative, capable of working independently, and demonstrate meticulous attention to detail and strong organizational skills. They will be expected to be fully committed to their schedule for this project, and barring any emergencies, their presence at the Hatfield Marine Science Center for their designated research shifts is mandatory. This work is not well-suited to those who are deterred by strong odors or blood, or who may otherwise experience queasiness during dissections.

Learning Outcomes:

Student will learn how to conduct stomach content analysis specifically, and lab-based data collection and management more broadly. There is also high potential to learn project leadership skills and some analysis using statistical modeling and the R programming language.

Expected start and end date: This position is available February-June. The expected start and end date are flexible depending on the student's schedule

Anticipated hours per week: 3-5, with some variation depending on number of samples obtained
Anticipated hourly wage: $10/hr

Environmental Sensing Field Technical support

Environmental Sensing Field Technical support

Faculty Mentor Name: John Selker
Faculty Mentor Department: Biological and Ecological Engineering Student research work will be: In-person
Student research location: Gilmore Annex, Greenhouses, Local farms

Project Abstract:

The OPEnS lab (Open-Sensing.org) at OSU develops new environmental sensing solutions for many applications, with a strong agricultural line of work.  We have many students from computer science, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and industrial engineering, but need students excited by getting out in the field to test the results of the student team's developments.  This will require understanding the technology, installing it in the field, collecting data from both the installation details and the readings of sensors, and making basic analyses of the data.  The sensors include stream level, depth, quality; plant water status, rainfall, evaporation, etc.

The Job - Project Description:

The student will work with a technical team made up entirely of undergraduate students and assist in the field installation and testing of novel environmental sensing systems.

Description of work environment:

Some time will be spent in the sensor development lab (about 20%), much of the time will be in the field (25%), with team communication being about 10%, and about 35% will be in data analysis and reporting.

Description of Student Responsibilities:

The student will work with a technical team made up entirely of undergraduate students and assist in the field installation and testing of novel environmental sensing systems.  You will be expected to either drive a car, or be able to carry about 15lbs of materials on a bicycle.

Skills:

Attention to detail, good manual skills, good communication skills, integrity (willingness to tell people bad news when things don't go well).

Learning Outcomes:

Advance communication skills, technical field skills, data analysis skills.

Expected start and end date: Start ASAP, potential engagement for several years, if things go well.
Anticipated hours per week: 10-15
Anticipated hourly wage: $13

Luteinizing hormone receptor expression in canine hemangiosarcoma cells

Luteinizing hormone receptor expression in canine hemangiosarcoma cells

Faculty Mentor Name: Michelle Kutzler
Faculty Mentor Department: Animal and Rangeland Science
Student research work will be: In-person
Student research location: Weniger 540-542

Project Abstract:

Hemangiosarcoma is a cancer of the blood vessels in dogs. Dogs that have been spayed or neutered are at a significantly higher risk for developing hemangiosarcoma than intact dogs. One possible reason for this is due to the oversecretion of luteinizing hormone (LH) in dogs after spaying and neutering. Receptors for LH are found in blood vessels of normal dogs as well as in canine hemangiosarcoma tissue. This American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation funded project seeks to demonstrate the action of stimulating LH receptors in canine hemangiosarcoma cells in vitro. We hypothesize that LH will stimulate cancer cells to proliferate in culture.

The Job - Project Description:

The student will spend 0-1 hours in the lab each day managing the cells in culture.  In addition, 3-4 times per term, then student will spend 10-15 hours/week in the lab running the proliferation assay.

Description of work environment:

The work environment is in a research laboratory. Cell culture requires the use of sterile equipment and biosafety cabinets. The student will be expected to wear long pants and closed toes shoes. A laboratory coat and disposable gloves will be provided. There is no eating or drinking allowed in the research laboratory.

Description of Student Responsibilities:

The student with be responsible for the daily management of 4 canine hemangiosarcoma cell lines.  In addition, 3-4 times per term, the student will be responsible for running the proliferation assay.

Skills:

Knowledge of sterile technique and use of a serologic and micropipettor is preferred but these skills can also be taught to the successful applicant. Excellent laboratory record keeping and communication skills with Dr. Kutzler and the other students working in the research laboratory is essential.

Learning Outcomes:

The student will learn how to grow cells in culture and how to determine if cell proliferation has occurred.  The student will also learn about hemangiosarcoma in dogs and risk factors for this cancer (e.g., spaying/neutering).

Expected start and end date: January 3, 2022 to June 3, 2022
Anticipated hours per week: 10
Anticipated hourly wage: 12.7