Latest news from the UO

  • Zebrafish from UO helped find cause of Saul-Wilson syndrome

    First published in Around the O on October 8th, 2018. A line of zebrafish specially generated at the University of Oregon had a key role in discovering the cause of Saul-Wilson syndrome, a rare disease seen in just 15 cases worldwide. The discovery was detailed Oct. 4 by an international team of scientists in a paper published online ahead of print in the American Journal of Human Genetics. Researchers found that the disease — marked by dwarfism, microcephaly, hearing loss and developmental delays — results from an alteration in a gene that codes for a protein that is part of a stacked pancake-like structure known as the Golgi complex that directs protein traffic. “This has been a disease with no known cause, so our discovery can provide great relief to affected families,” said Monte Westerfield, a UO professor in the Department of Biology and member of the Institute of Neuroscience. “They now know that the problem is genetic and not due to problems with pregnancy, infectious disease or other environmental causes.” Westerfield and his research associates Aurélie Clément, Bernardo Blanco-Sanchéz, Jennifer Phillips and Jeremy Wegner, led the UO’s contribution to the study and were among a long list of co-authors from both inside and outside the United States. The UO-produced zebrafish mimicked the short stature, developmental delays and other affects characteristic of the disease. “Children with Saul-Wilson syndrome and their parents live with many unanswered questions,” said Dr. Carlos R. Ferreira, a medical geneticist with the National Human Genome Research Institute of the National Institutes of Health, which primarily funded the research. “Knowing the underlying cause of the condition is a major step forward for these individuals and could help scientists find a treatment for the disease.” The finding also advances the understanding of how Golgi complexes affect human health and may apply to additional skeletal disorders. For families affected by Saul-Wilson syndrome, Westerfield said, knowing the cause will allow for genetic testing to help rule out the likelihood of passing the disease on to other children. The research focused on a genetic analysis of 14 people with Saul-Wilson syndrome, which was first defined in 1990. All had the very same change in just one copy of the gene that codes for a specific protein, COG4, in the Golgi complex. Additional details are available in a news release issued by Sanford Burnham Prebys in LaJolla, California.

    Read More
  • Historic weekend includes Black Cultural Center groundbreaking

    First published in Around the O on October 8th, 2018. The second weekend of October will see several historic firsts on the University of Oregon campus, including a ceremonial groundbreaking for a new $2.5 million Black Cultural Center. The free public event will take place at 1:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 12, at the site of the new building at the corner of 15th Avenue and Villard Street. It will mark the end of the design phase of the project, which was a direct response to a demand made by the Black Student Task Force following a 2015 demonstration. Programming for the center will be funded through an allocation from the Presidential Fund for Excellence. The 2,700-square-foot facility also has been widely embraced by donors, who have provided $1.66 million in gifts to date, including a $1 million gift from Nancy and Dave Petrone. All told, the project has received 167 gifts from 134 donors. “We have focused on designing a facility that maximizes flexibility to accommodate a wide array of activities,” said Kevin Marbury, vice president for student life. “Designed to serve as a home base for academic and social activities for black students, it will also serve as a portal of black culture to all members of the community. We hope everyone will join us for the groundbreaking ceremony and take advantage of this great space for many years to come.” Designed by Architecture Building Culture in collaboration with The Maxine Studio, the center also will showcase artwork that celebrates black heritage. Also this weekend, the Black Student Task Force is partnering with the UO Black Male Alliance to present the Black Student Convocation from 4-6:30 p.m. Oct. 12 in the Woodruff Gym in Gerlinger Hall. At the event, black faculty cluster hires will be honored and recognized, as well as students in the Umoja Pan-African Scholars academic residential community and other individuals and groups from the UO and the community. Oct. 12 will also be the launch of the 2017-18 UO African-American Workshop and Lecture Series. Angela Rye, a political strategist and commentator, will speak at 10 a.m. in Beall Hall in the Frohnmayer Music Building  Her talk is also part of the Black Alumni Reunion. Rye is principal and CEO of Impact Strategies, a political advocacy firm in the nation's capital. She is a CNN political commentator and NPR political analyst. She has been featured as an influential lawyer and advocate by several publications and outlets from Marie Claire to Ebony and the Washington Post. A prominent strategist, Rye has offered on-air commentary for several media outlets, including BET, CNN, NBC, HBO, ABC, MSNBC and TV One. She has discussed issues ranging from political campaigns to complex legislation and administration policies that have long-term implications nationally and internationally. In addition, the first UO Black Alumni Reunion will take place Oct. 11-14. The weekend promises great alumni engagement through a series of events, including: Welcome reception. Campus tours. An alumni, student, faculty and staff networking event. Tailgating prior to the Oregon vs. Washington game. After game party Soul Sunday Brunch featuring John Gainer and the UO Gospel Ensemble Reunion Choir. Alumni are encouraged to return to the Eugene campus and see all that has changed.

    Read More
  • Conover to discuss the successes and future of UO research

    First published in Around the O on October 5th, 2018. UO research and innovation will take center stage at 3 p.m. Oct. 15 when David Conover, UO vice president for research and innovation, delivers his annual talk, “State of Research 2018: Building for the Future,” in the Erb Memorial Union Crater Lake rooms. “This past fiscal year was a time of renewed growth and major impact for our research enterprise,” Conover said. “This is an opportunity to recognize the accomplishments of our dedicated faculty and their outstanding commitment to research, scholarship and creative activity.” Open to all members of the university community and the public, the talk will mark some of the major accomplishments during 2017-18 and cast an eye to the future as the UO looks ahead to an anticipated 30 percent growth in research and innovation activity. UO research is on an upward trajectory in productivity, as evidenced by the news that investigators and scholars received 568 grants, contracts and competitive awards totaling $121.9 million during the fiscal year ending on June 30, a 5 percent increase from the previous year. Innovation has also been on the uptick, and the university has seen an increase in patent applications and agreements involving the exchange of proprietary materials such as data, software and research materials. Other encouraging signs are on the horizon for UO research and innovation, and Conover will highlight those in his talk. The 2019 fiscal year is off to a strong start in terms of major grants received, and the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation will continue to broaden its services and its investment in infrastructure as it grows to meet the needs of an expanding pool of new faculty members. “The University of Oregon continues to evolve as a major research institution,” Conover said. “Regardless of whether you’re a staff member, faculty or a student, discovery and innovation will impact you in exciting and unforeseen ways in the days ahead.” —By Lewis Taylor, University Communications

    Read More
  • Campus street scene gets lively with new welcome-back party

    First published in Around the O on October 3rd, 2018. Friday, Oct. 12, will be a busy day on the UO campus. The ASUO Street Faire, Black Alumni Reunion, Duck Preview and Board Summit will bring hundreds of future and forever Ducks to campus. UO athletics will be preparing for Matt Knight Madness that evening and the next day’s football matchup against rival University of Washington Huskies. It’s the perfect time for a party. To that end, the city of Eugene and the UO will host a community welcome event, EUGfun! Campus, from 3:30-6:30 p.m. that Friday. The family-friendly block party is free and features live music, arts and crafts activities, a beer garden, a PeaceHealth Rides mural tour and much more. “EUGfun! Campus will be an opportunity for university and city leaders as well as alumni, friends and community members to welcome back students to Eugene and celebrate the beginning of another exciting academic year,” said Matt Roberts, senior director of UO community relations. The block party marks a change in format for an annual tradition: Started in 2009, the Community Welcome saw city and university leaders visiting off-campus student residences on foot. The annual stroll helped foster university-community relationships and provided students information about respectful and safe off-campus living. The inspiration for the reconfigured event was a pep rally at an out-of-state university Roberts visited. The evening before a rival football game, streets were closed off, vendors and information tables were set up and a stage featured live entertainment. While pep rallies focus on athletics, the way the event brought community members and students out of their homes and residence halls to celebrate together gave Roberts an idea: Why not repurpose the structure for the Community Welcome event? Roberts brought the idea to colleagues at the city and UOPD, and both were immediately enthusiastic about the reimagined event. EUGfun! Campus will allow students and community members to meet and interact in a casual, festive environment, in large part due to a partnership with the city. “The city of Eugene is excited about this new opportunity to partner with the University of Oregon in connecting students and the campus experience with the broader Eugene community,” said Jason Dedrick, who works in the city manager’s office. “Our goal is to provide a welcoming space where students and community members can come together to learn about city services, how to get involved with their neighborhood associations and also just have fun.” To make room for the party, East 13th Avenue will be closed between Alder and Kincaid streets, and Kincaid Street will close between 12th and 14th avenues starting around 6 a.m. Friday. The Associated Students of the University of Oregon will extend its Street Faire hours on Friday to allow participants to enjoy both their vendors and the EUGfun! Campus activities. Businesses along East 13th Avenue will also open their doors, with some offering free samples and raffles for gift cards and other prizes. Musical acts Ratie and Friends and Soul Vibrator will take to the main stage starting at 4 p.m. Attendees can get creative with hands-on activities at the Art Hub or take a guided tour of the 20x21 mural project on a PeaceHealth Rides bike. Mayor Lucy Vinis and UO President Michael Schill will address the crowd around 5 p.m. with a welcome message, and city councilors will be available for drop-in conversations throughout the event. Afterward, participants are encouraged to make their way to Matt Knight Madness, a preview of the 2018-19 season for the Duck men’s and women’s basketball teams. The free event begins at 6 p.m. at Knight Arena and will feature a three-point shooting contest, a dunk contest and scrimmages by both the men’s and women’s teams. EUGfun! Campus is open to all UO students, faculty members and staff, as well as community members. No registration is necessary. To learn more, visit the Facebook event or contact Larissa Ennis, assistant director of community relations, at [email protected].

    Read More
  • Breaking Trail: PathwayOregon at 10

    First published in Around the O on October 3rd, 2018. Brianna Hayes was at a restaurant with her dad when the letter arrived. The first-generation college student from Portland had been active at President Ulysses S. Grant High School, earned a solid GPA, and been accepted to the UO. But she had no idea how to afford college, and she was feeling down. Then her mom called. “You just got a piece of mail from something called PathwayOregon,” she said. “Your tuition and fees are paid for.” “I’m just sitting there screaming in the middle of the restaurant, and then I started crying,” says Hayes, a member of the class of 2018 who studied political science and philosophy. “My dad asked, ‘What is wrong with you? What’s going on?’” “I said, ‘I’m going to college. It’s going to work out.’” For the last 10 years, high school seniors from across Oregon have begun their college journeys like Hayes, with a PathwayOregon letter from the University of Oregon. The unconventional scholarship program is funded by UO donors, the Oregon state government, and millions of dollars allocated by the university through the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships. The program helps the UO leverage Federal Pell Grant funding, combining these resources to make the most of each. Years before the first PathwayOregon freshman arrived on campus, UO administrators posed the question: How can the state’s flagship university remove financial barriers to college for Oregonians with lower income and help them succeed once they’re here? The answer was a comprehensive approach that offers financial access, along with support that helps students succeed once they’re here—practical assistance to help students meet academic requirements, manage their finances, overcome common challenges, link their majors to future careers, and more. PathwayOregon—an innovative and unconventional scholarship program—was among the first of its kind at a public institution in the United States and was the first one in the state of Oregon. Although the funding varies for each PathwayOregon scholar, the promise is the same. The university guarantees that tuition and fees will be covered for four years as long as the students meet benchmarks on the path to success. The model allows for students to apply for other scholarships and grants, while simplifying what is often a complex financial puzzle. Freed to focus on their studies, and with guidance from the program’s academic advisors, students are more likely to graduate on time and with less debt. For many, this freedom makes it possible to study abroad, participate in internships or student-leadership activities, and explore ways to match their education and interests with a future career. A decade after it started, the program has cleared the path to the UO for more than 5,000 Oregonians—inspirational stories that began with a letter. For more information: around.uoregon.edu/pathwayoregon2018 —By Ed Dorsch, BA ’94 (English, sociology), MA ’99 (journalism), University Communications Oregon Quarterly

    Read More
  • UO celebrates growth in new students and Pathway participants

    First published in Around the O on September 26, 2018. A record number of University of Oregon’s first-year students will benefit from the PathwayOregon scholarship program this fall as the Division of Student Services and Enrollment Management announces 8 percent overall growth in the institution’s incoming class. Preliminary figures indicate that the number of first-year students at the UO stands at 4,203, up from 3,901 incoming students last year. Final enrollment numbers will not be available until later in October. “This is just an amazing incoming class, among the largest, most diverse and academically gifted that the University of Oregon has ever seen,” said Roger Thompson, vice president of student services and enrollment management. “More importantly, this class speaks to the University of Oregon’s clear commitment to providing access to Oregonians in need. This is the largest PathwayOregon class ever and represents a doubling of the program’s enrollment since 2013.” More than 800 of the incoming first-year students are enrolled in PathwayOregon, the 10-year-old scholarship program that covers tuition and fees for qualified, Pell Grant-eligible resident freshmen. That is an increase of more than 14 percent over the previous year. PathwayOregon also provides wrap-around student support services and best-in-class advising that have helped boost graduation rates at the UO. To date, more 5,000 students have received a free education thanks to the program. In addition, this first-year class is the most diverse in terms of a race and ethnicity. Thompson notes that 36 percent of the fall 2018 entering class is domestic minorities, a UO record. As is the case with many universities across the country, UO’s new international student population has decreased. International enrollments accounts for about 4 percent of the incoming class, down from 6 percent. Some trends also mean the traditional “freshman” label may not apply to some of the UO’s new students, Thompson said. “We are noticing that an increasing number of our freshmen are electing to start in the summer, both on campus and in our London program we started a few years ago,” he said. “Further, many recent high school graduates have enough college credits to start at the UO as sophomores, so we are changing our language to reflect an ‘entering class’ as opposed to a freshmen class.”  Other numbers show: Average high school GPA was 3.59, just shy of the record of 3.61. Average SAT scores held relatively steady at 1195 from a high of 1196. Resident Oregonians represent 51 percent of the new student population. Nonresidents are 45 percent of the new student population. Including transfer students, there are a total of 5,378 new students at the UO, an increase of 5 percent over last year. “These increases and successes in our entering class are only made possible by the hard work of hundreds of hardworking Ducks across campus,” Thompson said. “From everyone involved in recruitment to the faculty members who give their time to inspire prospective students to those who make our beautiful campus shine during campus visits, we thank you for all you do every day.”

    Read More
  • LatinX Heritage Month: A festival of culture, history and tradition

    First published in Around the O on September 25th, 2018. From art exhibits to film screenings to operas to a celebration of life and death, this year’s UO LatinX Heritage Month honors the diverse LatinX community. With events spanning late September to early November, LatinX Heritage Month at the UO and across the United States examines and affirms the culture, history, traditions and current issues of diverse Americans whose origins or ancestors are from Mexico, Spain, the Caribbean, or Central and South America. Campus and community members can hear a gallery talk by artist Elsa Mora about her new exhibition, “Paper Weight: Works in Paper,” or see Diego Rivera’s “La ofrenda” and Rufino Tamayo’s “Perro aullando a la luna,” on loan for a year to the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art from the collection of Art Bridges. The Center for Latino/a and Latin American Studies will sponsor events with film director Peter Bratt, including a teach-in on film and activism and a film screening and discussion. Bratt is an award-winning screenwriter and independent filmmaker and the co-writer and director of “Dolores,” a feature documentary about the life of activist Dolores Huerta. Also, the Wayne Morse Center and the UO chapter of Define American will show a screening of the award-winning documentary, “Harvest of Empire: The Untold Story of Latinos in America,” followed by a discussion. Musical offerings include Cascadia Concert Opera’s “Tango of the White Gardenia,” an original chamber opera in English by Ethan Gans-Morse and libretto by Tiziana Della Rovere, and a performance by Grammy award-winning Estelí Gomez, sponsored by the Oregon Composers Forum. Both will take place in Beall Concert Hall.  A two-day Día de los muertos celebration will happen the evenings of Nov. 1 and 2 at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art. Día de los muertos is an annual celebration of life and death that takes place in Mexico, parts of Central and South America, and LatinX communities in the United States. Altars with offerings and traditional art, music, dance, food and poetry remember and welcome souls journeying to the world of the living for a brief visit. In addition to campus events, many happenings will take place in the community. UO Spanish professor Cecilia Enjuto Rangel, Centro Latino Americano director David Sáez and musician Rico Perez are featured in “Power in Puerto Rico,” an event at Temple Beth Israel. Fiesta Cultural features more than 30 events throughout Lane County celebrating the diversity of LatinX arts and culture. In an essay, “The Equalizing Force of History,” Yvette Alex-Assensoh, vice president for the Division of Equity and Inclusion, spoke of the significance of LatinX Heritage Month and the importance of remembering history during these challenging times. “History is a great equalizer,” she said. “It cuts through rhetoric and propaganda with the mere presence of the truth. During these times where the people in the highest levels of politics and law enforcement are increasingly and vindictively targeting the Latinx community, celebrations like Latinx Heritage Month take on that much more significance.” LatinX Heritage Month is officially called National Hispanic Heritage Month by the federal government and celebrated Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. Hispanic Heritage month first began in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson. It was expanded to cover a 30-day period by President Ronald Reagan in 1988. Mid-September was chosen because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on Sept. 16 and 18, respectively. Día de la Raza, which is Oct. 12, also falls within this 30-day period.  The University of Oregon honors the culturally preferred and more appropriate term of LatinX Heritage Month and expands events through early November. The term “Latinx” relates to people of Latin American origin or descent and is used as a gender-neutral or non-binary alternative to Latino or Latina. For more information on events, see the Division of Equity and Inclusion website. —By tova stabin, University Communications

    Read More
  • PathwayOregon celebrates 10 years of transforming lives

    First published in Around the O: “I'm Going to College” Sometimes, life takes a hairpin turn for the better. Reality seems too good to be real. But then it sinks in, and you have a new story to tell—the one about that time when everything changed for the better. For 2018 graduate Brianna Hayes, her story begins at a restaurant with her dad. The first-generation college student from Portland had been active at Grant High School, earned a solid GPA, and been accepted to the UO. But she had no idea how to afford college, and she was feeling down. Then her mom called. “You just got a piece of mail from something called PathwayOregon,” she told Brianna. “Your tuition and fees are paid for.” “I’m just sitting there screaming in the middle of the restaurant, and then I started crying,” says Brianna. “My dad asked ‘What is wrong with you? What’s going on?’ I said ‘I’m going to college. It’s going to work out.’ “It was great. The best moment of my life.” For the past 10 years, high school seniors from across Oregon have been getting the PathwayOregon promise—and a lifelong story to tell. It all begins with a letter from the University of Oregon. Congratulations, now get to work. Because your college degree (and everything that happens after you earn it) just went from virtually impossible to totally achievable.   Click here for the full Around the O article: around. uoregon.edu/pathwayoregon2018

    Read More
  • Oregon Economic Forum to explore ‘poverty amidst plenty’

    First Published in Around the O on September 19, 2018. The economy is humming and unemployment is at record lows, yet many continue to feel left out of this historically long economic expansion — a contradiction that will be explored at this year’s Oregon Economic Forum.  “Reaching for Economic Equity and Inclusion in the Second Gilded Age” is the theme of the forum’s 15th-annual breakfast, which takes place Wednesday, Oct. 17, in Portland. “By all accounts we are in a robust economy, yet the growth and gain hasn’t reached everyone,” said Tim Duy, University of Oregon professor and director of the Oregon Economic Forum. “We are experiencing the challenges of poverty amidst plenty.” The event will explore different facets of equity and inclusion issues spanning geographic to racial to gender divides and action that may alleviate the economic damage that stem from those divides. The keynote speaker is Heather Boushey, executive director and chief economist for Washington Center for Equitable Growth. She is the co-editor of a volume of essays on how to integrate inequality into economic thinking. Duy will provide the economic forecast with Bruce McCain, chief investment strategist for Key Private Bank. “At this stage of the economic cycle, equity markets typically climb a ‘wall of worry.’ This year investors have worried about the aging economic cycle, rising inflation, higher interest rates, the potential for a global trade war and other threats to the nine-year bull market,” McCain said.  “The Oregon Economic Forum will provide perspective on whether investors should be worried or whether they can afford to relax.” Other speakers are Gregory Acs, vice president of the Income and Benefits Policy Center at the Urban Institute, and Nita Shah, executive director at Microenterprise Services of Oregon. Breakfast starts at 7 a.m. and the program is 7:45 to 11 a.m. at the Portland Marriott Downtown Waterfront. Tickets are $80 per person and $520 for a table of eight. The event is presented by KeyBank and sponsored by the UO College of Arts and Sciences, Greater Portland, Portland Business Alliance, NW Natural, Port of Portland and The Oregonian/OregonLive. —By Heidi Hiaasen, University Communications

    Read More