We engage the Portland, Oregon scientific and technical community to enhance the health of the scientific research enterprise, provide opportunities for the next generation of scientists and engineers, and promote the public's understanding of science and technology. We are comprised of faculty and students from several colleges and universities in the Portland area, as well as colleagues in local business, industry, federal and state agencies, and medical centers. We focus many of our programs on enhancing the experiences of students at all levels. Many of our members are retired scientists and engineers who have relocated to the Portland area and find a community of interests through the activities of the chapter.

Steve L. Reichow
Assistant Professor
Wednesday, 10 Oct 2018, 7:30 pm
Smith Memorial Student Union 238
Portland State University
Admission is free, and the lecture is open to the public.

In all of life, there is an intimate relationship between form and function. This inherent relationship is held all the way down to the molecular level. Within this microscopic regime, life is carried out by remarkably complex nano-machines, known as proteins. These biological molecules are responsible for an array of functions that are essential to life, while genetic mutations or environmental conditions that disrupt their structure (and therefore their function) often result in disease. To gain insight into the molecular level relationships between form and function in biology, we apply cutting-edge methods in cryo-electron microscopy (CryoEM), an emerging technology that allows us to directly visualize the 3D structure of biological nanomachines with near atomic-level detail. A major focus in the Reichow Lab is to understand how the proteins in our eye lens facilitate vision, and how age-related changes to the structures of these proteins result in cataract formation – the leading cause of blindness in the world. With this ultra-structural detail and mechanistic insight into protein function, we are providing the architectural framework required for the rational development of novel pharmaceutical and genetic therapies targeted at treating cataracts and other disease states associated with protein mis-function.

Dr. Reichow is an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry at Portland State University and an affiliate assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Oregon Health and Science University. He's a consultant to the Pacific Northwest National CryoEM Center (OHSU), a member of the Portland Institute for Computational Science (PSU), and a member of the OHSU Center for Spatial Systems Biomedicine. He earned the PhD in chemistry at the University of Washington in 2006, followed by postdoctoral appointments there (2007-2011) and at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Janelia Campus (2011-2014).

Save these dates!

28 Sep 2018: Sigma Xi Student Research ConferenceBurlingame, CA: deadline for submission of abstracts.

01 Oct 2018: Sigma Xi Grants-In-Aid of Research: deadline for submission of student proposals.

10 Oct 2018: Chapter lecture by Steve Reichow, 7:30 pm, Smith Memorial Union 238, Portland State University (see above).

02 Nov 2018: deadline for submission of abstracts for Sigma Xi Columbia-Willamette Student Research Symposium, Portland, OR.

16 Nov 2018: 15th annual Sigma Xi Columbia-Willamette Student Research Symposium, Portland, OR.

15th Annual SX-CW Student Research Presentations

16 November 2018

Sigma Xi Columbia-Willamette Chapter holds its fifteenth annual Symposium of poster papers by undergraduate and graduate students in the sciences, social sciences, mathematics, and engineering on Friday 16 November 2018, at Portland State University in the Smith Memorial Student Union Ballroom. The posters-only Symposium is open to students affiliated with colleges and universities in the Portland area. Awards are given for the best undergraduate and graduate posters in several categories.

The event has been generously sponsored by PSU's Office of Research and Strategic Partnerships. Last year, 60 student research posters were reviewed by 26 judges, and 27 cash prizes for best poster presentation were awarded. The primary student authors were affiliated with 3 local academic institutions (PSU, UP, OHSU). The Symposium provides practice for presentations at regional and national meetings in students’ own disciplines. The Symposium is open to the public, and admission is free.

The Chapter provided partial travel support for three students to present their research at the Sigma Xi NW/SW + AAAS Pacific Division Student Research Conference, at Cal State Pomona, in June 2018. Brie Tripp (photo, L) won first prize in the Pacific Division's Education Section; Tetiana Korzun (photo, R)
 won an honorable mention in the Cell and Molecular Biology Section; and Emmanuel Abdul  found the  Conference "very enriching and a tremendous opportunity to learn what other people are doing. It certainly was an eye-opener and a great learning experience for me as I gained insight into possible applications of my work on Vertically aligned polymer nanostructures functionalized by magnetron sputtering. Sigma Xi made the experience and professional networking with fellow growing scientists possible for me and for this, I am very grateful."

Raluca Gosman, undergrad student in biology, presented her work at the Sigma Xi NW/SW + AAAS Pacific Division Annual Meeting at the University of Hawaii in Spring 2017, and wrote: "This conference was a fantastic learning experience for me as I got helpful feedback from the oral presentation I gave about my work with Y-Chromosomal Short Tandem Repeat Analysis. Although I did not get as many results as I would have wanted, I felt encouraged that I was on the right track to keep trying, keep perfecting my techniques, and trust the scientific method of trial and error. Because a large portion of my project is yet to be completed, the interest my audience had in the final outcomes gave me new motivation to work hard and obtain results this coming year."

Anh Ngo won the Graduate Student award in Cell Biology and Biochemistry at the Sigma Xi Annual Meeting in Atlanta, November 2016, for he
r poster presentation: Utility of a low-volume imaging assay to assess the granular phenotype and activity of neonatal platelets. She's a grad student at Oregon Health & Science University.

Srikar Rao Darmakkolla, who also presented his research at the Atlanta meeting, wrote: "I learned many things from this conference...key note lectures are my all time favorite... Unlike other conferences, this gave us great opportunity to mingle and improve our network."
Amie Romney won the first-place award in Cell and Molecular Biology, plus the President's Award, at the Sigma
 Xi NW/SW + AAAS Pacific Division Annual Meeting, San Diego, in June 2016, for her poster presentationEpigenetic regulation of alternative developmental trajectories in an annual killifish. She's a PhD student in biology at Portland State University, and she's pictured at left with her former undergraduate advisor, Jon Clark, who attended the meeting as Sigma Xi Northwest Regional Director.
Quoting Amie, "I had an amazing experience at the 2016 AAASPD conference in San Diego. Through my newly-formed connections with Sigma XI, I was introduced to many wonderful people. Everyone there demonstrated genuine support for young researchers in scientific practice as well as career development. I would have never had such an opportunity to build a network of professional contacts. Thank you to everyone who made the trip possible for me!"
The Chapter provided partial travel support for the above students, and others, to present their research. Similar awards earned earlier by local students at regional and national Sigma Xi meetings are listed in Student Awards.

Sigma Xi holds a worldwide competition for research grants to students in March and October every year. The next deadline to apply for a grant is 01 Oct 2018. The following local students recently earned GIARs for their projects. Each of them also received a modest supplemental grant from our chapter.

Kelsi Ramos, Chemistry: Characterization of Pre-Transition Droplets in Liquid-Liquid Systems with Magnetic-Susceptibility-Matched NMR Tubes. Advisor: J. Charles Williamson, Willamette University. (October 2017 competition)

Tetiana Korzun, Chemistry:  Effects of Vaping on Ocular Health: Analysis of Selected Alcohols, Acids and Their Derivatives as Major, Yet Underestimated E-cigarette Vapor Toxicants. Advisor: Robert M. Strongin, Portland State University. (October 2017 competition)

Brian Wendel, Cell Biology / Biochemistry, Portland State University: Determining the mechanism by which DNA replication completes. (October 2016 competition)

Previous GIARs have been earned by students at Portland State University, University of Portland, Washington State University Vancouver, and Willamette University. We encourage students at all academic institutions in the Portland area to apply. Membership in Sigma Xi isn't required, but 75% of the grants are reserved for student members and advisees of faculty members.

We congratulate Tamara Richards, Chapter VP, on the Bowles Lectureship Award she received at the University of North Carolina on 7 May 2018. 
"The Bowles Award is given annually to honor a distinguished researcher who has made significant contributions to our understanding of the causes, prevention and/or treatment of alcoholism and alcohol abuse.  Your remarkable research discoveries on the genetic dissection of behavioral traits associated with risk for the development of alcoholism and drug abuse are noted.  Your discoveries include brain and behavioral mechanisms of alcohol, nicotine, and methamphetamine addiction including acute and chronic effects associated with drug reward, behavioral sensitivity, and neuroadaptation."

With great regret, we note the recent passing of Peter Abrahams, a longtime member of the Sigma Xi Columbia-Willamette Chapter's Board of Directors, serving as our Recording Secretary and organizer of our annual series of public lectures. Peter was a Reed graduate, astronomer, master carpenter, artist, and sculptor. He was a frequent volunteer and contributor to the Cascadia Meteorite Laboratory at Portland State University. He was best known as a historian of telescopes, binoculars, and optical instruments. He will long be remembered and sorely missed.

Peter Abrahams

We also miss Chris Mooers, oceanographer, colleague, and member of the Chapter Board from 2009 to 2013, who died recently.


Tom Hard,
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Tom Hard,
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