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.

Save these dates!

22 Apr 2017: March for ScienceYour chapter will participate in the Portland March.

Week of 22 May 2017: Chapter Annual Meeting. Stay tuned for date and place.

19-23 Jun 2017: AAAS Pacific Division Meeting in Hawaii, on the Big Island at Hawaii Preparatory Academy, June 19-23, 2017.  Our chapter will provide partial travel support to qualifying Portland-area students to present their research at this meeting.

10 Nov 2017: Sigma Xi's Symposium on Atmospheric Chemistry, Climate, and Health, Raleigh NC.

11 Nov 2017: Sigma Xi's Annual Student Research Conference, Raleigh NC. Registration for the latter two Raleigh events is now open, with an early 20% discount.
14 Nov 2017: Columbia-Willamette Chapter's 14th annual Student Research Presentations, Portland OR.

What happened to the mammoths? Exploring the cause of North America’s most recent mass extinction

Todd Surovell
Professor of Anthropology, University of Wyoming

Wednesday, 12 Apr 2017, 7:30 pm
026 Smith Memorial Student Union
Portland State University

ABSTRACT: For most of the last two million years, North America was home to more than 40 species of large animals, like mammoths, mastodons, camels, and ground sloths.  These megafauna suffered a rapid extinction only 13,000 years ago at a time when the planet’s climate was warming, ecological communities were undergoing significant changes, and humans first appeared on the continent.  Disentangling the causes of this mass extinction event has been complicated and contentious to say the least.  In this talk, I will  provide a personal narrative of my experience with the overkill hypothesis, and how I came to believe that if humans had never migrated to the New World, mammoths would still be roaming the continent today.
Todd Surovell is a Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Frison Institute at the University of Wyoming.  He received his B.S. in Anthropology and Zoology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Arizona.  He is an expert in Paleoindian archaeology, New World colonization, lithic technology, and geoarchaeology.  He has worked throughout the Rocky Mountain west and Great Plains.  He has also participated in fieldwork in Denmark, Israel, and Mongolia.  He has three active field projects, two in Wyoming and one in northern Mongolia.

Sigma Xi holds a worldwide competition for student grants in March and October every year. The next deadline to apply for a grant is 01 Oct 2017. The following local students recently earned GIARs for their projects. Each of them also received a modest supplemental grant from our chapter.

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

Adam Baz, Conservation Biology, Portland State University: Habitat use and minimum area requirements of woodpeckers in an urban landscape. (March 2016 competition)

Caitlin Maraist, Ecology, Portland State University: Effects of endophytic fungi on sexual effort and chemical cues of the dioecious moss, Ceratodon Purpureus. (October 2015 competition)

Jess Millar, Cell Biology/Biochemistry, Portland State University: Horizontally acquired tRNA facilitates adaptation to an extreme environment. (October 2015 competition)

Previous GIARs have been earned by students at Portland State, 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.

In the Fall 2016 cycle, Sigma Xi awarded 115 grants totaling $91,205 to students in four countries: 20 undergrads, 28 master's students, and 67 doctoral candidates. These amounted to 17.7% of the 651 applications received. More grants could be awarded in future cycles if more support is received. 

Sigma Xi Annual Meeting, Atlanta, 10 - 12 Nov 2016
Linda Mantel
  chapter president
Anh Ngo
  student presenter 
Deepak Rajput
  chapter delegate
Srikar Rao Darmakkolla   student presenter

(In the background is the chapter's new poster, designed by Karen Thiebes with suggestions from the chapter's board.) Anh and Srikar received travel stipends from our chapter because their research posters had earned first-place awards at our chapter's November 2015 Student Research Symposium. At the Atlanta meeting, Anh's research earned further recognition (see below). 

Anh Ngo won the Graduate Student award in Cell Biology and Biochemistry at the Sigma Xi Annual Meeting in Atlanta, November 2016, for her 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.


Tom Hard,
Mar 16, 2017, 8:53 PM
Tom Hard,
Mar 5, 2016, 11:32 AM
Tom Hard,
Aug 24, 2015, 2:00 PM
Tom Hard,
Mar 29, 2017, 9:44 PM