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.

Outstanding Faculty Researcher Awards 2015

Behavioral & Social Sciences
Hyeyoung Woo
Sociology, Portland State University

Biological Sciences
Suzanne Estes
Biology, Portland State University
Deborah Lutterschmidt
Biology, Portland State University

Earth & Environmental Sciences
Alan Yeakley
Environmental Science, Portland State University

Mathematical Sciences
Mau Nam Nguyen
Mathematics, Portland State University

The awards were presented at the chapter's annual meeting and banquet on 19 May 2015. No awards were given in the categories of Physical Sciences, Engineering, and Research on a Shoestring. For more information on the annual awards and nomination procedures, please see Outstanding faculty researchers.

How to Green a Continent: the surprising role of moss in engineering a warming Antarctica

Todd Rosenstiel
Department of Biology, Portland State University

Tuesday 19 May 2015, 8:00 pm
Smith Memorial Student Union 338 (Vanport Room)
Portland State University

The lecture is free and open to the public, starting at 8 pm. It's preceded by the chapter's annual meeting and banquet, which is restricted to Sigma Xi members and their guests and honorees, by reservation only.

Moss, found wherever you look in the Pacific Northwest, is an amazing and ancient survival machine. Though small, green, and unassuming, these tiny ecosystem engineers are the bane of northwest rooftops, sidewalks and driveways. Yet, mosses grow on every continent, including Antarctica, house a bizarre assortment of tiny, but terrifying, creatures, and may hold the key to global climate change. In this talk, Dr. Todd Rosenstiel, Director of PSU’s Center for Life in Extreme Environments, will share stories, photos, and discoveries from some of their recent research campaigns to remote islands of the Western Antarctic Peninsula.  In collaboration with the Chilean Antarctic Institute and with support from the National Science Foundation, Dr. Rosenstiel and colleagues have begun the largest terrestrial warming experiment to date in Antarctica.  He will discuss the largely unknown roles that mosses play in terrestrial Antarctica, and present some recent experimental results which may indicate how these diminutive ecosystem engineers are contributing to the greening of this icy continent.  

Dr. Todd Rosenstiel, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Biology at Portland State University and is the director of PSU’s Center for Life in Extreme Environments.  As a plant physiologist, Dr. Rosenstiel’s research broadly examines how plant metabolism impacts, and may ultimately engineer, local, regional, and global environments . His work, in collaboration with Drs. Sarah Eppley and Erin Shortlidge at PSU, led to the recent discovery of an ancient and entirely unknown “pollination-like” syndrome in the Earth’s ancient non-flowering mosses. In addition, to fundamental studies of moss biology, his research program examines the environmental impacts of bioenergy crop development, the impacts of air pollution on the ecology of Northwest canopy ecosystems, and the ways in which green-infrastructure can contribute to the development of sustainable urban atmospheres. He has published over 40 scientific manuscripts, including in such journals as Nature, and was recently featured on NPR’s Science Friday, discussing the ways in which trees may impact air pollution. 

Save these dates!

14-17 June 2015: AAAS Pacific Division Meeting, co-sponsored by Sigma Xi NW and SW Regions, at San Francisco State University. Some of the student award winners of our chapter's recent poster symposium will present their research at SF State, with partial travel support from the chapter.

22-25 Oct 2015: Sigma Xi National Annual Meeting, Kansas City MO.


Sigma Xi Student Research Symposium

16 April 2015

Ballroom, Smith Memorial Union, Portland State University


Sigma Xi Columbia-Willamette Chapter held its eleventh annual Symposium of poster papers by undergraduate and graduate students in the sciences, social sciences, mathematics, and engineering on 16 April 2015, 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.  At the 2015 event, 35 projects were presented and 15 primary student authors received awards.  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.

2015 Awards for best posters | Poster Abstracts  Photos 


Five local students won Grants-In-Aid of Research from Sigma Xi in 2014: Christine Kendrick (Portland State University), Eve Wiggins (Willamette University), Zecong Fang (Washington State University - Vancouver), Sydney Gonsalves (PSU), and Timea Deakova (PSU). Their projects, and the nature of Sigma Xi's GIAR awards, are described in Student research grants.


At Sigma Xi's Annual Meeting and Student Research Conference in Glendale AZ, 4-9 Nov 2014, the Chapter was well-represented by Linda Mantel (NW Regional Representative), Erik Tucker (Chapter Delegate), and five student presenters: Amy Truitt, Brittney Davidge, Adrienne Godschalx, Dierdre McAteer, and Thai Tran (top row of photos). Adrienne's research poster presentation earned a medal.
Linda Mantel, Thai Tran, Erik Tucker, Brittney Davidge, Dierdre McAteer, Adrienne Godschalx, Amy Truitt.     Adrienne receives award.


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