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Inspiring Visit to the University of Oregon

Posted on Saturday, November 17, 2018

Six ARCS members had reserved seating up front when Susan Cooper defended her PhD dissertation at the University of Oregon. Susan, in the department of chemistry, is the first ARCS Oregon scholar to defend at UO.  Susan thanked ARCS for our support, and her scholar award donor, late member Jill Josselyn. Jill donated the first named scholar award at UO in honor of her friend Vickie De Rose PhD, a chemistry professor.  Vicky was in attendance at Susan’s defense. Susan’s thesis focused on “Understanding size-dependent structure and properties of spinel iron oxide nanocrystals under 10mm diameter.” She studies the synthesis of spinel iron oxide nanoparticles and their nanoscale structure, which gives them enhanced properties, enabling their use in cancer treatment and detection, and in cleaning water of heavy metals.  

Two lab visits and lunch with two current ARCS scholars filled out the day for members Aletha Anderson, Elizabeth Bell, Julie Branford, Joan Foley, Jean Josephson and Caron Ogg. Their guides on campus were Hal Sadofsky, Divisional Dean for Natural Sciences at UO, and ARCS liaison John McGrath, Portland Director of Development for UO’s College of Arts and Sciences. 

The tiny worms behind the research in Diana Libuda’s lab were fascinating under the microscope. Libuda is Assistant Professor of Biology, and her lab studies how DNA is accurately repaired during sperm and egg development. The short-lived, translucent worms have the same connections as humans and are ideal for studying how proteins connect during meiosis. Erik Torasson, a 3rd year ARCS scholar, explained the glowing worms used in the lab. He is supported by the Anderson Family university matched endowment. 

ARCS scholars Amber Rolland, chemistry and biochemistry, and Hannah Bates, chemistry, shared their research and personal stories during lunch. 

The group also visited the lab of Andrew Lovering PhD, in the department of Human Physiology. Lovering is an ARCS alum from Texas Tech University. 

Photo taken at Susan Cooper's Defense