OHSU, PSU Collaborate to advance human health and safety innovations
Author: Shaun McGillis, Research & Graduate Studies
Posted: October 24, 2018

PORTLAND, Oregon --

The new 2018 OHSU-PSU Collaborative Seed Grant program is bringing PSU and OHSU researchers together to investigate a range of pressing concerns in the fields of health and safety, from burnout and suicidal behavior among adults with autism to innovative methods for identifying structural damage in concrete.

Six teams were selected to receive pilot funding, all comprising individuals whose complementary skills and expertise intersect in ways that create particularly strong paths to innovation.

One funded project with some urgency for Oregonians will develop methods to quickly and accurately assess the integrity of structural concrete following an earthquake. The transdisciplinary project brings together structural engineering and advanced diagnostic imaging experts from the two universities.

Thomas Schumacher, Ph.D., associate professor at PSU, focuses on the non-destructive evaluation of concrete structures. He will collaborate with Xubo Song, Ph.D., professor of computer science and electrical engineering in the OHSU School of Medicine, who investigates machine learning, image processing and analysis, and computer vision.

The team’s goal is to translate diagnostic imaging from the medical domain to imaging structural concrete. The project has the potential to bring significant advancement to the fields of civil as well as mechanical and materials engineering

“Portland State and OHSU have a long history of partnerships that have enriched the exploration of science and community health issues at both institutions,” said Mark McLellan, Ph.D., PSU’s vice president for research and graduate studies. “The projects selected to receive seed funding combine the strengths of our researchers to address complex challenges that will positively affect our local community and global communities.”

Priority for this round of funding was given to investigators working on new collaborations.

“In most cases, investigators have not worked together previously on funded research,” said Peter Barr-Gillespie, Ph.D., senior vice president of research at OHSU. “In other cases, investigators already have active collaborations and this funding provides opportunities to take their research in a new direction.”

Another collaborative project will use a community-based participatory research approach to develop a deeper understanding of and metrics around burnout among autistic adults and suicidal behavior. Burnout has been identified as a factor in suicidal behavior among adults with autism but has not been studied. The team includes Alan Teo, M.D., an OHSU researcher with expertise in suicide and burnout, and Dora Raymaker, Ph.D., a PSU expert in autism and instrument development at PSU.

The projects also will bring together interdisciplinary teams focused on mental health, virology, molecular microbiology, biochemistry, materials science and restorative dentistry.

Results from the seed-funded projects will be used to develop and submit external funding requests to agencies, including the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.

2018 OHSU-PSU Collaborative Seed Grant recipients:

  • “Structural fidelity and viability of flaviviruses following reversible silicification” — William Messer, Ph.D., OHSU; and Ken Stedman, Ph.D., PSU
  • “Statistical learning of longitudinal MRI for predicting breast cancer response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy” — Bruno Jedynak, Ph.D., PSU; and Wei Huang, Ph.D., OHSU
  • “Pilot study on autistic adult burnout and suicidal behavior” — Dora Raymaker, Ph.D., PSU; and Alan Teo, M.D., M.S., OHSU
  • “Mechanisms of cullin3-deficiency-induced renal injury” — James McCormick, Ph.D., OHSU; and Jeff Singer, Ph.D., PSU
  • "Diagnostic imaging of structural concrete” — Thomas Schumacher, Ph.D., PSU; and Xubo Song, Ph.D., OHSU
  • “Engineering biomimetic bone models of health and disease with nanometer-scale precision” — Luiz Bertassoni, Ph.D., OHSU; and Tony Chen, Ph.D., PSU

OHSU and PSU have committed to fund the program for one year and hope to be able to provide additional rounds of funding in the future.