Reed students infiltrate NeuroFutures 2015. From left: Jason Swinderman ’15, Rose Driscoll ’17, lab associate Greta Glover (kneeling), Mical Yohannes ’17, and James Fisher-Smith ’17. Suzy Renn
Reed biology research students took a field trip to the future this summer at the 2nd annual NeuroFutures conference sponsored by the Oregon Health & Science University Brain Institute in Portland last week.
Scientists at top institutions from around the nation presented their cutting-edge research on new technologies in brain imaging, brain mapping, and brain implants used to treat disease. One scientist presented her recent work on how to turn a gene that senses heat from a chili pepper into a remote-controlled brain “stimulation electrode.” She also talked about her work in engineering a device that could manipulate brain cells by shining a blue light down a microscopic tube implanted in a patient’s spine.
Other talks dealt with the massive effort to map the circuitry of the brain, and how the development of new automation techniques has drastically improved the rate of progress on this complex project. The presentations riveted the Reed students who attended, took notes, and asked questions.
Prof. Suzy Renn won big NSF grant to study voluntary starvation among mouth-brooding fish.
Professors at Reed won a total of $2,251,849 in research grants in fiscal year 2014-15, the highest figure in at least a decade (and possibly longer).
The eleven professors are pursuing a remarkable range of projects from the venom of parasitic wasps, to the compounds of bismuth, to the Moroccan diaspora.
Prof. Suzy Renn [biology 2006-] won a $618,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to investigate a striking example of maternal behavior—voluntary starvation among African cichlid fish. Her research could shed light on the evolution of maternal instincts and deepen our understanding of metabolic and feeding disorders.
Prof. Kristen Anderson [psychology 2007-] won a $73,000 grant from the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism, a division of the National Institutes of Health, to fund two years of a study entitled, “Facilitating Adolescent Self-Change for Alcohol Problems.”
The objective of Prof. Anderson’s research is to enhance understanding of the role gender plays in outcomes from an adolescent alcohol prevention program.
In adults, gender differences in substance use patterns and consequences have led researchers to explore whether gender-specific treatments for women are preferable. Research indicates that women-specific groups lead to greater treatment satisfaction.
WHEN WASPS ATTACK. This parasitic wasp is about to lay eggs in fruit-fly larva. A movie you don't want to watch.
Prof. Todd Schlenke [biology 2013-] has won a $373,000 grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, division of the National Institutes of Health, to study one of nature's most unforgiving arms races-- the struggle between fruit flies and venomous parasitic wasps.
Prof. Schlenke's project is titled “A Model System for Host-Pathogen Interactions: Drosophila and Its Parasitic Wasps” and will explore how parasites suppress host immune responses, using the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster and its natural parasitic wasps as a model host-parasite pair. The work will identify and characterize the venom (virulence) proteins that wasps use to suppress conserved aspects of host innate immunity. By characterizing venom repertoires across a phylogeny of wasps, patterns of parasite virulence strategy evolution will be uncovered.
Drosophila melanogaster is a model system for the molecular genetics of innate immunity, but little is known about the life history and virulence strategies of its natural parasites. Parasitic wasps can infect fruit-fly larvae at frequencies greater than 50% in natural populations, and are highly amenable to laboratory and field study.
Prof. Angelica Osorno [math 2013-] has won a Collaboration Grant for Mathematicians in the amount of $35,000 from the Simons Foundation to study infinite loop spaces.
An infinite loop space is a topological space that has a multiplication that is associative, commutative, and unital up to all higher homotopies. Infinite loop spaces are closely related to generalized cohomology theories, and are thus of great importance in algebraic topology.
Prof. Osorno is the principal coordinator on the project, “Categorical inputs for infinite loop machine spaces,” which centers on two aspects of infinite loop space theory: infinite loop space machines for 2-categories and equivariant infinite loop space machines.
VIRTUOUS CYCLE. Prof. Paul Silverstein will investigate the Moroccan diaspora in Belgium.
Prof. Paul Silverstein [anthropology 2000-] has won a Fulbright fellowship to investigate historical genealogy, lived experience, and political engagements of Belgian citizens of Moroccan Berber heritage.
His teaching and research fellowship will take him to Belgium to the Interculturalism, Migration and Minorities Research Centre of the Anthropology Department of Katholieke Universiteit Leuven from September 2015 to June 2016 on a project entitled, "Moroccan Miners, Berber Activists, and the Future of Belgian Cosmopolitanism."
Since the 1980s, Western European media and governmental reports have consistently represented ethno-racial and religious diversity as an existential challenge to national coherence. The prevailing narrative is that when immigrant groups are integrated into social and cultural norms they will assimilate the identifications and loyalties of the state. When groups resist assimilation it creates anxieties. Since September 11th, these anxieties have centered largely on those Muslim citizens of North Africa, South Asian, and Turkish descent.
Prof. LaLonde will investigate the potential of bismuth as a catalyst.
Prof. Rebecca LaLonde ’01 [chemistry 2013-] has won a $40,000 grant from the Research Corporation for Scientific Advancement to investigate the element bismuth.
One of the most urgent challenges facing organic chemists today is the need to synthesize enantioenriched bioactive molecules to treat diseases such as malaria, HIV, and cancer. Unfortunately, these chemical reactions typically require the use of rare, expensive, and potentially toxic heavy metals as catalysts.
But one heavy metal is cheap, readily available, recyclable, and non-toxic—yes, we’re talking about bismuth, the active ingredient in Pepto-Bismol.
Prof. Renn will investigate the neural circuitry of mouth-brooding fish.
Prof. Suzy Renn [bio] has won a $618,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to investigate a striking example of maternal behavior—voluntary starvation among African cichlid fish.
This species of fish exhibits a bizarre form of child-care known as mouth-brooding, in which females raise their eggs in their mouths for two weeks until the embryos are big enough to swim. During this time, the mothers undergo voluntary starvation rather than open their mouths and allow their fry to come to harm.
Prof. Renn will examine the neural circuitry involved in regulating this behavior, which could shed light on the evolution of maternal instincts and deepen our understanding of metabolic and feeding disorders.
Prof. Marc Schneiberg wins NSF grant to examine how credit unions and community banks helped local economies weather the Great Recession.
Prof. Marc Schneiberg [sociology 2000-] has won a $170,824 grant from the National Science Foundation to investigate how community banks and credit unions helped Americans weather the Great Recession.
As American banking abandoned traditional roots and practices, it shed regulatory oversight and concentrated assets in a handful of giant or global banking corporations. These changes prompted not only a growing disconnect between banks and local economies, but an extraordinary run-up and debt within the financial system, setting the stage for a crisis.
Community banks and credit unions, on the other hand, sustained close ties to their communities rather than just pursuing shareholder value. Using new data on the American economy from 1994 to 2013, Prof. Schneiberg will analyze the effects of community banks and credit unions on communities and local economies and their capacity to sustain employment, vibrant business sectors, new business formation, and recovery.
Prof. Dillingham will study the history of indigenous education and development in Southern Mexico.
Prof. Alan Shane Dillingham [history 2014-] has won a $6,000 summer stipend from the National Endowment for the Humanities to continue an historical study of incorporating native peoples into the national political and economic structures of Latin America.
Prof. Dillingham’s book project, “Speaking of Difference: The Politics of Indigenous Education and Development in Southern Mexico,” examines the relationship between indigenous peoples and modernization in the state of Oaxaca.
Last year, 43 male students from a rural teachers’ college in southern Mexico went missing after commandeering buses and traveling to Iguala, Guerrero, to hold a protest at a conference. Details of what happened to them are unclear, but an official investigation concluded the students were intercepted by local police, handed over to a local crime syndicate, and presumably killed.
POTENTATE OF PATHOGENS. Prof. Jay Mellies wins NIH grant to study a sinister protein in E. coli.
Prof. Jay Mellies [biology 1999-] has won a two-year grant for $362,769 from the National Institutes of Health for a project entitled “Pch Super Family Regulators of Gram-Negative Pathogens”
Prof. Mellies will investigate a key regulatory protein that enables the pathogen E. coli to cause disease in children. The protein, called Pch, controls niche adaptation—how the bacterium can outcompete other members of the microbial community in the small intestine and manipulate the host immune system to its own advantage.
Pch proteins are found in several medically important bacteria, including Salmonella, Shigella and Klebsiella, and thus a greater understanding of the Pch family of proteins could lead to novel therapies. Prof. Mellies aims to understand how Pch proteins function on a molecular level.
Prof. Noelwah Netusil [economics 1990–] has won a $99,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to investigate how the restoration of Johnson Creek has affected local property values.
The grant will provide $99,256 to Reed for a two-year research project supported by a postbac fellow. For this appointment, Prof. Netusil chose Maya Jarrad ’14, an environmental studies-economics graduate, who will update and verify projects in the Johnson Creek Watershed residing in the conservation registry database. Maya utilized this database for her senior thesis, “Valuation of Urban Stream Restoration in the Johnson Creek Watershed: A Repeat Sale Hedonic Hybrid Analysis,” written with Prof. Netusil.
AWE-INSPIRING. Alumni, parents, and friends gave a record-breaking $4.4 million to the Annual Fund. Photo by Leah Nash
We made it!
Thanks to a last-minute surge of support, Reed alumni, parents, and friends shattered the record in giving to the Annual Fund this fiscal year, which ended on midnight June 30.
UPDATED July 16, 2015: According to the latest unofficial returns, contributions to the Annual Fund amounted to an astonishing $4,442,186.22—the biggest in Reed’s history—blowing past last year's total of $4,084,000.
History/lit major Sasha Peters ’15 won a Watson Fellowship to explore ruins in the former Soviet sphere. Photo by Chris Lydgate
History/literature major Sasha Peters ’15 won a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship to explore abandoned sites and cities in the Soviet sphere through the medium of radio.
Sasha's project is titled Radio in the Ruins and will take her to Latvia, Czech Republic, Poland, Norway, Bulgaria, and Germany. "The Soviet Union and its influence produced an impressive array of buildings, monuments, and sites that embodied communist ideology," her proposal states. "After the Soviet Union’s fall, many of these places became inessential or unsupportable and were abandoned. Some of those places, decaying as they are, remain today. For my Watson year, I will travel to ruins in the Soviet sphere and make radio pieces about each of them. I aim to encapsulate the rich histories and eerie beauty of these ruins with sound."
Her friend Rennie Meyers ’15 also won a Watson Fellowship.
Environmental studies-history major Rennie Meyers ’15 has won a Watson Fellowship to pursue a year of independent study after graduation. Photo By Chris Lydgate
Environmental studies-history major Rennie Meyers ’15 has won a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship to study the formation of artificial coral reefs.
Rennie's project is titled Deep Water, Horizons: Artificial Reef Communities, Above and Below the Water Line and she will pursue it in the Canary Islands, Fiji, Brunei, and Japan.
"From oil rigs to submerged eco-art to coral farms, coral growth occurs at the hands of humans with or without their intent," her proposal states. "By exploring interactions between human and non-human communities above and below artificial coral habitats in four island nations, I will engage artificial or anthropogenic reef habitats and the humans who have (sometimes accidentally) created and lived with them. I hope to better understand the ways in which humans continue to alter the marine landscape, to photo document those landscapes, and to consult with the human communities responsible for these new habitats in the face of global climate change."
Prof. Roger Porter (right) taught English and humanities at Reed for more than 50 years.
Ed. Note: This is the text of a speech Prof. Roger Porter [English 1961-2015] gave to the Foster-Scholz Club on June 13, 2015, after teaching at Reed for more than 50 years. As faithful readers know, my posting something on Sallyportal doesn't imply any kind of institutional endorsement. This is simply one professor's approach to the issue—no more, no less. However, I do think Prof. Porter's remarks will be of interest to many in the Reed community.
It’s a great pleasure to speak to the Foster-Scholz Club, and since I just became an honorary Reed alumnus yesterday, I’ll now be able to join you in future meetings and listen to my colleagues—if I don’t feel I’ve listened to them in too many faculty meetings. I do feel greatly honored by your invitation, and I’ll take advantage of the occasion by indulging a little is some reminiscence—that is after all the Nestor-like prerogative given to retirees--but mostly I want to speak about what it felt to say goodbye to Reed in the teaching of my last class. Well, I cheat a little in this, since I will be teaching an emeritus course this fall. Whether that’s to ease the transition, or because I simply can’t stay away, I’m not sure. But for the moment I’ll assume that last month the game, after 54 years, was over.
Cheered on by Reunions attendees, retiring professors and staff were inducted into the ranks of honorary alumni. Photo by Leah Nash
More than 1,500 Reed alumni and allied life forms descended on campus last weekend for Reunions ’15, and the celebration began with Fanfayre, the formal-informal opening ceremony that took place this year in the Cerf amphitheatre.
The event began with a charmingly odd welcome by musician Paul Anderson ’92, the composer of Reed classics such as “Sensitive Guy” and “On the Night Bus.”
Paul’s offbeat presentation set the tone for the afternoon: President John Kroger made quips about Reed lacking a football team, raising a rousing cheer from the audience, while Scott Foster ’77, the outgoing president of the alumni board, assured the crowd that his cowboy hat he sported was legitimate because he does in fact own livestock.
Reedies of all stripes marched in the 2015 Portland Pride Parade (yes, that's a giant griffin on the right-hand side.) Photo by Maddy Wagar
Wings adorned with rainbow streamers, a gargantuan Reed griffin joined the Portland Pride Parade on Sunday, as dozens of students and alumni of all vintages waved flags and sported rainbow-striped “Love Reed” pins that glinted in the sunlight.
The Reed contingent joined a diverse parade that included communities from the Portland Oregon Lesbian Choir to various church groups. Reedies and members of the ACLU swapped temporary tattoos, sharing griffins and hearts in a late morning bright with unity and camaraderie.
The demonstration of love and support began with a memorial bike ride to honor Mark Angeles ’15, who was killed in a traffic collision nine days after graduation. At that memorial, Kirsten Hawley ’16 described the way Mark moved through life: “In Mark’s eyes, love and respect were not things another person had to earn; they were a given just because that person was a human being.”
Beloved friend and classmate Mark Angeles ’15 was killed in a collision just nine days after he graduated from Reed. Photo by Eren Veziroglu ’16
Friends and classmates of Mark Angeles ’15 are organizing a memorial bike ride to honor his memory on Sunday, June 14, at 9 a.m. at the Reed Bike Co-Op.
Mark was killed in a collision with a tow truck less than a mile from Reed on May 27--just nine days after he graduated. He was 22 years old.
Mark cut a distinctive figure at Reed. He majored in chemistry and wrote his thesis on the role of organometallic catalysts in neutralizing toxic pollution. He ran the Reed Bike Co-Op and was partly responsible for the installation of the bike maintenance stations on campus. He was deeply committed to serving the community, worked closely with SEEDS, and volunteered as a mentor for underprivileged youth at Lane Middle School. He fixed bikes for free and taught bike safety to kids in northeast Portland. He served as a Paideia czar and sang with Reed’s a cappella group, the Herodotones. He was even a house adviser.
Aasha for Nepal co-founder Shreya Shrestha ’10 (left) set up mobile health care clinics in Kathmandu after a devastating earthquake struck Nepal in April 2015.
Reedies around the globe have mobilized in response to the earthquake and aftershocks that have caused mass destruction in the Kathmandu Valley.
One month since a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal, the country still seeks support during a time of hardship. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), the temblor severely impacted fourteen districts in Nepal, killing more than 8,000 people and destroying roughly 500,000 houses.
Members of the Reed community have jumped to the aid of the Nepalese with fundraising, activism, and on-the-ground action. Suraj Pant ’11, for example, runs the Twitter account @nepalnews, which gives frequent updates on the news and events in Nepal. Reedies like Suraj hope to generate sustained support in ways both big and small as the media shifts its attention elsewhere—as it inevitably will.