Portland, OR, United States
Portland, OR, United States

Reed College is a private liberal arts college located in southeast Portland in the U.S. state of Oregon. Founded in 1908, Reed is a residential college with a campus located in Portland's Eastmoreland neighborhood, featuring architecture based on the Tudor-Gothic style, and a forested canyon nature preserve at its center. Reed is known for its mandatory freshman humanities program, for its required senior-year thesis, as the only private undergraduate college with a primarily student-run nuclear reactor supporting its science programs, and for the unusually high proportion of graduates who go on to earn PhDs and other postgraduate degrees. Wikipedia.

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Boisvert L.,University of Washington | Boisvert L.,Reed College | Goldberg K.I.,University of Washington
Accounts of Chemical Research | Year: 2012

L imited natural resources, high energy consumption, economic considerations, and environmental concerns demand that we develop new technologies for the sustainable production of chemicals and fuels. New methods that combine the selective activation of C-H bonds of hydrocarbons with oxidation by a green oxidant such as molecular oxygen would represent huge advances toward this goal. The spectacular selectivity of transition metals in cleaving C-H bonds offers the potential for the direct use of hydrocarbons in the production of value-added organics such as alcohols. However, the use of oxygen, which is abundant, environmentally benign, and inexpensive (particularly from air), has proven challenging, and more expensive and less green oxidants are often employed in transition-metalcatalyzed reactions. Advances in the use of oxygen as an oxidant in transitionmetal-catalyzed transformations of hydrocarbons will require a better understanding of how oxygen reacts with transition metal alkyl and hydride complexes. For alkane oxidations, researchers will need to comprehend and predict how metals that have shown particularly high activity and selectivity in C-H bond activation (e.g. Pt, Pd, Rh, Ir) will react with oxygen. In this Account, we present our studies of reactions of late metal alkyls and hydrides with molecular oxygen, emphasizing the mechanistic insights that have emerged from this work. Our studies have unraveled some of the general mechanistic features of how molecular oxygen inserts into late metal hydride and alkyl bonds along with a nascent understanding of the scope and limitations of these reactions. We present examples of the formation of metal hydroperoxide species M-OOH by insertion of dioxygen into Pt(IV)-HandPd(II)-H bonds and showevidence that these reactions proceed by radical chain and hydrogen abstraction pathways, respectively. Comparisons with recent reports of insertion of oxygen into other Pd(II)-H complexes, and also into Ir(III)-H and Rh(III)-H complexes, point to potentially general mechanisms for this type of reaction. Additionally, we observed oxygen-promoted C-H and H-H reductive elimination reactions from five-coordinate Ir(III) alkyl hydride and dihydride complexes, respectively. Further, when Pd(II)Me 2 and Pt(II)Me 2 complexes were exposed to oxygen, insertion processes generated M-OOMe complexes. Mechanistic studies for these reactions are consistent with radical chain homolytic substitution pathways involving five-coordinate M(III) intermediates. Due to the remarkable ability of Pt(II) and Pd(II) to activate the C-H bonds of hydrocarbons (RH) and form M-R species, this reactivity is especially exciting for the development of partial alkane-oxidation processes that utilize molecular oxygen. Our understanding of how late transition metal alkyls and hydrides react with molecular oxygen is growing rapidly and will soon approach our knowledge of how other small molecules such as olefins and carbon monoxide react with these species. Just as advances in understanding olefin and CO insertion reactions have shaped important industrial processes, key insight into oxygen insertion should lead to significant gains in sustainable commercial selective oxidation catalysis. © 2012 American Chemical Society.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: SOCIOLOGY | Award Amount: 170.82K | Year: 2015

Marc Schneiberg
Reed College

This study examines how community banks and credit unions helped communities and local economies weather the Great Recession. Over the past three decades, American banking abandoned its traditional roots and practices. As it shed regulatory oversight, it concentrated assets in a handful of giant, national or global banking corporations, and shifted away from boring banking practices (taking deposits and making and holding loans) toward market-based banking involving derivatives trading and the creation and sale of new financial instruments. With these changes came a growing disconnect between banks and local economies, and an extraordinary run up in debt and risk within the financial system, setting the stage for crisis. Yet community banks and credit unions continued to play vital roles in the US economy, providing consumers, small business and working families with access to nearly 14,000 smaller, locally owned and operated, and even cooperatively organized banks. These institutions participated less, if at all, in derivatives and securities trading. They sustained close ties to their communities, and remained committed and organized internally to serving clients and those communities rather than just pursuing shareholder value, and related to local economies differently from banks like CITI or JP Morgan Chase. Using new data on the American economy from 1994 to 2013, this study will analyze the effects of community banks and credit unions on communities, local economies, and their capacities to sustain employment, vibrant small business sectors, new business formation, and recovery. Through these analyses, this study will contribute new knowledge about how different kinds of banking and the organization of finance affect community resilience and local economic performance in the face of crises. It will also identify new avenues for reform, including supplementing traditional regulation of too-big-to-fail banks with policies that support smaller, more local community based and cooperative financial institutions.

This study will develop and test hypotheses about the effects of community banks and credit unions on four key outcomes within local economies in the United States: new business formations, the size and changes in the share of the small business sector, income inequality, and the spike and recovery in unemployment through the Great Recession. The study will mine economic sociology and the sociology of finance for hypotheses about how the social structure of finance affects banking practices and local economies, exploiting theory about two key dimensions of finance. It will focus on: 1) the organizational structure of banks, developing the insight that small, locally owned and operated or cooperatively owned banks are less likely to abandon their communities and clients in the pursuit of shareholder value; and 2) the type of the exchange relations between banks and clients, developing the insight that banks that engage in relational lending practices and sustain close, ongoing or embedded ties with borrowers will relate quite differently to clients and local economies than banks that rely mainly on abstract risk rating and arms length, transactional bank practices. The study will then test these hypotheses using time series analyses of annual, county- and Metropolitan Statistical Areas-level data on the banking, organizational, and economic structure of local economies from 1994 through 2013. The results of these analyses will advance sociological research on finance by going beyond its focus on money-center banks, trading rooms in currency and derivatives markets, and the dyadic relations between banks and clients to document quantitatively and more broadly how relational banking and the organizational structure of banks affect local economies. The results will also deepen links between economic and urban sociology by tracing how social structures of finance and ties between banks and communities shape community resilience in the face of crisis.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 584.86K | Year: 2012

This project provides scholarships to able and financially needy students majoring in chemistry, physics, biology, mathematics, and interdisciplinary fields. The project emphasizes supporting students through formal and informal interactions with faculty and among students, seminars, and an opportunity for dedicated funds for their thesis research project, covering supplies and/or travel, when they become seniors.

Intellectual Merit: The academic programs into which the students go are strong, and there are academic support activities. The project targets attrition between the first and second year of college, and it provides incentives for students to declare and remain in a STEM major. The project builds on a successful scholarship project that is just being completed.

Broader Impact: The project is increasing the number and diversity of students who complete a STEM major and go on to work in the field or to further education.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: SPECIAL PROJECTS - CCF | Award Amount: 13.56K | Year: 2016

Research experiences for undergraduates have been enormously successful in recruiting and engaging students within STEM disciplines. However, many institutions lack the resources to offer such experiences to a majority of their undergraduates. Course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs) integrate research activities within the curriculum, engaging a larger subset of undergraduates and reporting similar learning outcomes. Conference attendance is a specific example of a research experience in which few undergraduates get to engage. A natural extension of a CURE is a course-based undergraduate conference experience.

Reed College, a primarily undergraduate institution in Portland OR, will offer an interdisciplinary upper-level Computational Systems Biology course in the fall of 2016 (anticipated enrollment of twelve students). This award will allow the class to attend the ACM Conference on Bioinformatics, Computational Biology and Health Informatics (ACM-BCB 2016) in Seattle, WA. ACM-BCB is an ideal venue for a conference experience due to the quality of presented work, relevance of the conference topics to the course, and geographic proximity to Reed. ACM-BCB will be integrated into the course syllabus: students will read and discuss papers, meet and interact with presenters, and extend ideas from the conference as part of a multi-week programming based final project.

Students will submit their research work as posters to ACM-BCB and the associated workshops. The research concerns different ways to model signal transduction pathways using graphs and graph extensions.

The broader impacts of this proposal are multi-faceted. First, it will promote interdisciplinary research by educating students about computer science applications within biology. Second, it will empower students with a unique opportunity that few undergraduates obtain, leading to an anticipated increased confidence in engaging in science and scientific research. Third, it will provide an opportunity for PIs from other institutions to interact with strong interdisciplinary undergraduates. Reed produces the third largest institutional-yield ratio of baccalaureates who obtain PhDs in the Math & Sciences, and ACM-BCB provides a powerful networking opportunity.

The proposed travel is also a potential mechanism for recruiting underrepresented groups in STEM. The introductory computational biology courses in 2015-2016 included students from all years (freshmen through seniors) majoring in eight different areas (including four outside the Division of Math & Natural Sciences). Further, 60% of the students who completed the course were women, a group traditionally underrepresented in computer science. Thus, the pool of students eligible for the upper-level course (and the proposed conference travel) include a group that is diverse in terms of gender, class year, and declared major.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 172.15K | Year: 2014

The research conducted under this grant will study the interface between two fields of mathematics: homotopy theory and algebraic geometry. Since the introduction of motivic homotopy theory by F. Morel and V. Voevodsky, it has been possible to use homotopy theoretic methods to study schemes (rigid geometric objects controlled by algebraic equations, important to topics as far-ranging as the theory of numbers and the laws controlling our physical universe). Meanwhile chromatic homotopy theory and topological modular forms provide tools for transferring algebro-geometric data into topology and homotopy theory. This research will work at the intersection of these fields, using algebraic geometry and homotopy theory to inform each other. By incorporating portions of this program into the thesis curriculum at Reed College, this research will enhance the educational experience of Reeds students, exposing a diverse population of undergraduates to research-level mathematics.

Ormsby proposes a four-fold program for studying chromatic and motivic homotopy theory. First, furthering joint work with J. Heller, he will explicate the fashion in which Galois theory controls a particularly tractable part of the stable motivic homotopy category. Second, continuing joint work with M. Behrens, N. Stapleton, and V. Stojanoska, he will use bivariable modular forms and the Adams spectral sequence to study cooperations in topological modular forms. Third, he plans to study the convergence properties of the motivic slice spectral sequence over infinite-cohomological dimension fields, ultimately leading to computations in stable motivic homotopy sheaves. Finally, he plans to introduce a theory of spectral presheaves with framed transfers and study their relation to foundational questions about the stable motivic homotopy category.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 57.92K | Year: 2015

President Obamas BRAIN Initiative (BRAIN; Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) is directed at supporting projects that seek to advance understanding of normal brain function. A workshop to identify areas where faculty and students from primarily undergraduate institutions (PUI) can make unique contributions to the BRAIN Initiative will be held on October 14-17, 2015 in Chicago, IL. The central goal of the workshop is to enhance PUI involvement in the research challenges described in the Brain Initiative. Consonant with advancing the goals of the BRAIN Initiative, the workshop will focus on developing ways to further NSFs mission to prepare a scientifically literate workforce.

A diverse group of twenty-four researchers from PUIs throughout the United States will be invited to participate in discussions of research, neurotechnology, computational approaches, and interdisciplinary training of undergraduates. The workshop will be held in Chicago, Illinois 3 days before the annual Society for Neuroscience (SFN) conference, also scheduled to be held in Chicago. Workshop participants will produce a report of their discussions, conclusions and recommendations aimed at increasing the participation of PUI faculty and their undergraduate research students in the BRAIN Initiative. The report will be made available to the public on the NSF website (http://www.nsf.gov/bio/pubs/reports/index.jsp ), and distributed to the scientific community through the Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience website (http://www.funfaculty.org/drupal/ ). The workshop outcomes will also be compiled into a self-running presentation for dissemination at local PUI consortia, academic conferences, and national meetings. It is anticipated that outcomes of the discussion at the workshop will be disseminated through conversations with researchers attending the SFN annual meeting.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: Genetic Mechanisms | Award Amount: 993.44K | Year: 2012

Mutation is the ultimate source of genetic variation. Although a great deal of theoretical and applied biology rests on understanding the rate at which it occurs and its effects, few estimates exist and the variation among individuals, populations, and species is largely unknown. This project will quantify mutation rates and their effects on a genome-wide scale using Daphnia, a group of animals that has long served as a sentinel for population biology, community ecology, and environmental toxicology. The detailed analysis will include estimating mutation rates at multiple scales, including i) among the major categories of mutation which differ in their mechanistic causes, ii) between genomes (mitochondrial and nuclear), and iii) within and between species exhibiting different characteristics. It will be partnered with an analysis of measurable (phenotypic) effects of mutations on traits such as longevity, growth rate, and fecundity among these same groups and in variable environments. Special attention will be paid to a particularly exciting source of mutation in the genome-transposable elements. All biological and genomic resources developed will be made publicly available.

Broader Impacts
Pursuing excellence in research and teaching is often seen as a trade-off, yet strategic approaches can enrich both endeavors. Knowledge gained from real-life scenarios and hands-on experience is often more compelling with longer lasting impact. These projects will be part of an integrative program of basic research (involving students, post-doctoral researchers, and collaborators), teaching and curriculum development (including the development of new courses and tutorials), and outreach (through domestic and international workshops, as well as public lectures). The benefits of this research include 1) deepening our understanding of key parameters in biology, 2) generating shared biological, genomic, and bioinformatic resources, 3) building science capacity through collaborating with the next generation of American and international scientists, and 4) educating the public about the central role of genetics, genomics, and evolution by sharing new discoveries as they occur.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 28.00K | Year: 2015

This award supports participation in the conference Equivariant and Motivic Homotopy Theory held at Reed College, in Portland, Oregon on May 30-31, 2015. This meeting will bring together leading researchers, postdoctoral associates, and graduate students interested in equivariant and motivic homotopy theory to share recent progress and ideas for future research in these fields during a two-day research conference.

The conference will focus on the interplay between equivariant and motivic homotopy theory. Each field has enjoyed recent success in resolving a number of longstanding problems, including the Kervaire invariant one problem and the Milnor and Bloch-Kato conjectures. They remain relevant to the study of such wide-ranging topics as topological Hochschild homology, algebraic cobordism, chromatic homotopy theory, and algebraic K-theory, and both topics are vibrant fields of research. The conference will catalyze research progress through a series of eight talks by disciplinary experts and multiple forums in which participants can communicate and collaborate on topics such as (generalized) infinite loop space machines, Picard groups of stable homotopy categories, and computations of stable motivic and equivariant homotopy groups.

More information can be found on the conference web page

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: SYMBIOSIS DEF & SELF RECOG | Award Amount: 600.00K | Year: 2013

Because immune defenses against parasites are costly, hosts are expected to balance the use of different defense mechanisms and to forego immunity when they do not need it. However, experimental evidence for trade-offs between alternative defense mechanisms is scarce. The ideal system to test for immune response tradeoffs would be a group of closely related host species that face similar parasites in the wild, and that employ multiple kinds of defenses. The investigators will use fruit flies of the melanogaster species group of the genus Drosophila, along with their shared endoparasitoid wasps from the family Figitidae, to test the hypothesis that cellular and behavioral immune defenses trade off with each other on a macro-evolutionary scale. The investigators will take advantage of the fact that D. melanogaster is a genetic model system to test the suspected roles of sight and brain neuropeptide F signaling in fly self-medication responses against wasp parasites. The investigators will also take a combined RNA-seq and association mapping approach to uncover further brain genes required for initiating behavioral defenses. This project will result in the identification of evolutionary trade-offs between different immune mechanisms as well as the mechanistic and genetic underpinnings of behavioral immune responses.

Broader impacts of the project include the maintenance and distribution of parasitic wasp strains for the scientific community and the education and training of undergraduate and graduate students in aspects of behavior, cellular biology, and genetics. The investigators will also collaborate with public high school teachers to develop classroom projects focused on hands-on, student-centered, and inquiry-based learning approaches using the fly-wasp immunological interactions.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: ANIMAL BEHAVIOR | Award Amount: 144.00K | Year: 2015

Maternal care has evolved in many animals, yet most research on the underlying neural mechanisms has been carried out only in mammals. This project capitalizes on that rich body of research to study maternal mouth-brooding in the cichlid fish Astatotilapia burtoni. This species offers an independently-evolved instance of robust maternal care. Here, the neural circuits regulating maternal behavior must interact intimately with the neural circuits regulating feeding to allow voluntary starvation in order not to eat the young despite significant loss of body mass. The proposed experiments will be conducted at Reed College & Louisiana State University, providing research and exchange opportunities between undergraduates at a top liberal arts institution and both undergraduate and graduate students from an EPSCoR institution (LSU). Understanding the degree to which mechanisms and brain regions for feeding have been co-opted for maternal care will inform our general understanding of the evolution of this important adaptive social behavior. In addition to addressing the evolution of maternal care, this research may impact human health research related to metabolic and feeding disorders as it may uncover novel mechanisms that allow decoupling of these circuits.

This collaborative research project aims to understand the molecular and physiological mechanisms that underlie the behavioral switch from self-promoting behavior to offspring-promoting behavior that is required for robust maternal care. Astatotilapia burtoni has been a long standing model for sociogenomics and integrative animal behavior. Using immunohistochemistry, researchers and their students will quantify immediate-early gene expression in specific neuronal types across the maternal brain as well as assay cell types for changes in size or number. Using transriptomic approaches, they will quantify gene expression differences in candidate brain nuclei as well as peripheral signaling systems. Finally, in vivo neural recordings from neurons in the preoptic area will be used to determine physiological sensitivity to egg/fry versus food-related stimuli during different stages of maternal care. Fully describing the cichlid maternal brain as it interacts with feeding regulation is the long term collaborative agenda of the two researchers and allows them to capitalize on the synergy of simultaneously describing gene expression and functional studies. Students from Reed College and Louisiana State University will be involved in all aspects of this research. This project includes a math-biology collaboration to have students develop R scripts to interrogate similarity and differences between different gene expression networks in the different brain regions and different female groups. All resulting scripts and algorithms will be hosted online, disseminated through publication and presented by students at scientific conferences.

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