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April 2008

Research Feature:
Spice up your Subsurface Research with a Little Sushi and Sumo

From November 16-21, 2008, in Shizuoka, Japan, the International Society for Subsurface Microbiology (ISSM) will hold its seventh international symposium. Rick Colwell (COAS) is the "president-elect" of the ISSM, an honor conferred on the host of the last meeting which occurred in August 2005 in Jackson, Wyoming. Rick is enthusiastic about the upcoming symposium and hopes a large group from OSU will participate.  The society is making travel awards of up to $1500 available to students and young researchers (application deadline April 30) and abstracts can be submitted until June 16Link to a Web conversation where Rick describes ISSM and why he thinks it is such a valuable meeting.


SBI Summer Workshop

Mark your calendars! The 2008 SBI and ESB IGERT Workshop will be June 15 to June 17th, 2008. It will be held at the Hallmark Resort in Newport, Oregon and have a format similar to last year with both oral presentations and poster sessions. More details will be coming soon. If you have questions, please contact Garrett Jones, (541) 737-2751,

In the News

Photo of Dan Arp.Distinguished Professor, Microbiologist Named Dean of OSU Honors College (OSU News Service, 4/1/08) - "A longtime plant microbiology researcher who holds the highest academic rank possible for faculty at Oregon State University has been named dean of the University Honors College, officials announced today. Daniel J. Arp, one of a handful of current faculty to carry the title of “distinguished professor,” has been at Oregon State since 1990, when he came to Corvallis from the University of California-Riverside. At OSU, he was named the L.L. Stewart Professor of Gene Research in 2002 and department chair of Botany and Plant Pathology in 2004. He will assume leadership of a college known for its academic rigor, currently enrolling approximately 500 students." Read more from the OSU Press Release. Dan Arp is also on the SBI Executive Committee.


Upcoming Events

April 3, 4:00 p.m., 193 Burt. Biological energy requirements as boundary conditions for subsurface life (ESB IGERT Seminar). Speaker: Dr. Tori Hoehler, Research Scientist at NASA Ames Research Center.

April 17, 4:00 p.m., 193 Burt. Modeling of contaminant degradation by chemotactic bacteria: exploring the formation and movement of bacterial bands (ESB IGERT Seminar). Speaker: Dr. Markus Hilpert, Assistant Professor, The John Hopkins University, Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering.

April 30. Deadline to apply for student and young researcher travel grants to attend the International Symposium for Subsurface Microbiology. The symposium will be held November 16-21, 2008, in Shizuoka, Japan.

May 1, 4:00 p.m., 193 Burt. Process and Pattern: Lessons from Parsing the Heterotrophs' Diet (ESB IGERT Seminar). Speaker: Dr. Jay L. Garland, NASA Chief Scientist and Biological Program Manager, Dynamic Corporation, Kennedy Space Center.

Bi-annual Gordon Conference on Flow and Transport in Permeable Media. July 13-18, 2008, Oxford, United Kingdom - This conference provides a unique forum for interactions among leading professionals with a variety of backgrounds including petroleum engineering, hydrology, mathematics, geology, chemical engineering, material sciences, biology and biomedical engineering sharing common interest in physical, chemical, and biological processes in porous media. The 2008 FTPM meeting will highlight issues related to CO2 storage in geologic formations, transport of colloids and nanoparticles, advances in reservoir simulation, multiphase transport, engineered and evolving pore spaces, observational methods for porous media, flows in biological permeable media, and other advanced topics. Application deadline: June 22, 2008, but seats may fill earlier.

June 16. Deadline to submit abstracts for the International Symposium for Subsurface Microbiology. The symposium will be held November 16-21, 2008 in Shizuoka, Japan.

July 21. Deadline to submit abstracts for the AGU Chapman Conference on Biogeophysics. The meeting will be held October 13-16 in Portland, Maine. “Biogeophysics” is a rapidly evolving Earth science discipline concerned with the geophysical signatures of (1) microbial cells themselves in the Earth, (2) the interaction between microorganisms and subsurface geologic media, and (3) alteration of the physical properties of geologic media as a result of microbial activity. The objective of the Chapman Conference is to define the current state of the science, identify the critical questions facing the community and to generate a roadmap for firmly establishing biogeophysics as a critical subdiscipline of earth science research.

Link to a calendar of other related events...


Funding Opportunities for Students

University Club Foundation Fellowship - The Graduate School invites nominations for this competition, which recognizes and encourages scholarship, leadership, and potential societal contributions by outstanding graduate students from each of Oregon’s major public universities. An award of $5,000 will be made to one graduate student from OSU. Nominees must be full-time grad students Fall 2008 with at least one year remaining in their advanced degree program. Nominations are solicited from academic department chairs and heads, and/or deans. Departments are asked to submit one nomination each to the Graduate School by April 16, 2008.

NASA Planetary Science Summer School - There will be two sessions: July 21-25 and August 4-8, at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California. Science and engineering recent PhDs, post-doctoral and doctoral students with a strong interest in careers in planetary exploration are encouraged to apply.  The student teams will develop the equivalent of an early concept study responsive to a typical NASA Announcement of Opportunity for robotic missions, prepare a presentation for a proposal authorization review, present it to a review board, and receive feedback.  At the end of the week, students will have a clearer understanding of the relationships among mission design, cost, and schedule, and the trade-offs necessary to stay within cost and schedule while preserving the opportunity to acquire high-quality science.  Partial financial support is available. Applications due May 1, 2008.


Funding Opportunities for Faculty

Two opportunities from the Subsurface Biosphere Initiative - Graduate Fellowships for Incoming Students and Summer 2008 Undergraduate Interships - The graduate fellowships are for $5,000 and are intended to help faculty attract highly qualified graduate students interested in subsurface biosphere research. The awards can be used to supplement financial offers such as TA's and GRA's. The Undergraduate Internships provide up to $3,000 to help faculty cover the costs of a summer intern. The program focuses on, but is not limited to, under-represented minority and women students. Applications for internships are now being accepted and will be reviewed on receipt. For more information about these programs, contact

DOE National Institute for Climatic Change Research (NICCR) - Proposed research is requested that would improve understanding of potential effects of contemporary climatic change on the structure and functioning of important terrestrial ecosystems (including wetland and freshwater ecosystems, but not marine or estuarine ecosystems) within the United States, as well as possible feedbacks from terrestrial ecosystems to climate and atmospheric composition. Projects can be for up to two years and request up to $125K per year. Preproposals required and due May 16, 2008; full proposals due August 15, 2008.

NSF International Research and Education: Planning Visits and Workshops - These awards can support the initial phases of developing and coordinating integrated research and education activities with foreign partners. Support is primarily for travel and subsistence expenses. Individual proposals can be submitted for planning visits to have detailed discussions with prospective foreign partners or joint workshops focused on a specific, well-defined area of research collaboration. Proposals for workshops due May 20, 2008; proposals for planning visits can be submitted at any time.

NASA ROSES Planetary Protection Research - Planetary protection involves preventing biological contamination on both outbound and sample return missions to other planetary bodies. This program solicits research in the following areas: Characterizing the limits of life in laboratory simulations of planetary environments or in appropriate Earth analogs, and particularly studies of the potential and dynamics of organism survival and reproduction in conditions present on the surface or subsurface of Mars; Modelling of planetary environmental conditions and transport processes that could permit mobilization of spacecraft-associated contaminants to locations in which Earth organisms might thrive; The development or adaptation of modern molecular analytical methods to rapidly detect, classify, and/or enumerate the widest possible spectrum of Earth microbes carried by spacecraft; New or improved methods, technologies, and procedures for spacecraft sterilization, that are compatible with spacecraft materials and assemblies.Total annual program budget: ~ $300-500K, 2-4 new awards expected. Notice of intent due June 26, 2008; full proposals due September 5, 2008.

Don't forget that the SBI has funding available for proposal development and maintains a list of external grant opportunities related to the subsurface biosphere.

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