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Ignite Research Colloquium sparks collaboration among colleges

Colleges of Public Health and Human Sciences, Pharmacy & Veterinary Medicine

Health Sciences Ignite Colloquium

We’ve all heard the saying ‘two heads are better than one.’ Now, deans in the Division of Health Sciences at Oregon State University are working off of that idiom in an effort to collaborate research capacity within the colleges.

The Division of Health Sciences hosted its first “Ignite Research Colloquium” – or as many referred to it – “speed-dating” event February 4 at the Hallie Ford Center for Healthy Children & Families.

The forum provided a venue where nearly 35 researchers from the College of Public Health and Human Sciences, the College of Pharmacy and the College of Veterinary Medicine all had the opportunity to present their research – whether it was completed, in the works or still in the planning stages. The catch was each researcher had only five minutes to present – hence the term “speed-dating.”

Division of Health Sciences Ignite Colloquium“The idea was to have rapid fire presentations that might ignite collaborations and would allow a large number of faculty to participate,” says Associate Dean for Research & Graduate Programs in the CPHHS Marie Harvey. “The presenters only had five minutes to discuss their current research program, how they wanted to collaborate and what they could bring to the collaboration. We wanted to have a forum where all faculty in the three colleges could see how other faculty are contributing to the Division’s vision of improving the health of individuals and of populations.”

Associate deans for research in the three colleges; Marie Harvey, CPHHS; Mark Leid, Pharmacy; and Luiz Bermudez, Vet Med, planned the event in a way that allowed for an optimal amount of researchers and their work to be seen. The goal was to ignite a collaborative effort between researchers across colleges.

Research topics ranged from “Your Brain on Aging” to “Natural Products as Probes for the Study of Autophagy and Cell Death” to “Can You Tell Me Why My Data Looks Like This? Childhood Cancer Conundrums.”

CPHHS Associate Professor Sue Carozza, who has been researching the causes of childhood cancers for more than 15 years, used this unique opportunity to ask questions to the group of researchers with diverse interests and backgrounds.

“It was an efficient way to engage with more than 30 colleagues at once,” she says. “I did get some immediate feedback, but I’m also hopeful that my two ‘childhood cancer conundrums’ will stick in people’s minds and possibly create links to aspects of their work somewhere down the road.”

CPHHS Associate Professor Norman Hord participated in the colloquium in order to learn of other exciting research projects at Oregon State, while hopefully gaining potential collaborators. “We all benefit from the rich research resources and the collaborative environment that is so special at OSU,” he says.

As part of the forum, College of Veterinary Medicine Dean Cyril Clarke explained the Division’s efforts of creating a “One Health” approach – the collaborative effort of multiple disciplines working locally, nationally and globally to attain optimal health for people, animals and our environment.

Division of Health Sciences Ignite ColloquiumAfterward, researchers were able to continue their discussions in a more personal setting at the networking reception in the lobby of the Hallie Ford Center (HFC).

“What a fantastic, intellectual experience it was being able to hear about the incredible work of colleagues from across the Division of Health Sciences,” says HFC Endowed Director Rick Settersten. “And what better place to host ‘Ignite’ than the Hallie Ford Center – a place that was designed to spark collaborative research just like this.”

The colloquium was just the tip of the iceberg for what the Division of Health Sciences plans on achieving within the next few years.

The three deans; Tammy Bray, CPHHS; Mark Zabriskie, Pharmacy; and Cyril Clarke, Vet Med, have made a commitment to contribute another $90,000 for divisional interdisciplinary research pilot grants for 2013-14. The associate deans will work on the Request for Proposals and make the announcement by February 18 with a deadline for submission on May 9.

“I am very excited and optimistic to see what the relationship between the three colleges will bring,” says College of Public Health and Human Sciences Dean Tammy Bray. “The Ignite Research Colloquium is just a taste of what we plan on accomplishing within the Division. This multidisciplinary, multi-college initiative will inspire research that will ensure lifelong health and well-being of every person, every family and every community in Oregon and beyond.”