Research and Scholarship

The growing research program at OSU-Cascades demonstrates OSU’s leadership in research that advances our understanding of the earth’s ecosystems, human health and wellness, and our economic and social well-being. Researchers at the Bend campus are addressing these areas at both a national and local level, often with the assistance of undergraduate students. In the 2015-16 academic year, OSU-Cascades researchers were awarded 20 research grants totaling more than $1.4 million. This is in addition to 15 grants already underway that represent more than $1 million in funding from federal, state and local sources. Among the work underway by OSU-Cascades research scientists and scholars:

Earth Ecosystems

  • Ann Petersen, a faculty member in the biology program, addresses questions of how environmental contaminant exposure during development may interact with population-level genetic background leading to disease and adverse health consequences in vertebrates, including humans. Her team included 10 undergraduates who worked on sites along the Upper Deschutes/Little Deschutes rivers.
  • Matt Orr, a professor in the biology program and Ron Reuter, a professor in the natural resources program were awarded an Undergraduate Grand Team Challenge grant that allowed them to integrate undergraduates in a restoration project on the South Fork of the Crooked River. Students collected baseline measurements and installed four beaver dam analog structures on the river. Their work will be presented in Corvallis in spring of 2017. 
  • Matt Shinderman, a faculty member in the natural resources program and the lead of the sustainability program established the Human and Ecosystem Resiliency and Sustainability Lab as a consortium of research faculty, private and public sector partners and students to work towards a more sustainable future. The first official partnership was established with the National Park Service.

Human Health and Wellness

  • Kathy Biles, a faculty member in the counseling program and Susan Keys, a senior public health researcher, are completing the second year of a three-year grant on Screening, Brief Intervention, Referral to Treatment, a collaboration with faculty from Oregon Health and Science University and Portland State University. In the past year the grant has trained 263 counseling, social work and medical school students from the three institutions to help identify and treat substance use earlier. 
  • In collaboration with the La Pine Community Health Center and with funding from the University of Rochester’s Injury Control Research Center for Suicide Prevention, senior public health research Susan Keys, social science professor Beth Marino and Chris Wolsko, a psychology professor launched a study focused on increasing effective conversations about firearm safety between primary care providers and patients at risk of suicide.
  • Michael Gassner, senior instructor and program lead of the tourism and outdoor leadership program and honorary assistant professor with the University of Hong Kong together with Chris Wolsko, professor in psychology, are leading a seven-year international longitudinal research study with the United World College of Southeast Asia (UWCSEA) in Singapore. The study will add to the global knowledge of how outdoor education experiences impact K-12 students. The study is gathering data about developmental experiences, connection to nature, personal fulfillment, and what specifically the UWCSEA outdoor education program contributes to overall student learning and psychological well-being.

Economic and Social Well-Being

  • Shannon Lipscomb, a professor in the human development and family sciences program examines ways to promote resilience for children who have experienced adversity. With support of a $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education, her team is developing and evaluating professional supports for early childhood teachers to increase school readiness among children who have experienced trauma.