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CMOP to transition to OHSU center as SoSE reorganizes

04/29/08 Portland, Ore.

On July 1, 2008, the Science and Technology Center for Coastal Margin Observation and Prediction (CMOP), which currently reports to the Dean of the School of Science & Engineering, will become an OHSU center reporting to Provost Lesley Hallick, Ph.D., and Vice President for Research Daniel Dorsa, Ph.D.

CMOP's evolution into a university center was prompted in part by the School of Science & Engineering’s reorganization as a new Department of Science and Engineering--with multiple divisions--in OHSU’s medical school, as well as its development as an interdisciplinary focal point for education and research.

CMOP will retain strong links with the new Department of Science & Engineering, particularly with the division of Environmental & Biomolecular Systems, but its multi-institutional nature will be better served by a different reporting structure.

Lesley HallickThis transition will facilitate opportunities for deepened participation in CMOP from faculty in a broader range of academic units at OHSU, and for the development of new cross-institutional partnerships throughout Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. Oregon State University, the University of Washington, Portland State University, underwater sensor company WET Labs Inc. and the Portland-based educational organization, Saturday Academy, are already among the growing number of CMOP partners.

"Coastal margins do not recognize institutional boundaries," said Hallick, "and research on them cannot afford to do so either. CMOP unites students, field practitioners, regulators, entrepreneurs, and researchers from disparate disciplines in a common search for discovery; these kinds of collaborations are absolutely essential for understanding large, highly complex systems--and for training young people to effectively steward these invaluable resources."

Dan DorsaCMOP researchers have, for example, recently begun exploring the use of environmental sentinels to characterize coastal margin changes in response to climate and human activity.

"They may well be creating the ability to factor the environment into health research," said Dorsa, "and that has transformative potential for global health issues, for preventative medicine, and for OHSU's ability to make breakthroughs in linking human and environmental health."

CMOP is one of only 17 Science and Technology Centers funded by the National Science Foundation nationwide. It is the only such center dedicated to the study of coastal margins, some of the most biologically rich and ecologically vulnerable areas in the world.

CMOP was founded in response to the urgent need for sustainable development strategies and for anticipatory rather than reactive approaches to environmental and human health challenges. Using leading-edge technologies (e.g., coastal-margin observatories and environmental genomics) and gene-to-climate thinking, CMOP seeks to address emerging challenges at the interface of coastal margins with large-scale processes (e.g., climate and plate tectonics) and human activities.