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Landis Kannberg, a program manager at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, became the new director of the Microproducts Breakthrough Institute (MBI) in November when former director Kevin Drost retired. The institution is a collaboration between Oregon State University and PNNL. MBI is a partner with the Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute (ONAMI). MBI is involved in more than $10 million worth of research and development, including recent work on a micro-scale blood filter for future use in a portable kidney dialysis machine.


Researchers at Siga Technologies are one step closer to a new drug that would prevent the spread of smallpox. Smallpox was eradicated in 1977, but many countries have retained small amounts of the virus for research, turning an old disease into a new bio-terror threat. “In the case of smallpox, there is no approved drug [for treatment or protection] available,” says Dennis Hruby, Siga’s chief scientific officer and a professor of microbiology at Oregon State University. Siga has stepped into the business of bio-terror prevention with the help of a three-year, $16.5 million contract with the National Institutes of Health to develop the smallpox drug. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is likely to approve the drug in 2009. Since 2001, Siga’s staff has grown to 50 and Hruby says they look to hire 12 more within the next several months.


The results of a 10-year study on ranching in the West could explain the changing of the guard seen on some Oregon ranches. The study, conducted by researchers from Oregon State University, the University of Colorado and the University of Otago in New Zealand, found that only 26% of large ranches were sold to traditional ranchers. The rest went to a combination of investors, developers and a new breed: the “amenity buyer.” These affluent ranch buyers are more interested in a back-to-nature retreat than a working ranch. According to Hannah Gosnell at Oregon State, this shift has a limited effect on Oregon ranches, although the results of amenity buyers can still be seen, especially around the Klamath River basin.

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