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A publication of the University of Oklahoma Foundation
Sooner Shorts
News and events from around OU.

OU researchers awarded grant to study coronavirus

An interdisciplinary team of OU researchers has been awarded a $730,000 grant from NASA to investigate emerging infectious disease threats in Central Asia, including the coronavirus.  The research team will study coronavirus and other disease outbreaks that are “zoonotic” – meaning they evolved in part from increased contact between humans and animals. NASA is funding the grant to help identify existing population vulnerabilities in the region and to forecast outbreak scenarios that may be developing on the horizon.

Horny Toad making a comeback

A favorite backyard visitor across Oklahoma is in less danger of extinction due to the work of researchers at the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden and OU’s Sam Noble Museum of Natural History. Samuel Eliades, a third-year OU ecology and evolutionary biology Ph.D. student and researcher at the museum, is part of a program that raises horny toads and releases them into the wild. That analysis will provide a better understanding of how being raised in human care influences animals.

Presenting IMPACT

The University of Oklahoma Foundation newsletter, Priority, is getting a new look and a new name to emphasize how private gifts contribute to every facet of OU’s mission, from making college affordable to supporting cutting-edge research and recruiting top faculty. The new quarterly, Impact, will emphasize the enduring power of endowments and demonstrate how private giving of any amount helps carry OU beyond the baseline of state funding and into the margin of excellence. The first issue debuted in March.

OU celebrates 30th Rhodes Scholar

Leanne K.M. Ho, a senior English literature and cultural studies major, has been named a 2020 Rhodes Scholar. The child of Vietnamese immigrants, Ho would like to study heath care policy and increased accessibility, affordability and quality of health care for marginalized communities. Ho is a campus leader in advocating for increased resources and opportunities for transgender, intersex and non-binary people and was named OU’s first Big Non-Binary Person on Campus.

K20 helps students “Get a Life”

A computer game developed by OU’s K20 Center that allows teenagers to virtually explore life after high school received the Students’ Choice Award at the Serious Games Showcase and Challenge, an international educational gaming competition in Orlando, Fla. The OU team won for its entry of the web-based simulation game “Get a Life,” in which students guide a character through important educational, career and civic decisions, learning about the risks and rewards associated with each choice. “Get a Life” and other games designed by the K20’s Game-Based Learning team are available at

Native radio

A uniquely Native point of view on 35 years of news and culture is being presented by Bizzell Memorial Library through the exhibition, “Native Voices Over the Airwaves: The Indians for Indians Hour Radio Show.” The exhibit features programs aired from the original radio broadcast that ran from 1941 to the mid-1970s and covered topics like community life, military service, religion, education and advocacy for Native rights. More information on the exhibit, which runs through Aug. 3, can be found at

Top Daug returns

He may not be faster than a speeding bullet or able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, but the Sooner Nation’s favorite canine can slide across the Lloyd Noble Center with the greatest of ease and pull on his droopy ears like nobody’s business when refs make a questionable call against his beloved Sooners. Yes, Top Daug is back in all his double-O glory. The former OU basketball mascot returned to the LNC on Jan. 14 for the first time since 2004.