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

Put Your Stamp on It

Oklahoma City’s Skydance Bridge has been a landmark for a decade, since it was designed by OU Christopher C. Gibbs College of Architecture Dean Hans E. Butzer; his wife, Torrey Butzer; and a team of several OU alumni architects and engineers, including Chris Ramseyer, retired director of the Fears Structural Engineering Laboratory. The bridge will soon be featured on a U.S. Postal Service stamp and is one of only four selected for the series from across the nation. Skydance Bridge was inspired by Oklahoma’s wind and its state bird, the Scissor-Tailed Flycatcher.

Relief From a Natural Source

Photo by June Frantz Hunt

A naturally occurring compound found in the antlers of Sika deer may hold relief for patients with head and neck cancers, who often develop debilitating mouth sores during radiation and chemotherapy. OU Health Stephenson Cancer Center was the nation’s largest clinical trial site for the drug, called EC-18. “Most patients lose a lot of weight during treatment because they have so much pain when they swallow and they don’t eat well,” says trial study leader Dr. Christina Henson, a radiation oncologist and assistant professor in OU’s College of Medicine. EC-18 study participants experienced fewer and less severe mouth sores, previously treated with narcotics and expensive mouthwashes. “The drug is definitely promising,” she says.

Keep up the Pressure 

Since the 1940s, thousands of integral reciprocating compressors, or IRCs, have been working around the clock to produce the pressure that propels natural gas through a web of pipelines into our homes and businesses. But too much gas is being lost. Thanks to a partnership between the OU Gallogly College of Engineering, artificial intelligence company Elipsa and the U.S. Department of Energy, OU engineers have developed a low-cost retrofit kit that reduces air pollution and increases IRC performance. The retrofit kit offers a realistic, affordable alternative that could extend the life of IRCs by decades, says Pejman Kazempoor, OU assistant professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering.

Sooner Scoop

Photo by Travis Caperton

Get the inside track on all things OU by downloading Conversations with the President, a monthly podcast hosted by President Joseph Harroz Jr. covering student life, athletics and more. Topics have ranged from the 50th anniversary of Title IX with OU softball coach Patty Gasso–seen here–to the future of biomedical engineering with Stephenson School of Biomedical Engineering founder and chair Michael Detamore, and the $2 billion “Lead On: The University of Oklahoma’s Campaign for the Future” with co-chairs Jonny and Brenda Jones. “Conversations with the President” is available on Apple and Spotify. To subscribe, click here.

Fusion for the Future

Just one day after the U.S. Department of Energy announced a major breakthrough in fusion energy research–using lasers to replicate the way the sun generates energy–OU unveiled a collaboration to commercialize that discovery and develop the first pilot fusion power plant. The venture brings OU, industry partners, Oklahoma-based tribal nations and Longview Fusion Energy Systems of Livermore, Calif., together to place OU at the forefront of pioneering fusion technology. OU’s Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis also is leading research into understanding the societal implications of fusion energy.

Thank you, George

After 42 years of service as the creative vision that brings Sooner Magazine to life, art director George Dotson is bidding the magazine the fondest of farewells. Dotson has designed Sooner since 1981–producing a staggering total of 168 issues under three editors. (For perspective, OU has had nine presidents during his tenure.) Dotson began designing Sooner during a 25-year career on the publications staff of what is now known as OU Marketing and Communications and continued for two decades beyond his 1999 university retirement. To say he will be missed is the grandest of understatements.

Top of the List

Three OU faculty members have been listed among 2022’s Highly Cited Researchers by the Institute for Scientific Innovation at Clarivate. The list recognizes researchers who have “demonstrated a disproportionate level of significant and broad influence in their field or fields of research” and named Yuanwei Qin, Xinagming Xiao and Jizhong Zhou—all members of the Department of Microbiology and Plant Biology in OU’s Dodge Family College of Arts and Sciences. Papers written by those on the list were cited so frequently that they are among the top 1% of citations in scientific publications. 

Leading the Way

Osage shield. Photo courtesy Osage Tribal Museum

Osage Nation Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear, OU ’76, who is featured on pg. 22, is one of five OU alums currently leading their tribal communities, including Apache Tribe of Oklahoma Chairman Durell Cooper, MLS 2020; Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr., BA 1997 and JD 2000; Otoe-Missouria Tribe Chairman John Shotton, BBA 2000 and MPA 2007; and Comanche Nation Chairman Mark Woommavovah, BA ’92. Many other alumni serve on tribal councils, supreme courts and legislative bodies.