Skip Navigation
Oklahoma State University

HIBAR Research Initiative - Professor's Tyler Ley and Mark Krzmarzick

Dear OSU Colleagues,


The idea competition phase of our HIBAR research initiative is now complete. We had wonderful participation in the idea competition, with more than 20 prospectuses submitted by faculty teams from across OSU and OSU-CHS. Four themes have been selected for the full application phase. These four themes, and the faculty researchers leading each effort, are described below.


From Waste-Stream to Value: Carbon Sequestration and Reuse for a Sustainable Oklahoma

OSU has the research expertise to develop carbon dioxide (CO2) sequestration, storage and reuse technologies sufficient to mitigate the state’s carbon footprint, thus creating a value stream rather than a waste stream for Oklahoma industries. OSU’s researchers have a critical mass of relevant expertise while industry, government agencies and other Oklahoma stakeholders will provide vital external partnerships.

Faculty leads:

  • Raymond Huhnke, Regents Professor, Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering Director, Biobased Products and Energy Center
  • Tyler Ley, Professor and Gilbert, Cooper, W&W Steel Chair, Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Liesel Ritchie, Associate Professor, Sociology; Associate Director, Center for the Study of Disasters and Extreme Events
  • Gail W.T. Wilson, Sarkeys Distinguished Professor, Natural Resource Ecology and Management


Connecting the Microbiome to Health Outcomes

The complexity of the human microbiome is vast. The connections between this complex biological community that affect nearly every aspect of our health have the potential to benefit health and well-being. But rigorous science is required to ensure that medical or dietary interventions targeting the microbiome are effective and well-understood. This theme brings together OSU experts from biology, computer science, mathematics, behavioral sciences, social science and engineering to better understand microbiome-associated diseases that impact the health of Oklahomans.

Faculty leads:

  • Tyrrell Conway, Regents Professor and Head of the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics
  • Gerwald Koehler, Associate Professor of Biochemistry & Microbiology
  • Jerry Malayer, Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Education, Center for Veterinary Health Sciences


Sustainable Water for Oklahoma

Without technological improvements, Oklahoma will need more water by 2060 than is available, and water quality is at risk in many parts of the state. Ensuring Oklahoma’s water sustainability and security are the ultimate goals of this initiative to develop a comprehensive water technology research program at OSU. The technologies that emerge from this program will allow Oklahomans access to previously unavailable water supplies and optimize water management.

Faculty leads:

  • Kevin Wagner, Director of the Oklahoma Water Resources Center
  • Mark Krzmarzick, Assistant Professor, Civil & Environmental Engineering


Ensuring the Future of Rural Communities

The future of many rural communities in Oklahoma, as well as elsewhere in the U.S. and around the world, is jeopardized by natural resource degradation, climate change, drought and sociocultural trends. Those threats are draining away human talent, expanding a technology gap between rural and urban society, and leading to rural population losses. This initiative is intended to identify and create ways to enhance the natural, human and technological capital in rural areas by bringing together interdisciplinary research teams to conduct community engaged, solution-oriented research on behalf of rural Oklahoma. Identified solutions are likely to have global applicability.

Faculty leads:

  • Tyson Ochsner, Professor, Department of Plant and Soil Sciences
  • Paul Weckler, Professor, Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering
  • Shane Robinson, Professor, Department of Agricultural Education, Communications and Leadership
  • Bruce Barringer, Department Head, School of Entrepreneurship


How to Get Involved. If you have expertise and interests in any (or all!) of these themes, there will be many opportunities for potential involvement as we move into the next phase. Small planning grants have been provided to the leaders of each of these thematic teams, so that they can team-build, partner-build, and develop full applications (due July 1). Each group is planning events for Research Week and at other times over the course of the semester as they ramp up the planning. Feel free to reach out to the team leads directly to express your interest or attend events as they are announced.


HIBAR = Tier 1 Research Initiatives. As we move into the application phase, we think it is important to have a public brand for our HIBAR research initiative. HIBAR stands for “Highly Integrative Basic and Responsive” to reflect both the interdisciplinarity and the intended public impact of the efforts. As we promote these initiatives publicly, we will refer to them as OSU’s Tier 1 Research Initiatives. The word “Tier” will also stand for Timely, Impactful, Engaged Research, which we believe encapsulates the spirit of the HIBAR research concept.


Make no mistake: ALL research at OSU is important, and ALL research at OSU contributes uniquely to making OSU a top-tier research university. As a component of that larger whole, OSU’s Tier 1 Research Initiatives will give us a platform to build and promote some of our most public-facing research areas. I hope you share my excitement for what lies ahead.


Go Pokes,






Kenneth W. Sewell, Ph.D.

Vice President for Research