WSU Research

Building knowledge for a healthier world

WSU Research

Washington State University researchers untangle complex problems to enrich quality of life for us all. Their work safeguards the health of humans and animals. It helps ensure the security and abundance of our food supply. It cultivates sustainable sources of energy to power future generations. Discoveries and innovations of this Tier 1 research institution fuel prosperity across the Pacific Northwest.

  • Collaborative to study health reform impact on disabled

    Inquiry to see if reforms address cost and access disparities faced by people with disabilities

    Professor of Health Policy and Administration Jae Kennedy is heading up a new initiative to establish the Collaborative on Health Reform and Independent Living, a multi-institutional effort to evaluate the impact of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on the well-being of working-age adults with disabilities. Funded through a five-year, $2.5 million grant from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research, the collaborative brings together disability advocates and researchers from WSU, the University of Kansas, George Mason University, and the Independent Living Research Utilization program at TIRR Memorial … » More …

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  • The haptic touch

    Two new patented inventions by Hakan Gurocak can help advance the digital experience.

    One difference between hands-on experiences and digital experiences is the sense of touch. When you shop at a retail store, for example, you can handle an item before you buy it. But when you shop online, you only see a picture of it.

    Technology that conveys a sense of touch—called haptics—currently is used in the automotive industry, in medical training, in videogames and even on your smartphone’s keypad. But it has not spread to everyday use.

    Hakan Gurocak, director of the School of Engineering and Computer Science at Washington State University Vancouver, … » More …

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  • Police training in a new light

    WSU seeks better ways to handle tense encounters

    The call came into 9-1-1 from a Spokane YMCA last October: A middle-aged man was threatening to break the kneecaps of an eight-year-old, because he said the boy could “ruin my NBA career.”

    Corporal Jordan Ferguson of the Spokane Police Department responded, fully aware of the suspect’s antagonistic and unpredictable behavior. Ferguson’s body camera footage shows what happened next.

    In the lobby of the YMCA, an employee first describes the man’s erratic statements. Ferguson tracks the man to the gym, who then walks away yelling. Rather than restraining the man immediately, Ferguson asks him questions and listens … » More …

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  • REM sleep vital for young brains

    Sleep’s final stage key to development

    A recent study of the role of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep in the development of young brains suggests that it makes experiences “stick” in the brain. The discovery was published in Science Advances by Professor of Medical Sciences Marcos Frank and his former graduate student Michelle Dumoulin Bridi.

    Frank said their findings emphasize the importance of REM sleep in early life and point to a need for caution in giving young children REM-suppressing medications like antidepressants and stimulants for ADHD.

    The idea for Frank’s study came from earlier research that suggested a relationship between sleep … » More …

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  • Conserving water, improving Washington’s white wine

    WSU researchers inform irrigation strategies

    Washington is a leading producer of Riesling and Chardonnay wine grapes. In fact, these two grapes account for 75 percent of the white wine grape production in the state.

    In arid eastern Washington, where most of the state’s wine grapes are grown, efficient irrigation is the name of the game. But it can be particularly challenging for white wine grapes. If a grower anticipates a heat wave, he or she can have a hard time figuring out how much to irrigate. Overwatering could result in too much canopy growth at the expense of berry production, and not enough water could … » More …

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  • Measuring community well‑being

    WSU Vancouver’s Probst looking at mix of stressors, employment, resources

    Does where you live affect your ability to cope with financial and employment stress? That question is on the minds of policymakers with limited dollars to spend on social services. The answer could help them determine how best to support struggling individuals.

    The question was also on the mind of Washington State University psychology professor Tahira Probst. It seems logical that people with access to more services would fare better. But Probst wondered whether, instead, people might compare their situations’ with their neighbors’ in a “keeping up with the Joneses” fashion. If so, those … » More …

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  • Ion mobility spectrometry

    Investigating one of society’s most powerful workhorses

    On a cool evening last April, at exactly 8:01 p.m., the International Space Station traced a bright silver arc over Pullman. Inside, a small sensor scanned the air for hazardous vapors and relayed the data to flight controllers in Houston.

    Meanwhile, 200 miles below in the Syrian desert, soldiers searched through rubble carrying a handheld device that sounds an alarm in the presence of chemical warfare agents. At airport security gates and customs stations all over the world, similar devices sniff out explosives and narcotics.

    The technology behind those detectors is called ion mobility spectrometry or IMS. While … » More …

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Research news

Yakima HeraldMay 20, 2016Cosmic Crisp getting an out-of-this-world reception from apple growers, breeders

The new variety has the potential to expand its footprint in the market at a previously unseen pace

PBS NewsHour May 18, 2016From Mt. St. Helens’ volcanic ashes, Mother Nature rebuilds

More than three decades to the day after it launched a stunning and destructive display of lava and ash, Mount St. Helens continues to transform a region and its ecology.

GeekwireMay 16, 2016How to train your robot

Treat it like a dog

EaterMay 11, 2016The Secret World of Selling “Nostalgic” Food

WSU’s Darrel Muehling points out that we often see the past through rose-tinted glasses, remembering only the good parts.

GeekWireMay 3, 2016Gravitational-wave detection earns LIGO scientists a $3 million Breakthrough Prize

WSU researchers collaborate on discovery that confirms Einstein, opens new frontier in astrophysics.

The ColumbianMay 2, 2016Warmer future for Northwest forests foreseen in WSUV research

Pacific Northwest gardeners might consider planting banana and avocado trees in the not-too-distant future

  • Researchers shed light on important catalyst structure

    By Tina Hilding, Voiland College of Engineering & Architecture

    chemistry-coverPULLMAN, Wash. – Volkswagen’s disgrace last year for altering software to pass emissions tests highlighted a problem for the auto industry: People want vehicles that are both non-polluting and fuel efficient, but they are difficult to produce with current technologies.

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  • Inland waterways emit more carbon than expected

    By Tina Hilding, Voiland College of Engineering & Architecture

    heping-liuPULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University researchers have found that greenhouse-gas emissions from lakes and inland waterways may be as much as 45 percent greater than previously thought.

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  • 10 seed grants launch student success, research projects

    from-the-provost-logoPULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University will invest in 10 faculty-led projects aimed at providing transformative student experiences and enhancing research, scholarship and creativity across our institution.

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  • Improved food packaging will extend shelf life

    Shyam-SablaniPULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University researcher Shyam Sablani has received a $450,000 grant to develop plastic packaging that will extend the shelf life of prepared food up to five years.

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More WSU News research stories

Top new awards in fiscal year 2016

$4,900,000Community Energy Efficiency Program (CEEP) 2Emily SalzbergWSU Energy ProgramWashington Department of Commerce
$3,999,417Center of Excellence for Food Safety Technologies Using Microwave EnergyJuming TangCAHNRSUSDA/NIFA/AFRI Food Safety
$2,688,111MAP-PSILDS-PNW: Mapping and Predicting Psyllid Sources, Immigration and Locality-Specific Disease Spread in the PNWWilliam SnyderCAHNRSUSDA/NIFA/Specialty Crop
$2,500,000Preventing Zoonotic Diseases (GHSA #3) in KenyaMKariuki NjengaVet MedicineHHS/CDC
$2,493,892Collaborative on Health Reform and Independent LivingJames KennedyNursingHHS/Admin. for Community Living
$2,488,512Tanzania Economic Growth PASAChris PannkukVet MedicineUSDA/Foreign Ag. Service
$2,115,000Development of in vitro biofilm and planktonic culture of Ca. Liberibacter asiaticus: a game change in HLB researchDavid GangCAHNRSUSDA/NIFA/Specialty Crop
$2,072,343Use of Engaging Online Videos in Conjunction with New Feeding Content to Enhance a Current EFNEP Program in the Prevention of Childhood ObesityThomas PowerWSU ExtensionUSDA/NIFA via Baylor College of Medicine
$2,013,824Natural Product-Drug Interaction Research: The Roadmap to Best PracticesMary PaineCollege of PharmacyHHS/NIH via the University of Washington
$2,000,000Next Generation Variety Development and Education for Grains, Apples, Alternative Crops, and Cool Season LegumesAaron CarterCAHNRSUSDA/NIFA/AFRI Food Security

Partnerships, commercialization,
and financial support

Partners in discovery

Collaboration accelerates and strengthens the discovery of WSU scholars. Partners in industry, government, and academia help WSU faculty address a set of Grand Challenges—priorities that focus on urgent problems of the state, nation, and world.

Bringing innovations to the marketplace

WSU researchers’ technological innovations drive economic expansion for the state of Washington and the nation. Find out how WSU partners with private industry to move from invention to commercialization.

Your gift touches lives worldwide

WSU’s growing research agenda is fueled by the generous sponsorship of government, industry, organizations, friends, and alumni. Their financial support also makes possible unparalleled learning experiences in the lab and the field for WSU students. Please join us in shaping the future. Make a gift to support life-changing research at WSU.

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