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.

  • 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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  • Disarming a deadly virus

    Scientist discovers how infection with the deadly Nipah virus takes hold

    Everyone has seen it in the movies: a deadly virus breaks out of a remote locale and spreads like wildfire, causing devastation with worldwide consequences. Although frequently over-dramatized by Hollywood, it’s a real possibility— as evidenced by the recent Ebola outbreak, which saw cases appear in Europe and the Americas for the first time.

    In the School for Global Animal Health at WSU Pullman, virologist Hector Aguilar-Carreno is hard at work making sure the deadly Nipah virus can’t do the same thing.

    His work is urgent. With a mortality rate of 40% to … » More …

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  • Research with impact

    Scientists develop lighter weight body armor to protect U.S. soldiers

    How can body armor for U.S. soldiers be made lighter, yet still provide effective protection? For the answer, the U.S. Army turned to Yogendra Gupta, director of WSU’s Institute for Shock Physics.

    The WSU shock physics effort has a more than 55-year history of research innovation. Professor Gupta’s research explores the dynamic response of materials subjected to extreme conditions of pressure and temperature, and at very short time scales. Research at the Institute is often carried out in partnership with scientists at U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA) and Department of … » More …

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  • Creating jobs through sustainable building technologies

    Cross-laminated timber could invigorate the regional economy

    Buildings stand among the nation’s leading producers of greenhouse gases. To blame is the energy used to operate them and the carbon-heavy materials required to construct them. With populations increasingly shifting toward urban centers, construction will only continue. Reducing emissions created by urban growth will require rethinking our built environment.

    Much of that rethinking is happening at WSU, where architecture and engineering scholar Todd Beyreuther is designing future skylines made of wood. Not often used in today’s urban infrastructures, wood is a renewable resource. It can be sustainably forested and manufactured into panels that have high-performance properties comparable … » More …

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  • Equity for women in the workplace

    Despite comparable levels of commitment, women don’t advance at the same rate as men

    In the past 40 years, women have assumed a larger role in the U.S. workforce. While roughly two out of five women worked for pay in the early 1970s, almost three out of five do so today[1]. But Julie Kmec, a Washington State University sociologist, has repeatedly seen how their roles, wages and mobility continue to differ dramatically from those of their male peers.

    In a study of some 800 law firms, she found that a woman’s chance of promotion decreases as she advances. Nearly 40 percent of entry-level … » More …

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  • Removing pollutants from urban runoff

    Researchers seek ways to trap toxins and improve water quality

    Paved surfaces cover tens of thousands of square miles in the United States. Almost all are impervious, collecting pesticides, fertilizers, oil, metals and other pollutants. The resulting runoff is one of the biggest threats to water quality.

    On the west side of Washington State, abundant rain and a surging urban population create an ideal observatory for the problem. Working south of Seattle at Washington State University’s Research and Extension Center in Puyallup, researchers at the Washington Stormwater Center are working to address water-quality issues and develop effective, evidence-based management practices and principles.

    Permeable … » More …

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Research news

The Seattle TimesFebruary 5, 2016Between the ears: Is teaching part of human nature or just plain WEIRD?

Washington State University researchers find that traditional African hunter-gatherers teach children as young as 12 months old to use knives, machetes and digging sticks.

TIMEFebruary 4, 2016Why Organic Food Might Be Worth the High Price

A new study says organic food has many advantages

KUOW/EarthFixFebruary 3, 2016Organic Farming Better Suited For Drought Conditions, Study Finds

The key to withstanding the effects of climate change, while feeding a growing global population, lies in building healthy soil.

CrosscutFebruary 2, 2016You’re too full of yourself, according to researchers

WSU Marketing Professor David Sprott: “I’m not sure what the genesis for narcissism’s rise is, but social media really crystallizes a lot of it right now.”

Los Angeles Times January 25, 2016Some Republican candidates spend big on ads, with little to show for it

WSU Politics Professor Travis Ridout: “I think a lot of early advertising was wasted, in terms of trying to get votes on caucus day.”

  • 40 years of science: Organic ag key to feeding the world

    By Sylvia Kantor, College of Agricultural, Human & Natural Resource Sciences

    PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University researchers have concluded that feeding a growing global population with sustainability goals in mind is possible. Their review of hundreds of published studies provides evidence that organic farming can produce sufficient yields, be profitable for farmers, protect and improve the environment and be safer for farm workers.

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  • Power-grid experts gather March 8-10

    power-conferenceSPOKANE, Wash. – Hundreds of power and energy industry experts and visionaries will participate in the “Intelligence behind Smart Grids” conference March 8-10 at the historic Davenport Hotel in Spokane, Wash.

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  • International agreement bolsters WSU graduate education

    agreement-signedPULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University has entered into an agreement with Shandong Chambroad Holding Co. Ltd., a private Chinese corporation, to educate WSU doctoral students to meet significant societal needs in energy and environment.

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  • Professor recognized nationally for early career research

    By C. Brandon Chapman, College of Education

    Rich-Lamb-80PULLMAN, Wash. – Rich Lamb, assistant professor of science education technology at Washington State University, has won a national early career award for his potential to make outstanding contributions to research and science education.

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  • March 22: Three Minute Thesis to return as part of Showcase

    By C. Brandon Chapman, College of Education

    Emily-JohnsonPULLMAN, Wash. – Three Minute Thesis (3MT) will be part of Washington State University’s annual Showcase celebration of excellence on Tuesday, March 22. Prizes, in the form of travel awards for research conferences, will be $3,000 for the winner, $1,500 for second place and $500 for third.

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More WSU News research stories

Top new awards in fiscal year 2015

$4,032,904Afghanistan Agricultural Extension Project IIChris PannkukCAHNRSUSAID via UC Davis
$3,169,180Reducing the Impact of Industry-Critical Insect and Disease Problems in Hops through Development of Preventive and Predictive StrategiesDoug WalshCAHNRSUSDA/NIFA/Specialty Crop
$2,741,575Genome Database for Rosaceae: Empowering Specialty Crop Research through Big-Data Driven Discovery and Application in BreedingDoreen MainCAHNRSUSDA/NIFA/Specialty Crop
$2,731,480Deciphering the role of RNA binding proteins in RNA transport, localization and post-transcriptional processes in plantsThomas OkitaCAHNRSNSF
$2,587,500Molecular Etiology of Epigenetic Transgenerational Inheritance of DiseaseMichael SkinnerArts/SciencesJohn Templeton Foundation
$2,249,974Integrating Biology, Psychology, and Ecology to Mitigate Antibiotic Resistance in Food Animal Production SystemsWilliam SischoVet MedicineUSDA/NIFA/AFRI Food Safety
$2,000,000An integrated omics guided approach to lignification and gravitational responses: The final frontierNorm LewisCAHNRSNASA
$1,829,000Long-Term Water Supply and Demand ForecastJennifer AdamWater Research CenterWashington Dept. of Ecology
$1,823,832China Plant Pathology and Pollenizer TASC GrantStefano MusacchiWater Research CenterWashington Apple Commission via USDA/FAS (USDA/FAS flow through project)

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.