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.

  • Managing reservoirs for the health of the environment

    Water bodies produce more methane than landfills

    Reservoirs dot the Pacific Northwest, providing water for irrigation, fish conservation, hydropower and recreation. Yet these freshwater bodies also contribute to climate change by releasing methane—a greenhouse gas more potent than carbon dioxide—into the air.

    The use of fertilizers, fossil fuels and other practices common to industrial civilizations increases the discharge of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous into lakes, streams and coastal areas, causing algae growth, depleting oxygen and posing a hazard to human health. By slowing the flow of water through watersheds, thereby providing favorable conditions for algal growth and sediment trapping, reservoirs can greatly alter … » More …

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  • 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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Research news

Yakima HeraldAugust 20, 2016Study: Neonicotinoid Pesticides Pose Low Risk for Honey Bees in Real-World Scenario

A new study shows that a suspected cause of collapsing bee populations may not be to blame.

The GuardianAugust 14, 2016Can We Feed 10 Billion People on Organic Farming Alone?

Organic farming creates more profit and yields healthier produce. It’s time it played the role it deserves in feeding a rapidly growing world population.

The New York TimesAugust 1, 2016Burning Economic Issues Behind America’s Wildfire Problem

Clearing the smoke from wildfire policy.

KPLUAugust 1, 2016How A “Sperm Bank” Is Saving Honey Bees

This delicate work is all about improving the genetic diversity of the species – making sure honey bees adapt to changes in the environment.

The Spokesman-ReviewAugust 1, 2016WSU Nuclear Reactor Program Draws Students, Researchers – and Tourists

Of the 26 university nuclear reactors in the United States, it’s one of 12 that operate at 1 megawatt or larger.

Walla Walla Union-BulletinJuly 31, 2016WSU Effort to Eliminate Rabies is Impressive

It’s not something one would necessarily expect from a land grant university, but the effort seems to be paying off.

Northwest Public RadioJuly 29, 2016Is Washington Headed For A Honeycrisp Bust?

Becoming so popular – and profitable – so quickly, has some concerned about the variety’s future.

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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