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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.

  • Dillman with his book ‘Internet, Phone, Mail and Mixed-Mode Surveys: The Tailored Design Method’ Asked and answered: 50 years of survey innovation

    When you open the envelope for your 2020 Decennial Census next year, you will be directed to an online questionnaire inspired by Regents Professor Don Dillman. His extensive research and experimentation with visual design and social exchange theory have led to better user experience, increased response rates and higher quality data from surveys sent out by the U.S. Bureau of the Census, National Science Foundation, Gallup, Nielson, and many more organizations and governments worldwide.

    September 16 marks the golden anniversary of Dillman’s dual appointment as a sociology and rural sociology faculty member at Washington State University. Today, he is an internationally renowned survey methodologist known … » More …

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  • Drywall Waste Blocks Researchers Solve Construction Waste Problem with Help of Amazon Catalyst Grant

    Construction waste is a growing problem in the United States. Waste consists of unwanted materials left over during new construction or renovations from both residential and commercial buildings. The waste consists of materials such as bricks, concrete, wood, asphalt shingles, and gypsum drywall. Some construction waste can be recycled and reused, but much of it ends up in landfills. This is especially true for drywall waste, which makes up nearly 10 percent of unrecycled construction waste.

    In an effort to solve this problem, two Washington State University faculty members began developing masonry blocks using leftover drywall waste. The blocks are made from a high percentage … » More …

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  • A group photo of Traditional costumed Chinelos dancers Who goes there?

    Secret weapons come in surprising shapes and sizes. For the National Park Service, it’s Washington State University’s Public Opinion Laboratory where, by simply asking questions, the agency wins battles over landfills, pipelines, diversity issues, and more.

    Guided by director Lena Le, the laboratory employs more than 100 survey takers who make up the heart of the Social and Economic Sciences Research Center (SESRC). By phone, mail, and internet, the workers patiently collect data that adds up to very big impacts for a range of universities, businesses, and government agencies, including the National Park Service (NPS). Over the years, they’ve demonstrated that a well-designed survey can … » More …

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  • Young lady being treated in hospital bed Stopping the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria

    Advancing the health of communities worldwide

    For decades, doctors have trusted antibiotic medicines to fight Infectious bacteria, saving lives and restoring health. Lately, though, the drugs often fail. To blame are newly emerging antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

    Drug-resistant bacterial infections cause nearly 23,000 deaths annually in the United States. Globally the annual death toll could be as high as 700,000.

    WSU is part of global effort

    Stopping antimicrobial resistance (AMR) requires a global effort. Washington State University is helping to lead the charge.

    In the Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health, where experts study the emergence and spread of disease, researchers are examining the role … » More …

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  • A closeup of Kimberly Christen Promoting an informed and equitable society

    Preserving indigenous traditions in digital form

    A complete picture of U.S. history requires the information held in tribal archives, libraries, and museums (TALMs). While many major libraries and museums now digitize their collections for access and use, many TALMs lack the resources to do so. In addition, traditional content management systems are organized under Western standards, not allowing for local narrations and other cultural practices and protocols important to archiving Native heritage.

    Digitally preserving and sharing stories, artifacts, and images from diverse cultures is important in a technologically advancing world. WSU researcher Kim Christen is ensuring that digital history includes Native American voices stored and … » More …

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  • waste barrels Improving security for storage of dangerous materials

    New technology safeguards radioactive weapons and waste

    Safe storage of nuclear weapons and waste is critical for national security and environmental health. Specialized seals are used to prevent tampering.

    WSU researcher Hergen Eilers has developed a seal technology that adds a layer of security beyond what’s found in existing seals. His technology also allows for simple visual inspection to verify that a storage site is secure.

    How the seal works

    Dr. Eilers’ seals are composed of nano-particles embedded in a polymer. He uses a wavefront-modulated laser, which can control scattered light. When the laser interacts with the seal, the light is scattered by the particles. … » More …

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  • A closeup of a wooden building 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 scholars are 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 to those of … » More …

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Research news

Spokesman-ReviewMarch 22, 2020‘Our lives will be changing’: Prolonged disruption likely as coronavirus spreads in Eastern Washington

The coronavirus is not going away any time soon. Hospital and health care workers know this all too well as they take extreme measures to preserve personal protective equipment and brace for an increase in patients with respiratory symptoms in the coming weeks.

New York TimesMarch 20, 2020What’s happening to the monarch butterfly population?

The Western monarch population, which lives west of the Rocky Mountains, stood in the millions in the 1980s. In 2017, an annual count found 200,000 butterflies.

Columbia Basin HeraldMarch 17, 2020WSU bee center in Othello opens

The site is on 50 acres just south of the Port of Othello in the middle of what may be the most pollinator-dependent agricultural region in the United States.

PC GamerMarch 13, 2020The researchers who once studied WoW’s Corrupted Blood plague are now fighting the coronavirus

It turns out their knowledge of WoW’s infamous epidemic helped prepare them to tackle Covid-19.

Energy News 24March 13, 2020Scientists design water splitting technology to create affordable renewable energy

A collaborative team of scientists including those from Los Alamos National Laboratory and Washington State University have discovered an innovative way of splitting water into parts in order to make renewable energy, even if the sun and the wind are at its weakest.

Office of Research Annual Report

2017 (pdf)

2016 (pdf)

2015 (pdf)

2014 (pdf)

2013 (pdf)

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.

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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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