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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.

  • 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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  • The uncompromising pursuit of healthier people and communities

    Addressing health disparities and preventing disease

    American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities experience elevated rates of hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and stroke. These communities are historically underserved when it comes to health care. Little research has been conducted to better understand and address their health care needs.

    Dr. Dedra Buchwald of the WSU Health Sciences Spokane campus hopes to equip these communities with powerful tools to improve blood pressure control, and ultimately cardiovascular disease and stroke. With a $10 million grant from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, Dr. Buchwald will work with a Southwest tribe, an Alaska Native health … » 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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  • 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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  • Harnessing technology to improve quality of life

    New promise for solar energy

    A breakthrough by WSU researcher Kelvin Lynn could help solar energy compete with fossil fuels for generating electricity.

    Commercial success of solar technology has been constrained by the cells’ performance and cost. Key to addressing both concerns are the materials from which solar cells are made.

    Seeking an alternative to silicon

    Silicon solar cells represent 90 percent of the solar cell market. Because silicon is a costly material to use in manufacturing, it keeps the price of solar cells high. A low-cost alternative is cadmium telluride (CdTe), which outperforms silicon in real-world conditions, such as low light and hot, humid … » 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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  • 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-ReviewMay 21, 2019WSU researchers team with Puyallup tribe on medicinal cannabis research

Researchers at Washington State University are teaming up with the Puyallup Tribe of Indians in an effort to chart the tribe’s outcomes prescribing medicinal marijuana to patients.

KREM 2 NewsMay 20, 2019‘It’s not going away’: WSU researchers warn of antibiotic resistance

Every time we take an antibiotic, it’s like survival of the fittest: We’re creating stronger, more resistant bacteria.

Los Angeles TimesMay 13, 2019Washington state braces for eco-friendly ‘human composting’

Washington state prepares to become the first state to legalize “human composting.

Clean TechnicaMay 13, 2019Scientists say they have created an environmentally friendly alternative to styrofoam

Scientists at Washington State University say they have developed an environmentally friendly material derived from plants that works better than Styrofoam for insulation. The experimental foam is made primarily from nanocrystals of cellulose — the most abundant plant material on earth.

GeekWireMay 13, 2019Apple-picking robots gear up for U.S. debut in Washington state

Thanks to agricultural automation startup Abundant Robotics, the maker of apple harvesting machines that will partake in Washington state’s next harvest.

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.

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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