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.

  • 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 and developmental … » 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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  • 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 news

MSNApril 29, 2016Healthier Cheese Puffs?

Scientists Have Found a Way

The Washington PostApril 27, 2016This study found race matters in police shootings, but the results may surprise you

Even with white officers who do have racial biases, officers are three times less likely to shoot unarmed black suspects than unarmed white suspects

National Public RadioApril 26, 2016Beneath An Ugly Outside, Marred Fruit May Pack More Nutrition

Antioxidants in bruised fruit may serve as mild stressors that kick our repair mechanisms into high gear.

The Spokesman-Review April 25, 2016WSU researchers aim to make farming more efficient

Infrared technology sees if plants are receiving enough water.

Huffington PostApril 19, 2016The Startling Dangers of Drowsy Driving

One in three drivers admit to getting behind the wheel while sleep-deprived. The effects can be fatal, but are also avoidable if you follow this key advice.

The ColumbianApril 17, 2016Brains, artwork merge for trip to D.C.

NW Noggin neuroscientists and students will bring brains and brain art for several presentations to the nation’s capital April 25 through 30.

  • Bourbon or rye? You can’t tell the difference, says study

    By Scott Weybright, College of Agricultural, Human & Natural Resource Sciences and Lauren Ingeno, Drexel University spirits-judgingRICHLAND, Wash. – Whiskey aficionados may claim that Manhattans must be made with fiery, grassy rye while an Old Fashioned requires the sweetness of bourbon.

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  • New mental health tool expedites patient evaluation

    By Eric Sorensen, WSU science writer SPOKANE, Wash. – Washington State University researchers have developed a new assessment tool to gauge the risk that someone with a mental illness will commit a crime. It could also speed up long-delayed competency evaluations for people awaiting trial.

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  • Big-data computer will facilitate research, collaboration

    By Eric Sorensen, WSU science writer PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University recently cut the ribbon on a high-performance computer, heralding a new era of gleaning insights from large and unwieldy masses of data.

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  • Model predicts how forests will respond to climate change

    By Will Ferguson, College of Arts & Sciences projected-forest-types-in-U.S.VANCOUVER, Wash. – Drought could render the U.S. Northeast’s mixed forests unsustainable after 2050 while Washington’s Cascade Mountains may require tropical and subtropical forest species, according to researchers using a new type of mathematical model at Washington State University.

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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.

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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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