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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.

  • Growing cyberforests to predict the impacts of climate change

    Realistic 3-D simulation helps forest managers anticipate disturbances

    Drought, heat, and other irregular conditions spawned by climate change take a toll on tree ecosystems. How, exactly, will those stressors affect forests in the future? Predictions have been difficult—until now.

    WSU Vancouver mathematicians Nikolay Strigul and Jean Lienard have created a 3-D computer simulation to visualize how tree ecosystems can be altered by factors such as carbon dioxide levels, wildfires, and drought. The simulator lets forest managers predict wildfires and other disturbances. If a forest is destroyed, the tool can help determine the species of trees and ecological factors necessary to reestablish it.

    The computer model … » More …

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  • Wood-based biofuel powers cross-country flight

    WSU-led coalition partners with Alaska Airlines for the world’s first commercial flight using fuel made from forest residuals.

    In November 2016 a commercial airplane powered by jet fuel made from woody biomass took off from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. The historic Alaska Airlines flight to Washington, D.C. marked the culmination of five years of collaborative research exploring renewable, alternative jet fuel. Led by Washington State University, the research initiative laid the groundwork for development of an aviation biofuels industry in the Pacific Northwest.

    As the world’s finite supply of fossil fuels dwindles, availability of renewable sources of jet fuel will become increasingly important. Woody biomass is … » More …

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  • Predicting the Progression of Cancers

    Pharmacy research paves way for genetic tests

    Physicians may soon have another diagnostic tool to help treat cancer patients, thanks to a new partnership between WSU and a genetic testing company based in India. Under a recently signed licensing agreement, Datar Genetics Ltd. will use a set of genes identified by College of Pharmacy researchers to develop tests to predict prostate cancer recurrence and breast cancer survival. The partnership was facilitated by the WSU Office of Commercialization, which is looking for additional licensing partners in other countries.

    The research that led to the identification of the 20 genes was conducted in the lab of Grant Trobridge, … » More …

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  • 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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Research news

GlamourFebruary 12, 2017Neiman Marcus’ Last Call Stores Will Trial Plus-Size Fashion Departments

“According to researchers from Washington State University, the average woman in America wears a size 16 or 18.”

Yakima HeraldFebruary 12, 2017Program Offers Help to Released Prisoners and Saves Taxpayers Money

“A study by Washington State University suggests the program saves the state at least $7 and as much as $9 for every dollar spent.”

Chicago TribuneFebruary 11, 2017With New School Opening, Medical Education Surges in Spokane

“The most high-profile development is Washington State University’s creation of the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, the nation’s newest med school.”

Northwest Public RadioFebruary 9, 2017Washington State Veterinary Surgeon Pursues New Treatment For Deadly Canine Syndrome

WSU specializes in treatment of Cushing’s disease.

The Spokesman-ReviewFebruary 8, 2017Through History, Fake News has Often Accompanied Populist Politics

WSU’s Cornell Clayton: “It often accompanies populist revival eras in politics.”

PsychCentralFebruary 8, 2017Reward-Based Therapy Can Be Helpful for Alcohol Abuse

“A surprise benefit of the treatment was that it also decreased study participants’ tobacco and drug use.”

  • Researchers find new clues for nuclear waste cleanup

    By Tina Hilding, Voiland College of Engineering & Architecture

    PULLMAN, Wash. – A Washington State University study of the chemistry of technetium-99 has improved understanding of the challenging nuclear waste and could lead to better cleanup methods.

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  • Natural plant defense could help fight cancer, Alzheimer’s

    By Seth Truscott, College of Agricultural, Human & Natural Resource Sciences

    PULLMAN, Wash. – A natural defense that helps plants ward off insect predators, discovered at Washington State University, could lead to better crops and new treatments for cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

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  • African roots inspire professor’s varied water research

    By Maegan Murray, WSU Tri-Cities

    RICHLAND, Wash. – After growing up in drought-afflicted Ethiopia, Yonas Demissie values water. His research to manage the life-sustaining resource reaches from the U.S. military to the Nile River basin, from Washington’s Hanford nuclear site to biofuels crops and the Gulf of Mexico.

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  • Feb. 21: Literature helps understand today’s issues

    PULLMAN, Wash. – Parallels between past- and present-day concerns – and how literature helps illuminate them – will be discussed by Washington State University English professor Donna M. Campbell in “Edith Wharton’s Two Americas” at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 21, in Goertzen 21.

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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.

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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