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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.

  • Mustard with rainbow WSU researchers, students develop agriculture water monitoring website

    A growing number of fruit and vegetable growers in the Columbia Basin are working with researchers in WSU Extension to find an easier way to track and share data on water quality used for crop irrigation.

    “Measuring water quality is important, because it lets growers know the likelihood that the water they are using might be contaminated with a foodborne pathogen,” said Faith Critzer, associate professor and produce safety extension specialist at the WSU Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center in Prosser, Washington.

    “By monitoring water quality, we can make educated decisions about risks tied to that source,” Critzer said.

    Producers have historically tested their … » More …

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  • The WSU Vancouver Research Showcase must go on: Virtually

    Research Showcase is one of the largest events for graduate and undergraduate students on the Washington State University Vancouver campus to showcase their research. But when the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order threatened to cancel the annual event, Christine Portfors, vice chancellor for research and graduate education, and her assistant Holly Davis, knew that they had to find some other way to host Research Showcase. They immediately knew to ask Dene Grigar, professor and director of The Creative Media and Digital Culture Program, to find a solution that would allow them to host the showcase virtually.

    Since the early 1990s, Grigar has been working in … » 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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Research news

The Magazine of the National Endowment for the HumanitiesNovember 10, 2020Mukurtu: A Digital Platform That Does More Than Manage Content

Kim Christen, the director of the Digital Technology and Culture Program at Washington State University, has developed a tool for Indigenous people to recast cultural materials within their own experiences and histories.

Spokesman-ReviewOctober 15, 2020Opinion Editorial: John Roll. Ph.D.: Biomedical research is supporting the economy of the future

When the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases announced this summer it would invest $17 million in 10 new research centers to help prevent future pandemics, Washington State University and the University of Washington were tapped to lead two of them.

Spokesman-ReviewSeptember 17, 2020Preparing for potential ‘twindemic’: Local pharmacy students pressed into flu, COVID-19 vaccine education

Washington State University instructors had to rethink how to evaluate and certify Spokane pharmacy students this month so they can give some of those extra flu shots – perhaps even a COVID-19 vaccine – in helping at pharmacies and vaccine clinics.

Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology NewsSeptember 16, 2020Bone cancer treatment potentially improved by soy

Researchers at Washington State University see the potential of soy when it comes to improving post-operative treatment of bone cancer.

U.S. News and World ReportSeptember 15, 2020Even Exercise May Not Ease Pandemic-Linked Stress

Exercise is often recommended to combat stress and anxiety. But it might not be the solution to your pandemic-related worries, new research indicates.

Office of Research Annual Report

2018 (pdf)

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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