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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.

  • 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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  • 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

Popular ScienceMay 28, 2020Glacier mice have no feet, but they still move in herds

Researchers are slowly uncovering how these balls of moss travel across glaciers.

The Pacific Northwest InlanderMay 28, 2020A discovery by this WSU researcher could prevent COVID-19 patients from dying

In some of the most serious COVID-19 cases, it’s not the virus that kills. It’s the patient’s own body. Santanu Bose, a viral infection researcher at Washington State University, may have found a solution.

The Pacific Northwest InlanderMay 28, 2020This WSU epidemiologist may inform policy on preventing COVID-19 from spreading within hospitals

As soon as COVID-19 arrived in Washington back in January, infectious disease epidemiologist Eric Lofgren devoted the entire focus of his lab to studying the virus.

News WiseMay 27, 2020Information technology played key role in growth of ancient civilizations

A new paper in Nature Communications shows the ability to store and process information was as critical to the growth of early human societies as it is today.

National Public RadioMay 22, 2020Herd Of Fuzzy Green ‘Glacier Mice’ Baffles Scientists

This new work adds to a very small body of research on these fuzz balls, even though glaciologists have long known about them and tend to be fond of them.

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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