Building knowledge for a healthier world
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 …Read Story
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 …Read Story
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 …Read Story
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 …Read Story
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 …Read Story
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 …Read Story
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 …Read Story
ScienceMarch 23, 2017Dramatic Evolution Within Human Genome May Have Been Caused by Malaria Parasite
42,000 years ago, a genetic mutation protecting people from a common form of malaria spread like across sub-Saharan Africa.
FusionMarch 14, 2017Freshly Stocked Freezers of Bee Sperm Back Up a Species in Peril
“If you were looking at bulls, you’d need a warehouse.”
Researchers have discovered how the cancer is able to spread into bones so easily.
The Spokesman-ReviewMarch 13, 2017Tiny Fruit Flies Offer a Few Clues to Sleep-related Alzheimer’s Mysteries
A Washington State University researcher recently was able to generate in fruit flies physiological characteristics similar to Alzheimer’s.
Huffington PostMarch 7, 2017Rabies Kills 189 People Every Day. Here’s Why You Never Hear About It.
The disease is preventable and treatable — but fighting it is not a priority for the West.
NewsweekMarch 4, 2017Let’s Act Now to Prevent Hacking of the Power Grid
“We are just beginning to understand the seriousness of an emerging threat to the grid’s cybersecurity.”
Ask Dr. Universe: Does science get harder every year?
PULLMAN, Wash. – We’ve got about three pounds of brain in our heads that help us look for answers and solve all kinds of problems. But it isn’t always easy. Sometimes an experiment doesn’t go the way I expect or I get stuck on a particularly tricky science question.Read Story
Plant inner workings point way to more nutritious crops
By Eric Sorensen, WSU science writer
PULLMAN, Wash. – Almost every calorie that we eat at one time went through the veins of a plant. If a plant’s circulatory system could be rejiggered to make more nutrients available – through bigger seeds or sweeter tomatoes – the world’s farmers could feed more people.Read Story
New way to characterize cellulose, advance bioproducts
By Maegan Murray, WSU Tri-Cities
RICHLAND, Wash. – Researchers at Washington State University Tri-Cities and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have found a new way to define the molecular structure of cellulose, which could lead to cheaper and more efficient ways to make a variety of crucial bioproducts.Read Story
Research addresses health impacts of contaminated water
From Northwest Crimson & Gray, WSU Vancouver
VANCOUVER, Wash. – Helping get a hospital built in Uganda was an important step for Anita Hunter. But it was just the first step.Read Story
Top new awards in fiscal year 2016
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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