Faculty at WSU contribute their expertise to tackle societal issues, from health disparities and mortality to the economics of water. They are not only outstanding in their fields, they also complement the strengths of other WSU researchers across colleges and fields of study.

The WSU Office of Research hosted the third annual WSU Research Week on October 21-24 to celebrate our researchers and their wide-ranging work, promote our services, and provide opportunities for the University community to learn from each other and find synergies. Throughout the week, faculty, staff, and students participated in and attended competitions for seed and travel funding, the Vice President for Research Distinguished Lecture, matchmaking flash talks, and workshops.

Our Office provides researchers with resources to help identify and secure funding for their research, teaching, and scholarly activities. Three previous New Faculty Seed Grant recipients gave brief talks on their funded projects and gave advice to new faculty interested in applying to this program (required Letter of Intent due December 6, by 5 p.m.). Dr. Idil Akin presented her research on the development of a new framework to quantify mechanical behavior of soils in the entire range of saturation. Dr. Jason Wu shared his research on the molecular basis of prostate cancer development in the microenvironmental context, laying the foundations for new single or combination therapies to treat prostate cancer. Dr. Joy Winuthayanon presented her work to provide basic knowledge regarding how female hormones control the cells that line the female reproductive tract. Following the three presentations, the Office of Research Advancement and Partnerships held an informational session about the New Faculty Seed Grant Program.

Several competitions took place throughout the week. In the Team Planning Grant Competition, teams presented a research idea for the chance to win $50,000 to use towards their research, plus a doctoral-level research assistantship for the development of an extramural center-type grant proposal. The winner was Eric Lofgren, assistant professor in the Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health. He and his team proposed the Resistance Epidemiology Modeling Initiative – or REMI – which will provide advanced data analytics to help researchers better understand how to tackle antimicrobial resistance in both humans and animals. As part of their pilot project, this team plans to observe healthcare worker time use and contact patterns at the Pullman Regional Hospital, Gritman Hospital, and the Elson S. Floyd Medical School in Spokane.

To prepare faculty interested in taking their research to the marketplace, the Innovation and Research Engagement Office (IREO) and the Office of Commercialization (OC) hosted the “Pitching the Business Value of Your Research” event. In a “shark tank” style pitch session, researchers presented the business value of their research to a panel of successful industry experts and faculty entrepreneurs. Winners received cash awards to go towards their lab accounts. The winners were:
1st: Richard Allen White III, postdoctoral research associate in plant pathology;
2nd: Arda Gozen, assistant professor in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering;
3rd: David Drake, fabrications lab manager.

A complete list of the competitions and winners is here: https://news.wsu.edu/2019/10/28/winners-research-week-competitions-announced-awards-ceremony/.

Research Week wrapped up with a workshop facilitated by Kathleen Fitzpatrick from Michigan State University. Fitzpatrick led faculty in an open dialogue session on how generosity and collaboration can help positively reimagine research, teaching, and professional relationships. The session was based on ideas from her recent book, Generous Thinking: A Radical Approach to Saving the University.

Throughout the week, our researchers shared their outstanding projects and ideas providing a sample of the impactful work taking place every day at our University. We are grateful to everyone who participated and shared their work with other faculty, staff, students, and the Office of Research. We are committed to celebrating your successes and supporting you in your research endeavors. We are already counting down to Research Week 2020.