Skip to main content Skip to navigation
Washington State University
WSU Research home-feature

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 …

Researchers Solve Construction Waste Problem with Help of Amazon Catalyst Grant

Drywall Waste Blocks

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 …

Who goes there?

A group photo of Traditional costumed Chinelos dancers

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 …

Stopping the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria

Young lady being treated in hospital bed

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 …

Promoting an informed and equitable society

A closeup of Kimberly Christen

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 …

Improving security for storage of dangerous materials

waste barrels

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 …

Creating jobs through sustainable building technologies

A closeup of a wooden building

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 …

Equity for women in the workplace

A closeup of Julie Kmec

Despite comparable levels of commitment, women don’t advance at the same rate as men

In the past 40 years, women have assumed a larger role in the U.S. workforce. While roughly two out of five women worked for pay in the early 1970s, almost three out of five do so today[1]. But Julie Kmec, a Washington State University sociologist, has repeatedly seen how their roles, wages and mobility continue to differ dramatically from those of their male peers.

In a study of some 800 law firms, she found that a woman’s chance of promotion decreases as she advances. Nearly 40 percent of entry-level … » More …

Removing pollutants from urban runoff

A photo of a urban runoff under a bridge

Researchers seek ways to trap toxins and improve water quality

Paved surfaces cover tens of thousands of square miles in the United States. Almost all are impervious, collecting pesticides, fertilizers, oil, metals and other pollutants. The resulting runoff is one of the biggest threats to water quality.

On the west side of Washington State, abundant rain and a surging urban population create an ideal observatory for the problem. Working south of Seattle at Washington State University’s Research and Extension Center in Puyallup, researchers at the Washington Stormwater Center are working to address water-quality issues and develop effective, evidence-based management practices and principles.

Permeable … » More …

Improving fruit cultivars online

A photo of two women looking at information on a computer

Database houses genomic, genetic, and breeding information to help tree fruit growers

Washington, of course, is famous for its apples. Together with citrus, apples and related tree fruits comprise a $12.7 billion industry in the U.S. Staying ahead of diseases and pests, not to mention the search for the perfect combination of productivity and flavor, makes constant improvement a necessity.

WSU researcher Doreen Main, along with a team of fellow horticulture scientists, has created an online database to help growers around the world address these challenges.

The tree fruit Genome Database Resource is the world’s first central repository for citrus genomics and genetics … » More …