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WSU Research National Security

Research worldwide to protect America

A closeup of a pregnant woman

Preventing spread of disease in Kenya

In Kenya, 42 percent1 of the population falls below the poverty line. Lack of health care among the impoverished increases the risk of hard-to-control disease outbreaks. Understanding and preventing infectious disease threats among vulnerable populations in rural and urban settings is important to global health security.

Kariuki Njenga addresses these challenges using a “One Health” approach, which recognizes that human health is connected to the health of animals and the environment. With a $3.4 million, five-year grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Dr. Njenga conducts investigations that aim to combat major health challenges in Kenya, … » 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 …

Reducing the threat of rabies in Africa

Experts seek ways to confer protection in nations with scant medical resources

Canine rabies has been eliminated in developed countries but remains a threat to half the world, including the African nation of Tanzania. The bite from a rabid dog is often deadly to humans living in Africa and Asia, where there is poor access to expensive post-exposure vaccinations.  According to estimates by the World Health Organization, rabies takes the lives of nearly 60,000 people each year, including approximately 1,500 in Tanzania. Almost half of those are children under the age of 15.

The obvious solution is to vaccinate dogs against the disease, but it … » More …

Disarming a deadly virus

Scientist discovers how infection with the deadly Nipah virus takes hold

Everyone has seen it in the movies: a deadly virus breaks out of a remote locale and spreads like wildfire, causing devastation with worldwide consequences. Although frequently over-dramatized by Hollywood, it’s a real possibility— as evidenced by the recent Ebola outbreak, which saw cases appear in Europe and the Americas for the first time.

In the School for Global Animal Health at WSU Pullman, virologist Hector Aguilar-Carreno is hard at work making sure the deadly Nipah virus can’t do the same thing.

His work is urgent. With a mortality rate of 40% to … » More …

Educating tomorrow’s nuclear forensics experts and reactor operators

Students gain unique, hands-on experience at the WSU Nuclear Radiation Center

Since the close of World War II, America has sought to reduce the threat of nuclear war. Yet, some 70 years later, a growing number of nations possess nuclear weapons. Global stability remains fragile.

In the interest of national security, Washington State University trains the next generation of nuclear forensic and radiochemistry experts. Don Wall directs WSU’s Nuclear Radiation Center, which offers students rare learning opportunities.

The crown jewel of the center’s array of research equipment is a 1 MW TRIGA nuclear research reactor. WSU is one of a handful of sites in … » More …

Research with impact

Scientists develop lighter weight body armor to protect U.S. soldiers

How can body armor for U.S. soldiers be made lighter, yet still provide effective protection? For the answer, the U.S. Army turned to Yogendra Gupta, director of WSU’s Institute for Shock Physics.

The WSU shock physics effort has a more than 55-year history of research innovation. Professor Gupta’s research explores the dynamic response of materials subjected to extreme conditions of pressure and temperature, and at very short time scales. Research at the Institute is often carried out in partnership with scientists at U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA) and Department of … » More …

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