WSU Research Highlights

September 2019

Worldwide rare disease study led by WSU researchers

Scientists at Washington State University are leading a new study that will take them one step closer to making treatment options available to patients with a rare inherited disease.Mike Gibson JB Roullet lab

Researchers Jean‑Baptiste Roullet and Mike Gibson of the WSU College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences are conducting a natural history study of patients with succinic semialdehyde dehydrogenase deficiency (SSADHD).

SSADHD is a genetic disorder that is most commonly diagnosed in young children; it disrupts the metabolism of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)—a neurotransmitter that serves to inhibit the activity of nerve cells in the brain—and causes a wide range of neurological symptoms that include developmental delays, motor control problems, absence of speech, and seizures. A natural history study collects health information to understand how a disease develops over time in the absence of treatment.

WSU tops USDA research and development list for second year in a row

Biofuel truckWashington State University ranked No. 1 for the second year in a row in U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) research and development expenditures.

In the 2017 federal fiscal year, the latest period for which complete figures are available, WSU researchers spent $50.9 million of the USDA research and development funding committed to the university, leading more than 375 universities nationwide, according to the National Science Foundation’s Higher Education Research and Development Survey. The expenditures also set a university record, increasing by $8 million over last year’s previous record.

Everett wind energy team earns Department of Energy grant

Everett Wind Energy ClubA wind energy team consisting of WSU Everett and Everett Community College students has earned a $20,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy along with a spot in the Collegiate Wind Competition.

The biennial event, set for June 2020 in Denver, challenges multidisciplinary teams of undergraduate students to develop a project plan based on wind energy market and siting considerations, design and build a model wind turbine and test their turbine against a set of rigorous performance criteria. The DOE grant will fund the team’s work through the next year and a half.

Researchers receive NSF Career AwardsGozen and Doppa

Two Washington State University researchers have received faculty Early Career awards from the National Science Foundation.

Arda Gozen, Berry Family Professor in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, and Jana Doppa, Berry Family Professor in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, each received the five-year awards. The grants are intended to provide significant research support to young faculty beginning their careers who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education.

Researchers develop viable, environmentally-friendly alternative to Styrofoam

Alternative to styrofoamWashington State University researchers have developed an environmentally-friendly, plant-based material that for the first time works better than Styrofoam for insulation.

The foam is mostly made from nanocrystals of cellulose, the most abundant plant material on earth. The researchers also developed an environmentally friendly and simple manufacturing process to make the foam, using water as a solvent instead of other harmful solvents.

The work, led by Amir Ameli, assistant professor in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, and Xiao Zhang, associate professor in the Gene and Linda School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering, is published in the journal Carbohydrate Polymers.