Research and innovation highlights

WSU Spirit Mark.As COVID-19 swept the nation in March 2020, faculty with ongoing studies were required to put them on hold or pivot to make the research relevant to the pandemic.

“Science and teamwork are our best hope for a way forward,” said WSU President Kirk Schulz in October 2020. “I am incredibly proud of our faculty whose persistence and innovation will help us get through this crisis and prevent a future one.”

Here are a few College of Arts and Sciences highlights from a year of extraordinary research challenges:


Courtney Meehan (anthropology), was part of a research team that found mothers infected with COVID-19 pass antibodies to their babies in breast milk without passing along the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Tahira Probst (psychology, WSU Vancouver) studies whether COVID-19 economic stressors such as job insecurity and financial strain affect employees’ ability to comply with health guidelines.


Bala Krishnamoorthy (mathematics and statistics, WSU Vancouver) and Ananth Kalyanaraman (electrical engineering and computer science) use data analysis to create interactive maps that help identify COVID outbreaks geographically. Their goal is to develop targeted intervention methods.

Deepti Singh (environment, WSU Vancouver) and Kevan Moffett (environmental hydrology) and are analyzing weather, air quality, demographic, and socioeconomic data to determine COVID-19 risks and vulnerabilities in the Pacific Northwest.

Pandemic Fallout

Steve Fountain (history and Native American affairs) and Desiree Hellegers (English, WSU Vancouver) are studying heightened food insecurity during the pandemic.

See the full “Research—a review” list in Washington State Magazine.

By Rebecca Phillips, Washington State Magazine