Research into cancer in Tasmanian devils and a design internship program were two of the six WSU projects that received a combined $125,000 in funding in the second round of the Cougar Cage competition.

Launched last January, Cougar Cage matches private donors with projects pitched by WSU faculty, staff, and students. This fall, a mix of students and professors again pitched their projects to the Palouse Club, a group of philanthropists and investors from the Puget Sound area at the Compton Union Building.

The funding program supports WSU’s goal to become one of the top 25 public research universities in the nation by 2030.

“Cougar Cage helps expand our research portfolio by bringing generous support to worthwhile projects that might not receive funding from bigger grant programs,” said WSU President Kirk Schulz. “It spotlights the great research we’re doing and improves collaboration throughout the WSU system.”

The two CAS projects that received funding are:

Enhancing genes to slow cancer

By using CRISPR and other gene editing technologies, Andrew Storfer in the School of Biological Sciences wants to manipulate genes to curb tumor growth. He’s studied transmissible cancer in Tasmanian devils and found that tumors grew slower in cell culture where a single gene was enhanced. With funding from Cougar Cage, Storfer can conduct more research on the devils to develop a potential treatment for prostate cancer in humans.

Making designs stand out

Through a partnership with the Digital Technology and Culture Program (DTC) at WSU and SP3NW, a start-up hub that helps launch life science companies at all WSU campuses, the Design for Impact internship program would pair student groups with entrepreneurs to create scientific visualizations that help startups pitch projects and market to consumers. Kim Christen, director of the DTC program, says the ability to visualize potential technologies improves the likelihood of investments, which are critical for startups.

Descriptions of all six projects are available at WSU Insider.

By  WSU Insider.