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College of Arts and Sciences Research

Eyes in the sky

A drone flies over the landscape.With the support of the Biologically Intensive Agriculture & Organic Farming grant program at WSU, environmental scientists are using satellites and drones to help local conservation districts monitor areas near rivers and streams to help improve agricultural sustainability.

“The state’s program is really a bottom-up approach, where the state encourages local stewardship to improve riparian areas and monitor them,” said Alexander Fremier, associate professor in » More …

A healthy sense of disgust can prevent sickness

Kid holding his nose.You might want to pay attention to those bad, queasy feelings. New research co-author by WSU anthropologist Aaron Blackwell  suggests that disgust could be the body’s way of helping humans avoid infection.

“We found that people with higher levels of disgust had lower levels of inflammatory biomarkers that were indicative of having bacterial or viral » More …

Breastfeeding while COVID‑19 positive

An infant.Breastfeeding women who have COVID-19 transfer milk-borne antibodies to their babies without passing along the SARS-CoV-2 virus, according to a new study.

“The results indicate that it is safe for moms to continue to breastfeed during a COVID-19 infection with proper precautions,” said Courtney Meehan, a WSU anthropology professor and co-author on the study published » More …

Most-read research stories of 2020

College of Arts and Sciences - Washington State University.In a year dominated by COVID-19, popular research news played on questions of how things could get worse, or how we might leave this troubled planet altogether. Overall, news stories about WSU research that did the best still had a focus on real world impact.

CAS faculty featured in five of the top 10 most popular stories, and were well-represented in the next 90-plus press releases tracked by WSU News.

» More …

Big name corporations more likely to commit fraud

Downtown buildings.Fortune 500 firms with strong growth profiles are more susceptible to “cooking the books” than smaller, struggling companies, according to a recent study published in Justice Quarterly.

“Prestigious companies, those that are household names, were actually more prone to engage in financial fraud, which was very surprising,” said Jennifer Schwartz, WSU sociologist and lead author on » More …

Cannabis use and entrepreneurial creativity

Cannabis.New venture ideation is critical to the entrepreneurial process. To generate creative ideas, some entrepreneurs turn to cannabis, proposing its benefits.

A new study by WSU psychology and business professors found cognitive, motivational, and experiential factors jointly shape creativity in new venture ideation. And while cannabis-using entrepreneurs in the study generated new business ideas that were more original—such as a weightless, gravity-free virtual » More …

New research in these interesting times

In March 2020, when the University moved to distance learning to comply with stay-at-home orders, some WSU Vancouver researchers who were unable to pursue their existing projects turned instead to look at how COVID-19 was affecting various communities.

The new projects are “a lot broader than what people might expect. We are not looking for better testing or a vaccine or methods of contact tracing, but rather the impacts of the pandemic on various communities,” said Christine Portfors,  vice chancellor for research and » More …

Women influenced coevolution of dogs and humans

A woman with a dog.Man’s best friend might actually belong to a woman.

In a cross-cultural analysis, Washington State University researchers found several factors may have played a role in building the mutually beneficial relationship between humans and dogs, including temperature, hunting and surprisingly—gender. » More …

Archeologists identify marigold residue in ancient Maya flasks

Ancient paneled flask.WSU scientists identified the presence of a non-tobacco plant in ancient Maya drug containers for the first time.

“While it has been established that tobacco was commonly used throughout the Americas before and after contact, evidence of other plants used for medicinal or religious purposes has remained largely unexplored,” said anthropology postdoc and research lead Mario Zimmermann. “The analysis methods » More …

Identifying biomarkers linked to autism

Biomarkers in human sperm that can indicate a propensity to father children with autism spectrum disorder have been identified by a team of international researchers led by Michael Skinner, WSU professor of biological sciences.

The biomarkers are epigenetic, meaning they involve changes to molecular factors that regulate genome activity such as gene expression independent of DNA sequence, and can be passed down to future generations. » More …