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College of Arts and Sciences Research

Senior researcher honored at multicultural STEM conference

Jenna Pederson, a general studies in biological sciences major from Silverdale, Wash., received an award for her undergraduate research presentation at the annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS), which were held virtually in November.

Mentored by WSU psychology professor Rebecca Craft, Pederson’s research project on modeling the severity of human pain was recognized in the physiology and pharmacology category, which » More …

Football-loving states slow to enact youth concussion laws

Youth wearing a football helmet looks out across a field.States with college teams in strong conferences, in particular the Southeastern Conference (SEC), were among the last to take up regulations on youth concussions, according to a recent study by WSU sociologists. The research, which investigated the association between youth sport participation and passage of concussion legislation, uncovered the importance of SEC affiliation, and found a similar connection in states with high » More …

Ancient blanket made with 11,500 turkey feathers

Turkey feathers.“Blankets or robes made with turkey feathers as the insulating medium were widely used by Ancestral Pueblo people, but little is known about how they were made because so few such textiles have survived due to their perishable nature,” said Bill Lipe, emeritus professor of anthropology at WSU and lead author of a new paper in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports.

Lipe and a team of archaeologists analyzed an approximately 800-year-old turkey feather blanket from » More …

Wine and fungi: The perfect pairing?

Students on Tanya Cheeke's research team plant wine grape plants for their fungi experiment at WSU Tri-Cities.A team at WSU Tri-Cities is researching the impact that a type of fungus could have on vineyard growth and associated nutrient uptake, which could lead to less watering and less fertilizer required for a successful grape crop.

Tanya Cheeke, assistant professor of biology, was awarded a two-year $40,000 grant to support a field experiment from the BIOAg program of » More …

A new, simple way to classify marine biomes

Coral reef.WSU scientists have developed a new way to classify the ocean’s diverse environments, shedding new light on how marine biomes are defined and changed by nature and humans.

Research by Alli Cramer (’20 PhD environment) and WSU Professor Stephen Katz revealed a new approach which sorts biomes based on their life-supporting potential and stability of the sea floor. » More …

The power of symbiosis

Stephanie Porter.“Understanding the complex and often positive role the microbiome plays in the health of plants and animals has precipitated a real renaissance in biology,” says microbiologist Stephanie Porter, who studies the evolution of cooperation and plant–microbe symbiosis. “There’s been a blossoming of ideas due to new genomic tools for understanding this microbiome—the set of all microbes that live in and on plants and animals.”

“But there’s also been a shift in our thinking about microbes. We’ve moved from microbes being viewed strictly as the cause of diseases or that they are at best harmless, to thinking they have » More …

Glacier mice at play

People at a beach.Glacier mice could be something from a fairytale—mossy little puffballs filled with tiny fanciful creatures.

“They are adorable—they really do look like little rodents,” says glacier biologist Scott Hotaling, a postdoctoral research associate in the School of Biological Sciences at WSU. Hotaling studies organisms that live in the world’s coldest locations such as the ice sheets in Alaska and Iceland where these glacier moss balls » More …

More economic worries mean less caution about COVID‑19

Hands and hand sanitizer.Workers experiencing job and financial insecurity are less likely to follow the CDC’s guidelines for COVID-19, such as physical distancing, limiting trips from home and washing hands, according to a study led by WSU Vancouver psychology professor Tahira Probst.

“We all have a finite set of resources at our disposal, whether it’s money, time or social support, and individuals who have fewer of those resources appear » More …

Fallen, but not from history

Roses laid on the WSU veterans memorial.Charles Kirkham. Noel Plowman. Toll Seike. Allen Ferguson. Sidney Beinke. Myron “Mike” Carstensen. Archie Buckley.

They were husbands, fathers, sons, brothers. One was a standout college athlete and beloved coach. A couple were pilots. A few quit school to serve. Some were never found.

These seven servicemen are a handful of nearly 260 military personnel with ties to WSU who made the ultimate sacrifice during World War II. Now, 75 years after the end of the war, the stories of the men and women who didn’t » More …

Preserving a nearly⁠-lost legacy

US marine corps war memorial.Following a talk about the Fallen Cougars Project in Pullman last Veterans Day, Kathy Aiken (’80 PhD history) shared a faded newspaper clipping with the speakers. The obituary for her father’s friend noted that he had—like Aiken’s dad— attended Washington State College for a year and a half before joining the United States Army to fight in World War II.

“Samantha and Ray looked at it, and said, ‘We don’t have this guy in our project.’ And it started us on this odyssey,” says Aiken, a professor emerita and » More …