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College of Arts and Sciences Research

New books get to roots of contemporary issues

Book covers for Ruptured Lives, Power Politics, and Chronic Disparities.Tackling some of the world’s most pressing issues —from energy supply to mass migration and public health—is at the heart of an acclaimed new book series based on WSU’s innovative Roots of Contemporary Issues program (RCI).

Written and edited by WSU history faculty, the series reflects the RCI thematic structure and introduces the University’s pioneering teaching approach to educators and students at other institutions.

“We designed the books after years of learning how to engage with WSU students who are eager to learn about how the world » More …

WSU research behind potential Alzheimer’s drug

It was 1991 and medicinal chemist Joe Harding was in his lab researching potential new options for relieving high blood pressure. Anomalies kept showing up in his lab tests, and if they meant what he thought they might, he and his research partner, WSU psychology professor John (Jay) Wright, were on the brink of a different breakthrough.

“I kept getting phone calls from Joe, and on each one he was more excited,” recalls Wright, who at the time was » More …

Facebook political ads more partisan, less negative than TV

A computer screen displaying Facebook's login page.More political candidates may be shifting primarily to social media to advertise rather than TV, according to a study of advertising trends led by WSU political science professor Travis Ridout. Looking at the 2018 campaign season, Ridout and his colleagues also found that Facebook political ads were more partisan, less negative and less issue-focused than those on TV.

“The 2018 race showed that social media can be helpful to candidates who may not have a lot of resources, including challengers and those who are not already well known,” said Ridout, a corresponding author on » More …

‘Fear of Missing Out’ impacts people of all ages

A young man holding a cell phone and looking out a window.Social media addicted teenagers are not the only people who experience the Fear of Missing Out also known as FoMO.

“FoMO is really about individual differences, irrespective of age,” said Chris Barry, a WSU psychology professor and the lead author on a recent study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. “We expected FoMO to be higher in younger age groups, particularly because of the tremendous amount of social development happening at those times, but that’s not what we found.” » More …

Styrofoam-eating mealworms could be safe for dinner

Mealworms in a wooden bowl.Brenden Campbell, a master’s student in the School of the Environment, won recognition from the Comparative Nutrition Society for virtually presenting research on a recently discovered ability in mealworms. In his WSU undergraduate honors research project, Campbell found that the larvae can safely eat polystyrene waste, discarded polymers better known by their trade name of Styrofoam.

At the society’s virtual conference in summer 2020, Campbell received the Best Poster Oral and Q&A Award for » More …

Undergraduate fellowships support research, creative work

College of Arts and Sciences - Washington State University.The WSU Office of Undergraduate Research named 12 CAS students as recipients of four different fellowships for 2020-21. Each will receive funding to support of mentored research, scholarship and creative activities for the 2020-21 academic year.

“In addition to the long-established Auvil and Carson undergraduate research awards and the NSF-funded Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP), we received additional support this year from an anonymous donor. This made it possible to support » More …

Examining risks, benefits of breastfeeding during COVID-19

Woman with infant. COVID-19 has brought with it new questions related to the benefits and/or potential risks of breastfeeding during this pandemic. Is the SARS-COV2 virus present in breast milk and could it be transmitted from mom to baby? Could antibodies found in breast milk actually help protect babies from the SARS-COV2 virus?

Researchers at WSU are leading a new nationwide study on COVID-19 and infant feeding to help answer these questions. Their work could ultimately help scientists better understand how COVID-19 affects the health and immune responses of mothers and » More …

Small towns have highest risk of intimate partner violence

Ariel shot of a small town.“In criminology, we often have this urban bias. We assume big cities are the worst and paint other places as idyllic,” said Kathryn DuBois, associate professor at WSU Vancouver. “We tend to think in a continuum from urban to suburban to rural, but for intimate partner violence, it’s actually the suburban areas that are the safest, and small towns that have the highest risk.”

In a recent study, DuBois, analyzed the responses of more than 570,000 women from the National Crime Victimization Survey from 1994 to 2015. She found that women from small towns were 42% more likely to be victims of intimate partner violence than women from the suburbs and » More …

Tasmanian devil gene mutation offers insight on human cancer

Tasmanian DevilA rare, transmissible tumor has brought the iconic Tasmanian devil to the brink of extinction, but new research indicates hope for the animals’ survival and possibly new treatment for human cancers.

A team of international scientists led by Andrew Storfer, WSU professor of biological sciences, and Mark Margres, a former WSU postdoctoral fellow now at Harvard University, studied the genomes of cases of devil facial tumor disease, or DFTD, that regressed » More …

Climate change and glacial stream insects

Stonefly.An endangered aquatic insect that lives in icy streams fed by glaciers might not mind if the water grows warmer due to climate change.

A study co-authored by WSU post-doctoral researcher Scott Hotaling found that mountain stoneflies can tolerate warmer water temperatures, at least temporarily.

While the study goes against the prevailing theory that rising water temperatures will be devastating for the glacial stream insects, Hotaling said this does not mean that global warming will be » More …