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College of Arts and Sciences Biological Sciences

Powerful new microscope adds versatility to research

Daniel Mullendore and Valerie Lynch‑Holm work with the Apreo VolumeScope.The WSU Franceschi Microscopy and Imaging Center has acquired a microscope so powerful and versatile that Michael Knoblauch, the center director, compares it to a pig capable of making wool, milk and eggs. Or, to quote his native German, an eierlegende Wollmilchsau.

Technically, it’s an Apreo VolumeScope, and it brings a suite of imaging techniques, including the piecing together of detailed three‑dimensional images with a resolution of 10 nanometers, or about 1/10,000th of the width of a human hair. » More …

Where sharks want to be

Charles Bangley releases a live shark into the ocean from the side of a boat.Charles Bangley, an international expert in shark ecology and conservation, presented the 2019 Robert Jonas Lecture in Biological Sciences on Tuesday, Feb. 5, at WSU Pullman.

His talk, titled “Where sharks want to be: Using tracking technology to define important habitat,” showcased efforts to conserve and manage sharks and rays, which is difficult because of their wide‑ranging habitats. Many sharks and rays undergo » More …

WSU med student elected to national association role

David ChoiMedical students at Washington State University have a national voice, thanks to David Choi (’16 biology).

A devoted Coug who graduated from WSU Vancouver and is now enrolled at the WSU Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, Choi was elected last spring to represent students in nine states as western region chair of the Association of American Medical Colleges’ student branch. » More …

Inside the undergraduate research experience

Madison ArmstrongMadison Armstrong, a senior studying evolutionary biology and ecology, has spent much of her time experiencing the world through research and scientific exploration. To say that she has been involved in an abundance of research experiences, would be a massive understatement.

Armstrong started her research experience in Ecuador at age 17, working for “Operation Wallacea,” a conservation company that is based out of the United Kingdom. She met scientists from all over the world that had the same interests and » More …

Accelerated honors program for future veternarians

Emily Austing and Claire Stein.Emily Austin, a WSU sophomore and zoology major, says the accelerated Honors Veterinary Medicine program was one of the main factors that drew her to WSU.

The College of Veterinary Medicine and the Honors College have partnered up to provide an exceptional opportunity for motivated undergraduate students who are dedicated to a profession in veterinary medicine: through early admission to the DVM  program, students can become a veterinarian in just seven years.

» More …

Climate change affects breeding birds

White House Finch.The breeding seasons of wild house finches are shifting due to climate change, a Washington State University researcher has found.

The effect of climate change on the breeding season of birds has been documented before, but in a limited context. Heather Watts, an avian physiologist, reported her finding in Ibis, the International Journal of Avian Science. » More …

Undergraduate Symposium highlights research and art

student explains research projectStudents highlighted their semester course projects, research, and art as part of the fall Undergraduate Research Symposium and Art Exhibition at WSU Tri-Cities.

“The symposium and art exhibition provides our students with an excellent opportunity to practice communicating their research and course projects, which is an essential skill for when they go out into the professional environment,” said Allison Matthews, clinical assistant professor of psychology. » More …

Restoring a musical relic

Thomas LeClair in the basement of Webster Hall working on the pipe organ.Thomas LeClair, a biology and music double major, is trying to fix a 91-year-old theatre organ languishing in the basement of the Webster Physical Sciences building on the Pullman campus.

LeClair learned about the instrument while thumbing through old files in the WSU Libraries Manuscripts, Archives and Special Collections.

“I was looking up information about the organ I practice on in Bryan Hall and » More …

Interdisciplinary research reveals valuable pine resin possibilities

Light shining through pine trees in forest.WSU researchers have reverse engineered the way a pine tree produces a resin, which could serve as an environmentally friendly alternative to a range of fossil‑fuel based products worth billions of dollars.

Colleagues in the Institute for Biological Chemistry literally dissected the machinery by which loblolly pine produces oleoresin. Key aspects of their work utilized WSU’s Franceschi Microscopy and Imaging Center in the School of Biological Sciences.

Before the arrival of petroleum-derived alternatives in the 1960s, the sticky, fragrant oil‑resin mixture was central to » More …

Undergraduate students’ research opens doors to the future

Collage showing a mineral, institutional icons, a student with latex gloves inspecting what looks to be a bat wing, and a woman leaning up against a stack of books.Alyssa Sperry’s research for her University Scholars Honors thesis on the history of salt in Jamaica earned her the Library Research Excellence Award for 2018. It also changed her life.

The library research award is designed to recognize students who excel in using the library and its rich resources. Sperry, who graduated from WSU Vancouver in May with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and a minor in history, used the library exceptionally well—and went far beyond it. » More …