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Washington State University
College of Arts and Sciences Interdisciplinary

A growing international research collaboration

A plant scientist working in a greenhouse.Plant scientists at Washington State University and in Germany are launching a new research collaboration through a series of virtual talks about advances that help feed and sustain our world.

“Direct cooperation between German and U.S. scientists and collaborative education of our scholars helps expand society’s knowledge about beneficial crops,” said Mechthild Tegeder, Herbert L. Eastlick Distinguished Professor in » More …

New student group partnering with WSU Police

SLRA members Jack Weyer, Andrew Green and Michelle Lee in front of the WSU Public Safety Building in Pullman.The Student Legal Research Association (SLRA) is helping evaluate data from WSU’s police department as part of measures to address racial disparity in arrests on the Pullman campus.

Michelle Lee, a political science pre-law major who was searching for volunteer experiences after the pandemic shut down courthouse internships in spring 2020, worked with WSU’s Pre-law Resource Center to jumpstart the association. Lee recruited other » More …

Examining how we perceive, trust new technologies

Dairy cow.New technologies have the potential to improve health and wellbeing for humans and livestock, but only if people trust and accept them.

Philosophy professor Patricia Glazebrook is teaming up with WSU colleagues and scientists at partner institutions to study how interactions with social and traditional media, as well as » 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 …

Collaborative research indicates behavioral effect of vaporized cannabis

Medicinal cannabis.A study conducted by a team of WSU researchers found rats with regular access to cannabis seek more of the substance and tend to show increased drug-seeking behavior when cannabis is absent.

The research—a collaboration of chemists, psychologists, and neuroscientists—is the next step in better understanding cognitive and neural effects of cannabis use in humans. » 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 …

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 …

Cannabis use blunts stress reactivity in female rats

Medicinal Marijuana.Female rats that inhaled vaporized cannabis daily for a month developed a blunted physiological response to stress, according to a new study by WSU researchers.

In contrast, male rats that were provided access to the same potency of cannabis over the same 30-day window did not experience any physiological changes in » More …

How scientists tracked down a mass killer (of salmon)

Every fall, more than half of the coho salmon that return to Puget Sound’s urban streams die before they can spawn. In some streams, all of them die. But scientists didn’t know why.

Now, a team led by researchers at Washington State University and the University of Washington has discovered the answer. When it rains, stormwater flushes bits of aging vehicle tires on roads into neighboring streams. The killer is in the mix of chemicals that leach from tire wear particles: a molecule related to a preservative that keeps tires from breaking down too quickly. » 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 …