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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 …

Q&A with Troy Bennefield

Troy Bennefield.An advocate for new and diverse music, Troy Bennefield is an associate professor of music, director of athletic bands, and associate director of bands in the School of Music.

He is active as a guest-conductor, adjudicator, clinician, and percussionist, and has commissioned or joined consortia for projects, including a collaboration for wind band and wind quintet made possible through » 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 …

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 …

Context, not screen time, better predictor of well-being

Social media icons on a cell phone.In one of the first wide-scale surveys of social media engagement and well-being in college student-athletes, WSU researchers found why and when, rather than how much, has a greater influence on an individual’s mental health.

“A user’s perception of their social media use and the importance it has in their daily life is particularly telling,” said Chris Barry, psychology professor and principal investigator (PI) for the project. » More …

Tasmanian devils may survive their own pandemic

Tasmanian devilAmid the global COVID-19 crisis, there is some good news about a wildlife pandemic—which may also help scientists better understand how other emerging diseases evolve.

WSU researchers have found strong evidence that a transmissible cancer that has decimated Tasmanian devil populations likely won’t spell their doom. » More …

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 …

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 …