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Washington State University
College of Arts and Sciences Biological Sciences

CAS students receive Carson, Auvil undergraduate research awards

portion of the cover of printed programA total of 10 College of Arts and Sciences students received two types of awards from the WSU Office of Undergraduate Research.

Recipients of the Carson and Auvil awards will work with faculty mentors throughout the 2017-18 academic year on research, scholarly and creative projects that advance or create new knowledge in a specific field. » More …

Monarch butterflies disappearing from western North America

butterflies on a pine branchMonarch butterfly populations from western North America have declined far more dramatically than was previously known and face a greater risk of extinction than eastern monarchs, according to a new study in the journal Biological Conservation.

“Western monarchs are faring worse than their eastern counterparts,” said Cheryl Schultz, an associate professor at Washington State University Vancouver and lead author of the study. “In the 1980s, 10 million monarchs spent the winter in coastal California. Today there are barely 300,000.” » More …

Surgery, trauma expert Don Trunkey receives Alumni Achievement Award

Alumnus receiving awardDon Trunkey (’59), a professor emeritus of surgery at the Oregon Health Science University, received the WSU Alumni Association’s Alumni Achievement Award in recognition of his influential career and contributions to medical education, surgical methods and trauma care. » More …

Health of amphibians in oil sand fields area assessed

wood frog on hand from "nature north"The impact of pollutants from the world’s largest oil sand field on the health of amphibians marks the focus of a team of research biologists from Washington State University and Canada.

The scientists are studying the effects of development in the Athabasca oil sands region of Northern Alberta on the habitat, physiology, behavior and long-term health of wood frogs. » More …

Plant inner workings point way to more nutritious crops

plant interior animation still imageAlmost every calorie that we eat at one time went through the veins of a plant. If a plant’s circulatory system could be rejiggered to make more nutrients available – through bigger seeds or sweeter tomatoes – the world’s farmers could feed more people.

Washington State University researchers have taken a major step in that direction by unveiling the way a plant’s nutrients get from the leaves, where they are produced through photosynthesis, to “sinks” that can include the fruits and seeds we eat and the branches we process for biofuels. The researchers found a unique and critical structure where the nutrients are offloaded, giving science a new focal point in efforts to improve plant efficiency and productivity. » More …

Sperm changes documented years after chemotherapy

CAS logo on white with borderA Washington State University researcher has documented epigenetic changes in the sperm of men who underwent chemotherapy in their teens.

The changes can influence how genes are turned on an off, potentially affecting the health of tissues in subsequent generations, said Michael Skinner, a professor in the WSU School of Biological Sciences and Center for Reproductive Biology. He is suggesting that teens about to undergo chemotherapy have some of their sperm preserved for when they would like to start a family.

» More …