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WSU researchers see popular herbicide affecting health across generations

Michael Skinner portrait
Michael Skinner

First, the good news. Washington State University researchers have found that a rat exposed to a popular herbicide while in the womb developed no diseases and showed no apparent health effects aside from lower weight.

Now, the weird news. The grand-offspring of that rat did have more disease, as did a great-grand offspring third generation.

“The third generation had multiple diseases and much more frequently than the third generation of unexposed rats,” said Michael Skinner, a Washington State University professor of biological sciences. At work, says Skinner, are epigenetic inheritance changes that turn genes on and off, often because of environmental influences.

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WSU News

Only getting hotter from here

Asaph Cousins
Asaph Cousins

The National Weather Service predicts highs in the mid-90s for the rest of the week, but a team of climate experts from across the country predicts the region will experience a higher frequency of extremely hot days in the decades to come.

According to an interactive map of temperatures based off data from collaborative research team Climate Impact Lab and published by The Seattle Times, the entire state of Washington will experience an increasing number of days with temperatures over 95 degrees Fahrenheit in the coming years – whether countries take action against climate change in the future or not.

So why does it matter? Besides the obvious potential dangers and everyday annoyances a sweltering hot day poses, Asaph Cousins, associate professor of plant biology for Washington State University, said such temperature changes generally have a dramatic impact on plant life.

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Moscow-Pullman Daily News

WSU scientists help detect gravitational waves for third time

Sukanta Bose

Three billion years ago in a distant galaxy, two massive black holes slammed together, merged into one and sent space–time vibrations, known as gravitational waves, shooting out into the universe.

The waves passed through Earth and were detected early this year by an international team of scientists, including WSU physicists Sukanta Bose, Bernard Hall and Nairwita Mazumder.

The newfound black hole, first reported in the journal Physical Review Letters in June, has a mass about 49 times that of the sun. The collision that produced it released more power in an instant than is radiated by all the stars and galaxies in the universe at any moment.

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WSU News

WSU Spokane: Brown steps down, DeWald named new chancellor

Lisa Brown — who for the past four-and-a-half years has guided the rapid development of Washington State University’s health sciences enterprise in Spokane — today announced she will step down from her position as chancellor of the Spokane campus.

DeWald

Daryll DeWald, the current dean of the WSU College of Arts and Sciences, will succeed Brown as chancellor. An accomplished life sciences researcher with more than a decade of experience in higher education administration, DeWald will begin his new duties on September 1.

DeWald is an experienced academic leader and professor with a strong research publication record in cell biology and biochemistry. As dean, he has overseen the teaching, research and outreach activities of the university’s largest academic unit, which spans all five of WSU’s statewide campuses and the online Global Campus. With annual research expenditures of more than $30 million across two dozen disciplines, the college is also one of the largest research enterprises at WSU.

“Daryll has done an outstanding job of leading the College of Arts and Sciences across the WSU system,” Schulz said. “His management skills, expertise in the life sciences, and dedicated outreach efforts to students underrepresented in the sciences are qualities that make him the ideal choice to lead the next chapter in our initiative to expand access to health care across the state.”

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WSU News

Bose-Einstein pioneer Peter Engels elected APS fellow

Peter Engels
Peter Engels

Peter Engels, professor of physics and astronomy, has been elected a fellow of the American Physical Society in recognition of his pioneering work studying Bose-Einstein condensates – clouds of atoms laser-cooled to the point where they behave like one wave instead of discrete particles.

“This recognition bears testimony to Washington State University’s strengths in physics and in the fundamental sciences in general, which form the basis for strong research endeavors at WSU,” Engels said.

His research is advancing fundamental understanding of the laws of quantum physics. This could eventually help in the development of ultrapowerful quantum computers and a wide variety of advanced sensors for taking measurements of quantities such as gravity, rotations and magnetic fields.

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WSU News