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CAS in the Media Arts and Sciences Media Headlines

WSU undergraduate education benefits from eight Smith Teaching and Learning grants

Joe Hedges.
Hedges
Amy Nielsen.
Nielsen

Amy Nielsen, clinical assistant professor of chemistry, and Joe Hedges, assistant professor and coordinator in the Dept. of Fine Arts, are developing a new course in which students will learn the chemical origins of color perception and create painting projects from pigments they have synthesized themselves in the laboratory.

Their project, “Chemistry and Art: Exploring the Painted Surface,” uses lecture, lab, and studio venues to foster students’ formation of a tactile link between chemistry and painting. It also looks at the evolution of colored pigments from natural ones used in cave paintings to the development and industrial synthesis of modern chemical pigments in the 20thcentury and beyond.

Nielsen and Hedges are among 15 WSU faculty members on three campuses pursuing eight projects to improve undergraduate education, thanks to funding from the Samuel H. and Patricia W. Smith Teaching and Learning Endowment.

Since 2000, the endowment has provided support for dozens of faculty-initiated ventures that focus on enhancing the education of students. Thousands of learners at WSU have benefitted directly or indirectly from scores of innovative ideas to transform pedagogy and curricular issues.

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3 CAS faculty awarded WSU seed grants

Washington State University has awarded 10 New Faculty Seed Grants (NFSG) to encourage the development of research, scholarly, or creative programs. The program supports projects that will significantly contribute to the researchers’ long range goals by kick-starting a more complex project or idea. The seed funding to junior faculty helps build the foundation for their research programs, allowing recipients to gather preliminary data, build collaborations, or establish creative programs. The funding also effectively provides a basis for faculty to seek extramural funding as well as opportunities for professional growth.

The Office of Research, the Office of the President, and the Office of the Provost fund the NFSG program. The 10 proposals selected this year represent the range of scholarly activity taking place at WSU. The total amount of grant funding is $212,524.

Awarded faculty and their projects include:

  • Deepti Singh, School of the Environment, will analyze the influence of multiple climate factors that govern the extent, severity, and duration of the impacts wildfires have on air quality and water resources.
  • Joe Hedges, Department of Fine Arts, will create and exhibit a new body of innovative intermedia art works that combine oil painting and new media objects, such as flatscreen televisions and tablets.
  • Rock Mancini, Department of Chemistry, will develop a new type of reaction to generate synthetic-biologic hybrids, enabling the synthesis of many new biomolecule therapeutics.

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Dr. Universe: What are molecules?

Qiang Jack Zhang.A glass of water has more molecules than there are stars in the night sky. That’s what I found out from my friend Jack (Qiang) Zhang, an assistant professor of chemistry at Washington State University.

“Everything around us is made up of molecules,” he said. “And while these molecules may be different, they are all made of the same things.”

Those things are called atoms. Zhang told me we can think about atoms kind of like Lego blocks. Imagine that you have a pile of red Legos, yellow Legos, and blue Legos. Maybe you use them to build a tiny house, or you can use this same set of Legos to build something else like an airplane or a robot.

Just as you can arrange blocks in different ways, atoms arranged in different ways can make up different objects. There are a lot of atoms, but let’s talk about three of them. We can find their names on a big chart called the Periodic Table of Elements.

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Dr. Universe

Cancer Targeted Technology Files Investigational New Drug Application for Novel Radiotherapy

Cancer Targeted Technology (CTT), a privately-held Seattle-based biotechnology company, announced today that it filed an Investigational New Drug Application (IND) with the FDA to move forward a radiotherapeutic drug, CTT1403, into human clinical trials for prostate cancer. CTT1403 is a peptidomimetic drug that targets Prostate Specific Membrane Antigen (PSMA).

“We are very excited with the potential for CTT1403 to make a difference in men with advanced stage prostate cancer. This is a highly innovative molecule that combines excellent PSMA-targeting characteristics, already proven effective in prostate cancer, with the ability to enhance circulation time allowing for greater anti-tumor effects,” stated Dr. Beatrice Langton-Webster, CTT’s CEO and Principal Investigator for the clinical program.

Clifford Berkman.
Clifford Berkman

The unique chemical structure for CTT1403 was designed by Dr. Cliff Berkman, Professor of Chemistry at Washington State University and consultant to CTT as its Chief Scientific Officer.

The work to discover and progress CTT1403 through preclinical development to IND was funded by a $2.3M Small Business Innovation Research contract from the NIH.

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Associated Press
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CAS faculty receive Office of Research awards

The WSU Office of Research presented awards to eight faculty members, including three in the College of Arts and Sciences, for their outstanding achievements in research, as part of opening ceremonies for WSU Research Week.

Kimberly Christen.
Kim Christen

The Creative Activity, Research and Scholarship Award went to Kim Christen, professor in the Department of English, director of the Digital Technology and Culture Program, director of the Center for Digital Scholarship and Curation, and director of Digital Initiatives for the College of Arts and Sciences.

Christen has generated more than $4 million in external funding, including WSU’s first institutional grant from the Mellon Foundation. She has leveraged this support to create and sustain interdisciplinary projects and workspaces, most prominently establishing with WSU Libraries the new Center for Digital Scholarship and Curation.

She directs several digital humanities projects, including the Plateau Peoples’ Web Portal, a collaboratively curated site of Plateau cultural materials; Mukurtu CMS, a free and open source content management system and community digital archive aimed at the unique needs of indigenous communities; and the Sustainable Heritage Network, an online community of people dedicated to making the preservation and digitization of cultural heritage materials sustainable, simple, and secure.

Tammy Barry.
Tammy Barry

An Exceptional Service to the Office of Research Award went to Tammy Barry, professor in the Department of Psychology. Barry co-chairs the Research and Arts Committee & the Centers, Institutes, or Laboratories task force, and provides outstanding support for the many Office of Research initiatives.

Peter Reilly.
Peter Reilly

The awards included a prize for submitting the best idea to the National Science Foundation’s 2026 Idea Machine, a competition to help set the U.S. agenda for fundamental research in science, technology, engineering and mathematics and STEM education. The winner of this award is Peter Reilly, associate professor in the Department of Chemistry, for his idea “Ultra-High Mass Spectrometry: The Next Frontier.”

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