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Tracking radioactive materials

Nathalie Wall
Nathalie Wall

“The cool thing about nuclear chemistry is that radioactive elements come in sets or suites,” said Nathalie Wall, WSU professor of radiochemistry. “If you find a specific suite of elements of different proportions, you can potentially tell where the material came from and what it’s been used for. So this is the ‘fingerprint’ we look for.”

Read more about Wall and forensic science in the Sept. 23 Rock Doc column.

Copycat molecule may be throwing off Parkinson’s diagnoses

Herbert Hill
Herbert Hill

An imposter molecule may be misleading doctors who monitor dopamine levels in their patients with Parkinson’s disease.

Washington State University Regents Professor Herbert Hill used a new, high-speed technology to discover a previously unknown compound in the brains of affected rats that looks just like dopamine on standard diagnostic tests.

The finding suggests that doctors who think they are measuring dopamine levels may actually be measuring levels of its “identical twin.”

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New materials science director touts interdisciplinary research

Aurora Clark
Aurora Clark

Aurora Clark, associate professor of chemistry, has been named interim director of the Materials Science and Engineering Program (MSEP) at Washington State University.

A highly accomplished researcher, Clark designs novel materials and predicts the results of chemical reactions using powerful computer algorithms and data mining techniques. She has collaborated with MSEP faculty and supervised graduate students in the program throughout her career at WSU.

“I am excited to have this wonderful opportunity to showcase the breadth of research in our program,” Clark said. “We have world class professors tackling fundamental materials science from the atomic and molecular level all the way to device development, manufacturing and commercialization.”

MSEP is a joint initiative between the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Engineering and Architecture. Its faculty’s research interests range from designing advanced nuclear energy technologies to making new materials for implants. The program is the largest interdisciplinary doctoral program in materials science and engineering in the Northwest. Graduates go on to work in academia, Fortune 500 companies and the national laboratories.

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