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College of Arts and Sciences Research

Archeologists identify marigold residue in ancient Maya flasks

Ancient paneled flask.WSU scientists identified the presence of a non-tobacco plant in ancient Maya drug containers for the first time.

“While it has been established that tobacco was commonly used throughout the Americas before and after contact, evidence of other plants used for medicinal or religious purposes has remained largely unexplored,” said anthropology postdoc and research lead Mario Zimmermann. “The analysis methods » More …

Identifying biomarkers linked to autism

Biomarkers in human sperm that can indicate a propensity to father children with autism spectrum disorder have been identified by a team of international researchers led by Michael Skinner, WSU professor of biological sciences.

The biomarkers are epigenetic, meaning they involve changes to molecular factors that regulate genome activity such as gene expression independent of DNA sequence, and can be passed down to future generations. » More …

Wildlife ecologists document rare jaguar-ocelot interaction

A trail camera shows jaguar attacks an ocelot at night..In what may be a sign of climate-change-induced conflict, researchers have captured rare photographic evidence of a jaguar killing another predatory wild cat at an isolated waterhole in Guatemala.

Captured in the Maya Biosphere Reserve in March 2019, a dry month in a drought year for the tropical forest, by wildlife ecologists from WSU and the Wildlife Conservation Society, the event is » More …

Cannabis use blunts stress reactivity in female rats

Medicinal Marijuana.Female rats that inhaled vaporized cannabis daily for a month developed a blunted physiological response to stress, according to a new study by WSU researchers.

In contrast, male rats that were provided access to the same potency of cannabis over the same 30-day window did not experience any physiological changes in » 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 …

Beavers may help amphibians threatened by climate change

The recovery of beavers may have beneficial consequences for amphibians because beaver dams can create the unique habitats that amphibians need.

“Beaver-dammed wetlands support more of the amphibian species that need a long time to develop in water as larvae before they are able to live on land as adults,” said Jonah Piovia-Scott, assistant professor in the School of Biological Sciences and one of » More …

Student, faculty serve on artist jury

Artwork by Troy Riley Miles, I am human.Mikayla Makle, an English major and president of the WSU Black Student Union—and a College of Arts and Sciences student ambassador—served alongside three CAS faculty to help select recipients of the recent Black Lives Matter Artist Grant program offered by the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art WSU and the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation. » More …

How scientists tracked down a mass killer (of salmon)

Every fall, more than half of the coho salmon that return to Puget Sound’s urban streams die before they can spawn. In some streams, all of them die. But scientists didn’t know why.

Now, a team led by researchers at Washington State University and the University of Washington has discovered the answer. When it rains, stormwater flushes bits of aging vehicle tires on roads into neighboring streams. The killer is in the mix of chemicals that leach from tire wear particles: a molecule related to a preservative that keeps tires from breaking down too quickly. » 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 …

Football-loving states slow to enact youth concussion laws

"American football" by alschim (Creative Commons)States with college teams in strong conferences, in particular the Southeastern Conference (SEC), were among the last to take up regulations on youth concussions, according to a recent study by WSU sociologists. The research, which investigated the association between youth sport participation and passage of concussion legislation, uncovered the importance of SEC affiliation, and found a similar connection in states with high » More …