College of Arts and Sciences

Professor and students in a WSU chemistry lab

Research and Scholarship

Innovation and advancements in knowledge fuel social and economic growth across Washington state, the nation, and the world. CAS faculty experts are engaged in a wide range of endeavors, from improving health care to advancing nutrition, from building sustainable societies to bolstering national security, from improving cultural understanding to developing new materials for industry.

Highlights Include:

A surge in “dark money”

Political scientist Travis Ridout is working to increase the transparency of the electoral process through the Wesleyan Media Project, a nonpartisan initiative to comprehensively track and analyze political ads run by candidates, parties, and special interest groups.

A world leader in radiochemistry

Washington State University has one of the nation’s largest radiochemistry research programs and awards approximately half of the nation’s doctoral degrees each year. Radiochemist Nathalie Wall’s research provides valuable data for the cleanup and storage of nuclear waste.

Breakthrough study links sleep loss, decision disasters

WSU psychologists and sleep researchers created the first-ever laboratory experiment that simulates how sleep loss affects critical aspects of decision making in high-stakes, real-world situations. Their breakthrough work provides a new understanding of how going without sleep for long periods can lead doctors, first responders, military personnel, and others in crisis situations to make catastrophic decisions.

Managing Nemo

Brian Tissot’s marine research on reef recovery shows how a mix of science- and community-based management can reconcile competing interests to conserve a treasured ocean resource.

Criminologist takes on regional justice reform

Jacqueline van Wormer, assistant professor of criminal justice and criminology, is steering the first major steps in a comprehensive overhaul of the way police, courts, judges and detention centers work together. In her unique role as participatory evaluator for the Spokane Regional Law and Justice Council, van Wormer aims to make the system more effective and efficient, with emphasis on developing alternatives to incarceration and providing tools to help offenders turn their lives around.

New tech to help stop extinctions

Environmental scientists at WSU are developing a new technology that could help save the Yangtze giant turtle from extinction. Caren Goldberg, assistant professor in the School of the Environment, is using environmental DNA (eDNA), a new technology that detects telltale bits of genetic material living creatures shed into their environment, to help conservationists search for surviving Yangtze turtles in the wild.

Calculating against cholera

Computational models designed by Xueying (Snow) Wang, assistant professor of mathematics, provide an improved predictive framework for anticipating disease outbreaks and planning for interventions.

Ancient Southwest society

Between 1140 and 1180, in the central Mesa Verde of southwest Colorado, four relatively peaceful centuries of pueblo living devolved into several decades of violence. A study led by Washington State University archaeologist Tim Kohler documented numerous sketetons from that era with tramatic injuries and offers more clues to the mysterious depopulation of the northern Southwest, from a population of about 40,000 people in the mid-1200s to none 30 years later.

Faculty Interests

Visit our academic unit websites for more information about faculty research, scholarship, and creative interests.