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Washington State University
College of Arts and Sciences Neuroscience

More than just noise

fish artwork over blue backgroundAllison Coffin, a neuroscientist in the College of Arts and Sciences at WSU Vancouver, focuses on hearing, hear-loss prevention, and even on sensory cell regeneration—something no mammal is known to be able to do, unlike many birds and fish.

For sound to get from the air around us to our brains, it passes through a kind of Rube Goldberg device, funneling through a canal, stopping to play a drum solo, then moving through the cochlea where the vibrations tickle tiny cilia sticking out of » More …

WSU research behind potential Alzheimer’s drug

Leen Kawas and Joe Harding.It was 1991 and medicinal chemist Joe Harding was in his lab researching potential new options for relieving high blood pressure. Anomalies kept showing up in his lab tests, and if they meant what he thought they might, he and his research partner, WSU psychology professor John (Jay) Wright, were on the brink of a different breakthrough.

“I kept getting phone calls from Joe, and on each one he was more excited,” recalls Wright, who at the time was » More …

Undergraduate students’ research opens doors to the future

Collage showing a mineral, institutional icons, a student with latex gloves inspecting what looks to be a bat wing, and a woman leaning up against a stack of books.Alyssa Sperry’s research for her University Scholars Honors thesis on the history of salt in Jamaica earned her the Library Research Excellence Award for 2018. It also changed her life.

The library research award is designed to recognize students who excel in using the library and its rich resources. Sperry, who graduated from WSU Vancouver in May with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and a minor in history, used the library exceptionally well—and went far beyond it. » More …

Salmon face double whammy from toxic stormwater

SalmoWSU researchers have found that salmon face a double whammy when they swim in the stormwater runoff of urban roadways.

First, as scientists learned a couple years ago, toxic pollution in the water can kill them. WSU researchers have now determined that fish that survive polluted stormwater are still at risk.

Experiments on both larval zebrafish, a model for salmon, and actual coho salmon showed that toxic runoff can also damage hair-like sensors the fish use to find food, sense predators, and find their way in the current. » More …

Long-term cannabis use linked to muted stress response WSU study shows

A new study by Washington State University psychology researchers reveals a dampened physiological response to stress in chronic cannabis users.

Using a nationally recognized procedure designed to provoke elevated levels of stress, Carrie Cuttler, clinical assistant professor of psychology, Ryan McLaughlin, assistant professor of integrative physiology and neuroscience, and colleagues in the WSU Department of Psychology examined levels of the stress hormone cortisol in both chronic cannabis users and non-users. » More …