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College of Arts and Sciences Washington State Magazine

Medical Big Data

illustrationCurrently, there is a shortage of data wranglers and analysts. Just in time to meet the needs of what could be a revolution in healthcare, WSU is bringing up to speed one of the few data analytics programs in the country. Under the direction of entrepreneur-scientist Nella Ludlow, WSU’s new data analytics program is training the bioinformaticists who will be the genetic counselors and consultants of the future.

Just in its second year—paralleling the new WSU MD program in Spokane—Ludlow’s students are getting jobs as fast as they can get their degrees. She mentions a couple of juniors who got internships with a company that analyzes low-altitude aerial photography for » More …

Inside Outside

<em>Group of children at summer camp running through a woodland area with their guide/teacher walking behind them.</em>Biophilia, our innate affinity for and connection to nature, is not only for children—parents, too, are taking time from hectic schedules to unwind with meditative forest bathing, and many doctors now prescribe visits to the park instead of pills.

Getting kids outside is nothing new to Jeff Sanders, WSU associate professor and environmental historian. He says the idea of a nature deficit goes back at least 150 years to the Industrial Revolution, when many Americans left rural areas for work in Chicago or New York along with » More …

Bear Watching

Chukchi Sea polar bearThe headlines paint a dire picture: By the 2030s, global warming could completely melt Arctic sea ice, imperiling the 19 known polar bear populations that range across the United States, Canada, Russia, Greenland, and Norway.

Could, as some fear, the trend spell extinction for Ursus martimus? » More …

Knowing malice beyond the pale

Winter knowing malice beyond the palePete Simi’s mother wanted him to understand racism, so when he was 9, they watched a PBS documentary on the Ku Klux Klan. Here’s how he remembers one Klansman who was interviewed. “He spoke with such passion, anger, such strong emotion. And it just struck me, as a young child, trying to understand what was driving this person, how this person could get so enmeshed in hate.”

That question stuck with Simi ’96 throughout his undergraduate studies at Washington State University and later as a graduate student at University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Simi, the author of American Swastika: Inside the White » More …

A mother’s microbial gift

Illustration by Colin JohnsonOld assumptions about human breast milk are giving way to new thinking about microbes in milk and their role in children’s health and our immune systems.

It happened again, most recently at a conference in Prague. After she gave her talk, a scientist came up to Shelley McGuire, a pioneer exploring the microbial communities found in human breast milk, and told her, You don’t know how to take a sample. Your samples must have been contaminated. Human milk is sterile. » More …