Surviving the challenges of deep space exploration could rely as much on botany as astrophysics.
NASA sees plants not only as potential food sources aboard future spacecraft but as natural oxygen producers. The space agency is preparing for its first in-depth study of how growth and development of plants is affected by gravity, or more specifically the lack of it.
“The overall significance is what it could mean for space exploration,” says Norman G. Lewis, a Regents professor at Washington State University’s Institute of Biological Chemistry and principal investigator for the NASA-funded study. “Whether it’s colonizing planets, establishing a station, … » More …
Much of what is known, scientifically, about the arthritis-fighting benefits of green tea has in one way or another come from Salah-uddin Ahmed and his research group.
It was Ahmed who helped establish that a phytochemical found in green tea essentially halts the progression of rheumatoid arthritis in lab rats.
It also was Ahmed who helped pinpoint where in the disease’s progression that the phytochemical, known as epigallocatechin-3-gallate or simply EGCG for short, is able to combat further degradation without blocking other cellular functions.
Now, with scientific evidence supporting green tea’s health benefits continuing to pile up, Ahmed hopes the research he and his … » More …
Glass is a snob, and that’s a good thing for science. For the most part, glass doesn’t interact with other substances. Essentially inert, glass is perfect for containing the otherwise uncontainable: strong acids, bases, and solvents.
Glass is, of course, also fragile. That’s why Norbert Kruse, a chemical engineer at WSU, had to take a glassblowing class when he was a chemistry student in Berlin in the early 1970s.
“We had to do our own repairs!” Kruse recalls. These days, researchers at WSU don’t have to know glassblowing to keep their labs running. Scientific glassblower Aaron Babino takes care of that.
Launching startup companies like M3 is one key way that public research universities contribute to economic development. In addition to introducing a product or service to the market that solves global challenges or meets consumer needs, these companies create new jobs. Graduate students in the lab of entrepreneurial professors are also often heavily involved in startups, giving them business and leadership experience that expands their job opportunities. WSU’s Office of Commercialization works with researchers to navigate through every part of the startup process, from initially disclosing information about the invention, to securing patents, to developing a business plan and finding funding.
If the world of cutting-edge research has a glamorous side, it was lost on Laurel Graves this summer as she found herself digging trenches for soil probes on the Cook Agronomy Farm north of Pullman. In the high summer heat, Graves dug for two hours. Palouse soil covered her arms.
It was a hard-earned insight into the nature of science.
“You mean I’m not doing complex equations constantly?” she wondered. “Oh wait, I’ve got to be a farmer for a while.”
She was not alone in the grunt work department. Jeronda Hunt wrangled scores of petri dishes harboring white, smelly bacteria. Naeh Klages-Mundt spent three … » More …