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David Wasson

green tea cup & teapot
Summer 2017

Reading the benefits of tea leaves

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 …

Disappointed football fan
Summer 2017

3 cheers for the losers

Cheering fans are as ubiquitous to competitive sports as coaches and clipboards.

And something about that had always puzzled Yong-chae Rhee, an assistant professor in Washington State University’s sports management program.

After all, far more teams fall short of the ultimate goal each season than achieve it. There’s just one Super Bowl champion, for example, and 31 franchises that end up promising a better season next year. Only one of the 30 Major League Baseball teams wins the World Series. Of the 351 NCAA Division I men’s basketball programs, just 68 advance to March Madness and only one claims the title.

“This was … » More …

Summer 2017

AI

One of the most memorable moments of Matthew Taylor’s life so far would look to most people like just a jumble of numbers, brackets, and punctuation strung together with random words on a computer screen.

IF ((dist(K1,T1)<=4) AND
(Min(dist(K3,T1), dist(K3,T2))>=12.8) AND
(ang(K3,K1,T1)>=36))
THEN Pass to K3

And so on. Line after line of computer code flowing like a digital river of expanding possibilities.

Although sophisticated and wonderfully complex, it wasn’t so much the code itself that made this such a pivotal moment.

It was what came next.

Taylor, a graduate student in Texas at the time, … » More …

Hang Them All cover
Spring 2017

“Hang Them All”

Hang Them All cover

George Wright and the Plateau Indian War

Donald L. Cutler ’76

University of Oklahoma Press: 2016

 

Questions about the viciousness of Col. George Wright’s month-long war against Indian tribes of the Upper Columbia Plateau typically are filtered through a lens of historical and cultural context.

The cruelty of Wright’s tactics during the Plateau Indian War of 1858 are undeniable. He hanged 16 Indians, including some who had surrendered after being told … » More …

The most prolific scorJeanne (Eggart) Helfer. Photo Bruce Andre
Spring 2017

How you play the game

It took a while for the guys to start passing her the ball during pickup games at the gym.

Jeanne (Eggart) Helfer ’82 stuck with it, spending much of her free time back in 1977 simply running the length of the basketball court waiting for a chance to show she knew her way around the paint. It was her first semester at Washington State, a few months before she would start setting school records, and Helfer patiently waited for the guys to discover what her older brother and his friends already had learned back in Walla Walla.

That girl can shoot. And pass. And rebound.

» More …

John McCallum
Spring 2017

Writing pools, movie stars

The New York Yankees were establishing their dominance over America’s favorite pastime. The Golden Era of Hollywood was in full swing. And a nation recovering from the sacrifices of World War II had begun to heal and find itself.

It was a world of big cars and even bigger personalities. A world that sportswriter John D. McCallum, a U.S. Army veteran and former pro baseball player, found he could navigate with surprising ease.

McCallum resumed his English and journalism studies at Washington State after returning from the war, and briefly played for the Portland Beavers in 1947. But it was after he hung up his … » More …

Winter 2016

Power to the patient

The health care system has long been focused on finding ways to improve patient care.

But to pharmacist Josh Neumiller and other members of an interdisciplinary research team at Washington State University Spokane, too often something was missing.

Patient perspectives.

“We flipped that around,” explains Neumiller, an associate professor at WSU’s College of Pharmacy who studies medication lapses and other adverse conditions among those who take multiple prescription drugs. “There’s been this realization…that the people these improvements were supposed to be for weren’t being included in the decision-making process.”

Neumiller, along with researchers from the WSU College of Nursing and Providence Health … » More …

Winter 2016

Wagyu

Seattle chef Thomas Dodd’s customers demand the best, so the only steak on the menu is marbled, tender, and flavorful American wagyu.

He sees orders climb each week for the breed developed largely from Washington State University research to help Northwest ranchers compete with Japan’s famed Kobe beef and other specialty brands.

“When people were tasting it for the first time, they were kind of freaking out over how flavorful it is, saying things like it’s the best steak they’d ever had,” says Dodd, executive chef at Liam’s. “Now we’re starting to see this expectation because people know … or have heard about American wagyu.”

» More …

Winter 2016

Call it the Urban Extension

The massive Oso landslide killed 43 people, caused extensive flooding, and destroyed a key highway north of Everett in 2014, pushing the communities of Arlington and Darrington to their breaking point.

For months, grieving residents and community leaders remained so immersed in the search and recovery demands that nearly everything else had to be put on hold. That’s why, when they were invited to participate in a national competition that could funnel up to $3 million or more toward desperately needed economic revitalization efforts, Arlington Mayor Barb Tolbert was practically on the verge of tears, again.

“It was this rare opportunity but we had no … » More …

Fall 2016

Cougs behind the Seahawks

Nearly two weeks before the Seattle Seahawks won Super Bowl XLVIII, Cindy Kelley was arriving in New York to set up a temporary team headquarters that would become like a cross between a satellite office and a MASH unit.

Kelley ’81 and the rest of the advance crew scrambled to keep up with a schedule measured in hours, not days. Telephones, computers, office space, accommodations, meals, air and ground transportation, special events, family activities—all needing to be arranged immediately.

“The whole goal is to make sure there are no distractions for the players and coaches,” says Kelley, vice president for human resources for the » More …