Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Rebecca Phillips ’76, ’81 DVM

Fall 2016

The Epidemic

“This program saved my life,” he says as he enters the room. Kris, 37, is in the Spokane Regional Health District methadone clinic where he has come for treatment of heroin addiction since 2008. The intense, dark-haired man speaks openly, earnestly, as if he has nothing left to lose.

Kris says his journey into addiction began, “Quite simply, by a doctor.” Struggling with pain from a minor car accident in 1999, he was prescribed increasingly stronger doses of hydrocodone and OxyContin over a nine-year period. The FBI eventually raided the unethical physician and closed his practice, leaving patients like Kris stranded and facing withdrawal when … » More …

Fall 2016

Fat furnace

Body fat has gotten a bad rap in recent years. It’s understandable given that 70 percent of American adults are reportedly overweight or obese, costing $190 billion per year in related medical bills. But new research shows not all fat is created equal.

Washington State University professor of animal sciences Min Du says our bodies are equipped with both good and bad types of fat that naturally work together to balance weight and metabolism. The process—along with a little help from diet and exercise— involves an intricate interplay between white, beige, and brown fat—or adipose tissue.

“When most people think of body fat, they’re … » More …

Tangletown in Seattle
Summer 2016

It takes a (walkable) village

They call it Tangletown—a Seattle neighborhood where streets and trolley tracks intersect like wayward skeins of yarn. In the 1930s, local residents routinely chose the trolley for trips to work, the market, or hardware store. They did that several times a day and it involved a lot of walking, says Glen Duncan, professor in the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine and chair of nutrition and exercise physiology at WSU Spokane.

Duncan lived in Green Lake near Tangletown for a time, and says public transportation systems like trollies provided a level of physical activity that is all but lost in today’s society.

“We’re completely … » More …

Asteroids thumb image
Summer 2016

Close Encounters from Outer Space

The errant asteroid hurtled through space at 40,000 miles per hour. Tumbling in a wild orbit, it glinted with sunlight as it neared the Earth. At 65-feet wide, the potato-shaped object should have been easily detected but no one saw it coming.

On the morning of February 15, 2013 the asteroid exploded with the force of 500 kilotons of TNT about 15 miles above the city of Chelyabinsk in the Russian Ural Mountains. The fireball was reportedly 30 times brighter than the sun. The shockwave blew out windows in hundreds of buildings and injured more than 1,500 people.

It was Earth’s most powerful meteor strike … » More …

Take a walk and call me in the morning - thumb
Spring 2016

Take a walk…and call me in the morning

The U.S. Surgeon General wants YOU to get off the couch and start moving. In the new Step It Up! program, Dr. Vivek Murthy urges walking or wheelchair rolling for all Americans. He’s not alone—the Centers for Disease Control touts walking as the closest thing to a wonder drug without any side effects, says April Davis ’97, ’09, ’12 MS, clinical assistant professor in the WSU Spokane Program in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology. Like Panacea, the mythical Greek goddess of universal remedy, walking has something for everyone.

Since Kenneth Cooper first popularized aerobics in 1968, millions of Americans have taken up running, cycling, and … » More …

Sweet solution to toxic waste
Spring 2016

Sweet solution to toxic waste

A jar of foul-smelling clay sits on the cluttered workbench. “I’d better not open it,” says environmental engineer Richard Watts. He grabs a smaller jar filled with liquid the color of a dirty mud puddle. “These are soil and groundwater samples from an industrial waste site in North Carolina.”

The repugnant samples arrived in comparatively pristine Pullman to be analyzed by Watts, who then advises the best ways to remedy the mess. In a twist, one of those methods involves the use of sugar.

Watts, a pioneer in oxidizing systems for the detoxification of polluted soil and groundwater and a professor of civil and environmental … » More …

Trip the light fantastic
Spring 2016

Trip the light fantastic

When physicist Mark Kuzyk throws a science soiree he doesn’t mess around. Out come the lasers, high-tech origami, ornate wire sculptures, and sticky-stretchy gel that’s fun to throw at the wall. But it’s all for a greater purpose.

The Washington State University Regents professor is developing a shape-changing, laser-guided electrode for the treatment of pain, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, and depression.

The ultra-thin electrode is designed for use in deep brain stimulation (DBS) and relies on optics and photomechanical materials to improve the precision and delicacy of the procedure. Sometimes known as the “brain pacemaker,” DBS holds promise for a wide range of conditions and may … » More …

Living Buddhism cover
Spring 2016

Living Buddhism—Mind, Self, and Emotion in a Thai Community

Living Buddhism cover

Julia Cassaniti

Cornell University Press: 2015

A scholarly work woven with human drama, the book treats readers to an engaging account of Buddhism as it occurs in the everyday lives of two extended families in rural Northern Thailand.

WSU assistant professor of cultural anthropology Julia Cassaniti spent 10 years observing life in the small mountainous community of Mae Jaeng. She formed close relationships with the villagers while helping in their shops, taking part … » More …