Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Biochemistry

Summer 2017

On the surface…

Cancer, that malignant force that maims and kills as it rampages through bodies and lives, may have met its match in the person of James Wells ’79 PhD. Wells speaks quietly but with urgency. You have to lean in to not miss anything.

Wells is explaining that cancer’s derangement of our lives actually begins at the surface of individual cells. The complex chemical ecology of the cell membrane surface deserves its own term of art, so Wells dubs it the “surfaceome.” “The cell membrane is the eyes, ears, nose, and mouth of a cell,” he says.

Cancer cells, in order to avoid detection by the … » More …

Fall 2003

The benefits of mustard

Remember your first encounter with classic Chinese mustard? Your seared sinuses? Your cheeks washed with involuntary tears?

What you tasted was the indelicate reaction of the mustard plant’s chemical compounds, probably enhanced by the wetness of your mouth.

That same volatile reaction is being applied by Columbia Basin farmers to control pests and weeds, improve the productivity of their soils, reduce the use of chemicals, and improve air quality for downwind communities.

Mustard is becoming the crop of choice as a green manure grown in the rotations of many potato producers. Research is showing that in addition to improving the physical and chemical characteristics of … » More …

Spring 2009

Roger McClellan – A suitable combination

As a teen, Roger McClellan ’60 D.V.M. went to work at his high school farm. By helping manage a flock of sheep that were a control group in a Hanford nuclear facility study, he became part of a major research project on radioactivity in animals. The work put him in touch with Leo Bustad, at the time the research veterinarian at Hanford and later the dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Washington State University.

Bustad’s study focused on ungulates consuming the radioiodine that had been deposited on pasture land on the Hanford site, which was then run by General Electric. Bustad would often … » More …