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Light

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 …

Video: What Plants See…Changes How They Grow

Meet the WSU Researcher: Michael Neff

Part 1: What Plants See…Changes How They Grow

Washington State University botanist Michael Neff studies the way plants sense light and plants around them, and change their growth patterns accordingly. Plants use photoreceptors sensitive to far-red light to determine their proximity to other plants. These photoreceptors are different from infrared receptors used for photosynthesis.

“What I’ve been interested in forever is how plants use light as a source of information,” says Neff. “Plants have photoreceptors that are completely independent of photosynthesis and chloroplasts, that read their environment and say, ‘I am in full sunlight, I’m in the shade of … » More …