Our areas of research focus
At WSU Spokane, scientists look for answers to some of the human body's most fundamental physiological questions. They also delve into psychological factors that explain why people behave as they do.
Our researchers cross academic lines to work with colleagues from other WSU colleges and institutions. They reach out to partners in the community to test their theories and measure their progress. They work to transform basic science discoveries into new treatments and products that improve public health.
Over the last three years, outside funding to WSU Spokane health sciences researchers has increased from $8 million to $14 million/year. More than $5 million of that comes from the prestigious National Institutes of Health. Their work is important not only to the health of the region's people, but also to the health of the region's economy.
Our nationally-renowned Sleep and Performance Research Center is staffed by scientists who explore broad questions related to sleep and sleep loss and their effects on performance, safety and health. Several researchers develop ways to help airline pilots, police officers and others who work long hours and odd shifts battle fatigue on the job. Others investigate what happens in the sleeping brain and what goes wrong when sleep is lost.
WSU's Program of Excellence in Rural Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatment develops programs for rural residents with mental health and substance abuse problems - and then collaborates with rural providers to implement treatment plans.
WSU's Program of Excellence in the Addictions looks at why people use methamphetamine and prescribed opiates and develops treatments to stop those addictions.
A 'Geriatrics Team' comprised of College of Pharmacy faculty members studies questions related to pharmaceutical needs for older people.
Children's health and wellness
WSU researchers are exploring fundamental questions at the cellular and molecular levels. For example, researcher Weihang Chai studies telomeres -- or the ends of chromosomes - and their role in keeping cancer cells alive.
Nutrition and exercise physiology
Researchers such as Sue Marsh are asking fundamental questions about how our diets – especially high fat Western diets – and exercise – or lack thereof – affect the way our hearts function.
Researchers in the Department of Pharmacotherapy run clinical trials that test the effectiveness of certain drugs on diabetics.
The WSU College of Nursing is beginning a landmark national simulation study, which will investigate the ideal mix of simulation and clinical training needed to best prepare future nurses. In addition, a WSU College of Pharmacy human patient simulation team oversees the use of sophisticated manikins for a variety of health sciences education applications. Its members study how to use simulation technology in new ways.