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WSU Health Sciences Spokane Extra

New WSU technology to improve delivery of anti-inflammatory drugs

Portrait image of Zhenjia Wang, associate professor in the WSU College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
Pharmaceutical scientist Zhenjia Wang was awarded a $1.3M NIH grant to advance his research

A researcher at Washington State University Health Sciences Spokane has developed a new technology that harnesses the immune system to deliver drugs directly to infection sites within the body.

“Most diseases develop in local tissues within the body,” said Zhenjia Wang, an associate professor in the WSU College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. “That makes drug delivery challenging, because many drugs don’t have targeting properties—they simply go wherever they go. By delivering drugs to the disease site specifically, we can improve treatment while dramatically decreasing side effects.”

Wang’s technology uses neutrophils—a type of white blood cells that play a key role in the body’s natural immune response—to deliver drugs directly to diseased tissue. Neutrophils make up as much as 70 percent of the white blood cells that travel through the bloodstream to help fight off bacteria, viruses, or other pathogens that invade the body and cause inflammation in affected tissue. » More …

Opportunity to participate in customized medicine research at WSU Health Sciences Spokane

WSU Health Sciences Spokane

Help identify which medical approaches most effective for specific people based on genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors

Washington State University (WSU) Health Sciences Spokane will host National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) All of Us Journey, a traveling, hands-on exhibit that aims to gather genetic, biological, environmental, health and lifestyle data from 1 million or more volunteer participants living in the United States. Through NIH partnership with the National Alliance for Hispanic Health, the program’s ultimate goal is to accelerate research and improve health.

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Dare to Dream Academy brings migrant students to WSU Health Sciences Spokane

Dare to Dream Students

Dare to Dream Students
When one thinks about “summer camp,” they might think of children heading to the woods, sleeping in cabins and paddling in a canoe. At WSU Health Sciences Spokane, summer camps take on a different meaning—one where high school students of different backgrounds are given the opportunity to explore careers in the health sciences.

One of those opportunities was the Dare to Dream Health Sciences Academy.

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Native American, Alaska Native high school students explore careers in health sciences

Na-ha-shnee student

Na-ha-shnee student

Na-ha-shnee Summer Institute at WSU Health Sciences Spokane, June 16-28

Seventeen Native American and Alaska Native high school students from multiple states will attend the 24th annual Na-ha-shnee Summer Institute at WSU Health Sciences Spokane, June 16 – 28. Attendees are heading into their sophomore, junior or senior years of high school and plan to pursue careers in the health sciences.

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WSU scientist studies link between poor sleep and PTSD

Willie Vanderheyden uses fluorescent microscopy to identify sleep promoting cells in the dorsal part of a rat brain.
Neuroscientist Willie Vanderheyden uses fluorescent microscopy to identify sleep promoting cells in the dorsal part of a rat brain.

 
At any given time, an estimated 7.7 million American adults suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a psychiatric condition that occurs in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event. Though PTSD can affect anyone who lives through trauma, it is especially common among military veterans returning from combat zones.

The effects of PTSD can be debilitating. It’s one reason why neuroscientist Willie Vanderheyden—an assistant research professor in the WSU Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine—has set out to better understand the condition and its ties to one of his other research interests: sleep.

“Up to 90 percent of people who have experienced trauma suffer from some type of sleep disturbance, whether it’s fragmented sleep, difficulty falling or staying asleep, or nightmares,” Vanderheyden said.

These sleep disturbances may be the result of PTSD, but Vanderheyden says it’s also possible that they are part of what is causing PTSD. » More …

Competition breaks research down into bite-sized chunks

Science is usually a serious matter, but there were plenty of laughs last week at the fourth annual Science Bites event held at WSU Spokane. The science communications competition featured ten graduate and professional students from the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, who rose to the challenge of providing a compelling description of their research in no more than three minutes.

Participants could use one static PowerPoint slide and were expected to use language that could be understood by non-specialists. Facing a panel of judges, they pulled out all the stops, using a variety of laugh-inducing metaphors and anecdotes in their quest for top honors.

Prizes—including $200 toward travel expenses to attend the Science Talk ’19 conference in Portland—went to the top three competitors, all of whom are PhD in pharmaceutical sciences candidates working in different research labs.

Group photo of the 2018 ScienceBites competitors and judges

Science Bites competitors and judges at the 2018 event. From left to right, in the back: Dyston Madsen, Panshak Dakup, Trevor Kirby, Philip Wibisono, Soumyadeep Sarkar, Siavosh Naji-Talakar, and Chancellor Daryll DeWald. Center: Shannon Kozlovich, Priyanka Bushana. Front: Xinyue Dong, Laken Kruger, Celestina Barbosa-Leiker, Shamema Nasrin, and Shirley Moore.

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Student finds pharmacy and loses shyness

Students on Campus Series: Thanh Thai

student entertainment board member thanh thai

Throughout most of her life until last year, Thanh Thai was a shy student who sat in the back of the classroom by herself. Something happened to her last year during her first year of pharmacy school on this campus, and now she is on the campus Student Entertainment Board and responsible for coordinating the stress-relieving activities for the student body during finals week.

Her story starts when she finished the fourth grade in her hometown in Vietnam and then her parents moved her and her younger brother to Mill Creek, Wash. Her father had his own business as a tailor in Vietnam but her parents wanted their children to have the career opportunities offered in the United States. When they relocated to America, no one in the family of four could speak English.
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