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Washington State University Health Sciences Spokane

Research News


Medicine-carriers made from human cells can cure lung infections (December 3, 2020)

Zhenjia Wang is shown in his lab at WSU SpokaneWSU scientists used human white blood cell membranes to carry two drugs directly to infected lungs in mice. The nano-sized drug delivery method successfully treated both the bacterial growth and inflammation in the mice’s lungs. Read more.


WSU Health Sciences launches Spinout Space in Spokane (sp³nw) (December 3, 2020)

Graduate student Brena Thompson us seen working in a laboratory at the WSU Health Sciences Spokane campus.Washington State University announced today the official launch of Spinout Space in Spokane (sp³nw), a new life sciences incubator designed to build and grow start-up companies. Read more.


WSU joins national biopharmaceuticals manufacturing institute (November 24, 2020)

Image of the WSU coughead logo (placeholder)WSU’s membership in the National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals, led by WSU Spokane, signals increased engagement with research connected to pharmaceutical manufacturing. Read more.


Three WSU professors honored as 2020 Highly Cited Researchers (November 20, 2020)

Portrait photo of Kris KrowdleyClinical faculty member Kris Kowdley of the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine is one of three WSU faculty members named as highly cited researchers this year, based on an annual list published by Web of Science. Read more.


Healthcare providers should ask patients about cannabis use (November 5, 2020)

Nurses and other healthcare providers should talk to patients about their cannabis use the same way they talk about other habits like smoking and drinking: routinely and without judgment, concludes a recently published paper authored by nurse researchers. Read more.


Nelson evaluating COVID vaccines for impact on Native Americans (October 30, 2020)

Portrait image of Lonnie NelsonResearcher Lonnie Nelson was invited to sit on an expert panel convened by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to evaluate potential COVID-19 vaccines for how they will be perceived and accepted by Native Americans. Read more.


Rural areas have fewer mental health services for young people (October 29, 2020)

Photo of person sitting on fence in comtemplative pose with meadows in the backgroundVery rural areas in the US have fewer mental health services for young people, yet that’s where the help is needed the most, says a study led by Janessa Graves of the WSU College of Nursing, published last week in JAMA Network Open. Read more.


WSU COVID-19 research tackles the present and future pandemic (October 27, 2020)

Image shows a coronavirus spike protein inside a DNA helixFrom tracking to treatment to prevention, Washington State University scientists are expanding our understanding of the current COVID-19 crisis while helping lead international efforts to identify and stop the next potential pandemic. Read more.


Increasing sleep time after trauma could ease ill effects (October 22, 2020)

Photo of neuroscientist William Vanderheyden in his laboratoryIncreasing the amount of time spent asleep immediately after a traumatic experience may ease any negative consequences, suggests a new study conducted by researchers at WSU’s Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine. Read more.


COVID-19 research highlighted during town hall (October 21, 2020)

Image of the WSU coughead logo (placeholder)WSU researchers are working collaboratively with their colleagues across the system in a shared effort to understand COVID-19 and its underlying virus as well as the effects the outbreak is having on individuals and communities. Read more.


WSU awarded NIH grant to study natural product-drug interactions (October 21, 2020)

Photo of paine lab groupMore needs to be done to study natural products and their interactions with drugs, says WSU scientist Mary Paine. She and her nationwide research team just received a five-year, $11 million NIH grant to continue their groundbreaking work in this area. Read more.


Alcohol use changed right after COVID‑19 lockdown (October 13, 2020)

Photo of red wine being poured into a glassOne in four adults reported a change in alcohol use almost immediately after stay-at-home orders were issued, according to a study of twins led by Washington State University researchers. Read more.

Project aims to increase COVID‑19 testing for Native populations
(October 12, 2020)

A person in personal protective equipment (gown, gloves) handles a nasal swabNative populations have been hit hard by the pandemic—exactly how hard, no one can say for sure, since there is a lack of information and testing in these communities. A new WSU project has received a $4.4M NIH grant to help address that knowledge gap. Read more.


New Faculty Spotlight: Kait Hirchak (October 1, 2020)

Kait Hirchak, a descendant of the Eastern Shoshone Tribe, has dedicated her career to studying and implementing programs to prevent and treat alcohol use disorders. She now has the opportunity to make a difference in communities across the state. Read more.


Star-shaped brain cells may hold the key to why, how we sleep (September 24, 2020)

Astrocytes in the brain expressing a fluorescent calcium indicator captured with a two-photon microscope. Image by Ashley Ingiosi, courtesy of Current BiologyA new study published today in the journal Current Biology suggests that star-shaped brain cells known as astrocytes could be as important to the regulation of sleep as neurons, the brain’s nerve cells. Read more.


COVID-stress may be hard to beat even with exercise (September 7, 2020)

Woman runningIn a study of twins led by WSU researchers, people who reported increasing their physical activity after the start of COVID-19 stay-at-home orders reported higher levels of stress and anxiety than those whose activity levels stayed the same. Read more.


Poison centers report increase in calls about anti-anxiety drug (September 4, 2020)

decorative imageCalls to U.S. poison centers about phenibut, an anti-anxiety drug sold on the internet, rose dramatically over the past decade, according to new research led by Janessa Graves, associate professor and associate dean at the WSU College of Nursing. Read more.


Study to use app to help people with asthma during wildfire season (August 12, 2020)

YPeople walking through a park under smoky skiesoung people with asthma will test a phone app to help them manage their condition during wildfire season in a new College of Nursing-led study. The study is currently recruiting participants ages 18-26 in the Pacific Northwest. Read more.


WSU scientists develop COVID-19 tracking tool for rural areas (July 29, 2020)

Photo of COVID Urban-Rural Explorer US mapScientists at the WSU Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine have launched the COVID Urban Rural Explorer (CURE), one of the first tracking tools to provide a daily snapshot into COVID-19 cases in rural communities across the country. Read more.


WSU faculty elected to Washington State Academy of Sciences (July 15, 2020)

Illustration of an trophy on top of a pile of books, with a spotlight shining on itA third of this year’s class of new members in the Washington State Academy of Sciences (WSAS) are from Washington State University. This includes two researchers at WSU Health Sciences Spokane: Michael McDonell and Sterling McPherson. Read more.


Research funding on the rise at the WSU College of Nursing (July 9, 2020)

Exterior Image of Nursing Building in summertimeResearch funding took another jump at the WSU College of Nursing last year. The college ranked 23rd among nursing schools nationwide in the amount of funding received from the National Institutes of Health, up from 27th the previous year. Read more.


Cloth mask tested by WSU nursing faculty could offer more protection (July 6, 2020)

Shawn Brow, a nurse anesthetist in Spokane, is working with College of Nursing faculty to test a prototype mask design that offers more protection than a disposable or plain cloth mask. Two College of Nursing faculty members—Marian Wilson in Spokane and Roschelle Fritz in Vancouver—are testing a fabric mask made with a filter available at big-box stores as an alternative to sometimes-scarce N95 masks. Read more.


Nursing student lands prestigious Foley Institute fellowship (June 30, 2020)

Portrait photo of Andrew Given Andrew Given has been awarded a graduate student fellowship by the Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service. He is researching whether a “patient-centered” approach to addiction treatment can inform statewide policy. Read more.


Centenarian study suggests living environment may be key to longevity (June 17, 2020)

Image showing older man with cane walking through an urban neighborhoodPublished in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, the research team’s findings suggest that Washingtonians who live in highly walkable, mixed-age communities may be more likely to live to their 100th birthday. Read more.


Marijuana use can worsen mental health for people with chronic pain (June 16, 2020)

Illustration of of distressed, lonely womanMarijuana can worsen depression, anxiety and cognition among people who use cannabis to help with their chronic pain, according to a new study published in Pain Management Nursing. Negative effects increased with the amount of cannabis used. Read more.


New collaborative to study impact of COVID-19 on moms, babies (June 3, 2020)

Image of baby sleeping in mother's armsWSU researchers recently joined forces to form the WSU COVID-19 Infant, Maternal, and Family Health Research Collaborative. Their research will address critical questions related to the impact of COVID-19 on the health of mothers, babies, and families. Read more.


WSU student’s research leads to training for oncology nurses (May 21, 2020)

SPortrait photo of nursing graduate Freyja Herzog in her crimson scrubsexual intimacy is an important quality-of-life issue for cancer patients, but a difficult subject to talk about – even for nurses. Nursing graduate Freyja Herzog developed a brochure and training seminar that she presented to oncology nurses. Read more.


Making platelet transfusions safer (May 20, 2020)

Study author Elena Skornyakov loads a blood sample into the cold centrifuge at the sleep lab on the WSU Spokane campus.Bacterial contamination in platelet transfusion bags is considered the second most common cause of transfusion-related deaths in the U.S. Two Spokane, Washington-based startups recently gained momentum in partnering to address this problem. Read more.


Managing diabetes during the COVID‑19 pandemic (May 13, 2020)

Portrait photo of Joshua NeumillerWhen the American Diabetes Association had to quickly pull together a panel of experts to study the impact of COVID-19 on people living with diabetes, they called on Joshua Neumiller, who has dedicated his professional life to researching diabetes. Read more.


New WSU-PNNL partnership to advance gut microbiome science (April 23, 2020)

composite illustration of microbiomeScientists at WSU Health Sciences Spokane and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have established a research partnership focused on gut microbiome science, the study of the trillions of microorganisms that live inside our digestive system. Read more.


Palmer, Roll to lead academic and research response to COVID-19 (April 22, 2020)

Portrait photo of John Roll, vice dean for research for the College of MedicineWSU has selected Guy Palmer and John Roll to lead and coordinate the university’s academic and research response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This coordinated response will focus on matching the university’s expertise with society’s needs. Read more.


Association for faculty women honors outstanding graduate students (April 21, 2020)

Portrait photo of Xinyue (Sheena) DongHonorees included Xinyue Dong (left), a pharmaceutical sciences doctoral student who researches nanoparticle-based drug delivery systems, and Shandeigh Berry, a doctoral nursing student whose research deals with perinatal loss and grief. Read more.


Research finds critical protein in cancer treatment-related heart damage (April 9, 2020)

Study authors Zhaokang Cheng and Peng Xia are shown in Cheng's lab on the WSU Health Sciences Spokane campus.In a recent paper published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, the research team showed that a protein named FOXO1 plays a critical role in heart damage resulting from treatment with doxorubicin, an anthracycline chemotherapy drug. Read more.


Study shows rising age of first drug use in teens, young adults (March 2, 2020)

Young woman dressed in hoodie is sitting on skateboard and holding smoldering cigarette and bottle of beer.The average age at which teens start using drugs has been rising, according to a new study. The study examined changes in the average age of first drug use for 18 different drugs—including alcohol and tobacco products—between 2004 and 2017. Read more.


Access to primary care doctors is linked to mortality rates (February 5, 2020)

A medical student takes a patient's blood pressure. Researchers at WSU Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine have issued a new report showing that increasing access to primary care physicians by just one physician per 10,000 people results in lower mortality for all causes of death in Washington. Read more.


Study paints picture of marijuana use in pregnant women (February 4, 2020)

Lead researcher Celestina Barbosa-Leiker meets with her research team to discuss study findings.Published in the Journal of Addiction Medicine, findings from a study conducted by a team of researchers at WSU Health Sciences Spokane delve deeper into pregnant women’s use of marijuana, providing key insights that will help inform patient education efforts. Read more.


College-funded grants ‘seed’ big-picture, interdisciplinary research (February 4, 2020)

Graphic representation of crime hotspots and cannabis outletsHow does having a pot shop in your neighborhood affect local crime rates? It’s one of five interdisciplinary research projects recently funded by the WSU College of Arts and Sciences with partner colleges, including the Colleges of Medicine and Nursing. Read more.


Hospital websites lack usability for non-English speakers (February 3, 2020)

Illustration of keyboard with "Translate" button surrounded by buttons with different languages/flags English proficiency shouldn’t be a barrier to health care… But a patient who needs language services would have to navigate through one to four web pages in English to find information on such services at most Washington hospitals, according to a new study. Read more.


Premature mortality linked to race, socioeconomic deprivation (January 22, 2020)

Researchers at WSU’s College of Medicine released a new report that shows premature mortality—death occurring before age 65—is three to eight times more likely among non-whites from low-income neighborhoods compared to more affluent whites. Read more.


Biological clock may be key to reducing heart damage from radiation (January 13, 2020)

Study authors Shobhan Gaddameedhi and Panshak Dakup look at cell cultures used in experiments that examine the biological clock’s role in protecting from cell damage caused by radiation treatment.Radiation therapy used to treat breast cancer can lead to heart damage. A new study conducted by researchers in the WSU College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences suggests that a preventive solution may lie in the biological clock, Read more.


Researchers study community-based care for Thai cancer patients (January 2, 2020)

WSU College of Nursing PhD student Shandeigh Berry, right, participates in guided meditation while at Arokhayasala Khampramong Temple in Sakon Nakhon, Thailand, in March 2019.A team of nurse researchers from Washington State University left for Thailand on New Year’s Day to join Thai colleagues in looking at the unique care provided to cancer patients at a temple there. Read more.



WSU College of Medicine research sparks entrepreneurship (December 17, 2019)
Skipping a night of sleep may leave insomniacs twice as impaired (December 11, 2019)
‘Sleep gene’ research earns five-year grant from NIH (December 5, 2019)
Finding the right dosing for children (December 4, 2019)
Researchers focus on human reaction to high-stress jobs (November 21, 2019)
Discovery holds implications for better immunity, longer life (November 20, 2019)
Cannabis businesses more prevalent in low-socioeconomic areas (November 18, 2019)
Study shows fewer American Indians getting heart disease (November 7, 2019)
WSU cannabis research to partner with pharmaceutical firm (November 6, 2019)
New technology promises improved treatment of sepsis, stroke (November 6, 2019)
Study identifies a potential new target for treatment of gout (October 29, 2019)
Medicine, CAHNRS secure $1.1M grant to combat rural opioid abuse (October 23, 2019)
Julie Postma named associate dean of research (October 22, 2019)
Rayce Rudeen Foundation funds opioid-related projects at WSU (September 20, 2019)
Brain injury expert returns to WSU (September 13, 2019)
Researchers studying Alzheimer’s and dementia in Native people (September 11, 2019)
World experts on shift work meet for WSU-organized conference (September 9, 2019)
WSU to examine health benefits of outdoor preschools (September 3, 2019)
Steve Gleason Institute for Neuroscience featured at symposium (August 30, 2019)
New WSU technology to improve delivery of anti-inflammatory drugs (August 8, 2019)
WSU Health Sciences appoints vice chancellor for research (August 8, 2019)
Targeting health sciences’ potential for technology transfer (July 26, 2019)
Patients face challenges getting information on medical marijuana (July 24, 2019)
Progress being made for Steve Gleason Institute for Neurosciences (July 17, 2019)
Eight WSU faculty elected to Washington State Academy of Sciences (July 17, 2019)
Many opioid users believe cannabis also helps control pain (July 1, 2019)
WSU to partner with Puyallup Tribe on medicinal cannabis research (May 14, 2019)
Doctoral grad finds group medical visits useful in treating chronic pain (May 13, 2019)
WSU scientist studies link between poor sleep and PTSD (May 10, 2019)
Opioid use disorder affects women differently than men (April 30, 2019)
WSU study links gene to sleep problems in autism (April 29, 2019)
WSU discovery could aid battle of debilitative and deadly inflammation (April 3, 2019)
Special journal issue highlights shift work science, solutions (April 1, 2019)
WSU students’ device to diagnose autism wins awards (March 28, 2019)
Milk or no milk? Study fills knowledge gap on genetic disorder (March 19, 2019)
Most teens report using marijuana less often after legalization (March 15, 2019)
Worldwide rare disease study led by WSU researchers (February 26, 2019)
Predictive modeling could help fight neighborhood crime (February 22, 2019)
McKeirnan honored for work, research in pharmacy practice (February 14, 2019)
Report shows mortality, health disparities in Washington (January 29, 2019)
Meier receives $100K for fatty acid receptor research (January 18, 2019)
WSU Spokane to establish Steve Gleason Institute for Neuroscience (January 15, 2019)


Making radiation therapy less toxic to the heart (December 20, 2018)
WSU research center to help Native people fight alcohol abuse (December 6, 2018)
Rural youth with mild head injuries face higher costs, less care (December 3, 2018)
Study findings could help prevent heart disease in cancer survivors (November 7, 2018)
Building end-of-life care nursing skills (November 2, 2018)|
How sleep works in the brain – WSU researchers discover clues (October 31, 2018)
WSU to lead new center for Alzheimer’s research in Native people (October 25, 2018)
New nanoparticles wait to release drugs, target infection (September 12, 2018)
Italian nurse visits WSU to explore power of touch in healthcare (August 30, 2018)
Spokane researchers develop potential drugs to help curb smoking (August 21, 2018)
Being overweight increases odds of chronic pain (July 23, 2018)
Researching the transition from opioid addiction to treatment (July 27, 2018)
New study reveals how shift work disrupts metabolism (July 9, 2018)
Chronic pain remains the same after stopping opioid treatment (June 29, 2018)
Declining number of rural pharmacies ‘a worrisome trend’ (May 25, 2018)
Sleep study targets brain processes causing poor decision-making (May 17, 2018)
Study focuses on impacts of 12-hour shifts on nurses (May 1, 2018)
Nurses are essential, yet they struggle within the health care system (April 26, 2018)
WSU researchers focusing on range of cannabis health issues (April 19, 2018)
WSU study to test sleep technology in chronic insomnia (January 23, 2018)
Epigenetics study helps focus search for autism risk factors (January 16, 2018)


Researchers see gene influencing performance of sleep-deprived people (12/20/2017)
Adults with disabilities benefitting from Affordable Care Act (12/14/2017)
WSU College of Medicine lands $10 million in new research grants (12/13/2017)
Marijuana may not aid patients in opioid addiction treatment (11/30/2017)
Cleveland police to test of anti-bias training simulator developed at WSU (10/3/2017)
Reducing opioid use via online pain management focus of $2.5M study (9/7/2017)
$1.77M NIH grant funds WSU professors’ smart-home technology (8/28/2017)
WSU researchers deliver first ‘nanotherapeutics’ to tumor (5/15/2017)
Predicting hospitalization for mental illness could aid early intervention (4/24/2017)
WSU helps launch first U.S. pharmacy technician immunization program (4/20/2017)
‘Sleep gene’ offers clues about why we need our zzzs (4/5/2017)
Poverty a frequent barrier to achieving health goals, research found (3/24/2017)
Washington a model for suicide prevention training (3/23/2017)
WSU course prepares students for personalized medicine (3/16/2017)
Mechanism triggers spread of prostate cancer to bones (3/13/2017)
Head blows in contact sports not child’s play (3/2/2017)
Rewards treat alcohol abuse in those with mental illness (2/6/2017)


New study to investigating role of sleep in chronic pain (12/05/2016)
New police training draws from science of deadly force (11/30/2016)
Safer gene therapy delivery reduces cancer risk (11/7/2016)
$3.7M grant to study cognitive health among elderly American Indians (9/19/2016)
$10 million grant to study chronic disease in native populations (8/26/2016)
Prescriptions more affordable with Obamacare, Medicare D (8/23/2016)
$1.7M WSU study to counteract poor decision-making due to sleep loss (7/19/2016)
Coffee vs. energy drinks: No difference in caffeine absorption (7/6/2016)
Statin drugs reduce infection risk in stroke patients (6/16/2016)
Nasal spray may ease Parkinson’s, other disease symptoms (6/16/2016)
Benefits to timing chemotherapy to body’s ‘awake’ time (6/6/2016)
New mental health tool expedites evaluation (4/27/2016)
Prescription assistance tied to fewer emergency room visits for some (4/4/2016)
WSU searches for brain drugs to fight ALS, Alzheimer’s, more (3/16/2016)
Compound in green tea found to block rheumatoid arthritis (2/16/2016)

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