UW News

News releases


January 22, 2018

Lab-made hormone may reveal secret lives of plants

Chemical structure of a plant hormone

By developing a synthetic version of the plant hormone auxin and an engineered receptor to recognize it, University of Washington biology professor Keiko Torii and her colleagues are poised to uncover plants’ inner workings, raising the possibility of a new way to ripen fruits such as strawberries and tomatoes.


Small hydroelectric dams increase globally with little research, regulations

example of small hydropower

University of Washington researchers have published the first major assessment of small hydropower dams around the world — including their potential for growth — and highlight the incredibly variability in how dams of varying sizes are categorized, regulated and studied.


January 19, 2018

UW, TheDream.US announce new scholarship partnership to benefit undocumented students

Two faculty members of the UW School of Social Work have been honored as fellows of the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare.

The University of Washington and TheDream.US announced a new partnership this week that will provide scholarships to qualified undocumented students who graduate from two-year colleges and transfer to the UW.


January 18, 2018

Temporary ‘bathtub drains’ in the ocean concentrate flotsam

white plastic drifter on ship deck

An experiment using hundreds of plastic drifters in the Gulf of Mexico shows that rather than simply spread out, as current calculations would predict, many of them clumped together in a tight cluster.


How the Elwha dam removals changed the river’s mouth

Elwha River - Olympic National Park

A new study in the Journal PLOS ONE details what removing the two dams on the Elwha River meant for the nearshore marine ecosystem.


January 17, 2018

Scale-eating fish adopt clever parasitic methods to survive

scan

A small group of fishes — possibly the world’s cleverest carnivorous grazers — feeds on the scales of other fish in the tropics. A team led by biologists at the University of Washington’s Friday Harbor Laboratories is trying to understand these scale-feeding fish and how this odd diet influences their body evolution and behavior.


January 16, 2018

Task interrupted: A plan for returning helps you move on

Bronze W fall

Get interrupted at work much? Making a quick plan for returning to and completing the task you’re leaving will help you focus better on the interrupting work, according to new research from the University of Washington.


Researchers program biomaterials with ‘logic gates’ that release therapeutics in response to environmental triggers

four people in a laboratory

Drug treatments can save lives, but sometimes they also carry unintended costs. After all, the same therapeutics that target pathogens and tumors can also harm healthy cells. To reduce this collateral damage, scientists have long sought specificity in drug delivery systems: A package that can encase a therapeutic and will not disgorge its toxic cargo…


A ‘touching sight’: How babies’ brains process touch builds foundations for learning

A 7-month-old baby sits in the Magnetoencephalography machine at the UW Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences. An I-LABS study shows how babies' brains register "felt touch" and "observed touch."

  Touch is the first of the five senses to develop, yet scientists know far less about the baby’s brain response to touch than to, say, the sight of mom’s face, or the sound of her voice. Now, through the use of safe, new brain imaging techniques, University of Washington researchers provide one of the…


January 11, 2018

Can the president really do that? Two UW law professors give answers in new book

University of Washington law professors Lisa Manheim and Kathryn Watts have published a new book as the anniversary of President Trump's inauguration approaches. "The Limits of Presidential Power: A Citizen's Guide to the Law" is available on Amazon.

Can the president single-handedly toss out environmental rules designed to combat global warming? Force states like Washington to help enforce federal immigration laws? Fire Robert Mueller? No, no, and not directly, say Lisa Manheim and Kathryn Watts, professors of law at the University of Washington, in a new book. The answers, of course, are more complicated…


January 9, 2018

Mark Richards, former dean at UC Berkeley, named provost at the UW

Mark Richard, incoming provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at the UW.

University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce today named Mark Richards provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. The appointment is effective July 1, 2018. Richards, a geophysicist, is a professor of Earth and planetary science at the University of California, Berkeley, where he previously served as dean of mathematical and physical sciences from…


January 8, 2018

UW Reality Lab launches with $6M from tech companies to advance augmented and virtual reality research

One goal of the UW Reality Lab — funded with initial investments from Facebook, Google and Huawei — is to achieve telepresence, allowing one to have a lifelike conversation with a person in a remote location.

The UW Reality Lab is launching with $6 million from Facebook, Google, and Huawei to accelerate innovation in augmented and virtual reality and educate the next generation of researchers and practitioners.


January 4, 2018

New book ‘City Unsilenced’ explores protest and public space

"City Unsilenced: Urban Resistance and Public Space in the Age of Shrinking Democracy," edited by the UW's Jeff Hou, with Sabine Knierbein, was published by Routledge

Jeff Hou, UW professor of landscape architecture, discusses the new book he co-edited with Sabine Knierbein, “City Unsilenced: Urban Resistance and Public Space in the Age of Shrinking Democracy.”


January 3, 2018

Space dust, not aliens: Two UW astronomers assist in new research on ‘mysterious’ star

Bronze W fall

UW astronomers Brett Morris and James Davenport assisted in new research on “Tabby’s Star,” named for Louisiana State University astronomer Tabetha Boyajian.


December 21, 2017

Promoting self-esteem among African-American girls through racial, cultural connections

Ethnic identity photo 2

    For African-American students, data, alongside societal attitudes and stereotypes, often present a negative picture: a wide academic achievement gap separating them from their white peers. Higher rates of discipline and absenteeism. Discrimination by other students, teachers and the larger community. And just last summer, a study indicated that black girls, from an early…


December 18, 2017

Fish to benefit if large dams adopt new operating approach

dam

Recognizing that many large dams are here to stay, a University of Washington team is investigating an emerging solution to help achieve freshwater conservation goals by re-envisioning the ways in which water is released by dams.


December 13, 2017

University of Washington celebrates fundraising and construction milestones for second computer science building

photo of Gates Center construction taken Dec. 8, 2017

The University of Washington celebrated two major fundraising and construction milestones on Wednesday for the Bill & Melinda Gates Center for Computer Science & Engineering, which will allow the UW to double its annual computer science and engineering degree production.


December 11, 2017

Thoughts on macroeconomics by UW’s Fabio Ghironi among Bloomberg columnist’s ‘must-reads’ of 2017

ghironi_mug

Bloomberg News columnist Noah Smith has listed a paper by UW economist Fabio Ghironi as among “must-read” papers and books on economics in the year 2017.


December 7, 2017

UW announces ambitious public commitment to educate more high-achieving low-income students

bronze W

UW is among the first schools to announce public commitments through the American Talent Initiative. The UW aims to graduate an additional 125 low- to low-middle-income students per cohort by 2025.


A literary view of the human era: ‘Anthropocene Reading’

"Anthropocene Reading: Literary History in Geologic Times" was published in October by Penn State Press. It was co-edited by Jesse Oak Taylor, UW associate professor of English.

The Anthropocene epoch — the proposed name for this time of significant human effect on the planet and its systems — represents a new context in which to study literature. A new book of essays co-edited by Jesse Oak Taylor, UW associate professor of English, argues that literary studies, in turn, also can help us better understand the Anthropocene.


New research shows hydropower dams can be managed without an all-or-nothing choice between energy and food

A women fishes in Tonle Sap Lake in Cambodia.

The University of Washington, Arizona State University and other collaborators have proposed a method in the Dec. 8 issue of Science that allows hydroelectric dam operators to generate power in ways that protect — and possibly improve — food supplies and businesses throughout the Mekong river basin in Southeast Asia.


December 5, 2017

Living cell membranes can self-sort their components by ‘demixing’

A vacuole in a yeast cell.

Scientists at the University of Washington show for the first time that the complex distribution of molecules within a membrane of a living yeast cell arises through demixing.


Making humanity’s challenges smaller and smaller: UW launches Institute for Nano-Engineered Systems

A ribbon cutting ceremony.

The University of Washington has launched a new institute aimed at accelerating research at the nanoscale: the Institute for Nano-Engineered Systems, or NanoES. The institute will pursue impactful advancements in a variety of disciplines — including energy, materials science, computation and medicine. Yet these advancements will be at a technological scale a thousand times smaller than the width of a human hair.


Rooftop wiretap aims to learn what crows gossip about at dusk

crows above campus building

An interdisciplinary team is using a covert sound-based approach, worthy of an avian CSI, to study the link between crows’ calls and their behavior.


In first, 3-D printed objects connect to WiFi without electronics

UW engineers have developed the first 3-D printed plastic objects that can connect to WiFi without electronics. The attachment above can sense when your laundry soap is running low — and automatically order more.

UW engineers have developed the first 3-D printed plastic objects that can connect to other devices via WiFi without using any electronics, including a laundry bottle that can detect when soap is running low and automatically order more.


December 1, 2017

UW astrobiologists to discuss work, introduce IMAX film ‘The Search for Life in Space’ Dec. 6 at Pacific Science Center

"The Search for Life in Space" is now playing at the IMAX theater at the Pacific Science Center.

Three University of Washington astrobiologists will discuss their research and introduce the new 3-D IMAX movie “The Search for Life in Space” at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 6, in the PACCAR Theater of the Pacific Science Center.


November 30, 2017

New textbook teaches Spanish language, culture through talk of food

"Comida y cultura en el mundo hispánico" — "Food and Culture in the Hispanic World" -- by Ana Gómez-Bravo, UW professor of Spanish, was published by Equinox books in October. The book uses food as a doorway to understanding Spanish language and culture.

Ana Gómez-Bravo created a class about Spanish food and culture a few years ago as a way to teach the language, but found no appropriate textbook for the material — so she wrote one herself. Her book “Comida y cultura en el mundo hispánico” — “Food and Culture in the Hispanic World” — was published in October by Equinox Publishing.


Giant black hole pair photobombs Andromeda Galaxy

blackhole_binary-TILE

A cosmic photobomb found as a background object in images of the nearby Andromeda galaxy has revealed what could be the most tightly coupled pair of supermassive black holes ever seen.


November 29, 2017

University of Washington fall 2017 entering class sets record for diversity, resident students

A sculpture of the University of Washington W logo

The University of Washington welcomed the most diverse class of new students across all three campuses, and the largest number of Washington residents in UW history, according to the finalized Fall 2017 census of enrolled students released by all three campuses.


November 28, 2017

There’s a deeper fish in the sea

snailfish

The ocean’s deepest fish doesn’t look like it could survive in harsh conditions thousands of feet below the surface. Instead of giant teeth and a menacing frame, the fishes that roam in the deepest parts of the ocean are small, translucent, bereft of scales — and highly adept at living where few other organisms can….


November 27, 2017

Less life: Limited phosphorus recycling suppressed early Earth’s biosphere

As Earth's oxygen levels rose to near-modern levels over the last 800 million years, phosphorus levels increased, as well, according to modeling led by the UW's Michael Kipp and others. Accordingly, Kipp says, large phosphate deposits show up in abundance in the rock record at about this time. This is a Wyoming portion of The Phosphoria Formation, a deposit that stretches across several states in the western United States and is the largest source of phosphorus fertilizer in the country. The photo shows layers of phosphorus that are 10s of meters thick, shales the contain high concentrations of organic carbon and phosphorus. Kipp said many such deposits are documented over time but are rare in the Precambrian era. "Thus, they might represent a conspicuous temporal record of limited phosphorus recycling."

The amount of biomass – life – in Earth’s ancient oceans may have been limited due to low recycling of the key nutrient phosphorus, according to new research by the University of Washington and the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.


UW’s Doorway Project kicks off services for homeless youth

The University District includes a significant portion of King County's homeless youth population. A new effort by the University of Washington aims to help homeless young people become more self-sufficient.

  Seattle’s homeless crisis isn’t confined to one part of town – nor does it hinge on one solution. The University District community includes as much as one-third of King County’s homeless youth over any given year. It’s a neighborhood where a food bank and youth shelter are available, and where young people on the…


November 22, 2017

AAAS names 8 UW researchers as fellows in 2017

Drumheller Fountain and Gerberding Hall on the UW campus.

Eight University of Washington researchers are among the 396 new fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, announced this week.


November 17, 2017

When to fish: Timing matters for fish that migrate to reproduce

Alaska sockeye salmon.

A new University of Washington study points to yet another human factor that is hampering the ability of fish to reproduce: the timing of our fishing seasons. The study considers how the timing of fishing efforts might disproportionately target certain fish and change the life history patterns of entire populations.


November 15, 2017

Salt pond in Antarctica, among the saltiest waters on Earth, is fed from beneath

pond in bare valley with blue sky

One of the saltiest bodies on Earth, an analog to how water might exist on Mars, shows signs of being one piece of a larger aquifer.


Are petite poplars the future of biofuels? UW studies say yes

small poplars

A University of Washington team is trying to make poplar a viable competitor in the biofuels market by testing the production of younger poplar trees that could be harvested more frequently — after only two or three years — instead of the usual 10- to 20-year cycle.


What counts as nature? It all depends

The environment we grow up with informs how we define "nature," UW psychology professor Peter Kahn says. Encounters with truly wild places inspire people to preserve them.

    Think, for a moment, about the last time you were out in nature. Were you in a city park? At a campground? On the beach? In the mountains? Now consider: What was this place like in your parents’ time? Your grandparents’? In many cases, the parks, beaches and campgrounds of today are surrounded…


November 14, 2017

With launch of new night sky survey, UW researchers ready for era of ‘big data’ astronomy

ZTF-firstlight-band

The first astronomers had a limited toolkit: their eyes. They could only observe those stars, planets and celestial events bright enough to pick up unassisted. But today’s astronomers use increasingly sensitive and sophisticated instruments to view and track a bevy of cosmic wonders, including objects and events that were too dim or distant for their…


November 13, 2017

New tool quantifies power imbalance between female and male characters in Hollywood movie scripts

graphic showing power comparisons between Anna and Elsa from the movie Frozen with Cinderella

UW researchers who used machine learning tools to analyze language in 800 Hollywood movie scripts found subtle but widespread gender bias in the way male and female characters are portrayed.


November 7, 2017

With climate change, Mount Rainier floral communities could ‘reassemble’ with new species relationships, interactions

Wildflowers growing on a mountain.

An unseasonably warm, dry summer on Mount Rainier in 2015 caused subalpine wildflowers to change their bloom times and form ‘reassembled’ communities, with unknown consequences for species interactions among wildflowers, pollinators and other animals.



Next page