UW Today

News releases


October 4, 2016

New LGBTQ Activism in Seattle History project debuts Oct. 10

At left is Jack Starr, a successful female impersonator whose stage name was Jackie Starr -- called "the most beautiful man in America" by gossip columnist Walter Winchell. At right is Billy DeVoe. It's 1950 and they are at the Garden of Allah, Seattle's first gay-owned and operated gay bar. This story is about a new digital collection -- the LGBTQ Activism in Seattle History Project that is part of the Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project

The UW’s Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project has an important new component — the LGBTQ Activism in Seattle History Project. There will be a public launch at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 10, in Room 340 of the HUB.


October 3, 2016

New protein bridges chemical divide for ‘seamless’ bioelectronics devices

A top view of GrBP5 nanowires on a 2-D surface of graphene.

In a paper published Sept. 22 in Scientific Reports, engineers at the University of Washington unveiled peptides that could help bridge the gap where artificial meets biological — harnessing biological rules to exchange information between the biochemistry of our bodies and the chemistry of our devices.


September 29, 2016

Ocean conditions contributed to unprecedented 2015 toxic algal bloom

map with animal icons

A study led by researchers at the University of Washington and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration connects the unprecedented West Coast toxic algal bloom of 2015 to the unusually warm ocean conditions — nicknamed “the blob” — in winter and spring of that year.


September 28, 2016

UW ranked among the top five most innovative universities in the world by Reuters

The University of Washington W

The University of Washington landed at No. 5 on The Reuters 100: The World’s Most Innovative Universities. Now in its second year, the list ranks the educational institutions doing the most to advance science, invent new technologies and help drive the global economy.


September 27, 2016

UW works to boost faculty diversity through recruitment and retention efforts

Over the last four years, the UW’s Office for Faculty Advancement has helped recruit close to 50 faculty members whose work contributes to campus diversity.

Like post-secondary schools across the country, the University of Washington has struggled to attract and retain a talented, diverse faculty. But efforts that have been quietly underway for a few years are starting to pay off, attracting top-level candidates to the UW even over schools that are able to offer bigger salaries and more perks….


Missing fish catch data? Not necessarily a problem, new study says

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A new study by University of Washington scientists finds that in many cases, misreporting caught fish doesn’t always translate to overfishing. The study was published online this month in the journal Fish and Fisheries.


Secure passwords can be sent through your body, instead of air

photo of on body system

UW engineers have devised a way to send secure passwords through the human body, instead of over the air where they’re vulnerable to hacking.


September 23, 2016

UW lands at No. 25, fourth among U.S. public institutions, in Times Higher Education world ranking

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The University of Washington landed at No. 25 on the Times Higher Education world rankings for 2017, released this week. The UW is fourth on the list among U.S. public universities, behind UC Berkeley, UCLA, and Michigan.


How natural selection acted on one penguin species over the past quarter century

Adult Magellanic penguin and two chicks begging.

University of Washington biologist Dee Boersma and her colleagues combed through 28 years’ worth of data on Magellanic penguins to search for signs that natural selection — one of the main drivers of evolution — may be acting on certain penguin traits. As they report in a paper published Sept. 21 in The Auk: Ornithological Advances, selection is indeed at work on the penguins at the Punta Tombo breeding site in Argentina.


September 21, 2016

UW team to study baby teeth in effort to identify autism risk factors

Close-up of child's teeth

University of Washington researchers are part of a national team that will study the baby teeth of children who have siblings with autism to determine if prenatal exposure to chemicals increases their risk of developing the disorder. The study will involve testing children’s teeth for levels of environmental chemicals that they might have been exposed…


September 19, 2016

Award for genetic tracking to rein in pangolin poaching

A pangolin in the grass.

A team of conservationists at the University of Washington is among the Grand Prize Winners of the Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge for a proposal to identify poaching hotspots for pangolins, one of the most trafficked group of mammals in the world.


Microbes help plants survive in severe drought

Poplars given microbes survived better in drought conditions

Plants can better tolerate drought and other stressors with the help of natural microbes, University of Washington research has found. Specifically, plants that are given a dose of microbes stay green longer and are able to withstand drought conditions by growing more leaves and roots and using less water.


September 15, 2016

Poverty decreases, income inequality stagnant in Washington state

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The share of Washingtonians living in poverty dropped from 13.2 percent to 12.2 percent between 2014 and 2015, according to new data released Thursday. Washington was one of 23 states with statistically significant declines in their poverty rates during that period. The remaining 27 states and the District of Columbia saw no change in their…


Floating DNA reveals urban shorelines support more animal life

A view of downtown Seattle.

Researchers are now able to capture the cells of animals, sequence their DNA and identify which species were present at a point in time. A new University of Washington study is the first to use these genetic markers to understand the impact urbanization has on the environment — specifically, whether animal diversity flourishes or suffers.


September 14, 2016

UW Osher Lifelong Learning Institute receives $1 million gift

The University of Washington W

The Bernard Osher Foundation has announced a $1 million gift to the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Washington (OLLI-UW). The Institute offers a diverse array of non-credit courses and activities for people 50 and older, giving these adults access to continuing education at the UW. The Osher Foundation’s gift takes the form…


All polar bears across the Arctic face shorter sea ice season

polar bear on ice

A new University of Washington study finds a trend toward earlier Arctic sea ice melt in the spring and later ice growth in the fall across all 19 polar bear populations, which can negatively impact the feeding and breeding capabilities of the bears.


September 13, 2016

Westerly winds have blown across central Asia for at least 42 million years

Buddhist flags blowing in wind

The winds that gust across the Tibetan Plateau have done so for far longer than previously believed, showing they are resilient to the formation of mountains and changes in carbon dioxide and temperature.


September 8, 2016

How do shark teeth bite? Reciprocating saw, glue provide answers

A tiger shark.

A recent University of Washington study sought to understand why shark teeth are shaped differently and what biological advantages various shapes have by testing their performance under realistic conditions.


Life after Fitbit: Appealing to those who feel guilty vs. free

Is life better or worse after sticking your Fitbit in a drawer? UW researchers surveyed hundreds of people who had abandoned self-tracking tools and found emotions ranged from guilt to indifference to relief that the tracking experience was over.

Is life better or worse after sticking your Fitbit in a drawer? UW researchers surveyed hundreds of people who had abandoned self-tracking tools and found emotions ranged from guilt to indifference to relief that the tracking experience was over.


September 7, 2016

Feeling they are part of a group increased preschoolers’ interest, success in STEM

A multi-ethnic group of elementary age children are sitting at a table with their teacher and are making shapes and crafts.

Cultivating young children’s interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics has become a leading educational priority, as experts predict that many future jobs will require substantial math and technology skills. Early education in STEM topics, as they’re known, is critical for boosting later success in school and attracting students to occupations in those fields. But…


HemaApp screens for anemia, blood conditions without needle sticks

Photo of HemaApp illuminating a patient's finger

UW engineers have developed HemaApp, which uses a smartphone camera to estimate hemoglobin concentrations and screen for anemia without sticking patients with needles.


September 6, 2016

UW law professor named to United Nations working group on business and human rights

Anita Ramasastry

When law professor Anita Ramasastry began teaching at the University of Washington in 1996, she was working on an article about banks’ responsibilities around human rights, to the bemusement of her peers. The groundbreaking piece focused on the role of Swiss banks during World War II and the dormant accounts of Holocaust victims and their…


September 2, 2016

Invasive green crab found on San Juan Island by citizen science volunteers

a green crab

Earlier this week in Westcott Bay, San Juan Island, a team of volunteer monitors caught an invasive green crab, marking the first confirmation of this global invader in Washington’s inland waters.


August 30, 2016

University of Washington and City of Auburn launch first Livable City Year partnership

photo of downtown auburn

The University of Washington has begun a yearlong partnership with the City of Auburn, under the new Livable City Year program. UW students and professors will work with the City of Auburn to advance the city’s goals for livability and sustainability throughout the upcoming academic year.


August 29, 2016

Plants’ future water use affects long-term drought estimates

farmers in field

Many popular long-term drought estimates ignore the fact that plants will be less thirsty as carbon dioxide goes up. Plants’ lower water use could roughly halve some current estimates for the extent of future drought, especially in central Africa and temperate Asia.


New discovery Proxima b is in host star’s habitable zone — but could it really be habitable?

Artist's impression of the planet orbiting the red dwarf star Proxima Centauri.

The world’s attention is now on Proxima Centauri b, a possibly Earth-like planet about 4.22 light-years away. It’s in its star’s habitable zone — but could it in fact be habitable? If so, the planet evolved very different than Earth, say researchers at the University of Washington-based Virtual Planetary Laboratory.


August 25, 2016

Report explores factors that might attract children to marijuana edibles

Amsterdam-420-cannabis-products-window

A new report from the UW School of Law’s Cannabis Law and Policy Project identifies factors that make food attractive to children. Commissioned by the state Liquor and Cannabis Board, the report studied research on what makes food appeal to children and the role that marketing and branding play.


August 24, 2016

Statewide housing market strong in second quarter of 2016

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Washington state’s housing market remained strong in the second quarter of 2016. Home sale prices and the number of sales were up, although new building permits were down compared with a year ago, according to the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies at the UW.


August 21, 2016

Is divorce seasonal? UW research shows biannual spike in divorce filings

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To everything there is a season — even divorce, new research from University of Washington sociologists concludes. Associate sociology professor Julie Brines and doctoral candidate Brian Serafini found what is believed to be the first quantitative evidence of a seasonal, biannual pattern of filings for divorce. The researchers analyzed filings in Washington state between 2001…


August 20, 2016

‘I miss you so much’: How Twitter is broadening the conversation on death and mourning

Twitter bird and logo on blue background

Death and mourning were largely considered private matters in the 20th century, with the public remembrances common in previous eras replaced by intimate gatherings behind closed doors in funeral parlors and family homes. But social media is redefining how people grieve, and Twitter in particular — with its ephemeral mix of rapid-fire broadcast and personal…


August 18, 2016

Twins, especially male identical twins, live longer

Twin boys

Analysis of almost 3,000 pairs of Danish twins shows that they live longer than the general population, especially if they are identical.


Paleontologists with the UW’s Burke Museum discover major T. rex fossil

Paleontologists with the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture and the UW have discovered a Tyrannosaurus rex, including a very complete skull. The find, which paleontologists estimate to be about 20 percent of the animal, includes vertebrae, ribs, hips and lower jaw bones.


August 17, 2016

UW again maintains No. 15 in world university ranking

A globe in Suzzallo library

The University of Washington remained No. 15 on the 2016 Academic Ranking of World Universities, conducted by researchers at the Center for World-Class Universities of Shanghai Jiao Tong University.


Study finds bias, disgust toward mixed-race couples

hands-63743_1920 (1)

Interracial marriage has grown in the United States over the past few decades, and polls show that most Americans are accepting of mixed-race relationships. A 2012 study by the Pew Research Center found that interracial marriages in the U.S. had doubled between 1980 and 2010 to about 15 percent, and just 11 percent of respondents…


Interscatter communication enables first-ever implanted devices, smart contact lenses, credit cards that ‘talk’ Wi-Fi

photo of three devices used in experiment

“Interscatter” communication developed by UW engineers allows power-limited devices such as brain implants, contact lenses, credit cards and smaller wearable electronics to talk to everyday devices such as smartphones and watches.


August 16, 2016

Big fish — and their pee — are key parts of coral reef ecosystems

The Almaco jack is a large predator fish, pictured here in the Caribbean.

Large, carnivorous fish excrete almost half of the key nutrients, phosphorus and nitrogen, that are essential for the survival of coral reefs.


August 15, 2016

Luna moth’s long tail could confuse bat sonar through its twist

moth on finger

A detailed look at how sound waves bounce off a flying moth’s body offers new clues for how its long, twisted tail might help it evade predatory bats.


UW research backs up ongoing efforts to protect the enigmatic Nautilus

Nautilus

University of Washington biologist Peter Ward’s body of research has helped policymakers recognize the impact nautiluses have on ocean ecosystems, as well as how they can — and cannot — replenish their numbers in the face of unrestricted, unregulated fishing. At a CITES meeting in September, Ward and his team hope nautiluses will get much-needed protections from trade and harvesting.


Unearthing trackers of the past: UW computer scientists reveal the history of third-party web tracking

security camera

At the USENIX Security Conference in Austin, Texas, a team of University of Washington researchers on Aug. 12 presented the first-ever comprehensive analysis of third-party web tracking across three decades and a new tool, TrackingExcavator, which they developed to extract and analyze tracking behaviors on a given web page. They saw a four-fold increase in third-party tracking on top sites from 1996 to 2016, and mapped the growing complexity of trackers stretching back decades.


August 9, 2016

New book ‘Cities that Think Like Planets’ imagines urban regions resilient to change

Marina Alberti's book "Cities that Think Like Planets: Complexity, Resilience, and Innovation in Hybrid Ecosystems" was published in July by University of Washington Press. Photo is the cover illustration of the book.

What does it mean for a city to “think like a planet”? Marina Alberti of the UW College of Built Environments discusses her new book, “Cities that Think Like Planets,” published by UW Press.



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