UW Today

News releases


January 4, 2017

Eelgrass in Puget Sound is stable overall, but some local beaches suffering

An eelgrass bed near Bainbridge Island, Washington.

Eelgrass, a marine plant crucial to the success of migrating juvenile salmon and spawning Pacific herring, is stable and flourishing in Puget Sound, despite a doubling of the region’s human population and significant shoreline development over the past several decades.


January 3, 2017

Songbirds divorce, flee, fail to reproduce due to suburban sprawl

Dark-eyed junco, an "exploiter" species.

New research finds that for some songbirds, urban sprawl is kicking them out of their territory, forcing divorce and stunting their ability to find new mates and reproduce successfully, even after relocating.


University of Washington-led study shows new global evidence of the role of humans, urbanization in rapid evolution

Photo by Katherine Turner.

A new multi-institution study led by the UW shows more clearly than ever that urbanization is affecting the genetic makeup of species that are crucial to ecosystem health and success.


December 20, 2016

Researchers model how ‘publication bias’ does — and doesn’t — affect the ‘canonization’ of facts in science

a bacterium

In an article published Dec. 20 in the journal eLife, researchers present a mathematical model that explores whether “publication bias” — the tendency of journals to publish mostly positive experimental results — influences how scientists canonize facts. Their results offer a warning that sharing positive results comes with the risk that a false claim could be canonized as fact. But their findings also offer hope by suggesting that simple changes to publication practices can minimize the risk of false canonization.


December 19, 2016

Investing in fisheries management improves fish populations

Fishing boats in coastal Peru.

Research published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that successful fisheries management can be best achieved by implementing and enforcing science-based catch or effort limits.


December 16, 2016

What makes influential science? Telling a good story

laptop keyboard

Researchers from the University of Washington have found that scientific papers written in a more narrative style were more influential among peer-reviewed studies in the climate change literature. Their results were published Dec. 15 in the journal PLOS ONE.


December 15, 2016

Underwater volcano’s eruption captured in exquisite detail by seafloor observatory

instrument on black lava

The cracking, bulging and shaking from the eruption of a mile-high volcano where two tectonic plates separate has been captured in more detail than ever before. A University of Washington study published this week shows how the volcano behaved during its spring 2015 eruption, revealing new clues about the behavior of volcanoes where two ocean…


December 13, 2016

Studies of vulnerable populations get a ‘bootstrapped’ boost from statisticians

a crowd of people in a building

In a paper published online Dec. 7 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, University of Washington researchers report on a statistical approach called “tree bootstrapping” can help social scientists study hard-to-reach populations like drug users.


UW is founding member of alliance to expand access and opportunity for 50,000 students from lower- and middle-income families

Photo by Katherine Turner.

The University of Washington joins 30 of the nation’s most respected colleges and universities Tuesday in a new initiative to substantially expand the number of talented low- and moderate-income students at America’s top-performing undergraduate institutions with the highest graduation rates.


December 12, 2016

UW welcomes Joe Dacca as new state relations director

ForefrontOlympiaDay

The University of Washington announced staffing changes in the Office of State Relations on Monday, naming Joe Dacca director of state relations.


Mountain glaciers are showing some of the strongest responses to climate change

mountain range with glaciers

A University of Washington study addresses controversies over the cause of mountain glacier retreat, and finds that for most glaciers the observed retreat is more than 99 percent likely due to climate change.


December 8, 2016

New study traces the marsupial origins in N. America, finds mammals during Age of Dinosaurs packed a powerful bite

an extinct mammal

A new study by paleontologists at the Burke Museum of Natural History & Culture and the University of Washington describes an early marsupial relative called Didelphodon vorax that lived alongside dinosaurs and had, pound-for-pound, the strongest bite force of any mammal ever recorded.


Fossilized evidence of a tumor in a 255-million-year-old mammal forerunner

A tumor next to a tooth.

University of Washington paleontologists have discovered a benign tumor made up of miniature, tooth-like structures embedded in the jaw of an extinct ‘mammal-like’ gorgonopsian. Known as a compound odontoma, this type of tumor is common to mammals today. But this animal lived 255 million years ago, before mammals even existed.


December 7, 2016

Volunteers hack toys for children with disabilities at UW Dec. 11

photo of person adapting a toy train

At the Hack for Access: Holiday Toy event on Dec. 11 and the UW, community volunteers will disassemble and rewire toys to make them more accessible for children with disabilities.


December 6, 2016

Put people at the center of conservation, new study advises

fishing boats off the coast of Thailand

People must be part of the equation in conservation projects to increase local support and effectiveness, according to a new study by the University of Washington and other institutions.


USDOT awards $14M for mobility research at UW-led transportation center

pac trans image

The U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded approximately $14 million over five years to a multi-university, regional transportation center led by the University of Washington to fund research aimed at improving the mobility of people and goods across the Pacific Northwest.


December 5, 2016

No peeking: Humans play computer game using only direct brain stimulation

The UW researchers used a magnetic coil placed at the back of the skull to noninvasively stimulate test subjects’ brains. Players used the absence or presence of phosphenes — blobs of light that appear when researchers stimulate a specific region of the visual cortex — to guide them through a maze without actually seeing the maze.

UW researchers have published the first demonstration of humans playing a simple, two-dimensional computer game using only input from direct brain stimulation — without relying on any usual sensory cues from sight, hearing or touch.


December 1, 2016

For the first time, scientists catch water molecules passing the proton baton

water-drop-TILE

Water conducts electricity, but the process by which this familiar fluid passes along positive charges has puzzled scientists for decades. But in a paper published in the Dec. 2 in issue of the journal Science, an international team of researchers has finally caught water in the act — showing how water molecules pass along excess charges and, in the process, conduct electricity.


November 30, 2016

What makes Bach sound like Bach? New dataset teaches algorithms classical music

MusicNet is a new publicly available dataset from UW CSE and statistics researchers that “labels” each note of a classical composition in ways that can teach machine learning algorithms about the basic structure of music.

MusicNet is the first publicly available large-scale classical music dataset designed to allow machine learning algorithms to tackle everything from automated music transcription to listening recommendations based on the structure of music itself.


November 29, 2016

In one-two punch, researchers load ‘nanocarriers’ to deliver cancer-fighting drugs and imaging molecules to tumors

Tiny particles that can deliver chemotherapy drugs.

In a paper published Sept. 27 in the journal Small, scientists at the University of Washington describe a new system to encase chemotherapy drugs within tiny, synthetic “nanocarrier” packages, which could be injected into patients and disassembled at the tumor site to release their toxic cargo.


November 28, 2016

Statement from UW President Ana Mari Cauce regarding Nov. 15 attack on Muslim student

campus-TILE

“Our university is and will always be a welcoming place for people of every race and faith, including our Muslim students, faculty and staff.”


Our closest worm kin regrow body parts, raising hopes of regeneration in humans

Five days after being cut. A rudimentary head, including the mouth and proboscis, has formed.

A new study of one of our closest invertebrate relatives, the acorn worm, reveals that regenerating body parts might one day be possible.


November 22, 2016

UW has 29 faculty on list of ‘highly cited researchers’ for 2016

campus-TILE

Twenty-nine University of Washington faculty members are among a list of the year’s most highly cited researchers in the natural and social sciences.


New grasses neutralize toxic pollution from bombs, explosives and munitions

Grass photo

UW engineers have developed the first transgenic grass species that can take up and destroy RDX — a toxic compound that has been widely used in explosives since World War II and contaminates military bases, battlegrounds and some drinking water wells.


November 21, 2016

Ocean acidification study offers warnings for marine life, habitats

Sea grass beds, like these off the coast of British Columbia, Canada, might buffer the impacts of ocean acidification

Acidification of the world’s oceans could drive a cascading loss of biodiversity in some marine habitats, according to research published Nov. 21 in Nature Climate Change.


How to monitor global ocean warming – without harming whales

map with stripes

Tracking the speed of internal tides offers a cheap, simple way to monitor temperature changes throughout the world’s oceans.


November 17, 2016

Trump and foreign policy: UW Jackson School faculty speak out

Photo by Katherine Turner.

Several Jackson School of International Studies faculty members comment on the geopolitical possibilities of the coming Donald Trump administration.


November 16, 2016

Large forest die-offs can have effects that ricochet to distant ecosystems

dead conifers on slope

Major forest die-offs due to drought, heat and beetle infestations or deforestation could have consequences far beyond the local landscape. Wiping out an entire forest can have significant effects on global climate patterns and alter vegetation on the other side of the world.


November 15, 2016

Open Doors 2016: The UW named a leader in global student engagement

Suzzallo globe

The 2016 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange names the University of Washington a leader in global student engagement. The report was released Monday by the Institute for International Education. Global engagement is integral to the UW student experience, also known as the Husky Experience. UW graduates leave with a global perspective, the ability…


November 14, 2016

State’s housing market strong in third quarter of 2016

Crellin_houseforsale2_1000-300x225-300x225

Washington state’s housing market remained strong in the third quarter of 2016, according to the UW’s Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies.


November 10, 2016

University of Washington fall 2016 entering class its most diverse ever

Photo by Katherine Turner.

The University of Washington welcomed the largest and most diverse class of new students across all three campuses, in UW history, according to the finalized Fall 2016 census of enrolled students released by Philip Ballinger, associate vice provost for enrollment and undergraduate admissions.


How lightning strikes can improve storm forecasts

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Research shows that real-time lightning observations could significantly improve forecasts of large storm events.


November 8, 2016

Clues in poached ivory yield ages and locations of origin

Elephant tusks

More than 90 percent of ivory in large, seized shipments came from elephants that died less than three years before, according to a new study from a team of scientists at the University of Utah, the University of Washington and partner institutions. They combined a new approach to radiocarbon dating of ivory samples with genetic analysis tools developed by UW biology professor Sam Wasser.


November 7, 2016

Telephone-based intervention shows promise in combating alcohol abuse among soldiers

Researchers used ads and informational booths at military events to recruit participants for the study.

Alcohol abuse is pervasive in the military, where a culture of heavy drinking and the stress of deployment lead many soldiers down a troubled path. Almost half of active-duty military members in the United States — 47 percent — were binge-drinkers in 2008, up from 35 percent a decade earlier. Rates of heavy drinking also…


Mislabeled seafood may be more sustainable, new study finds

Fish labeled red snapper seen on ice in a fish market.

A University of Washington study is the first to broadly examine the ecological and financial impacts of seafood mislabeling. The paper, published online Nov. 2 in Conservation Letters, finds that in most cases, mislabeling actually leads people to eat more sustainably, because the substituted fish is often more plentiful and of a better conservation status than the fish on the label.


November 4, 2016

Election 2016: What happened? Evans School to host Nov. 10 public forum reviewing ballot results

Photo by Katherine Turner.

The Evans School of Policy & Governance will look back at the 2016 election in a discussion on Nov. 10 at Parrington Hall.


November 2, 2016

Tricking moths into revealing the computational underpinnings of sensory integration

moth

A research team led by University of Washington biology professor Tom Daniel has teased out how hawkmoths integrate signals from two sensory systems: vision and touch.


October 27, 2016

Book by political scientist Victor Menaldo debunks notion of ‘resource curse’

"The Institutions Curse: National Resources, Politics, and Development," by UW political scientist Victor Menaldo.

“The Institutions Curse,” a new book by UW political scientist Victor Menaldo, finds a new explanation for the “resource curse” problem — the idea that resource-rich countries tend to be burdened with corrupt governments and underdeveloped economies.


October 26, 2016

For the first time in humans, researchers use brain surface stimulation to provide ‘touch’ feedback to direct movement

CSNE M.D./Ph.D. student and GRIDLab member David Caldwell tests the hardware used for stimulating and recording a patient’s brain surface, along with a cyber glove to track hand joint angles and finger motions.

For the first time in humans, UW Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering (CSNE) researchers have used direct stimulation of the human brain surface to provide basic sensory feedback through artificial electrical signals, enabling patients to control movement while opening and closing their hand.


October 25, 2016

Philosophy of immigration: Panel discussion Oct. 27 part of two-day UW conference

Photo by Katherine Turner.

A UW panel discussion Oct. 27 will look at immigration-related questions from philosophical, sociological and historical perspectives. It’s part of a two-day international conference on immigration.



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