UW Today

News releases


May 24, 2016

Jennifer Cohen appointed athletic director at the UW

Jennifer Cohen

UW President Ana Mari Cauce announced Tuesday that after a four-month national search, Jennifer Cohen, senior associate athletic director at the University of Washington, who has been serving as the interim athletic director since January, has been named the UW’s new athletic director, effective June 1. “I am very pleased to announce Jen’s appointment,” said…


UW experts develop first method for including migration uncertainty in population projections

Image of earth with black background

Statisticians at the University of Washington have developed the first model for projecting population that factors in the vagaries of migration, a slippery issue that has bedeviled demographers for decades. Their work, published online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, also provides population projections for all countries worldwide — and…


May 23, 2016

Study shows disparities in treatment for children with traumatic brain injuries

Young boy in brain scanning machine

Children who suffer traumatic brain injuries can face a difficult road to recovery, requiring services such as physical therapy and mental health treatment for months or years to get their young lives back on track. When those children come from low-income households with limited English proficiency, there can be significant barriers in getting them the…


May 20, 2016

Lingcod meet rockfish: Catching one improves chances for the other

A lingcod fish

In a new study, scientists found that selectively fishing for lingcod in protected areas actually avoided hampering the recovery of other fish, including rockfish species listed as overfished.


Jerry Baldasty named provost at UW, following 14 months as interim provost

Jerry Baldasty

University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce today named Jerry Baldasty provost and executive vice president, following a 14-month term as interim provost. The appointment is to a three-year term, effective June 1, 2016, subject to approval by the Board of Regents. “Jerry’s excellence as a scholar and teacher, as well as a seasoned administrative…


Bacteria in branches naturally fertilize trees

Young poplar and willow trees along the Snoqualmie River.

A University of Washington team has demonstrated that poplar trees growing in rocky, inhospitable terrain harbor bacteria within them that could provide valuable nutrients to help the plant grow.


May 19, 2016

Rickey L. Hall named vice president for the Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity and chief diversity officer at the UW

Rickey L. Hall

University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce and Interim Provost Jerry Baldasty announced today the selection of Rickey L. Hall as the new vice president for the Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity and Chief Diversity Officer, effective Aug. 1, 2016.


Appeal of ‘genetic puzzles’ leads to National Medal of Science for UW’s Mary-Claire King

Mary-Claire King

In a White House ceremony May 19, President Barack Obama presented the National Medal of Science to Mary-Claire King, University of Washington professor of genome sciences and medicine. The award, the nation’s highest recognition for scientific achievement, honors King’s more than 40 years dedicated to research in evolution and the genetics of human disease, as well as to teaching and outreach endeavors that have supported human rights efforts on six continents and reunited families.


UW to host first of four White House public workshops on artificial intelligence

Self-driving Google car

From self-driving vehicles to social robots, artificial intelligence is evolving at a rapid pace, creating vast opportunities as well as complex challenges. Recognizing that, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy is co-hosting four public workshops on artificial intelligence — the first of them May 24 at the University of Washington. Subsequent events…


Poet Alice Fulton to give 53rd annual Roethke Reading May 27

Poet Alice Fulton is shown -- she will give the University of Washington's 53rd Roethke Reading on May 27 in Room 130 of Kane Hall.

Poet and author Alice Fulton will give the 53rd annual Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Reading at 8 p.m. Friday, May 27, in Room 130 of Kane Hall, also known as the Roethke Auditorium. The event is free and the public is invited.


Using static electricity, insect-sized flying robots can land and stick to surfaces

Image of flying insect robot

A new study co-authored by a University of Washington mechanical engineer demonstrates how flying insect-sized robots can land and stick to surfaces, which conserves energy and extends flight times.


Will more snow over Antarctica offset rising seas? Don’t count on it

person in red coat pointing at ice

Heavier snowfall over Antarctica was supposed to be one of the few brakes on sea-level rise in a warming world. But that prediction is not reliable, says a new study of Antarctic snowfall over the past 31,000 years.


May 17, 2016

UW team first to measure microscale granular crystal dynamics

Photo of slide showing granular crystals

UW mechanical engineers have for the first time analyzed interactions between microscale granular crystals — a first step in creating novel materials that could be used for impact mitigation, signal processing, disease diagnosis, or even making more controllable solid rocket propellants.


May 13, 2016

Proton-conducting material found in jelly that fills organs of sharks, skates and rays

Image of the ampullae of Lorenzini found in sharks, skates and rays.

The jelly found in the electrosensory organs of sharks, skates and rays is a remarkable proton-conducting material, with the highest proton conductivity ever reported for a biological material, UW researchers have found.


UW researchers unleash graphene ‘tiger’ for more efficient optoelectronics

Image of one of the graphene-based devices

In traditional light-harvesting methods, energy from one photon only excites one electron or none depending on the absorber’s energy gap, transferring just a small portion of light energy into electricity. The remaining energy is lost as heat. But in a paper released May 13 in Science Advances, Wu, UW associate professor Xiaodong Xu and colleagues at four other institutions describe one promising approach to coax photons into stimulating multiple electrons. Their method exploits some surprising quantum-level interactions to give one photon multiple potential electron partners.


May 12, 2016

UW study: state-licensed marijuana canopy enough to satisfy recreational and medical markets

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The amount of marijuana allowed to be grown by state-licensed producers in Washington is enough to satisfy both the medical and recreational marijuana markets, a University of Washington study released today finds. The state Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) tasked the UW-based Cannabis Law and Policy Project (CLPP) with calculating the “grow canopy,” or square…


May 11, 2016

Skull specializations allow bats to feast on their fellow vertebrates

Skull of a fish-eating bat.

Over their 52-million-year history, a few bats have evolved a taste for their fellow vertebrates. Now biologists at the University of Washington and the Burke Museum of History and Culture are shedding light on how these so-called “carnivorous bats” adapted to the daunting task of chowing down their backboned prey.


UW-led suicide prevention initiative planned for Washington colleges and universities

More than 700 people turned out for the 2016 Huskies Hope & Help walk for suicide prevention and awareness April 30.

The University of Washington is leading a new, four-year collaboration aimed at promoting mental health and preventing suicide at colleges and universities around the state. The initiative is a partnership between Forefront: Innovations in Suicide Prevention — an organization in the UW School of Social Work — and the New York-based Jed Foundation, which focuses…


Paper gets ‘smart’ with drawn-on, stenciled sensor tags

In this example, the speed of the spinning tag on the pinwheel is mapped to onscreen graphics.

Researchers from the University of Washington, Disney Research and Carnegie Mellon University have created ways to give a piece of paper sensing capabilities that allows it to respond to gesture commands and connect to the digital world.


May 10, 2016

Brain pattern predicts how fast an adult learns a new language

Hello in different languages

Some adults learn a second language better than others, and their secret may involve the rhythms of activity in their brains. New findings by scientists at the University of Washington demonstrate that a five-minute measurement of resting-state brain activity predicted how quickly adults learned a second language. The study, published in the June-July issue of…


May 9, 2016

This five-fingered robot hand learns to get a grip on its own

This five-fingered robot hand can learn how to perform dexterous manipulation — like spinning a tube full of coffee beans — on its own, rather than having humans program its actions.

A University of Washington team of computer science and engineering researchers has built a robot hand that can not only perform dexterous manipulation – one of the most difficult problems in robotics – but also learn from its own experience.


Early Earth’s air weighed less than half of today’s atmosphere

swirly rocks

The idea that the young Earth had a thicker atmosphere turns out to be wrong. New research from the University of Washington uses bubbles trapped in 2.7 billion-year-old rocks to show that air at that time exerted at most half the pressure of today’s atmosphere. The results, published online May 9 in Nature Geoscience, reverse…


May 6, 2016

Academics, artists collaborate on UW book arts exhibit ‘Just One Look’

"Cupid and Psyche" by Mari Eckstein Gower of Redmond, Washington. Inspired by a work of the same name by Apulieus and suggested by Ashli Baker of Bucknell University.

Thirty-two colorful and creative artist books on display as part of the exhibit “Just One Look,” in University of Washington Libraries’ Special Collections department, in Allen Library. The exhibit co-curated by UW alumna Lauren Dudley with Sandra Kroupa, UW book arts and rare book curator.


May 5, 2016

Two-minute warnings make kids’ ‘screen time’ tantrums worse

picture of child using computer

Giving young children a two-minute warning that “screen time” is about to end makes transitions away from tablets, phones, televisions and other technological devices more painful, a new University of Washington study has found.


May 4, 2016

Urban planning symposium May 5 addresses ‘The Future City’

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What possible future scenarios lie ahead for urban design, and how will big data and new technologies affect science and decision-making? The UW Graduate School’s Interdisciplinary PhD Program in Urban Design and Planning will tackle such questions in a daylong symposium May 5.


May 2, 2016

New health sensing tool measures lung function over a phone call, from anywhere in the world

image of SpiroSmart being used in a Bangladesh clinic

University of Washington researchers have developed SpiroCall, a new health sensing tool that can accurately measure lung function from anywhere in the world over a simple phone call.


April 28, 2016

Wolf hunting near Denali, Yellowstone cuts wolf sightings in half

A wolf on the road in Denali.

Visitors to national parks are half as likely to see wolves in their natural habitat when wolf hunting is permitted just outside park boundaries, according to a new study.


April 27, 2016

‘Walk-DMC’ aims to improve surgery outcomes for children with cerebral palsy

Walk-DMC is a new, quantifiable measure of motor control in children with cerebral palsy. It relies on data from electromyography (EMG) shown in this demonstration, which uses electrodes to monitor muscle activity.

A UW mechanical engineer has developed a new assessment of motor control in children with cerebral palsy called Walk-DMC, which could help predict which patients are — or are not — likely to benefit from invasive surgical interventions.


April 25, 2016

Music improves baby brain responses to music and speech

Children playing with musical toys. Isolated on white background

Rock your baby in sync with music and you may wonder how the experience affects her and her developing brain. A new study by scientists at the University of Washington’s Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences (I-LABS) shows that a series of play sessions with music improved 9-month-old babies’ brain processing of both music and…


April 20, 2016

4 UW professors elected as fellows in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

nighttime

Four University of Washington professors join 172 other academics as newly elected fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the group announced Wednesday.


April 19, 2016

States with punitive justice systems have higher rates of foster care, study finds

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The number of children in foster care across the country is driven not solely by child abuse and neglect, but by states’ varying politics and approaches to social problems, a new University of Washington study finds. States with more punitive criminal justice systems tend to remove children from their homes far more frequently than those…


April 18, 2016

Board of Regents approves first University of Washington master’s program through Global Innovation Exchange

Shwetak Patel, chief technology officer for GIX.

The University of Washington Board of Regents has approved the Master of Science in Technology Innovation degree, a 60-credit interdisciplinary program developed by the Global Innovation Exchange.


Early analysis of Seattle’s $15 wage law: Effect on prices minimal one year after implementation

Photo by Katherine Turner.

Most Seattle employers in a UW-led study said in 2015 they expected to raise prices on goods and services to compensate for the city’s new $15 per hour minimum wage law — but a year after implementation such increases are not in evidence.


First Salish Sea-wide shoreline armoring study shows cumulative effects on ecosystem

A seawall along Harbor Avenue Southwest in West Seattle.

A new University of Washington study shows that impacts associated with shoreline armoring can scale up to have cumulative, large-scale effects on the characteristics of Salish Sea shorelines and the diversity of life they support.


April 14, 2016

Scientists crack secrets of the monarch butterfly’s internal compass

Monarch butterflies.

Each fall, monarch butterflies across Canada and the United States turn their orange, black and white-mottled wings toward the Rio Grande and migrate over 2,000 miles to the relative warmth of central Mexico. This journey, repeated instinctively by generations of monarchs, continues even as monarch numbers have plummeted due to loss of their sole larval food…


April 13, 2016

Sally Jewell, U.S. Secretary of the Interior, to be UW’s 2016 commencement speaker

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell.

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, a 1978 graduate of the UW and a former member of the UW Board of Regents, will be the featured speaker at the University of Washington’s Commencement exercises Saturday, June 11.


April 8, 2016

UW-led research team wins $7.5M MURI grant to defend against advanced cyberattacks

photo of Radha Poovendran

A University of Washington-led research team has won a $7.5 million, five-year Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) grant from the Department of Defense to better model and mount defenses against stealthy, continuous computer hacking attacks known as “advanced persistent threats.”


April 7, 2016

UW team stores digital images in DNA — and retrieves them perfectly

Lee Organick, a UW computer science and engineering research scientist, mixes DNA samples for storage. Each tube contains a digital file, which might be a picture of a cat or a Tchaikovsky symphony.

University of Washington and Microsoft researchers have developed one of the first complete systems to store digital data in DNA — allowing one to store data that today would fill a Walmart supercenter in a space the size of a sugar cube.


April 6, 2016

3 University of Washington professors recognized by Guggenheim Foundation

Photo by Katherine Turner.

Three University of Washington professors are among the 178 scholars, artists, and scientists from the U.S. and Canada recognized this year by the Guggenheim Foundation.


Marine preserve to help penguins in a ‘predictably unpredictable’ place

A Galapagos penguin.

New regulations by the government of Ecuador to protect the waters around the Galapagos Islands as a marine preserve, including main feeding areas for Galapagos penguins.



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