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Research


May 25, 2017

UW engineers borrow from electronics to build largest circuits to date in living eukaryotic cells

An artist’s impression of connected CRISPR-dCas9 NOR gates.

UW synthetic biology researchers have demonstrated a new method for digital information processing in living cells, analogous to the logic gates used in electric circuits. The team built the largest circuits published to date in eukaryotic cells, using DNA instead of silicon and solder.


UW anthropologist: Why researchers should share computer code

Bronze W

For years, scientists have discussed whether and how to share data from painstaking research and costly experiments. Some are further along in their efforts toward “open science” than others: Fields such as astronomy and oceanography, for example, involve such expensive and large-scale equipment and logistical challenges to data collection that collaboration among institutions has become…


May 23, 2017

Wolves need space to roam to control expanding coyote populations

gray wolf

Wolves and other top predators need large ranges to be able to control smaller predators whose populations have expanded to the detriment of a balanced ecosystem, a new study in Nature Communications finds.


May 22, 2017

Weathering of rocks a poor regulator of global temperatures

river flowing through mountain valley

Evidence from the age of the dinosaurs to today shows that chemical weathering of rocks is less sensitive to global temperature, and may depend on the steepness of the surface. The results call into question the role of rocks in setting our planet’s temperature over millions of years.


Kepler telescope spies details of TRAPPIST-1 system’s outermost planet

The ultra-cool dwarf star TRAPPIST-1 and its seven planets. A UW-led team has learned details of TRAPPIST-1h, the system's outermost planet.

A University of Washington-led international team of astronomers has used data gathered by the Kepler Space Telescope to observe and confirm details of the outermost of seven exoplanets orbiting the star TRAPPIST-1.


May 18, 2017

Washington state house prices up 12.1 percent compared to the first quarter of last year

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Washington state’s housing market showed the continuing effects of high demand in the first quarter of 2017, according to the UW’s Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies.


May 17, 2017

Earth’s atmosphere more chemically reactive in cold climates

researcher in lab

A study of a Greenland ice core shows that during large climate swings, chemically reactive oxidants shift in a different direction than expected, which means we need to rethink what controls these molecules in our air.


Visiting astronomer at UW part of ‘Styrofoam’ planet discovery

An artist's rendering of KELT-11b, a "Styrofoam"-density exoplanet orbiting a bright star in the southern hemisphere.

David James, a visiting scientist with the UW Department of Astronomy, assisted in the just-announced Lehigh University-led discovery of an exoplanet 320 light-years away with a density so light it is being called a “Styrofoam planet.”


May 15, 2017

Code of conduct needed for ocean conservation, study says

fishermen in thailand

A diverse group of the world’s leading experts in marine conservation is calling for a Hippocratic Oath for ocean conservation ― not unlike the pledge physicians take to uphold specific ethical standards when practicing medicine.


Where you live may impact how much you drink

Neighborhoods with greater poverty and disorganization may play a greater role in problem drinking than the availability of bars and stores that sell hard liquor, a University of Washington-led study has found.

    Neighborhoods with greater poverty and disorganization may play a greater role in problem drinking than the availability of bars and stores that sell hard liquor, a University of Washington-led study has found. While there is evidence for the link between neighborhood poverty and alcohol use, the new twist — that socioeconomics are more…


May 10, 2017

Kids, parents alike worried about privacy with internet-connected toys

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University of Washington researchers have conducted a new study that explores the attitudes and concerns of both parents and children who play with internet-connected toys. Through a series of in-depth interviews and observations, the researchers found that kids didn’t know their toys were recording their conversations, and parents generally worried about their children’s privacy when they played with the toys.


May 9, 2017

Shrubs, grasses planted through federal program crucial for sage grouse survival in Eastern Washington

closeup of bird

A federal program that pays farmers to plant agricultural land with environmentally beneficial vegetation is probably the reason that sage grouse still live in portions of Washington’s Columbia Basin, according to a new study by UW, state and federal researchers.


Early human fossils found in South African cave system

This skull, part of a skeleton that scientists have named Neo, was found in the Lesedi Chamber of the Rising Star Cave system in South Africa. Most of the bones in the middle of the face are intact, unlike another skull found in a nearby chamber of the cave system.

  An international team of scientists, including one from the University of Washington, has announced the discovery of additional remains of a new human species, Homo naledi, in a series of caves northwest of Johannesburg, South Africa. The find includes the remains of two adults and a child in the Lesedi Chamber of the Rising…


May 3, 2017

University of Washington, City of Tacoma announce Livable City Year partnership for 2017-2018

City of Tacoma

The UW’s Livable City Year program has selected the City of Tacoma as the program’s community partner for the 2017-2018 academic year.


May 2, 2017

New book by UW’s David R. Montgomery addresses how to rebuild Earth’s soils

cover showing wheat field

“Growing a Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life,” is a good-news environment story about how shifts in farming practices can restore health and fertility to soils.


Documents that Changed the World: Delayed stock market ticker tape, October 1929

A cleaner sweeps the floor after the Wall Street crash of 1929.

Timing is everything, they say. In the latest episode of his Documents that Changed the World podcast series, Joe Janes of the UW Information School explores how an overload of critical information helped trigger the stock market crash of 1929, and thus the Great Depression. “This is a story about fortunes lost, lives ruined, a…


Period tracking apps failing users in basic ways, study finds

Screenshots of pink, flowery apps

A new study finds that smartphone apps to track menstrual cycles often disappoint users with a lack of accuracy, assumptions about sexual identity or partners, and an emphasis on pink and flowery form over function and customization.


May 1, 2017

Researchers find more efficient way to make oil from dead trees

A forest with beetle-killed trees from Mt. Fraser, British Columbia.

A University of Washington team has made new headway on a solution to remove beetle-killed trees from the forest and use them to make renewable transportation fuels or high-value chemicals. The researchers have refined this technique to process larger pieces of wood than ever before ― saving time and money in future commercial applications.


April 27, 2017

Can early experiences with computers, robots increase STEM interest among young girls?

A young girl takes notice of a robot project at a college event promoting science to children.

Girls start believing they aren’t good at math, science and even computers at a young age — but providing fun STEM activities at school and home may spark interest and inspire confidence. A study from the University of Washington’s Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences (I-LABS) finds that, when exposed to a computer-programming activity, 6-year-old…


April 26, 2017

Food photos help Instagram users with healthy eating

Image of food photographs posted on Instagram

A new study describes how some people turn to posting photos on Instagram to track food intake or to be held accountable by followers in meeting healthy eating or weight loss goals.


April 25, 2017

With autism diagnoses on the rise, UW establishes clinic for babies

Research scientist Tanya St. John works with a baby at the University of Washington Autism Center.

To new parents, a baby’s every gurgle and glance are fascinating, from a smile at mom or dad to a reach for a colorful toy. But when a baby doesn’t look at parents and caregivers, imitate gestures and sounds, or engage in play, parents have questions. And a growing number are bringing their babies to…


April 24, 2017

Scientific discovery game significantly speeds up neuroscience research process

Mozak screenshot

Mozak, a new scientific discovery game from the UW team that created Foldit, is allowing video gamers and citizen scientists to speed up a fundamental task in brain science: reconstructing the intricate architecture of brain neurons.


Conservation not an effective tool for reducing infectious disease in people, study finds

Zebras seen in Nairobi National Park in Kenya.

Conservation projects that protect forests and encourage a diversity of plants and animals can provide many benefits to humans. But improved human health is not among those benefits ― at least when health is measured through the lens of infectious disease. That’s the main finding of a paper published April 24 in Philosophical Transactions of…


April 20, 2017

Research team tracks complex web of monetary sanctions in 9 states

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UW sociologist Alexes Harris leads a team of researchers at nine universities who are exploring the role of monetary sanctions in the criminal justice system. They recently completed a review of financial punishments in the laws of each of their home states. Based on their preliminary findings, the impact to a person’s pocketbook depends largely on his or her location on a map.


Toward greener construction: UW professor leads group setting benchmarks for carbon across life of buildings

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A UW-led research group has taken an important step toward measuring — and ultimately reducing — the global carbon footprint of building construction and long-term maintenance.


April 19, 2017

More than recess: How playing on the swings helps kids learn to cooperate

boy swinging

A favorite childhood pastime — swinging on the playground swing set — also may be teaching kids how to get along. The measured, synchronous movement of children on the swings can encourage preschoolers to cooperate on subsequent activities, University of Washington researchers have found. A study by the UW’s Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences…


April 17, 2017

New many-toothed clingfish discovered with help of digital scans

The only two known specimens out of water were found on museum shelves, after being caught 40 years ago.

Scientists at the University of Washington, Texas A&M University and the Western Australian Museum have discovered and named a new genus and species of clingfish after stumbling upon a specimen preserved in a jar dating back to the 1970s. High-resolution scans and 3-D printing helped the researchers make their discovery.


Models, observations not so far apart on planet’s response to greenhouse gas emissions

New analysis debunks reports that recent observations are showing that Earth’s temperature responds less to greenhouse gases than predicted by climate models.


Retreating Yukon glacier caused a river to disappear

chunks of sediment-covered ice

A new study provides a postmortem on the Yukon’s Slims River, whose flow was diverted in early 2016. It is the only documented case of “river piracy” in modern times.


April 14, 2017

UW, Tohoku University establish Academic Open Space partnership for innovations in aerospace, clean energy, disaster preparedness

tohoku-uwTILE

The University of Washington and Japan’s Tohoku University have agreed to create an Academic Open Space to foster collaborations and academic exchanges between these two leading research institutions of the Pacific Rim. The agreement, signed April 14 by leaders of both institutions at the UW campus in Seattle, is expected to build upon current collaborations in aerospace design and materials, as well as launch new science and engineering partnerships.


April 13, 2017

Married LGBT older adults are healthier, happier than singles, study finds

rainbow flag

  Same-sex marriage has been the law of the land for nearly two years — and in some states for even longer — but researchers can already detect positive health outcomes among couples who have tied the knot, a University of Washington study finds. For years, studies have linked marriage with happiness among heterosexual couples….


April 12, 2017

Why treating animals may be important in fighting resurgent tropical disease

A pet macaque sits with its owner in Bangladesh. Such familiarity could facilitate the transmission of infectious diseases from owner to monkey.

  As the World Health Organization steps up its efforts to eradicate a once-rampant tropical disease, a University of Washington study suggests that monitoring, and potentially treating, the monkeys that co-exist with humans in affected parts of the world may be part of the global strategy. Yaws, an infectious disease that causes disfiguring skin lesions…


April 11, 2017

Technology to improve rockfall analysis on cliffs could save money, lives

image of a crumbling cliff seen via LIDAR

University of Washington civil engineers have developed a new, automated technology to analyze the potential for rockfalls from cliffs onto roads and areas below.


April 10, 2017

USGS, partners launch a unified, West Coast-wide earthquake early warning system

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Events Monday celebrated the launch of a West Coast-wide earthquake early warning prototype system, and initial test users in Washington and Oregon.


April 4, 2017

The science of sight: Transplant recipient, UW professor to share perspectives on vision restoration

Mike May

UW psychology professor Geoffrey Boynton and corneal transplant recipient Michael May to speak April 5.


April 3, 2017

UW security researchers show that Google’s AI tool for video searching can be easily deceived

Screenshot of Google API results after the car images are inserted into the video.

University of Washington security researchers have shown that Google’s new tool that uses machine learning to automatically analyze and label video content can be deceived by inserting a photograph periodically into videos. After they inserted an image of a car into a video about animals, for instance, the system thought the video was about an Audi.


March 31, 2017

Music played by EEG featured in DXARTS Spring Concert April 6

UW Music School Director Richard Karpen plays an electromagnetic piano called a Disklavier. Though he is shown performing on the keys, some of the music for the April 6 DXARTS Spring Concert will be played hands-free, with only the EEG.

The Disklavier is an electromagnetic piano that — like the UW-created encephalophone recently reported on by the Seattle Times — is played by brain waves alone, via an electroencephalogram. UW audiences can see and hear this new technology in “Music of Today: The DXARTS Spring Concert,” April 6, in Meany Hall.


March 29, 2017

Tackling resilience: Finding order in chaos to help buffer against climate change

lotus flowers in the mississippi delta.

A new paper by the University of Washington and NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center aims to provide clarity among scientists, resource managers and planners on what ecological resilience means and how it can be achieved.


March 28, 2017

After much media attention, UW Information School’s ‘Calling BS’ class begins

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The very name of the class, when proposed, seemed to fire imaginations nationwide and beyond. Now with the beginning of spring quarter, the UW Information School’s new course “Calling Bullshit in the Age of Big Data” is getting started.


Parents who play ‘Pokémon GO’ with kids: ‘It wasn’t really about the Pokémon’

Parents who played Pokemon GO with their children reported increased exercise, outdoor experiences and family bonding.

In the first study to survey and interview parents who play Pokémon GO with their children, families report a number of side benefits, including increased exercise, more time spent outdoors and opportunities for family bonding.



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