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Research


September 29, 2016

UW gets NOAA grant to begin testing new forecast for toxic shellfish

animation of model

UW oceanographers are working on a system that will act like a ‘weather forecast’ for Pacific Northwest harmful algal blooms.


Ocean conditions contributed to unprecedented 2015 toxic algal bloom

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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

NSF award to launch citizen science initiative across Pacific Rim

Marco Hatch works with native students to instrument mudflats of Puget Sound for environmental data collection.

A team of researchers led by the University of Washington believes creating a network of community-based science is possible with new support from the National Science Foundation.


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 26, 2016

UW archaeology field school unearths ‘treasure trove’ of tribal artifacts

Group of students at field school on Grand Ronde reservation

Finding a long-buried outhouse might not sound exciting to most people, but to Sara Gonzalez and her crew, it was a holy grail of sorts. An assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Washington, Gonzalez led an archaeological field school this summer on a tribal reservation in northwestern Oregon. Gonzalez and a team of…


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 22, 2016

5 UW professors among HHMI’s inaugural class of Faculty Scholars

Photo by Katherine Turner.

Amid a decline in funding for scientific research, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute is partnering with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Simons Foundation to launch a new Faculty Scholars program. Announced Sept. 22 by HHMI, the inaugural crop of early-career scientists includes 5 faculty members from the University of Washington.


September 21, 2016

UW jumps to No. 2 in the world for clinical medicine, pharmacy; remains No. 6 in life sciences

A globe in Suzzallo library

The University of Washington moved up to No. 2 in the world for clinical medicine and pharmacy in the 2016 Academic Ranking of World Universities by Broad Subject Fields.


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

UW wins national nanotechnology startup challenge for breast cancer treatment

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Researchers at the University of Washington are among the winners of a startup challenge to shorten the transition time from lab bench to patient. The team, including members of professor Suzie Pun’s research group in the UW Department of Bioengineering, was selected based on its proposal and business plan to develop a targeted drug delivery system for breast cancer.


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

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

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 12, 2016

UW scientist helping direct NASA field study of clouds off Namibia

plane on tarmac

UW atmospheric scientists are part of a month-long NASA effort to learn how smoke and clouds interact.


UW forestry student wins Bullitt Foundation’s top prize for wildlife conservation

Bogezi captures a crocodile during one of her research projects in Uganda.

A Q&A with Carol Bogezi, a UW doctoral student in environmental and forest sciences who received the 10th annual Bullitt Environmental Prize. The award recognizes people with exceptional potential to become powerful leaders in the environmental movement.


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.


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 26, 2016

Interactive map shows where animals will move under climate change

animated map of U.S.

The University of Washington and The Nature Conservancy have created an animated map showing where mammals, birds and amphibians are projected to move in the Western Hemisphere in response to climate change.


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

Study finds bias, disgust toward mixed-race couples

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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

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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 12, 2016

Q&A: Phil Levin joins UW, The Nature Conservancy in new role

Phil Levin

Phil Levin, a former senior scientist at NOAA Fisheries, recently began a joint role at the University of Washington and The Nature Conservancy. UW Today sat down with Levin to find out why he took this job and what he hopes to accomplish.


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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