UW News

UW News blog


July 23, 2021

Older workers needed for UW study on worker safety during COVID-19 pandemic

Restaurant server at table

Public health researchers have learned a lot about how the pandemic affected workers and exacerbated existing health disparities that exist in many communities. However, there’s still a lot we don’t know about the experience of workers deemed essential in the food industry and who were at higher risk of contracting COVID-19, such those working in…


July 16, 2021

20 UW researchers elected to the Washington State Academy of Sciences for 2021

Twenty scientists and engineers at the University of Washington are among the 38 new members elected to the Washington State Academy of Sciences for 2021, according to a July 15 announcement. New members were chosen for “their outstanding record of scientific and technical achievement, and their willingness to work on behalf of the Academy to bring the best available science to bear on issues within the state of Washington.”


July 9, 2021

‘We need to be patient’ — UW’s Dawn Lehman on the collapse of the Champlain Towers South

Dawn Lehman's headshot

While there is currently no explanation for why the Champlain Towers South building collapsed, Dawn Lehman, a University of Washington professor of civil and environmental engineering, has been studying photographs, videos, drawings, reports and permits to investigate this tragedy to understand what happened. UW News asked her to help us understand why buildings fail.


July 8, 2021

Remotely-piloted sailboats monitor ‘cold pools’ in tropical environments

red sailboat on blue ocean

A UW-led study uses data from remotely-piloted sailboats to better understand cold air pools — pockets of cooler air that form when rain evaporates below tropical storm clouds. These fleeting weather phenomena are thought to influence tropical weather patterns.


July 1, 2021

How long can a person live? The 21st century may see a record-breaker

two elderly people sit on a bench

A new University of Washington study calculates the probability of living past age 110, which, though rare, likely will increase this century.


June 30, 2021

University of Washington releases annual update to Sustainability Action Plan

The University of Washington is announcing the steps it will take in this fiscal year, starting July 1, to reach the targets set in the UW’s Sustainability Action Plan.


June 23, 2021

Ahead of Pride, UW’s Manish Chalana describes the changing neighborhood of Capitol Hill

Four people walking across a rainbow painted crosswalk in Capitol Hill's Pike/Pine corridor.

Development has changed the face of the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle, says Manish Chalana, associate professor of urban design and planning at the University of Washington, but it remains the heart of the city’s LGBTQ community.


June 17, 2021

Washington formally recognizes Juneteenth as a paid holiday in 2022

A large 'W' is at the north entrance to the UW campus.

President Joe Biden’s signature on legislation Thursday making Juneteenth a federal holiday is a welcome recognition. Our state — including the University of Washington — looks forward to marking Juneteenth as a paid holiday beginning June 19, 2022.


Interim deans named in UW College of the Environment and University Libraries

University of Washington Provost Mark A. Richards has announced interim deans for both the College of the Environment and University Libraries.


‘An occasion for unapologetic Black joy, community connection, and reeducation’: UW’s LaTaSha Levy discusses Juneteenth

A red, black and green flag hangs outside a building.

LaTaSha Levy, assistant professor of American ethnic studies at the University of Washington, discusses Juneteenth, the myths and omissions in telling its story, and the ongoing importance of fighting for, and celebrating, Black freedom.


June 15, 2021

UW astronomer redefines the scientific hero as part of The Great Courses

Prof. Emily Levesque’s course “Great Heroes and Discoveries of Astronomy” — part of The Great Courses, a popular online learning platform — takes viewers on a tour of the biggest advancements in one of humanity’s oldest sciences and the people behind them.


June 11, 2021

Smartphone camera can illuminate bacteria causing acne, dental plaques

Image of a smartphone that was modified for a scientific experiment.

Researchers at the University of Washington have developed a method that uses smartphone-derived images to reveal potentially harmful bacteria on skin and in oral cavities. Their approach can visually identify microbes on skin contributing to acne and slow wound healing, as well as bacteria in the oral cavity that can cause gingivitis and dental plaques.


June 9, 2021

‘Our democracy is fundamentally at stake’ — UW’s Jake Grumbach on limits to voter access

As Congress considers expanding voting rights legislation and some Republican-led states restrict access to voting, the University of Washington’s Jake Grumbach is among a group of faculty from institutions around the country calling for national election standards.


June 1, 2021

Regional survey reveals work, leisure habits during the pandemic

traffic on Interstate 5 through downtown Seattle at sunset

The COVID-19 Mobility Survey, a partnership of the University of Washington and the Puget Sound Regional Council, showed how remote workers’ transportation, work and other lifestyle habits changed over the first several months of the pandemic.


May 27, 2021

‘Quarantining while Black’: Conference examines twin pandemics through radical listening

The University of Washington’s Center for Communication, Difference and Equity 2021 conference will examine “Quarantining while Black.” The two-day virtual event, scheduled for the morning of June 1 and the afternoon of June 2, is an invitation to radically listen to the ways in which Black Americans in Seattle and beyond have experienced the dual pandemics: COVID-19, with its disproportionate impact on Black communities, and the worldwide racial reckoning that emerged after the murder of George Floyd.


Video: Suzzallo bonsai a symbol of peace, resilience and inclusiveness

Close up of man with mask working on small delicate branches

The potted junipers on the steps of Suzzallo Library are undergoing a transformation. Flanking the entrance to one of UW’s most beloved buildings, they are viewed by hundreds of people walking through Red Square each week. Bioengineering postdoctoral researcher Le Zhen is transforming these shrubs into bonsai — miniature trees that are pruned, nurtured and trained with wire to look like their much older, full-sized counterparts living in nature. He hopes this prominent display of bonsai will signal to members of the AAPI community that UW is safe and welcoming.


May 25, 2021

UW’s León Center in Spain renews lease through 2025

The UW’s connection to León, Spain, has been extended through 2025, with an option to renew it an additional four years to 2029.

President Ana Mari Cauce signed the new agreement earlier this month and city leaders in Spain celebrated the decade-old relationship last week.


May 7, 2021

Clinical trials brought us COVID vaccines, but we’re in largescale population ‘trials’ now and will learn more

Larry Corey

Scientists can learn a lot in a controlled clinical trial involving tens of thousands of people, such as the COVID-19 vaccine trials that led to their approval, but we will all learn a lot more as hundreds of millions of people are vaccinated. And, some of what might turn up in this population-based data are…


May 5, 2021

Ice core data show why, despite lower sulfur emissions in U.S. and Western Europe, air pollution is dropping more slowly

graphic of Earth with chemical pathways

Ice core data from Greenland shows why air pollution is dropping more slowly than sulfur emissions reductions. As cloud droplets become less acidic, the chemical reaction that turns sulfur dioxide into sulfate aerosol gets more efficient. The new results can improve the models that project air quality and climate change.


FASER is born: new experiment will study particles that interact with dark matter

The newest experiment at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is now in place at the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva. FASER, or Forward Search Experiment, was approved by CERN’s research board in March 2019. Now installed in the LHC tunnel, this experiment, which seeks to understand particles that scientists believe may interact with dark matter, is now undergoing tests before data collection commences next year.


May 3, 2021

Dean Azita Emami’s ‘insider–outsider’ perspective shapes her UW School of Nursing leadership

Dean Azita Emami on the UW campus with Gerberding and Mary Gates Halls in the background.

UW School of Nursing Dean Azita Emami’s commitment to fighting for those underserved by the health care system has deep roots in her identity. Born in Iran, she has been shaped by the experience of being an “insider–outsider.”


Genetically engineered grass cleanses soil of toxic pollutants left by military explosives, new research shows

Grasses growing in tubes in the foreground. Two people stand behind them. Another person standing to the right.

A team, which includes researchers from the University of Washington, demonstrated that over the course of three years, a genetically engineered switchgrass could break down an explosive chemical in plots of soil at a military range.


April 30, 2021

UW’s new Mobile Health & Outreach Van will serve community and student experience

People around medical van

Getting basic health care to medically underserved populations in Seattle, while providing real-world experience for students hoping to practice in a health care field, takes wheels. Now, through a student-led, interdisciplinary effort by health science departments at the University of Washington, those “wheels” — on the new UW Mobile Health & Outreach Van — are ready.


April 28, 2021

Report: UW No. 4 in country for economic impact as a result of federal research investments

The University of Washington is the No. 4 higher education institution in the country in terms of total economic impact as a result of federal research expenditures. The UW alone contributed $306.8 million to the U.S. gross domestic product and helped to produce more than 3,908 jobs, according to The Science Coalition’s fourth Sparking Economic Growth report, released earlier this month.


People of color hardest hit by air pollution from nearly all sources

A picture of power lines at sunset. Everything is hazy.

A new study from researchers at multiple universities, including the UW, shows that exposure disparities among people of color and white people are driven by nearly all, rather than only a few, emission source types.


April 27, 2021

Thousands of baby sea stars born at UW lab are sign of hope for endangered species

adult sea stars eating mussels

Scientists at the University of Washington, in collaboration with The Nature Conservancy, are raising sunflower sea stars in captivity, with the goal of learning more about this species and exploring eventual reintroduction to the wild, if determined to be advisable.


April 21, 2021

Q&A: It’s not just social media — misinformation can spread in scientific communication too

When people think of misinformation, they often focus on popular and social media. But in a paper published April 12 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, University of Washington faculty members Jevin West and Carl Bergstrom write that scientific communication — both scientific papers and news articles written about papers — also has the potential to spread misinformation.


April 13, 2021

Deep earthquakes within the Juan de Fuca plate produce few aftershocks

cracked pavement on highway

In the Cascadia subduction zone, medium- and large-sized “intraslab” earthquakes, in which the slip happens within the oceanic plate and below the continental plate, will likely produce only a few detectable aftershocks, according to a new study from the University of Washington and the U.S. Geological Survey.


Vaccines debate: ‘Escape variants’ of the coronavirus are a serious future threat

gloved hand holds vial of vaccine

With COVID-19 cases on the rise again in many parts of the country — including Washington state where three counties were pushed back to Phase 2 effective Friday — there’s a growing debate between continuing to give both doses of Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines close together, or giving them months apart in order to get…


April 6, 2021

Back to school in springtime: UW experts offer tips for adjusting pandemic-era routines

University of Washington experts in education and psychology offer tips for families on the return to in-person school after a year of remote learning.


March 31, 2021

Thicker-leaved tropical plants may flourish under climate change, which could be good news for climate

tropical forest

As carbon dioxide continues to rise, multiple changes in the leaves of tropical plants may help these ecosystems perform better under climate change than previous studies had suggested.


March 29, 2021

UW’s Joshua Lawler named fellow of Ecological Society of America

Joshua Lawler

Joshua Lawler, a University of Washington professor in the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, has been named a 2021 fellow of the Ecological Society of America. Fellows are elected for life, and the honor recognizes scientists who advance or apply ecological knowledge in academics, government, nonprofits and the broader society.


New course examines Jacob Lawrence’s impact on American art, Seattle and the UW

Jacob Lawrence painting in his studio

Juliet Sperling, an assistant professor of art history, talks about Jacob Lawrence and her new course “Art and Seattle: Jacob Lawrence,” the first UW course to examine his legacy at the UW and beyond.


March 19, 2021

How white supremacy, racist myths fuel anti-Asian violence

Signs read "hate has no place" and "stop Asian hate"

Linh Thủy Nguyễn, an assistant professor of American ethnic studies at the University of Washington, discusses the recent wave of violence against Asians and Asian Americans, and the history behind it.


March 17, 2021

How five global regions could achieve a successful, equitable ‘Blue Economy’

three colored world maps

The future of an equitable and sustainable global ocean, or “Blue Economy,” depends on more than natural or technological resources. A new study finds that socioeconomic and governance conditions such as national stability, corruption and human rights greatly affect different regions’ ability to achieve a Blue Economy — one that is socially equitable, environmentally sustainable and economically viable.


March 16, 2021

Relearning normalcy, focusing on the positive: UW psychologist on the vaccine phase of the pandemic

University of Washington psychology professor Jane Simoni discusses how COVID-19 vaccines are gradually spurring the return to normal life, and the role of positive public health messaging.


March 12, 2021

Role of solvent molecules in light-driven electron transfer revealed

An artistic depiction of small molecules moving within a solvent

In a study published Feb. 15 in Nature Chemistry, a research team led by Munira Khalil, professor and chair of chemistry at the University of Washington, has captured the rapid motions of solvent molecules that impact light-driven electron transfer in a molecular complex for the first time. This  information could help researchers learn how to control energy flow in molecules, potentially leading to more efficient clean energy sources.


March 4, 2021

A year with COVID-19: A chronology of how the UW adapted — and responded — to the pandemic

collage of photos in a timeline format

On March 6, 2020, the University of Washington became the first university in the U.S. to announce a move to remote instruction and work in an effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. Here’s a look back at the past year, from the perspectives of how the UW community adapted and the impact the…


March 3, 2021

The UW is a Fulbright top producer

Suzzallo Library at night

The University of Washington is proud to be included on the list of U.S. colleges and universities that produced the most 2020-2021 Fulbright  students.


March 2, 2021

UW Center for an Informed Public co-authors report on mis- and disinformation surrounding the 2020 U.S. election

The Election Integrity Partnership, a nonpartisan coalition of research institutions, including the University of Washington, that identified, tracked and responded to voting-related mis- and disinformation during the 2020 U.S. elections, released its final report, “The Long Fuse: Misinformation and the 2020 Elections” on Tuesday, March 2. The report is the culmination of months of collaboration among approximately 120 people working across four organizations: the UW Center for an Informed Public, Stanford Internet Observatory , Graphika and the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab.



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