UW News

News releases


July 27, 2021

Possible future for Western wildfires: Decade-long burst, followed by gradual decline

cubes of forest landscape up in flames

A model of the eastern California forests of the Sierra Nevada looks at the longer-term future of wildfires under future climate change scenarios. Results show an initial roughly decade-long burst of wildfire activity, followed by recurring fires of decreasing area — a pattern that could apply to other hot, dry forests in the West.


July 26, 2021

Scientists model ‘true prevalence’ of COVID-19 throughout pandemic

US map with states represented by hexagons showing COVID-19 infection fatality rate

Two University of Washington scientists have developed a statistical framework that incorporates key COVID-19 data — such as case counts and deaths due to COVID-19 — to model the true prevalence of this disease in the United States and individual states. Their approach, published the week of July 26 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, projects that in the U.S. as many as 60% of COVID-19 cases went undetected as of March 7, 2021, the last date for which the dataset they employed is available.


July 22, 2021

Gaming graphics card allows faster, more precise control of fusion energy experiments

A prototype of the UW's current fusion experiment.

UW researchers have developed a method that uses a gaming graphics card to control plasma formation in their prototype fusion reactor.


July 20, 2021

New 3D images of shark intestines show they function like Nikola Tesla’s valve

three dogfish sharks

For more than a century, researchers have relied on flat sketches of sharks’ digestive systems to discern how they function — and how what they eat and excrete impacts other species in the ocean. Now, researchers have produced a series of high-resolution, 3D scans of intestines from nearly three dozen shark species that will advance the understanding of how sharks eat and digest their food.


July 15, 2021

Dianne Harris named dean of UW College of Arts & Sciences

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University of Washington Provost Mark A. Richards today announced Dianne Harris will become dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, beginning Sept. 1.


July 13, 2021

Sheila Edwards Lange selected as chancellor of UW Tacoma

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University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce and Provost Mark A. Richards today announced the selection of Sheila Edwards Lange, president of Seattle Central College, as chancellor of the University of Washington Tacoma. Her appointment, pending approval by the UW Board of Regents, is set to begin Sept. 16.


From ‘distress’ to ‘unscathed’ — mental health of UW students during spring 2020

A table in the living room with a cup of tea, a laptop and a stack of books on top. Behind the table is a couch and a bike

To understand how the UW’s transition to online-only classes affected college students’ mental health in the spring of 2020, UW researchers surveyed 147 UW undergraduates over the 2020 spring quarter.


July 9, 2021

Study model explores impact of police action on population health

A specific police action, an arrest or a shooting, has an immediate and direct effect on the individuals involved, but how far and wide do the reverberations of that action spread through the community? What are the health consequences for a specific, though not necessarily geographically defined, population? The authors of a new UW-led study…


July 8, 2021

Mari Ostendorf named UW Vice Provost for Research

Mari Ostendorf, UW professor of electrical and computer engineering, has been named a corresponding fellow by the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Scotland's National Academy.

University of Washington Provost Mark Richards today announced the appointment of Mari Ostendorf as Vice Provost for Research, set to begin Sept. 1. Ostendorf has been serving as Associate Vice Provost for Research in the Office of Research since 2017.


July 1, 2021

Last ice-covered parts of summertime Arctic Ocean vulnerable to climate change

bow of ship with patches of ice and open water

The region north of Greenland and the Canadian Arctic has been termed the Last Ice Area, where sea ice will remain the longest in summertime, providing a refuge for ice-dependent Arctic species. But conditions last summer show that parts of this region are already experiencing less summer ice due to climate change.


June 29, 2021

Air pollution from wildfires impacts ability to observe birds

yellow warbler up close

Researchers from the University of Washington provide a first look at the probability of observing common birds as air pollution worsens during wildfire seasons. They found that smoke affected the ability to detect more than a third of the bird species studied in Washington state over a four-year period. Sometimes smoke made it harder to observe birds, while other species were actually easier to detect when smoke was present.


June 25, 2021

Kristin Esterberg selected as chancellor of UW Bothell

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University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce and Provost Mark A. Richards today announced the selection of Kristin Esterberg, president of the State University of New York at Potsdam, as chancellor of the University of Washington Bothell. Her appointment, pending approval by the UW Board of Regents, is set to begin Oct. 1.


June 17, 2021

Researchers discover yessotoxins, produced by certain phytoplankton, to be a culprit behind summer mass shellfish mortality events in Washington

dying clams on the beach

Back in the summers of 2018 and 2019, the shellfish industry in Washington state was rocked by mass mortalities of its crops. Now, researchers think they have figured out why: high concentrations of yessotoxinss, which are produced by blooms of certain phytoplankton. The researchers’ findings were published last month in the open-access journal Harmful Algae.


June 16, 2021

Pandemic-era crowdfunding more common, successful in affluent communities

dollar bill with a few coins on top

A new University of Washington study of requests and donations to the popular crowdfunding site GoFundMe, along with Census data, shows stark inequities in where the money went and how much was donated.


June 15, 2021

Drug rebates for insurers tied to higher costs for patients, especially the uninsured

Federal agencies that regulate drug pricing and healthcare insurance are concerned that an industry practice of using rebates to lower drug costs for insurers has led to increases in list prices and out-of-pockets costs for patients. To investigate whether patients with or without insurance were paying more because of rebates to insurers, researchers led by…


June 14, 2021

Communication technology, study of collective behavior must be ‘crisis discipline,’ researchers argue

Our ability to confront global crises, from pandemics to climate change, depends on how we interact and share information. 

Social media and other forms of communication technology restructure these interactions in ways that have consequences. Unfortunately, we have little insight into whether these changes will bring about a healthy, sustainable and equitable world. As a result, researchers now say that the study of collective behavior must rise to a “crisis discipline,” just like medicine, conservation and climate science have done, according to a new paper published June 14 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


UW researchers can turn a single photo into a video

A massive waterfall surrounded by green trees and bushes. A large building is in the back left of this photo.

UW researchers have developed a deep learning method that can animate any flowing material, including waterfalls, smoke or clouds.


June 11, 2021

Edge of Pine Island Glacier’s ice shelf is ripping apart, causing key Antarctic glacier to gain speed

ridged ice and airplane wing

Satellite images show that from 2017 to 2020, Pine Island Glacier’s ice shelf lost about one-fifth of its area, mostly in three dramatic breaks. This caused the glacier to speed up by 12%, hastening its downward motion and boosting its contribution to rising seas.


June 10, 2021

Cause, scope determined for deadly winter debris flow in Uttarakhand, India

A destroyed hydroelectric plant in the mountains

On Feb. 7, 2021, a wall of debris and water barreled down river valleys in India, destroyed two hydropower facilities and left more than 200 people dead or missing. A self-organized coalition of 53 scientists from 14 countries, including researchers from the University of Washington, worked nonstop following the disaster to investigate the cause, scope and impacts.


June 9, 2021

Endangered blue whales recorded off southwest coast of India

diver in water

Endangered blue whales are present and singing off the southwest coast of India. The results provide insight into a poorly studied population and suggest conservation measures should include this region.


June 7, 2021

Simon Neame named dean of UW Libraries

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Simon Neame was appointed the new dean of University Libraries, University of Washington Provost Mark Richards announced today. The appointment, pending approval by the UW Board of Regents, is set to begin Sept. 1.


June 3, 2021

Anticipation builds for UW’s 146th commencement, to be held virtually

Fountain with light streaming in through the water

Drumheller Fountain is turning purple.

The iconic University of Washington landmark will be illuminated in the school’s signature color from dusk to dawn as the anticipation builds for the June 12 commencement ceremonies.

The special accent lighting is just one of many features the UW is adding to its already beautiful campus to provide graduates opportunities to pose for photos with family and friends. Special banners will hang on Suzzallo Library and the HUB, among other locations. Sidewalks in the Quad and along Rainier Vista will be decorated and 4-foot-tall block Ws will be strategically placed making already terrific photo ops even better.


Renowned marine scientist and former NOAA chief Jane Lubchenco to speak at 2021 commencement

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Renowned marine scientist, University of Washington alumna and former head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Jane Lubchenco will deliver the 2021 UW virtual commencement address on June 12.


UW announces COVID-19 vaccine requirement for all employees

The University of Washington on Thursday announced it will require all employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by autumn quarter. The UW recently announced that all students must also be vaccinated before fall classes begin.


South Pole and East Antarctica warmer than previously thought during last ice age, two studies show

closeup of ice in metal barrel

University of Washington glaciologists are co-authors on two papers that analyzed Antarctic ice cores to understand the continent’s air temperatures during the most recent glacial period. The results help understand how the region behaves during a major climate transition.


June 2, 2021

Maya Tolstoy named dean of the UW College of the Environment

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Maya Tolstoy has been named the Maggie Walker Dean of the College of the Environment, University of Washington Provost Mark Richards announced today. Tolstoy’s appointment as dean, set to begin Jan. 1, 2022, is subject to approval by the UW Board of Regents.


May 27, 2021

Seabirds face dire threats from climate change, human activity — especially in Northern Hemisphere

seabird holding a fish

Many seabirds in the Northern Hemisphere are struggling to breed — and in the Southern Hemisphere, they may not be far behind. These are the conclusions of a study, published May 28 in Science, analyzing more than 50 years of breeding records for 67 seabird species worldwide.


May 24, 2021

Fast food, supermarkets, other aspects of built environments don’t play expected role in weight gain

People don’t gain or lose weight because they live near a fast-food restaurant or supermarket, according to a new study led by the University of Washington. And, living in a more “walkable,” dense neighborhood likely only has a small impact on weight. These “built-environment” amenities have been seen in past research as essential contributors to…


May 21, 2021

Pandemic-era paleontology: A wayward skull, at-home fossil analyses and a first for Antarctic amphibians

An image showing a block of amphibian fossils from Early Triassic Antarctica

Researchers at the University of Washington and its Burke Museum of Natural History & Culture have discovered the first fossil evidence of an ancient amphibian, Micropholis stowi, from Antarctica. Micropholis lived in the Early Triassic, shortly after Earth’s largest mass extinction. It was previously known only from fossils in South Africa, and its presence in Antarctica has implications for how amphibians adapted to high-latitude regions in this dynamic period of Earth’s history.


May 20, 2021

Creative Destruction Lab joins UW Foster School of Business, establishing CDL-Seattle

Creative Destruction Lab, a nonprofit organization for massively scalable, seed-stage, science- and technology-based companies, will launch its third U.S.-based location, CDL-Seattle, this fall. Based at the UW’s Foster School of Business, CDL-Seattle will be a partnership with Microsoft Corporation, the UW College of Engineering, Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering and CoMotion, UW’s collaborative innovation hub. The initial area of focus for CDL-Seattle is computational health.


May 18, 2021

Ascend program at UW’s Foster School of Business expands to further support diverse-owned small businesses thanks to $8 million investment from JPMorgan Chase

group shot

In 2016, the Consulting and Business Development Center at the UW’s Foster School of Business partnered with global financial services firm JPMorgan Chase to launch Ascend, a national network of business schools, non-profit lenders and suppliers focused on a goal of accelerating growth of businesses owned by people of color, women and military veterans, especially those operating in inner cities.


May 14, 2021

$38M set of gifts from Ballmer Group to address behavioral health crisis aims to bolster workforce, resources across Washington through UW-led programs

big green trees frame an empty bench

The University of Washington today announced that the School of Social Work and Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and the Behavioral Health Institute at Harborview Medical Center are part of a transformational $38 million set of gifts from Ballmer Group to support a broad, collaborative response to the state’s behavioral health crisis. The gifts aim to address the state of Washington’s serious workforce shortage in the community behavioral health system, in large part by supporting statewide education and training innovations at partner institutions developed through the University of Washington.


May 10, 2021

Former Interior Secretary Sally Jewell named Fritzky Chair in Leadership at UW’s Foster School of Business

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Sally Jewell, U.S. Secretary of the Interior under President Barack Obama and former CEO of REI, has been appointed as the Edward V. Fritzky Endowed Chair in Leadership at the UW Foster School of Business for the 2021-2022 school year. Established in 2002, this prestigious faculty position is designed to bring distinguished leaders to campus to share their expertise with faculty and students.


May 3, 2021

Earthquake early warnings launch in Washington, completing West Coast-wide ShakeAlert system

hand holding phone with alert

The U.S. Geological Survey, the University of Washington-based Pacific Northwest Seismic Network, and state emergency managers on Tuesday, May 4, will activate the system that sends earthquake early warnings throughout Washington state. This completes the rollout of ShakeAlert, an automated system that gives people living in Washington, Oregon and California advance warning of incoming earthquakes.


UW announces COVID-19 vaccine requirement for students

A sculpture of the University of Washington W logo

The University of Washington on Monday announced it will require all students on all three of its campuses to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before the start of the autumn quarter. The announcement comes with six weeks remaining in the spring quarter to provide time for students who are in the area to get vaccinated before summer.


April 29, 2021

6 UW-affiliated researchers elected to the National Academy of Sciences

The view of Mount Rainier from the UW campus in Seattle

Five faculty members and one affiliate professor at the University of Washington are among 120 new members and 30 international members elected to the National Academy of Sciences: Anna Karlin, professor of computer science and engineering; Rachel Klevit, professor of biochemistry; Randall LeVeque, professor emeritus of applied mathematics; Julie Theriot, professor of biology; Rachel Wong, professor of biological structure; and Julie Overbaugh, professor at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and a UW affiliate professor of microbiology.


April 28, 2021

UW Spokane Center to move into historic SIERR Building

inside of a warmly lit brick building

The University of Washington’s Spokane Center will soon serve the community and its constituents from new offices in Spokane’s historic Spokane Inland Empire Railroad (SIERR) Building, located in the heart of Spokane’s growing University District. The UW Spokane Center will relocate May 1, 2021, to new offices at 850 E. Spokane Falls Blvd. from its office at 201 West Main, where it has been housed since 2015.


UW launches GeoHazards Initiative; names Paros Chair in Seismology and GeoHazards

aerial view

Leveraging the tectonic laboratory of the Cascadia subduction zone, the University of Washington today announced a new effort to best understand how to study and live with the threats of earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanos, landslides and other seismic hazards. Dubbed the GeoHazards Initiative, the interdisciplinary work aims to develop and promote the adoption of early detection systems both on land and at sea to help prevent the loss of human life and property.


April 26, 2021

Four UW faculty named to American Academy of Arts & Sciences

Four University of Washington faculty members have been inducted into the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.


April 21, 2021

A growing problem of ‘deepfake geography’: How AI falsifies satellite images

satellite photo of Tacoma using geospatial data from Beijing, with shadows cast from most buildings

Using satellite photos of three cities and drawing upon methods used to manipulate video and audio files, a team of researchers led by the University of Washington set out to identify new ways of detecting fake satellite photos and warn of the dangers of falsified geospatial data.



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