UW News

News releases


August 5, 2022

New study calculates retreat of glacier edges in Alaska’s Kenai Fjords National Park

As glaciers worldwide retreat due to climate change, managers of national parks need to know what’s on the horizon to prepare for the future. A new study from the University of Washington and the National Park Service measures 38 years of change for glaciers in Kenai Fjords National Park south of Anchorage. The study, published Aug. 5 in The Journal of Glaciology, finds that 13 of the 19 glaciers show substantial retreat, four are relatively stable, and two have advanced. It also finds trends in which glacier types are disappearing fastest.


August 4, 2022

UW to construct new Interdisciplinary Engineering Building, expanding contemporary educational spaces for students

building exterior

The University of Washington will break ground this fall on a new, $90 million Interdisciplinary Engineering Building, thanks in part to a $10 million donation from Boeing. Once complete, the state-of-the-art building will be a leading example of a student-focused learning facility backed by both public and private investments. The state of Washington has also dedicated $50 million to support the project that aims to fuel economic growth and create a pipeline of future, local engineering talent.


August 2, 2022

Popular map for exploring environmental health disparities, vulnerabilities in Washington gets an update

Since it first launched in 2019, Washington state’s Environmental Health Disparities Map has been used to help decisionmakers and government agencies engage with overburdened communities to clean up contamination, improve buildings and electric grids, plant trees and many other projects. Using a complex matrix of data, this open-access, interactive map ranks Washington’s nearly 1,500 U.S….


July 28, 2022

How to help assembly-line robots shift gears and pick up almost anything

22 objects on a table top. Objects include white 3D printed shapes and also random household items such as a drill, a mustard container, a bowl and a tennis ball

A UW team created a new tool that can design a 3D-printable passive gripper and calculate the best path to pick up an object. The team tested this system on a suite of 22 objects — including a 3D-printed bunny, a doorstop-shaped wedge, a tennis ball and a drill.


July 27, 2022

Craig Wilson promoted to chief of UW Police Department

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Craig Wilson has been promoted to chief of police at the University of Washington Police Department, UW Vice President for Student Affairs Denzil Suite and UW Interim Vice President for Campus & Community Safety Sally Clark announced Wednesday. Wilson’s appointment is effective Aug. 1.


July 25, 2022

New study challenges old views on what’s ‘primitive’ in mammalian reproduction

Which group of mammals has the more “primitive” reproductive strategy — marsupials, with their short gestation periods, or humans and other placental mammals, which have long gestation periods? For decades, biologists viewed marsupial reproduction as “more primitive.” But University of Washington scientists have discovered that a third group of mammals, the long-extinct multituberculates, had a long gestation period like placental mammals. Since multituberculates split off from the rest of the mammalian lineage before placentals and marsupials had even evolved, these findings question the view that marsupials were “less advanced” than their placental cousins.


July 22, 2022

Novel HIV combination therapies could prevent viral escape and rebound

New research by scientists at the University of Washington, the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization and the University of Cologne indicates that carefully designed cocktails of broadly neutralizing antibodies could help treat HIV while minimizing the risk of the virus evolving to “escape” treatment.


July 20, 2022

UW atmospheric sciences achieves No. 1 global ranking; nearly three dozen UW subjects in top 50

person stands in front of bright green wall

Eight University of Washington subjects ranked in the top 10 and Atmospheric Sciences moved to its position as No. 1 in the world on the Global Ranking of Academic Subjects list for 2022. The ranking, released Tuesday, was conducted by researchers at the ShanghaiRanking Consultancy, a fully independent organization dedicating to research on higher education intelligence and consultation.


July 12, 2022

UW study strengthens evidence of link between air pollution and child brain development

Seattle traffic

Air pollution is not just a problem for lungs. Increasingly, research suggests air pollution can influence childhood behavioral problems and even IQ. A new study led by the University of Washington has added evidence showing that both prenatal and postnatal exposure to air pollution can harm kids. The study, published in Environmental Health Perspectives, found…


July 11, 2022

ClearBuds: First wireless earbuds that clear up calls using deep learning

A hand holding up a 3D printed earbud

UW researchers created ClearBuds, earbuds that enhance the speaker’s voice and reduce background noise.


July 8, 2022

Sweetened beverage taxes produce net economic benefits for lower-income communities

Bottles and cans of soda on store shelves

New research led by University of Washington professors James Krieger and Melissa Knox found that sweetened beverage taxes redistributed dollars from higher- to lower-income households.


July 5, 2022

Tamara F. Lawson named dean of the School of Law

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Tamara F. Lawson has been named to the next Toni Rembe Endowed Deanship of the University of Washington’s School of Law, Provost Mark A. Richards announced today. Her appointment, set to begin Aug. 16, is subject to approval by the UW Board of Regents.


June 30, 2022

André Ritter named dean of the School of Dentistry

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Dr. André Ritter has been named the next dean of the University of Washington’s School of Dentistry, Provost Mark A. Richards announced today. His appointment, set to begin Sept. 16, is subject to approval by the UW Board of Regents.


June 29, 2022

‘Safety in numbers’ tactic keeps Pacific salmon safe from predators

fish swim together in a fish tank

A new University of Washington study that leverages historical data has found unique support for a “safety in numbers” hypothesis by showing that Pacific salmon in larger groups have lower risk of being eaten by predators. But for some salmon species, schooling comes at the cost of competition for food, and those fish may trade safety for a meal.


June 27, 2022

Top predators could ‘trap’ themselves trying to adapt to climate change, study shows

A study led by University of Washington researchers shows that over a 30-year period, African wild dogs shifted their average birthing dates later by 22 days, an adaptation that allowed them to match the birth of new litters with the coolest temperatures in early winter. But as a result of this significant shift, fewer pups survived their most vulnerable period because temperatures during their critical post-birth “denning period” increased over the same time period, threatening the population of this already endangered species. It is the first study to show that large mammalian carnivores are making major changes to their life history in response to a changing climate.


June 21, 2022

New study: 2021 heat wave created ‘perfect storm’ for shellfish die-off

A pile of dead oysters with their shells open. There is water in the background.

A team led by the UW has produced the first comprehensive report of the impacts of the 2021 heat wave on shellfish.


June 16, 2022

Newly documented population of polar bears in Southeast Greenland sheds light on the species’ future in a warming Arctic

single polar bear on ice floe

A new population of polar bears documented on the southeast coast of Greenland use glacier ice to survive despite limited access to sea ice. This small, genetically distinct group of polar bears could be important to the future of the species in a warming world.


June 13, 2022

Is there snow in that tree? Citizen science helps unpack snow’s effect on summer water supplies

Trees in a forest. The trees are blanketed by heavy snow.

To investigate what happens to snow intercepted by trees, UW researchers created a citizen science project called Snow Spotter.


June 9, 2022

Faculty Field Tour resumes Monday after COVID pause, connecting faculty from all three UW campuses with Washington state

group shot

In the fall of 2020, amid the COVID pandemic, Kara Wells began her career as an assistant professor of accounting at the University of Washington Bothell’s business school.


June 6, 2022

Including all types of emissions shortens timeline to reach Paris Agreement temperature targets

Smokestacks and cooling towers for power plants

Looking beyond CO2 to include other human-generated pollutants increases the amount of warming that humans have already committed to by past emissions. Earth will continue to warm even if all emissions cease, and the planet is committed to reaching peak temperatures about five to 10 years before experiencing them.


June 3, 2022

UW graduation celebrations include 147th Commencement and Return to Husky Stadium festivities

campus mascot

Cue the band: It’s time for “Pomp and Circumstance.”

There will be flowing robes and purple-and-gold tassels. The gonfalons, symbols of the 16 colleges and schools that make up the University of Washington, have been unfurled and prepared. Campus is being adorned and the iconic Drumheller Fountain soon will again be cast in a purple glow.


June 1, 2022

VoxLens: Adding one line of code can make some interactive visualizations accessible to screen-reader users

A laptop with a screen reader attached sitting on a table

VoxLens users can gain a high-level summary of the information described in a graph, listen to a graph translated into sound or use voice-activated commands to ask specific questions about the data, such as the mean or the minimum value.


May 31, 2022

UW-developed, cloud-based astrodynamics platform to discover and track asteroids

A novel algorithm developed by University of Washington researchers to discover asteroids in the solar system has proved its mettle. The first candidate asteroids identified by the algorithm — known as Tracklet-less Heliocentric Orbit Recovery, or THOR — have been confirmed by the International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Center, according to a May 31 announcement by the B612 Foundation.


May 27, 2022

Critical race theory at center of UW study of unequal access to treatment for opioid addiction

Opioid use disorder is an addiction crisis in the United States that has become increasingly lethal during the COVID-19 pandemic. To preserve access to life-saving treatment during the pandemic, federal drug agencies loosened requirements on physicians for treating these patients, including moving patient evaluations away from in-person exams to telemedicine. This federal policy change focused…


May 26, 2022

Seattle democracy vouchers increase donations, number of candidates in city elections

Two hands putting voting ballots in box

A new study from Alan Griffith, assistant professor of economics at the University of Washington, shows that Seattle’s democracy voucher program has increased the number of voters donating to city elections and the number of candidates in those elections.


May 23, 2022

Social cohesion found to be key risk factor in early COVID infections

motorcyclist rides along San Francisco neighborhood street

A study by the University of California, Irvine, and the University of Washington shows how social connectedness in San Francisco neighborhoods was associated with COVID-19 infection rates.


‘I don’t even remember what I read’: People enter a ‘dissociative state’ when using social media

People on public transit. Everyone is looking at their phones.

Researchers at the University of Washington wondered if people enter a state of dissociation when surfing social media, and if that explains why users might feel out of control after spending so much time on their favorite app.


May 20, 2022

UW Fitness Day aims to strengthen community and bone marrow registry

Husky Stadium

The annual University of Washington Fitness Day returns as an in-person event on Monday, May 23. This year’s Fitness Day includes a fundraising and registration goal for Be The Match, the nation’s largest marrow-donor registry.


May 12, 2022

Changes in cholesterol production lead to tragic octopus death spiral

After a mother octopus lays a clutch of eggs, she quits eating and wastes away; by the time the eggs hatch, she is dead. Some females in captivity even seem to speed up this process intentionally, mutilating themselves and twisting their arms into a tangled mess. The source of this bizarre maternal behavior seems to be the optic gland, an organ similar to the pituitary gland in mammals. For years, just how this gland triggered the gruesome death spiral was unclear. But in a new study published May 12 in Current Biology, researchers from the University of Washington, the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois Chicago show that the optic gland in maternal octopuses undergoes a massive shift in cholesterol metabolism, resulting in dramatic changes in the steroid hormones produced. Alterations in cholesterol metabolism in other animals, including humans, can have serious consequences on longevity and behavior, and the team believes this reveals important similarities in the functions of these steroids across the animal kingdom — in soft-bodied cephalopods and vertebrates alike.


May 7, 2022

Consensus approach proposed to protect human health from intentional and wild forest fires

Prescribed forest fire

All forest fire smoke is bad for people, but not all fires in forests are bad. This is the conundrum faced by experts in forest management and public health: Climate change and decades of fire suppression that have increased fuels are contributing to larger and more intense wildfires and, in order to improve forest health…


May 6, 2022

Four UW researchers elected to the National Academy of Sciences for 2022

Four faculty members at the University of Washington have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences for 2022: Elizabeth Buffalo, professor and chair of physiology and biophysics; Joseph Mougous, professor of microbiology; Dr. Jay Shendure, professor of genome sciences; and James Truman, professor emeritus of biology.


May 4, 2022

Astronomers discover a rare ’black widow’ binary, with the shortest orbit yet

The flashing of a nearby star drew the attention of a team of astronomers, who discovered that it is part of a rare and mysterious system. As they report in a paper published May 4 in Nature, the stellar oddity appears to be a “black widow binary” — a type of system consisting of a rapidly spinning neutron star, or pulsar, that is circling and slowly consuming a smaller companion star, as its arachnid namesake does to its mate.


April 26, 2022

Scientists find elusive gas from post-starburst galaxies hiding in plain sight

Scientists once thought that post-starburst galaxies scattered all of their gas and dust — the fuel required for creating new stars — in violent bursts of energy, and with extraordinary speed. Now, a team led by University of Washington postdoctoral researcher Adam Smercina reports that these galaxies don’t scatter all of their star-forming fuel after all. Instead, after their supposed end, these dormant galaxies hold onto and compress large amounts of highly concentrated, turbulent gas. But contrary to expectation, they’re not using it to form stars.


April 22, 2022

Former UW Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences Robert Stacey to deliver address for classes of 2020 and 2021 on June 12

man in coat and tie

Former UW Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences Robert Stacey will speak to the graduates of the classes of 2020 and 2021 when they return to Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium for an in-person celebration on Sunday, June 12.


Heavens need environmental protection just like Earth, experts say

Space urgently needs special legal protection similar to that given to land, sea and atmosphere to protect its fragile environment, argues a team of scientists. The scientific, economic and cultural benefits of space should be considered against the damaging environmental impacts posed by an influx of space debris — roughly 60 miles above Earth’s surface — fueled by the rapid growth of so-called satellite mega-constellations. In a paper published April 22 in Nature Astronomy, the authors assert that space is an important environment to preserve on behalf of professional astronomers, amateur stargazers and Indigenous peoples.


April 20, 2022

Lasers trigger magnetism in atomically thin quantum materials

Researchers have discovered that light — from a laser — can trigger a form of magnetism in a normally nonmagnetic material. This magnetism centers on the behavior of electrons “spins,” which have a potential applications in quantum computing. Scientists discovered that electrons within the material became oriented in the same direction when illuminated by photons from a laser. By controlling and aligning electron spins at this level of detail and accuracy, this platform could have applications in quantum computing, quantum simulation and other fields. The experiment, led by scientists at the University of Washington, the University of Hong Kong and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, was published April 20 in Nature.


April 14, 2022

Rosalie Fish, student, athlete and activist, selected as Truman Scholar

two people

University of Washington junior Rosalie Fish has been selected for the prestigious Truman Scholarship, the third consecutive year that students from the UW were recognized with this national award.


April 13, 2022

UW names Tamara Michel Josserand VP for Development

portrait of woman at desk

Tamara Michel Josserand has been named Vice President for Development at the University of Washington, Senior Vice President for University Advancement Mary Gresch announced today. Josserand’s appointment begins May 31.  


Tony Award-winning producer and actor Ron Simons to deliver 2022 Commencement address

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Four-time Tony Award-winning producer Ron Simons, a University of Washington alumnus who is well known for his work on Broadway and in Hollywood, will deliver the 2022 Commencement address for the 147th ceremony, which takes place at Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium on June 11.


April 11, 2022

Even in a virtual classroom, preschoolers can gain reading skills

little boy lying on the floor reading a book

A new study by the University of Washington’s Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences finds that children can develop key reading skills in a virtual classroom with other students.



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