UW News

News releases


December 8, 2022

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope shows how several stars ‘stirred up’ the Southern Ring Nebula

In a study published Dec. 8 in Nature Astronomy, an international research team, led by Orsola De Marco of Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, analyzed 10 highly detailed exposures taken by the JWST of the Southern Ring Nebula. Their calculations show the central star that ejected the expanding nebula gas was originally three times the mass of the sun, and that unseen companions shaped the nebula’s intricate features.


December 5, 2022

New blood test can detect ‘toxic’ protein years before Alzheimer’s symptoms emerge, study shows

stylized image of the human brain

Researchers at the University of Washington have detected “toxic” small aggregates of a particular protein in the blood of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, as well as in individuals who showed no signs of cognitive impairment at the time the blood sample was taken, but who developed it at a later date. This blood test picks up oligomers — or small, misfolded aggregates — of the amyloid beta protein, which scientists believe triggers the development of Alzheimer’s.


November 29, 2022

UW names Jack Martin VP for Marketing and Communications

Jack Martin

Jack Martin has been named Vice President for Marketing and Communications at the University of Washington, Senior Vice President for University Advancement Mary Gresch announced Tuesday. Martin’s appointment begins Dec. 1.


Strongest Arctic cyclone on record led to surprising loss of sea ice

ship pointing into icy water

The strongest Arctic cyclone ever observed struck in January 2022. A new analysis led by the University of Washington shows that while forecasts accurately predicted the massive storm, models seriously underestimated its impact on sea ice. Results suggest how forecast models for a changing Arctic Ocean could improve.


Dr. Gautham Reddy, Faculty Senate chair, outlines priorities for term

head shot

Improving faculty dispute resolution policies, promoting ways to improve terms of employment for clinical faculty, reenvisioning the merit and promotion process for faculty on all three University of Washington campuses, and continuing to promote diversity, equity and inclusion practices are top priorities for this year’s UW Faculty Senate Chair Dr. Gautham Reddy, a professor in Department of Radiology in the School of Medicine.


November 16, 2022

More US adults carrying loaded handguns daily, study finds

New research led by the University of Washington finds that the number of U.S. adult handgun owners carrying a loaded handgun on their person doubled from 2015 to 2019, and that a larger proportion of handgun owners carried handguns in states with less restrictive carrying regulations.


Q&A: UW researchers find privacy risks with 3D tours on real estate websites

A screenshot of a virtual tour of a house. The scene is in a living room and there is a bar over the picture that says "click to explore this 3D space"

University of Washington researchers examined 44 3D tours in 44 states across the U.S. to look for potential security issues when personal details were included in the tour.


November 9, 2022

Fundraising effort to restore, reimagine historic ASUW Shell House is in full swing

ASUW Shell House

Perched on the southeast corner of the University of Washington campus, where the Montlake Cut meets Union Bay, the ASUW Shell House looks as vulnerable as it does majestic. Over the course of a century, the structure built as a critical wartime post later was the home to a group of rowers who captured the nation’s imagination before becoming an all-but-forgotten artifact of the past. Now, propelled by a wave of renewed interest, the 12,000-square-foot wooden structure is the focus of an $18.5 million campaign that will restore and renovate the space.


November 2, 2022

Study reveals how ancient fish colonized the deep sea

A new University of Washington-led study reports that throughout Earth’s ancient history, there were several periods of time when many fish actually favored the cold, dark, barren waters of the deep sea instead of shallow ocean waters that are warm and full of resources.


Permanent daylight saving time would reduce deer-vehicle collisions, study shows

University of Washington researchers found that adopting permanent daylight saving time in the United States would reduce deer-vehicle collisions and likely prevent an estimated 36,550 deer deaths, 33 human deaths, 2,054 human injuries and $1.19 billion in costs each year. Deer-vehicle collisions would decrease under permanent DST because skies would be brighter later into the evening.


October 31, 2022

How low-cost earbuds can make newborn hearing screening accessible

A person holds a child, who is looking at the camera. Another person's arm holds a probe to the child's ear. The probe is connected to a smartphone, which the third person is holding.

A team led by researchers at the University of Washington has created a new hearing screening system that uses a smartphone and earbuds.


October 26, 2022

UW is No. 6 in the world, according to US News Best Global Universities

university of washington sign

The University of Washington rose from No. 7 to No. 6 on the U.S. News & World Report’s Best Global Universities rankings, released on Tuesday. The UW maintained its No. 2 ranking among U.S. public institutions.


October 24, 2022

A new approach, not currently described by the Clean Air Act, could eliminate air pollution disparities

An aerial shot of Seattle showing a large road surrounded by neighborhoods and businesses. There is water on the right and downtown is in the top left.

A team led by researchers at the University of Washington compared three potential strategies for reducing fine particulate matter pollution disparities across the contiguous U.S.


October 18, 2022

UW and SHA tap Bellwether Housing to build mixed-income development in U District

building rendering

The University of Washington and the Seattle Housing Authority today announced that Bellwether Housing has been selected to develop a mixed-income high-rise of about 240 units in the University District, pending approval by the UW Board of Regents.


October 17, 2022

Isotope data strengthens suspicions of ivory stockpile theft

A study led by Thure Cerling, a professor at the University of Utah, and co-authored by Sam Wasser, a University of Washington professor of biology, used carbon isotope science to show that tusks from a guarded government stockpile in Burundi have somehow made their way into the hands of illegal ivory traders.


UW President Ana Mari Cauce elected to National Academy of Medicine for ‘exemplary, visionary leadership’ and research

Ana Mari Cauce

University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce is among the new members elected to the National Academy of Medicine “for exemplary and visionary leadership in public higher education administration; innovations in health research, education, and service systems that enhance pathways for women and underrepresented groups; initiatives to address interconnections between health equity, population health, and climate change; and pioneering behavioral health intervention research on Latinos.”


Q&A: UnlockedMaps provides real-time accessibility information for urban rail transit in six metro areas

A screenshot of a map of Chicago. Rail stations are shown as green (accessible), yellow (elevator outage) or orange (not accessible) circles

UW researchers developed UnlockedMaps, a web-based map that allows users to see in real time how accessible rail transit stations are in six metro areas. UnlockedMaps shows which stations are accessible and which ones are experiencing elevator outages.


October 14, 2022

UW’s 2022 entering class is largest and most diverse

students on campus

The University of Washington’s newest freshman class is the largest and most diverse in the school’s 161-year history.


October 13, 2022

Animals in national parks impacted by even just a few people

a brown bear walks by with water behind

A new University of Washington-led study has found that even in remote, rarely visited national parks, the presence of even just a few humans impacts the activity of wildlife that live there. Nearly any level of human activity in a protected area like a national park can alter the behavior of animals there.


October 12, 2022

Endangered fruit-eating animals play an outsized role in a tropical forest — losing them could have dire consequences

A new study by researchers at the University of Washington shows that losing a particular group of endangered animals — those that eat fruit and help disperse the seeds of trees and other plants — could severely disrupt seed-dispersal networks in the Atlantic Forest, a shrinking stretch of tropical forest and critical biodiversity hotspot on the coast of Brazil.


UW’s Yejin Choi wins MacArthur Foundation ‘genius grant’

a person stands in front of a stairwell

Yejin Choi, University of Washington professor in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering, has received a “genius grant” from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Choi uses natural language processing to develop artificial intelligence systems that have the ability to reason and can understand the implied meanings in human language.


October 3, 2022

Study suggests La Niña winters could keep on coming

snowy scene with bare trees

Forecasters are predicting a “three-peat La Niña” this year. This will be the third winter in a row that the Pacific Ocean has been in a La Niña cycle, something that’s happened only twice before in records going back to 1950. A new study of temperature patterns in the tropical Pacific Ocean suggests that climate change is, in the short term, favoring La Niñas.


September 27, 2022

Advancing safety at UW, in the community and beyond

campus image

As the academic year gets underway, the University of Washington’s public campuses are again bustling and busy with students, faculty, staff and visitors. While the focus is on academics, research, learning and building community, on any given day, there may be safety challenges and individuals who feel unsafe for any number of reasons.


September 26, 2022

Heat-related mortality risk is widespread across Washington state, study shows

W in sunshine

Heat-related deaths occur across Washington state, even in regions with typically milder climates. This is the most extensive study yet of heat-related mortality in Washington state, and the first to look beyond the major population to and include rural areas. Researchers used statistical methods to uncover “hidden” deaths that may have listed something else, like illness or a chronic disease, as the primary cause.


UW joins industry-academia alliance to accelerate research in neuroscience

An image of neurons under a microscope

The University of Washington has joined the Alliance for Therapies in Neuroscience (ATN), a long-term research partnership between academia and industry geared to transform the fight against brain diseases and disorders of the central nervous system. Launched in 2021 by the University of California, San Francisco, UC Berkeley, Genentech — a member of the Roche group — and Roche Holding AG, the ATN seeks to accelerate the development of new therapies for a broad range of brain and central nervous system conditions.


September 22, 2022

Deepest scientific ocean drilling effort sheds light on Japan’s next ‘big one’

White ship seen from below

A 2018 expedition that drilled farther into the seafloor than ever before — almost 2 miles — sought to take measurements of stress as close as possible to a tectonic fault off the coast of Japan. Surprisingly, the researchers found little built-up tectonic stress. The findings could help to better understand earthquakes in subduction zones around the world.


September 19, 2022

A smartphone’s camera and flash could help people measure blood oxygen levels at home

A hand holding a cellphone with one finger over the flash and the camera. The flash is shining through the finger and glowing red.

In a proof-of-principle study, University of Washington and University of California San Diego researchers have shown that smartphones are capable of detecting blood oxygen saturation levels down to 70%. This is the lowest value that pulse oximeters should be able to measure, as recommended by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.


September 15, 2022

UW breaks ground on $102 million Interdisciplinary Engineering Building

groundbreaking

Wearing purple hard hats and using gold-plated shovels, officials from the University of Washington broke ground Thursday on a new, $102 million Interdisciplinary Engineering Building to be constructed along Stevens Way east of the Husky Union Building. Once complete, the state-of-the-art 70,000-square-foot building will be an example of a student-focused learning facility backed by both public and private investments. The project aims to fuel economic growth and create a pipeline of future, local engineering talent.


September 13, 2022

Q&A: UW researchers develop a reactor that can destroy ‘forever chemicals’

Metal objects on a table. There are two tubes and also two other hexagonal shapes

UW researchers have created a reactor that can completely break down hard-to-destroy chemicals.


September 9, 2022

Pandemic federal programs helped kids in need get access to 1.5 billion meals every month

National Guard distributing food

  When schools closed during the first year of the pandemic, an immediate and potentially devastating problem surfaced: How would millions of children in struggling families get the school meals many of them depended on? The U.S. Congress responded by authorizing the Department of Agriculture to roll out two major programs. It launched the “grab…


September 8, 2022

UW Board of Regents votes to exit direct fossil fuel investments by 2027

The University of Washington W

The University of Washington Board of Regents on Thursday approved a resolution to begin exiting all direct investments in fossil-fuel companies with the goal of complete divestiture by Fiscal Year 2027. The resolution includes a commitment not to renew indirect investments in funds primarily focusing on fossil-fuel extraction or reserves. Both commitments include allowances for firms contributing to the transition to sustainable energy.


September 7, 2022

These female hummingbirds evolved to look like males — apparently to evade aggression

1 in 5 adult female white-necked jacobin hummingbirds look like males. New research from the University of Washington shows that this is a rare case of “deceptive mimicry” within a species: Females with male-like plumage are trying to pass themselves off as males, and as a result receive a benefit in the form of reduced aggression from males.


August 29, 2022

Black-owned restaurants disproportionately impacted during pandemic

A new study led by the University of Washington uses cellphone location data to estimate the number of visits to Black-owned restaurants in 20 U.S. cities during the first year of the pandemic. The study finds that despite the “Black-owned” labelling campaign launched by companies such as Yelp, the number of visits to Black-owned restaurants dropped off after an initial spike and was inconsistent around the country.


August 25, 2022

‘Dangerous’ and ‘extremely dangerous’ heat stress to become more common by 2100

maps of globe colored orange and red

A new study projects the number of days with “dangerous” and “extremely dangerous” mixtures of heat and humidity by the end of this century. Even if global warming is limited to 2 degrees Celsius, results show that deadly heat waves will become much more common in the mid-latitudes, and many tropical regions will experience “dangerous” heat for about half the year.


August 23, 2022

Beach trash accumulates in predictable patterns on Washington and Oregon shores

yellow twine displayed on sand

Volunteers spent thousands of hours recording trash on beaches in Washington and Oregon to show that certain beaches, and certain areas of a single beach, are “sticky zones” that accumulate litter. Finding patterns for where litter lands could help to better prevent and remove trash in the marine environment.


August 11, 2022

Bird behavior influenced by human activity during COVID-19 lockdowns

a bird flaps its wings on a branch

For birds that inhabit developed areas of the Pacific Northwest, the reduction in noise and commotion from COVID-19 lockdowns may have allowed them to use a wider range of habitats in cities, a new University of Washington study has found.


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.



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