UW News

College of Engineering


September 15, 2021

Rankings: UW School of Nursing undergrad program tied for No. 2 in nation

The University of Washington School of Nursing tied for second-best in the nation for its undergraduate programs, according to a new ranking from U.S. News & World Report.


September 9, 2021

NSF to fund revolutionary center for optoelectronic, quantum technologies

Aerial shot of the University of Washington campus in Seattle

The National Science Foundation has announced it will fund a new endeavor to bring atomic-level precision to the devices and technologies that underpin much of modern life, and will transform fields like information technology in the decades to come. The five-year, $25 million Science and Technology Center grant will found the Center for Integration of Modern Optoelectronic Materials on Demand — or IMOD — a collaboration of scientists and engineers at 11 universities led by the University of Washington.


September 2, 2021

UW engineer explains how the redesigned levee system in New Orleans helped mitigate the impact of Hurricane Ida

A graphic showing Hurricane Ida superimposed on top of a map

UW News asked Michael Motley, a UW associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, to explain how levees protect cities like New Orleans. 


July 29, 2021

UW to lead new NSF institute for using artificial intelligence to understand dynamic systems

Purple and white lines that are tracing the shape of the UW W.

The UW will lead a new artificial intelligence research institute that will focus on fundamental AI and machine learning theory, algorithms and applications for real-time learning and control of complex dynamic systems, which describe chaotic situations where conditions are constantly shifting and hard to predict.


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 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 13, 2021

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

‘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

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.


June 14, 2021

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

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 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 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

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 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 3, 2021

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 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

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 20, 2021

Using engineering methods to track the imperceptible movements of stony corals

A coral reef with orange fish swimming around

A new study led by UW researchers borrowed image-analysis methods from engineering to spot the minute movements of a stony coral.


April 19, 2021

Arguing on the internet: UW researchers studying how to make online arguments productive

A person looking shocked at what they are seeing on their phone

UW researchers worked with almost 260 people to understand online disagreements and to develop potential design interventions that could make these discussions more productive and centered around relationship-building.


April 1, 2021

New system that uses smartphone or computer cameras to measure pulse, respiration rate could help future personalized telehealth appointments

A person holding a phone in front of their face

A UW-led team has developed a method that uses the camera on a person’s smartphone or computer to take their pulse and breathing rate from a real-time video of their face.


March 16, 2021

‘Telling Stories’: Imagined tales of artificial intelligence presented by the UW Tech Policy Lab

Photo of authore -- Authors of "Telling Stories: On Culturally Responsive Artificial Intelligence" are Dennys Antonialli, InternetLab, Brazil; Chinmayi Arun, National Law University, Delhi, India; Joanna Bryson, University of Bath, England; Darren Byler, UW; Ryan Calo, UW; Jeff Cao, Tencent Research Institute, China; Jack Clark, OpenAI, United States, Batya Friedman, UW; Sue Glueck, Microsoft; Sabine Hauert, University of Bristol, England; Alejandro Hevia, University of Chile; Ian Kerr, University of Ottawa, Canada; Tadayoshi Kohno, UW; Lisa Nathan, University of British Columbia, Canada; Joseph Nkurunziza, Never Again Rwanda, Rwanda; Nnenna Nwakanma, World Wide Web Foundation, Côte d’Ivoire; Amir Rashidi, Center for Human Rights in Iran; Rohan Samarajiva, LIRNEasia, Sri Lanka; Jeroen van den Hoven, Delft University of Technology, Netherlands.

Tales of artificial intelligence and its effects on future life are gathered in “Telling Stories: On Culturally Responsive Artificial Intelligence,” presented by the UW Tech Policy Lab.


March 10, 2021

Helpful behavior during pandemic tied to recognizing common humanity

Woman gives a box of masks to a donation drive at a UW parking lot.

A new University of Washington study finds that an identification with all humanity, as opposed to identification with a geographic area like a country or town, predicts whether someone will engage in “prosocial” behaviors particular to the pandemic, such as donating extra masks or coming to the aid of a sick person.


March 9, 2021

Alexa, do I have an irregular heart rhythm? First AI system for contactless monitoring of heart rhythm using smart speakers

A small white box on a table and a person sitting in front of it (their back is to the camera)

UW researchers have developed a new skill for a smart speaker that for the first time monitors both regular and irregular heartbeats without physical contact.


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.


February 19, 2021

‘Small moon’ shapes allow DNA devices to attach in precise orientations

A black image with a white circle in the center. The circle has a hole that is slightly off center.

A team of engineers, including one at the University of Washington, has developed a technique that allows for the precise placement of molecules formed from folded DNA in not only a specific location but also in a specific orientation


Vice Provost for Research Mary Lidstrom stepping down after 15 years

portrait of mary lidstrom

After more than 15 years serving as Vice Provost for Research, Mary Lidstrom will step down from her position on Aug. 31, 2021, with plans to return full time to the faculty, concentrate on her research, and establish mentoring and diversity, equity and inclusion programs.


February 10, 2021

List of 1,000 inspiring Black scientists includes seven from UW

collage of portraits

Seven University of Washington scientists are included in Cell Mentor’s list of 1,000 inspiring Black scientists, published in December 2020. Cell Mentor is a collaborative resource between Cell Press and Cell Signaling Technology.


February 4, 2021

‘Audeo’ teaches artificial intelligence to play the piano

A hand pressing a piano key

A UW team created Audeo, a system that can generate music using only visual cues of someone playing the piano.


January 27, 2021

$11.45 million federal grant will develop transit, mobility tech for underserved groups

As part of the Transportation Data Equity Initiative, the UW is developing technology that will allow underserved groups to use tools similar to Google Directions and OneBusyAway to get from place to place.


January 18, 2021

Researchers use lasers and molecular tethers to create perfectly patterned platforms for tissue engineering

Image of a biological scaffold for tissue engineering that has had proteins tethered to it in a specific pattern, in this case the University of Washington's former logo

Researchers at the University of Washington have developed a technique to modify naturally occurring biological polymers with protein-based biochemical messages that affect cell behavior. Their approach, published the week of Jan. 18 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, uses a near-infrared laser to trigger chemical adhesion of protein messages to a scaffold made from biological polymers such as collagen, a connective tissue found throughout our bodies.


January 12, 2021

Video: Detecting COVID-19 in wastewater

Man in hard hat and gloves in small room holding large vial with clear light brown fluid in it.

When someone has the coronavirus, some of it is shed in their fecal matter. So what we flush has become useful to UW researchers developing a new testing method for COVID-19 in sewage. They’re looking at wastewater that flows from people’s homes, sampling it at manholes and neighborhood pump stations before it goes to sewage treatment plants.


New treatment allows some people with spinal cord injury to regain hand and arm function

A hand picking up a tiny bead

Using physical therapy combined with a noninvasive method of stimulating nerve cells in the spinal cord, University of Washington researchers helped six Seattle area participants regain some hand and arm mobility.


December 14, 2020

Behold! UW-authored books and music for the good Dawgs on your shopping list

Here’s a quick look at some giftworthy books and music created by UW faculty and staff in 2020, and a reminder of some recent favorites.


December 7, 2020

The Smellicopter is an obstacle-avoiding drone that uses a live moth antenna to seek out smells

A hawkmoth in the lower right hand corner of the photo with an out of focus drone behind it

A team led by the UW has developed Smellicopter: an autonomous drone that uses a live antenna from a moth to navigate toward smells. Smellicopter can also sense and avoid obstacles as it travels through the air.


December 3, 2020

Tire-related chemical is largely responsible for adult coho salmon deaths in urban streams

A team led by researchers at UW Tacoma, UW and Washington State University Puyallup has discovered a chemical that kills coho salmon in urban streams before the fish can spawn.


November 24, 2020

Four UW faculty members named AAAS fellows for 2020

The American Association for the Advancement of Science has named four University of Washington faculty members as AAAS Fellows, according to a Nov. 24 announcement from the organization. The four are part of a cohort of 489 new fellows for 2020, which were chosen by their peers for “their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.”


November 17, 2020

UW part of $5.8M contract to study wireless charging on moon

an image of the moon

A team of organizations — led by the space technology company Astrobotic and including the University of Washington and the UW spinout WiBotic — has received a $5.8 million contract to develop a line of lightweight, ultrafast wireless chargers that could help both humans and robots live and work on the moon.


November 2, 2020

Break it up: Polymer derived from material in shrimp’s shells could deliver anti-cancer drugs to tumor sites

Mouse mammary cancer cells that are being treated with a nanoparticle that can deliver an anti-cancer drug into the cells.

A University of Washington team led by Miqin Zhang, a professor of materials science and engineering and of neurological surgery, has developed a nanoparticle-based drug delivery system that can ferry a potent anti-cancer drug through the bloodstream safely. Their nanoparticle is derived from chitin, a natural and organic polymer that, among other things, makes up the outer shells of shrimp.


October 29, 2020

UW Space Policy and Research Center brings researchers, policymakers together for online symposium Nov. 6

A preview of the Nov. 6 SPARC Symposium, which will feature a conversation with Andy Weir, author of “The Martian.”



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