UW News

College of Engineering


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 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 28, 2020

SoundWatch: New smartwatch app alerts d/Deaf and hard-of-hearing users to birdsong, sirens and other desired sounds

A wrist with a smartwatch on it. The smartwatch has an alert that says "Car honk, 98%, Loud, 101 dB" It also has options to snooze the alert for 10 minutes or open in an app on the user's phone.

UW researchers have developed SoundWatch, a smartwatch app for deaf, Deaf and hard-of-hearing people who want to be aware of nearby sounds.


October 22, 2020

Simple actions can help people survive landslides, UW analysis shows

aerial view of mud and trees with building remains

Simple actions can dramatically improve a person’s chances of surviving a landslide, show records from 38 landslides in the U.S. and around the world. People who survived landslides tended to have moved upstairs or to higher ground, among other key actions.


October 12, 2020

Engineering lecture focuses on contact tracing: Monitoring COVID-19 infections while respecting privacy

A photo of the front of the Gates Center

This fall the UW’s annual engineering lecture will feature Stefano Tessaro, an associate professor in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering.


October 8, 2020

Airdropping sensors from moths: Researchers use flying insects to drop sensors from air, land them safely on the ground

UW researchers have created a sensor system that can ride aboard a small drone or an insect, such as a moth, until it gets to its destination.


October 7, 2020

UW books in brief: Children’s books on STEM professionals, a courageous personal memoir — and UW Press looks back at 100

New books by UW faculty members include children’s works profiling STEM researchers and a personal memoir of an immigrant’s journey to freedom. Also, UW Press remembers a century of publishing, and a book on British colonialism is honored.


October 6, 2020

All together now: Experiments with twisted 2D materials catch electrons behaving collectively

A diagram showing the overlap between the atomic layout of sheets of 2D materials

In a paper published Sept. 14 in the journal Nature Physics, a team led by the University of Washington reports that carefully constructed stacks of graphene — a 2D form of carbon — can exhibit highly correlated electron properties. The team also found evidence that this type of collective behavior likely relates to the emergence of exotic magnetic states.


October 5, 2020

Video: Using ‘Street View’ to track pandemic in Seattle over time

A 360 camera is mounted on top of a sedan

As the city of Seattle shut down in March 2020 to try to slow the spread of COVID-19, a group of University of Washington researchers decided to track how the city would react.


October 1, 2020

Faculty/staff honors: Teaching and mentoring award; three Aeronautics & Astronautics professors recognized — and state dance educator of the year

Etienne Cakpo

Recent honors to UW faculty have come from the American Institute for Aeronautics & Astronautics, the American Society of Composites, the Coalition for Excellence in Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology and the Dance Educators Association of Washington.


September 30, 2020

UW researchers driving around Seattle to track COVID-19 response over time

A panoramic view of a street corner. Cars and a pedestrian are labeled

UW researchers developed a project that scans the streets every few weeks to document how Seattle has reacted to the pandemic and what recovery looks like.


September 28, 2020

Soundbites: UW researchers examine deceptive ads on news websites

In this video: Franziska Roesner, associate professor in the Allen School Eric Zeng, graduate research assistant in the Allen School Journalists: download soundbites here With the election season ramping up, political ads are being splashed across the web. In the age of misinformation, how can news consumers tell if the ads they’re seeing are legitimate? USA…


Q&A: UW researchers clicked ads on 200 news sites to track misinformation

A study by UW researchers found that both mainstream and misinformation news sites displayed similar levels of problematic ads. UW News had a conversation with the team about this research, where ads on news sites come from, and how things might change leading up to the election.



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