A Washington State University researcher, Ming Xian, has been awarded $1.5 million from the National Institutes of Health for his research of hydrogen sulfide in treatments of heart disease, traumatic shock and blood loss, complications of diabetes and possibly even Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.
Science Market Update
On May 2nd, 2013, a very important addition to the WSU Pullman campus was dedicated. The Veterinary and Biomedical Research Building (VMRB) is now the seventh connected building in the WSU Research and Educational Complex. This new building will foster research relating specifically to biomedical questions revolving around human and animal health.
This development has been under construction since August 2010 and is the most newly added member to the Research and Educational Complex on the WSU Pullman campus. This $96 million dollar investment by WSU will focus on many health issues including:
- Heart health: How, by uncovering the biophysical mechanisms of cardiac muscle contraction, new discoveries into cardiac function and disease can be revealed.
- Emotional health: How understanding the basis of emotions of companion and production animals can improve the lives of people with affective disorders.
- Sleep and circadian rhythms: How rhythms, dysrhythms, and circadian biology affect animal biology and can improve and inhibit daily functions in animals and people.
- Neurological diseases: How neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease, can be treated more effectively by discovering the underlying causes and subsequently creating treatments to repair the loss of functionality.
- Obesity and Diabetes: How obesity and diabetes can be prevented by studying and understanding the relationship between the consumption of food and how energy is consequently regulated into the body.
- Drug addiction: How the biological actions of commonly abused drugs can be used to reverse the destrctive nature of addiction and help prevent the relapses of drug users.
This research facility is operating east of the Martin Stadium entrance and south of the Beasley Coliseum parking lot. This building boasts 77,250 net square feet (128,000 gross square feet) of state-of-the-art space, highly suitable for biomedical research, health science teaching, and research programs. Also included in this structure is a vivarium (an indoor facility for safely housing animals and plants in their natural environments for humane scientific observation), which will allow for gene targeting of the animals and provide necessary quarantined space to guarantee uncontaminated research. These labs and offices were specifically designed with the Veterinary Medicine Department of Integrative Physiology and Neuroscience in mind.
On the subject of this exciting new development, WSU regent Scott Carson remarks, “This building is the beginning. It’s our opportunity to compete for those wonderful young people that will be coming here in the future - the researchers that will do wonderful work because of the collaborative environment that this represents.”
Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) is one of the top leaders in research benefiting to animal and human health and well being. In fact, solely during the 2006 fiscal year, the research faculty placed the CVM well into the top tier of all veterinary schools by working with over $12.5 million in competitively funded research.
Some of these specialized areas are:
*Food & water-borne diseases
*Cardiovascular medicine & physiology
*Immunology and infectious diseases
*Microbial genomics and proteomics
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Mycology is the branch of biology devoted to the study of fungi (mushrooms), which, we're increasingly learning, are truly astonishing in what they can do. With the support of a grant from the EPA, a team of Washington State University scientists is developing a mycofiltration system to purify storm water of bacteria before it re-enters the urban water supply. Professor Marc Beutel is an environmental engineer who has joined forces with renowned mycologist Paul Stamets of Fungi Perfecti, a research laboratory and retail company also in Washington State. Together they have completed the first phase of a study titled Mycofiltration Biotechnology for Pathogen Management, wherein they have successfully used fungi to create a "living net" to filter effluent bacteria. The project was funded by an EPA Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) award.
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The Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (WADDL) within the College of Veterinary Medicine at Washington State University in Pullman is one of an elite group of veterinary facilities that use sophisticated molecular tools to diagnose disease, with labs for bacteriology, parasitology, pathology, serology, and virology. One threat they've been keeping a particularly keen eye out for this summer is West Nile Virus, which they have in fact found in horses, and which led the State to issue warnings for both animals (to have them vaccinated) and humans (to take extra precautions). West Nile is transmitted from infected birds, through biting mosquitos, and on to larger warm-blooded creatures. Because this has been such a hot, dry summer across most of the U.S., birds and mosquitos are finding themselves more often sharing the same rare watering hole, which may be causing the rise in West Nile cases. West Nile is an example of a zoonotic disease, meaning that it can be transfered between species. The role of veterinary labs like WADDL in tracking and identifying cases of these diseases is doubly important, then, as they work to prevent epidemics in our animals as well as ourselves.
A few weeks ago the Food and Drug Administration announced a ban on the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) in all baby bottles and plastic children's cups. BPA is an estrogen-mimicking molecule that can cause significant developmental problems in children. The federal ban comes on the heels of several state BPA bans, including one in Washington State.
Washington State Legislature recently approved $37 million for the completion of the new Biomedical and Health Sciences Building in Spokane. This new funding came from a combination of WSU capital financing and state bonds which will allow construction to finish in the fall of 2013.
When the information superhighway bypassed the local library and newsstand to bring electronic content directly to our laptops, we were told it was a great day for the environment. Think of all those trees that would no longer need to be cut down for paper! What we didn't think about (right away, at least, in all the giddiness of the moment), was that those massive computer servers had to exist somewhere in real space, and boy were they ever going to use a lot of energy. And all those computers downloading information were going to be a drain on some city's power supply too.
Washington State University Researchers have recently begun merging elements of aging neuroscience and cutting edge technology to help aging seniors live at home independently for as long as possible. The main goal of the WSU Pullman researchers is to make a prototype "smart home" that would use technology such as movement sensors to help seniors remain safe and healthy while living independently.
Science Research at Washington State University, Pullman has led to a new imaging technology for prostate cancer as well as several potential treatments. The technology uses a protein found only on the surface of prostate cancer cells called PSMA (Prostate-Specific Membrane Antigen) as a target for compounds that can lead to easy detection of tumors or even destroy the tumors themselves.