Perceptions of crime are shaped by a combination of personal experience and the media, says Michael Gaffney, associate director of the Division of Governmental Studies and Services at Washington State University.
Archive for the ‘Research’ Category
Nicholas P. Lovrich, a Washington State University emeritus professor known as a researcher, mentor, interim chancellor and faculty representative to the state Legislature, recently was honored for a career of significant positive impact on the university.
Lovrich began his WSU career in 1977 as an assistant professor in political science. He served as associate chair and director of graduate studies and became director of governmental studies and services, a position he held for more than 30 years.
A faculty member is one of about 25 scientists selected to participate in a prestigious international symposium this week, where he will discuss his work on drug and alcohol addiction and upcoming collaboration with WSU Spokane addiction researchers. This collaboration is expected to lead to combined behavioral and pharmaceutical therapies.
Brendan Walker, Washington State University associate professor of psychology and neuroscience, attended the fifth Indo-American “Frontiers of Science” symposium, sponsored by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the Kavli Foundation, in Agra, India. “Frontiers of Science” facilitates collaboration between nationally and internationally recognized young scientists in the physical and life sciences. Some previous participants have gone on to become NAS members and Nobel Prize recipients.
“I was very surprised when the invitation from the president of the NAS came. It’s definitely an honor,” he said.
In the wake of the Newtown, Conn., grade school killings, the Associated Press has issued guidelines for reporters on coverage of mental disorders.
“That’s a good, first step in dispelling the myth that autism causes people to commit horrific crimes,” said a Washington State University psychology professor who has researched the disorder.
After Adam Lanza shot 27 people and then himself on Dec. 14, numerous media reports implied a link between his shooting rampage and the fact that he had Asperger’s syndrome, a high-functioning type of autism.
“When I first heard that, I thought, ‘Oh no, this is bad. This is really bad,’” said WSU psychologist Theodore Beauchaine, who spent a decade researching the condition that affects one in 88 children, according to the most recent estimate by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Researchers at Washington State University are preparing for a Northwest invasion of the zebra mussel – a small, distinctly striped and rather tenacious freshwater mollusk that can quickly encrust underwater surfaces. The mussels have caused significant damage in other parts of the country and pose an enormous risk to the hydroelectric infrastructure, recreational facilities and unique ecological system of the Columbia River Basin.
“Once they are established in the water, they are almost impossible to eradicate,” said Stephen Bollens, director of the WSU School of the Environment and lead investigator for a $630,000 grant from the Bonneville Power Administration to ramp up preparations.
“The problem is no longer food scarcity, but too much food,” said Halley Morrison, a recent WSU biology graduate and author of an interdisciplinary Honors College senior thesis that was published in the journal Appetite.
Morrison, together with Tom Power, professor and chair of the human development department, analyzed more than 200 mother-child surveys and found that a mother’s eating habits and behavior at the dinner table can influence her preschooler’s obesity risk.
WSU researchers have lengthened their list of environmental toxicants that can negatively affect as many as three generations of an exposed animal’s offspring.
Writing in the online journal PLOS ONE, scientists led by WSU molecular biologist Michael Skinner document reproductive disease and obesity in the descendants of rats exposed to various plastic compounds (including BPA). In a separate article in the journal Reproductive Toxicology, they report the first observation of cross-generation disease from a widely used hydrocarbon jet fuel mixture the military refers to as JP8.
Both studies are the first of their kind to see obesity stemming from the process of “epigenetic transgenerational inheritance.
Will Hamlin (right), a professor in Department of English, and Hubert Schwabl (left), a professor in the School of Biological Sciences, have been selected to receive two of the first International Research Travel Awards sponsored by the WSU Office of International Programs and Office of Research.
NBC’s Bay Area Investigative Unit found, on average, there is a crash every other day in California, caused by an emergency driver who is distracted.
The report features Bryan Vila, a professor of criminal justice and a researcher associated with the WSU Sleep and Performance Research Center at WSU Spokane. The study reviewed more than 2.4 million collision reports recorded by the CHP from 2006-2011. Click the following link to see the NBC video report.
Vila and his team have been examining the impact of fatigue and distractions on law enforcement officer driving performance. They also have been comparing collision risks for those who work day shifts with those who work night shifts.
The work is being done under a two-year contract with the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST).
The study is part of a continuing line of research related to police officer performance, safety, and health spearheaded by Vila, who heads a simulation laboratory that is designed to mimic police officers’ work environments and is located in WSU Spokane’s Sleep and Performance Research Center.
By Eric Sorensen, WSU science writer
Washington State University researchers have developed a new drug candidate that dramatically improves the cognitive function of rats with Alzheimer’s-like mental impairment.
Their compound, which is intended to repair brain damage that has already occurred, is a significant departure from current Alzheimer’s treatments, which either slow the process of cell death or inhibit cholinesterase, an enzyme believed to break down a key neurotransmitter involved in learning and memory development.
Such drugs, says Joe Harding, a professor in WSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine, are not designed to restore lost brain function, which can be done by rebuilding connections between nerve cells.
“This is about recovering function,” he says. “That’s what makes these things totally unique. They’re not designed necessarily to stop anything. They’re designed to fix what’s broken. As far as we can see, they work.”
Harding, Jay Wright (regents professor, psychology), and other WSU colleagues report their findings in the online “Fast Forward” section of the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. Continue story →