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In the Media

Articles about the college from around the world.


  • Fertility can hinge on uterus swimming conditions

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  • May 25

    May 25, 2017
    Recruiting at Central Washington University

  • Jaak Panksepp, 'rat tickler' who revealed emotional lives of animals, dies at 73

    The Washington Post
  • In Memory: Dr. Jaak Panksepp

    Renowned WSU Researcher Dies

    Washington State University lost a remarkable scholar, colleague, and human being when Dr. Jaak Panksepp passed away on April 18, 2017.  Dr. Panksepp is known worldwide as the father of “Affective Neuroscience”, a field of study that examines the neurobiological basis of emotions.  His early work was performed at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio. In 2006 he moved to Washington State University to accept the Bernice and Joseph Baily Chair in Animal Well-Being in the College of Veterinary Medicine.

    Jaak was a prolific researcher with over 270 research publications and 12 books, most famous of which are the seminal Affective Neuroscience: The Foundations of Human and Animal Emotions (1998) and his more recent book with co-author Lucy Bivens The Archaeology of the Mind (2012). He is best known in the popular press for his work on rat “laughter”.  In the 1990’s, in collaboration with Dr. Jeffrey Burgdorf, he discovered that when young rats engage rough and tumble play, or when “tickled” by a human hand that mimics rough and tumble play, they emit a high-frequency vocalization that is imperceptible to humans. Because the vocalization or chirping was associated with “tickling”, it became informally known as “laughter”. Follow up work by Panksepp and colleagues, as well as others, have shown these vocalizations associated with several positive emotional states and the brain structures involved are being mapped.

    While a focus on rat laughter may appear to be science run amok on an arcane topic, there is a much more serious element to Jaak’s work. Major depression is a serious disease that impacts over 16 million Americans. A major component of autism, which affects an estimated 1 in 68 children, is failure to engage in normal social behaviors, including play. As debilitating as these diseases are, modern medicine has made paltry headway in devising treatment modalities to mitigate their impact. A major reason for the lack of progress is the poor understanding that scientists have of the neurobiology of joy and play, primarily due to the lack of good animal models. Many scientists shy away from these topics because they are fraught with accusations of anthropomorphizing and lack of rigor. But Jaak was not afraid to engage in research on emotions. He made it his life’s work to develop a better biological understanding of emotional states of mind through the simple concept that emotions did not originate with humans, but emotions have a long evolutionary history and are present throughout the animal kingdom. Further, he would argue that accepting this premise is the first step towards developing a deep scientific understanding of emotions and is necessary if we are to alleviate the very real human burden of emotional dysfunction.

    His conceptualization of the neurobiology of emotions developed a strong following in the psychiatric community, and he was a frequent speaker at national and international conferences. He was actively engaged in research right up to the time of his death with 11 research or theoretical publications in 2016 alone.  Beyond his impact on the modern conceptualization of emotions, which is considerable, perhaps the most solid achievement of his work has been the development of rapastinel, a drug that alters the function of the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor, one of the most important neurotransmitter receptors in the brain.  This compound came from a line of research that originally developed between Jaak with Dr. Joseph Moskal of the Falk Center for Molecular Therapeutics at Northwestern University. It is the first antidepressant drug to be developed by identifying a drug target from a neurobiological understanding emotions. In 2014 rapastinel received Fast Track designation from the Food and Drug Administration for use in treatment-resistant depression. Fast Track designation is reserved for drugs that represent a new class of drugs that have promise for serious or life-threatening disease and address an unmet medical need. In 2016 the drug entered into Phase 3 clinical trials in which large scale human studies are performed to determine overall effectiveness. If these trials are successful, rapastinel should become available for general medical use in 2018.

    Jaak was also actively involved in departmental affairs, always willing (when not traveling) to engage colleagues and students alike. His knowledge of brain anatomy and neurochemistry was encyclopedic, and his thinking sharp as he would press both locals and visitors on their topics. In addition, Jaak was a friendly and compassionate human being. He was a source of wise council whether the issue was a scientific, departmental, or personal matter. He will be sorely missed.

    A memorial in Pullman will be forthcoming.
  • Smerdon Delivers Austin Distinguished Lecture

    SMB Professor Mick Smerdon will deliver the University of Idaho’s College of Science’s Robert B. and Floretta F. Austin Distinguished Lecture in Science April 27, 2017. His lecture entitled “DNA Repair Doctors WITH (Chromatin) Borders: Protecting Cells From Chaos and Cancer” is free and open to the public. Read More
  • He Learned About Science By Rubbing Calves' Ears

      NPR
  • Dr. Jon Pennell assumed the title of WVC President from his previous position of President-Elect

    Jon Pennell

    Dr. Jon Pennell (’81 DVM) assumed the title of WVC President from his previous position of President-Elect

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  • Undergraduate Neuroscience Student Named a Top Ten Senior for 2017

    Undergraduate neuroscience student Angela Rocchi has been named a Top Ten Senior for 2017. She will receive an award from the Office of Undergraduate Education at a ceremony on April 24th. 
  • PrIMe researcher receives AKC Canine Health Foundation grant to study adverse drug effects in diabetic dogs.

    The American Kennel Club (AKC) Canine Health Foundation has awarded $14,435 to Dr. Nicolas Villarino to study adverse drug reactions in diabetic dogs.  The project entitled “Development of an in vitro model for individualization of pharmacological interventions in diabetic dogs”  will study how the effects of hyperglycemia-induced metabolic changes affect drug disposition.  In human diabetic patients, hyperglycemia induced metabolic changes are known to increase the risk of adverse drug reactions.  The long term goal of this line of research is to enable veterinarians to optimize drug doses in diabetic dogs in order to avoid adverse drug reactions.

    Source: AKC Canine Health Foundation
  • WSU Honors College student wins SURCA award for individualized medicine research

    Marie AndresenMarie Andresen, a WSU Honors College student mentored by PrIMe researcher Dr Michael Court, won a Novice Researcher Award for her presentation on “Pharmacogenomics of Propofol Metabolism by Cytochrome P450 Enzymes in Dogs.” at the SURCA poster event on March 27th 2017.  SURCA is the Showcase for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities that is held each year to provide a venue for students to disseminate the results of their research, scholarship, and creative activities.  The work presented by Marie is part of her honors thesis project with her final defense scheduled for April 13th 2017.  Marie has been accepted into the 7-year DVM track through the Honors College and will begin her veterinary training in the fall of 2018.

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  • Technology helps preserve fertility of boys with cancer

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  • Dr. Rita Fuchs Lokensgard Appointed as Chairperson of the Neurobiology of Motivated Behavior Study Section

    IPN's Dr. Rita Fuchs Lokensgard has been appointed as Chairperson of the Neurobiology of Motivated Behavior Study Section at the NIH Center for Scientific Review. Congratulations! 
  • Three WSU women in STEM win Goldwater Scholarships

    Three WSU women in STEM win Goldwater Scholarships WSU News
  • Neuroscience Undergraduate Student Receives Barry Goldwater Scholarship

    Congratulations to undergraduate Neuroscience student Julianna Brutman for receiving the Barry Goldwater Scholarship! 
  • Vaccinating Increases Family Wealth, Girls' Education

    Global Health Perspective
  • Six IPN Faculty Named Jerry Newbrey Teaching Scholars

    Congratulations to the IPN faculty for being named Jerry Newbrey Teaching Scholars: 

    Dr. Cynthia Faux:  VM-512 - Veterinary Anatomy II
    Dr. Joseph Harding:  VM 513 - Veterinary Physiology I
    Dr. Steve Lampa:  VM-512 - Veterinary Anatomy II
    Dr. Peter Meighan:  VM-520 - Veterinary Physiology
    Dr. Patricia Talcott:  VM-523 - Veterinary Toxicology
    Dr. Patrick Wilson:  VM-512 - Veterinary Anatomy II
  • Three IPN Faculty Receive Promotions

    Congratulations to Dr. David Rossi, Associate Professor with tenure; Dr. Ilia Karatsoreos, Associate Professor with tenure; and Dr. Pete Meighan, Associate Clinical Professor! 
  • SMB Emeritus Professor Magnuson Honored

    SMB emeritus professor Nancy Magnuson will be honored March 31 with the Lane Rawlins Lifetime Achievement Award.  Dr. Magnuson spent her entire career at WSU, serving in various capacities and eventually leading the Graduate School and research divisions.  Dr. Magnuson is well known to colleagues, students and alumni for her constant engagement and promotion of WSU at the national and international levels. Congratulations Nancy! WSU News
  • Africa honors young scientist for infectious disease work.

      WSU Insider
  • Steve Hines received the 2016 WSU Faculty Member of the Year Award

    Steve Hines received the 2016 WSU Faculty Member of the Year Award presented at the Pacific Northwest Veterinary Conference banquet and award ceremony in October 2016. Dr. Hines is a professor in the department of Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology and has dedicated his life to improve the learning and overall experience for veterinary students at WSU. 

    Source: Advance Newsletter Winter 2017
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