In the Media
Articles about the college from around the world.
Leave young wildlife to mother natureRead More
September 5, 2017
Residency certification deadline for ID, MT, and UT residents. WICHE applicants are encouraged to see their state WICHE office for certification deadlines.
May 18, 2017
WSU/WIMU Supplemental Opens
WSU researchers find plague bacterium endures in soilRead More
Dr. Lane Brown Awarded Grant in Collaboration with Johns Hopkins UniversityDr. Lane Brown (IPN) has been awarded an NIH grant entitled: "Regulation of the intrinsic melanopsin-based light response in ipRGCs".
360-degree video: Vaccinating dogs to eliminate rabiesIn Tanzania and other East African countries, Washington State University and their partners are working to eliminate rabies in humans by 2030 by vaccinating domestic dogs.
360-Degree Video Read More
WSU researcher says antibiotic resistance is global problem
By Shanon Quinn, Daily News staff writer May 3, 2017
Post-doctoral research fellow Sylvia Omulo explains how she tests E. coli samples to determine if they are antibiotic resistant Tuesday at the Paul G. Allen Center for Global Animal Health in Pullman. Omulo’s research focuses on what contributes to bacteria becoming antibiotic resistant in Kenyan communities.
Washington State University doctoral researcher Sylvia Omulo said most people seem to think antibiotic resistance is someone else's problem.
It is, however, a global issue.
Whether in a U.S. hospital or a faraway community in Africa, "it is an urgent problem," she said.
Omulo, who was born in Narobi, the capital city of Kenya, has been working toward her doctorate at WSU since autumn of 2013, two years after she made connections with researchers in the Paul G. Allen School of Global Animal Health in her home country.
After dozens of meetings with a doctoral advisory committee during her first year in Pullman she narrowed down her goals. They were all working toward driving change in Africa.
The past three and a half years have seen her make great strides in doing just that, working at determining the cause of antibiotic resistance. Overuse of antibiotics tend to be the go-to cause of resistant bugs such as E. coli and salmonella bacteria that can no longer be controlled with traditional antibiotics, but not a lot of effort has thus far been expended to examine other possible causes.
That is where Omulo's work comes in.
"We have very limited data of what factors contribute to antibiotic resistance," she said. "We need to know the causes."
Omulo said there is certainly a correlation between antibiotic resistance and overuse of antibiotics in Africa, where such drugs can be inexpensively procured without a prescription at any drugstore, but that is not the only factor.
"Sanitation is an important factor," she said.
The most dangerous environments for antibiotic resistance are in what Omulo called "low settlements," or slums, where people live in extremely close proximity to one another.
"Your neighbors are breathing on you," she said. This is not such a hyperbole.
Omulo said such communities have as many as 70,000 people living in a single square kilometer.
"That's over seven times the density of New York City," where the highest densities are 10,000 people per square kilometer, she said.
As part of her doctoral research, Omulo traveled to Kenya in 2015 to spend a year collecting stool samples, water samples, hand swabs and interview data from the people who live in these environments. She found unsanitary conditions contributed to the presence of antibiotic resistant strains of E. coli, even when antibiotics were not being used.
While Omulo's dissertation research has identified another cause of antibiotic resistant bacteria, addressing the issue is another matter entirely - and one she said she feels prepared to navigate in the coming years as a post doctoral research fellow for the Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health.
Shanon Quinn can be reached at (208) 883-4636, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
BLACK DEATH WARNING: Killer disease 'lurks in SOIL waiting to spread'Read More
Entrepreneurship has grown on M3 Biotechnology’s CEOThe Seattle Times
Africa to Leeds to WSU: Grad student pursues infectious diseases solutionsRead More
Fertility can hinge on uterus swimming conditionsRead More
May 25, 2017
Recruiting at Central Washington University
Jaak Panksepp, 'rat tickler' who revealed emotional lives of animals, dies at 73The 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 LectureSMB 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
As A Boy, He Learned About Science By Rubbing Calves' EarsAs A Boy, 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
Dr. Jon Pennell (’81 DVM) assumed the title of WVC President from his previous position of President-ElectRead More
Undergraduate Neuroscience Student Named a Top Ten Senior for 2017Undergraduate 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 researchMarie 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.