WSU News https://news.wsu.edu   Mon, 27 Jul 2015 19:13:37 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.3 Beekeepers are now ‘farmers’ in Washington state https://news.wsu.edu/2015/07/27/beekeepers-are-now-farmers-in-washington-state/ https://news.wsu.edu/2015/07/27/beekeepers-are-now-farmers-in-washington-state/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 18:02:44 +0000 https://news.wsu.edu/?p=140200 By Linda Weiford, WSU News PULLMAN, Wash. – A new law that defines Washington’s commercial beekeepers as farmers will enable the state to better reap the benefits of healthy bee populations while boosting a critical profession, according to a bee expert at Washington State University. “Beekeepers’ work is similar in concept to managing tiny livestock,” … Continue reading Beekeepers are now ‘farmers’ in Washington state

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By Linda Weiford, WSU News

Bee-apple-tree-80PULLMAN, Wash. – A new law that defines Washington’s commercial beekeepers as farmers will enable the state to better reap the benefits of healthy bee populations while boosting a critical profession, according to a bee expert at Washington State University.

“Beekeepers’ work is similar in concept to managing tiny livestock,” said Steve Sheppard, chair of WSU’s Department of Entomology who works closely with the region’s beekeepers. “More than that, it’s integral to agriculture, not only for the honey that gets produced but for the pollinating of crops.”

In Washington, those crops include everything from apples, cherries and pears to canola and mint, according to the state’s agriculture department.

Tax breaks enable crucial service

Sheppard-bees-web
WSU bee expert Steve Sheppard.

“We don’t want our beekeepers going extinct because they can’t afford to stay in business,” said Sheppard, adding that the nation has been facing a dwindling supply of beekeepers in the past decade because of a mysterious honey bee die-off called colony collapse disorder.

Without enough beekeepers, crop production could decline and force consumers to pay more money for food, he said: “It only makes sense that they can get tax breaks the same as other agricultural producers do.”

Senate Bill 6057, signed by Gov. Jay Inslee this month, grants large-scale beekeepers tax breaks on earnings made from providing pollination services and from selling products such as honey and beeswax. They’ll also be exempt from paying sales taxes on production expenses such as bee feed and parasite treatments.

This doesn’t mean a backyard beekeeper with one hive can benefit from the exemptions. To qualify as an “eligible farmer,” beekeepers must register their hives with the state’s agriculture department and have gross sales of $10,000 during a year for bee-produced products or bee pollination services.

Lessens the sting

One of the largest beekeeping operations in the Northwest is run by Eric Olson of Yakima, Wash. He and his wife, Sue, manage millions of bees, trucking them to fields in Washington, Oregon and California to pollinate crops.

Bee-apple-tree-web
Bees pollinate about one-third of the crops consumed in the United States, according to the federal government.

“Finally, we’re not being clumped together as service providers like doctors and lawyers,” said Olson, who lobbied for the legislation sponsored by Sen. Jim Honeyford of Sunnyside, Wash.

“Beekeepers have been taking big financial hits from bee die-offs and these tax breaks will lessen the sting, so to speak,” Olson said. “I’ve been doing this work since the 1970s. When I say this is a big win for Washington beekeepers, believe me, I know.”

 

Contacts:
Steve Sheppard, WSU entomologist, 509-335-0481, shepp@wsu.edu
Linda Weiford, WSU News, 509-335-7209, linda.weiford@wsu.edu

 

 

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Four elected to Washington State Academy of Sciences https://news.wsu.edu/2015/07/27/four-elected-to-washington-state-academy-of-sciences/ https://news.wsu.edu/2015/07/27/four-elected-to-washington-state-academy-of-sciences/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 17:05:11 +0000 https://news.wsu.edu/?p=140193 PULLMAN, Wash. – Four researchers at Washington State University have been elected to the Washington State Academy of Sciences for 2015. They are recognized for an outstanding record of scientific achievement and willingness to work on behalf of the academy to bring the best available science to bear on issues within the state. The new … Continue reading Four elected to Washington State Academy of Sciences

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WSAS-members

PULLMAN, Wash. – Four researchers at Washington State University have been elected to the Washington State Academy of Sciences for 2015.

They are recognized for an outstanding record of scientific achievement and willingness to work on behalf of the academy to bring the best available science to bear on issues within the state.

The new members will be inducted into the WSAS during the eighth annual meeting at the Seattle Museum of Flight on Sept. 17, bringing the total of active members to 240.

WSU individuals elected by the WSAS membership are:

Gustavo V. Barbosa-Canovas, professor of food engineering

Patricia Ann Hunt, Meyer Distinguished Professor in molecular biosciences

W. Sue Ritter, Regents professor in integrative physiology and neuroscience

Yong Wang, Voiland Distinguished Professor in chemical engineering and bioengineering with a joint appointment at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash.

* Barbosa-Canovas requested not to be included in this article. Learn more about him at http://bsyse.wsu.edu/faculty/barbosa/biographical-profile/.

* Hunt joined the School of Molecular Biosciences at Washington State University in 2005 as a Meyer Distinguished Professor.

Her research investigates the genetic control of reproduction in mammals with a focus on chromosome structure and function, human infertility and the effects of environmental toxins on reproduction. Her work has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health for over 15 years. Her findings about the effects of plastics component bisphenol A (BPA) on reproduction have had far-reaching impact.

In 2007, she was named one of the top 50 researchers of the year by Scientific American, and in 2012 she received the Jacob Heskel Gabby Award in Biotechnology and Medicine from Brandeis University. She is a member of the board of directors for the Frontiers in Reproduction summer course at the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole, Mass.

* Ritter is a Regents professor in the Department of Integrative Physiology and Neuroscience in the College of Veterinary Medicine. She has been at WSU since 1974.

Her internationally recognized research has focused on nutrient monitoring by brain and peripheral systems, with a primary focus on glucose, a required metabolic fuel for the brain. Her research contributes to the understanding of side effects of insulin treatment in diabetes and the brain mechanisms controlling food intake.

She received the Pfizer Award for Excellence in Research from the WSU College of Veterinary Medicine (1996), was named the WWAMI Science in Medicine Lecturer (2004) and received the Sahlin Faculty Excellence Award for Research, Scholarship and the Arts (2009). She served as a regular member on the National Institutes of Health Study Section (NNB) (2004-08) and at various times as an ad hoc member.  She served on the Scientific Advisory Board for the Diabetes and Obesity Center for Excellence, University of Washington Medical School, (2007-10).

* Wang is Voiland Distinguished Professor in the Gene and Linda Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering and a WSU alumnus (M.S. ’92, Ph.D. ’93, chemical engineering).

With WSU since 2009, he is an internationally known researcher in energy and renewable fuels. His work to improve the efficiency of catalysts, which are used in many industries to chemically transform and create products and fuel, is important to increasing supplies, reducing costs and improving environmental impacts of petroleum-based and alternative fuels.

Wang is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), which is the largest chemical sciences organization in Europe, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) and the American Chemical Society (ACS). The Chinese Institute of Engineers named him the 2006 Asian American Engineer of the Year. He is the recipient of three R&D 100 awards (1997, 1999 and 2008), which annually recognize the 100 most significant and innovative new technologies that have been introduced in the marketplace.

 

 

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Visiting Japanese students inspired to attend WSU https://news.wsu.edu/2015/07/27/visiting-japanese-students-inspired-to-attend-wsu/ https://news.wsu.edu/2015/07/27/visiting-japanese-students-inspired-to-attend-wsu/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 15:46:45 +0000 https://news.wsu.edu/?p=140188 By Craig Lawson, International Programs PULLMAN, Wash. – Nearly 50 junior high and high school students from Japan visited Washington State University last week. Some were inspired to attend WSU as part of the expanding exchange program. “Thanks to the professionalism of WSU’s Intensive American Language Center (IALC) staff, we have students who are interested … Continue reading Visiting Japanese students inspired to attend WSU

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By Craig Lawson, International Programs

2-Japan-bowPULLMAN, Wash. – Nearly 50 junior high and high school students from Japan visited Washington State University last week. Some were inspired to attend WSU as part of the expanding exchange program.

“Thanks to the professionalism of WSU’s Intensive American Language Center (IALC) staff, we have students who are interested in continuing their education at WSU when the time comes,” said Alex Kishaba, Japan spokesman for Developing Okinawa Through Education (D.O.T.E.).

Glenn Johnson, WSU communication professor and Pullman mayor, with a gift from Japan.
Glenn Johnson, WSU communication professor and Pullman mayor, with a gift from Japan.

Discussion between D.O.T.E. and WSU began six years ago. Late WSU President Elson S. Floyd signed a memorandum of understanding in 2012 to teach English classes online to high school students in Okinawa.

The IALC is part of the Office of International Programs at WSU. Staff members teach English as a second language and prepare students to attend colleges and universities.

“We want to continue this program in the future,” Kishaba said. “The idea is to bring future Cougars from Japan to Pullman. Someday, we would like to see Pullman junior high school students studying in Japan and WSU students teaching in Okinawa.”

Students from 20 schools in Okinawa studied English at the IALC in the mornings and toured WSU and the city of Pullman in the afternoons. They met and exchanged gifts with Mayor Glenn Johnson, Fire Chief Mike Heston and Police Chief Gary Jenkins.

“Due to the success of this program, eight other municipalities have shown interest in these trips,” Kishaba said.

 

 

 

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WSU gets $1M for Student Support Services https://news.wsu.edu/2015/07/27/wsu-gets-1m-for-student-support-services/ https://news.wsu.edu/2015/07/27/wsu-gets-1m-for-student-support-services/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 15:18:54 +0000 https://news.wsu.edu/?p=140184 By Steve Nakata, Administrative Services PULLMAN, Wash. – The U.S. Department of Education has awarded Washington State University just over $1 million to continue the TRiO Student Support Services program for five years. WSU established SSS in 2001 to assist students who are first-generation, low-income or have disabilities. The program helps them develop skills, achieve … Continue reading WSU gets $1M for Student Support Services

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By Steve Nakata, Administrative Services

Trio-logo-webPULLMAN, Wash. – The U.S. Department of Education has awarded Washington State University just over $1 million to continue the TRiO Student Support Services program for five years.

WSU established SSS in 2001 to assist students who are first-generation, low-income or have disabilities. The program helps them develop skills, achieve academic success and graduate from college. This is WSU Pullman’s fourth successful grant cycle.

As a land-grant institution, part of WSU’s mission is providing equal opportunity, said Melynda Huskey, interim vice president for student affairs and dean of students.

SSS-graduates
Recent SSS graduates at WSU Pullman.

“I’m a product of TRiO and I know firsthand how the support and encouragement we offer can go a long way,” said Program Director Kristine Attao.

SSS serves 160 students annually with tutoring, individual academic and career counseling, and leadership development. Since the program’s inception, over 800 students have participated and over 500 have graduated with bachelor’s degrees.

During the last three grant cycles, Attao said, the program has exceeded its mandatory objective rates for retention and graduation by 5-10 percent. In 2005-10, for example, 92 percent of participants returned for school the following fall (persistence rate). Ninety-four percent remained in good academic standing, and 82 percent graduated within six years.

SSS on the WSU Tri-Cities campus also recently announced a 5-year renewal grant. In Pullman, WSU’s TRiO offerings also include the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program and Upward Bound.

 

Contacts:
Kristine Attao, WSU Student Support Services, 509-335-7324, kattao@wsu.edu
Steve Nakata, WSU Administrative Services communications, 509-335-1774, nakata@wsu.edu

 

 

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WSU diversity advocate recognized by national association https://news.wsu.edu/2015/07/24/wsu-diversity-advocate-recognized-by-national-association/ https://news.wsu.edu/2015/07/24/wsu-diversity-advocate-recognized-by-national-association/#comments Fri, 24 Jul 2015 21:12:32 +0000 https://news.wsu.edu/?p=140169 PULLMAN, Wash.—Washington State University diversity advocate Marcela Pattinson has been selected to receive the Inclusion, Access and Success Award from the National Association of College Admission Counseling (NACAC). Founded in 1937, NACAC consists of over 14,000 professionals from around the world dedicated to serving students who are pursuing postsecondary education. Pattinson, an assistant director in … Continue reading WSU diversity advocate recognized by national association

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Pattinson Marcela iconPULLMAN, Wash.—Washington State University diversity advocate Marcela Pattinson has been selected to receive the Inclusion, Access and Success Award from the National Association of College Admission Counseling (NACAC).

Founded in 1937, NACAC consists of over 14,000 professionals from around the world dedicated to serving students who are pursuing postsecondary education.

Pattinson, an assistant director in the Office of Multicultural Student Services, has worked at WSU for six years.

Pattinson
Pattinson

“I was very surprised to hear I was selected,” said Pattinson. “We are used to doing things without getting a lot of recognition, so I can’t believe I’m receiving this award.”

In her letter to Pattinson, NACAC Chief Executive Officer Joyce Smith shared the award honors persons who have been instrumental in making postsecondary opportunities available to historically underrepresented students.

“…your nomination for this award was approved based on your demonstrated commitment to the profession and students, and your tireless leadership over the years. You have been a mentor, leader, and respected peer to many,” Smith wrote.

Pattinson leads WSU’s annual La Bienvenida Program for Spanish-speaking families. It helps familiarize parents and students with the admission and financial aid process, as well as introduces them to a network of faculty and staff that will support them at WSU.

She also co-hosts a radio program called WSU Conectándote that airs on Spanish-speaking stations throughout Central Washington and parts of the Puget Sound region. The show educates families about the value of a college education, what college is like, how to apply, and the many resources available to them.

In recent years, Pattinson helped secure a grant that created the Washington State Coalition for Undocumented Students. Consisting of representatives from all of Washington State’s major universities and various community organizations, the Coalition spent three years researching current activities supporting undocumented students and created a list of best practices to share with other higher education institutions.

“The grant provided an opportunity to put on the table a very important topic,” she said. “Even though we reached out to over 8,000 people, we learned there is much more work to do and we need to keep working for our undocumented and first-generation students.” Her dream is to establish a center for undocumented students at WSU.

“I am thrilled to see her being acknowledged for her work, personal charisma, and commitment to students, particularly those underrepresented in higher education,” said J. Manuel Acevedo, director of Multicultural Student Services. “We are proud of Marcela and commend her on this recognition.”

Pattinson will travel to NACAC’s annual conference in San Diego, Calif. to accept the award.

Contacts:

Marcela Pattinson, Assistant Director, WSU Outreach & Undocumented Initiatives, Office of Multicultual Student Services, 509-335-7326, marcela.pattinson@wsu.edu.

Steve Nakata, Director of Communications, Student Affairs & Enrollment, 509-335-1774, nakata@wsu.edu.

 

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WSU conference manager to lead state association https://news.wsu.edu/2015/07/23/wsu-conference-manager-to-lead-state-association/ https://news.wsu.edu/2015/07/23/wsu-conference-manager-to-lead-state-association/#comments Thu, 23 Jul 2015 18:24:03 +0000 https://news.wsu.edu/?p=140152 By Richard H. Miller, Global Campus PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University conference manager Dana Colwell has been sworn in as president of the Washington state chapter of Meeting Professionals International. MPI has 20,000 members from 86 countries. It promotes education, professional development and business growth opportunities. The state chapter has more than 300 members. … Continue reading WSU conference manager to lead state association

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By Richard H. Miller, Global Campus

Dana-Colwell-webPULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University conference manager Dana Colwell has been sworn in as president of the Washington state chapter of Meeting Professionals International.

MPI has 20,000 members from 86 countries. It promotes education, professional development and business growth opportunities. The state chapter has more than 300 members.

Colwell, a WSU graduate, has worked in the conferencing business since 2003 coordinating complex events ranging from 10 to 6,000 attendees. In 2013, the state chapter named her planner of the year.

WSU Conference Management (https://conferences.wsu.edu/) organizes more than 50 educational conferences and events a year. It has a staff of nine, divided between Pullman and Puyallup, Wash.

 

Contact:
Dana Colwell, WSU Conference Management, 360-890-4440, dana.colwell@wsu.edu

 

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Online media course enhances policeman’s career https://news.wsu.edu/2015/07/23/online-media-course-enhances-policemans-career/ https://news.wsu.edu/2015/07/23/online-media-course-enhances-policemans-career/#comments Thu, 23 Jul 2015 18:10:54 +0000 https://news.wsu.edu/?p=140147 By Darin Watkins, Edward R. Murrow College of Communication ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY, Md. – It was a disturbing phone call for even the most seasoned of police officers. Hours after Fourth of July celebrations died down, someone abandoned a six-week-old baby girl in the middle of the road. Within minutes, Lt. TJ Smith, a spokesman with … Continue reading Online media course enhances policeman’s career

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By Darin Watkins, Edward R. Murrow College of Communication

Smith-80ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY, Md. – It was a disturbing phone call for even the most seasoned of police officers. Hours after Fourth of July celebrations died down, someone abandoned a six-week-old baby girl in the middle of the road.

Within minutes, Lt. TJ Smith, a spokesman with the Anne Arundel County Police Department, posted the news on the department’s Facebook and Twitter accounts using digital media tactics he had recently practiced as part of his online studies. He is pursuing a master’s degree in strategic communication from The Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University.

Hours later, the mother of the infant was identified and arrested in connection with child abandonment.

For Smith and his department, posting news on social media as it happens is a way to keep media outlets and the community informed while limiting potential rumors. Knowing how much information to share and the tone with which it should be made public is part of the everyday challenge of being a public information officer (PIO), Smith said.

“The world is rapidly changing and if people want to stay competitive in the workforce, it is to their advantage to find a program that works for them,” he said.

Live streaming opens communication

For a different incident, Smith adopted new media through his online work with the Murrow College. He tested Periscope, the real-time video streaming application owned by Twitter, to broadcast informational updates from his smartphone about an officer-involved shooting.

Smith-talks-with-media
Smith talks with news media in his job as director of media relations for the Anne Arundel County Police Department.

“When do people get a chance to ask an officer questions directly about an officer-involved shooting?” he said. “There was a great deal of concern when I first used Periscope, mainly because it was new and anything was possible.

“I thought that it was a conversation worth having,” he said. “Fortunately, nothing bad occurred. In fact, it was all good.”

“Lt. Smith’s step into new territory with this app put him somewhere between the role of a PIO and a live-action journalist,” said Ryan Risenmay, clinical assistant professor of digital media communications for WSU’s Murrow College. “This venture may very well be the first time a police department has used this new app for news dissemination in an unscripted, open format.

“It’s an enterprising example of opening up new lines of communication,” he said.

Officer-involved crises require communication

Earlier this year, the eyes of the nation were focused on nearby Baltimore during riots and charges against police officers in the arrest and fatal injury of Freddie Gray as he was transported in a police van. In light of this and similar incidents around the country, Smith said, the duty of police to communicate with citizens has never been more important.

“The role of a crisis communicator, which we as public safety and information officers are, is to market and strategically communicate information to citizens,” he said. “I think law enforcement around the country is starting to understand this role much more, and you see that with social media.”

Smith has a master’s degree in management from Johns Hopkins University but wanted hands-on training in editing, using photo software, web design and marketing. The advanced online degree from the Murrow College allows him the flexibility he needs while working an often unpredictable job.

“I can do assignments at midnight if I so choose,” he said. “The flexibility is awesome as an adult learner, but you have to be responsible enough to make quiet time to complete your studies.”

Get more information about WSU’s online M.A. in strategic communication at http://murrow.wsu.edu/academics/online/.

 

 

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WSU researchers find U.S. breast milk is glyphosate free https://news.wsu.edu/2015/07/23/wsu-researchers-find-u-s-breast-milk-is-glyphosate-free/ https://news.wsu.edu/2015/07/23/wsu-researchers-find-u-s-breast-milk-is-glyphosate-free/#comments Thu, 23 Jul 2015 16:56:46 +0000 https://news.wsu.edu/?p=140141 By Will Ferguson, College of Arts & Sciences PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University scientists have found that glyphosate, the main ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, does not accumulate in mother’s breast milk. Michelle McGuire, an associate professor in the WSU School of Biological Sciences, is the lead researcher of the study, which is the … Continue reading WSU researchers find U.S. breast milk is glyphosate free

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By Will Ferguson, College of Arts & Sciences

PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University scientists have found that glyphosate, the main ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, does not accumulate in mother’s breast milk.

Michelle McGuire, an associate professor in the WSU School of Biological Sciences, is the lead researcher of the study, which is the first to have its results independently verified by an accredited, outside organization.

Her findings, presented at the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Conference on July 23 in Big Sky, Mont., show that glyphosate, the most used weed-killing chemical in the world, does not accumulate over time in human milk. She conducted the study with Kimberly Lackey, Ph.D. candidate in zoology, laboratory technician Janae Carrothers and colleagues at the nearby University of Idaho.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is using the study as part of an ongoing review of glyphosate regulations prompted by public concern over a controversial report on the chemical released by the advocacy group, Moms Across America, last year.

“The Moms Across America study flat out got it wrong,” said McGuire, who is an executive committee member for the International Society for Research in Human Milk and Lactation and a national spokesperson for the American Society for Nutrition. “Our study provides strong evidence that glyphosate is not in human milk. The MAA findings are unverified, not consistent with published safety data and are based off an assay designed to test for glyphosate in water, not breast milk.”

A questionable study

A large body of scientific evidence shows breast feeding offers unparalleled nutritional and immunological benefits for both mothers and children.

Taking this into consideration, you can imagine the consternation McGuire, a lactation physiologist with more than 25 years of research experience, felt when a study by activists publicly called into question the safety and healthfulness of breast milk.

The Moms Across America and Sustainable Pulse study claimed that traces of glyphosate were found in three out of 10 breast milk samples submitted for analysis.

The findings, which were published on the Moms Across America website, garnered national media attention and quickly led to a good deal of public concern about the safety of glyphosate, a product widely used for weed control for over 30 years.

Independent regulatory and safety assessments of glyphosate conducted by scientists at organizations like the  National Institutes of Health (http://aghealth.nih.gov/), the German Agency for Risk Assessment (http://www.bfr.bund.de/en/the_bfr_has_finalised_its_draft_report_for_the_re_evaluation_of_glyphosate-188632.html) and the Georgetown University School of Medicine (http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10937404.2012.632361#abstract) have found no consistent effects of glyphosate exposure on reproductive health or developing offspring.

Women studied in ag communities

In McGuire’s research, she and her colleagues collected milk and urine samples from 41 lactating women living in or near the cities of Moscow, Idaho, and Pullman, Wash. The area is a highly productive agricultural region where glyphosate is routinely used in farming practices.

Ten of the women reported living on or directly adjacent to a farm or ranch, 23 of the women described their personal diet as conventional and 5 had personally mixed or applied glyphosate sometime in the past.

Milk and urine samples were analyzed for glyphosate and glyphosate metabolites using high sensitivity liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry methods specifically optimized for the task.

The study detected neither glyphosate nor any glyphosate metabolites in any milk sample, even when the mother had detectable amounts of glyphosate in her urine.

Urinary glyphosate levels were either non-existent or extremely low and not of concern, McGuire said. Additionally, no relationship was found between subjects who self-identified as consumers of conventionally grown foods instead of organics and urinary glyphosate levels. Nor was there a difference between women who lived on or near a farm and those who lived in an urban or suburban non-farming area.

Analyses of the milk samples were conducted in Monsanto laboratories in St. Louis and independently verified at Wisconsin-based Covance Laboratories, which is not affiliated with the WSU/UI research team or Monsanto.

“In conclusion, our data – obtained using sophisticated and validated methods of analyses – strongly suggest that glyphosate does not bioaccumulate and is not present in human milk even when the mother has detectable glyphosate in her urine,” McGuire said. “These findings emphasize the critical importance of carefully validating laboratory methods to the biological matrix of interest, especially when it is as complex as human milk.”

 

Contact:
Will Ferguson, WSU science writer, 509-335-3927, cell 509-954-2912, will.ferguson@wsu.edu

 

 

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Identifying grapevine fungus may help fight disease https://news.wsu.edu/2015/07/23/identifying-grapevine-fungus-may-improve-disease-management/ https://news.wsu.edu/2015/07/23/identifying-grapevine-fungus-may-improve-disease-management/#comments Thu, 23 Jul 2015 16:20:29 +0000 https://news.wsu.edu/?p=140133 By Erika Holmes, Viticulture & Enology PULLMAN, Wash. – Researchers at Washington State University have documented seven fungal species that cause cankers in grapevines. These new findings could reduce the incidence of grapevine trunk disease in Washington vineyards by preventing the problem before it becomes widespread. Fungi infect the wood of grapevine trunks (or cordons) … Continue reading Identifying grapevine fungus may help fight disease

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By Erika Holmes, Viticulture & Enology

Holland-webPULLMAN, Wash. – Researchers at Washington State University have documented seven fungal species that cause cankers in grapevines. These new findings could reduce the incidence of grapevine trunk disease in Washington vineyards by preventing the problem before it becomes widespread.

Fungi infect the wood of grapevine trunks (or cordons) through pruning wounds, resulting in cankers that enlarge over time and ultimately kill the plant.

“We found a diversity of canker-causing fungi, and knowing there are seven species allows us to address each one specifically,” explained Leslie Holland, who completed her master’s degree in plant pathology at WSU in June. “Because the fungi differ in their biology and dispersal, we can work on customizing management methods now that we better understand the causes.”

fungi-on-grapevine-web
Fungal growth on discolored, cankered wood samples.

Building upon research by Dean Glawe, a WSU plant pathology professor who retired in June, Holland conducted a statewide survey to gauge how common grapevine trunk diseases are in vineyards in Washington. She expanded Glawe’s research to wine grapes, which were not widely grown in Washington when his initial study linked grapevine trunk disease to the fungus Eutypa armeniacae.

In the 1970s, Glawe worked with Concord grape growers in Washington to understand why they were seeing stunted shoots and distorted leaves on some vines. As agricultural technology advanced during the previous years, grapevines had been pruned from four-arm to two-arm trunks to accommodate mechanical harvesting.

Glawe found that the cuts had allowed fungal pathogens to enter the vines. Because cankers can take a decade or so to develop and cause problems, the infected Concord vines had been slowly dying unbeknownst to vineyard owners from what would come to be known as trunk canker disease.

cutting-grapevine-web
Holland removes a sample of vine wood with a pruning saw.

Last summer, under the guidance of Glawe and Gary Grove, director of the WSU Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center in Prosser, Wash., Holland collected wood samples from symptomatic vines growing in seven vineyards in the Yakima Valley and the Horse Heaven Hills areas. Foliar symptoms are best seen from early May to June, and the disease is hard to detect during the rest of the growing season.

The surprise came when Holland analyzed the diseased wood samples to identify canker-causing fungi based on morphological features and gene sequencing. Not only did she discover more fungal species could cause cankers in Washington than was previously known, but she also saw a correlation between vineyard age and symptom incidence.

She found the highest incidence of trunk disease in a vineyard with 33 percent of its vines showing symptoms. This was also the oldest vineyard sampled, with plants from 40-42 years old. The trend continued as she crunched the numbers.

Though Benjamin Franklin was referring to fires when he said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” the quotation illustrates the power of sustained agricultural research, a service WSU has provided since 1892.

“Washington is at an advantage because the wine industry is young, with most vineyards planted from 10 to 30 years ago, and we have had scientists involved since the beginning,” Glawe said. “The predictive value of Leslie’s research is substantial, as we are just beginning to see trunk disease become a bigger problem.

“It helps that the Washington wine industry is very engaged and forward-looking,” he said. “They want to be involved in research, and this study would not have been possible without the participating vineyard owners.”

Holland plans to continue studying canker fungi on other perennial crops when she begins a Ph.D. program at the University of California, Davis in September. Through sequence analyses, she found that fungal isolates in Washington are similar to fungal isolates in other grape-growing regions of the world, including California, Portugal and Australia.

Understanding management approaches used elsewhere could help shape Washington’s mitigation plans.

Holland sees potential in further studies on how different grape varieties are affected by various fungal species, whether the incidence of symptoms is similar in vineyards in western Washington and potential sources of inoculum.

For example, dead grapevines are often stacked in piles surrounding healthy vineyards following removal. Could this practice spread fungal spores to healthy vines? Some of the canker-causing fungi also live on poplar trees, which are commonly planted as a windbreak in vineyards, suggesting that they could also be a source.

Holland’s complete thesis is “Characterization of Fungal Pathogens Associated with Grapevine Trunk Diseases in Washington State.” The research won second place in the graduate student poster session at the Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers annual conference in February.

A technical summary of the research can be found in the Spring 2015 issue of Viticulture and Enology Extension News (http://wine.wsu.edu/research-extension/files/2010/07/2015-VEEN-Spring-FINAL.pdf).

Current management practices can be found in the WSU Extension publications “Pest Management Guide for Grapes in Washington” (https://pubs.wsu.edu/ItemDetail.aspx?ProductID=13362) and the “Field Guide for Integrated Pest Management in Pacific Northwest Vineyards” (https://pubs.wsu.edu/ItemDetail.aspx?ProductID=15589).

 

Contacts:
Leslie Holland, WSU M.S. plant pathology ’15, 937-768-2089, leslie.holland@wsu.edu
Erika Holmes, WSU Viticulture & Enology communications, 509-372-7223, erika.holmes@wsu.edu

 

 

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Researchers discover new role for protein in cell division https://news.wsu.edu/2015/07/23/researchers-discover-new-role-for-protein-in-cell-division/ https://news.wsu.edu/2015/07/23/researchers-discover-new-role-for-protein-in-cell-division/#comments Thu, 23 Jul 2015 16:00:05 +0000 https://news.wsu.edu/?p=140082 By Lori Maricle, College of Pharmacy SPOKANE, Wash. – Pharmaceutical sciences researchers at Washington State University have discovered a protein’s previously unknown role in cell division. The well known protein ATF5, or Activating Transcription Factor 5, controls how often specific genes are expressed, or copied from DNA. ATF5 regulates genes that control cell survival. But … Continue reading Researchers discover new role for protein in cell division

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By Lori Maricle, College of Pharmacy

David-Liu-webSPOKANE, Wash. – Pharmaceutical sciences researchers at Washington State University have discovered a protein’s previously unknown role in cell division.

The well known protein ATF5, or Activating Transcription Factor 5, controls how often specific genes are expressed, or copied from DNA. ATF5 regulates genes that control cell survival.

But the research team has identified a part this protein is playing that is not related to its transcription factor role. Within the part of the cell called the centrosome, ATF5 is also acting as a structural protein.

Structural proteins perform much like their name suggests: they maintain cell shape and make up connective tissues like cartilage and bone.

Telling a cell biologist that a transcription factor is doubling as a structural protein is like telling your neighbor you are building a backyard shop on a foundation of pudding. The scientist—and your neighbor—wouldn’t believe you. It’s never been seen before.

“This is an eye opener for people working in the field,” said David Liu (http://www.pharmacy.wsu.edu/facultystaff/bios/liu.d.html), a member of the research team.

He is an associate professor at the WSU College of Pharmacy and corresponding author on the research published in the July 30 issue of Cell magazine. A summary can be found at http://www.cell.com/cell/abstract/S0092-8674(15)00825-9.

Liu and five pharmaceutical sciences colleagues at the WSU Health Sciences campus in Spokane teamed with scientists from Penn State, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Zhejiang Sci-Tech University and the University of Texas to complete the study that was funded in part by the American Cancer Society and the U.S. Department of Defense.

Cells studied include ovary and breast cancer and glioma (brain tumor).

The discovery provides the first evidence of structural interactions within the centrosome and the role of ATF5, which was “strategically located within the centrosome and playing a totally different role than we previously understood,” said Liu.

The centrosome is the cell component vital to successful cell division and duplication, which affect a wide spectrum of larger processes from healing to cancer growth to fighting off disease.

“Failure of centrosome duplication can result in malformation of mitotic spindles, causing a variety of genomic instabilities,” said Liu. Malformed cells contribute to tumor development and conditions such as dwarfism, ciliopathy, microcephaly and problems with cilia movement.

Cilia work like antenna and communicate with the rest of the cell to move it toward nutrients, but knowledge is limited on how cilia work, said Liu. This discovery helps connect the dots, and Liu is hoping this research will expand understanding of cell survival.

“Cell survival is fundamental and affects all of our cells, with broad implication across many types of disease. Knowing how to correct a defect, we have the hope to treat disease,” he said.

In a previous study, Liu tagged the ATF5 protein with green dye, a fluorescent protein produced by jellyfish, and discovered ATF5’s presence in an area of the cell that didn’t seem to make sense. He wanted to show that the presence of ATF5 outside its “normal place” was irrelevant so he could get back to studying what he was originally focused on: ATF5’s role as a transcription factor.

“After finding this, I wanted to disprove it. But the more I worked on it, the more it was apparent it had real purpose,” said Liu. “Ultimately, it became a big discovery.”

 

Contacts:
David Liu, WSU pharmaceutical sciences, 509-358-7739, david.x.liu@wsu.edu
Lori Maricle, WSU College of Pharmacy communications, 509-368-6679, lmaricle@wsu.edu

 

 

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