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WSU News regents professor

Organic agriculture major expands to Western Washington

By Scott Weybright, College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences

WSU Everett buildingEVERETT, Wash. – Western Washington residents now have the option to earn a Washington State University degree in organic agriculture in their own back yard. » More …

Brian Lamb to give annual Bose Lecture

Brian Lamb, Regents’ professor of civil and environmental engineering, has been named 2007 Anjan Bose Outstanding Researcher for the Washington State University College of Engineering and Architecture. Lamb will discuss “Regional Air Quality Modeling: Short Term Forecasts and Long Range Climate Predictions” at the Anjan Bose Outstanding Researcher Lecture at 3:30 p.m., April 20, in ETRL 101. 

Researcher, author looks at change

Global warming is a hot topic of late, but to anthropology professor John Bodley, it’s been hot for years.“I’ve been talking about global warming since the 1970s,” he said. “I started looking at how culture and global society create and affect global problems like poverty and global warming.”As a cultural anthropologist, Bodley examines human survival, the process of growth and change in societies and the distribution of wealth and power. While much of his work centers around field research on indigenous cultures, Bodley’s recent area of interest is the social and ecological sustainability of the Pacific Northwest.He began by examining the relationship between the size … » More …

Whether teaching or researching, fungi are his trip

When most people plan a Hawaiian vacation they think of beaches, sun and luaus. Jack Rogers, professor of plant pathology and natural resource sciences, thinks fungi.  Rogers is just returned from a spring break field trip to the islands to examine the fungi growing there.“I absolutely love fungi,” he said. “It’s just something that really gets me going.”  Rogers, a 44-year member of the WSU faculty and newly appointed Regents professor, teaches classes in forest pathology and co-teaches advanced mycology and a course on fungi for undergraduate, nonscience majors.  “Teaching and research go hand in hand,” he said. “There is a bit of a ham … » More …

Research, students make a difference

Anjan Bose, a Distinguished Professor of Power Engineering and a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, is one of the world’s foremost authorities on safeguarding the security of the power grid.When a blackout occurred in the Northeast and portions of the Midwest in 2003, 50 million people were affected, economic losses were estimated at $7 billion, and the U.S. Secretary of Energy asked Bose to be part of a select committee to figure out what went wrong. Subsequent recommendations called for exactly the improvements Bose’s research has identified and addressed: improved operator training and improved software for handling sudden changes in the grid.Still, … » More …

Proud of graduate involvement

When most people think of an archeological dig, they think of dirt, but some of Tim Kohler’s most productive digs are deep in data.Kohler, a 2006 Regents Professor best known for his archaeological research in the southwestern United States, has, in some ways, changed the face of archeology with his sophisticated computer analysis of voluminous data related to climate, geography, food sources and other factors that influence human settlements.“The whole process of research is fun because you are trying to produce new knowledge,” Kohler said. He said one way to do that is to manipulate large data sets in various ways, including through simulation, to … » More …

Founder of major field of DNA research

If DNA is like a set of encyclopedias, containing every bit of information necessary to create life, some researchers look at individual words, other researchers look at particular books, and a very few try to figure out the binding.But 2006 Regents Professor Michael Smerdon of the School of Molecular Biosciences says that binding, better known as chromatin, is key to understanding the hot spots of DNA damage and the efficiency of DNA repair.Given that a healthy human body suffers a billion-billions in new DNA lesions every day, understanding DNA repair is important not only for preventing or controlling cancer (Smerdon’s lab has conducted groundbreaking research … » More …

Top plant scientist’s impact exceptional

Colleagues describe John Browse as simply one of the top plant biologists in the world.Best known for identifying and cloning the desaturase gene in Arabidopsis, which is responsible for the synthesis of polyunsaturated fatty acids in plants, Browse has since been a leader in the effort to bioengineer crop plants to produce oils with increased levels of heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids. Or, as he says, more simply yet, his research attempts “to improve the production of useful chemicals in plants.”Selected as a 2006 Regents Professor, Browse, a biochemist with the Institute for Biological Chemistry, said he was both pleased and humbled by the honor.“From my … » More …

Sustainability in research and teaching

In any university you will find a mix of professors who either prefer research or instruction; once in a while you find someone who loves both. John Reganold, professor in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, balances this mix.Previous to his work at WSU, Reganold was in private industry. But he yearned to teach.His research expertise encompasses three major areas within the field of sustainable agriculture and land use, said William L. Pan, professor and chair for crop and soil sciences:• measuring the environmental and economic sustainability of commercial farming systems;• developing and implementing soil-quality indices for use by growers and scientists;• studying and … » More …