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WSU Economic Impact Home Feature

Passion, energy, statewide resources drive young biotech

Sam Byrd Co-Optical
WSU alumni & Co-Optical CEO Samuel Byrd with a prototype of a glucose-monitoring device he worked with a student team to develop.

When Samual Byrd saw the daily challenges his mom faced as a recently-diagnosed diabetes patient, he wanted to do something to help her get healthy again. As a bioengineering student and entrepreneurship fellow at Washington State University, he was uniquely suited to actually take on that challenge.

And he did. » More …

Counter Bias Training Simulation reaches officers with gap fund support

In September, nearly 600 police executives, managers, trainers, and officers will observe the launch of Counter Bias Training Simulation developed at WSU, thanks in part to the Commercialization Gap Fund.

“Without the gap fund, we would not be able to get our interactive training into the hands of the police officers who will benefit,” said Lois James, the researcher who developed the training.

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Cross-state collaboration fosters student entrepreneurship

Engage student startup with prototype of their product, SafeShot
Engage student startup with prototype of their product, SafeShot

For two students who did not think much of entrepreneurship a year ago, Emily Willard and Katherine Brandenstein have been making quite a splash in Washington’s biotech startup space.

Their company – Engage – started as a senior design class assignment and evolved into a full time job that they will pursue after graduation.
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Startup Spotlight: Protium Innovations

Screenshot 2016-04-28 13.45.53Protium Innovations, LLC

Researchers: Jacob Leachman, Patrick Adam, Ian Richardson, Elijah Shoemake

Launched: 2015

Problem: Our dependence on oil and the pollution created by burning fossil fuels has prompted a tremendous amount of research and development of alternative fuel options. Liquified hydrogen – which can be used in fuel cells to power electric car and aircraft – is one of the cleanest alternative fuel options that can also be produced in the U.S. from a variety of sources. Current methods to liquefy hydrogen are difficult and costly, however, keeping this promising alternative fuel source from widespread adoption.

Solution: Members from Protium Innovations pioneered several foundational technologies while at WSU that will enable renewable producers to increase the value of their energy and to create a new market for selling their excess capacity. » More …

Treating muscle wasting that impacts millions

When researcher Dan Rodgers made a discovery that could slow or even reverse the muscle wasting that plagues many cancer patients, he knew he wanted to do more than publish a paper.

“I wanted to put the knowledge to good use, to see our science applied, and for cancer patients to receive an effective treatment,” said Rodgers, a muscle biology researcher at WSU. “Developing a company was the best way to move towards these goals.”

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Entrepreneurial students innovate to solve grand challenges

University faculty are not the only ones making an impact with their research – over the last few weeks WSU students have developed and been recognized for innovations that tackle grand challenges such as sustaining health around the world and developing sustainable resources. We wanted to take a moment to highlight these student teams, and demonstrate the impact that experiential education has not only on students’ development, but on their communities as well. » More …

Collaboration Spotlight: Washington Stormwater Center

This month we are highlighting the WSU researchers who helped launch and now lead the Washington Stormwater Center, a regional collaboration that provides the knowledge, resources and training needed to decrease the impacts of stormwater on the environment. The Washington State Legislature created the center in 2010 in response to the need to share new research, best practices and technological advances in stormwater management. The center is jointly managed by WSU and University of Washington, and provides exactly the kind of partnership, problem solving and applied research that is the basis of a land-grant like WSU.

Low Impact Demonstration at the Washington Stormwater Center

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Startup Spotlight: HEALTHSUM™

Healthsum logo

HEALTHSUM™
Researcher: John Wenz, DVM, MS
Launched: 2014

Problem: Veterinarians do not have a reliable way to track outcomes of the health management techniques used on dairy cows.

Solution: A health record database that imports and evaluates data from existing dairy management software to determine outcomes of health management. This gives the veterinarian more information about the effectiveness of treatments, and the impact of disease on cow productivity. » More …

Researcher’s love of molecules is good for society

Barbara Sorg studied functions of the brain for years before she saw the tiny nets in her microscope that made her heart skip a beat. She had been exploring different aspects of the brain to find connections between memory and addictive behaviors, and those nets were just too intriguing to leave alone. Since the 8th grade Dr. Sorg has lived for these kinds of moments – discovering something new that could increase our understanding of the world.

Barbara Sorg in her WSU Vancouver lab.
Barbara Sorg in her WSU Vancouver lab.

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