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College of Arts and Sciences Department of Chemistry


  • Fat in feces points to early presence of colorectal cancer

    Scientists at Washington State University and Johns Hopkins Medical School have discovered a fast, noninvasive method that could lead to the early diagnosis of colorectal cancer.

    Using ultrasensitive, high-speed technology, the researchers identified a suite of molecules in the feces of mice that signifies the presence of precancerous polyps.

    This “metabolic fingerprint” matches changes in both mouse and human colon tumor tissues and suggests a potential new diagnostic tool for early detection of colorectal cancer in a clinical setting.

    Herbert Hill, WSU Regents professor of chemistry, and graduate student Michael Williams conducted the study in collaboration with Raymond Reeves, WSU School of Molecular Biosciences, and … » More …

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  • Institute promotes nuclear science research, collaboration

    The new Institute for Nuclear Science and Technology (INST) will bring together diverse scientists and researchers at Washington State University to address global challenges in security, human health, energy and environmental quality.

    “At a national level, one of the major research problems in nuclear science and technology is that experts working on one specific type of problem often are isolated from colleagues working in other areas,” said Aurora Clark, professor of chemistry and director of the institute.

    Approved by the WSU Board of Regents in September, INST includes faculty from three colleges and will enable creative solutions to challenges in radioecology, nuclear energy, nuclear medicine … » More …

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  • PNNL gives students hands-on experience

    Many of us remember writing that dreaded essay about how we spent our summer vacation — often struggling to recall what we did or make it sound interesting.

    That won’t be a problem for the almost 800 students at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory this summer.

    Tenisha Meadows, a graduate student in chemistry at WSU, is working to understand conditions that affect the processing of legacy tank waste at places like Hanford. She is using a scientific measurement technique called spectroscopy to observe what is happening inside the tank. This data will improve predictions of when certain solids will form, which in … » More …

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  • Illuminating sulfides’ roles in the body

    For the first time, researchers at Washington State University have created an injectable compound or “probe” that illuminates hydrogen sulfide and hydrogen polysulfides in different colors when they are present in cells.

    Hydrogen sulfide and hydrogen polysulfides are gases notorious as the source of rotten egg stench. They are produced and used for a wide variety of processes in the body. They are thought to play a role in aging as well as diabetes, Alzheimer’s, heart attack, cancer and many other diseases, but their precise functions remain a mystery.

    The new probe, developed by WSU chemistry professor Ming Xian, will give medical researchers the ability … » More …

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  • Nuclear reactor on WSU campus generates electricity, curiosity

    The nondescript building sits on the very edge of Washington State University’s campus in Pullman. An anonymous front door leads visitors through a metal detector and into a sparsely decorated reception area. Everyone must sign in. The first clue to what’s inside the building is the familiar Cougar logo emblazoned on top of a door-size international sign for radiation. And the lit “Reactor On” sign. This is the Dodgen Research Facility, home of WSU’s nuclear reactor and the university’s radiation center.

    Dr. Ken Nash is a professor of chemistry who works on more efficiently managing nuclear waste. He said the campus reactor makes it possible … » More …

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  • New radiochemistry training offered to WSU grad students

    A new radiochemistry trainee program at Washington State University will help address a critical shortage of scientists in the nuclear energy industry.

    Supported by a $3 million U.S. Department of Energy grant, the program will enhance training at WSU and let graduate students work alongside radiochemistry experts at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Idaho National Laboratory and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory for the next five years.

    “Researchers and staff trained in America’s nuclear era in the late 20th century are retiring in large numbers and the current supply of trainees will not able to keep up with demand,” said Nathalie Wall, associate professor of chemistry … » More …

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  • Multimillion dollar grant to support nuclear waste cleanup

    Washington State University and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory researchers have received a four-year, multimillion dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to study the chemical reactions that cause nuclear waste to change over time.

    The grant establishes the IDREAM center, one of four newly minted DOE Energy Frontier Research Centers intended to play a major role in expediting the cleanup of Hanford and other sites contaminated by decades of nuclear weapons production. Sue Clark, a Batelle fellow at PNNL and a WSU regents professor of chemistry will serve as director of IDREAM (Interfacial Dynamics in Radioactive Environments and Materials).

    Find out more

    WSU … » More …

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  • Licensing agreement will improve chemical detection

    A new licensing partnership between Washington State University and Excellims Corp. will improve chemical detection tools used to identify everything from dangerous chemicals to human disease.

    “I am very happy to see our research achievements being implemented into a commercial instrument,” said Herbert Hill, a WSU Regents professor in chemistry who developed the licensed technology. “This will allow researchers in a variety of academic research and industrial research fields to have a more powerful tool based on ion mobility spectrometry.”

    Ching Wu, president and CEO of Excellims, is a former student of Hill. Wu graduated from WSU in 1997 and launched Excellims in 2005.

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  • WSU Enters Worldwide, Exclusive License Agreement for Advanced Ion Mobility Spectrometry–Mass Spectrometry Tech

    Excellims Corporation (Excellims), a leading provider of high performance ion mobility spectrometers (HPIMS), announced that the company has entered into an exclusive worldwide license agreement with Washington State University for a new instrumental method to interface an Ambient Pressure Ion Mobility Spectrometer (APIMS) to a Mass Spectrometer (MS). This new agreement is an expansion of an existing patent licensing agreement between Excellims and WSU. Developed in the laboratory of Dr. Herbert H. Hill Jr., a Regents Professor of chemistry at WSU who has been a leading researcher in the IMS field for 45 years, the new technology will significantly improve the ion transmission into the … » More …

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  • A new IMS breathalyzer for marijuana

    A team of researchers at Washington State University’s Department of Chemistry has shed new light on the challenges surrounding the growing marijuana industry.

    Prof. Herbert Hill and his team of researchers at the WSU Department of Chemistry have come up with a novel approach to measure drugs via breath with ion mobility spectrometry. IMS is currently used for explosives detection at airports and for chemical warfare detection. So Hill and his team decided to extend it further for illicit drug detection.

    “I’m an ion mobility spectrometry person, that’s what I do and have been doing for many years,” Hill told R&D Magazine. “We began to … » More …

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