Innovation

Mapping Washington’s environmental health disparities

It was at the height of California’s worst drought on record that Esther Min saw for herself the power of data to help low-income families.

“People’s water bills were skyrocketing, wells were drying up, families were driving miles away to buy bottled water,” said Min, who was working on a water-access study in the Salinas Valley in 2014.

“I saw how we could partner with communities to gather data they could use to get the attention of policymakers,” said Min, now a PhD student in the UW Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences (DEOHS).

Kidney-on-a-chip goes to space

A cargo spacecraft bound for the International Space Station this winter will carry a breakthrough technology developed at the University of Washington that could help scientists back on Earth transform care for kidney patients.

The device is called kidney-on-a-chip. While that may sound like some kind of British hors d’oeuvre, it is actually a device no bigger than your credit card that replicates a working human kidney, allowing researchers to test the effects of drugs in a natural model.

The end of TB?

What if a simple oral swab could help eliminate a disease that kills nearly 2 million people every year?

That’s the premise behind an international effort led by researchers in the UW Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences (DEOHS) that could revolutionize the way tuberculosis (TB) is diagnosed.

Using cotton or polyester swabs to collect bacteria samples from the mouths of patients for diagnostic testing could allow health care providers to test more people more quickly at lower cost than existing methods—and get patients into treatment faster.