Washington University

Susan Stark
Washington University

If medical tests found that you had risk factors that could possibly lead to Alzheimer’s disease when you are in your mid-60s, would you want to know?

What if you were a freshman in college, just starting out on your path to adulthood? Would that change your answer?

That’s one of the questions that students in a new course at Washington University are pondering as they look into what their futures may hold — cue the Beatles music — when they’re 64.

Adrian Clark | Flickr

Officials from Washington University, St. Louis Children’s Hospital and the March of Dimes announced Monday they will launch a new March of Dimes Prematurity Research Center at Washington University in St. Louis.

Washington University's Brookings Hall
Washington University

Adjunct instructors at Washington University could be voting by the end of this year whether to form a union now that the university and the Service Employees International Union have agreed on terms for an election to proceed.

Washington University's Brookings Hall
(via Flickr/Washington University/with permission)

Updated at 9:16 a.m. Friday with agreement between Washington U. and union, cancellation of NLRB hearing:

For many university instructors with a Ph.D. following their name, the letters might stand for Pretty Hefty Disillusionment.

They’re the ones who, after working for years to earn a doctorate in their field, sadly find that the higher education system has no job openings for them to teach students what they know.

Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

Given the angry images and actions out of Ferguson and south St. Louis in recent weeks, you might not think that being too nice would be a problem in dealing with diversity.

Yet in recent discussions about Washington University’s new Center for Diversity and Inclusion – why it is needed, what it hopes to accomplish – the four-letter word that came up repeatedly was “nice.”

Revolution LLC

A high-profile entrepreneur is calling on the community to do more to support St. Louis-area startups.

"We just need to tell that story. That’s not to say that Silicon Valley won’t continue to be great and New York City isn’t great and Boston isn’t great, but St. Louis is great too," said A-O-L Co-Founder Steve Case during a stop on Friday at Washington University.

"There should be some degree of skepticism when people are talking about new ideas, but give entrepreneurs the benefit of the doubt."

Psychology professor Steven Smith
Courtesy of Steven Smith

As people age, they become more aware of memory lapses.

“Memory loss is fairly universal, and as we start experiencing more memory loss, we become a lot more aware of it,” said Steven Smith, a Texas A&M University psychologist who is on sabbatical and is spending the semester at Washington University. “We become very defensive about it. We become very anxious about it. And that makes memory worse.”

U.S. Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court started its new term Monday morning by announcing it would not hear petitions related to bans on gay marriage in Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin. 

"St. Louis on the Air" will host local legal leaders Monday for the Legal Roundtable, and you're invited to join us for the live broadcast.

The Legal Roundtable will convene at Washington University's Bryan Cave Moot Courtroom, and will discuss the new session of the U.S. Supreme Court and other legal matters. Audience members will be able to ask questions during the live broadcast.


(Flickr, Stu Seeger)

Business class will take on a whole new meaning when Southwest Airlines begins its first non-stop service from St. Louis to San Francisco on Tuesday.

The CEOs of 21 St. Louis-based startups will be aboard the inaugural flight where a few of them will give their elevator pitches at 30,000 feet.

James Byard/WUSTL Photos

Updated 7:21 a.m. Tuesday to change number of people involved: Monday marked not only the first day of classes at Washington University and Saint Louis University but also a collaborative effort to take note of the death of Michael Brown and the issues it has raised.

Elizabethe Holland Durando, Washington University School of Medicine

A team of researchers at Washington University has found that babies born prematurely have very different gut microbes than those of babies carried to term.

All children are born with almost no microbes in their intestines. Their gut microbial communities develop quickly in the weeks after birth ― although the communities don't reach full maturity until children are 2 or 3 years old.

But little is known about how this microbial development occurs.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

Count Joe Edwards among the Delmar Loop business owners who are salivating at the prospect of hundreds of students living near their businesses.

Edwards, the owner of Loop staples Blueberry Hill and the Moonrise Hotel, said the more than 400 Washington University students who will live in the soon-to-be-finished dorm rooms will be a boon to local businesses. He said he’s hopeful all those students will also keep business lively at the Peacock Diner, a 24-hour restaurant he owns that will serve up spiked milkshakes and a variety of pies.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

A new national report says more should be done to promote the safe use of chemicals at universities.

Washington University Provost Holden Thorp chaired the committee that wrote the National Research Council report.

He said the group sought to take lessons learned from safety incidents in fields such as health care, aviation and manufacturing, and apply them to academic chemistry research.

(provided by Carla Pearson Alexander)

Updated June 25th with vote results

The Preservation Board voted unanimously Monday to approve the city landmark designation. It still requires action by the Board of Aldermen.

Our original story

The St. Louis Preservation Board will vote tonight on whether to make the site of a north St. Louis grocery store a city landmark.

Bradley Schlaggar


Most people have heard about the undesirable side effects that chemotherapy has on the body of people suffering from cancer. There's balding, fatigue and loss of appetite, to name a few.

Until recently, however, chemotherapy’s effects on the brain weren’t widely recognized. The cognitive side effects – a  fuzzy memory and poor attention span – were usually dismissed by physicians, scientists and even some cancer patients.

The symptoms have a name: Post-chemotherapy cognitive impairment, or “chemobrain,” among those who suffer from it.

Rabiul Hasan, International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research

New research out of Washington University could help explain why malnourished children suffer long-term health effects, even after medical treatment.

As young children develop, the community of bacteria and other microbes in their intestines develops with them. In healthy children, the community reaches maturity about the time a child turns two years old.

Washington University microbiologist Jeff Gordon calls those tens of trillions of intestinal microbes “an organ within an organ,” because of the key role they play in helping people digest food and absorb its nutrients.

via Flckr/Caleb Cherry

In an era where high-stakes tests have increased concern over test anxiety and introduced debate over the merits of teaching to the test, it may seem odd to promote a teaching method called “test-enhanced learning.”

But according to research conducted by psychologists at Washington University in St. Louis, the best way to improve learning may be taking more tests, not fewer. The researchers studying memory have found that incorporating quizzes and self-tests into the learning process increase the amount of material students are able to remember long-term.

Washington University archives

Mention “ROTC” and “Washington University” to people of a certain age, and images immediately arise of Quonset huts blazing away in the dead of night, at the height of protests over the war in Vietnam.

In the wake of the 1970 fires, the ability of Washington University students to earn academic credit for ROTC courses also went up in smoke.

(Washington University Students Against Peabody)

Seven students at Washington University in St. Louis were arrested Friday after attempting to enter an administration building on the Danforth campus where a board of trustees meeting was being held. The students were among a group of 100 protestors rallying against the school’s connection to Peabody Energy.

Caroline Burney, a Washington University senior, said the protestors were trying to deliver a letter of resignation to Peabody's chief executive officer Greg Boyce, who is also a university trustee.

Washington University Student Protest Continues

Apr 13, 2014

Monday marks the seventh day that a group of students at Washington University has conducted a sit-in on campus to protest the school’s relationship with Peabody Energy.

The coal company’s president and CEO, Greg Boyce, sits on the university’s board of trustees. Peabody and other companies help fund research at the college’s Consortium for Clean Coal Utilization.

Student Jamal Sadrud-Din says Peabody’s activities harm both the environment and vulnerable communities.

Jason Rosenbaum/St. Louis Public Radio

Nicholas Curry's sleeping arrangement has changed a bit over the last couple of days.

Curry, a junior at Washington University, has been camping out in a tent near Brookings Hall. It's part of a "sit-in" to get Washington University to cut ties with Peabody Energy, a large coal company that's headquartered in St. Louis. 

"I slept out here with my dog Max," Curry said. "So, we spent the night here last night, and we'll be here tonight."

Washington University's Brookings Hall
(via Flickr/Washington University/with permission)

After failing to make the grade with professors at Washington University, Semester Online is going offline for good.

The consortium was designed to let students at Washington U. and other schools in the group — universities such as Emory, Northwestern and Notre Dame — take online courses in areas that their home school does not offer. It began this school year, and the universities and Semester Online’s parent company, 2U, had high hopes that it could be a pioneer for online learning.

Washington University's Brookings Hall
(via Flickr/Washington University/with permission)

Depending on who is telling the story, Washington University dropped its sociology department in 1991 because it was filled with radical thinkers or because it was not strong enough academically.

Or maybe it was a little of both.

Either way, the university announced this week that it will be bringing the department back, with some classes in the field possibly offered as early as this fall.

Daylight Saving Time: More Trouble Than It's Worth?

Mar 9, 2014
(via Flickr/the Italian voice)

If you’re feeling tired due to the daylight savings shift, you’re not alone. One researcher at Washington University says the time change may cause more problems than it solves.

Erik Herzog studies the biological clocks of mammals. He says several studies have shown that daylight saving is hard on us humans, especially the “spring ahead.” Effects like sleep deprivation result in increased traffic accidents for three days after the time change.

Herzog says the effect in the fall is the opposite – there are fewer traffic accidents – but that effect lasts only one day.

Jane Ades, NHGRI

Originally published on Wednesday, February 26, 2014. Updated to include audio from St. Louis on the Air.

Provost Holden Thorp
Washington University

Seated in his office on the second floor of Brookings Hall on the eastern edge of the Washington University campus, Provost Holden Thorp has a pretty good metaphor for what his job entails compared with that of university Chancellor Mark Wrighton.

“You can see the chancellor’s office is across the hall,” Thorp said in a recent interview. “His office faces the park and the Arch and downtown. My office is on this side and faces out to the old quad.

(Via Flickr/InspiredHomeFitness)

Obesity has increased dramatically in the United States over the past several decades.

In Missouri, almost two-thirds of adults ― and more than a quarter of children and teens ― are either overweight or obese.

(via Wikimedia Commons/Blausen Medical)

Research led by Washington University confirms that medication and lifestyle changes are safer and more effective at preventing certain strokes than surgery.

Most strokes are caused by a reduction in blood flow to the brain ― usually from a blocked artery in the heart or neck. In about a tenth of cases, a narrowed brain artery is to blame.

The professor and students can see each other, participate in chat and see course materials at the same time.
Screenshot from promotional video

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Bill Lowry considers himself to be a “pretty low-tech guy – no iPhone, no apps, any of that stuff” – so he thought it was pretty ironic that he is teaching the first class at Washington University’s entry into the growing field of internet education.

Dubbed Semester Online, the program joins Washington U. with other schools, including Emory, Northwestern and Notre Dame, for online instruction that is less open, less massive than the so-called MOOCs – massive online open courses -- that have been popping up all over in recent years.