Husky Highlights Seminar Series

Husky Highlights is a seminar series meeting several times a quarter to feature UW Bothell faculty and staff who are making advances in research, scholarship and creative practice. Recordings may be available, depending on speaker preference.


Tuesday, April 23, 2024, 3:30-5pm

Ursula Valdez and student birdwatching.
Ursula Valdez and student documenting bird behavior on campus in the wetlands.

Avian communities in the North Creek wetlands: integration of research, teaching, and learning

Dr. Ursula Valdez

The North Creek UW Bothell/Cascadia College wetlands has been a successful example of habitat restoration and most importantly an example for a successful reestablishment of biodiversity. Since 1997, our colleagues have been documenting the presence and abundance of a large number of species of plants, fish, invertebrates, mammals and more. I have focused my attention on documenting the avian communities in the wetlands and in other areas of campus. Through dedicated visual and auditory bird surveys, projects with students, class exercises and opportunistic observations we have documented almost 60 species of birds in both the wetlands and the uplands of our campus. Based on behavioral observations we have mapped potential territories for at least 4 species of resident birds, documented habitat use by migratory species during spring and summer, and documented the use of the area as a stop-over habitat for other migrant species. In addition, assessment of the bird species composition in the wetlands shows that all guilds are represented and within the expected relative abundances, which suggests that a functional avian community is established in the area. Learning about the community ecology of birds on campus provides an excellent opportunity to assess the impact of the restoration efforts, integrate topics and methods into my teaching and provide opportunities for first-hand field research for students. Through my work with birds, I have also engaged in creative teaching practices inspired in nature, including working in interdisciplinary and intercultural collaborations.

Located in LB1-205.

Dr. Valdez will share an iNaturalist Research archive created as part of a class project a few years ago, which has documented many species on campus and urban areas. She will introduce the use of iNaturalist, an online platform for community science. This will be the primary tool used during the Bioblitz from April 23-29, and participants can continue to document biodiversity in urban areas throughout the year.

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Tuesday, May 7, 2024, 1:15 – 3:15pm

Screenshot of Molecular CaseNet Desktop showing videos and captions of different projects.

IAS Research Salon: Molecular Storytelling as a Framework for Teaching Biomolecules with Case Studies

Dr. Caleb Trujillo

Teaching with narratives and case studies delivers several benefits and is often used in biology education to discuss genetics. However, only some cases use resources to fully engage in the molecular basis of life using the available wealth of data and molecular visualizations like COVID-19 spike proteins. As part of a 5-year NSF-funded collaboration network, the Molecular CaseNet is a community of biology and chemistry educators who develop case studies using molecular structures and bioinformatics data to tell stories about biomolecules. The research will present the educational impact of molecular storytelling.

Discovery Hall 464. Questions can be sent to Dan Berger, daberger@uw.edu.


Tuesday, May 21, 2024, 5-6:30pm

Collage of images showing how plant inventory is done, including a student taking notes looking at a tree.

New insights on the spatial dynamics of plant invasions in urban parks in the Pacific Northwest

Dr. Santiago Lopez

The ecological and societal impacts caused by biotic invasions have been identified as a growing threat to global to regional sustainability. Invasive alien plant species can outcompete native species, leading to a loss of biodiversity. They can also disrupt ecosystem services such as pollination, soil stabilization, water purification, etc. affecting the overall health and functioning of ecosystems and the human and non-human populations that depend on them. Understanding which species are invasive, how they spread, and the impacts they cause helps conservation researchers and managers develop control, eradication, and restoration strategies to protect native ecosystems. In this talk, I will present some preliminary results of a research project carried out at Saint Edward State Park in Kenmore, WA, that investigates the factors that contribute to the successful dispersion of English holly (Ilex aquifolium), cherry (English) laurel (Prunus laurocerasus), and Portuguese laurel (P. lusitanica). These species have been identified as recent invaders of natural and semi-natural environments that are causing concern among natural resource managers in the Pacific Northwest (PNW) region of the US. Our research framework relies on a synergic use of remote sensing and geographic information systems (GIS) that combines: 1) high-resolution unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) or drone imagery, 2) cutting-edge artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) methods, and 3) spatially-explicit modeling using logistic regression of the dispersion of the species of concern. This study was possible through the support of a Scholarship, Research and Creative Practice (SCRP) grant from the University of Washington Bothell.

Scheduled for 5-6:30pm at the UW Bothell at the Environmental Education & Research Center. Registration required. Parking details and directions will be provided after registration.

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Tuesday, June 4, 2024, 3:30-5pm

Building racial equity-centered STEM courses for preservice elementary teachers

Dr. Veronica Cassone McGowan

Collaborators: Dr. Carrie Tzou, Elizabeth Starks, MS, Dr. Rachel Scherr, Dr. Bryan White, Dr. Amy Lambert & Dr. Charity Lovitt

Postsecondary science education has been shaped by Eurocentric ideologies that center science as a set of culturally neutral, color-blind, and meritocratic systems designed to exclude underrepresented groups from positions of power and knowledge production. Nationally, white faculty still predominate senior faculty positions, resulting in few opportunities for students of color to take courses from faculty who share their racial or cultural backgrounds (Haynes & Patton, 2019). At the same time, there is a need to diversify the predominantly female and white elementary teacher workforce as the K12 student population is rapidly diversifying (Januszyk, et al, 2016; NCES 2103). This paper will describe white STEM faculty learning around race, culture, and STEM teaching/learning in a design-based research project where we are designing science and engineering modules for preservice elementary teachers that deeply integrate scientific concepts and practices, racial equity, and examinations of the history of racist research practices within science itself.

This event will be located in the Collaboratory, Discovery Hall (DH-152). The first part will be the presentation, with a secondary workshop session using the open space method.
Audience: Faculty, staff, and community educators.

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Fall 2024 Seminars

Postponed: Contextualizing the Question of Palestine in American Society and Politics

Karam Dana portrait

Dr. Karam Dana will report on his 2023 Distinguished Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity Award (DRSCA). Learn about Dr. Dana’s research and the DRSCA work.

This event is postponed until Fall 2024 quarter.


Electromagnetic Modulation of Organic Electrochemical Transistors (OECTs) for Chemical/Biological Sensing Applications

Dr. Seungkeun Choi


Former Seminars

The Crisis of Abundance: Industrial Chemicals and the Problem of Too Much Food

April 2, 2024 by Dr. Adam Romero

After WWII, US agricultural output exploded, due in large part to the massive influx of industrial chemicals like pesticides and fertilizers. The consumption of farm products, however, did not keep pace and immense surpluses quickly accrued. This talk explores the role that credit played in the creation of an agricultural system of high chemical input use and chronic surplus production. It examines how the expansion of public and private credit along with the creation of new financial technologies gave farmers the ability to pay for more and more chemicals despite falling crop prices caused by too much food.

Building from students’ strengths in STEM college teaching

March 7, 2024 by Dr. Rebecca Price

Increasing the diversity of the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce means supporting students as they learn in college classrooms. That support comes in part from asset-based teaching frameworks that build from students’ existing strengths, as well as assessment strategies that are fair and just. In this talk, we’ll explore holistic and asset-based approaches to assessment. Then, we’ll analyze data about a professional development program that successfully teaches early career STEM PhDs how to teach from this perspective. 

For more reading, can you check out Dr. Price’s research page and the STEP website.

Breathing in a Time of Disaster – Emergent Broadcast System

February 13, 2024 by Dr. Ching-In Chen

Breathing in a Time of Disaster is a community-based writing, performance, and installation project beginning as a response to extreme natural disasters (like Tax Day Floods and Hurricane Harvey). It investigates complex individual and community relationships between breath, health, belonging and disaster in response to ecological change. 

Impacts of Freeways, Cooking and Wildfires on Indoor Air Quality in a variety of WA households: Towards Actionable Solutions

January 9, 2024 – Dr. Daniel Jaffe and Dr. Brandon Finley

We evaluated and calibrated multiple low cost sensors and found the one sensor that gave the most reliable and useful information. We found that this low-cost sensor provided excellent data on pollution levels inside homes, especially carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and PM2.5 (particulate matter with diameter less than 2.5 µm). This is particularly important as both nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and PM2.5 are associated with known health risks including asthma and other health problems, especially for children. We then solicited volunteer homes with gas stoves to examine how often the air in homes is unhealthy. To date, we used these sensors to test the air in 17 volunteer homes with gas stoves. In each home we measured CO, CO2, NO2 and PM2.5 using the low-cost sensor for 2-4 weeks and the volunteers maintained records of cooking, both with the gas stoves and gas ovens. We also asked volunteers to keep records of their use of mitigation, such as opening windows or stove vent fans. In all homes, we found that NO2 and PM2.5 concentrations were the pollutants of greatest concern; i.e. most frequently elevated over the health standards. The NO2 is from the gas stove, whereas the PM2.5 is from cooking. While all homes had detectable levels of these pollutants, approximately ¼ of the homes had much worse indoor air quality. Mitigation methods (most commonly using a stove fan) did have an impact and reduced both pollutants significantly.

Fourth Wave Feminism in the Global South: A Postcolonial Backlash

November 30, 2023 – Dr. Alka Kurian

In a world marked by unprecedented mass mobilizations, what does feminist rage look like? This presentation explores how women in Argentina, India, and South Korea are campaigning against the pandemic of femicide, sexual violence, cyber exploitation, and extreme beauty standards. It looks at the ways in which, inspired by the belief in the personal as political, these new social and political protests, are using the Internet as a “vibrant space for grassroots discourse” to articulate transnational feminist solidarity.

Short Mindfulness Activity to Reduce Test Stress (SMARTS)

November 28, 2023 – Dr. Bryan White and Dr. Linda Eaton,

According to the University of Washington Bothell Healthy Minds Study conducted in 2017, 30% of students met criteria for major and minor depression, and 22% of students met criteria for anxiety disorder. As striking as these data are, they do not include the number of students who do not have anxiety or depression and yet are still deleteriously affected by negative feelings and anxiety in stressful test-taking situations. Being a bit anxious for an exam can help students focus and be physiologically ready to perform; however, in test anxiety, worrying about potential negative outcomes or failure on an exam leads to physiological and mental changes that can be detrimental and self-fulfilling. Through guidance from a student advisory panel, our research team created a 7-minute mindfulness recording to reduce test stress. Using a pilot randomized controlled trial design, 29 students taking an introductory biology course were randomly assigned to the mindfulness recording group (n = 15) and to the control group (n = 14). All students completed questionnaires about their stress level prior to each exam and wore a heart rate wristwatch monitor while taking the exams to record heart rate data, a physiological indicator of stress. Students in the intervention group listened to the recording immediately prior to taking the exams whereas students in the control group used the 7-minutes to follow their normal routine. We found that listening to the recording reduces the increase in heart rate due to the exam by an average of 8 beats per minute, and 56% of participants said they would continue to use the recording on future exams.  Our research team, including the student researchers, will present what we learned about the potential efficacy of this intervention in reducing stress and heart rate in undergraduate students.  We hope this information will be useful for students.
Vivian Lam1, Emerald Chuesh2, Maggie Goros1, Mia White3, Linda Eaton2, Bryan White1 1School of STEM, 2School of Nursing and Health Sciences, University of Washington Bothell; 3Middlebury College

Using Emerging Technologies to Create Common Learning Environments

November 15, 2023 – Dr. Robin Angotti and Dr. Kelvin Sung

Early in 2020, the covid-19 pandemic necessitated the move to online instruction in most universities and in K-12 educational settings. This required instructors to pivot to online instruction using technologies that were built for videoconference meetings. As such, the design of those technologies was typically not informed by educators for use in pedagogical applications. There was little understanding of best pedagogical practices to teach a range of subject areas as well as differing course types such as labs, lectures, and discussion-based classes. Although faculty rose to the challenge and creatively made it work, online video conferencing software was less than optimal as a common learning environment.

By common learning environment, we refer to the space or place students and teachers inhabit such as a physical classroom or online environment such as Zoom©. This common learning environment is a space which is conducive to focusing the learner on the instruction and allows for convenient display of the presentation content. Hence, in a traditional classroom, there are desks/tables for students and a whiteboard/presentation computer for the instructor, etc. The instructor in this space has mastery of a particular content area and understands pedagogical strategies such as small discussion groups, lecture, and hands-on activities to facilitate students’ learning of the content.  This inspired the question of what features should a good virtual learning environment have and what are the pedagogical best practices for learning in such an environment across different subject areas and course types? With this in mind we embarked on a project to envision common learning spaces for the future through the use of virtual reality (VR) building a common learning environment and examining the possibilities for instruction in the VR space. 

The Persistence of P. aeruginosa in Chronic Wound Biofilms: Insight into the Mechanisms of Action

October 24, 2023 – Dr. Lori Robins

Chronic wounds affect 20 million people worldwide and are a silent epidemic often occurring with a comorbid condition (e.g., diabetes). The cost associated with wound care dressings alone is projected to reach $24 billion by 2024. Chronic wounds can cause pain, stress, isolation, odor, decreased mobility and an overall reduction in quality of life. Most often, these wounds are unsuccessfully treated with wound dressings, topical formulations, and antibiotics. We have shown that hypochlorous acid (HOCl) selectively targets Pseudomonas aeruginosa in our chronic wound biofilm model. The persistence of P. aeruginosa is a major challenge to healing chronic wounds, in part due to its inherent resistance to many antimicrobials. Here, we will explore the mechanisms used by P. aeruginosa to survive in biofilms to provide insights into the prominence of Pseudomonas in chronic wounds and their treatments. This insight could transpose to other chronic infectious diseases, for example, cystic fibrosis lung infections.

A Deep Learning Approach for ECG Authentication in Implantable Medical Devices

October 24, 2023 – Dr. Geethapriya Thamilarasu

Implanted Medical Devices (IMDs) such as pacemakers, insulin pumps, and neurostimulators are now increasingly connected to the Internet allowing for improved patient outcomes and quality of care. As the number of connected devices continues to grow, so does the attack surface, increasing the already critical need for more robust medical device security. Traditional computer security solutions are often not feasible to be deployed on resource constrained medical devices. The goal of our research is to enhance the security of implanted medical devices using patients’ electrocardiogram (ECG) signals to authenticate devices. Specifically, we propose a deep learning approach for classifying a patient’s electrocardiogram (ECG) as a biometric for authentication. The deep learning approach allows a device to learn its user’s ECG in order to authenticate them against untrusted entities.

Archived Past Seminars