2018 in review: Making strides and discoveries on campus and around the globe

The Source looks back at some of our most read and most shared stories of 2018. Highlights include good news (a new chancellor), bad news (even light drinking increases risk of death) and who knew news (“collective narcissism” is real and Virginians have it).

Andrew Martin and students
Students get the chance to visit with Chancellor-designate Andrew D. Martin (right) Sept. 25. Among them are, from left, first-year student Rachit Jain and seniors Evan Simkowitz and Kivanc Komesli. (Photo: Joe Angeles/Washington University)

On campus:  Proud of the past, poised for the future

Andrew Martin appointed 15th chancellor of Washington University

It was announced in July that Andrew D. Martin, a Washington University alumnus and former professor here, would return to serve as the university’s 15th chancellor. He will succeed Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton, who will conclude his term as chancellor May 31 after 24 years, a tenure that ranks among the longest in higher education.

St. Louis’ Olympic legacy to be commemorated on Washington University campus

Washington University in St. Louis, site of the 1904 Olympics, the first Olympiad in the Western Hemisphere, added another architectural jewel to its historic campus — an Olympic rings “Spectacular.” Gold medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee and other Olympians celebrated the installation of the five-ring sculpture at the end of Olympian Way.

Record $3.378 billion in gifts, commitments raised in Washington University’s Leading Together campaign

Leading Together: The Campaign for Washington University, a major multiyear fundraising initiative with an initial goal of $2.2 billion, ended June 30 with a record-breaking $3.378 billion in gifts and commitments. The campaign total includes an unprecedented $591 million for scholarships.

50 things every first-year WashU student must do

To help the 1,800 new members of the Class of 2022 acclimate to their new home, Washington Magazine offered its list of beloved traditions.

Fail Better: Grace Egbo

Grace Egbo, Student Union president and a computer science student, tells the tale of how she “broke Facebook” during her summer internship.

New research on collective narcissism suggests that residents of many American states, including Texas, have an inflated sense of their home state’s role in U.S. history. (Photo: Wikipedia Commons)

What were we thinking? Washington University researchers on what we believe and how we act

Sorry Virginia, U.S. history isn’t all about you

Research on “collective narcissism” from Henry L. “Roddy” Roediger, professor of psychological and brain sciences in Arts & Sciences, suggests many Americans have hugely exaggerated notions about how much their home states helped to write the nation’s narrative. Virginians, in particular, are especially vain, claiming responsibility for 41 percent of the nation’s history.

Time is not on your side

Stephen Nowlis, the August. A. Busch Jr. Distinguished Professor of Marketing at Olin Business School, argued in a new study that setting deadlines may seem like a good idea but, in practice, too many deadlines make us use our time less efficiently.

Survey: White Americans see many immigrants as ‘illegal’

Fueled by political rhetoric about dangerous criminal immigrants, many white Americans assume low-status immigrants from Mexico, El Salvador, Syria, Somalia and elsewhere have no legal right to be in the U.S., sociology research from Arts & Sciences suggests.


Azores field geology
Undergraduate students participate in a field geology course in the Azores, Portugal, during spring break 2018. (Photo: Courtesy of Alex Bradley)

The world where we live:  Washington University researchers travel the globe to discover hidden truths

Warming alters predator-prey interactions in the Arctic

Under warming conditions, arctic wolf spiders’ tastes in prey might be changing, initiating a new cascade of food web interactions that could potentially alleviate some impacts of global warming.

Seismic study reveals huge amount of water dragged into Earth’s interior

Slow-motion collisions of tectonic plates under the ocean drag about three times more water down into the deep Earth than previously estimated, according to a first-of-its-kind seismic study that spans the Mariana Trench. The work has important implications for the global water cycle, according to Douglas A. Wiens in Arts & Sciences.

Field Notes: Azores, Portugal

Students in an undergraduate class in Arts & Sciences traveled to the remote Portuguese Azores archipelago to study field geology techniques in a rugged landscape shaped by volcanoes and shifting tectonic plates.

“Say her name” posters on display May 20, 2015, at a New York City vigil for black women and girls killed by the police. Photo courtesy of All-Nite Images via Wikipedia Commons.
“Say her name” posters on display May 20, 2015, at a New York City vigil for black women and girls killed by the police. (Photo: Courtesy of All-Nite Images via Wikipedia Commons)

Gender matters: From interactions with police to surviving kidney cancer, Washington University researchers find that being a woman influences outcomes

Police kill unarmed blacks more often, especially when they are women, study finds

Black people, especially women, are more likely to have been unarmed when killed by police than nonblacks, and that risk appears to increase in departments with a greater presence of non-white officers, finds a new study of nationwide data led by Odis Johnson, of Arts & Sciences.

Study: Women better survive heart attacks with women doctors

If you’re having a heart attack and you’re a woman, hope a female doctor greets you in the emergency room. A review of nearly 582,000 heart attack cases over 19 years showed female patients had a significantly higher survival rate when a woman treated them in the ER, according to Seth Carnahan, associate professor of strategy at Olin Business School.

For women with kidney cancer, belly fat matters

Belly fat affects the odds of women surviving kidney cancer but not men, according to a new study by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Researchers have found that consuming one to two drinks four or more times per week increases the risk of premature death by 20 percent. (Getty Images)

School of Medicine: Advancing human health (and taking the joy out of New Year’s Eve)

Non-opioid drug relieves pain in mice, targets immune cells

School of Medicine researchers found that inhibiting a receptor on immune cells called macrophages may help relieve pain in some patients, particularly those with chronic neuropathic pain.

Even light drinking increases risk of death

Analyzing data from more than 400,000 people, School of Medicine researchers found that consuming one to two drinks four or more times per week increases the risk of premature death by 20 percent.

Body clock disruptions occur years before memory loss in Alzheimer’s

Washington University School of Medicine researchers have found that circadian rhythm disruptions occur much earlier in people whose memories are intact but whose brain scans show early, preclinical evidence of Alzheimer’s.

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