Former barley breeder Kevin Murphy isn't leaving the grain completely behind in his new job.
In his new position, he's developing relationships with WSU's College of Medicine, combining its research efforts with those of the College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences.
A Ph.D. student is conducting human clinical trials using two WSU food barleys, Meg's Song and Havener, and other varieties high in beta glucan, a dietary fiber linked to improving heart health and cholesterol levels.
The study tests people eating a barley regimen for eight weeks.
"We release barley varieties that are supposedly heart-healthy, and they are because they have beta glucan," Murphy said. "This will help us determine what percentage beta glucan we want to target in our breeding program."
Murphy is conducting the test with other crops as well.