News and events

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News coverage

  • May, 2015, Professor John C.H. Spence elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society
  • April, 2015, Key blood pressure drug seen in startling new detail, Zhang, H., et al., Cell
  • April, 2015, Our Ever Green World, New York Times
  • February, 2015, X-ray crystallography brings pain pathways into view, Fenalti, G., et al., Nat Struct Mol Biol
  • December, 2014, First time-resolved XFEL studies at atomic resolution, Tenboer, J., et al., Science, ASU News Article, Biodesign Article
  • September, 2014, AzTE award to John Spence and Uwe Weirstall
  • July 2014, First time-resolved XFEL studies of Photosynthesis, Kupitz, C., et al., Nature
  • August, 2014, Launch of the Center for Applied Structural Discovery, AzCentral Article, Biodesign Article
  • April, 2014, New link of dietary fats to colon cancer, Wang, D., et al., PNAS
  • December, 2013, New structure of major drug target protein, Liu, W., et al., Science
  • December, 2012, In vivo protein crystallization opens new routes in structural biology, Koopmann, R., et al., Nature Methods
  • December, 2012, New insights into African Sleeping Sickness, Redecke, L., et al., Science, One of Science’s top 10 breakthroughs
  • February, 2011, Serial femtosecond nanocrystallography, Chapman, H., et al., Nature


Study paves the way for new photosensitive materials

April 22, 2021

Photocatalysts are useful materials, with myriad environmental and energy applications, including air purification, water treatment, self-cleaning surfaces, pollution-fighting paints and coatings, hydrogen production and CO2 conversion to sustainable fuels. An efficient photocatalyst converts light energy into chemical energy and provides this energy to a reacting substance, to help chemical reactions occur. One of the most useful such materials is knows as titanium oxide or titania, much...

Petra Fromme’s pioneering efforts in X-ray crystallography honored with the prestigious Anfinsen Award

April 12, 2021

Arizona State University researcher Petra Fromme has received the 2021 Christian B. Anfinsen Award. The honor is bestowed by The Protein Society, the premier international association dedicated to supporting protein research. In presenting Fromme with this prestigious prize, the Protein Society recognizes her groundbreaking efforts to advance the field of protein research, using ultra-high-speed X-ray crystallography to probe matter at the tiniest scales and shortest time durations. These...

First detailed look at crucial enzyme advances cancer research

March 29, 2021

In order to develop more effective drugs against a range of cancers, researchers have been investigating the molecular structure of many diseased-linked enzymes in the body. An intriguing case in point is Taspase 1, a type of enzyme known as a protease. The primary duty of proteases is to break down proteins into smaller peptide snippets or single amino acids. Taspase 1 appears to play a vital role in a range of physiological processes, including cell metabolism, proliferation, migration and...

Variances in critical protein may guide fate of those infected with SARS CoV-2

March 22, 2021

Of the many perplexing questions surrounding SARS CoV-2, a mysterious new pathogen that has killed an estimated 2.6 million people worldwide, perhaps the most insistent is this: why does the illness seem to strike in such a haphazard way, sometimes sparing the 100 year old grandmother, while killing healthy young men and women in the prime of life? A new study by Karen Anderson, Abhishek Singharoy and their colleagues at the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University, may offer some...

ASU researchers unraveling protein structure to understand and fight disease

February 12, 2021

Proteins are one of the major building blocks of life, and they carry out many chemical reactions related to life. This includes how the body interacts with disease-causing agents. Understanding and treating diseases requires scientists to determine the structures and shapes of proteins involved in these interactions.  Three-dimensional computer modeling and electron microscopy are two of the tools scientists are currently using to help learn more about these proteins. To spur...

ASU professor awarded top research prize by Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

December 1, 2020

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has awarded the prestigious Gregori Aminoff Crystallography Prize, one of the physics research community’s highest honors, to Arizona State University Regents Professor John Spence. Spence is an associate faculty member of the Biodesign Center for Applied Structural Discovery. Spence and his colleagues Janos Hajdu from Uppsala University, Sweden, and Henry Chapman from Hamburg University and DESY laboratory in Germany, received the award in honor of...

Tiny pumping stations play outsized role in cellular health and disease

October 12, 2020

In order to carry out their astonishingly varied tasks, living cells make use of a range of micro-machines. One of the most crucial of these— known vacuolar ATPase or V-ATPase—is responsible for ferrying protons into cellular compartments or organelles. Without it, cells could not survive. Once set in motion, this natural motor—ensconced in the cell organelle’s fatty outer membrane—spins like a helicopter blade at 100 times per second, sweeping in protons from outside the...

Mining molecular data with cryo-EM unveils hidden biological secrets

September 21, 2020

The field of structural biology has made enormous strides, peering into the activities of nature at the tiniest scale. Such investigations are critical for charting the behavior of important macromolecules and understanding their essential role in living organisms. Researchers at the Biodesign Center for Applied Structural Discovery and ASU’s School of Molecular Sciences have taken a new approach to studying molecules of life, examining not only their static structures...

New microfluidic device minimizes loss of high value samples

September 7, 2020

A major collaborative effort that has been developing over the last three years between Arizona State University and European scientists has resulted in a significant technical advance in X-ray crystallographic sample strategies. The ASU contribution comes from the School of Molecular Sciences , Department of Physics and the Biodesign Institute Center for Applied Structural Discovery. The European X-ray Free Electron Laser (EuXFEL) is a research facility of superlatives:...

Study offers new insights for sun-gathering technologies

August 24, 2020

Every hour, the sun saturates the earth with more energy than humans use in a year. Harnessing some of this energy to meet global demand has become a grand challenge, with the world poised to double its energy consumption in just thirty years. In a new study, researchers at the Biodesign Center for Applied Structural Discovery (CASD) and ASU’s School of Molecular Sciences take a page from Nature’s lesson book. Inspired by the way plants and other photosynthetic organisms collect and use...