News and events

Advancing Urban Sustainability Using Environmental Biotechnology

September 8, 2021

Dr. Bruce Rittmann, director of the Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology, will be a keynote speaker at the 2021 International Conference on Urban Drainage. His presentation will be held virtually at 10:00 AM on October 28th AEDT or 4:00 PM on October 27th MST. The lecture will be recorded and made available after the presentation as well. For more information, please visit: https://www.icud2021.org/ Register...

Bruce Rittmann honored with WEF research award

July 12, 2021

Arizona State University Regents’ Professor Bruce Rittmann has been named the 2021 recipient of the WEF Camp Applied Research Award, bestowed by the Water Environment Federation (WEF). “Dr. Rittmann is recognized for his body of work, from membrane biofilm reactors to membrane capture of CO2,” according to a WEF Award statement. Rittmann is the director of the Biodesign Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology, Regents' Professor of Environmental Engineering at ASU and one...

Waste into wealth: harvesting useful products from microbial growth

February 17, 2021

Ancient alchemists dreamed of transforming base materials like lead into gold and other valuable commodities. While such efforts generally came to naught, researchers today are having some success in extracting a variety of useful products like aviation fuels, lubricants, solvents, food additives and plastics from organic waste. The trick is accomplished with the aid of specialized bacteria, whose metabolic activities can convert simpler chemicals into useful products through a microbial...

Biodesign researchers land coveted Hering Medal

February 15, 2021

Researchers at the Biodesign Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology (BSCEB) and their colleagues have been awarded the 2021 Rudolph Hering Medal from the American Society of Civil Engineers.  The prestigious award recognizes the best paper of the preceding year from the Journal of Environmental Engineering.  The research selected for the Hering Medal describes new approaches to one of the thornier issues surrounding the environmental contamination; how to rid ecosystems of a...

AAAS lecture: microbes and autism

February 7, 2021

Monday, February 8, 2021 11:00 AM - 11:45 AM MST Microbiota Transfer Therapy for Autism: Multi-Omic Approaches and Lessons Learned During every instant of life, over a hundred trillion microbes, collectively known as the microbiome, reside on skin surfaces and course through the human body. In the human gut, vast colonies of bacteria, belonging to around 1000 different species, carry out duties ranging from the digestion of food and the management of body weight to effects on the brain...

Microbial remedies target chemical threats in the environment

November 16, 2020

Across America, hazardous waste sites pose an ongoing threat to human and environmental health. The most severe cases are known as Superfund sites, of which over a thousand currently exist. Some 50 million Americans live within three miles of one of these zones, potentially placing them at increased risk for cancer and other serious diseases. While decontamination of such sites is a public health priority, the technical challenges are daunting.  Of particular concern are a pair of...

Managing the microbiome raises new hope for autism

November 12, 2020

According to the Centers for Disease Research, 1 in 54 children is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) each year, and the number has been rising. The disease causes perplexing, lifelong developmental disabilities, which usually arise during early childhood and affect social skills, communication, personal relationships, and self-control. In new research appearing in the journal mSphere, Rosa Krajmalnik-Brown, James Adams and their colleagues highlight the crucial importance of...

Cloth masks are a worthy line of defense to mitigate COVID-19 pandemic

May 13, 2020

As our world finds itself in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic, practically everything has changed. Sarah Arrowsmith, a scientist and lab coordinator with the Arizona State University Biodesign Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology, was stuck at home starting in mid-March —just like the rest of us. But unlike others, she pulled out her sewing machine and set to work making masks. Arrowsmith was prompted to action after Diana Calvo, a doctoral candidate in the center, asked...

Solving obesity: Could manipulating microbes offer an alternative to weight loss surgery?

March 13, 2020

Already considered a global epidemic, human obesity continues to be on the rise. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 40% of the U.S. population is considered obese. The gamut of adverse health effects associated with obesity is broad, including such devastating illnesses as type 2 diabetes, coronary artery disease, stroke, sleep apnea and certain forms of cancer. Patients often suffer depression, loss of mobility, social isolation and inability to work. With costs...

Rosa Krajmalnik-Brown named recipient of Distinguished Alumni Award at UAM

August 29, 2019

Universities worldwide recognize their brightest and most successful alumni with prestigious academic awards.   Rosa Krajmalnik-Brown, a professor in the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, a faculty member in the Biodesign Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology and an associate faculty member in the Biodesign Center for Fundamental and Applied Microbiomics, received the Distinguished Alumni award from her alma mater, the Universidad Autonoma...