News and events

High-throughput sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater provides insights into circulating variants

October 25, 2021

Matthew Scotch, Ph.D., Biodesign Center for Environmental Health Engineering, will present as part of the Biodesign Center for Immunotherapy, Vaccines and Virotherapy Wednesday Seminar Series.   Join via Zoom: https://asu.zoom.us/j/88567521236

SARS-CoV-2: a theme and variations

August 11, 2021

The celebrations were well underway. America seemed to be emerging from the depths of the COVID-19 crisis, following some of the darkest days in the nation’s history. A vast reduction in infections, hospitalizations, and fatalities, driven by improved therapies and above all, a suite of highly effective vaccines, had brought a collective sigh of relief. The July 4th festivities were euphorically anticipated, marking not only the nation’s independence from colonial rule but its...

Are laundry and dish pods biodegradable? Not exactly, ASU study shows

July 28, 2021

Laundry and dishwasher pods: The simplicity of grabbing a pod and tossing it into a washing machine or dishwasher has made them a popular choice for many consumers for nearly a decade. Detergent and other ingredients are packaged inside a dissolvable plastic coating called polyvinyl alcohol, or PVA. This synthetic polymer, used since the early 1930s, is water-soluble and breaks apart during the wash cycle, releasing the detergent. Many companies claim PVA is biodegradable. While...

Research shows water quality could diminish in closed buildings during COVID-19 pandemic

August 29, 2020

While bars, gyms, dine-in restaurants and other buildings have been closed to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, water left sitting in pipes could change in quality. It’s possible that water left sitting for long periods of time could contain excessive amounts of heavy metals and pathogens concentrated in pipes nationwide, say researchers who have begun a field study on the impact of a pandemic shutdown on buildings. “There are several factors that encourage the growth of...

ASU scientific team finds new, unique mutation in coronavirus study

May 7, 2020

As the coronavirus pandemic has swept across the U.S., in addition to tracking the number of COVID-19 daily cases, there is a worldwide scientific community engaged in tracking the SARS-CoV-2 virus itself. Efrem Lim leads a team at Arizona State University that looks at how the virus may be spreading, mutating and adapting over time. To trace the trail of the virus worldwide, Lim’s team is using a new technology at ASU’s Genomics Facility called next-generation...

Novel coronavirus detected, monitored in wastewater

April 23, 2020

Within weeks of arriving on the world stage, SARS-CoV-2 has managed to encircle the globe, leaving illness, mortality and economic devastation in its vast wake. One of the central challenges facing health authorities and the medical community has been testing for the elusive virus on a sufficiently comprehensive scale. A new approach to monitoring the novel coronavirus, (as well as other dangerous pathogens and chemical agents), is being developed and refined. Known as wastewater-based...

Indices of health under our feet

April 21, 2020

A treasure trove of information relevant to human and environmental health is hiding in an unexpected place. Samples of wastewater from homes, institutions, towns and cities around the world can now be probed for valuable data concerning community well-being, antibiotic use and resistance, recreational substance consumption and abuse, biomarkers of disease as well as environmental hazards and degradation. This rapidly emerging health surveillance technique, termed wastewater-based...

Researchers look to toxins in the environment for answers to Alzheimer’s

November 25, 2019

Can insecticides, industrial and commercial pollutants, antimicrobials, heavy metals and air pollutants contribute to the onset of Alzheimer’s? As our population ages at a break-neck pace, visions of a society overwhelmed by the sorrows of the “silver tsunami’ strike fear and concern, but answers remain elusive. Researchers across the world continue to search valiantly for answers to Alzheimer’s. With no clear answers, people are asking, should I take vitamins or supplements? Are...

Environmental entrepreneurs receive national recognition

November 14, 2019

Identified as “a powerful new model for the environmental field,” Professor Rolf Halden’s One Water One Health, an environmental justice organization, launched at the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University , has been selected by The J.M. Kaplan Fund to receive an award of $175,000 over the course of three years. Halden’s organization is one of three environment-focused awardees and seven additional social innovation awardees, chosen from a field of 1,354 entries from all 50...

Biodesign receives $1.5 million to develop early warning system for flu outbreaks

July 24, 2019

As winter draws near, the microbial world of viruses is poised to attack. Viral, non-living entities have the ability to infect you and spread to others, jumping from host to host to host. Unchecked, viral infections can spread through families and communities like wildfire. With $1.53 million in support from the National Library of Medicine, three research teams from Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute are bringing their distinct areas of expertise to answer the question,...