News and events

Climate change may be culprit in Antarctic fish disease outbreak

June 30, 2022

Climate change might be behind an unusual disease outbreak among Antarctic fish. In a new study, University of Oregon (UO) researchers join Arizona State University virologist Arvind Varsani to investigate a parasitic outbreak in the antarctic. For about a decade, UO biologists John Postlethwait and Thomas Desvignes have been visiting the West Antarctic Peninsula. They study a unique group of fish that has adapted to the harsh polar environment. But on a...

Microgravity analog culture profoundly affects microbial infection process in 3-D human tissue models, a new study finds

May 31, 2022

Infectious microbes have evolved sophisticated means to invade host cells, outwit the body’s defenses and cause disease. While researchers have tried to puzzle out the complicated interactions between microorganisms and the host cells they infect, one facet of the disease process has often been overlooked – the physical forces that impact host-pathogen interactions and disease outcomes. In a new study, corresponding authors Cheryl Nickerson, Jennifer Barrila and their colleagues...

ASU, TGen, NAU, UArizona and ADHS position state to play a role in the planned U.S. Pathogen Genomics Centers of Excellence

May 11, 2022

A massive effort to track the COVID-19 pandemic in Arizona over the past two years resulted in the genomic sequencing of more than 100,000 samples of the COVID-19 virus by a coalition of Arizona universities and health agencies, including Arizona State University, TGen, Northern Arizona University, the University of Arizona and the Arizona Department of Health Services. This joint enterprise provides a proof-of-concept for building a 21st-century infectious-disease surveillance system to...

Crossing barriers: How the rabbit virus myxoma leapt into a new species

April 26, 2022

Viruses are among the most protean entities in nature, ceaselessly mutating and acquiring new characteristics. These tiny entities follow a simple and relentless imperative:  infect as many host organisms as possible. Occasionally, a virus’ genomic alterations enable it to leap from one species to another, in a process known as spillover. In new research appearing in the journal mBio, Masmudur Rahman and his Arizona State University colleagues join international researchers to...

Viruses in the gut may warn of a deadly disease in preterm infants

April 21, 2022

Immediately after birth, human infants begin to develop a complex, interwoven fabric of microbes in their gut. Known collectively as the gut microbiome, this diverse ecosystem consists of bacteria, archaea, viruses and fungi, numbering in the billions. All have important roles to play in health and disease and researchers are racing to better understand their enigmatic activities. In a new study published in the journal Nature Microbiology, Efrem Lim and his colleagues explore the galaxy of...

Antibiotic and antiretroviral drug effects on breast milk are explored for mothers living with HIV

April 6, 2022

Infants carry a vast assemblage of bacteria, viruses and fungi in their guts. Combined, these microbes make up a complex ecology known as the gut microbiome, which plays a major role in health and disease throughout life. The initial source of these billions of microbes is the mother’s breast milk. In a new study, Efrem Lim and his colleagues use next-generation sequencing to investigate the breast milk microbiome from HIV positive women in Kenya. Lim is a researcher with the Biodesign...

Study describes new method for probing the bewildering diversity of the microbiome

April 4, 2022

In recent years, researchers have begun to explore the vast assemblage of microbes on and within the human body. These include protists, archaea, fungi, viruses and vast numbers of bacteria living in symbiotic ecosystems. Known collectively as the human microbiome, these tiny entities influence an astonishing range of activities, from metabolism to behavior and play a central role in health and disease. Some 39 trillion non-human microbes flourish on and within us, in a ceaseless,...

Viral transformations in the female genital tract can spell trouble for women’s health

March 31, 2022

The Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a known risk factor for cervical cancer. Researchers at Arizona State University are hoping to better understand the factors leading to persistent HPV infection and the progression to cancer, by studying the complex communities of microbes in the female reproductive tract, known as the vaginal microbiome. In a new study, Efrem Lim and his colleagues examine an often-overlooked subset of the vaginal microbiome—the viruses. Lim is a researcher with the ASU...

Developing a breath test for valley fever

March 2, 2022

Heather Bean, PhD, Biodesign Center for Fundamental and Applies Microbiomics and Center for Immunotherapy, Vaccines and Virotherapy Presents: Developing a breath test for valley fever This seminar is part of the Biodesign CIVV-oholics lecture series. Join meeting via Zoom.

Lim’s tireless SARS CoV-2 sequencing work advances Arizona public safety, earning him ASU Alumni’s faculty research award

February 14, 2022

Efrem Lim is the recipient of the ASU Alumni Association’s 2022 Faculty Research Achievement Award for sequencing and tracking SARS CoV-2 variants for the state since the start of the pandemic. Over the past few years, he has played a pivotal role in COVID-19 research to advance public safety.  A virologist and assistant professor, at the Biodesign Center for Fundamental and Applied Microbiomics and the School of Life Sciences. He is also the principal investigator of the Center for...