News and events

Spectroscopic and chromatographic techniques for diagnosis

October 6, 2021

​Biodesign China Virtual Symposium Heather Bean, Biodesign Center for Fundamental and Applied Microbiomics and Xuerong Chen, West China Hospital of Sichuan University will share presentations. Participants can engage in a meaningful discussion following the presentations.   This seminar is part of a virtual fall symposium, hosted by Biodesign Institute China, West China Hospital in Chengdu, and the Biodesign Institute at Arizona...

Safeguarding clean water for spaceflight missions

September 7, 2021

By all appearances, the universe beyond Earth is a vast, lonely, and sterile space. Yet, wherever humans may travel, an abundance of microbial life will follow. In a first study of its kind, lead author Jiseon Yang at the Arizona State University Biodesign Institute, Center for Fundamental and Applied Microbiomics, and her colleagues characterized different bacterial populations isolated over time from potable (drinking) water from the International Space Station (ISS). While historical...

Virus-bearing scorpions wander the Southwest

September 6, 2021

In the hot, arid environment of Phoenix, Arizona and surrounding Sonoran Desert, ancient creatures flourish. Bark scorpions are among Earth’s oldest terrestrial animals. Their earliest fossil ancestors are believed to have made the transition from sea to land some 450 million years ago. In new research, Arvind Varsani and colleagues in the Biodesign Center for Fundamental and Applied Microbiomics and ASU’s School of Life Sciences, describe bark scorpions collected around the Phoenix...

New funding advances Biodesign SARS-CoV-2 research

August 16, 2021

Biodesign researcher Dr. Efrem Lim began studying the human virome long before the arrival of SARS-CoV-2 and the global pandemic. His innovative use of high-throughput viral sequencing and functional studies of viral components have given him a keen insight into the trajectory of the current crisis. Much of Lim’s recent focus has been on genomic surveillance studies of SARS-CoV-2 and its emergent variants. The pace of this research is accelerating with the announcement of three important...

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...

A nomad finds a home in viruses

June 23, 2021

When Arvind Varsani arrived in the Antarctica for the first time a decade ago, he noted that the world looked black and white — from the sheet ice to the sky to the snippets of Earth peeking out from under the snow-covered mountains. That is, with the exception of an oversized vermilion bus that ferried him and other researchers to a nearby camp. The sounds of a wind farm and heavy machinery reverberated. “It was a very surreal experience,” Varsani recalled. So was the...

New study highlights first infection of human cells during spaceflight

March 9, 2021

Astronauts face many challenges to their health, due to the exceptional conditions of spaceflight. Among these are a variety of infectious microbes that can attack their suppressed immune systems. Now, in the first study of its kind, Cheryl Nickerson, lead author Jennifer Barrila and their colleagues describe the infection of human cells by the intestinal pathogen Salmonella Typhimurium during spaceflight. They show how the microgravity environment of spaceflight changes the molecular...

4 top ASU scholars named Regents Professors

December 22, 2020

They are the best and brightest and have brought honor and distinguishment to their disciplines. They’re considered the top researchers that Arizona State University has to offer, and they’re getting their moment in the sun. Four ASU faculty are being honored with the title of Regents Professor: the most prestigious and highest faculty award possible. In order to receive this elite designation, they must be recognized by peers nationally and internationally. On Nov. 20, their names...

Criss-crossing viruses give rise to peculiar hybrid variants

October 29, 2020

For millions of years, viruses have participated in a far-flung, import-export business, exchanging fragments of themselves with both viral and non-viral agents and acquiring new features.  What these tiny entities lack in outward complexity, they make up for with their astonishing abilities to swap out modular genomic components and ceaselessly reinvent themselves. In new research appearing in the journal mBio, Arvind Varsani and his colleagues investigate a recently discovered class...

New techniques probe vital and elusive proteins

October 6, 2020

The number of proteins in the human body, collectively known as the proteome, is vast. Somewhere between 80,000 and 400,000 proteins circulate in our cells, tissues and organs, carrying out a broad range of duties essential for life. When proteins go awry, they are responsible for a myriad of serious diseases. Now, researchers at the Biodesign Center for Applied Structural Discovery and ASU’s School of Molecular Sciences, along with their colleagues, investigate a critically important...