A decade ago, a young vibrant research university, in partnership with people from the nation's sixth largest metropolitan area, in the youngest state in the contiguous U.S., embarked on an ambitious initiative to launch a bioscience endeavor unlike any known before: The Biodesign Institute.

Bioinspired Innovation

The Biodesign Institute plays a critical role in advancing the research mission of Arizona State University, a comprehensive metropolitan university that is the second largest in the U.S. The Biodesign Institute embodies the guiding principles of the New American University, as defined by Arizona State University President Michael Crow, specifically, to conduct use-inspired research, fuse intellectual disciplines and value entrepreneurship.

Encompassing 554,000 square-feet of award-winning, state-of-the-art, LEED-certified buildings, the Biodesign Institute represents Arizona’s single largest research infrastructure investment in the biosciences. Its talented researchers are pioneers of a dynamic new academic research model and hub of 21st-century innovation, with the Biodesign Institute’s convergent technologies and fields of research focusing on biomedicine and health outcomes, sustainability and security. Created on the premise that scientists can overcome complex societal issues by re-imagining the “design rules” found in nature, the institute’s researchers are addressing an expansive array of global challenges by creating “bioinspired” solutions, including: new vaccine discovery and delivery; early detection and treatment of cancer and infectious diseases; techniques for detecting and removing contaminants from air and water; and the application of nanotechnology for biomedicine and electronics.

To advance its bio-inspired research mission, the Biodesign Institute has established more than a dozen different research centers, labs and 200 active research projects. Its 132 tenured research faculty, who include one Nobel Prize winner and five National Academy members, publish in top-tier, high impact scientific journals and collaborate with research and commercial enterprises around the world.

Since its inception in 2003, Biodesign has attracted more than $400 million in external funding from competitive grant awards as well as support from philanthropic and industry sources. In FY2014, Biodesign researchers received $62 million in award funding for research activities. Working in an entrepreneurial culture, its researchers have generated 50 annual invention disclosures and patents and fostered more than a dozen spinout companies. In 2009, the institute won Arizona’s “Excellence in Economic Development Award” for its innovative contributions to the state’s economic growth.

The Biodesign Institute Mission

The Biodesign Institute at ASU addresses today’s critical global challenges in healthcare, sustainability and security by developing solutions inspired from natural systems and translating those solutions into commercially viable products and clinical practices.