News & Events

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News coverage

  • May, 2015, Professor John C.H. Spence elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society
  • April, 2015, Key blood pressure drug seen in startling new detail, Zhang, H., et al., Cell
  • April, 2015, Our Ever Green World, New York Times
  • February, 2015, X-ray crystallography brings pain pathways into view, Fenalti, G., et al., Nat Struct Mol Biol
  • December, 2014, First time-resolved XFEL studies at atomic resolution, Tenboer, J., et al., Science, ASU News Article, Biodesign Article
  • September, 2014, AzTE award to John Spence and Uwe Weirstall
  • July 2014, First time-resolved XFEL studies of Photosynthesis, Kupitz, C., et al., Nature
  • August, 2014, Launch of the Center for Applied Structural Discovery, AzCentral Article, Biodesign Article
  • April, 2014, New link of dietary fats to colon cancer, Wang, D., et al., PNAS
  • December, 2013, New structure of major drug target protein, Liu, W., et al., Science
  • December, 2012, In vivo protein crystallization opens new routes in structural biology, Koopmann, R., et al., Nature Methods
  • December, 2012, New insights into African Sleeping Sickness, Redecke, L., et al., Science, One of Science’s top 10 breakthroughs
  • February, 2011, Serial femtosecond nanocrystallography, Chapman, H., et al., Nature


Tiny pumping stations play outsized role in cellular health and disease

October 12, 2020

In order to carry out their astonishingly varied tasks, living cells make use of a range of micro-machines. One of the most crucial of these— known vacuolar ATPase or V-ATPase—is responsible for ferrying protons into cellular compartments or organelles. Without it, cells could not survive. Once set in motion, this natural motor—ensconced in the cell organelle’s fatty outer membrane—spins like a helicopter blade at 100 times per second, sweeping in protons from outside the...

Mining molecular data with cryo-EM unveils hidden biological secrets

September 21, 2020

The field of structural biology has made enormous strides, peering into the activities of nature at the tiniest scale. Such investigations are critical for charting the behavior of important macromolecules and understanding their essential role in living organisms. Researchers at the Biodesign Center for Applied Structural Discovery and ASU’s School of Molecular Sciences have taken a new approach to studying molecules of life, examining not only their static structures...

New microfluidic device minimizes loss of high value samples

September 7, 2020

A major collaborative effort that has been developing over the last three years between Arizona State University and European scientists has resulted in a significant technical advance in X-ray crystallographic sample strategies. The ASU contribution comes from the School of Molecular Sciences , Department of Physics and the Biodesign Institute Center for Applied Structural Discovery. The European X-ray Free Electron Laser (EuXFEL) is a research facility of superlatives:...

Study offers new insights for sun-gathering technologies

August 24, 2020

Every hour, the sun saturates the earth with more energy than humans use in a year. Harnessing some of this energy to meet global demand has become a grand challenge, with the world poised to double its energy consumption in just thirty years. In a new study, researchers at the Biodesign Center for Applied Structural Discovery (CASD) and ASU’s School of Molecular Sciences take a page from Nature’s lesson book. Inspired by the way plants and other photosynthetic organisms collect and use...

Protein structural insights chart the way to improved treatments for heart disease

August 19, 2020

A team including Wei Liu, assistant professor in ASU’s School of Molecular Sciences (SMS) and the Biodesign Institute’s Center for Applied Structural Discovery, has published a paper today in Molecular Cell that offers promising details for improved therapeutic treatments for cardiac disease. Cardiac disease is the number one killer of people worldwide and according to the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) it kills one person every 37 seconds in the United States. With this in...

Study sheds new light on mitochondrial disorders

July 29, 2020

To perform myriad operations essential to life, cells require an energy source. They get it from the molecule ATP, produced through cellular respiration within specialized structures—the mitochondria. The production of ATP is a complicated process researchers are still struggling to fully grasp. Essential to the final production of ATP are a series of five respiratory complexes, collectively known as the electron transport chain. Scientists are working to ferret out the details of how...

Advances in cryo-EM pave the way for drug discovery

June 22, 2020

Cryogenic electron microscopy (Cryo-EM) is a powerful technique capable of penetrating the mysteries of the molecular world at near atomic resolution. Along with X-ray crystallography and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR), cryo-EM has been a boon to the field of structural biology, helping to unlock the fine details of proteins and their binding activities with small molecules. The enormous power and versatility of the method earned cryo-EM researchers the 2017 Nobel Price in...

ASU grad student earns fellowship from National Science Foundation

May 14, 2020

John Vant, a graduate student at Arizona State University’s School of Molecular Sciences and the Biodesign Institute’s Center for Applied Structural Discovery, was recently awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and the LeRoy Eyring Memorial Fellowship. That's even more impressive considering Vant said that attending graduate school was, for him, “a low probability phenomenon” and “not for kids like me.” Growing up, Vant always had a...

Three Biodesign researchers awarded NSF CAREER Award

April 10, 2020

Arizona State University has to date earned 15 National Science Foundation early faculty CAREER awards for 2020. The awards total $9.5 million in funding for ASU researchers over five years. Amongst these 15 recipients were three Biodesign Institute researchers: Richard Kirian, Brent Nannenga and Abhishek Singharoy. The NSF’s Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program identifies the nation’s most promising young faculty members and provides them with funding to pursue...

Powering up high school biology

March 17, 2020

In his lab at Arizona State University, Abhishek Singharoy studies how cells interact with each other on the atomic level. His research uses high-powered molecular visualization programs that can’t run on an average computer. Instead, he connects remotely to supercomputers based at national laboratories to run his simulations, tapping into their vast computational power. It’s a common model for researchers all over the world — which sparked an idea from Singharoy. “Why can't we...