News & Events

Oversupply of energy could put you at risk of developing cancer

March 9, 2020

Growing up, we are told that eating a balanced diet is pivotal to our health. After all, food is what supplies our body with the energy we need day to day. And it’s well understood that obesity, diabetes and chronic inflammation – common ailments tied to diet – hinder our health, often contributing to a higher chance of developing cancer. But the mechanism underlying this increase has not been well established – until now. Athena Aktipis, assistant professor in the Psychology...

Cliques, binges and bullies: What animals tell us about teen behavior

December 20, 2019

It’s not easy being teen. Negative images of adolescents populate the media. Words like moody, selfish, impulsive, disrespectful and even dangerous come to mind.  Suicide rates among teens and young adults have reached their highest point in nearly two decades. Adolescence is a particularly malleable time for mental and social development. Gaining a better understanding of the teenage brain and behavior can make this time an opportunity, rather than a calamity. In their recently...

New ASU courses offer tools for engaging others in science

December 9, 2019

Roaring twenties-era physicist Ernest Rutherford is purported to have said, “It should be possible to explain the laws of physics to a barmaid,” which is said to be the antecedent to Einstein’s later proclamation: “If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.” Clearly, the art of effectively sharing scientific knowledge has been a concern for generations. Heck, even television series star, Alan Alda thought this so important that he...

Arizona Wellbeing Commons Conference 2019 rallies Arizona’s health care forces to tackle big issues

October 7, 2019

With organizations the caliber of the Mayo Clinic, TGen, the Flinn Foundation, Arizona Bioindustry Association and the state’s universities, Arizona boasts a multitude of talented scientists, health professionals, life science entrepreneurs, nonprofits and government leaders committed to contributing to the quality of life in our state. Arizona’s bioscience sector is adding jobs at a rate that outpaces the nation. Arizona’s public universities are seeing increases in bioscience research...

The Kombucha Culture: Microbial communities in this fermented drink can teach us about cooperation and competition

September 3, 2019

In today’s health-conscious community, kombucha is all the rave. Its appeal comes from its accessibility and alleged health benefits, which range from introducing probiotics to killing deleterious bacteria in the human body.  But as is the case for many things in science, there is more to kombucha than meets the eye – literally. The microscopic microbes inhabiting this fermented concoction could offer insight into how microbial communities interact, more specifically on how...

Have you been 'zombified'?

June 12, 2019

Athena Aktipis wants brains. Not because she’s a zombie but because she’s been zombi-fied. And so have you. By social media. By stress. By your friends. Even by loyal old Fido. And the only cure is to bring as many brains from as many fields possible together to get a handle on how and why those noodley masses of muscle and synapses can be manipulated by forces seemingly beyond our control. That’s the premise of the Arizona State University psychology professor’s new podcast,...

Cactus garden plants new ideas for understanding cancer

April 2, 2019

“From the very beginning I had this idea that cancer isn’t something I need to fight or have to try to beat. It’s a natural thing, and I have to learn to live with it.” When Kevin Moore joined the cancer garden project team, he was dealing with stomach cancer. A landscape architect with the Moore/Swick partnership, in Tempe, Ariz., Moore is now cancer-free. Moore explained that while working on the project, he learned that “cancer is a natural thing. Part of my body that went...

Life’s many histories open new approaches to cancer

February 26, 2019

For most humans, a family of ten would be considered abundant. But for many other forms of life on earth, that’s.. well…chicken feed. Take the ocean sunfish for example. At spawning time, a female will commonly disgorge some 300 million eggs into her liquid habitat, which are subsequently fertilized externally. Only a tiny fraction of these eggs will hatch and survive. The resulting fry, each the size of a pinhead, can eventually grow to the proportions of a rhinocersos. Why do...

Probing life’s simplest organism to understand the complexity of cancer

February 18, 2019

The simplest multicellular animal known to man (Trichoplax adhaerens) has no nervous system, no muscle tissue, and, most importantly, no history of cancer. Typically, cancer is a disease afflicting multicellular organisms that spreads as cells grow and divide. Arizona State University researchers are looking to these small creatures to learn more about how they evade the deadly disease, and the implications this has for other multicellular animals. At the Biodesign Center for...

Discovering New Cancer Treatments By Studying Cacti

December 12, 2018

What can a type of cactus tell us about cancer, and treating the disease? Two researchers at ASU believe it's a lot. Carlo Maley and Athena Aktipis have helped set up a cactus garden on the school’s Tempe campus — but the garden doesn’t feature the kinds of specimens you might expect to see. Instead, they’re plants with kinds of malformations on them. Maley is an associate professor in ASU’s School of Life Sciences and director of the Arizona Cancer Evolution Center. Aktipis is...