News & Events

Evolution and Cancer take center stage at ISEEC conference

January 8, 2018

  Evolution is the creative force shaping all earthly life. It is also the reason why all multicellular life is susceptible to cancer. The processes of evolution are the fuel behind the interplay of malignant cells with the bodies they attack. From Dec 7-10th, researchers attended ISEEC 2017, the conference of the International Society for Evolution, Ecology and Cancer, held on the Tempe campus of Arizona State University. The conference, which is held every other year, drew a highly...

The Ecology of Collective Behavior

November 29, 2017

Presented by Deborah Gordon, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Biology, Stanford University. Like many complex biological systems, an ant colony operates without central control. Each ant responds to its interactions with other ants nearby. In the aggregate, these stochastic, dynamical networks of interaction regulate colony behavior. Ants are extremely diverse, and species differences in collective behavior reflect relations with diverse environments. A long-term study of desert...

Cancer through the lens of evolution

October 23, 2017

“What does not kill me, makes me stronger.” The oft-repeated maxim, (from Nietzsche’s Twilight of the Idols), offers a model of human fortitude. It could also serve as the motto of a cancer cell, emphasizing—with brutal precision—how treatment-resistant cancers outwit our best medical interventions.  Cancer owes its ability to colonize and devastate the body to the same Darwinian forces that have shaped all life on earth: chance mutation and natural selection....

ASU appoints world-renowned evolutionary biologist to lead new Biodesign Center

September 6, 2017

Cross-disciplinary center studies key forces behind evolution to empower life sciences The Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University has announced today the appointment of world-renowned evolutionary biologist Michael Lynch, Ph.D., as the director of an ambitious new effort to advance the u­nderstanding of evolution across all scales of life, from whole populations to the key forces at work deep within a cell. The overarching mission of Lynch’s new Biodesign Center for Mechanisms...

New book explores cancer’s pervasive mysteries

June 12, 2017

Evolution is a propulsive force, working incessantly to reshape life on earth, from the lowliest single-celled organisms to the planet’s vast forests, insect and bird populations, oceanic life and diverse mammalian species. Like all living things, cancer cells are also subject to the stringent dictates of evolution. Indeed, cancer has proven to be among the most adept players in Nature’s ceaseless game. Evolution is the reason humans and other life forms are vulnerable to cancer and why...

Fateful evolution: new study improves accuracy of cancer diagnosis

August 24, 2016

A disorder known as Barrett’s esophagus (BE) affects some 200,000 Americans each year. The condition, which is caused by stomach acid damaging the lining of the esophagus, can lead to the development of a serious, potentially fatal cancer of epithelial tissue, known as esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC). In a new study, Carlo Maley, a researcher at Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute, uses evolutionary theory to make predictions about which BE patients will go on to develop...

All cells must die!

May 24, 2016

Event recap | Emerge 2016: The Future of Sport What will sports look like 25 years in the future? Jerseys might have built in heart monitors and defibrillators, skates may hover over magnetic tracks, and the Olympics may be held in outer space. Judging by the costumes of the night, there will be a lot of neon and silver, clothing will be infused with technology, and dogs will wear matching tracksuits with their owners. Another trend of the night was an increase in brain games and puzzles,...

Biomedicine and Biotechnology

April 13, 2016

Stephen Johnston, Ph.D., Professor and Co-director, Biodesign Center for Innovations in Medicine; Hugh Mason, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Biodesign Center for Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology; and Carlo Maley, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Virginia G. Piper Biodesign Center for Personalized Diagnostics. The ASU School of Life Sciences is presenting this seminar.  

Evolutionary trade-offs color cancer prognoses

December 1, 2015

In formulating his theory of evolution, Charles Darwin recognized species variation as the raw material from which Nature selects its winners and losers. Chance mutation and natural selection, cornerstones in the evolution of all life, can also determine the fate of cells in a cancerous tumor, allowing some to slip through the body’s safeguards and live another day. In a new study, evolutionary biologist Carlo Maley—a researcher at Arizona State University’s Biodesign...

Elephants provide big clue in fight against cancer

October 9, 2015

Carlo Maley spends his time pondering pachyderms — and cactuses and whales, and a wide array of non-human species — all in pursuit of the answer to this question: Why do some life forms get cancer while others do not? The question of why big animals don't get more cancer than small ones is a long-standing mystery, one that scientists call “Peto’s Paradox.” Logic would seem to say that the more cells you have, the more likely there’s a cell that will mutate and produce a tumor....