News/Events

PBS’ 'Catalyst' shines the spotlight on Biodesign researchers’ stories

March 18, 2019

Arizona State University researchers work all over the world, from Antarctica to Mexico, and Tucson to Pasadena. Now, a group of journalists and storytellers at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication is chronicling their research for a science documentary series for PBS. “Catalyst” returned to Arizona PBS Wednesday, Feb. 13 for a highly anticipated second season, featuring host Vanessa Ruiz, a Cronkite professor of practice and former...

Will Mars missions make humans sick? Here's what we know

December 4, 2018

While it's unclear if microbes are lurking on Mars, studies of earthly bacteria show that space can make some germs especially unpleasant. No one wants to risk a contagion in space. Returning home can be tricky, medical supplies are limited, crews cannot treat every complication that might arise, and a single infected astronaut could jeopardize an entire mission. That’s especially true for any future human missions to Mars, in which an astronaut with the sniffles would be at least...

Farewell flat biology – tackling infectious disease using 3-D tissue engineering

September 10, 2018

In a new invited review article, ASU Biodesign microbiologists and tissue engineers Cheryl Nickerson, Jennifer Barrila and colleagues discuss the development and application of three-dimensional (3-D) tissue culture models as they pertain to infectious disease. They describe these models as predictive pre-clinical platforms to study host-pathogen interactions, infectious disease mechanisms, and antimicrobial drug development.   The review, entitled “Modeling Host-Pathogen...

ASU a major presence at synthetic biology conference

June 4, 2018

Gathering highlights, discoveries and tools at leading edge of DNA editing Synthetic biology uses basic research about DNA and proteins to design and build “living nanotech” that controls cell behavior. The payoff, scientists hope, will be novel biomaterials for rebuilding damaged tissue, molecular and cellular therapies, and localized drug delivery systems for tough cancers. An annual synthetic biology conference is being held in Paradise Valley this week, with Arizona State...

Space business is big business

March 28, 2018

Once, space was a vast emptiness beyond earth, hostile and remote. Today, space is humming with satellites essential for global telecommunications and human occupied vehicles that provide an innovative platform for cutting edge scientific research that is benefiting life in space and on Earth. Indeed, many Earth-bound innovations have benefited from space research, from advanced solar cells to developments in parallel computing and major advances in human health. In a path-breaking new...

Discovery's Desert Home

September 18, 2017

  Editor's note: The following story was featured in the February 15 print edition of the journal Nature.  The Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University was designed to foster multidisciplinary collaboration and solve the world’s great challenges. The results speak for themselves. William Graves came to the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University (ASU) determined to change the world. The physicist had spent the past 13 years at the Massachusetts Institute of...

ASU postdoc awarded Alfred P. Sloan Foundation - NASA joint fellowship to study International Space Station microbes

May 16, 2017

Arizona State University has received new support from the prestigious Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and NASA for its rising research stars to study the microbiome of the built environment on board the International Space Station (ISS).  ASU Biodesign Institute postdoctoral researcher Jiseon Yang was just one of five scientists chosen from across the country for a fellowship award from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation under a joint call with NASA – “Microbes of the Built Environment...

NASA, ASU collaboration develops new 3-D tissue culture models with immune cells to better mimic human gut infections

March 10, 2017

Vaccines and antimicrobials have done more to transform medicine and extend the average human lifespan than any other scientific breakthrough. Yet infectious diseases remain the world’s no. 1 leading cause of death of children and young adults.  Now, with emerging epidemic threats like Zika, Ebola, SARS, TB and others, massive increases in antimicrobial resistance, and the time and cost for developing new antimicrobial drugs and therapeutics, scientists are worried about finding ever...

Effects of spaceflight detected in blood

January 25, 2017

As researchers have long known, the punishing conditions associated with human spaceflight present profound challenges for the mental and physical health of astronauts. Acceleration during launch, (which must rapidly propel the craft to some 18,000 mph), acute confinement, hazardous levels of radiation, sleep deprivation, and reduced gravity (or microgravity) can produce a range of physiological effects, from suppressed immune function, bone and muscle loss, eyesight problems, and viral...

Bacteria get dangerously weird in space

October 25, 2016

In 2006, Cheryl Nickerson sent a culture of salmonella bacteria for a ride on the space shuttle Atlantis. Eleven days later, she watched anxiously from the Kennedy Space Center in the dead of night as her bacteria returned safely. Nickerson, a microbiologist at Arizona State University, and her team then infected hundreds of mice with the salmonella grown in space. At the same time, they infected hundreds of other mice with salmonella simultaneously grown on the ground. They had to work...