News/Events

Engineering new lungs

May 27, 2015

According to the World Health Organization, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) currently affects more than 64 million people worldwide and is poised to become the third leading cause of mortality by 2030. A hallmark of COPD is scarring of the lungs, a condition called pulmonary fibrosis, which impacts breathing. There is no cure for the condition or ability to repair the scarring that has occurred. Thus, in the late stages of lung disease, just one remedy exists: organ...

Mysteries of infection charted in spacebound worm

January 15, 2015

On Saturday, Jan. 10, 2015, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft streaked skyward from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Lacking human crewmembers, the vessel nevertheless carries very special living cargo—the tiny nematode worm, C. elegans and the foodborne pathogen Salmonella.  In a first-of-its-kind experiment, the soil-dwelling creature will be used to examine the process of bacterial infection by Salmonella, in a reduced gravity...

Biodesign and Nature team to launch npj Microgravity

October 10, 2014

Nature Publishing Group and the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University today announce the launch of npj Microgravity, a new open access journal. The journal is specifically dedicated to publishing research that enables space exploration and research that is enabled by spaceflight.  It will also publish research utilizing ground-based models of spaceflight. Microgravity is an extreme environment in which gravity is greatly...

Rethinking space science, exploration to help solve global problems

April 4, 2014

  Could a paradigm shift in space science and exploration that aligns businesses with research universities lead to new mining resources, a cure for cancer or even world peace? Arizona State University’s Jim Bell asked an expert panel to consider new opportunities for academic-commercial stakeholders to partner in the future of space at the recent Space Tech Expo 2014 in Long Beach, Calif. Bell is professor and director of ASU’s NewSpace Initiative, a new...

Panel to discuss forging university-business ties to promote future of space

April 1, 2014

  How do academic and commercial stakeholders join forces to promote space science and exploration in the immediate future and decades to come? An expert panel of astronauts, scientists, commercial spaceflight entrepreneurs and Arizona State University researchers will tackle this topic at a free-to-attend session from 6:30-7:30 p.m., April 1, at Space Tech Expo 2014 in Long Beach, Calif. To date, collaboration among academics and business owners has been limited, said Jim Bell,...

ASU leads $750,000 NASA grant to explore infectious microbes and spaceflight risks

August 15, 2013

Arizona State University professor Cheryl Nickerson, Ph.D., and Jennifer Barrila, Ph.D., an Assistant Research Professor in the Nickerson laboratory have been awarded a joint three-year, $750,000 NASA grant to advance our understanding of astronaut crew health and performance during space exploration missions. Nickerson, a microbiologist at ASU’s Biodesign Institute and professor in the School of Life Sciences, and Barrila also at the Biodesign Institute, will lead a multi-university and...

International space station plays host to innovative infectious disease research

February 19, 2013

Performing sensitive biological experiments is always a delicate affair. Few researchers, however, contend with the challenges faced by Cheryl Nickerson, whose working laboratory aboard the International Space Station (ISS) is located hundreds of miles above the Earth, traveling at some 17,000 miles per hour.  Nickerson, a microbiologist at Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute, is using the ISS platform to pursue new research into the effects of microgravity on...

Beneficial bacteria may help ward off infection

July 19, 2012

While many bacteria exist as aggressive pathogens, causing diseases ranging from tuberculosis and cholera, to plague, diphtheria and toxic shock syndrome, others play a less malevolent role and some are critical for human health.      In a new study, Cheryl Nickerson and her group at ASU’s Biodesign Institute, in collaboration with an international team* including Tom Van de Wiele and lead author Rosemarie De Weirdt at Ghent University, Belgium, explore the role of...

Space: the new frontier for medical breakthroughs

July 17, 2012

Recently, ASU scientists Cheryl Nickerson and Roy Curtiss were highlighted in an article in U.S. News and World Report regarding their leadership in vaccine development in space that could revolutionize the medical field at home on Earth. Jason Koebler writes: "Cheryl Nickerson and Roy Curtiss, professors at Arizona State University's Biodesign Institute, are leading the charge. They are studying salmonella that has spent time in space, in an attempt to 'turn it from foe to friend' by...

Lungs clothed in fresh cells offer new hope for transplant patients

February 1, 2012

For patients suffering from severe pulmonary diseases including emphysema, lung cancer or fibrosis, transplantation of healthy lung tissue may offer the best chance for survival. The surgical procedure, however, faces two primary challenges: an acute shortage of donor lungs and rejection of transplanted tissue by the recipient’s immune system.  Now Daniel Weiss at the Vermont Lung Center (Principal Investigator for this project) in collaboration with Cheryl Nickerson and her...