News & Events

Biodesign receives $1.5 million to develop early warning system for flu outbreaks

July 24, 2019

As winter draws near, the microbial world of viruses is poised to attack. Viral, non-living entities have the ability to infect you and spread to others, jumping from host to host to host. Unchecked, viral infections can spread through families and communities like wildfire. With $1.53 million in support from the National Library of Medicine, three research teams from Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute are bringing their distinct areas of expertise to answer the question,...

Pervasive polymers of the deep blue sea

June 6, 2019

Clean is not necessarily green ”It all comes out in the wash,” is proving to be a more accurate phrase than previously realized, and it may not be good news. It seems that our cleaning habits are a major contributor to the growing problem of synthetic tidbits in our oceans. Unfortunately, most of us are unaware that we are part of the problem.  Researchers at Arizona State University are finding a particularly pervasive problem with the microplastics that originate from human...

Biodesign researcher evaluates the impact of climate change on avian flu

May 22, 2019

The flu pandemic of 2009 was met by a flurry of panic. This strain of the H1N1 virus, or the “swine flu,” swept across the globe and is believed to be responsible for the deaths of approximately 284,500 people worldwide. Like a shuffled deck of cards, the virus was the product of the reassortment of avian, swine, and human influenza viruses. These everchanging viral strains pose a formidable challenge to modern healthcare as they require the development of new vaccines. One virus of...

What is Clean Breathing Water?

January 16, 2019

PHILADELPHIA (January 16, 2019) ­­– “Don’t drink the water” might be good enough advice to keep you from getting sick in some places, but according to researchers from Arizona State and Drexel University, the admonition should probably be expanded to “…try not to breathe the water either.” In research recently published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, the group takes a closer look at how the spray from showers, sinks and toilets can expose us to the...

ASU research propels awareness for contact lens recycling movement

November 15, 2018

Microplastics are a growing area of concern for researchers and the public, with much of the focus on plastics in our oceans. Until recently, the environmental impact of the plastic we put in our eyes has been largely overlooked. Now manufacturers and researchers are teaming up to raise awareness that disposing lenses down the toilet or the drain adds to the planet’s plastic pollution – and that recycling or disposing lenses with recyclable solid waste are eco-friendly options. Every...

ASU brings home two Emmys

October 3, 2018

“By the year 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. Without the ocean, we wouldn’t have life.” It’s a powerful opening statement, delivered by Charles Rolsky in the initial sequence of the award-winning commercial “Oceans.” The minute-long segment was produced for Arizona State University and directed by Josh Soskin. At the 2018 regional Rocky Mountain Emmy Awards, held Sept. 22, it won the category of “Commercial - Single Spot.” A second Emmy went to the...

Smallpox: Could a vanquished foe return?

August 28, 2018

Smallpox, one of the most devastating diseases in human history, has ancient roots. Detected in mummified remains dating to the Egyptian dynasties, the disease would eventually claim hundreds of millions of victims in the 20th century alone. As recently as 1967, smallpox was still killing around 15 million people annually. In 1980, however, the World Health Assembly declared smallpox officially eradicated, thanks to aggressive global vaccination efforts. This triumph is often cited as one of...

First nationwide study shows the environmental costs of contact lenses

August 19, 2018

BOSTON, August 19, 2018 – Every year, about 45 million Americans rely on contact lenses to see the world more clearly. This $2.7 billion U.S. market has made contact lenses more comfortable and disposable.  Every day, these plastic lenses are tossed away by consumers in various ways, perhaps without much thought to their ultimate environmental fate. Now, Arizona State University scientists are reporting the first nationwide study that shows consumers, by discarding used...

Finding passion in research that makes an impact

May 10, 2018

Editor’s note: This is part of a series of profiles for spring 2018 commencement.  The opioid epidemic is affecting millions across the country. But for Adam Gushgari, who is graduating with his PhD in civil, environmental and sustainable engineering, that impact hit closer to home. After two close friends died from overdoses, Gushgari was inspired to pursue a course of study that would help stem such tragedies and have a positive impact on the world. Today, he is testing...

Biodesign researcher leads community discussion on plastic in the ocean, part of “A Sip of Science” series

February 13, 2018

Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute hosted the second event of its new series, “A Sip of Science,” Sunday afternoon at the Tavern Americana restaurant in Scottsdale. Biodesign researcher Charlie Rolsky described his work, explained the growing threat of plastic pollution in the ocean and took questions from a standing-room-only crowd. Guests from the community snacked on hors d’oeuvres as Rolsky explained how he got involved in this research at ASU. Rolsky is a doctoral...