News & Events

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...

Rosa Krajmalnik-Brown named recipient of Distinguished Alumni Award at UAM

August 29, 2019

Universities worldwide recognize their brightest and most successful alumni with prestigious academic awards.   Rosa Krajmalnik-Brown, a professor in the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, a faculty member in the Biodesign Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology and an associate faculty member in the Biodesign Center for Fundamental and Applied Microbiomics, received the Distinguished Alumni award from her alma mater, the Universidad Autonoma...

Meet the Promising New Researchers Making Waves on the Space Station

August 9, 2019

Each year, the president of the United States selects an elite group of scientists and engineers at the beginning of their independent research careers to receive the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. This is the highest honor given by the U.S. government to outstanding science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) professionals at this point in their professions. This year’s selection of 314 scientists includes 18 NASA researchers. Although these...

ASU researchers discover more than 100 viruses in honeybees

July 31, 2019

With bee populations on the decline, researchers have a growing interest in the viruses that may be affecting them. However, with the exception of a few well-known viruses, very little is known about virus populations in bees. A team of researchers in Arizona State University’s School of Life Sciences, led by a collaboration between the labs of life sciences professors Arvind Varsani and Brian Smith, decided to change that by conducting the first ever mass genomic study...

Major class of viruses reveals complex origins

July 31, 2019

Comparing a living cell to a virus is a bit like comparing the Sistine Chapel to a backyard dog house. Lacking the intricate machinery of living cells, viruses represent biology stripped down to an extreme level. They are the true minimalists of the biological world. Nevertheless, the field of virology is brimming with unanswered questions about these architecturally simple, yet mysterious entities. In new research, Arvind Varsani, a molecular virologist at Arizona State University, joins a...

Biodesign researcher honored by the White House with Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers

July 30, 2019

  Every year, the U.S. government identifies up-and-coming scientists from each state who are deserving of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). This is the nation’s highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on outstanding scientists and engineers beginning their independent careers. This year, Jennifer Barrila, an assistant research professor in the Biodesign Center for Fundamental and Applied Microbiomics, received the PECASE award from...

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,...

Plant viruses may be reshaping our world

July 17, 2019

The community of viruses is staggeringly vast. Occupying every conceivable biological niche, from searing undersea vents to frigid tundra, these enigmatic invaders, hovering between inert matter and life, circumnavigate the globe in the hundreds of trillions. They are the most abundant life forms on earth. Viruses are justly feared as ingenious pathogens, causing diseases in everything they invade, including virtually all bacteria, fungi, plants and animals. Recent advances in the field of...

Wellbeing Commons symposium highlights the work of the state’s most prominent researchers in virology, immunology, microbiology and infectious disease

June 11, 2019

Arizona State University prides itself on an interdisciplinary, collaborative approach to solving some of the world’s most prominent problems. Led by Joshua LaBaer, the executive director of the Biodesign Institute and center director for the Virginia G. Piper Center for Personalized Diagnostics, Arizona Wellbeing Commons (AWC) similarly emphasizes the importance of collaboration by bringing together scientists, doctors, and other partners to better human health. The key to...

First-of-its-kind microbial nursery grand opening

May 1, 2019

Microbiologist Ferran Garcia-Pichel has been on a mission to solve a particularly gritty problem: How can we keep the Earth’s natural topsoil tethered to the ground and out of the air – a particularly challenging problem in the desert, where haboobs and other natural processes can kick up some significant dust. In Arizona, particulate matter is the top source of pollution. As dirt flies away, it becomes dust and pollutes the air, causing issues for public health and the environment. For...