News & Events

ASU scientific team finds new, unique mutation in coronavirus study

May 7, 2020

As the coronavirus pandemic has swept across the U.S., in addition to tracking the number of COVID-19 daily cases, there is a worldwide scientific community engaged in tracking the SARS-CoV-2 virus itself. Efrem Lim leads a team at Arizona State University that looks at how the virus may be spreading, mutating and adapting over time. To trace the trail of the virus worldwide, Lim’s team is using a new technology at ASU’s Genomics Facility called next-generation...

Making sense of the viral multiverse

April 27, 2020

In November of 2019—likely, even earlier—a tiny entity measuring just a few hundred billionths of a meter in diameter began to tear apart human society on a global scale. Within a few months, the relentless voyager known as SARS-CoV-2 had made its way to every populated corner of the earth, leaving scientists and health authorities with too many questions and few answers. Today, researchers are scrambling to understand where and how the novel coronavirus arose, what features account for...

ASU study finds microplastics create new homes for microbes in the Caribbean

February 19, 2020

With 5 trillion pieces of plastic in the oceans, the dynamics of marine environments are shifting in ways that are yet to be discovered. Over time, discarded plastics such as sandwich bags and flip-flops have degraded into small particles, called microplastics, which are less than 5 millimeters long. Kassandra Dudek, doctoral student at Arizona State University's School of Life Sciences and former Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) fellow, looked at how...

Mother-baby microbiome rush at birth can have lifelong health impact for the infant

January 29, 2020

Every mother wants to give their newborn the very best start. During the nine months of gestation, women understand that eating right, breathing fresh air, exercising and maintaining a positive mindset during pregnancy are important to giving birth to a healthy baby. But many do not know just how important the very moment of birth is in shaping the infant’s long-term well-being. This is a pivotal time when a massive amount of the mother’s microbes are being actively transferred to the...

Just follow the ‘butterfly’

January 9, 2020

Have you ever wondered what Earth was like in its distant past? It was indeed very different from today. For one, the atmosphere contained no oxygen, so none of us would have survived it. This all changed when cyanobacteria arose – microbes that release oxygen from photosynthesis. Over an incredibly long period of time, the cyanobacteria continued to release oxygen, and little by little, it changed the Earth’s chemistry. They first oxidized the Earth’s minerals, and oceans -- and, then...

Myxoma's viral leap into Iberian hares sheds light on how viruses swap genetic material

November 6, 2019

Viruses are all around us – they are present in most environments, lying in wait for the optimal host, and they even reside within our bodies, whether we know it or not. While hopping from species to species, these viruses can swap genetic material with each other and sometimes even with the host. In fact, over the course of millions of years, viral DNA has been integrated into human chromosomes. It is estimated that about 100,000 pieces of viral DNA have merged with human DNA, making up...

Scientists find solution to Gulf War Illness in FDA-approved antiviral drugs

October 23, 2019

A team of scientists, including Efrem Lim, a virologist at the Arizona State University Biodesign Center for Fundamental and Applied Microbiomics  and assistant professor at the School of Life Sciences, has shown that adjusting GI tract viruses by repurposing existing FDA-approved antiviral drugs offers a route for effective treatment for Gulf War Illness (GWI) and its myriad of symptoms. Their findings were published in the journal, Viruses. “Viruses in the human microbiome have...

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...