Defending our nation against threats and attacks

Bioterrorism, nuclear terrorism, cyberterrorism or the accidental or intentional import of exotic diseases are not the kinds of things we like to think about, yet there’s no doubt, as a nation we must be prepared. Ensuring our troops have the technologies they need in the field to monitor and respond to threats is also a focus of our work at the Biodesign Institute.

The Biodesign Institute has played an integral part in establishing the university’s role in national defense. Biodesign researchers have already gained an international reputation for the work they have done in tracking and treating pandemic threats, such as Ebola, the development of a practical diagnostic for the Zika virus, and advances in understanding and applying nanotechnology.

The Biodesign Virginia G Piper Center for Personalized Diagnostics and its partners are developing technologies to rapidly assess radiation absorption in individuals. The test could save thousands of lives in the event of a nuclear incident.

Biodesign researchers Stephen Johnston, George Poste and Neal Woodbury led a four-year effort to develop a novel diagnostic technology called immunosignaturing for rapid, pre-symptomatic detection of exposure to infectious disease agents.

Professor N.J. Tao is focused on advancing electrochemical microscopy, the foundation for major technologies such as batteries, fuel cells, chemical sensors, biological sensors and methods of chemical analysis and corrosion prevention. 

With Rolf Halden’s sewage monitoring system, public health organization can better localize the source of an outbreak and take appropriate action to combat its spread.

These technologies serve to equip the medical and defense communities with the tools they need to monitor public health, improve early diagnostics and determine the best possible methods of treatment. These are vital tools in a world where biological hazards pose an ever-present danger. Across the world, scientists are fighting a battle against new classes of infectious diseases and other biological threats, and ASU’s Biodesign Institute is operating on the frontlines of that battle.