Make an Impact

At Biodesign, scientists are working in ways that defy convention. “We require, in addition to a new kind of brainpower, one that calls for such previously distinct subjects as engineering, the arts, economics, social sciences and biology to blend together,” said ASU President Michael Crow.

This is the essence of the Biodesign Institute.

According to Biodesign Executive Director Raymond DuBois, the changes in federal funding mean that we need individuals, corporations and foundations to step up more so than ever before so that we don’t lose momentum. “At any given time, we are ‘this close’ to uncovering a cure, accelerating a diagnosis, or cleansing our air and water,” he said. “Every one of our scientists is here because they want to make the world a better place.”

Donors amplify impact

After experiencing his mother’s death from breast cancer, Phoenix sportscaster Jude LaCava and his sister, Sandra, were determined to prod the system. Disappointed in the pace of advances, Jude and Sandra started the Dorothy Foundation as a mechanism for funding faster cures. Meetings with noted oncologists and medical researchers across the country led them right back to Greater Phoenix’s Biodesign Institute, where researchers have developed a way of accessing data from clinical trials and sharing information to make new connections that will speed up a cure for cancer.

“We believe ASU Biodesign is producing some of the most innovative cancer research in the country," - Sandra LaCava, Dorothy Foundation



Spurring intellectual fusion

“As an ASU alumnus, I’m thrilled to be a part of a place that is so focused on real-world solutions to our major problems,” said Brian Swette, former Burger King chair and founder of Sweet Earth Natural Foods. Brian and his wife, Kelly, established a $10 million endowment at ASU in 2008 called the Intellectual Fusion Fund.

Their commitment helped fund the Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology, where today, researchers are using advanced tools of microbial ecology, chemistry, microscopy and mathematical modeling, with the end goal of harnessing renewable resources and mitigating environmental pollution.