News & Events

New plant-based vaccine at the forefront of more efficient, affordable HPV prevention

March 12, 2019

The Gardasil vaccine advertisement flashes across the screen – you change the channel. Maybe you are a male and don’t think you are at risk of acquiring cancer from HPV, maybe you aren’t sexually active, or maybe you don’t have the resources to get the vaccine. But research shows that in addition to causing cervical cancer in women, certain strains have been linked to head and neck cancers in men. The Gardasil-9 vaccine protects against nine of the most cancer-associated strains of...

Conducting research: Exploring charge flow through proteins

March 4, 2019

Among the zoo of biomolecules essential to life, proteins are the most startlingly varied and versatile. These complex structures, generated from the DNA code and built from some 20 amino acids play a central role in innumerable life processes. In the form of antibodies, proteins defend organisms from infectious agents like bacteria and viruses. As enzymes, protein molecules speed up chemical reactions necessary to sustain life.  Proteins also act as messengers that coordinate disparate...

Life’s many histories open new approaches to cancer

February 26, 2019

For most humans, a family of ten would be considered abundant. But for many other forms of life on earth, that’s.. well…chicken feed. Take the ocean sunfish for example. At spawning time, a female will commonly disgorge some 300 million eggs into her liquid habitat, which are subsequently fertilized externally. Only a tiny fraction of these eggs will hatch and survive. The resulting fry, each the size of a pinhead, can eventually grow to the proportions of a rhinocersos. Why do...

Former Biodesign student researcher makes journey as Gates Cambridge Scholar

January 22, 2019

Arizona and Zimbabwe are at opposite ends of the alphabet, and traveling from one to the other really has been a trip from A to Z for Charity Bhebhe. The Arizona State University graduate from Barrett, The Honors College has made the journey, and those who don’t understand what that entails should find her impression of ASU and Tempe instructive. “It was very hot, but it’s very well developed and the transport system is really organized,” Bhebhe says. “There’s free internet,...

Nobel Prize 2018 elevates awareness of immunotherapy research

December 10, 2018

Researchers at the Biodesign Institute are searching for new ways to diagnose, treat – and even cure – cancer patients using processes related to immunotherapy. According to the National Cancer Institute, immunotherapy is “a type of therapy that uses substances to stimulate or suppress the immune system to help the body fight cancer, infection, and other diseases.” The burgeoning field of immunotherapy was recently recognized at the highest level with the announcement of the 2018...

Will Mars missions make humans sick? Here's what we know

December 4, 2018

While it's unclear if microbes are lurking on Mars, studies of earthly bacteria show that space can make some germs especially unpleasant. No one wants to risk a contagion in space. Returning home can be tricky, medical supplies are limited, crews cannot treat every complication that might arise, and a single infected astronaut could jeopardize an entire mission. That’s especially true for any future human missions to Mars, in which an astronaut with the sniffles would be at least...

Biodesign investigators awarded $5.8M NIH grant to develop antimicrobial susceptibility test

November 28, 2018

Resistant strains of bacteria pose a serious threat to the security of our global health system. As more and more bacteria develop resistance to our best antibiotics, once treatable diseases may re-emerge, potentially causing mass epidemics. “Antibiotic resistant bacterial infections, now originating in both healthcare and community settings, pose serious consequences for public health and burden the U.S. economy with up to $20 billion in healthcare costs each year,” Shelley Haydel, an...

Biodesign symposium hosts researchers from West China

November 19, 2018

Joshua LaBaer, executive director of the Biodesign Institute, co-hosted a lively and innovative symposium, greeting the international guests in their native language. After enthusiastic applause, the presentations began. The symposium, which hosted representatives from Sichuan University and West China Hospital, in addition to researchers from the Biodesign Institute, focused on exploring strategies for the detection and treatment of infectious diseases and cancer. The gathering...

Expert shares advances and opportunities for genetic editing

November 8, 2018

Genome engineering was the subject of the day as Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute kicked off a new lecture series designed to bring science’s preeminent thought leaders to ASU. The Arntzen Grand Challenges Lecture Series launched on Nov. 1 with a presentation by Samuel Sternberg, co-author of A Crack in Creation: Gene Editing and the Unthinkable Power to Control Evolution—the premiere text on the emergence and future of genetic editing. CRISPR is a revolutionary tool...

National Cancer Institute awards Carlo Maley $10.8M grant

November 1, 2018

When Carlo Maley first delved into his studies on the evolution of disease, he was struck with how little the field had been explored. He decided that his skills in evolution and computational biology would be well-suited for the job. “I went to PubMed and looked for all papers that had both cancer and evolution in the title … and I only came up with a handful of hits. It became clear that evolution is fundamental to the basic science of cancer, which explains why people have such a...