News & Events

ASU's Dr. Qiang Chen on what to expect from the latest global health concern

January 29, 2016

The World Health Organization warned Thursday that the Zika virus is “spreading explosively” in the Americas, and countries and health organizations are on full alert with emergency meetings taking place to prepare to halt the spread of the Zika virus. WHO officials estimate that 1 million people are already infected in South America, and 4 million to 5 million more could be infected in 2016, as temperatures warm in the Northern Hemisphere. About 51 people in the U.S. are currently...

PCocSH: A Plant-produced Human Butyrylcholinesterase Variant for Treatment of Cocaine Addiction-related Diseases

January 28, 2016

Tsafrir Mor, Ph.D., Professor, Biodesign Institute Center for Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology Cocaine addiction affects millions of people with disastrous personal and societal consequences. Cocaine is one of the most reinforcing of all drugs of abuse. Even those who undergo rehabilitation and experience long periods of abstinence have a more than 80 percent chance of relapse. Yet there is no FDA-approved treatment to decrease the likelihood of relapse in rehabilitated addicts. The...

Prominent scientists named to lead ASU Biodesign Institute Center for Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology

January 22, 2016

Charles Arntzen, a researcher who discovered a method for producing an Ebola treatment in a tobacco plant, and Cheryl Nickerson, a microbiologist who discovered that mechanical cues can globally reprogram how pathogens cause disease, have been named to lead the Biodesign Institute’s Center for Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology as interim co-directors. The Center for Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology, one of 15 research centers at the growing Biodesign Institute at Arizona State...

Arntzen named to National Academy of Inventors

December 23, 2015

Arizona State University Regents’ Professor and research scientist Charles Arntzen, Ph.D., has been named a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). Arntzen is a pioneer in plant biotechnology and the development of plant-based vaccines and therapeutics for human and animal disease prevention.  Referred to as “the godfather of pharming,” Arntzen is best known for playing a key role in developing ZMapp, the first successful treatment against the Ebola virus during the...

Norovirus: Get in the know

December 9, 2015

ASU expert discusses common stomach bug that is in the news once again Norovirus, the gastrointestinal sickness that causes severe discomfort, has stricken 200 people at a Seattle holiday party and is suspected in the illnesses of 80 in Boston, according to news reports. But don't dismiss it as mere food poisoning. The effects of norovirus are more far-reaching and can wield enormous economic damage from shutting down buildings to knocking employees out of work and even closing...

ASU professor on progress toward an HIV/AIDS vaccine

November 17, 2015

After the announcement by actor Charlie Sheen that he is HIV positive, ASU Now asks how far away we are from a vaccine. The actor Charlie Sheen announced Tuesday that he is HIV positive. He said in an interiew on NBC News that he was diagnosed four years ago. According to the World Health Organization, nearly 78 million people have been infected with the HIV virus and about 39 million people have died of HIV since the beginning of the epidemic in the 1980s.  Globally, an estimated 35...

NPR Rescued A Chicken That Tried To Cross The Road...

November 10, 2015

In Washington, D.C., today, NPR staffers rescued a beautiful, black-and-white hen that was darting about busy North Capitol Street by our headquarters. This demure urban chicken, who hung out in an NPR office in a mail crate with a bowl of water and granola bits, made us wonder about the lives of chickens in the low-income countries that our blog covers. To keep abreast, we turned to Jagdev Sharma, a research professor at Arizona State University who is well acquainted with the habits of...

Future flu: Where the annual shot is heading

October 12, 2015

With signs for flu shots festooning grocery stores, clinics and HR departments, the onset of flu season is heralded with as much fervor — if less enthusiasm — than Christmas. Part of this is because the old days of vaccines meant getting mildly to very sick after being immunized, but still feeling better than getting the actual virus. “You could give it to a human, get a mild disease and be immunized,” said Bertram Jacobs, a professor of virology in the Center for Infectious...

In Africa, a deadly Salmonella strain takes hold

September 8, 2015

Salmonella is an infectious agent with many faces, appearing in a multitude of strains affecting animals and humans. A distinct form of the bacterial invader has emerged in sub-Saharan Africa and is responsible for severe epidemic outbreaks. Its unusual characteristics—including a high rate of lethality, invasiveness, atypical symptomatolgy and resistance to multiple antibiotics—are of rising concern. In a new study, Cheryl Nickerson and her colleagues at the Biodesign Institute at...

New research probes key component of the immune system

June 24, 2015

In the immune system, CD8 T cells perform a dual role, guarding against infection and mediating the progression of disease. Like acutely sensitive watchmen, they patrol the bloodstream, ever on-guard for suspicious activity. Such cells are said to be cytotoxic— lethal to their enemies, which include virally or bacterially infected cells as well as cancer cells.  While CD8 T cell activity provides an indispensible line of defense against infection, it can be a double-edged sword. CD8 T...