News & Events

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...

Biodesign researcher honored by the White House with Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers

July 30, 2019

  Every year, the U.S. government identifies up-and-coming scientists from each state who are deserving of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). This is the nation’s highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on outstanding scientists and engineers beginning their independent careers. This year, Jennifer Barrila, an assistant research professor in the Biodesign Center for Fundamental and Applied Microbiomics, received the PECASE award from...

Farewell flat biology – tackling infectious disease using 3-D tissue engineering

September 10, 2018

In a new invited review article, ASU Biodesign microbiologists and tissue engineers Cheryl Nickerson, Jennifer Barrila and colleagues discuss the development and application of three-dimensional (3-D) tissue culture models as they pertain to infectious disease. They describe these models as predictive pre-clinical platforms to study host-pathogen interactions, infectious disease mechanisms, and antimicrobial drug development.   The review, entitled “Modeling Host-Pathogen...

NASA, ASU collaboration develops new 3-D tissue culture models with immune cells to better mimic human gut infections

March 10, 2017

Vaccines and antimicrobials have done more to transform medicine and extend the average human lifespan than any other scientific breakthrough. Yet infectious diseases remain the world’s no. 1 leading cause of death of children and young adults.  Now, with emerging epidemic threats like Zika, Ebola, SARS, TB and others, massive increases in antimicrobial resistance, and the time and cost for developing new antimicrobial drugs and therapeutics, scientists are worried about finding ever...

Effects of spaceflight detected in blood

January 25, 2017

As researchers have long known, the punishing conditions associated with human spaceflight present profound challenges for the mental and physical health of astronauts. Acceleration during launch, (which must rapidly propel the craft to some 18,000 mph), acute confinement, hazardous levels of radiation, sleep deprivation, and reduced gravity (or microgravity) can produce a range of physiological effects, from suppressed immune function, bone and muscle loss, eyesight problems, and viral...

Switched-on Salmonella: fluid forces guide disease traits of multidrug resistant bacteria

June 8, 2016

Once inside the human body, infectious microbes like Salmonella face a fluid situation. They live in a watery world, surrounded by liquid continually flowing over and abrading their cell surfaces—a property known as fluid shear. In new research appearing in the Nature Publishing Group journal npj Microgravity, Cheryl Nickerson, Ph.D.,  and her colleagues explore the effects of physiological fluid shear on ST313—a particularly dangerous type of Salmonella, which is resistant to...

Student Spotlight: Breanne McCarthy

May 13, 2016

Breanne McCarthy’s undergraduate experience was out of this world - literally.  During her first year at ASU, McCarthy found an opportunity to work in astrobiology in Cheryl Nickerson’s lab at the Biodesign Institute.  “My first study with Dr. Nickerson’s lab was really cool because we were studying...how the spaceflight environment will change bacterial resistance or susceptibility to antibiotics,” said McCarthy, “I actually got to lead a teleconference with our...

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...

In the gravitational field, researcher Jennifer Barrila excels

November 13, 2014

Jennifer Barrila, Ph.D., an assistant research professor at Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute, is the 2014 recipient of the prestigious Thora W. Halstead Young Investigator’s Award, from the American Society for Gravitational and Space Research (ASGSR). Barrila is an accomplished microbiologist and structural biologist working in Biodesign’s Center for Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology, in the laboratory of professor Cheryl Nickerson. The high honor bestowed by ASGSR...

ASU teams receive NASA grants to pursue spaceflight research

June 26, 2013

NASA and the National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI) have announced that two Arizona State University research teams have been awarded NASA grants totaling $700,000 to support astronaut crew health and performance in space exploration missions. Of the 100 proposals received, NASA and NSBRI selected 23 proposals representing 18 institutions. ASU was one of only three institutions to have more than one proposal selected, a testament to ASU’s leadership position at the forefront of...