News & Events

Top-down design brings new DNA structures to life

May 26, 2016

Among the valuable holdings in London’s Wellcome Library is a rough pencil sketch made in 1953 by Francis Crick. The drawing is one of the first to show the double-helix structure of DNA—Nature’s blueprint for the design of sea snails, human beings, and every other living form on earth. Few could have predicted however, that DNA’s simple properties of self-assembly, and its versatile information-carrying capacity, could be put to many uses never imagined by DNA pioneers Watson and...

Scientists reveal low-cost, paper-based test for Zika

May 6, 2016

Fear of the Zika virus is spreading as images of afflicted infants fill the news. Hoping to foil Zika’s rapid advance, researchers from the Wyss Institute in Boston, along with colleagues from Arizona State University, have developed a low-cost, practical diagnostic that can be easily administered, even in areas where resources and medical expertise are scarce. Alexander Green, an ASU professor at the Biodesign Center for Molecular Design and Biomimetics and the School of Molecular...

Body’s natural molecular mechanisms provide blueprint for better technology

March 14, 2016

Ximin He, chemical engineer and materials scientist, is working to design “smart” materials that perform functions like, removing heavy metal ions from wastewater. ASU Now reports, “Such an achievement could open paths to better water purification and treatment, as well as more effective removal of heavy metals, medical diagnoses, environmental protection, food processing, energy efficiency and a number of other things that require combined applications of chemical, materials and...

Chemical Cages: new technique advances synthetic biology

February 10, 2016

Living systems rely on a dizzying variety of chemical reactions essential to development and survival. Most of these involve a specialized class of protein molecules—the enzymes. In a new study, Hao Yan, director of the Center for Molecular Design and Biomimetics at Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute presents a clever means of localizing and confining enzymes and the substrate molecules they bind with, speeding up reactions essential for life processes. The research, which...

ASU top recipient of prestigious Air Force Young Investigator awards

January 25, 2016

ASU’s innovation winning streak has continued among its next generation of talented faculty. Three ASU researchers---more than any other university in the nation----have been awarded part of $20.6 million in total grants funded through the U.S. Air Force’s Young Investigator Research Program (YIP). ASU assistant professors Ximin He, Nicholas Stephanopoulos and Yu Yao will use the three-year YIP awards to pursue groundbreaking discoveries and developing new building blocks and high...

Thermodynamic and Kinetics of DNA Tile-based Self-assembly

November 19, 2015

Department of Physics Colloquia with Yan Liu, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Biodesign Center for Molecular Design and Biomimetics.   

Rare form: novel structures built from DNA emerge

July 20, 2015

DNA, the molecular foundation of life, has new tricks up its sleeve. The four bases from which it is composed snap together like jigsaw pieces and can be artificially manipulated to construct endlessly varied forms in two and three dimensions. The technique, known as DNA origami, promises to bring futuristic microelectronics and biomedical innovations to market. Hao Yan, a researcher at Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute, has worked for many years to refine the technique....

Catch-Release-Repeat. Study reveals novel technique for handling molecules

March 23, 2015

Like vast international trading companies, biological systems pick up freight items (in the form of small molecules), transport them from place to place and release them at their proper destination. These ubiquitous processes are critical for activities ranging from photosynthesis to neuronal signaling.  The efficient capture, transport and release of molecules is also vital for the maintenance of equilibrium (or homeostasis), essential to all living things.  In research...