News & Events

Photosynthesis seen in a new light by rapid X-ray pulses

November 8, 2019

The ability to transform sunlight into energy is one of Nature’s more remarkable feats. Scientists understand the basic process of photosynthesis, but many crucial details remain elusive, occurring at dimensions and fleeting time scales long deemed too minuscule to probe. Now, that is changing. In a new study, led by Petra Fromme and Nadia Zatsepin at the Biodesign Center for Applied Structural Discovery, the School of Molecular Sciences and the Department of Physics at ASU, researchers...

First experiments at Europe's new X-ray laser reveal structure of antibiotic-disabling enzyme

October 2, 2018

International collaboration obtains the first scientific results from European XFEL An international collaboration led by the Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron or DESY, with participation from Arizona State University’s Biodesign Center for Applied Structural Discovery, the Department of Physics and the School of Molecular Sciences, has announced the results of the first scientific experiments at Europe's new X-ray free-electron laser, European XFEL. Over 120 international...

ASU team among first user groups at Europe’s brightest light source

October 17, 2017

A team of ASU scientists led by Professor Alexandra Ros in the School of Molecular Sciences and the Biodesign Center for Applied Structural Discovery, has been just the second user group to conduct experiments at the brand new European X-ray free electron laser facility (EuXFEL) in Hamburg, Germany. This 1.5-billion-dollar facility is the third, and far the most powerful, X-ray laser in the world. After ten years of construction, it opened for first experiments just a month ago. The XFEL...

Biodesign C will help advance scientific frontiers

October 12, 2016

Arizona State University’s newest research building will be packed with the most advanced construction and technological gear of today. The science that goes on inside will find answers that benefit society every day after. Researchers will tackle the early detection and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, speed up drug discovery and explore new avenues in renewable energy. The third building in ASU’s Biodesign Institute complex, Biodesign C on the Tempe campus, will serve as home...

X-ray study unlocks secrets of light-sensing organism

May 5, 2016

High-speed photography can capture a horse’s gallop, a falling star or even a speeding bullet. But such methods would be far too slow to record the elusive movements of protein molecules as they undergo transitions from one form to another—a process known as isomerization. In new research appearing in the journal Science, an international team of researchers used brilliant bursts of X-ray light to capture the movements of a photosensitive protein—one that enables a broad range of life...

Scientists blueprint tiny cellular ‘nanomachine’ whose evolution is an extraordinary feat of nature

December 17, 2015

Tempe, AZ, Thursday December 17th, 2015 – Scientists have drawn up molecular blueprints of a tiny cellular ‘nanomachine’, whose evolution is an extraordinary feat of nature, by using one of the brightest X-ray sources on Earth. The scientists produced the structural map of this nanomachine – diacylglycerol kinase – by using a “hit and run” crystallography technique. In doing so, they have been able to understand how the tiny enzyme performs critical cellular duties –...

Scientists determine structure of important drug target using groundbreaking approach

July 23, 2015

Tempe, Arizona – Using the brightest X-ray laser in the world, scientists have determined the structure of a molecular complex that is responsible for our sense of sight. Researchers at Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute Center for Applied Structural Discovery (CASD) collaborated with an international team of researchers from 19 institutions working to develop a roadmap for more selectively targeting pathways for drug treatment. The innovative approach may lead to more...

Key blood pressure drug seen in startling new detail

April 23, 2015

A new Arizona State University research study has revealed the fine details of how an experimental drug works to regulate blood pressure, paving the way to the development of better drugs. The ASU team’s interdisciplinary work, led by Petra Fromme, of the Biodesign Institute, may one day help scientists better control blood pressure irregularities with a new class of drugs that could limit harmful side effects. The new research focuses on a type of drug known as an angiotensin II...

New research paves the way for nano-movies of biomolecules

December 4, 2014

Scientists use X-ray laser as ultra slow-motion camera An international team, including scientists from Arizona State University, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM), and Germany’s Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY), have caught a light sensitive biomolecule at work using an X-ray laser. Their new study proves that high speed X-ray lasers can capture the fast dynamics of biomolecules in ultra slow-motion, revealing subtle processes with unprecedented...

ASU appoints Petra Fromme as director of new Center for Applied Structural Discovery

August 1, 2014

Petra Fromme, Ph.D., an Arizona State University professor of chemistry and biochemistry, has been appointed by President Michael M. Crow to lead a new Biodesign Institute initiative that will have a significant impact on the fields of bioenergy, enzyme catalysis and drug discovery, called the Center for Applied Structural Discovery. “Petra Fromme’s research promises to crack nature’s code and replicate fundamental biological processes, such as photosynthesis, for profound societal...