Urban Metabolism

May 20, 2016 | Blog

What can a wastewater treatment plant tell us about the health of a population? Despite having a bad reputation for being the smelly place at the end of the pipeline, wastewater treatment plants are flush with a wealth of human health information. Rolf Halden, PhD, professor and director of the Biodesign Center for Environmental Security at Arizona State University can use the input and output from wastewater treatment plants to determine the health, lifestyle and consumption of a...

Zika and Dengue

May 11, 2016 | Blog

Female mosquitoes have vampiristic tendencies. Their unquenchable thirst for blood drives them to hastily hunt for their next human meal. Once the mosquito lands on its host, it punctures the flesh and inserts its straw-like mouth below the skin, releasing saliva that prevents the blood from clotting. It then proceeds to probe around for a nearby blood vessel to feed from. When mosquitoes perform this routine survival act, they are simultaneously spreading diseases through human populations....

Bracket madness, science style

March 14, 2016 | Blog

Who will win in a fight, a polar bear or a lemming? Science tackles this matchup and many more in this year’s March Mammal Madness. This bracket competition is organized by four ASU professors and can be followed on twitter. ASU Now reports, “Now in its fourth year, the event is managed by a team of evolutionary biologists who pick a different bunch of animals each year and then imagine who would win based on science. And it inspires a surprisingly fervid response from a general public not...

Body’s natural molecular mechanisms provide blueprint for better technology

March 14, 2016 | Blog

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...

Using bacteria to produce electricity, treat wastewater

March 14, 2016 | Blog

ASU Now reports, “What if the bacteria found in wastewater could power the water’s own purification system? Chemical engineering professor Cesar Torres is exploring this possibility through research in microbial fuel cells (MFCs), supported in large part by a $1.9 million grant from the Department of Defense." Torres is researching energy efficient wastewater treatment that harnesses the energy released from microorganisms and converts it into electricity. Click here to read...

ASU anthropologist heralded for exploring the science and social justice of mother’s milk

March 14, 2016 | Blog

"Arizona State University anthropologist Katie Hinde sees milk as more than food. For her, it is also personalized medicine and a carrier of information that affects immunity, brain function and metabolism in lasting ways." Click here for the full article. 

T-shirt sale, to benefit "green" charity

February 23, 2016 | Blog

Laboratory Casual is a company that was started by two Arizona State University students who design science and conservation themed T-shirts and donate the proceeds to charity. ASU graduate student Charlie Rolsky, and biology undergraduate Anna Guerrero, are selling a “See Turtle?” tee to raise money for charity - but they are only on sale until Feb. 29.   “The group that we’re working with, they’re called the Plastic Pollution Coalition, it’s a huge...

Are Antibacterial Soaps Safe?

February 17, 2016 | Blog

An article in The Wall Street Journal asked: "Is the quest for clean doing more harm than good?” “That’s the question at the heart of a debate between cleaning-products makers, researchers and environmental advocates. The outcome could affect millions of Americans who use antibacterial soaps, body washes and shower gels to fight germs—as well as the companies that supply the $5.5 billion market for soap, bath and shower products.” “In September, the Food and Drug...

How rare is a rare disease?

February 15, 2016 | Blog

In an article featured on the Center for Evolution and Medicine's new EvMed blog, ASU assistant professor Melissa Wilson Sayres shines the spotlight on so-called orphan diseases, diseases so rare that they may affect fewer than 1 in 2,000 people. But as she points out, when one works out the math, those with rare diseases may not have to feel so alone anymore in our increasingly growing and connected world.  "There are more than 7000 rare...

More than face value? The environmental cost of microbeads

January 6, 2016 | Blog

President Obama signed a bill that will ban the production and sale of microbeads - tiny plastic beads that are used as exfoliants in cosmetics like face and body scrubs, and toothpaste. The legislation, H.R. 1321, the “Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015,” states that plastic microbeads cannot be manufactured after July 1, 2017 and cannot be sold after July 1, 2018. “[The ban] is a really good step in the right direction,” said ASU graduate student Charlie Rolsky who studies...