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Guest blog: Levi Straka on multidisciplinary solar research

September 23, 2014 | Blog

Every university gives credence to the value of interdisciplinary research, but how many are walking the walk? In this installment, we feature the perspective of this type of academic cross training from a graduate student, Levi Straka, who works in the Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology.  The Center's goal is to manage microbial communities that provide services to make a more sustainable society.   For the past two years, Straka has participated in a National...

Biodesign research takes aim at deadly Ebola epidemic

August 6, 2014 | Blog

In the past two weeks, one of the planet’s most lethal pathogens has taken center stage.   The largest Ebola epidemic ever has swept through the West African states of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, infecting 1,600 people and killing 887, to date. The highly lethal, threadlike pathogen, or filovirus, has just arrived in Nigeria as well, with two recently reported cases and a fear of many more to come.     According to Raymond DuBois, M.D., Ph.D., executive director of...

Biodesign and Arizona Bioscience: Future directions (part 3)

July 23, 2014 | Blog

According to the Flinn Foundation's Bioscience Roadmap report, in the first decade, Arizona has built major research facilities at its universities like the Biodesign Institute, formed new private research institutes, attracted top talent, created high-tech business incubators, and greatly expanded statewide STEM (science, technology, education, math) education programs.  The number of Arizona bioscience industry jobs grew by 45 percent, nearly four times greater than the...

Vaccines costs, fears, creating double whammy on world health

July 7, 2014 | Blog

Vaccines have been heralded by the prestigious British Medical Journal as one of the greatest medical advances of the past 160 years. Since their invention by Edward Jenner 200 years ago (who prevented a young English boy from getting smallpox), vaccines have saved hundreds of millions of lives since their introduction. Any yet, despite this success, world public health is now under threat from an intersection of two alarming trends:   1)    Due to rise in public fears...

Providing a spark for STEM education

July 2, 2014 | Blog

Sometimes, all it takes for kids to get interested in science is a spark.   My best present ever was when I was a wee 5th grader, and my mom brought home a clinical microscope from her work. It literally opened my eyes --- I could see for the first time a strange and exciting microbial world.     So for intrepid, young, budding K-12 scientists, why not encourage them to reach for the stars?   Now, the Biodesign Institute has collaborated with NASA to develop a STEM...

Biodesign plays a key role in Arizona bioscience development (part 2)

June 6, 2014 | Blog

The multiplier effect: leveraging Arizona's investment (part 2)   Capturing more NIH funding for ASU and Arizona WIth new research infrastructure attracting top scientific talent at the Biodesign Institute, Arizona can be more competitive in garnering an increased portion of federal grants, a key driver for academic research innovation.    Since the launch of the Flinn-sponsored Bioscience Roadmap, Arizona has become one of the top 10 states in growth for National...

Gut microbe research featured in Nature

May 2, 2014 | Blog

In a new Nature magazine feature article, science writer Sarah Deweerdt interviews leading researchers who are unravelling the fascinating relationship between diet, gut microbes and human diseases. Among those featured is research led by Rosa Krajmalnik-Brown, whose team examines the links between gut microbes, obesity, and more recently, an intriguing connection with autism.  Deweerdt writes: In an ongoing study, [Bruce] Rittmann and Krajmalnik-Brown are...

ASU's Biodesign Institute plays key role in bioscience effort (Part I)

May 1, 2014 | Blog

Just a little over a decade ago, the state of Arizona made a major push to diversify its economy with an investment in the biosciences. Now, according to the latest Flinn Foundation report, bioscience is a $36 billion boon industry in Arizona. Flinn’s report, ‘The Arizona Bioscience Roadmap: 2014-2025,’ revised a bioscience strategy established in 2002 and funded in part by $50 million from the Phoenix-based non-profit foundation. Also, in a recent article from...

Science of small --nanotechnology--could be next big thing in STEM

April 29, 2014 | Blog

For middle and high schoolers contemplating STEM careers, one exciting new field is the science of the very small---nanotechnology---where scientists can dream up, manipulate and make all sorts of things at the atomic level, 10,000x smaller than the width of a single human hair.   Nanotechnology advancements are now transforming energy, medicine, material science, and other areas by building from the ground up and working at tiny scales. As the great physicist Richard Feynman once said...

Students clean wastewater with bacteria

April 1, 2014 | Blog

A team of Arizona State University students has developed a low-cost technology that uses bacteria to clean wastewater. In the process, it produces hydrogen gas, a renewable energy resource. Their company, Arbsource, grew out of Bruce Rittmann's Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology, and was supported through ASU's Edson Student Entrepreneur Initiative, which provides funding, office space and mentoring to student-led startups. Do you have a great idea for a company? Wanna be the...