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News

New directions for biology: ASU receives NSF Award for transdisciplinary institute

September 16, 2021 | News

The National Science Foundation has announced the award of $12.5 million to Arizona State University for the development of a new Biological Integration Institute (BII). The award will initiate a university-wide program, under the direction of Michael Lynch, Principal Investigator, and director of the Biodesign Center for Mechanisms of Evolution (CME). ASU’s new BII center will focus on the exciting, emergent field of evolutionary cell biology (ECB), a discipline Lynch has...

Professor's work on polymers recognized through NSF grant and American Chemical Society Award

September 13, 2021 | News

Products manufactured using plastics, foams and other polymers are used around the world. Globally, over 660 billion pounds of polymers are produced every year for use in homes, cars, furniture, airplanes, ships, machinery, computers and many other products. However, only about 10% of these polymers are recycled in the United States, resulting in massive amounts of waste. The problem is immense; the impact of a solution is equally immense. To tackle this and other challenges, Arizona...

A unique material with tunable properties is explored in a new study

September 13, 2021 | News

If you’re old enough, you may still have a box of cassette or VHS tapes lying around. These storage devices were popular in the 1970s and 80s, but have since fallen into disuse, replaced by CDs and other digital media. Now, researchers are taking a new look at chromium oxides, magnetic chemical compounds once used to coat the surfaces of such tapes. In a new study, Scott Sayres and Jacob Garcia, researchers at ASU’s Biodesign Center for Applied Structural Discovery and ASU’s School...

Safeguarding clean water for spaceflight missions

September 7, 2021 | News

By all appearances, the universe beyond Earth is a vast, lonely, and sterile space. Yet, wherever humans may travel, an abundance of microbial life will follow. In a first study of its kind, lead author Jiseon Yang at the Arizona State University Biodesign Institute, Center for Fundamental and Applied Microbiomics, and her colleagues characterized different bacterial populations isolated over time from potable (drinking) water from the International Space Station (ISS). While historical...

Virus-bearing scorpions wander the Southwest

September 6, 2021 | News

In the hot, arid environment of Phoenix, Arizona and surrounding Sonoran Desert, ancient creatures flourish. Bark scorpions are among Earth’s oldest terrestrial animals. Their earliest fossil ancestors are believed to have made the transition from sea to land some 450 million years ago. In new research, Arvind Varsani and colleagues in the Biodesign Center for Fundamental and Applied Microbiomics and ASU’s School of Life Sciences, describe bark scorpions collected around the Phoenix...

New research advances clean energy solutions

September 2, 2021 | News

Meeting society’s growing energy needs has become a daunting challenge for humanity. Demands for energy are expected to nearly double by the year 2050, while the effects of climate change, caused by the burning of fossil fuels, are already wreaking havoc in the form of droughts, wildfires, floods and other disasters. Gary Moore, a researcher at the Biodesign Center for Applied Structural Discovery and ASU's School of Molecular Sciences, thinks chemistry will play a vital role in the...

New funding advances Biodesign SARS-CoV-2 research

August 16, 2021 | News

Biodesign researcher Dr. Efrem Lim began studying the human virome long before the arrival of SARS-CoV-2 and the global pandemic. His innovative use of high-throughput viral sequencing and functional studies of viral components have given him a keen insight into the trajectory of the current crisis. Much of Lim’s recent focus has been on genomic surveillance studies of SARS-CoV-2 and its emergent variants. The pace of this research is accelerating with the announcement of three important...

Biodesign Institute, Molecular Sciences, Mayo Clinic unravel DNA repair mechanism

August 12, 2021 | News

The health of a cell is largely determined by the health of its DNA and the genetic information it carries. The correct genetic code will ensure the regular functions to maintain the life of a cell. When DNA becomes damaged, the cell’s repair mechanism, the DNA polymerase enzyme, plays a crucial role in detecting and repairing genetic damage. DNA can be fragile and damaged by environmental factors, such as chemicals or ultraviolet light. For example, when ultraviolet light damages DNA in...

SARS-CoV-2: a theme and variations

August 11, 2021 | News

The celebrations were well underway. America seemed to be emerging from the depths of the COVID-19 crisis, following some of the darkest days in the nation’s history. A vast reduction in infections, hospitalizations, and fatalities, driven by improved therapies and above all, a suite of highly effective vaccines, had brought a collective sigh of relief. The July 4th festivities were euphorically anticipated, marking not only the nation’s independence from colonial rule but its...

Are laundry and dish pods biodegradable? Not exactly, ASU study shows

July 27, 2021 | News

Laundry and dishwasher pods: The simplicity of grabbing a pod and tossing it into a washing machine or dishwasher has made them a popular choice for many consumers for nearly a decade. Detergent and other ingredients are packaged inside a dissolvable plastic coating called polyvinyl alcohol, or PVA. This synthetic polymer, used since the early 1930s, is water-soluble and breaks apart during the wash cycle, releasing the detergent. Many companies claim PVA is biodegradable. While...