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Major class of viruses reveals complex origins

July 31, 2019 | News

Comparing a living cell to a virus is a bit like comparing the Sistine Chapel to a backyard dog house. Lacking the intricate machinery of living cells, viruses represent biology stripped down to an extreme level. They are the true minimalists of the biological world. Nevertheless, the field of virology is brimming with unanswered questions about these architecturally simple, yet mysterious entities. In new research, Arvind Varsani, a molecular virologist at Arizona State University, joins a...

Biodesign researcher honored by the White House with Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers

July 30, 2019 | News

  Every year, the U.S. government identifies up-and-coming scientists from each state who are deserving of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). This is the nation’s highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on outstanding scientists and engineers beginning their independent careers. This year, Jennifer Barrila, an assistant research professor in the Biodesign Center for Fundamental and Applied Microbiomics, received the PECASE award from...

Biodesign receives $1.5 million to develop early warning system for flu outbreaks

July 24, 2019 | News

As winter draws near, the microbial world of viruses is poised to attack. Viral, non-living entities have the ability to infect you and spread to others, jumping from host to host to host. Unchecked, viral infections can spread through families and communities like wildfire. With $1.53 million in support from the National Library of Medicine, three research teams from Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute are bringing their distinct areas of expertise to answer the question,...

DARPA grants ASU up to $38.8 million to create epigenetic tool for fight against weapons of mass destruction

July 22, 2019 | News

Arizona State University announced today that it has been selected by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to build a field-deployable, point-of-care device that will determine in 30 minutes or less if a person has been exposed to weapons of mass destruction or their precursors. The DARPA award, worth up to $38.8 million over four years in phases and options, will build on the university’s growing capabilities in developing molecular diagnostics for applications in...

Plant viruses may be reshaping our world

July 17, 2019 | News

The community of viruses is staggeringly vast. Occupying every conceivable biological niche, from searing undersea vents to frigid tundra, these enigmatic invaders, hovering between inert matter and life, circumnavigate the globe in the hundreds of trillions. They are the most abundant life forms on earth. Viruses are justly feared as ingenious pathogens, causing diseases in everything they invade, including virtually all bacteria, fungi, plants and animals. Recent advances in the field of...

Sex, lies and crustaceans: New study highlights peculiar reproductive strategies of Daphnia

July 15, 2019 | News

Flourishing in spectacular numbers in lakes and ponds around the world, tiny creatures known as Daphnia play an essential role in freshwater ecology. Daphnia, a type of planktonic crustacean, are the primary consumers of algae and are an important food source for fish and other aquatic life. Daphnia are ubiquitous in freshwater sources, but their mode of reproduction, known as cyclic parthenogenesis—which involves alternating phases of both sexual and asexual reproduction— is an...

ASU researchers chip away the mysteries of cancer metastasis

July 10, 2019 | News

One of the current paradigms in cancer treatment is not to treat a tumor itself. Rather, therapeutics can focus on a tumor’s microenvironment — the area where tumor cells and a patient’s healthy tissues collide. Mehdi Nikkhah, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University, has been working for the past five years on bioengineering a way to study the tumor microenvironment. In a project led by recent ASU...

ASU researcher starts clinical study to improve diagnostic tests for lung infections

July 5, 2019 | News

Just breathe If detecting lung infections were as simple as taking a breath, patients with cystic fibrosis would be able to seek treatment sooner. People with cystic fibrosis who get bacterial infections in their lungs often experience a decline in their lung health — which ultimately shortens their life spans. However, if the infections are caught and treated early enough, these same patients can live longer, healthier lives. But there’s a conundrum In children with cystic...

Foundation for NIH features ASU researcher for use of ‘big data’ and shared technology in discovery of viruses in Alzheimer’s brains

July 1, 2019 | News

Neuroscience researcher Benjamin Readhead appears along with NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. in a video released by the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health about the Accelerating Medicines Partnership – Alzheimer’s Disease Project (AMP-AD). Collins said that the AMP-AD partnership is “an effort to bring the best and brightest minds from both the public and the private sector together to find answers, and ultimately, a cure for this condition that so...

First-gen students have a field day with math and science

June 26, 2019 | News

Google “Dr. Joaquin Bustoz,” and you just might find a link to “Apreciacion – In Memory of Dr. Joaquin Bustoz, Purveyor of Science and Equal Rights,” a song written by Russell Latterman, who is now a graduate teaching assistant at the University of Wisconsin. Latterman is one of the countless students, whose lives were changed significantly by their connection to Dr. Bustoz, both while he was teaching at Arizona State University, and now after his death. Early this week, 76...