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Powering up high school biology

March 17, 2020 | News

In his lab at Arizona State University, Abhishek Singharoy studies how cells interact with each other on the atomic level. His research uses high-powered molecular visualization programs that can’t run on an average computer. Instead, he connects remotely to supercomputers based at national laboratories to run his simulations, tapping into their vast computational power. It’s a common model for researchers all over the world — which sparked an idea from Singharoy. “Why can't we...

Solving obesity: Could manipulating microbes offer an alternative to weight loss surgery?

March 13, 2020 | News

Already considered a global epidemic, human obesity continues to be on the rise. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 40% of the U.S. population is considered obese. The gamut of adverse health effects associated with obesity is broad, including such devastating illnesses as type 2 diabetes, coronary artery disease, stroke, sleep apnea and certain forms of cancer. Patients often suffer depression, loss of mobility, social isolation and inability to work. With costs...

Researchers identify marker that may predict whether lung cancer likely to spread

March 11, 2020 | News

Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the most commonly diagnosed cancer, and the leading cause of cancer death worldwide. More than half of NSCLC patients die after developing metastases. There are no tests currently that would allow doctors to identify patients where more aggressive therapy could reduce mortality. Researchers at Tulane University and Arizona State University have identified a protein on tumor-derived extracellular vesicles that indicates if a NSCLC tumor is likely to...

Oversupply of energy could put you at risk of developing cancer

March 9, 2020 | News

Growing up, we are told that eating a balanced diet is pivotal to our health. After all, food is what supplies our body with the energy we need day to day. And it’s well understood that obesity, diabetes and chronic inflammation – common ailments tied to diet – hinder our health, often contributing to a higher chance of developing cancer. But the mechanism underlying this increase has not been well established – until now. Athena Aktipis, assistant professor in the Psychology...

X-ray eyes peer deeper into deadly pathogen

March 5, 2020 | News

Tularemia is a rare but often lethal disease. It is caused by one of the most aggressive pathogens on earth, the bacterium Francisella tularensis. The microbe, transported by a variety of animals and insects, is able to enter and attack the body through a range of pathways, resulting in different constellations of symptoms and degrees of severity. Tularemia remains poorly understood and no safe and effective vaccine exists for the disease. The extreme lethality of F. tularensis and its...

Accelerating precision medicine

March 3, 2020 | News

From head toe, we are a rich conglomerate of cells, constructed of and managed by proteins. Proteins are the building blocks of life, and the role they play in our bodies can determine whether we are healthy or sick. In 2018, researchers calculated that there are approximately 42 million protein molecules per cell. Despite valiant efforts, we know very little about proteins. The problem is that proteins are tiny, incredibly diverse, and perplexingly complicated. To date, researchers have...

ASU researcher explores biomolecular structures to advance nanotechnology

March 3, 2020 | News

Nanotechnology is a hot topic in the engineering world. Discoveries at this tiny scale — meaning billionths of a meter, or the distance that fingernails grow each second — are inspiring optical and electronic innovations in fields ranging from medicine to construction. But creating the substances required to advance such work is a heated issue. Fabricating nanomaterials is difficult. Results can be inconsistent, and the process requires toxic solvents and high temperatures. Consequently,...

Research team finds possible new approach for sleeping sickness drugs

March 2, 2020 | News

Using ultra-bright X-ray flashes, a team of researchers has tracked down a potential target for new drugs against sleeping sickness. The scientists have decoded the detailed spatial structure of a vital enzyme of the pathogen, the parasite Trypanosoma brucei. The result provides a possible blueprint for a drug that specifically blocks this enzyme and thus kills the parasite, as the team led by Christian Betzel from the University of Hamburg, Lars Redecke from the University of Lübeck and DESY...

SNIPRs take aim at disease-related mutations

February 27, 2020 | News

A typo appearing in the draft of a novel is no great calamity. Nature, however, is often less forgiving of errors. A change in just one letter of the genetic code can have catastrophic consequences for human health. Such genomic gaffes, involving a single base in a length of DNA or RNA, are known as point mutations. They can result in mild abnormalities like color blindness as well as serious diseases, including neurofibromatosis, sickle-cell anemia, certain forms of cancer and Tay–Sachs...

ASU Biodesign Institute spinout, OncoMyx Therapeutics, and Skysong Innovations complete licensing agreement

February 25, 2020 | News

OncoMyx Therapeutics, an Arizona State University (ASU) spinout and privately-held oncolytic immunotherapy company founded on the myxoma virus (MYXV) platform, has finalized a licensing agreement with Skysong Innovations, ASU's technology transfer organization. OncoMyx is developing oncolytic immunotherapies to treat cancer, based on the work of Grant McFadden, director of the Biodesign Institute's Center for Immunotherapy, Vaccines and Virotherapy  and a professor in the...