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News

Cyber-evolution: How computer science is harnessing the power of Darwinian transformation

January 18, 2021 | News

From a pair of simple principles of evolution—chance mutation and natural selection—nature has constructed an almost unfathomable richness of life around us. Despite our scientific sophistication, human design and engineering have struggled to emulate nature’s techniques and her inexhaustible inventiveness. But that may be changing. In a new perspective article, Stephanie Forrest and Risto Miikkulainen explore a domain known as evolutionary computation (EC), in which aspects of...

4 top ASU scholars named Regents Professors

December 22, 2020 | News

They are the best and brightest and have brought honor and distinguishment to their disciplines. They’re considered the top researchers that Arizona State University has to offer, and they’re getting their moment in the sun. Four ASU faculty are being honored with the title of Regents Professor: the most prestigious and highest faculty award possible. In order to receive this elite designation, they must be recognized by peers nationally and internationally. On Nov. 20, their names...

The far-reaching effects of mutagens on human health

December 21, 2020 | News

In order to survive, flourish and successfully reproduce, organisms rely on a high degree of genetic stability. Mutagenic agents, which can threaten the integrity of the genetic code by causing mutations in DNA, pose a serious risk to human health. They have long been implicated in a range of genetically inherited afflictions, as well as cancer, aging and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. It now appears that mutagenic threats to a cell’s subtle machinery may be far more...

How and why microbes promote and protect against stress

December 18, 2020 | News

More than half of the human body is not actually human: The body hosts approximately 100 trillion microbes. These bacteria, yeast and viruses, which make up the human microbiome, affect more than physical health. They also influence behavior and emotions. Some microbes prosper when the body is under stress, while other microbes contribute to buffering the body against stress. Athena Aktipis, associate professor of psychology in the Biodesign Center Biocomputing, Security and Society at...

Hao Yan receives 2020 Foresight Institute Feynman Prize

December 15, 2020 | News

Hao Yan, director of the Biodesign Center for Molecular Design and Biomimetics at Arizona State University has been awarded the 2020 Foresight Institute Feynman Prize. The coveted award, named in honor of visionary physicist and Nobel laureate Richard Feynman, is given annually for outstanding contributions to nanoscience in two research categories: experimental and theoretical. This year’s award for experimental research recognizes Professor Yan’s significant contributions to the...

New and unexplored dimension in the study of protein-protein interactions

December 10, 2020 | News

Many proteins are required to maintain the structure, and to preserve the genetic integrity, of DNA. Sliding clamps are proteins that increase the efficiency of DNA replication. Without these proteins, cells would not be able to carry out continuous DNA synthesis, and organisms, from bacteria to humans, would not survive. Sliding clamps are ring-shaped proteins that encircle DNA and bind to the DNA polymerase, the enzyme that performs the actual DNA replication. They effectively organize and...

New recruit John McCutcheon elected as AAAS Fellow

December 4, 2020 | News

Five outstanding Arizona State University faculty spanning the physical sciences, psychological sciences and science policy have been named as Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). ASU’s Leah Gerber, Andrew Maynard, Steven Neuberg, Ying-Cheng Lai and John McCutcheon are being honored for their career contributions to science, innovation or socially distinguished efforts to advance science and its applications. The AAAS, publisher of the journal...

ASU professor awarded top research prize by Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

December 1, 2020 | News

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has awarded the prestigious Gregori Aminoff Crystallography Prize, one of the physics research community’s highest honors, to Arizona State University Regents Professor John Spence. Spence is an associate faculty member of the Biodesign Center for Applied Structural Discovery. Spence and his colleagues Janos Hajdu from Uppsala University, Sweden, and Henry Chapman from Hamburg University and DESY laboratory in Germany, received the award in honor of...

What kind of COVID-19 test do I need and where can I get it?

November 30, 2020 | News

  Variety of testing methods add to arsenal against spread of deadly coronavirus A second wave of COVID-19 is rising in Arizona and across the U.S., causing exponential growth of new infections along with an increasing number of people hospitalized with the disease. Arizona is close to being in the same situation it was in during the summer — hospital beds and ICUs filling up and medical staff stretched thin. With holiday gatherings, it’s likely to get even worse. Wear...

Microbial remedies target chemical threats in the environment

November 16, 2020 | News

Across America, hazardous waste sites pose an ongoing threat to human and environmental health. The most severe cases are known as Superfund sites, of which over a thousand currently exist. Some 50 million Americans live within three miles of one of these zones, potentially placing them at increased risk for cancer and other serious diseases. While decontamination of such sites is a public health priority, the technical challenges are daunting.  Of particular concern are a pair of...