Our impact

20 years of impact

Biodesign scientists have created a therapy against the Ebola virus, discovered an early diagnostic for breast cancer and provided data that brought potentially harmful chemicals in personal-care products to light.

These are just a handful of ways our research is leading to discoveries and inventions that answer today’s challenges. As the premier scientific research institute in the nation’s fastest-growing research university, Biodesign’s impact is accelerating. We invite you to explore highlights of our accomplishments and join us in designing a better future.

Biodesign’s impact is evidenced in three key areas: capturing significant external funding to generate research output, attracting premier scientific talent and high-wage jobs to Arizona, and spurring innovation that produces economic growth.

$930 million

$930M in cumulative external funding

$265 million

$265M AZ annual direct impact

Estimates are from L. William Seidman Research Institute report, 2021

$21 million

$21M annual state and local tax revenues

Estimates are from L. William Seidman Research Institute report, 2021

History unfolding: Highlights from our timeline

X-ray boon

NSF awards ASU $90.8 million to build first-of-its-kind compact accelerator


Neurodegenerative disease

Research IDs unique hallmarks of six neurogenderative diseases, opening new therapy approaches.


Clean water for spaceflight

Study characterizes different bacterial populations from drinking water from International Space Station.


COVID-19 saliva test

First saliva-based COVID-19 test in the southwestern U.S. to be made widely available to the public


Safer snipping

Researchers develop “immunosilencing” technique, can make CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing safer, more reliable.


Nanobots destroy tumors

Nanobots shrink tumors in first successful study of its kind in mammals.


FDA victory

FDA draws from ASU studies to ban products with antimicrobials, long-term exposure could pose risks.


ASU and Ebola

Workers infected with Ebola virus recover after receiving experimental ZMapp treatment.


FDA OK autism study

Treatment study of children with autism resulted in an 80% reduction of certain symptoms and behavior.


Obesity and gut microbes

Gut microbes may affect weight, study from ASU and Mayo Clinic could become future obesity treatment.


Biodesign opens

A new, collaborative and interdisciplinary institute reflects ASU’s vision for rapid research.


Spotlight: 20th Anniversary

Learn about our path of nature-inspired innovation and the people who make it happen every day as we celebrate 20 years of scientific discovery.

Founding director of ASU’s Biodesign Institute, Charles Arntzen, retires

From his roots as a fair-haired Minnesota farm boy to climbing the ladder of success in big pharma, to blazing a translational academic research path into life-saving therapies, Charles Arntzen has led one extraordinary life in science.

ASU appoints DuBois executive director of Biodesign Institute

Raymond DuBois, an internationally renowned physician-scientist whose research has advanced the understanding of the molecular basis for the prevention of colon cancer, was named executive director of Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute.

ASU appoints Josh LaBaer as new Biodesign Institute executive director

Arizona State University announced today that Joshua LaBaer, a leading researcher in cancer and personalized medicine, has been appointed the new executive director of the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University, effective April 1.

Impactful approach

Our university was the first in the United States to create an interdisciplinary research institute entirely devoted to overcoming complex societal issues by emulating the design rules and trial-and-error approach found in nature.

This includes an entrepreneurial research culture that is attractive to scientists capable of working across disciplines, as well as close cooperation with industry to translate discoveries into commercially viable products and clinical practices.

ASU’s efforts are part of a larger statewide initiative, Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap, to build a robust bioscience economy in Arizona.

What is our research focus?

We are addressing an expansive array of global challenges, including new vaccine discovery and delivery; early detection and treatment of cancer and infectious diseases; techniques for detecting and removing contaminants from air and water; and the application of nanotechnology for biomedicine and electronics.

Our newest centers are exploring the human microbiome and sustainable materials manufacturing. As our research teams multiply, so do our research capabilities and impact.

Students are integral to our success

In fact, we employ hundreds of graduate and undergraduate students. We provide them opportunities to work alongside our world-renowned scientists and their teams.

Although Biodesign is part of ASU, we do not offer classroom experiences. Instead, we engage students in actual ongoing scientific discovery. Cross-disciplinary teams in an open-lab environment provide the structure for an invigorating hands-on way to train future scientists. We provide them with the experience they’ll need to one day take our place.

Make an impact

Your support enables hundreds of experts — biologists, physicists, chemists, engineers, mathematicians — to solve some of the world’s most urgent problems in health care, sustainability, security and more