News & Events

Living computers: RNA circuits transform cells into nanodevices

July 26, 2017

The interdisciplinary nexus of biology and engineering, known as synthetic biology, is growing at a rapid pace, opening new vistas that could scarcely be imagined a short time ago. In new research, Alex Green, a professor at ASU's Biodesign Institute, demonstrates how living cells can be induced to carry out computations in the manner of tiny robots or computers. The results of the new study have significant implications for intelligent drug design and smart drug delivery, green energy...

Solving a sweet problem for renewable biofuels and chemicals

June 30, 2017

Whether or not society shakes its addiction to oil and gasoline will depend on a number of profound environmental, geopolitical and societal factors. But with current oil prices hovering around $50 dollars a barrel, it won’t likely be anytime soon. Despite several major national research initiatives, no one has been able to come up with the breakthrough renewable biofuel technology that would lead to a cheaper alternative to gasoline.  That research challenge led ASU scientists,...

New book explores cancer’s pervasive mysteries

June 12, 2017

Evolution is a propulsive force, working incessantly to reshape life on earth, from the lowliest single-celled organisms to the planet’s vast forests, insect and bird populations, oceanic life and diverse mammalian species. Like all living things, cancer cells are also subject to the stringent dictates of evolution. Indeed, cancer has proven to be among the most adept players in Nature’s ceaseless game. Evolution is the reason humans and other life forms are vulnerable to cancer and why...

ASU engineer working to develop disposable point-of-care sensor

June 5, 2017

As an electrical engineer, Associate Professor Jennifer Blain Christen has spent a good portion of her career dabbling in different fields. Her enthusiasm for exploring new and different ways of applying electrical engineering earned her the funding to leverage her expertise to create an innovative new diagnostic tool. The project aims to develop a disposable, point-of-care biosensor for rapid diagnosis and health monitoring, supported by a four-year, $1.8 million Smart and Connected...

$2.7M NIH award allows ASU professor to extend potential benefits of rapid TB test to children

May 12, 2017

Recently, a new Arizona State University invention by ASU Biodesign Institute researcher Tony Hu has resulted in the development of the world’s fastest and most accurate blood test for tuberculosis (TB). The test can provide new hope to physicians in the treatment of people infected with TB, with results in a just few hours instead of the week or two it currently takes with traditional methods. This new test, which Hu hopes to bring to the market soon, means patients who might have waited...

ASU researcher offers solution for early pancreatic cancer detection

April 11, 2017

Early detection is the key to successful treatment of any type of cancer. With pancreatic cancer, however, it’s even more critical. According to the American Cancer Society, four out of five people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer die within one year. One ASU researcher, however, hopes to change this grim prognosis with a new early detection tool. Tony Hu, an associate professor at ASU’s Biodesign Institute, uses an innovative strategy to analyze blood samples for a specific pancreatic...

ASU appoints Josh LaBaer, M.D., Ph.D., as new executive director

March 30, 2017

Arizona State University announced today that Joshua LaBaer, M.D., Ph.D., 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, 2017. “Josh’s solutions-oriented research and innovative leadership make him uniquely qualified to guide the Biodesign Institute on its revolutionary path,” said Michael M. Crow, ASU president. “In many ways, Josh’s career trajectory...

Tuberculosis, then and now: from Old West to a new test to rapidly identify worldwide infections

March 27, 2017

Tuberculosis, once better known as consumption for the way its victims wasted away, has a long and deadly history, with estimates indicating it may have killed more people than any other bacterial pathogen. Consumption played a role in many of our stories of the Old West, but even today — despite $6.6 billion spent for international TB care and prevention efforts — it remains a major risk to human health. A group of maverick scientists from Arizona, Texas and Washington, D.C., has...

An expedition to the end of the gene

March 26, 2017

Proteins help account for the complexity and astonishing diversity among humans (and other living forms). They are the body’s workhorses, forming muscles, bones, cartilage, skin and blood; facilitating essential chemical reactions and protecting us from disease.  The sequencing of the human genome, however, presented science with a puzzle: despite their enormous physical variability, humans only have around 20,000 genes capable of coding for these proteins. How can this tiny...

New indicators to aid Crohn’s disease diagnosis and treatment

March 9, 2017

The diagnosis, understanding and management of Crohn’s disease may have just received a helping hand from a joint ASU Biodesign Institute and Mayo Clinic study aimed at developing a better blood test for the disease. The study, led by Biodesign scientists Josh LaBaer and Ji Qiu, along with gastroenterologists Shabana Pasha and Jonathan Leighton from Mayo Clinic Arizona, successfully identified several molecules, called biomarkers, that were unique indicators found only in patients with...