News & Events





Better vaccines through innovative DNA immunization

February 27, 2018

Proteins are central players in life processes and are among the most versatile and essential biomolecules. Structural proteins help build and repair tissue, including bones, cartilage, muscles, skin and blood. Enzyme proteins are essential to many chemical reactions, while antibodies—responsible for immune defenses against disease—consist of Y-shaped proteins produced by B cells. Other proteins subtly regulate the expression of genes and perform many other vital tasks. Adorning the...

Army veteran unlocks secrets of photosynthesis as ASU graduate

December 20, 2017

Editor’s note: This is part of a series of profiles for fall 2017 commencement. See more graduates here. Army veteran Christopher Gisriel, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 2013 and is now graduating with a doctorate in biochemistry from Arizona State University's School of Molecular Sciences, really excels in research. After graduating from high school in northern Virginia (though Baltimore is his hometown), Gisriel was urged by his parents to join a military service....

ASU team among first user groups at Europe’s brightest light source

October 17, 2017

A team of ASU scientists led by Professor Alexandra Ros in the School of Molecular Sciences and the Biodesign Center for Applied Structural Discovery, has been just the second user group to conduct experiments at the brand new European X-ray free electron laser facility (EuXFEL) in Hamburg, Germany. This 1.5-billion-dollar facility is the third, and far the most powerful, X-ray laser in the world. After ten years of construction, it opened for first experiments just a month ago. The XFEL...

World's Fastest Movies Capture Molecules in Motion

May 8, 2017

In the latest issue of Scientific American, ASU researchers Petra Fromme and John Spence take readers on a whirlwind tour of their powerful X-ray science, where “new movies of drug proteins or photosynthesis in action, shot in millionths of a billionth of a second, show how the molecules work—or fail.”   It’s a world where “proteins are in constant motion, carrying out the reactions that make life possible. These movements happen on a scale too small, and too fast, to be seen...

X-ray pulses reveal structure of viral cocoon

February 13, 2017

Scientists analyze smallest ever protein crystals Arizona State University’s Biodesign Center for Applied Structural Discovery (BCASD) and an international team of scientists have used high-intensity X-ray pulses to determine the structure of the crystalline protein envelope of an insect virus. Their analysis reveals the fine details of the building blocks that make up the viral cocoon down to a scale of 0.2 nanometers (millionths of a millimeter) – approaching atom-scale...

Structural biologists capture detailed image of gene regulator’s fleeting form

November 17, 2016

Using an ultrafast, high-intensity radiation source called an X-ray free-electron laser (XFEL), scientists have captured an atomic-level picture of an RNA structure called a riboswitch as it reorganizes itself to regulate protein production. The structure has never been seen before, and likely exists for only milliseconds after the riboswitch first encounters its activating molecule. “We showed that structural changes in biochemical reactions or interactions between molecules can now be...

ASU protein pioneer honored as innovator at governor’s celebration

November 11, 2016

Petra Fromme, an Arizona State University researcher who is cracking the mystery of proteins and how they function, was hailed as Innovator of the Year at the Governor’s Celebration of Innovation, Nov. 10, a celebration also honoring Arizona businesses, legislators, teachers and students who are leading the state in science and technology discovery and entrepreneurialism. Fromme, a Regents’ Professor and director of the Biodesign Center for Applied Structural Discovery at the ASU...

Biodesign C will help advance scientific frontiers

October 12, 2016

Arizona State University’s newest research building will be packed with the most advanced construction and technological gear of today. The science that goes on inside will find answers that benefit society every day after. Researchers will tackle the early detection and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, speed up drug discovery and explore new avenues in renewable energy. The third building in ASU’s Biodesign Institute complex, Biodesign C on the Tempe campus, will serve as home...

Fostering North American partnerships

August 16, 2016

Sethuraman "Panch" Panchanathan (left), senior vice president for ASU's Knowledge Enterprise Development; Joshua LaBaer, an executive with the Biodesign Institute; and Luis Armando Kuroda of Mexico's Salud Digna and Fundación Vizcarra (right) sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Aug. 15. The MOU establishes a commitment to collaborate using ASU's undergraduate and graduate scientific researchers and Salud Digna's preventative health-care services with the goal of bringing greater...

X-ray study unlocks secrets of light-sensing organism

May 5, 2016

High-speed photography can capture a horse’s gallop, a falling star or even a speeding bullet. But such methods would be far too slow to record the elusive movements of protein molecules as they undergo transitions from one form to another—a process known as isomerization. In new research appearing in the journal Science, an international team of researchers used brilliant bursts of X-ray light to capture the movements of a photosensitive protein—one that enables a broad range of life...