News & Events

Novel Approaches to Improve the Effector Function of Monoclonal Antibodies

September 8, 2021

Dr. Shawn Chen, Professor at the Biodesign Center for Immunotherapy, Vaccines and Virotherapy, will be presenting at the Center for Emerging, Zoonotic and Arthropod-borne Pathogens Distinguished Speaker Seminar Series. The seminar will include a 45-minute talk followed by a 15-minute Q&A session. For more information, please visit: Zoom Link:

Conducting research: Exploring charge flow through proteins

March 4, 2019

Among the zoo of biomolecules essential to life, proteins are the most startlingly varied and versatile. These complex structures, generated from the DNA code and built from some 20 amino acids play a central role in innumerable life processes. In the form of antibodies, proteins defend organisms from infectious agents like bacteria and viruses. As enzymes, protein molecules speed up chemical reactions necessary to sustain life.  Proteins also act as messengers that coordinate disparate...

Scientists develop improved, potentially safer Zika vaccine

August 9, 2017

Tobacco plant produced vaccine could also be less costly, targeted for the developing world The worldwide Zika threat first emerged in 2015, infecting millions as it swept across the Americas. It struck great fear in pregnant women, as babies born with severe brain birth defects quickly overburdened hospitals and public health care systems. In response, there has been a flurry of heroic scientific efforts to stop Zika.  Whole governments, academic labs and pharmaceutical companies...

ASU's Dr. Qiang Chen on what to expect from the latest global health concern

January 29, 2016

The World Health Organization warned Thursday that the Zika virus is “spreading explosively” in the Americas, and countries and health organizations are on full alert with emergency meetings taking place to prepare to halt the spread of the Zika virus. WHO officials estimate that 1 million people are already infected in South America, and 4 million to 5 million more could be infected in 2016, as temperatures warm in the Northern Hemisphere. About 51 people in the U.S. are currently...

ASU professor Charles Arntzen named Fast Company’s Most Creative Person in Business

May 11, 2015

Arizona State University Biodesign Institute researcher Charles Arntzen has been chosen as the No. 1 honoree among Fast Company’s annual “100 Most Creative People in Business” for his leadership role in developing ZMapp, a therapeutic produced in tobacco to fight Ebola. “I never anticipated we would get ZMapp into human testing for another three or four years, and suddenly, the urgency of the situation in West Africa was upon us,” said Arntzen, who attended a star-studded Fast...

Using tobacco to thwart West Nile virus

March 27, 2014

  An international research group led by Arizona State University professor Qiang "Shawn" Chen has developed a new generation of potentially safer and more cost-effective therapeutics against West Nile virus, and other pathogens. The therapeutics, known as monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) and their derivatives, were shown to neutralize and protect mice against a lethal dose challenge of West Nile virus---even as late as 4 days after the initial infection. "The overarching goal of our...

Plants provide accurate low-cost alternative for diagnosis of West Nile Virus

October 24, 2012

While the United States has largely been spared the scourge of mosquito-borne diseases endemic to the developing world—including yellow fever, malaria and dengue fever—mosquito-related illnesses in the US are on the rise. One pathogen of increasing concern in the U.S. is an arbovirus known as West Nile.  Now Qiang “Shawn” Chen, a researcher at Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute and a professor in the College of Technology and Innovation has developed a new method...

Tobacco plant-made therapeutic thwarts West Nile virus

February 1, 2010

A new therapeutic made from tobacco plants has been shown to arrest West Nile virus infection, according to a new study by Arizona State University scientist Qiang Chen and his colleagues. Chen, a researcher at Arizona State University's Biodesign Institute and professor in the Polytechnic Campus' College of Technology and Innovation, is the first to demonstrate a plant-derived treatment to successfully combat West Nile virus after exposure and infection. The research appears in this week's...