News & Events

Discovery's Desert Home

September 18, 2017

  Editor's note: The following story was featured in the February 15 print edition of the journal Nature.  The Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University was designed to foster multidisciplinary collaboration and solve the world’s great challenges. The results speak for themselves. William Graves came to the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University (ASU) determined to change the world. The physicist had spent the past 13 years at the Massachusetts Institute of...

ASU appoints world-renowned evolutionary biologist to lead new Biodesign Center

September 6, 2017

Cross-disciplinary center studies key forces behind evolution to empower life sciences The Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University has announced today the appointment of world-renowned evolutionary biologist Michael Lynch, Ph.D., as the director of an ambitious new effort to advance the u­nderstanding of evolution across all scales of life, from whole populations to the key forces at work deep within a cell. The overarching mission of Lynch’s new Biodesign Center for Mechanisms...

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,...

Cave-in: How blind species evolve

April 17, 2017

Why do animals that live in caves become blind? This question has long intrigued scientists and been the subject of hot debate. Clearly, across the animal kingdom, blindness has evolved repeatedly.  There are thousands of underground and cave-dwelling species, from naked mole rats to bats, found throughout nature.  Many of these species have lost their sense of sight.  Charles Darwin originally suggested that eyes could be lost by “disuse” over time. Now, Reed...

Tiny, pond-dwelling organism reveals nearly bulletproof DNA

January 23, 2017

Meet the tiny, hair-lined ciliate, Tetrahymena thermophila. This nondescript pond-loving, pear-shaped protist, only visible through the microscope, has long fascinated scientists---even fueling Nobel prize discoveries---due to its highly unusual cellular biology and genetic structure.  Now, it turns out that Tetrahymena’s genome, its genetic blueprint, is even more fascinating than previously thought.   ASU Biodesign Institute geneticist Reed Cartwright and colleagues at the...

New tool enhances the search for genetic mutations

August 25, 2013

Concealed within the vastness of the human genome, (comprised of some 3 billion base pairs), mutations are commonplace. While the majority of these appear to have neutral effect on human health, many others are associated with diseases and disease susceptibility. Reed Cartwright, a researcher at Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute, along with colleagues at ASU, Washington University and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Cambridge, UK, report on a new software tool known as...

Genetic data expert to bolster ASU’s high-throughput DNA analytics

January 26, 2012

Arizona State University has recruited computational and evolutionary geneticist Reed Cartwright to expand its capabilities to conduct next-generation DNA sequence analysis. He has joined the Center for Evolutionary Medicine and Informatics at theBiodesign Institute® with a joint-faculty appointment in the School of Life Sciences. Cartwright’s research focuses on population genetics and molecular evolution. He develops statistical models and software tools to help understand complex...