News and events

Message in a bottle: Info-rich bubbles respond to antibiotics

January 20, 2021

Once regarded as merely cast-off waste products of cellular life, bacterial membrane vesicles (MVs) have since become an exciting new avenue of research, due to the wealth of biological information they carry to other bacteria as well as other cell types. These tiny particles, produced by most bacteria, can bud off from outer cellular membranes, travelling along cell surfaces and occasionally migrating into intercellular spaces. In a new study, Luis H. Cisneros and his colleagues describe...

Cyber-evolution: How computer science is harnessing the power of Darwinian transformation

January 18, 2021

From a pair of simple principles of evolution—chance mutation and natural selection—nature has constructed an almost unfathomable richness of life around us. Despite our scientific sophistication, human design and engineering have struggled to emulate nature’s techniques and her inexhaustible inventiveness. But that may be changing. In a new perspective article, Stephanie Forrest and Risto Miikkulainen explore a domain known as evolutionary computation (EC), in which aspects of...

How and why microbes promote and protect against stress

December 18, 2020

More than half of the human body is not actually human: The body hosts approximately 100 trillion microbes. These bacteria, yeast and viruses, which make up the human microbiome, affect more than physical health. They also influence behavior and emotions. Some microbes prosper when the body is under stress, while other microbes contribute to buffering the body against stress. Athena Aktipis, associate professor of psychology in the Biodesign Center Biocomputing, Security and Society at...

Forrest featured on AI podcast

September 29, 2020

The Pulse of AI Podcast host Jason Stoughton spoke with Stephanie Forrest and Risto Miikkulainen about evolutionary artificial intelligence. The podcast walks listeners through what evolutionary AI is, how it is used and the challenges and opportunities it offers. The podcast episode is titled “Deep Dive into Evolutionary AI.” Forrest, director of the Biodesign Center of Biocomputing, Security and Society, is an expert on biological computation, including work on computational...

Privacy and the Pandemic, Insights from Complexity Science

September 29, 2020

Stephanie Forrest presented on complexity, privacy and the pandemic to the Applied Complexity Network, a collaboration group of firms, governments and nonprofit organizations facilitated by the Santa Fe Institute. In this July talk, Forrest, who is the director of the Biodesign Center for Biocomputing, Security and Society, discussed how biological mechanisms can inspire and inform computer algorithms that help us address privacy concerns, such as those that arise in a...

Research center adds three faculty members

July 30, 2020

The Biodesign Center for Biocomputing, Security and Society extends a warm welcome to three exciting new faculty who have joined the Biodesign Center for Biocomputing, Security and Society. Collectively, they bring new expertise, reinforcing the team’s existing strengths in computational biology and cybersecurity.   The newest faculty include: Heewook Lee, Jed Crandall and Ni Trieu.  Heewook Lee is an assistant professor with expertise in computational biology. He...

Forrest and co-authors discuss a paper’s impact 24 years on

June 17, 2020

In 1996, Stephanie Forrest, director of the Biodesign Center for Biocomputing, Security and Society, co-authored the first paper to present a practical approach to automatically detecting cyber attacks against executing computer systems. Twenty-four years later, co-authors of the landmark paper—Steven Hofmeyr, Anil Somayaji, Thomas Longstaff along with Forrest—received the Test of Time Award at the virtual 41st IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy. The paper, titled A Sense of Self for...

Privacy and the pandemic: We can protect public health without sacrificing individual privacy

April 30, 2020

Many countries are turning to cell phones and other personal data for tracking social contacts and locations during the pandemic. These efforts potentially pose a threat to digital privacy and anonymity of individual citizens and can easily be used for other purposes than protecting public health. In a recent article, computer scientist Stephanie Forrest argues that relevant public health data can be collected in privacy-preserving ways, both by using immunology-inspired algorithms and...

Beating cancer by taking the unbeaten path

April 6, 2020

Athena Aktipis could be called a “Renaissance woman.” After all, she’s a psychologist, evolutionary biologist, cancer biologist and studies conflict and cooperation. She crosses boundaries and colors outside the lines in her quest to find answers to questions about human nature and the nature of life on earth. At Arizona State University, she is a co-leader of the Arizona Cancer Evolution Center; at the Biodesign Institute at ASU, she is a member of three different research centers;...

Oversupply of energy could put you at risk of developing cancer

March 9, 2020

Growing up, we are told that eating a balanced diet is pivotal to our health. After all, food is what supplies our body with the energy we need day to day. And it’s well understood that obesity, diabetes and chronic inflammation – common ailments tied to diet – hinder our health, often contributing to a higher chance of developing cancer. But the mechanism underlying this increase has not been well established – until now. Athena Aktipis, assistant professor in the Psychology...