News & Events

New ASU courses offer tools for engaging others in science

December 9, 2019

Roaring twenties-era physicist Ernest Rutherford is purported to have said, “It should be possible to explain the laws of physics to a barmaid,” which is said to be the antecedent to Einstein’s later proclamation: “If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.” Clearly, the art of effectively sharing scientific knowledge has been a concern for generations. Heck, even television series star, Alan Alda thought this so important that he...

Protecting drone security: Research team videos demonstrate success

November 20, 2019

When the Air Force sought answers to the challenge of drone security, they looked to researchers at University of Michigan, University of Virginia, Carnegie-Mellon, BBN Technologies and Arizona State University’s Biodesign Center for Biocomputing, Security and Society for answers. The collaborative research, led by Prof. Westley Weimer at the University of Michigan, developed methods for unmanned vehicles such as drones to automatically detect and repair security problems during a mission....

The Kombucha Culture: Microbial communities in this fermented drink can teach us about cooperation and competition

September 3, 2019

In today’s health-conscious community, kombucha is all the rave. Its appeal comes from its accessibility and alleged health benefits, which range from introducing probiotics to killing deleterious bacteria in the human body.  But as is the case for many things in science, there is more to kombucha than meets the eye – literally. The microscopic microbes inhabiting this fermented concoction could offer insight into how microbial communities interact, more specifically on how...

Cancer without end? Discovery yields fresh insights

August 1, 2019

If there is any consolation to be found in cancer, it may be that the devastating disease dies with the individual carrying it. Or so it had long been assumed. Recent research, however, has uncovered some forms of cancer that are transmissible, jumping from one host to another. Indeed, one such contagious cancer, known as canine transmissible venereal tumor (CTVT), has managed to persist in dogs for thousands of years. In a new commentary appearing in the August 2nd issue of the journal...

Have you been 'zombified'?

June 12, 2019

Athena Aktipis wants brains. Not because she’s a zombie but because she’s been zombi-fied. And so have you. By social media. By stress. By your friends. Even by loyal old Fido. And the only cure is to bring as many brains from as many fields possible together to get a handle on how and why those noodley masses of muscle and synapses can be manipulated by forces seemingly beyond our control. That’s the premise of the Arizona State University psychology professor’s new podcast,...

Recent wins: team members win conference best paper awards

June 7, 2019

Two ASU team members Jessica Jones and Jerry Liou and their co-authors brought home best paper awards from two co-located scientific conferences in Montreal, Canada, May 25-26, 2019.  Jessica Jones and her co-authors recently won the best paper award at the Symposium on Software Engineering for Adaptive and Self-managing Systems in Montreal, Canada. Jones is an assistant research engineer in Biodesign Center for Biocomputing, Security and Society. Her paper, “Defeating...

Forrest’s paper garners award for positive impact on the field

May 15, 2019

Maintaining software is costly, and for developers like Facebook and Microsoft, repairing software bugs can be very expensive. Today, most software bugs are repaired by humans – highly trained software engineers. About 10 years ago, a group of researchers, including Stephanie Forrest, director of the Biodesign Center for Biocomputing, Security and Society, looked to biological processes like evolution for ideas about ways to automate de-bugging. The result was a totally new approach for...

MURI award brings ASU to the forefront of emergent computing

April 17, 2019

What do you get when you combine computer science, physics, robotics and nanotechnology? The opportunity to advance the fundamental understanding of how tiny computer particles can work together to do great things — without any human intervention. Arizona State University Professor Andrea Richa is part of a U.S. Department of Defense Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative effort that seeks to make these fundamental research discoveries in the project “Formal Foundations of...

Probing life’s simplest organism to understand the complexity of cancer

February 18, 2019

The simplest multicellular animal known to man (Trichoplax adhaerens) has no nervous system, no muscle tissue, and, most importantly, no history of cancer. Typically, cancer is a disease afflicting multicellular organisms that spreads as cells grow and divide. Arizona State University researchers are looking to these small creatures to learn more about how they evade the deadly disease, and the implications this has for other multicellular animals. At the Biodesign Center for...

Protecting U.S. elections against attack: What’s biology have to do with it?

January 9, 2019

Most of us think of cybersecurity and biology as distinct areas of study. To better understand how we might apply principles of immunology to developing safeguards against cyber attacks, researchers are looking to ways in which the immune system of humans and other mammals naturally combats pathogens. In the first “Dialogues in Complexity” lecture, national experts will present their insights related to this emerging field of study. “Protecting against Bad Actors: From Election...