News and events

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...

Cliques, binges and bullies: What animals tell us about teen behavior

December 20, 2019

It’s not easy being teen. Negative images of adolescents populate the media. Words like moody, selfish, impulsive, disrespectful and even dangerous come to mind.  Suicide rates among teens and young adults have reached their highest point in nearly two decades. Adolescence is a particularly malleable time for mental and social development. Gaining a better understanding of the teenage brain and behavior can make this time an opportunity, rather than a calamity. In their recently...

Democracy 2.0: Returning power to the people

December 18, 2019

It’s no secret that the United States is growing more and more politically polarized. A recent report from the Pew Research Center indicates that “public opinion remains more divided along partisan lines than along the lines of race, religion, age gender or educational background.” Americans are deeply divided on controversial issues like immigration, health care, gun control and women’s rights – a division that impedes social progress on nonpartisan issues. The number of Americans...

Don’t put all your bananas in one basket

December 11, 2019

Stephanie Forrest, director of the Biodesign Center for Biocomputing, Security and Society, has long been interested in how nature can inform computer science. In fact, that’s the primary focus of her work at Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute. Forrest’s research team translates insights between computer science and biology, with a focus on understanding and mitigating malicious behavior in complex systems. Forrest is also a professor at ASU’s School of Computing....

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...