News and events

ASU researcher chosen to be a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator

September 23, 2021

Biodesign Institute’s John McCutcheon first at ASU to earn the position For the first time, an Arizona State University researcher has been selected as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Investigator. HHMI, a non-profit research organization, announced today that biologist John McCutcheon is one of 33 scientists chosen for this prestigious position in 2021.  The HHMI Investigator program currently supports over 250 researchers at more than 60 research institutions across the...

New directions for biology: ASU receives NSF Award for transdisciplinary institute

September 16, 2021

The National Science Foundation has announced the award of $12.5 million to Arizona State University for the development of a new Biological Integration Institute (BII). The award will initiate a university-wide program, under the direction of Michael Lynch, Principal Investigator, and director of the Biodesign Center for Mechanisms of Evolution (CME). ASU’s new BII center will focus on the exciting, emergent field of evolutionary cell biology (ECB), a discipline Lynch has...

Virus-bearing scorpions wander the Southwest

September 6, 2021

In the hot, arid environment of Phoenix, Arizona and surrounding Sonoran Desert, ancient creatures flourish. Bark scorpions are among Earth’s oldest terrestrial animals. Their earliest fossil ancestors are believed to have made the transition from sea to land some 450 million years ago. In new research, Arvind Varsani and colleagues in the Biodesign Center for Fundamental and Applied Microbiomics and ASU’s School of Life Sciences, describe bark scorpions collected around the Phoenix...

SARS-CoV-2: a theme and variations

August 11, 2021

The celebrations were well underway. America seemed to be emerging from the depths of the COVID-19 crisis, following some of the darkest days in the nation’s history. A vast reduction in infections, hospitalizations, and fatalities, driven by improved therapies and above all, a suite of highly effective vaccines, had brought a collective sigh of relief. The July 4th festivities were euphorically anticipated, marking not only the nation’s independence from colonial rule but its...

A nomad finds a home in viruses

June 23, 2021

When Arvind Varsani arrived in the Antarctica for the first time a decade ago, he noted that the world looked black and white — from the sheet ice to the sky to the snippets of Earth peeking out from under the snow-covered mountains. That is, with the exception of an oversized vermilion bus that ferried him and other researchers to a nearby camp. The sounds of a wind farm and heavy machinery reverberated. “It was a very surreal experience,” Varsani recalled. So was the...

Strange bedfellows: new research explores a rare case of endosymbiosis

June 11, 2021

Across nature, symbiotic relationships abound. Recently, a very unusual example of symbiosis at the cellular level was discovered by researchers with the Biodesign Center for Mechanisms of Evolution at Arizona State University, along with international collaborators. A new study, led by corresponding author Sebastian Hess from the Institute of Zoology at the University of Cologne, describes the discovery of a very rare and enigmatic triple endosymbiosis consisting of a...

International collaboration to explore cellular mechanics of coral bleaching

May 6, 2021

Coral bleaching is a global ecological crisis caused by the massive loss of the symbiont dinoflagellate symbiodinium from its coral hosts. Ke Hu, a new faculty member in the Biodesign Center for Mechanisms of Evolution, will collaborate with Kazuo Inaba at the Shimoda Marine Research Center/University of Tsukuba (Shizuoka, Japan) to better understand the cellular mechanics of coral bleaching.  This international collaboration will be supported by a $795,000 award from the Human Frontier...

Biodesign evolutionary cell biologist awarded 2021 Sloan Research Fellowship

March 11, 2021

Arizona State University Assistant Professor Kerry Geiler-Samerotte was recently named a recipient of the 2021 Sloan Research Fellowship, one of the most prestigious awards available to early career researchers. The fellowship is awarded annually by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to extraordinary U.S. and Canadian researchers in eight scientific and technical fields: chemistry, computational and evolutionary molecular biology, computer science, Earth system science, economics, mathematics,...

The far-reaching effects of mutagens on human health

December 21, 2020

In order to survive, flourish and successfully reproduce, organisms rely on a high degree of genetic stability. Mutagenic agents, which can threaten the integrity of the genetic code by causing mutations in DNA, pose a serious risk to human health. They have long been implicated in a range of genetically inherited afflictions, as well as cancer, aging and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. It now appears that mutagenic threats to a cell’s subtle machinery may be far more...

New recruit John McCutcheon elected as AAAS Fellow

December 4, 2020

Five outstanding Arizona State University faculty spanning the physical sciences, psychological sciences and science policy have been named as Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). ASU’s Leah Gerber, Andrew Maynard, Steven Neuberg, Ying-Cheng Lai and John McCutcheon are being honored for their career contributions to science, innovation or socially distinguished efforts to advance science and its applications. The AAAS, publisher of the journal...