News & Events

Gut Bacteria Influence Autism-like Behaviors in Mice

May 30, 2019

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) affects an estimated one in 59 people in the United States, causing a variety of difficulties with social communication and repetitive behavior. Many factors, including genetic and environmental effects, are believed to influence symptoms, and there are no approved treatments. Now, using mouse models, Caltech researchers have discovered that gut bacteria directly contribute to autism-like behaviors in mice. An article published today in The Economist, “More...

Autism symptoms reduced nearly 50% two years after fecal transplant

April 9, 2019

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one in every 59 children in the U.S. is diagnosed with autism, up from one in every 150 in 2000. They report that “about half a million people on the autism spectrum will become adults over the next decade, a swelling tide for which the country is unprepared.”  The apparent rise in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and its stubborn resistance to treatment has spurred a legion of researchers to enter the field...

Krajmalnik-Brown encourages us to ‘go with our gut’

February 7, 2019

When Nicole Neuman, the editor of Molecular Cell sought a learned look at the connection of microbes to behavior, they knew exactly who to call: Rosa Krajmalnik-Brown. “Dr. Rosy,” as she’s known at Arizona State University, is becoming increasingly well-known for her interest and expertise in gut-brain interactions. Molecular Cell is a companion to Cell, the leading journal of biology and the highest-impact journal in the world, so Krajmalnik-Brown knew the invitation to write a...

Biodesign symposium hosts researchers from West China

November 19, 2018

Joshua LaBaer, executive director of the Biodesign Institute, co-hosted a lively and innovative symposium, greeting the international guests in their native language. After enthusiastic applause, the presentations began. The symposium, which hosted representatives from Sichuan University and West China Hospital, in addition to researchers from the Biodesign Institute, focused on exploring strategies for the detection and treatment of infectious diseases and cancer. The gathering...

Korean documentary spotlights ASU autism research

February 12, 2018

A recently broadcast multipart Korean television documentary that explores new treatments for people with autism and gastrointestinal problems includes reports on research led by three Arizona State University faculty members. James Adams, Rosa Krajmalnik-Brown and Dae-Wook Kang collaborated on the research projects whose results are featured in the documentary. Together they co-authored the study “Treating gastrointestinal disorders in children with autism using microbiota transplant...

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...

Dramatic shift in gut microbes and their metabolites seen after weight loss surgery

May 26, 2017

Obesity, already a global epidemic, is on the rise. Over one third of the U.S. population is currently afflicted, according to the Centers for Disease Control and the monetary costs alone are approaching $150 billion dollars annually. Causes of the epidemic include changing diets and greater sedentism, though environmental factors may also contribute. A new study compares the two most common surgical therapies for obesity, known as Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB), and laparoscopic adjustable...

The key to fighting autism might lie not in the mind, but in the gut

January 23, 2017

A team led by Arizona State University researchers is taking a novel approach to the search for effective autism treatments by focusing on improving the gut microbiome through fecal microbial transplants. Early results are promising, but additional testing is required before an FDA-approved therapy would be available or recommended to the public. The ASU research group is led by James Adams, Rosa Krajmalnik-Brown and Dae-Wook Kang, lead author of the study. Krajmalnik-Brown and Kang are...

Inside and out, Biodesign researcher studies the role microbes play in health

January 5, 2017

We humans can’t function without the help of trillions of helpful bacteria that form communities in our guts and other parts of our bodies, also known as microbiomes. This we do know. But there’s still a lot we don’t know about how these ecosystems of microflora affect our health, and how they interact with the surrounding environment. A microbial engineer from the Biodesign Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology and the Center for Fundamental and Applied Microbiomics has been...

Parkinson's Disease Linked to Microbiome

December 21, 2016

Scientists have discovered for the first time a functional link between bacteria in the intestines and Parkinson's disease (PD). The researchers show that changes in the composition of gut bacterial populations—or possibly gut bacteria themselves—are actively contributing to and may even cause the deterioration of motor skills that are the hallmark of this disease. The work—which has profound implications for the treatment of PD—was performed in the laboratory of Sarkis...