News/Events

Combining forces: Biophysicists study molecular effects of asthma drugs

October 11, 2019

A research team from the MIPT Center for Molecular Mechanisms of Aging and Age-Related Diseases collaborated with colleagues from the U.S., Canada, France and Germany to determine the spatial structure of the CysLT1 receptor in a paper published in Science Advances (DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aax2518). Amongst these collaborators were three researchers from Arizona State University’s Biodesign Center for Applied Structural Discovery: Wei Liu, also an assistant professor in the...

Better drug to save mothers’ lives during childbirth may be on the way

January 10, 2019

Postpartum bleeding is the world’s leading cause of death for women during and after childbirth, and the third-leading cause in the United States alone. Many doctors in developing countries have turned to the drug misoprostol to save more women from deadly hemorrhaging. Misoprostol, although affordable, has dangerous side effects, including uterine cramping, heart attack, toxicity in the brain and spinal cord, fetal death and fetal heart abnormalities. Development of a...

ASU and BioXFEL consortium awarded $22.5 million to capture biology at the atomic level using X-ray lasers

October 10, 2018

Eight Arizona State University faculty researchers in a seven-campus consortium of U.S. universities are revolutionizing bioimaging through collaborations with academia and industry. A $22.5 million award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) allows the group to continue their groundbreaking work to develop advanced imaging techniques for critical biological processes that are difficult, if not impossible, to see with conventional methods. According to BioXFEL Director Edward Snell,...

Research opens the door to improved drugs for Type II diabetes

May 17, 2017

Type 2 diabetes, a prolific killer, is on a steep ascent. According to the World Health Organization, the incidence of the condition has grown dramatically from 108 million cases in 1980 to well over 400 million today. The complex disease occurs when the body’s delicate regulation of glucose, a critical metabolite, is disrupted, creating a condition of elevated blood sugar known hyperglycemia. Over time, the condition can damage the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, and nerves. In a new...

X-Ray Study Reveals Long-Sought Insights Into Potential Drug Target

April 5, 2017

Researchers hope to design a new generation of drugs against an array of deadly diseases. The task, however, is costly, arduous and often ineffective. One of the key challenges is understanding a particular class of proteins adorning cell surfaces, which are the targets of the majority of pharmaceutical drugs. Now Wei Liu and his colleagues at ASU’s Biodesign Institute, along with a team led by Haitao Zhang and Vadim Cherezov of USC have examined one promising drug target in luminous...

X-ray pulses reveal structure of viral cocoon

February 13, 2017

Scientists analyze smallest ever protein crystals Arizona State University’s Biodesign Center for Applied Structural Discovery (BCASD) and an international team of scientists have used high-intensity X-ray pulses to determine the structure of the crystalline protein envelope of an insect virus. Their analysis reveals the fine details of the building blocks that make up the viral cocoon down to a scale of 0.2 nanometers (millionths of a millimeter) – approaching atom-scale...

Structural biologists capture detailed image of gene regulator’s fleeting form

November 17, 2016

Using an ultrafast, high-intensity radiation source called an X-ray free-electron laser (XFEL), scientists have captured an atomic-level picture of an RNA structure called a riboswitch as it reorganizes itself to regulate protein production. The structure has never been seen before, and likely exists for only milliseconds after the riboswitch first encounters its activating molecule. “We showed that structural changes in biochemical reactions or interactions between molecules can now be...

Biodesign C will help advance scientific frontiers

October 12, 2016

Arizona State University’s newest research building will be packed with the most advanced construction and technological gear of today. The science that goes on inside will find answers that benefit society every day after. Researchers will tackle the early detection and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, speed up drug discovery and explore new avenues in renewable energy. The third building in ASU’s Biodesign Institute complex, Biodesign C on the Tempe campus, will serve as home...

X-ray study unlocks secrets of light-sensing organism

May 5, 2016

High-speed photography can capture a horse’s gallop, a falling star or even a speeding bullet. But such methods would be far too slow to record the elusive movements of protein molecules as they undergo transitions from one form to another—a process known as isomerization. In new research appearing in the journal Science, an international team of researchers used brilliant bursts of X-ray light to capture the movements of a photosensitive protein—one that enables a broad range of life...

Scientists blueprint tiny cellular ‘nanomachine’ whose evolution is an extraordinary feat of nature

December 17, 2015

Tempe, AZ, Thursday December 17th, 2015 – Scientists have drawn up molecular blueprints of a tiny cellular ‘nanomachine’, whose evolution is an extraordinary feat of nature, by using one of the brightest X-ray sources on Earth. The scientists produced the structural map of this nanomachine – diacylglycerol kinase – by using a “hit and run” crystallography technique. In doing so, they have been able to understand how the tiny enzyme performs critical cellular duties –...