Latest Biodesign Institute Stories

2010-11-24 08:11:52

The brain is forever chattering to itself, via electrical impulses sent along its hard-wired neuronal "Ethernet." These e-messages are translated into chemical transmissions, allowing communication across the narrow cleft separating one neuron from another or between neurons and their target cells. Of the many kinds of molecules involved in this lively chemical symposium, acetylcholine is among the most critical, performing a host of functions in the central and peripheral nervous system....

2010-11-10 07:53:02

Killing microorganisms has become a national obsession. A pair of antimicrobial compounds known as triclosan and triclocarban are lately the weapons of choice in our war of attrition against the microbial world. Both chemicals are found in an array of personal care products like antimicrobial soaps, and triclosan also is formulated into everyday items ranging from plastics and toys to articles of clothing. But are these antimicrobial chemicals, as commonly used by people across the nation,...

2010-10-19 10:58:16

The cells and tissues in our bodies grow, develop and interact in a highly complex, three-dimensional world. Likewise, the various microbial pathogens that invade our bodies and cause infectious disease interact with this complex 3-D tissue milieu. Yet the methods of culturing and studying human cells have traditionally been carried out in two dimensions on flat impermeable surfaces. While such 2-D culturing and modeling efforts have produced a steady stream of critical insight into cell...

2010-10-05 07:32:36

The enigmatic Möbius strip has long been an object of fascination, appearing in numerous works of art, most famously a woodcut by the Dutchman M.C. Escher, in which a tribe of ants traverses the form's single, never-ending surface. Scientists at the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University's and Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, led by Hao Yan and Yan Liu, have now reproduced the shape on a remarkably tiny scale, joining up braid-like segments of DNA to create Möbius...

2010-06-02 08:54:27

Scientists have been hard at work harnessing the power of microbes as an attractive source of clean energy. Now, Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University researcher Dr. Prathap Parameswaran and his colleagues have investigated a means for enhancing the efficiency of clean energy production by using specialized bacteria. Microbial electrochemical cells or MXCs are able to use bacterial respiration as a means of  liberating electrons, which can be used to generate current and make...

2010-01-01 10:50:00

Faster sequencing of DNA holds enormous potential for biology and medicine, particularly for personalized diagnosis and customized treatment based on each individual's genomic makeup. At present however, sequencing technology remains cumbersome and cost prohibitive for most clinical applications, though this may be changing, thanks to a range of innovative new techniques. In the current issue of Science, Stuart Lindsay, director of Arizona State University's Center for Single Molecule...

2009-10-26 07:00:00

TEMPE, Ariz., Oct. 26 /PRNewswire/ - Instead of killing cancer cells, researchers at Arizona State University will use the laws of physics to figure out how to control them. And, rather than treating cancer as a disease and seeking a cure, ASU scientists will view cancer cells as physical objects and study them the way a physicist would, using simple variables like temperature, pressure and force. That fresh approach is behind a new research center at Arizona State University - one of 12...

2009-09-03 09:48:56

In the new era of personalized medicine, physicians hope to provide earlier diagnoses and improve therapy by evaluating patients' genetic blueprints. But, as a new bioinformatics study emphasizes, the first step must be to correctly decipher the deluge of information locked in our DNA and determine its impact on human health. In the September issue of Genome Research, Dr. Sudhir Kumar led a team of researchers at the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University in examining DNA mutations...

2009-05-12 07:59:09

Photosynthesis is a remarkable biological process that supports life on earth. Plants and photosynthetic microbes do so by harvesting light to produce their food, and in the process, also provide vital oxygen for animals and people. Now, a large, international collaboration between Arizona State University, the University of California San Diego and the University of British Columbia, has come up with a surprising twist to photosynthesis by swapping a key metal necessary for turning sunlight...

2009-01-27 12:08:22

Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University associate research scientist Melha Mellata, a member of professor Roy Curtiss' team, is leading a USDA funded project to develop a vaccine against a leading poultry disease called avian pathogenic E. coli (APEC). APEC is part of a large, diverse group of microbes called extra-intestinal pathogenic E. coli (ExPEC). They cause a number of complex brain, lung and urinary tract diseases in human, animals, and birds. There is also considerable...

Word of the Day
  • A 'bachelor seal'; a young male seal which is prevented from mating by its herd's older males (mated bulls defending their territory).
This comes from the Russian word for 'bachelors.'