News & Research

March 25, 2019
Innovative online biochemistry degree recognized for increasing access to education

In 2016, the School of Molecular Sciences at Arizona State University embarked on a journey to change how biochemistry could be taught and create opportunities for students who thought that a bachelor’s degree was out of reach unless they went the traditional route of a brick-and-mortar school. That fall, pilot online general chemistry courses for biochemistry majors were offered for the first time, followed by online organic chemistry the following spring. These pilot courses were the precursor to a much larger project — to deliver a fully online biochemistry program with an in-person lab.

From left: Chair of the Founders' Day committee Rick Dircks, Christine K. Wilkinson, Anne Jones and Ian Gould of The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences’ School of Molecular Sciences and ASU President Michael Crow. Jones and Gould were jointly awarded th

March 19, 2019
Programmable 'Legos' of DNA and protein building blocks create novel 3D cages

The structure of DNA is very simple and lacks the diversity of proteins that make up most natural cages, like viruses. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to control the assembly of proteins with the precision of DNA. That is, until recently. Nicholas Stephanopoulos — an assistant professor in Arizona State University's Biodesign Center for Molecular Design and Biomimetics, and the School of Molecular Sciences — and his team built a cage constructed from both protein and DNA building blocks through the use of covalent protein-DNA conjugates.

Nicholas Stephanopoulos.

March 15, 2019
SMS professors, Anne Jones and Ian Gould, receive Faculty Teaching Achievement Award

Anne Jones and Ian Gould of The College’s School of Molecular Sciences will be jointly awarded the Faculty Teaching Achievement Award, for an innovative new approach to pre-med education.

This year’s Founders' Day event will take place March 20 at the Frank Lloyd Wright Ballroom in Phoenix.

March 13, 2019
Plucky science: Researchers’ nanotweezers used in detection of conformational changes

Biomolecules, such as DNA and proteins, are not static structures. They undergo complex conformational changes that are essential to their functioning and the signaling pathways they belong to. Understanding these changes is pivotal to a deeper comprehension of how the body works and could eventually shed light on certain diseases that afflict us.

These nanotweezers were fabricated by reconfiguring strands of DNA, and they have two states: open and closed.

March 4, 2019
Conducting research: Exploring charge flow through proteins

In a new study, Stuart Lindsay and his colleagues at Arizona State University explore a surprising property of proteins — one that has only recently come to light. In research appearing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, the group demonstrates electrical conductance through proteins poised between a pair of electrodes.

Lindsay directs the Biodesign Center for Single-Molecule Biophysics. He holds the Edward and Nadine Carson Presidential Chair in Physics and is also professor in the School of Molecular Sciences.

February 25, 2019
Stories of the Grand Canyon

Feb. 26 marks the centennial of Grand Canyon National Park and the sesquicentennial of John Wesley Powell’s expedition down the Colorado River. Literally and figuratively, it’s Arizona’s biggest attraction. Naturally, it draws the attention of artists, faculty, and scientists from Arizona State University, the state’s biggest university.

February 25, 2019
Ancient rocks provide clues to Earth’s early history

Oxygen in the form of the oxygen molecule (O2), produced by plants and vital for animals, is thankfully abundant in Earth’s atmosphere and oceans. Researchers studying the history of O2 on Earth, however, know that it was relatively scarce for much of our planet’s 4.6 billion-year existence. So when, and in what environments, did O2 begin to build up on Earth?

Ancient rocks provide clues to Earth’s early history

February 20, 2019
ASU research collaboration is expanding design strategies in structural DNA nanotechnology

Arizona State University’s Assistant Professor Petr Sulc of the School of Molecular Sciences and the Biodesign Institute recently collaborated with Assistant Professor Thorsten L. Schmidt of Kent State, formerly of Technische Universität Dresden, Germany, to study structural DNA nanotechnology.

Arizona State University’s Assistant Professor Petr Sulc of the School of Molecular Sciences and the Biodesign Institute recently collaborated with Assistant Professor Thorsten L. Schmidt of Kent State, formerly of Technische Universität Dresden, Germany,

February 11, 2019
X-ray laser study identifies crystalline intermediate in our 'pathway to breathing'

Scientists from Arizona State University’s School of Molecular Sciences, in collaboration with colleagues from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, have captured for the first time snapshots of crystal structures of intermediates in the biochemical pathway that enables us to breathe.

Austin Echelmeier, Alexandra Ros, Petra Fromme and Raimund Fromme, all from ASU’s School of Molecular Sciences and the Biodesign Institute’s Center for Applied Structural Discovery.

February 13, 2019
Four ASU faculty named Senior Members of National Academy of Inventors

Exemplifying Arizona State University’s commitment to innovation and impact, four faculty members have been named Senior Members of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). David Allee, Sidney Hecht, Jianming Liang and Nongjian Tao join an elite group of faculty, scientists and administrators from NAI member institutions in the inaugural class of 66 Senior Members.

David Allee, Sidney Hecht, Jianming Liang and Nongjian Tao are in the inaugural class of Senior Members at the National Academy of Inventors. Senior Members have demonstrated success in patents, licensing and commercialization.

January 29, 2019
7-year School of Molecular Sciences collaboration bears new fruit

In an academic field where female researchers comprise a talented minority, two professors from Arizona State University's School of Molecular Sciences are making an impact. Rebekka Wachter and Marcia Levitus have been collaborating for seven years, with several co-authored, highly rated publications to their credit.

Rebekka Wachter (right) and Marcia Levitus have been collaborating for seven years.

January 22, 2019
ASU team uses synthetic biology to elucidate the complexities of cell function

Arizona State University’s Professor Giovanna Ghirlanda and Assistant Professor Matthias Heyden, both of the School of Molecular Sciences, and Associate Professor Sara Vaiana of the Department of Physics are viewing our cells through a new lens, enabling them to gain novel insight into the mechanisms of several cellular activities.

Multi-scale simulations of large-scale systems are used to identify ideal conditions for the formation of membraneless organelles in solution due to the preferred association of functionalized proteins. Computational models range from particle simulations

January 9, 2019
Better drug to save mothers’ lives during childbirth may be on the way

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. Development of a safer drug to counter postpartum bleeding may be on the horizon, based on new research by Arizona State University, the Bridge Institute at the USC Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience and the U.S. Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory based at Stanford University. The work appears in the journal Nature Chemical Biology.

Some important conditions are treated by misoprostol, including ulcers, bleeding inflammation, pain and labor. Illustrated here is misoprostol in the binding site of the hormone prostaglandin E2 receptor 3.

January 8, 2019
SMS assistant professor exemplifies cutting-edge molecular science research

In the fall of 2015, Stephanopoulos joined Arizona State University and the School of Molecular Sciences, then known as the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, as an assistant professor. His research interests are protein/peptide-DNA nanotechnology for novel bioactive materials, medicine, energy and nanorobotics. The CMDB provided fertile ground for getting his exact research program off the ground, and Yan was building up a network of top-notch colleagues and young faculty.

Nick Stephanopoulos is an assistant professor in Arizona State University's School of Molecular Sciences and a member of the Biodesign Institute’s Center for Molecular Design and Biomimetics.

January 4, 2019
Putting DNA on autopilot

Nature has made extravagant use of a simple molecule — DNA, the floor plan of all earthly life.Inventive researchers have used the same base-pairing properties that bond two strands of DNA into the familiar double helix to build innumerable useful structures at the nanometer scale.

Hao Yan directs the Biodesign Center for Molecular Design and Biomimetics and is the Milton D. Glick Distinguished Professor in the School of Molecular Sciences at ASU.

January 3, 2019
Inspiring sustainability action through virtual field trips

Arizona State University sustainability scientists Rimjhim Aggarwal and Ariel Anbar were recently awarded a Grand Challenges Explorations grant, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This grant enables the professors to pilot a project that will train students to create virtual field trips as a way to narrate their own place-based stories regarding the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and share with peers globally to motivate youth action.

Exploring the Grand Canyon through a virtual field trip. Photo courtesy Rimjhim Aggarwal

December 21, 2018
SMS Assistant Professor Guo decoding biological puzzles through single-cell proteomics

Researchers across the country are looking for ways to successfully find the pieces to the biological puzzle of diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s, as the demand for precise diagnosis and treatment options grow. Research in the field of single-cell proteomics is advancing quickly to try to meet those demands. At Arizona State University, Assistant Professor Jia Guo with the School of Molecular Sciences is one of several scientists looking at ways proteomics can help us understand disease development and specifically differentiation in stem cells.

Assistant Professor Jia Guo

December 13, 2018
Peter Buseck awarded 2019 Roebling Medal

The 2019 Roebling Medal, the highest award of the Mineralogical Society of America for outstanding original research in mineralogy, is being awarded to Arizona State University Regents’ Professor Peter Buseck, who holds joint faculty appointments in the School of Molecular Sciences and the School of Earth and Space Exploration.

Peter Buseck awarded 2019 Roebling Medal

December 10, 2018
Joshua LaBaer has been named a 2018 NAI Fellow by the National Academy of Inventors

Arizona State University researchers Joshua LaBaer and Nathan Newman have been named Fellows of the National Academy of Inventors, the organization announced Monday. Election to NAI Fellow status is the highest professional accolade bestowed solely to academic inventors who have demonstrated a prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on the quality of life, economic development and welfare of society.

December 7, 2018
ASU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences acknowledges Fall 2018 Dean’s Medalists

On Tuesday, December 10, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University will recognize its highest achieving students from the social sciences, natural sciences and humanities at the 2018 convocation ceremony. Each department and school within the college has selected a phenomenal student who has demonstrated a steadfast commitment to academic excellence during their time at ASU. Alexis Ramirez, a biochemistry major, is selected as the Fall 2018 Dean’s Medalist for SMS.

November 30, 2018
A new light on significantly faster computer memory devices

In an article published online on November 30 in Science Advances, a team of scientists from Arizona State University's School of Molecular Sciences and Germany offer an explanation of how a particular phase-change memory (PCM) material can work a thousand times faster than current flash computer memory, while being significantly more durable with respect to the number of daily read-writes.

November 15, 2018
Regents' Professor receives Otto Shott Research Award

Arizona State University School of Molecular Sciences Regents’ Professor of chemistry and biochemistry C. Austen Angell has received the Otto Schott Research Award and an endowment with a unanimous vote from the board of trustees for his impressive work on dynamics and processes in liquids.

November 13, 2018
ASU professor wins grants to elucidate the magic of proteins

For Arizona State University’s Dmitry Matyushov, professor in the School of Molecular Sciences (SMS) and the Department of Physics, years of studying how electrons make their way through some important protein molecules has been recently rewarded with two major grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Department of Energy (DOE).

November 7, 2018
ASU geoscientists discover an overlooked source for Earth's water

Where did Earth's global ocean come from? A team of Arizona State University geoscientists led by Peter Buseck, Regents' Professor in ASU’s School of Molecular Sciences and School of Earth and Space Exploration (SESE) has found an answer in a previously neglected source. The team has also discovered that our planet contains considerably more hydrogen, a proxy for water, than scientists previously thought.

November 6, 2018
Tying the knot: New DNA nanostructures

In new research appearing in the journal Nature Communications, Hao Yan, a researcher at Arizona State University, and his colleagues Fei Zhang and Xiaodong Qi and others describe a method for coaxing segments of single-stranded DNA into complex 2D and 3D knotted structures.

November 1, 2018
Alexandra Ros receives Innovation Award

Arizona State University's Alexandra Ros has received the Federation of Analytical Chemistry and Spectroscopy Societies Innovation Award for her paper and presentation, “Electrically Triggered Water-in-Oil Droplets for Serial Femtosecond Crystallography.”

October 30, 2018
Tempe Town Lake sends message in a bottle

With over 1,200 samples of water, SMS Professor Hilairy Hartnett's work with the Central Arizona Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research Program hopes to better understand what it takes to maintain the ecological health of a man-made lake in one of the hottest regions of the United States.

October 22, 2018
ASU team unravels key mysteries of spider silk

Scientists at Arizona State University are celebrating their recent success on the path to understanding what makes the fiber that spiders spin — weight for weight — at least five times as strong as steel. One of the fundamental mysteries of spider silk that has limited scientists’ ability to produce artificial silks of the quality of natural silks has just been explained by researchers in ASU’s School of Molecular Sciences in collaboration with a team from San Diego State University and Northwestern University.

October 2, 2018
Nick Stephanopoulos receives 2018 NIH New Innovator Award

ASU Professors Nicholas Stephanopoulos, assistant professor in the School of Molecular Sciences, and Rizal Hariadi, assistant professor in the Department of Physics, both researchers in the Biodesign Center for Molecular Design and Biomimetics, were announced as recipients of the 2018 NIH New Innovator Award.

Nicholas Stephanopoulos, assistant professor in the School of Molecular Sciences

October 2, 2018
First experiments at Europe's new X-ray laser reveal structure of antibiotic-disabling enzyme

An international collaboration led by the Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron, or DESY, with participation from Arizona State University’s Biodesign Center for Applied Structural Discovery, the Department of Physics and the School of Molecular Sciences, has announced the results of the first scientific experiments at Europe's new X-ray free-electron laser, the European XFEL.

September 27, 2018
ASU scientists explore carbon’s next frontier with Keck Foundation funding

Recently, Jones and her team of Peter Buseck, Scott Sayres, Tim Steimle and Tara Pilarisetty received a $1 million award from the Keck Foundation together with additional ASU matching funds to lead an ASU effort to further explore carbon’s potential.

September 19, 2018
Professor Michael O’Keeffe wins Aminoff Prize in crystallography

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has announced that ASU Emeritus Regents' Professor O’Keeffe and Yaghi, of the University of California, Berkeley, have won the prestigious Gregori Aminoff Prize in Crystallography for 2019, “for their fundamental contributions to the development of reticular chemistry."

Michael O’Keeffe wins Aminoff Prize in crystallography

September 14, 2018
Innovative in-person lab provides unique opportunity for ASU Online students

The School of Molecular Sciences launched a fully online biochemistry bachelor's degree program in fall 2017, the very first in the U.S.. This summer, the first cohort of online B.S. Biochemistry degree students came to the Arizona State campus to take part in a new, innovative in-person accelerated laboratory course. This laboratory gave the online students the same hands-on experience and benefits that the on-campus students receive.

nline B.S. Biochemistry degree students came to the Arizona State campus

September 7, 2018
Shock honored with prestigious award from the American Chemical Society

Professor Everett Shock was awarded the 2019 Geochemistry Division Medal from the American Chemical Society (ACS). The unanimous decision was based on his outstanding scientific accompishments and leadership.

hock honored with prestigious award from the American Chemical Society

August 20, 2018
Singharoy studies how living cells capture, process and store energy

The work of Abhishek Singharoy, assistant professor in Arizona State University's School of Molecular Sciences and member of the Biodesign Institute’s Center for Applied Structural Discovery, is featured in a recent article published by the Department of Energy on renewable biofuels.

July 19, 2018
Nick Stephanopoulos receives NSF CAREER Award

Nick Stephanopoulos, assistant professor in Arizona State University's School of Molecular Sciences and member of the Biodesign Institute’s Center for Molecular Design and Biomimetics, has been named as a recipient of a National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award.

Nick Stephanopoulos receives NSF CAREER Award

July 17, 2018
Useful in a pinch: Nanoscale tweezers are triggered by light

Using segments of DNA, researchers at ASU have constructed a pair of tweezers, measuring 100,000 times tinier than the width of a human hair. A brief burst of ultraviolet light causes the jaws of the tweezers to switch from their closed to open position in seconds.

July 16, 2018
Single-celled architects inspire new nanotechnology

In a new study, Arizona State University scientists led by Professor Hao Yan and his colleagues have designed a range of diatom-like nanostructures using pieces of DNA.

 

 

Single-celled architects inspire new nanotechnology

May 8, 2018
Built for speed: DNA nanomachines take a (rapid) step forward

In new research, Arizona State University Professor Hao Yan and his colleagues describe an innovative DNA walker, capable of rapidly traversing a prepared track. Rather than slow, tentative steps across a surface, the new DNA acrobat cartwheels head over heels, covering ground 10 to 100 times faster than previous devices.

Built for speed: DNA nanomachines take a (rapid) step forward