News and Research

May 14, 2024

OURS program sets students up for success in graduate school and beyond

Melanie Aldridge has always been interested in how medicine works. Driven by her online studies as a biochemistry student in ASU’s School of Molecular Sciences and her dedication to help others, Aldridge sought to pursue graduate school and gain the necessary research experience that would prepare her for a successful career.

Through ASU’s OURS program, she completed two internships: one in memory and attention control research, simulating neurological memory impairment studies, and another in cancer biology and evolutionary theory through the ACE Scholars Program. Through her involvement, Aldridge received five units of research credit on her transcripts, presented at five research symposiums, won a poster prize in cancer studies and is actively producing a manuscript detailing vulnerabilities in cancer communication.

January 23, 2024

ASU researchers develop DNA nanodevice for targeted cancer, disease treatment

Sixty years ago, the famous physicist Richard Feynman outlined his vision for the field of nanotechnology in his landmark lecture "There is plenty of room at the bottom." Feynman foresaw new exciting applications for nanoscale devices, even conjecturing, "Although it is a very wild idea, it would be interesting in surgery if you could swallow the surgeon."

Today, that idea isn’t so wild. A research team led by professor Hao Yan from the School of Molecular Sciences and the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University has moved the field closer toward Feynman's vision; they have developed a DNA nanodevice that can selectively target cancer cells and deliver specific intracellular treatments.

January 19, 2024

ASU launches cutting-edge chemistry labs

This spring semester, more than 3,500 students now have access to a dozen newly remodeled laboratories outfitted with advanced technology, interactive teaching tools and increased capacity for collaboration. 

A ribbon-cutting event on Jan. 11 celebrated the grand opening of Arizona State University’s School of Molecular Sciences’ newly remodeled chemistry and biochemistry labs, and the dedication of the Scott and Barbara Dow Lab — ASU’s newest analytical and physical chemistry teaching facility outfitted with nearly $1 million of cutting-edge industry instrumentation. 

January 16, 2024

Intercontinental team to grow protein crystals in space

An interdisciplinary team including Alexandra Ros, professor in Arizona State University’s School of Molecular Sciences and faculty member in the Biodesign Institute’s Center for Applied Structural Discovery, is taking one giant leap into a new sector of the global aerospace industry. The team has received $9.87 million from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment Endeavour Fund to develop research platforms in microgravity, specifically related to protein crystallization.

September 26, 2023

4 ASU undergraduates spent summer in Berkeley National Lab

Four ASU undergraduate Native American students, under the ASU-Berkeley Lab STEM Pathways program from ASU’s School of Molecular Sciences, had the transformative opportunity to intern at the prestigious Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Led by Gary Moore, an associate professor affiliated with the Biodesign Center for Applied Structural Discovery, this initiative seeks to provide enriching STEM experiences for Indigenous students and address systemic barriers in the field. The program, highlighting the potential of diverse scientific minds, is a testament to ASU’s commitment to fostering equitable opportunities in STEM.

September 25, 2023

Up in smoke: Student research collaboration bears fruit

ASU researchers from the School of Molecular Sciences and the School of Earth and Space Exploration have discovered that iron carried by wildfire smoke particles, crucial for oceanic ecosystems, originates from soil rather than foliage. This groundbreaking research, led by students Alyssa Sherry and Logan Tegler, highlights the profound interconnectedness of global ecosystems. Their findings illuminate potential measures to mitigate harmful algae blooms and underscore ASU's dedication to student-led research opportunities.

September 18, 2023

Bio-based patch from ASU will lead to safer travels and recreation

Arizona State University's School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, in collaboration with the School of Molecular Sciences, introduces AirDuo, a revolutionary, low-carbon, bio-based asphalt binder. Developed to significantly reduce toxic fumes and enhance sustainability, this innovative product had its first successful trial in ASU's Gammage Auditorium parking lot. AirDuo represents a leap forward in public health, environmental conservation, and sustainable infrastructure.

September 15, 2023

From fire extinguishers to a professor's preference, scheduling is delicate task

Delving into the intricate world of class scheduling at ASU, Kim Sjostrom from the School of Molecular Sciences highlights the vital role of schedulers as negotiators, ensuring smooth transitions for students and meeting faculty preferences. Reflecting on past methods, Sjostrom emphasizes how current scheduling systems enhance efficiency. At its core, the meticulous task aims to optimize student success.

September 13, 2023

ASU professor honored for outstanding contributions in the geosciences

Arizona State University Professor Everett Shock has been awarded the prestigious Eunice Newton Foote Medal for Earth-Life Science by the American Geophysical Union. Recognized for his groundbreaking contributions in biogeochemistry and astrobiology, Shock's research offers valuable insights into hot spring ecosystems and the role of chemical energy in microbial metabolism.

September 7, 2023

School of Molecular Sciences welcomes 7 new interdisciplinary faculty

The School of Molecular Sciences at Arizona State University proudly welcomes seven innovative faculty members who employ atomic and molecular perspectives to address societal challenges, transcending traditional disciplinary boundaries. Their diverse expertise spans synthetic solid-state chemistry, nanoarchitectural design, midgut protease research in mosquitoes, sustainable polymer design, and the origins of life-essential volatiles in the cosmos. These trailblazing additions underline the school's commitment to cutting-edge, interdisciplinary research.

August 3, 2023

NSF grant allows ASU researchers to develop streaming technologies for molecular simulations

ASU's Matthias Heyden and Oliver Beckstein receive a $600,000 NSF grant to pioneer a "streaming" software platform that enables real-time analysis of molecular simulations, maximizing data utilization without extensive storage needs. This innovation will bolster projects in enzyme design and drug development, enhancing the capabilities of the globally-used MDAnalysis library.

July 31, 2023

ASU-led team awarded $5.7M NASA grant to predict range of rocky exoplanet compositions

Arizona State University leads an interdisciplinary team awarded a $5.7 million grant from NASA's NExSS program, aiming to advance our understanding of exoplanets and potentially detect life. The team, under principal investigator Steve Desch, will use state-of-the-art models and measurements to predict rocky exoplanet compositions, aiding future searches for extraterrestrial life.

July 27, 2023

ASU students to benefit from nearly $1M laboratory equipment donation

Barbara and Scott Dow have generously donated cutting-edge laboratory equipment, valued at over $850,000, to ASU's School of Molecular Sciences, enhancing hands-on training for students. This donation aims to better equip ASU students with modern technology skills, preparing them for successful careers in industrial settings.

July 26, 2023

2 ASU professors awarded inaugural Navrotsky Early Career Award

ASU professors Qijun Hong and Joseph O’Rourke have been honored as the first recipients of the Navrotsky Early Career Award, recognizing their notable contributions in materials research. This award will foster their continued innovation in bridging various scientific fields at ASU, pushing the boundaries of materials science and promoting interdisciplinary research.

July 21, 2023

School of Molecular Sciences researcher awarded $1.2M to study coral bleaching mechanisms

Liza Roger and her team have secured $1.2 million from the National Science Foundation to investigate the effects of rising seawater temperatures on coral reefs. By combining various scientific disciplines, their research aims to enhance our understanding of coral bleaching and inform future conservation efforts.

July 10, 2023

nsf career award

5 ASU faculty receive NSF CAREER awards

Petr Šulc is recognized as one of the five recent recipients of National Science Foundation early faculty career awards, securing significant funding to advance his interdisciplinary research in statistical physics and computational modeling, with a focus on designing novel biomolecules and nanostructures with potential applications in diagnostics, therapeutics, and new materials.

June 28, 2023

Alex Navrotsky

Eminent ASU scientist Alex Navrotsky to be honored at conferences throughout the year

Alex Navrotsky, esteemed scientist and director of the Navrotsky Eyring Center for Materials of the Universe, is being recognized at international conferences in Boston, France, and Panama, as colleagues celebrate her distinguished career and 80th birthday, highlighting her significant contributions to materials science and her unwavering dedication to scientific advancement.

June 22, 2023

Research Experiences for Undergraduates

School of Molecular Sciences hosts NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates program

The Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program, led by principal investigators Ryan Trovitch and Laura Ackerman-Biegasiewicz, offers hands-on research opportunities and mentorship to undergraduate students from liberal arts and community colleges, fostering collaboration with faculty and graduate students at Arizona State University's School of Molecular Sciences, with additional mentorship provided by Kyle Biegasiewicz, Christina Birkel, Matthias Heyden, Anne Jones, Audrone Lapinaite, Don Seo, Wade Van Horn, and Jeremy Mills.

June 12, 2023

Coral Reef

Leveraging nanotechnology to save coral reefs

Liza Roger leads two groundbreaking studies published in Nature Nanotechnology and One Earth, exploring the application of nanotechnology in coral reef ecosystem science, highlighting its potential to revolutionize coral restoration efforts and combat environmental pressures threatening these vital ecosystems.

May 16, 2023

Steve Presse

Researcher wins $2.6M NIH grant for machine-learning tools aimed at molecular interactions

Steve Pressé was recently awarded a five-year, $2.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to help develop the machine-learning tools needed to observe life’s events in their natural environment.

May 3, 2023

World-renowned researcher Peter Buseck retires after 60 years at ASU

After 60 years at Arizona State University, world-renowned Regents Professor Peter Buseck has announced his retirement.

April 25, 2023

Ultrafast Laser Facility director retires after stellar 32-year ASU career

Senior research professional Su Lin has spent 32 years in Arizona State University's School of Molecular Sciences as director of the Ultrafast Laser Facility, now part of ASU’s Core Facilities. 

April 5, 2023

ASU-led team defends molecular oxygen findings

When did molecular oxygen, the gas that all large and complex forms of life on Earth today require to function, first appear on Earth? For more than 15 years, work by a team of scientists led by Ariel Anbar has advanced the case that this biologically critical gas first appeared at least 2.5 billion years ago. Beginning with a pair of studies published in 2007, the team analyzed the chemistry of sedimentary rocks laid down on the ancient seafloor.

April 5, 2023

ASU honors student awarded Goldwater Scholarship for excellence in STEM

Chloe Leff, a junior in Barrett, The Honors College at Arizona State University, has been awarded the Goldwater Scholarship, the most prestigious award in the United States for undergraduate researchers in the natural sciences, engineering and mathematics, or STEM.

March 31, 2023

Heavy water key to 'groundbreaking work' on electron transfer in proteins by ASU professor

Arizona State University’s Dmitry Matyushov, professor in the School of Molecular Sciences and the Department of Physics, has spent years studying how electrons make their way through some important protein molecules.

March 31, 2023

From 2 women in department to 35% of faculty: School of Molecular Sciences celebrates growth, impact

Regents Professor Ana Moore is the longest continuously serving female faculty member of Arizona State University's School of Molecular Sciences, starting in 1976.

March 27, 2023

ASU Biodesign researcher Hao Yan nets 2 prestigious awards

Hao Yan, director of the Biodesign Center for Molecular Design and Biomimetics at Arizona State University and the Milton D. Glick Distinguished Professor with ASU’s School of Molecular Sciences, has been inducted as a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors.

March 15, 2023

ASU startup Precise Polymer wins grand prize in Skysong Innovations Startup Challenge

The Skysong Innovations Startup Challenge is an annual pitch event consisting of Arizona State University startups that compete for a chance to gain a total seed investment of $50,000 in convertible notes.

March 10, 2023

Celebrating the women of ASU Online who inspire, advance STEM education

Ara Austin's passion for student success outcomes stems from her PhD work, which analyzed the effects of socio-cognitive and socio-cultural factors on student performance in organic chemistry courses.

March 9, 2023

Nobel laureate to deliver distinguished Eyring Lecture Series at ASU

On March 16 and 17, Jack Szostak will be the featured School of Molecular Sciences’ Eyring Lecture Series speaker at Arizona State University's Tempe campus.

March 8, 2023

National Science Foundation awards $90.8M to ASU to advance X-ray science

The National Science Foundation today announced $90.8 million in funding to Arizona State University — the largest NSF research award in the university’s history — to advance groundbreaking research in X-ray science.

February 27, 2023

ASU’s first chemistry PhD receives Milton K. Curry education award

Intrepid, innovative and inspiring describe Jesse Jones, the first person to receive a PhD in chemistry from Arizona State University, in 1963.Following his own successful academic career, Jones became a dedicated professor, helping to increase the number of minority students who when on to graduate school and medical school.

February 27, 2023

Deciphering the mysterious relationship between coral and algae

Liza Roger, assistant professor in Arizona State University’s School of Molecular Sciences and an affiliate faculty in ASU’s School of Ocean Futures, is leading research to better understand coral bleaching and the phenomenon’s effect on the symbiotic relationship between coral and algae.

February 3, 2023

Navrotsky named Regents Professor for groundbreaking work in materials science

Navrotsky started her independent career in 1969, in what was then ASU’s Department of Chemistry, left for Princeton in 1985, moved to UC Davis in 1997 and rejoined ASU in 2019.She has been described as the world’s leading scientist in the field of thermochemistry of minerals and solid-state materials. Her discoveries have been of fundamental importance in solid-state chemistry, geochemistry, materials science and engineering, exoplanetary chemistry and materials for space exploration.

January 25, 2023

ASU professor will develop new computer modeling framework for bio-nanotechnology with NSF CAREER award

Petr Šulc, an assistant professor at Arizona State University's School of Molecular Sciences and the Biodesign Center for Molecular Design and Biomimetics, has recently earned a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award from the National Science Foundation.

February 2, 2023

School of Molecular Sciences welcomes eclectic new faculty

Arizona State University’s School of Molecular Sciences (SMS) recently welcomed two new faculty who exemplify this approach and use atomic- and molecular-level thinking to work on important problems that historically would not be considered mainstream chemistry or biochemistry.

January 10, 2023

X-ray light reveals how virus responsible for COVID-19 covers its tracks, eluding the immune system

One aspect of the novel coronavirus that makes it so infectious and challenging to control is its ability to outwit the body’s innate immune defenses. A new study examines NendoU (pronounced nenn-doh-YOU), a viral protein responsible for the virus’s tactics of immune evasion.

January 27, 2023

Compounds found in plants offer new hope in the fight against prostate cancer

In a new study, Raimund Fromme at Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute Center for Applied Structural Discovery joins researchers Eli Chapman and Leslie Gunatilaka from the University of Arizona to explore a potent plant compound that could inhibit prostate cancer.