News and Research

October 4, 2022

Audrey Lapinaite receives NIH Innovator Award

Assistant Professor Audrey Lapinaite is working on new genome editing tools and has just been awarded a prestigious National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director’s New Innovator Award.

October 3, 2022

ASU scientists discover dual-function messenger RNA

For the very first time, a study — led by Julian Chen and his group in Arizona State University’s School of Molecular Sciences and the Biodesign Institute’s Center for the Mechanism of Evolution — has discovered an unprecedented pathway producing telomerase RNA from a protein-coding messenger RNA (mRNA). 

September 16, 2022

AI spurs scientists to advance materials research

Arizona State University researchers Qi-Jun Hong, Alexandra Navrotsky and Sergey Ushakov, together with Axel van de Walle at Brown University, have harnessed the power of artificial intelligence (AI), or machine learning (ML), to demonstrate an easier way to predict melting temperatures for potentially any compound or chemical formula. 

September 15, 2022

ASU celebrates opening of Navrotsky Eyring Center for Materials of the Universe with presentations, lab tour

The study of materials continues to change lives — from making cars more efficient, to reducing the greenhouse effect, to allowing rockets to soar in a safer way. And maybe one day, it will help us find another planet to inhabit. 

August 29, 2022

Acquisition of mass spectrometry instrument positions ASU at leading edge of technology globally

Professor Alexandra Ros, principal investigator in ASU’s School of Molecular Sciences and faculty member in the Biodesign Institute’s Center for Applied Structural Discovery, was awarded a Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionization (MALDI) instrument by the National Institutes of Health.

August 19, 2022

These women are leading the charge for more diversity in STEM

SMS Director Tijana Rajh, one of four women leaders ASU hired over the last 18 months to head units in STEM-related areas.

August 1, 2022

Summer academy provides hands-on STEM experiences for children of migrant farmworkers

Faculty and staff from the School of Molecular Sciences provided hands-on laboratory activities and interacted with high school students in Arizona State University's Migratory Student Summer Academy, hosted by the School of Transborder Studies.

July 29, 2022

ASU researchers to address local air-quality concerns

Air quality is acknowledged as a critically important influence on public health. In the Valley of the Sun, air-quality issues related to dust, ozone and microorganisms are of particular concern.

July 29, 2022

8 students from across the country contribute to sustainability research at ASU

Faculty in Arizona State University's School of Molecular Sciences welcomed first-year students, sophomores and juniors to the Tempe campus this summer for a 10-week opportunity to perform sustainable chemistry and catalysis research, as part of the National Science Foundation’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates program.

July 27, 2022

ASU Online students' startup organization grows to become one of largest university clubs

In 2018, three online School of Molecular Sciences biochemistry students, Ellen Streitwieser, Nicola Osgood and Sam Bakotich, recognized the need for a platform to allow ASU Online students majoring in STEM degrees to connect with one another in a safe, inclusive community environment. 

July 26, 2022

ASU scientists find molecular clues behind traumatic brain injury

New research led by scientists at Arizona State University has revealed some of the first detailed molecular clues associated with one of the leading causes of death and disability, a condition known as traumatic brain injury (TBI). 

July 22, 2022

ASU provides hands-on laboratory experiences for online students at scale

This summer, Arizona State University's School of Molecular Sciences provided in-person instruction to a record number of 540 enrolled online students, who took laboratory courses in organic chemistry, biochemistry and analytical chemistry in a specially designed, condensed and immersive format.

July 22, 2022

Glaunsinger Innovation Award recognizes School of Molecular Science graduate students for entrepreneurship

Arizona State University has become widely recognized as one of the most innovative universities in the nation, and the establishment of the Glaunsinger Innovation Award by William and Lorna Glaunsinger in 2019 further reinforced that reputation. The award is given to a graduate student, or a team of graduate students, in the School of Molecular Sciences for excellence in achieving the school's mission of discovering molecular-level solutions to real-world challenges through the development of research ideas, methodologies or inventions and entrepreneurship.

July 22, 2022

ASU professor, students advance ecologically responsible chemistry

Associate Professor Ryan Trovitch and his students are taking this approach to improve chemical reactions by minimizing the use of toxic solvents and designing sustainable catalysts that offer enhanced energy efficiency.

July 6, 2022

ASU researchers patent a new industrial-scale chemical method using geomimicry

A team from the School of Molecular Sciences and the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University has now developed a method for the production of isooctane from common feedstock molecules that uses just water, heat, and the inexpensive, Earth-abundant metals iron and nickel.

June 30, 2022

The emergence of form: Study expands horizons for DNA nanotechnology

In a new study, Hao Yan and his colleagues Nicholas Stephanopoulos and Petr Sulc, explore a basic building block used in the fabrication of many DNA nanoforms.

June 8, 2022

Universities partner to make chemistry more equitable

ASU, Carnegie Mellon University partner to develop more equitable general chemistry courseware with grant from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

June 1, 2022

Immune recognition of self and non-self explored in new study

Arizona State University researcher Joshua LaBaer and his colleagues explore components of the immune system known as autoantibodies. While they have been implicated as central players in a range of serious autoimmune diseases, the study observes that autoantibodies are also found in healthy individuals.

May 27, 2022

School of Molecular Sciences celebrates 45 'Moore' years

Arizona State University has a long-standing reputation in natural and artificial photosynthesis research, thanks in part to Ana and Tom Moore, who have been important members of the School of Molecular Sciences (formerly known as the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry) since late 1976. 

May 27, 2022

School of Molecular Sciences inaugural director retires after exemplary ASU career

Professor Daniel Buttry, inaugural director of Arizona State University's School of Molecular Sciences (SMS) and an expert in the fields of electrochemistry and materials science, is retiring after 40 years (14 at ASU) of exemplary teaching, research and leadership roles.

May 11, 2022

raphic shows the bilayer structure of a living cell membrane, composed of phospholipid. A phospholipid consists of a hydrophilic, or water-loving, head and hydrophobic, or water-fearing, tail. The hydrophobic tails are sandwiched between two layers of hydrophilic heads. At the center, a channel is shown, permitting the transport of biomolecules.

Artificial cell membrane channels composed of DNA can be opened and locked with a key

A new study shows how artificial cell channels can be engineered out of DNA, an innovation with implications for biosensing and drug.

May 11, 2022

Ray Carpenter retires

The past four decades have seen many advances in electron microscopy at Arizona State University, and Ray Carpenter has been instrumental in many of them.

May 4, 2022

Petuskey retires after distinguished four-decade career at ASU

Professor William (Bill) Petuskey is retiring after an extremely successful 39 years at Arizona State University and the School of Molecular Sciences. His extensive teaching, research and leadership roles at ASU have been immeasurable.

April 28, 2022

Next-generation laboratory course developed for online chemistry students

School of Molecular Sciences Professor Jeff Yarger pioneers an innovative approach to a laboratory course.

April 27, 2022

Lecturer and ASU alum Gary Cabirac to retire in June

While wandering Arizona State University’s campus in the late 1970s as a self-professed chemistry nerd, the young Gary Cabirac had no idea he would return and become a beloved lecturer in the School of Molecular Sciences. 

April 25, 2022

Scientists study microorganisms on Earth to gain insight into life on other planets

To find these clues, a team of scientists from Arizona State University, who are members of the Group Exploring Organic Processes in Geochemistry led by Everett Shock of ASU SESE and SMS, traveled to Oman to investigate a geological process unique to these rocks, where water reacts with them to create hydrogen gas. 

April 22, 2022

SMS graduate student wins NSF award

Shundene Key awarded a NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program on surface proteins in the immune system.

April 20, 2022

School of Molecular Sciences Dean's Medalist is an inspiration to all

Next month, Phoenix native and School of Molecular Sciences Dean’s medalist Aaron Jafar Hernandez Flores will graduate with a bachelor's degree in chemistry.

April 13, 2022

ABOR funds to support Valley fever research

Pierre Herckes and Matthew Fraser to lead a newly funded study on environmental detection and modeling of Valley fever in Arizona.

April 13, 2022

ASU School of Molecular Sciences professor receives teaching award

The 2022 Distinction of Merit and Scholastic Occupation (DMSO) teacher award was presented to Laura Ackerman-Biegasiewicz, who teaches in Arizona State University's School of Molecular Sciences. The award is given by the Student Affiliates of the American Chemical Society (SAACS).

April 12, 2022

ASU student awarded inaugural carbon capture scholarship

The first recipient of the Martin Hudson Scholarship for Carbon Capture and Sustainable Energy, Riley Seminara, is a sophomore majoring in biochemistry and chemical engineering.

March 31, 2022

ASU undergrad Lauren Harstad awarded Goldwater Scholarship

ASU School of Molecular Sciences student Lauren Harstad is the recipient of a 2022 Goldwater Scholarship. The Goldwater Scholarship, established by Congress in 1986, is the most prestigious award for undergraduate STEM majors.

March 30, 2022

Tim Long honored with American Chemical Society's Paul J. Flory Award

At the American Chemical Society’s national spring meeting in San Diego, Arizona State University Professor Tim Long was honored by the society's Division of Polymer Chemistry with the Paul J. Flory Award for Polymer Education.

March 18, 2022

Keck award will help scientists take quantum leap to explore the mysteries of life

Professor Mujica will lead a three-year, $1 million award from the prestigious Keck Foundation for quantum research.

March 11, 2022

Paul Weiss to deliver distinguished Eyring Lecture Series at ASU

Paul Weiss, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences with many international awards, will be the featured School of Molecular Sciences’ Eyring Lecture Series speaker.

February 25, 2022

Learn, earn and return: School of Molecular Sciences supports military students

Cory Smith, an online biochemistry major, currently serving in the Air Force as a U-28A mission pilot, recently completing his 7th deployment in the Middle East. Smith has his sights set on earning entry into medical school, and then returning to active duty as a military physician.

February 25, 2022

Study shows that proteins can act as electrical conductors

In new research appearing in the journal ACS Nano, Stuart Lindsay and his colleagues show that certain proteins can act as efficient electrical conductors.

February 25, 2022

Lost in the moss: ASU scientists answer key questions regarding photosynthesis evolution

A team of scientists from Arizona State University has taken a significant step closer to unlocking the secrets of photosynthesis, by determining the structure of a very large photosynthetic supercomplex in mosses.  Yuval Mazor is the paper’s senior author and an assistant professor in the School of Molecular Sciences.

February 21, 2022

New technology fused with photosynthetic life offers path to green energy

Research appearing in the current issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society, lead author Christine Lewis and her ASU colleagues describe a patented hybrid device — part living organism, part bio battery, capable of producing stored energy by increasing energy flow under light conditions where natural photosynthesis is normally inhibited.

February 10, 2022

ASU professor accepts international award for research in marine, aquatic sciences

Research led by Arizona State University Professor Hilairy Hartnett is being honored with the 2022 John Martin Award from the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO).

February 8, 2022

Mentorship program to address graduate student inclusion

The mentorship will help faculty to understand differences in student experiences and perceptions, and how their goals might be different from what the faculty members’ goals were when they were graduate students. 

February 1, 2022

The dynamic duo who sparked a worldwide chemistry revolution

And no one was more fitting to kick off the lecture series than former ASU faculty member Professor Omar Yaghi, who together with ASU Professor Emeritus Michael O’Keeffe made their 1990s breakthrough discoveries on reticular chemistry.

January 28, 2022

New program creates pathways for Native American student success

ASU-Berkeley Lab program seeks to increase number of Native students pursuing STEM graduate studies.

January 26, 2022

Marcia Levitus aids in DIY air filters to help Valley schools fight COVID-19

Levitus has used carbon dioxide monitors to spot check the effectiveness of some of the filter boxes inside classrooms.

January 24, 2022

Yuval Mazor receives NSF CAREER award

SMS Assistant Professor, Yuval Mazor, will study the structural biology of photosynthetic supercomplexes with NSF CAREER Award.

November 17, 2021

ASU's SMS Jacob Garcia awarded prestigious NRC postdoc

Garcia recently successfully defended his doctoral thesis, titled “The ultrafast excited — state dynamics of first-row transition metal oxide clusters.” His laser studies on uncharged transition metal oxide clusters could ultimately lead to the development of new and less expensive industrial catalysts.

November 1, 2021

SMS Alum Josh Vermaas returns for lecture

ASU alumnus Josh Vermaas came full circle, delivering the School of Molecular Sciences’ weekly seminar in the Biodesign auditorium. Vermaas graduated with degrees in biochemistry, physics and computational math from Arizona State University in 2010.

October 29, 2021

In memoriam: Emeritus Professor Sandra Pizzarello

Emeritus Professor Sandra Pizzarello is remembered by friends and colleagues in Arizona State University's School of Molecular Sciences for her kindness, achievements and integrity. She passed away on Sunday, Oct. 24. Pizzarello, a native of Italy, earned her doctorate in biological sciences in Padua. In 1977, she joined the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department (now the School of Molecular Sciences), working with John Cronin and studying organic compounds associated with meteorites.

October 27, 2021

Nobel laureate Mario Capecchi to deliver distinguished Eyring lectures

Mario Capecchi is an Italian-born molecular geneticist known for his pioneering work on the development of gene targeting in mice. This technology allows creation of mutations in any desired gene, giving virtually complete freedom to manipulate the genome of living mice.

October 21, 2021

ASU Regents Professor receives award for excellence in aerosol research

Regents Professor Peter Buseck is the 2021 recipient of the David Sinclair Award from the American Association for Aerosol Research (AAAR), the leading international scientific research organization for the study of aerosols, with emphasis on atmospheric chemistry. This significant honor recognizes the sustained excellence of an active, established scientist who has made a lasting impact in aerosol research and technology throughout their career.

October 14, 2021

Circular economy research makes plastic more sustainable

Developing a viable plan for a circular plastics economy is the key focus of a National Science Foundation Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation, or EFRI, project Long is leading with an interdisciplinary team of researchers. 

October 14, 2021

Improvements in microscopy home in on biology's elusive details

Researchers at Arizona State University's Biodesign Center for Applied Structural Discovery and School of Molecular Sciences, as part of a multi-institutional research collaboration, are carrying the field of microscopy a step further, refining a technique known as cryogenic electron microscopy, or cryo-EM.

October 6, 2021

Carleton Moore: meteorites and moon rocks

In recognition of Moore’s many notable achievements, Asteroid 5046 Carletonmoore was named in his honor in 1981. In 2021, a new mineral found in a large, rare meteorite was named “carletonmooreite,” also in recognition of Moore’s importance to meteorite research throughout his career.

October 6, 2021

ASU research on protein responsible for detection, marking Nobel Prize

Included in the collection is a paper published by scientists from ASU's SMS and the Biodesign Institute in Nature Communications that helps clarify the contributions to an ion channel’s temperature-dependent activation.

September 29, 2021

Study seeks to settle debate about oxygen in Earth's early atmosphere

A team of scientists, led by former Arizona State University doctoral student Aleisha Johnson, has been working to unravel the mystery of how the stage was set for the Great Oxidation Event.

September 8, 2021

Computational protein design utilizes unnatural amino acids

Assistant Professor Jeremy Mills and his group have just published their research in the journal Biochemistry and present a novel solution to this problem.

September 3, 2021

SMS alum receives prestigious NIH early-career award

Arizona State University alumnus Chris Gisriel, currently a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Chemistry at Yale University, was recently awarded a Pathway to Independence Award by the National Institutes of Health.

August 19, 2021

ASU researchers develop artificial enzyme to harness light for renewable energy systems

Using an artificial enzyme embedded in a transparent, conductive material, researchers at Arizona State University's School of Molecular Sciences report in Catalysts their success in developing a highly efficient system to convert light energy into chemical energy.

July 23, 2021

ASU student first author on dynamic water-protein interactions research article

ASU online School of Molecular Sciences alumna Tawny Fajardo and School of Molecular Sciences Assistant Professor Matthias Heyden, through computer simulations of a small peptide, studied the underlying components of the potential energy and entropy that determine the peptide’s structural and dynamical properties.

June 16, 2021

2 recent promotions in ASU's School of Molecular Sciences poised to have positive impact on growing number of students

Congratulations to Ara Austin and Orenda Griffin on their recent promotions. 

May 19, 2021
ASU alumnus Spencer Silver lived life as an inventor

ASU chemistry and biochemistry alumnus Spencer Silver died May 8 at age 80. Silver was a research organic and polymer chemist at the 3M corporation who invented the adhesive used in Post-it Notes.

April 13, 2021
In memoriam: Associate Research Professional Paul Liddell

Arizona State University employs many unsung heroes, like Paul Liddell, who devote their lives and careers not only to research, but to helping others. Liddell, an associate research professional in the School of Molecular Sciences, died in late February.