News & Research

March 9, 2018
Investigating the shapes of water

Arizona State University chemist C. Austen Angell, a Regents' Professor in ASU’s School of Molecular Sciences, has spent a good portion of his distinguished career tracking down some of water’s more curious physical properties. In a new piece of research published in Science on March 8, Angell and colleagues from the University of Amsterdam have, for the first time, observed one of the more intriguing properties predicted by water theoreticians — that, on sufficient super-cooling and under specific conditions, it will suddenly change from one liquid to a different one.

Investigating the shapes of water

February 23, 2018
ASU scientists unveil a hidden secret of the immortality enzyme telomerase

Research from the laboratory of Professor Julian Chen in the School of Molecular Sciences at Arizona State University recently uncovered a crucial step in the telomerase enzyme catalytic cycle. This catalytic cycle determines the ability of the human telomerase enzyme to synthesize DNA “repeats” (specific DNA segments of six nucleotides) onto chromosome ends, and so afford immortality in cells. Understanding the underlying mechanism of telomerase action offers new avenues toward effective anti-aging therapeutics.

ASU scientists unveil a hidden secret of the immortality enzyme telomerase

February 15, 2018
ASU alumnus wants to bridge gap between graduates and employers

Micah Wimmer, a triple Arizona State University alumnus and chemistry instructor at ASU's School of Molecular Sciences, hopes to use his diverse exposure to life on campus by uniting existing communities and inspiring progress across the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the university at large.

Micah Wimmer

February 13, 2018
ASU Assistant Professor Gary Moore recognized nationally as exceptional mentor

Professor Gary Moore, an assistant professor in Arizona State University's School of Molecular Sciences, has recently been recognized by ARCS for his work as a doctoral adviser. Moore has a passion for chemistry that is evident from the very first classes students take with him. He lectures on technical concepts in a logical and effective manner, and also addresses scientific topics in a context which brings students a level of cultural relevance to the subject matter that is rarely found in chemistry classes.

Professor Gary Moore

February 12, 2018
Cancer-fighting nanorobots seek and destroy tumors

In a major advancement in nanomedicine, Arizona State University scientists, in collaboration with researchers from the National Center for Nanoscience and Technology (NCNST) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, have successfully programmed nanorobots to shrink tumors by cutting off their blood supply. The successful demonstration of the technology, the first-of-its-kind study in mammals utilizing breast-cancer, melanoma, ovarian and lung-cancer mouse models, was published in the journal Nature Biotechnology.

Cancer-fighting nanorobots seek and destroy tumors

February 8, 2018
Old drug may have new tricks for fighting cancer

In a new study, researchers at Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute used an innovative method to screen a broad range of kinases for a drug’s effectiveness. The compound, known as ibrutinib — an inhibitor of Bruton’s tyrosoine kinase (BTK) in white blood cells, was first approved by the FDA in 2013 for the treatment of leukemia. Using a sophisticated microarray platform invented by Joshua LaBaer, the new research demonstrates that ibrutinib can also target a little-studied member of the RTK family, known as ERBB4, potentially thwarting the sequence of events leading to progression and growth of other solid tumors.

Old drug may have new tricks for fighting cancer

December 14, 2017
'DNA origami' is the shape of things to come for nanotechnology

A team of Arizona State University and Harvard scientists including Hao Yan, director of the ASU Biodesign Institute’s Center for Molecular Design and Biomimetics, and the Milton Glick Professor in the School of Molecular Sciences professor, has invented a major new advance in DNA nanotechnology. Dubbed “single-stranded origami” (ssOrigami), their new strategy uses one long noodle-like strand of DNA, or its chemical cousin RNA, that can self-fold — without even a single knot — into the largest, most complex structures to date.

Hao Yan

December 6, 2017
ASU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences recognizes fall 2017 Dean’s Medalists

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University recognized its highest achieving students from the social sciences, natural sciences and humanities at the 2017 convocation ceremony. Jonathan Vie received the CLAS Dean's Medal for the School of Molecular Sciences.

CLAS Dean's Medalists 2017

November 15, 2017
Learning from photosynthesis

Hao Yan and Neal Woodbury from Arizona State University's Biodesign Institute and colleagues from Harvard and MIT are exploring new methods to capitalize on nature’s light-harvesting secrets. Their new study outlines the design of a synthetic system for energy gathering, conversion and transport that may point the way to innovations in solar energy, materials science, nanotechnology and photonics.

Learning from photosynthesis

November 8, 2017
Fueling the future: ASU scientists promote new, efficient method of algal hydrogen production

Changing the way the nation generates and consumes energy is at the heart of a new NSF grant awarded to Arizona State University and Kevin Redding, professor in the School of Molecular Sciences and director of the Center for Bioenergy and Photosynthesis (CB&P). The goal of Redding and his research group is to obtain industrial scale algal hydrogen production, which will require an improvement over current technology by at least five-fold.

Professor Kevin Redding and Group

October 27, 2017
ASU scientists show that a protein can be switched on and off to conduct electricity like a metal

ASU biophysicist Stuart Lindsay's research team has found evidence of a protein that can conduct electricity like a metal. Lindsay and his research group have published their new findings in the advanced online edition of the Institute of Physics journal Nano Futures.

Stuart Lindsay

October 22, 2017
ASU professor recognized as ‘Teaching Innovator’ by Chronicle of Higher Education

The Chronicle of Higher Education has named Ariel Anbar, a President’s Professor in Arizona State University’s School of Earth and Space Exploration and School of Molecular Sciences, to its first-ever list of “Teaching Innovators.” The Chronicle calls these innovators “faculty members who are using fresh approaches in their classrooms to help their students succeed.”

Ariel Anbar

October 13, 2017
ASU team among first user groups at Europe’s brightest light source

A team of ASU scientists led by Professor Alexandra Ros in the School of Molecular Sciences and the Biodesign Center for Applied Structural Discovery, has been just the second user group to conduct experiments at the brand new European X-ray free electron laser facility (EuXFEL) in Hamburg, Germany. This 1.5-billion-dollar facility is the third, and far the most powerful, X-ray laser in the world.

Ros Group

October 10, 2017
ASU professor wins $2.1M NIH New Innovator Award

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded a five-year, $2.1 million grant to Alexander Green, Arizona State University Biodesign Institute professor and School of Molecular Sciences faculty member, to pursue innovative approaches to major contemporary challenges in biomedical research.

Alex Green

October 9, 2017
Nobel laureate Richard R. Schrock to deliver Eyring lecture at ASU

F. G. Keyes Professor of Chemistry at M.I.T. Richard R. Schrock, a Nobel laureate with many internationally contested awards, will be the featured Eyring Lecture Series speaker, Oct. 19 and 20, on Arizona State University's Tempe campus.

Eyring Lectures Richard Schrock

August 25, 2017
ASU team shines new light on photosynthesis

A team of scientists including School of Molecular Sciences Professors Kevin Redding and Raimund Fromme, as well as SMS doctoral student Chris Gisriel, has recently published an article in Science describing the structure of a reaction center from a heliobacterium that preserves the characteristics of the ancestral one, providing new insight into the evolution of photosynthesis.

August 18, 2017
ASU molecular sciences students excel at TGen symposium

Three undergraduate biochemistry students from Arizona State University's School of Molecular Sciences presented at the Helios Scholars TGen 2017 Intern Symposium on July 28, showcasing their work in biomedical research over the summer.

August 15, 2017
Restoring loss: Bio-inspired materials give boost to regenerative medicine

What if one day, we could teach our bodies to self-heal like a lizard’s tail, and make severe injury or disease no more threatening than a paper cut? Such is the vision, promise and excitement in the burgeoning field of regenerative medicine, now a major ASU initiative to boost 21st-century medical research discoveries.

July 27, 2017
A new picture emerges on the origins of photosynthesis in a sun-loving bacteria

Researchers lead by Raimund Fromme with Kevin Redding of the School of Molecular Sciences and the Biodesign Institute’s Center for Applied Structural Biology, in collaboration with scientists from Penn State University and the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Germany, have determined for the first time the structure of the photosynthetic reaction center in heliobacteria. This is significant since the heliobacteria reaction center preserves structural characteristics of the earliest reaction centers, and therefore provides important information on the evolution of photosynthesis.

July 26, 2017
Living computers: RNA circuits transform cells into nanodevices

In new research, Professor Alex Green uses computer software to design RNA sequences and demonstrates how living cells can be induced to carry out computations like tiny robots or computers. The results of his research have implications for drug design, green energy, diagnostic technologies, and even development of nanomachines.

July 11, 2017
Theory guides designed concerted electron-proton transfer for energy conversion

As part of an international collaboration with researchers from the University of Illinois, Université Paris-Sud and the University of Virginia, Tom Moore, Ana Moore and Devens Gust of the School of Molecular Sciences recently shown how theory can be used to guide the design of a concerted electron–proton transfer process. In a recent paper in ACS Central Science, the group showed how a model system inspired by photosystem II exhibited one-electron oxidation that was coupled to two proton translocations, through a hydrogen-bonded network. The rational design of the coupled system has implications for managing proton activity at catalytic sites for redox-based energy conversion.

July 3, 2017
Why does a Yellowstone microorganism prefer meager rations over rich ones?

Arizona State University geoscientist Everett Shock has collaborated with a team of life scientists to study why a microorganism thriving in a hot spring in Yellowstone National Park draws its energy from low-quality geochemical energy supplies rather than rich ones. Professor Shock suggests that biological cost may be one of the reasons for this phenomenon.

May 19, 2017
Research opens the door to improved drugs for Type II diabetes

In a new study, Wei Liu and his colleagues at Arizona State University’s School of Molecular Sciences and the Biodesign Institute join an international team with scientists from China, the United States, the Netherlands, and Denmark to explore a central component in glucose regulation. Their findings shed new light on a highly promising target for diabetes drug development.

May 16, 2017

ASU molecular sciences graduate students excel

School of Molecular Sciences graduate students are being recognized by ASU’s College of Liberal Arts and the ASU Graduate and Professional Student Association for their achievements. These graduate students are being rewarded for their research in areas of energy storage and cancer biology, as well as for their mentorship, teaching excellence, and other efforts in the community.

May 2, 2017
Biochemistry senior shines with research

The accomplishments of School of Molecular Sciences bichemistry major Capria Rinaldi are highlighted in an article on graduating seniors for spring 2017 commencement. Capria excelled in both coursework and in the research lab. “In the lab, she is talented with her experimental skills, hardworking and always does more than she is asked to. My team and I are so proud of her and know that she will continue to do great things!” said Josh LaBaer, Virginia G. Piper Chair for Personalized Medicine in the School of Molecular Sciences and the executive director of ASU’s Biodesign Institute.

May 2, 2017
SMS Faculty Among Record Setting CAREER Award Winners

School of Molecular Sciences faculty members Steve Presse, Gary Moore and Ryan Trovitch are among the 14 National Science Foundation CAREER award recipients for 2017, a record number for ASU. CAREER awards are the NSF's most prestigious in support of junior faculty who most effectively integrate research and education.

NSF CAREER Award Winners

April 21, 2017
Patrick Almhjell awarded Spring 2017 CLAS Dean's Medal

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has awarded the Dean's Medal for the School of Molecular Sciences to Patrick Almhjell. Patrick's major is Biochemistry and minor in Psychology and Biological Sciences. He has been conducting research in Professor Jeremy Mills’s biochemistry lab and Professor M. Foster Olive’s psychology lab since the fall of 2015, where he investigates amino acids and behavioral neuroscience, respectively.

April 21, 2017
Award ceremony recognizes outstanding students

The School of Molecular Sciences Annual Awards Ceremony recognized the School’s most talented and deserving undergraduate and graduate students with achievement awards and scholarships. The academic achievements of fourteen undergraduate and eight graduate students were celebrated, and eleven students and two faculty members were recognized for accomplishments in teaching.

April 18, 2017
Undergrad William Clark awarded APS Fellowship

Undergraduate biochemistry student William Clark is to be congratulated for just winning an American Physiological Society Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowship. The competition was worldwide and geared to providing research experiences to a wide range of students. Clark will be undertaking his research project in Karen Sweazea’s laboratory in ASU's School of Nutrition and Health Promotion in SOLS.

March 30, 2017
Gerhard Wagner to deliver Spring Eyring Lecture Series at ASU

Gerhard Wagner, Elkan Rogers Blout Professor of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at the Harvard Medical School, is the Spring 2017 Eyring Lecturer at Arizona State University. The Eyring Lecture is a distinguished lecture series dedicated to stimulating discussion by renowned scientists who are at the cutting edge of their respective fields. Eyring lecturers give two presentations: The first is a more general lecture targeted towards a general audience interested in learning about contemporary scientific problems directly from the scientists contributing to the field, the second is a more technical presentation for practicing scientists and current students.

March 30, 2017
ASU appoints Josh LaBaer as new Biodesign Institute executive director

Josh LaBaer, Director of the Biodesign Virginia G. Piper Center for Personalized Diagnostics and professor in the School of Molecular Sciences, has been appointed as the new Executive Director of the Biodesign Institute at ASU. LaBaer is a leading researcher the discovery and validation of biomarkers for disease and is a pioneer in the rapidly emerging field of personalized medicine. LaBaer will lead the Biodesign Institute through a period of dramatic expansion in research capacity.

March 15, 2017
Junior faculty in ASU's School of Molecular Sciences receive recognition

Four Junior faculty members from the School of Molecular Sciences have received national awards that highlight excellence in research and scholarship in the form of two NSF CAREER Awards, an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship and a U.S. Air Forces Young Investigator Research Program award. Awards to junior faculty attract significant attention to the School as it builds a national reputation and recognition in the Molecular Sciences, that in turn enables the School to attract and hire talented young faculty members.

March 15, 2017
Ryan Trovitch receives NSF CAREER Award

Ryan Trovitch, assistant Professor in the School of Molecular Sciences, has received a competitive National Science Foundation CAREER award. CAREER awards identify exemplary teachers and scholars and are the most prestigious of those awarded by the National Science Foundation to junior faculty. Ryan's award is entitled "Development of Manganese Hydrosilylation Catalysts for Silicone Curing". The Trovich group is developing new low cost catalysts for silicone polymers, which represent a $15B/yr worldwide industry.

March 8, 2017
New Chemistry for Carbon Capture - Editor’s Choice

Controlled capture and release of carbon dioxide emitted from power plants represents a possible solution to the problem of accumulation of this greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. However, existing chemical methods for doing this consume large amounts of energy and are not technologically viable. In a recent perspective article in the journal American Chemical Society Energy Letters, Professor Dan Buttry and his group in the School of Molecular Sciences describe new electrochemical methods for controllable capture and release of carbon dioxide that have the potential to reduce these energy costs by a factor of two. This timely article was selected for highlighting as an American Chemical Society "Editors Choice" article.

DOI: 10.1021/acsenergylett.6b0060

February 28, 2017
Alex Green awarded 2017 Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Research Fellowship

Alex Green of the School of Molecular Sciences and the Biodesign Center for Molecular Design and Biomimetics has been awarded a prestigious 2017 Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Research Fellowship. The recipients of Sloan Research Fellowships are early-career scientists and scholars from a broad range of scientific disciplines who are on track to be the next-generation leaders in their fields. Alex has been recognized for his work on computationally designed functional RNAs.

February 14, 2017
Behind the Faucet: What impacts your drinking water quality?

Pierre Herckes recently gave a Dean of Science public lecture entitled "Behind the Faucet: What Impacts Your Drinking Water Quality". Pierre described contemporary issues related to water quality, using the recent problems in Flint, Michigan as an example. A panel of local experts on water from ASU, the Salt River Project and the City of Phoenix Water Services answered questions from the public.

February 2, 2017
Alumnus Jeremy Babendure takes "Chief Science Officers" to the White House

Jeremy Babendure, adjunct professor in the School of Molecular Sciences, and also one of our many successful alumni, recently took a group of middle and high school students from Arizona to the west board room of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, just steps from the White House.