• Research that Matters

    Research that Matters

    Molecular solutions to real-life challenges

Molecular Solutions to Real-Life Challenges

  • Cancer-fighting nanorobots seek and destroy tumors

  • Scientists reveal low-cost test for Zika

  • Why does a Yellowstone microorganism prefer meager rations over rich ones?

  • Using DNA templates to harness the sun’s energy

  • Photosynthesis seen in a new light by rapid X-ray pulses


Materials and Nanoscience

ASU students and faculty are building designer electronic materials with atomic level precision, are constructing molecular level logic devices, and complex nanostructures based on molecular origami, that self-assemble with atomic level control of function, and novel materials for energy conversion and storage.  We are leaders in research on molecular processes in solid and disordered states and in connecting geological materials to molecular processes.

Chemistry of Biology

Structural biology is being revolutionized at ASU using femtosecond nanocrystallography.  Our faculty and students are defining the roles of enzymes and protein complexes with biomolecules that regulate transcription, translation, post-translational modification and energy and proton flow in DNA, in membranes and within cells. We also study the molecular basis of biology in geology and even astronomy.

Medicine and Health

ASU is at the forefront in describing the molecular basis of disease and critical protein/drug interactions with atomic-scale resolution. We are developing sensors for the early detection of disease, using biophysics and novel analytics for disease diagnosis at the atom, molecule and cell level, designing new drugs that target specific metabolic pathways, and are building high-throughput diagnostic arrays for personalized medicine.

Energy and Sustainability

ASU researchers are world leaders in photosynthesis research and in the development of molecular solutions for energy capture, storage and conversion. We build bio-inspired systems that use light to synthesize ATP and split water, and study catalysts that generate clean fuels.  We develop novel materials for battery, fuel cell and energy production technologies, and even study energy flow in geologic and biologic systems that do not rely on photosynthesis. 

Environmental and Biogeochemistry

We study environmental molecular processes to protect the earths' most valuable resources, air and water.  ASU has a strong history in connecting chemistry, biochemistry and geology.  We define the materials chemistry of the geosphere, and explore new ways of performing chemical reactions inspired by geomimicry, and how chemistry, biology and geology sustain life on earth, and possibly beyond.


Fundamental Molecular Science

ASU faculty and students are advancing the theory and practice of fundamental molecular science, using state-of-the-art spectroscopy, single-molecule techniques and computational methods.  The molecular properties of condensed matter and the fundamental principles of chemical reactivity are being defined experimentally and computationally.


James Allen

Protein structure and function, X-Ray crystallography, photosynthesis, bacterial cofactors

Ariel Anbar
President's Professor

Earth Surface Chemistry, Mass Spectrometry, Isotopic Composition Studies, Biogeochemistry

Charles Angell
Regents Professor

Liquid structure, transport properties, supercooled liquids, glass transitions, electrolytes and polymers for battery applications

Christina Birkel

Inorganic solid-state chemistry, materials chemistry, non-conventional synthesis methods, microwave chemistry, inorganic solids, structure of solids, X-ray diffraction, two-dimensional materials, hybrid materials, surface chemistry, magnetism, catalysis

Chad Borges
Associate Professor

Analytical biochemistry, mass spectrometry, protein posttranslational modifications, disease markers

Peter Buseck
Regents Professor

Atmospheric Chemistry, Aerosols, Meteorites, Solid-State geochemistry, Cosmochemistry, Electron Microscopy

Daniel Buttry

Battery and fuel cell materials, Electrochemistry, Corrosion, Interfacial chemistry

Julian Chen

Structure, function and evolution of ribonucleoprotein complexes, RNA-protein interactions, telomerase biogenesis and mechanism

Po-Lin Chiu
Assistant Professor

electron microscopy, cryo-EM, electron crystallography, membrane protein, structural biology, signal processing, image processing

Andrew Chizmeshya
Associate Professor

Computational Solid State Chemistry, Semiconductor Simulation, Vibrational and Optical Properties of Solids, Physisorption, Carbon Sequestration

Petra Fromme
Regents Professor, Paul V. Galvin Professor

Structural biochemistry and biophysics, membrane proteins, X-Ray crystallography, photosynthesis, molecular biology

Giovanna Ghirlanda

De-novo protein design and engineering, enzyme mechanisms, protein structure

Ian Gould
President's Professor and Interim Director

Photochemistry, mechanistic organic chemistry, organic geochemistry

Alexander Green
Assistant Professor

Alexander Green Assistant Professor Synthetic biology, Nanomaterials, Molecular computation, RNA regulation, Nucleic acid directed self-assembly, Biosensing, Nanoelectronics

Jia Guo
Assistant Professor

Novel fluorescent probes, single cell genomics and proteomics, cancer biology, neuroscience

Hilairy Hartnett
Associate Professor

Aqueous Geochemistry, Biogeochemistry, Oceanography, Carbon Cycle Research, Environmental Chemistry

Mark Hayes

Microfluidics, bioassays, microchip devices, Noninvasive sampling, materials and surface chemistry

Sidney Hecht

Improved diagnoses and treatments for diseases caused by impaired energy metabolism

Pierre Herckes

Environmental Chemistry, Atmospheric Chemistry, Aerosol and Cloud Chemistry, Environmental Pollution, Analytical Chemistry

Matthias Heyden

Molecular modeling, biomolecular interactions and solvation, intermolecular vibrations, molecular crowding, complex formation and self-assembly

Anne Jones
Associate Professor

Bioinorganic chemistry, electrochemistry, hydrogenases, de novo protein design and engineering, redox enzyme mechanisms, alternative energy generation

John Kouvetakis

Solid-state inorganic chemistry, thin film heterostructures, nanoscale devices, microelectronics

Joshua LaBaer
Professor, and Executive Director, Biodesign Institute

Proteomics, biomarkers, cancer, diagnostics, protein arrays

Marcia Levitus
Associate Professor

Biophysical chemistry, photophysics, single-molecule fluorescence, DNA-protein dynamics

Stuart Lindsay
Regents Professor

Scanning probe microscopy, molecular electronics, molecular biophysics, nano-scale self-assembly

Yan Liu

Nanoparticles synthesis and functionalization DNA directed self-assembly Multi-component complex structure

Wei Liu
Assistant Professor

Biophysics, Drug Design, X-Ray Crystallography, G Protein–Coupled Receptors (GPCRs), Membrane Proteins, Lipidic Cubic Phase (LCP), Protein-Protein Interactions/Complexes, Protein Functions

Dmitry Matyushov

Theoretical chemistry, condensed media, optical spectroscopy, electron transfer, proteins, phase and glass transition

Jeremy Mills
Assistant Professor

Protein Engineering, Computational Protein Design, Unnatural Amino Acids, Directed Evolution

Ana Moore
Regents Professor

Synthetic organic chemistry, carotenoids, photosynthesis, photochemistry

Thomas Moore
Regents Professor

Photosynthesis, protonmotive force, proton and electron transfer, photochemistry, photobiology, bioenergy, biocatalysis, sustainable energy, dye sensitized semiconductors

Gary Moore
Assistant Professor

Organic chemistry, materials chemistry, solar energy transduction, photocatalysis, molecular electronics, chemical sensing, proton coupled electron transfer

Vladimiro Mujica

Theoretical chemistry, nanoscience, electron transfer, molecular conductance, nanomagnetism, chirality

Alexandra Navrotsky

Materials of the universe, thermochemistry, ceramics, geochemistry, mineralogy

George Pettit
Regents Professor

Medicinal Chemistry, chemistry of natural products, discovery of new anti-cancer and anti-infective drugs for human cancer treatment

Steve Presse
Associate Professor

Bacterial dynamics Single molecule Spectroscopy and Imaging analysis Stochastic processes Bayesian inference

Kevin Redding

Photosynthetic electron transfer, protein-cofactor interactions, membrane protein degradation, re-engineering photosynthesis for energy and bioremediation

Ranko Richert

Dynamics of Liquids, Glass Transition, Dynamic Heterogeneity, Confinement Effects

Alexandra Ros
Associate Professor

Micro and nanofluidics Bioanalytics, Single cell analysis, Biomolecule migration mechanisms

Scott Sayres

Ultrafast Lasers, Electron Dynamics, XUV Spectroscopy, Molecular Clusters

Don Seo

Inorganic solids, sustainable materials chemistry, porous materials, hierarchical nanostructures, hybrid materials, exploration of new synthetic methods, energy production, water purification, environmental remediations

Everett Shock

Biogeochemistry, Thermodynamic Modeling, Microbial Processes, Analytical Methods

Abhishek Singharoy
Abhishek Singharoy

Molecular dynamics simulations, Cryo-electron microscopy, X-ray crystallography, hybrid modeling

Timothy Steimle

Ultra-high resolution spectroscopy, molecular beams, transition metal complexes, laser spectroscopy, computational chemistry

Nicholas Stephanopoulos
Assistant Professor

Protein- and peptide-DNA nanotechnology, organic bioconjugation chemistry, self-assembly, nano-machines and devices, materials for biology and medicine

Petr Sulc

Coarse-grained modeling of DNA and RNA with applications to DNA/RNA nanotechnology, RNA folding, Molecular simulations to study properties of DNA and RNA in vivo and in vitro, Applications of statistical physics modeling to complex systems

Ryan Trovitch
Associate Professor

Organometallic and Inorganic Chemistry, Homogeneous Catalysis, Small Molecule Activation, Green Chemistry, Reaction Mechanisms, Organic Synthesis

Wade Van Horn
Associate Professor

Membrane proteins, Solution NMR, Structural biology, Biophysical Chemistry, Enzymology, Electrophysiology, Computational structural biology, Ion channels, Membrane enzymes

Rebekka Wachter

Protein post-translational modifications, Macromolecular X-ray crystallography, Protein-based chromophores, Enzyme mechanisms

Xu Wang
Associate Professor

Biochemistry, NMR, protein, carbohydrate, glycan, glycosaminoglycan, protein structure, protein-carbohydrate interactions

Peter Williams

Mass spectrometry, MALDI, DNA, sequencing, DNA Arrays

George Wolf
Associate Professor

High pressure chemistry, phase transitions, spectroscopy, materials chemistry

Hao Yan
Milton D. Glick Distinguished Professor

Design and assembly of biologically inspired nanomaterials, DNA nanostructures, nanoelectronics, biomolecular imaging

Jeffery Yarger

Solid-state NMR and MRI, soft matter research, disordered materials, biopolymers, battery and fuel cell materials, polyamorphism, nano-materials, high-pressure chemistry, quantum computation, laser scattering spectroscopy, neutron, electron and xray diffraction of amorphous materials