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Research Highlights

High Visibility Publications

ASU has a strong track record of accomplishment in objective measures of research productivity in the molecular sciences.  ASU ranked highly in a study published in Thompson Reuters' Science Watch, which measured the world-wide impact of publications in chemistry in terms of the number of citations that papers received.  "All of each institution's papers (in the highly aggregated field designated "chemistry" by our Essential Science Indicators database) were considered," said Christopher King, editor of Science Watch. "For 2001 to 2011, we showed ASU with 1,305 such papers, cited a total of 41,517 times." With an average citation per paper (or impact factor) of 31.81, ASU is only outranked by Scripps Research Institute, Harvard, Rice, Caltech and Northwestern, and ranks ahead of MIT, the University of California, Berkeley and Stanford.




Scientists reveal low-cost test for Zika

Alex Green’s lab develops molecular tools to detect disease based on functional RNA. Together with collaborators from Harvard and the University of Toronto, Green’s group has developed an efficient and inexpensive sensor for the Zika virus. Small quantities of Zika RNA in the blood of infected individuals act as the RNA trigger to open a switch that initiates translation of a reporter protein, and ultimately, a color change in a simple paper test kit.

Scientists reveal low-cost test for Zika




ASU researchers explore longer life cycle for batteries

Lithium-ion batteries are common in consumer electronics. They are one of the most popular types of rechargeable batteries for portable electronics, with a high energy density, no memory effect and only a slow loss of charge when not in use. Beyond consumer electronics, lithium-ion batteries have also grown in popularity for military, electric vehicle and aerospace applications.




Scientists determine structure of important drug target using groundbreaking approach

Researchers at Arizona State University's Biodesign Institute Center for Applied Structural Discovery (CASD) collaborated with an international team of researchers from 19 institutions working to develop a roadmap for more selectively targeting pathways for drug treatment. The innovative approach may lead to more effective therapies with fewer side effects, particularly for diseases such as cancer, heart disease and neurodegenerative disorders.

The study, "Crystal Structure of Rhodopsin Bound to Arrestin Determined by Femtosecond X-ray Laser," was published online in the journal Nature.

The new research focuses on a signaling protein called arrestin, which plays a vital role in cellular communication, and a G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) called rhodopsin, which is instrumental in our sense of sight.



Rare form: novel structures built from DNA emerge

Hao Yan, a researcher at Arizona State University's Biodesign Institute, has worked for many years to refine the technique. His aim is to compose new sets of design rules, vastly expanding the range of nanoscale architectures generated by the method. In new research, a variety of innovative nanoforms are described, each displaying unprecedented design control.



Chen lab discovers a new processing pathway for non-coding RNA

Recently the Chen group discovered a novel mechanism that processes the telomerase RNA precursor into its mature form. This mechanism is highly conserved in filamentous fungi and distinct from the mechanism employed in vertebrates and other eukaryotes. The fungal telomerase RNA precursor initially contains an intron and a poly(A) tail. By hijacking the machinery used to remove mRNA introns and blocking the joining of the two RNA fragments by simply changing the first residue of the intron from G to A, fungal telomerase RNA is cleaved to make the mature RNA. This unique half-splicing reaction thus generates two fragments of RNA, the mature telomerase RNA, used by the telomerase enzyme, and a second fragment that is degraded. As Chen says, "It's amazing how nature continues to surprise us by grabbing bits and pieces from other systems to make a new method for RNA processing." Splicing has been studied for decades and this is the first time that this type of reaction has been found in nature and requires only a single-residue alteration in the 5' splice site of the intron.e of reaction has been found in nature and requires only a single-residue alteration in the 5' splice site of the intron.




Artificial leaf jumps developmental hurdle

In a recent early online edition of Nature Chemistry, ASU scientists, along with colleagues at Argonne National Laboratory, have reported advances toward perfecting a functional artificial leaf.