Return on Investment
- The Biodesign Institute has met or exceeded all of its business goals and provided a significant return on TRIF investment. Biodesign has attracted more than $300 million in external funding since inception, including competitive grant awards and support from philanthropic sources. The Institute won the State’s 2009 Excellence in Economic Development Award in the category of Innovative Economic Development. With high-impact scientific findings documented in top-tier, peer-reviewed journals, the research community at Biodesign is both dynamic and innovative.
- Since inception, Biodesign has recruited more than sixty tenured and research faculty, among them one Nobel Laureate and four National Academy members. In FY12, 4 new faculty were recruited to expand Biodesign’s research efforts, including: Karen Anderson, Marco Mangone, Reed Cartright, and Joseph Blattman.
- The Biodesign Institute researchers generated significant proposal activity, with nearly $187 million in proposals advanced in FY2012. FY2012 saw $58 million in award funding generated from Biodesign researchers, a slight downturn in federal and non-federal awards, due to factors such as the expiration of stimulus funding and uncertainty in funding streams driven by a challenging economic environment.
Major FY12 Research Awards ($3 million or above)
- Dr. Stephen Albert Johnston, co-director of the Center for Innovations in Medicine, co-principal investigators Dr. George Poste (CASI) and Dr. Neal Woodbury, co-director of the Center for Innovations in Medicine, will direct a $9 million effort (up to four-year $30 million contract) from the Department of Defense to develop a silicon-chip based technology capable of detecting a broad range of infectious organisms based on their triggering the body to produce highly immunosignatures.
- Dr. Josh LaBaer awarded an NIH $6.5 million grant to expand the genetic archive, known as DNASU or the Protein Structure Initiative-Materials Repository
- Dr. Roy Curtiss, Dr. Kenneth Roland, Dr. Wei Kong, & Dr. Praveen Alamuri awarded $5.4 million NIH grant to develop Salmonella-vectored vaccines to prevent gastroenteritis, enteric fever, typhoid fever, plague, dysentery and influenza and perform preclinical evaluations to support conduct of Phase I clinical trials
- Dr. Lee Cheatham, Dr. Josh LaBaer & Ms. Kris Gillis contracted $5 million for the second year of a potential five-year $40 million award from the BARDA for the next phase of developing technologies to rapidly measure an individual exposure level to radiation
- Dr. Randy Nelson & Dr. Chad Borges awarded $4.64 million by the NIH’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases to translate novel biomarkers for diabetes into drug development. Collaborators: Phoenix Veterans Administration Health Care System, University of Ariz., Pfizer.
- Dr. Stuart Lindsay awarded a $4.1 million grant from the NIH to further develop recognition tunneling technology designed to rapidly sequence a person’s complete genome
- Dr. John Chaput & Dr. Joshua LaBaer awarded a three-year, $4 million grant from the NIH to develop a pipeline for generating a revolutionary class of reagents
- Dr. Stephen A. Johnston awarded $3.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency to develop and test new chip platforms to monitor health and infection sources
- Dr. Lee Hartwell & Dr. Michael Birt awarded a three-year, $3 million grant from the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust to expand Biodesign’s Center for Sustainable Health
- Dr. Bruce Rittmann received support from the Brian Swette family to create the Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology, to pursue groundbreaking research in renewable energy, student training, and workforce development
Select FY12 Research Highlights
- Dr. Xinyao Liu, Sarah Fallon, Dr. Roy Curtiss, Center for Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology, Jie Sheng, Environmental Biotechnology- Developed photosynthetic bacteria that secrete fatty acids and enable green recovery of biofuels by carbon dioxide limitation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
- Dr. Fengyu Su, Ruhaniyah Alam, Dr. Qian Mei, Dr. Yanqing Tian, Dr. Deirdre Meldrum, director, Center for Biosignatures Discovery Automation- Developed a method of introducing stable and sensitive molecules that fluoresce when exposed to light that is useful for the study of living cells. PLoS ONE
- Dr. Hao Yan, Center for Single Molecule Biophysics- Expanded the capability of DNA origami to construct 3-D spherical shapes. This may lead to advances in medical monitoring, drug delivery, and tiny electronics. The article made the cover of Science.
- Dr. Ismael Diez Perez, Dr. Joshua Hihath, Thomas Hines, Dr. NJ Tao, Center for Bioelectronics and Biosensors- Demonstrated a clever way to control electrical conductance of a single molecule by exploiting the molecule’s mechanical properties. Nature Nanotechnology
- Jacquelyn Kilbourne, Dr. Charles Arntzen, Dr. Shawn Chen, Dr. Hugh Mason, Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology Demonstrated a plant-derived vaccine for Ebola provides strong immunological protection in a mouse model. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
- Dr. Wei Wang, Dr. Kyle Foley, Xiaonan Shan, Dr. Shaopeng Wang, Seron Eaton, Dr. Vinay Nagaraj, Dr. Peter Wiktor, Dr. NJ Tao, director Bioelectronics and Biosensors Pioneered a new technique to peer into single cells and intracellular processes with unprecedented clarity. Nature Chemistry
- Dr. Stephen Albert Johnston, Center Innovation in Medicine—Led a $4 million DARPA project to complete a live-fire exercise to make a new antibiotic for an unknown pathogen in less than 14 days.
- Dr. Cheryl Nickerson Lab- Center for Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology- Launched a study aboard the final space shuttle Atlantis launch to enhance the efficacy of a recombinant attenuated Salmonella vaccine. This study is being done in collaboration with Dr. Roy Curtiss, Director, Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology
- Dr. Joshua LaBaer, director, Virginia G. Piper Center for Personalized Diagnostics A special feature in the May 11, 2012 issue of the journal Science highlights protein array technology.
- Dr. Stuart Lindsay, director of the Biodesign Institute’s Center for Single Molecule Biophysics Featured in NEWSFOCUS section of the journal Science describes recent advances in DNA sequencing technology. Lindsay’s latest experimental results, which demonstrate critical improvements in DNA reads, appeared in the journal Nanotechnology
- Dr. John Chaput Lead a group that demonstrated for the first time that six of unnatural nucleic acid polymers are capable of sharing information with DNA. One of these XNAs, a molecule referred to as anhydrohexitol nucleic acid or HNA was capable of undergoing directed evolution and folding into biologically useful forms. Science
- Dr. Joseph Blattman, Center for Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology- Examined how CD8 T cells—critical weapons in the body’s defensive arsenal—are regulated when they transition from this tolerant state to an activated state and back. Science
- Dr. Melha Mellata, Center for Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology, Led a team of researchers investigating disease-causing E. coli strains known as APEC (for Avian Pathogenic E. coli). The group uncovered some of the tricks used by these highly adaptive organisms to survive, even in the face of daunting environmental challenges. PLoS ONE
- Dr. Deirdre Meldrum, ASU Senior Scientist and Director, Center for Biosignatures Discovery Automation- Examined normal, benign and malignant cells, using the first and only research Cell-CT (VisionGate, Inc., Phoenix, AZ)—a specialized instrument capable of imaging cells in vivid 3-D with true isotropic resolution. PLoS ONE
Accolades and honors
- Dr. Cheryl Nickerson (IDV) Received NASA’s prestigious Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal for outstanding scientific contributions in support of the manned spaceflight program.
- Dr. Joshua LaBaer, director, VPCPD, has been elected as president-elect of the U.S. Human Proteome Organization. A founding member, LaBaer will become the sixth president of U.S. HUPO, serving from 2014-2016.
- Dr. Sudhir Kumar, Director, Center for Evolutionary Medicine and Informatics-- Elected as president of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution for 2012-2014 at the 2011 annual meeting in Kyoto, Japan.
- Dr. Sidney Hecht, Director, Center for BioEnergetics-- Earned a 2011 faculty achievement award for his innovation and leadership in drug design and development towards a cure for mitochondrial diseases
- Dr. Bruce Rittmann, Director, Environmental Biotechnology, Named a Fellow of the International Water Association and earned an Environmental Engineering Excellence Award from the American Association of Environmental Engineers
- Dr. NJ Tao, Director, Bioelectronics and Biosensors, Elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for contributions to the areas of science and engineering
- Dr. Joshua LaBaer Director, Virginia G. Piper Center for Personalized Diagnostics- Selected as a finalist for the Phoenix Business Journal’s Health Care Hero Award for discoveries in breast cancer detection and treatment
- Dr. Laura Gonzalez, Center for Personalized Diagnostics, Dr. Rosy Krajmalnik-Brown, Center for Environmental Biotechnology- Selected for Phoenix Business Journal’s “Forty Under 40” list that honors young leaders in the metropolitan area
- Biodesign continues to be an ASU focal point for translational research. Biodesign researchers, working in conjunction with the spinout arm of ASU, Arizona Technology Enterprises (AzTE) continued with a high-level of technology transfer activity including disclosures and patent applications. The Biodesign’s Commercial Translation projects enhance the intellectual property and innovation pipeline by providing a risk-reduction strategy to start-up/spinout efforts of the Institute.
- Dr. Randall Nelson, Director, Molecular Biomarkers, Sold the company he founded in 1996, Intrinsic Bioprobes Inc., to Thermo Fisher Scientific, the world’s largest supplier of scientific instrumentation. IBI was an ASU spinout company.
- Dr. Stuart Lindsay, Director, Single Molecule Biophysics, Licensed technologies to Roche that will be part of a single-molecule, nanopore DNA sequencer to rapidly decode an individual’s complete genome for less than $1,000
- Dr. Nonjian (NJ) Tao, Xiaojun Xian (BB) European pharmaceutical company Z-cube licensed ASU technology with the aim of developing a better monitor for chronic respiratory diseases.
- Mark Sholin (PhD student), ARBSource, With Biodesign faculty advisors Dr. César Torres, Dr. Bruce Rittmann, Dr. Sudeep Popat, Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology, a student start-up venture for wastewater treatment, ARBSource, placed second at the Idea2Product Global Competition in Stockholm, Sweden in November, 2011.
The Biodesign Commercial Translation project is currently fostering two in-house spinouts:
- Dr. Cheryl Nickerson --3D Cell Technologies
- Dr. Rolf Halden—In Situ Well (ISW)
- An important component for growth of the Biodesign Institute and capacity building project initiatives are collaborations, partnerships, and strategic alliances with some of the world’s leading institutions. Increasing involvement with non-ASU researchers such as the Mayo Clinic, TGen, Barrow Neurological Institute, and others provides additional opportunities to expand and enhance ASU research.
- Dr. Michael Birt, Dr. Lee Hartwell, Center for Sustainable Health, Established the first Biosignatures Center in its Global Biosignatures Network between ASU and Taiwan’s Chang Gung University to improve patient outcomes and reduce costs. The Center has launched a second Biosignatures Center with Sun Yat-sen University that will focus on colorectal cancer.
- Discussions with other ASU Institutes on joint research opportunities such as the Security and Defense Systems Initiative (SDSI) and Flexible Display Center(FDC)
Outreach & Workforce Development
The Biodesign Institute is a beacon for high school, undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral education and bioscience training, providing workforce development in high-paying jobs for the state. Despite economic uncertainty, Biodesign provided a training pipeline for postdocs and graduate students to enter the workforce in FY12. The Institute also provides undergraduate research opportunities and public outreach.
- ASU Night of the Open Door. Science came to life for more than 1,000 visitors when the Biodesign Institute engaged in ASU’s inaugural Night of the Open Door event in March. The community outreach event was part of the month-long Arizona SciTech Festival.
ASU’s research enterprise, students and the community have greatly benefited from TRIF support. The funds have been instrumental in not only funding research activities but also serving as motivation for ASU to think strategically about the direction of the research enterprise and where ASU is best suited to create, influence and respond to opportunities that impact the lives of individuals locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.