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Our scholars are driving positive change through transformative innovations
The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is part of a top-ranked university that’s No. 1 in the country for innovation. Our distinguished faculty and bright scholars are making an impact through innovative research and groundbreaking discovery. We’ve sent a spacecraft to the Red Planet, uncovered a new weapon to fight antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and conserved the Ngogo community of chimpanzees in Uganda. And that’s only the beginning.
We’re home to three Nobel laureates in chemistry, physiology and physics; 1,200 faculty members who are the brightest intellectuals in their fields; and more than 25,500 scholars who are eager to solve imminent problems facing our world. Our scholars have access to 40 research facilities where they can work alongside members of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences on projects supported by NASA and the National Science Foundation.
According to ASU researcher Athena Aktipis in the Biodesign Institute, microbes in the human gut engage in cooperative and combative behavior based on certain dietary choices. Aktipis and colleagues Helen Wasielewski in the Department of Psychology and Joe Alcock from the University of New Mexico have conducted new research that explores how different foods play a role in maintaining health or promoting disease by fueling cooperation or conflict in the gut microbes.
Jim Bell, a professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration at ASU, helped NASA plan the Hubble Heritage observing program – which was instrumental for the Hubble Space Telescope in capturing a unique image of the Red Planet. Unlike images from NASA’s spacecraft that are orbiting Mars, the Hubble image offers an “all-day” view with morning, noon and afternoon all in a single shot, says Bell. The image will help us understand more about this dynamic planet.
ASU anthropological geneticist Anne Stone has been elected by her peers to the National Academy of Sciences, a very prestigious organization of scholars. Stone, a professor in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change, explores a variety of subjects from human health to human identity. In the Laboratory of Molecular Anthropology, Stone has been working on multiple research initiatives, including the Caribbean and chimpanzee population history.
ASU researcher Roberto Gaxiola has discovered how to modify crops, affecting their ability to use less water and fertilizer but grow more food – an essential development as food becomes a critical concern for our growing population. Gaxiola, an associate professor in the School of Life Sciences, has also found a way to enhance a plant’s ability to handle various outside stresses, including drought and climate change, which may be instrumental in helping feed the world.
Four graduate students in the School of Earth and Space Exploration have won prestigious NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowships for 2016. Assistant professor Manoochehr Shirzaei says being selected for these awards is a mark of distinction and many of the recipients have gone on to become leaders in their scientific communities. Emilie Dunham, Sam Gordon, Chuhong Mai and Megan Miller will use the fellowships to continue working on innovative projects.
Brian Conrey, director of the American Institute of Mathematics, and John Jones, a professor in the School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences, are part of an international group of mathematicians who have released an online resource that functions like an atlas for mathematical objects and the connections between them. The catalog is known as the “L-functions and Modular Forms Database,” which will map the mathematics of the 21st century.
ASU’s Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes has partnered with NASA to include the public on discussions, such as how humans can protect the Earth from a significant asteroid impact or how studying an asteroid could assist with sending humans farther in space. Soliciting the public’s opinion will increase engagement on NASA missions and input from citizens will be extremely helpful for robust decision making when planning future missions.
The National Science Foundation has awarded a three-year grant to establish a Research Experiences for Undergraduates site to encourage research on solar power. The Solar Energy Research for the Terawatt Challenge will host eight students a session, exposing them to research opportunities which they might not otherwise have access. The site will be based in the facilities of the Quantum Energy and Sustainable Solar Technologies Engineering Research Center.
The Pathologist, a prominent health care magazine, has named ASU’s School of Life Sciences professor Carolyn Compton to its 2015 Pathology Power List of the 100 most influential pathologists. Compton was recognized for her hundreds of publications on the emerging field of biospecimen science and improving the diagnostic process of medicine. In addition, Compton is leading an initiative to develop and implement national standards for biobanking.
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