Humans have long affected the landscapes in which they live, sometimes with disastrous consequences. ASU researchers are currently studying past and present impacts of humanity to develop sustainable strategies for the future. While some multidisciplinary teams are examining past societies to understand key lessons about the nature and possible outcomes of interactions among human and natural systems, others teams are pioneering the new field of urban ecology to understand modern human effects on biodiversity and habitat.
The primary aim of the Center for Bioelectronics and Biosensors is to create powerful, sensitive, and selective sensors - ranging from embedded systems to handheld devices - that can detect the presence of specific chemicals in the environment, or biomarkers in the body. The Center's research can be divided up into several key themes. Some of the technologies are focused on the detection of harmful chemicals that are a threat to the environment and human health. Others look inside the body for markers or presence of disease. Still others focus on the detection of human-made threats.
The Biodesign Center for Immunotherapy, Vaccines and Virotherapy (B-CIVV) is focused on exploiting cutting edge advances in microbiology and immunology, as well as the design and use of novel therapeutics based on vaccinology, virotherapy and immunotherapy to combat infectious diseases and cancer. These include development of biological therapeutics that enhance immune responses to pathogens and tumors. The Center is devising new and effective ways of producing advanced vaccines, virotherapies and immunotherapeutics for this purpose.
The Biodesign Institute plays a critical role in advancing the research mission of Arizona State University, a comprehensive metropolitan university that is the second largest in the U.S. The Biodesign Institute embodies the guiding principles of the New American University, as defined by Arizona State University President Michael Crow, specifically, to conduct use-inspired research, fuse intellectual disciplines and value entrepreneurship.
The Biodesign Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology manages microbial communities that provide services to society. Most of the services make our society more environmentally sustainable: e.g., generating renewable energy, and making polluted water and soil clean. The microbial services also make humans healthier – directly and indirectly.
The center carries out frontier multidisciplinary scientific research designed to use biological and biologically-based artificial systems to address societal energy needs in a sustainable manner, with an emphasis on solar energy conversion and bioinspired energy transformation to meet human needs, and investigates other aspects of photosynthesis that affect society and the environment.
Through interdisciplinary projects integrating natural sciences, social science, and engineering, the Central Arizona–Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research project examines the effects of urbanization on a desert ecosystem and vice versa.
The "Urban Air" project studies the exchange of chemical elements between land and atmosphere in urban systems.
This survey studies the relationships between people and the natural environment in the Phoenix metro area.
The Simon A. Levin Mathematical, Computational and Modeling Sciences Center vision includes: bridging the gap between the biological, environmental, and social sciences and the mathematical sciences; promotion and support of cross-disciplinary and trans-disciplinary research that relies on state of the art computational, modeling and quantitative approaches; and the training of a new generation of computational mathematical, and theoretical scientists whose research is driven by the application of computational, mathematical, modeling and simulation approaches to the solution of problems that will improve the human condition.
Founded in 2015, the Spirituality and Sustainability Initiative (SSI) integrates perspectives on sustainability and innovation with an awareness of the sources, dynamics, significance, and meaning of values and ethical convictions for driving aspiration and action, and as factors in personal and collective resilience. In other words, the kinds of questions and commitments associated with spirituality not only fit with but are intrinsic to a comprehensive and holistic approach to sustainability. SSI is a secular, non-sectarian effort, defining spirituality broadly to include humanistic values and informal modes of spirituality as well as established religious traditions.