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ASU at Mesa City Center breaks ground

January 10, 2020

State-of-the-art project to offer programs from Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, feature spaces for entrepreneurship and community collaboration

Arizona State University broke ground Friday on ASU at Mesa City Center, a state-of-the-art project that will jump-start the revitalization of downtown Mesa and train students in one of the biggest industries in the United States: media production.

The three-story academic building, which is scheduled to open in spring 2022, will offer programs in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts in digital and sensory technology, experiential design, gaming, media arts, film production, and entrepreneurial development and support.

“We’ve been waiting for our future for a very long time,” said Jen Duff, a Mesa City Council member who grew up in Mesa and now represents the downtown area. She spoke at a groundbreaking ceremony held Friday at the site, at the northwest corner of Pepper Place and Centennial Way.

“Our glory days of downtown Mesa are returning but in a new way that will redefine our city in the next hundred years,” she said.

The project is a unique partnership between ASU and the city of Mesa. Of the $73.5 million budget, $63.5 million will come from the city and $10 million from ASU, which also will contribute a minimum of $10 million toward the interior construction. ASU also will pay all operations and maintenance costs, estimated at $1.3 million annually.

ASU at Mesa City Center, which will host about 800 students, will include a large exhibition gallery, screening theaters, production studios, a fabrication lab and a cafe that will be open to the public. The upper floors will include classrooms and spaces for collaborations with community and industry.

ASU President Michael Crow said the project is a symbol of ASU’s commitment to improving the communities it serves.

“Long ago we decided to not build a university that was a place that people went to that had brick walls covered in ivy and that you had to be a super genius or super rich to somehow get into,” he said.

“And so we pledged to build what we call one university in many places. A university that is connected, engaged and working with leaders around Arizona and in the Valley in a way in which we could build a responsive and adaptive university.

“Mesa wants to build a new future on a tremendously successful past, and it wants to move forward into the new economy and participate in richer and deeper ways.”

Crow said the project might not seem logical at first.

“Why would a city be investing with a university partner to create a facility equal to the fabulous digital-creativity facilities in Singapore or London or Brooklyn or Hong Kong?” he asked.

“They do it because it’s like an airport or a canal. It’s a public investment in infrastructure that allows us to then start the process of building a new and expanded economy.”

Crow called ASU at Mesa City Center an “act of wisdom” as well as faith in ASU’s commitment.

“This project, and our project on the Polytechnic campus, is us in our permanent relationship with Mesa,” he said.

The building will be one of the finest media-production facilities in the world, said Steven Tepper, dean of the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.

“There will be students making films, making video games, producing television and all kinds of immersive-media experiences,” he said.

But the goal is to include the Mesa community in the programming.

“We want this facility to be more than a black box where people come to make cool things in windowless rooms,” he said. “Instead, this will be an inviting place for the public to come to be inspired, entertained and informed.”

The 3,000-square-foot enhanced immersion studio will allow users to create augmented realities and map virtual spaces onto physical environments. That could benefit hospitals, schools, defense contractors and other industry partners, Tepper said.

“We can create environments,” he said. “In this facility, you can explore worlds deep beneath the sea. You can explore caves in South Africa. You can walk through a refugee camp with the perspective of a 10-year-old Syrian girl. You can stand on a stage with the conductor in a Vienna concert hall.”

In addition, Tepper said the facility taps into one the most lucrative sectors in the economy: the $50 billion film industry, whose workforce grew by 25 percent in the past five years.

“The U.S. exports more media and entertainment than automobiles and pharmaceuticals,” he said, adding that the Mesa center will have direct access to the entertainment industry through ASU’s new facility in Los Angeles.

“This center will help train a next-generation creative workforce for our state, helping to keep jobs and our kids at home, where they can create and innovate a new future for all of us.”

The project also will accelerate ASU’s entrepreneurship activities in Mesa, according to Ji Mi Choi, associate vice president of entrepreneurship and innovation at ASU.

“One of the things we’re hoping to see come out of this project are the startup companies and the spinouts that emanate from the work that will be done here,” she said.

Mesa Mayor John Giles said the partnership with ASU is the driving force behind the city’s goal of increasing college degree attainment and of upgrading the area.

“We have invested in our downtown for many years, from streetscapes to arts centers to light rails to new building facades, and those have created the borders of a very beautiful puzzle,” he said.

Along with the ASU building, Mesa City Center will include a gathering space called The Plaza at Mesa City Center and an adaptive reuse of Mesa’s first library into The Studios at Mesa City Center.

Giles expects the media-production technologies at ASU at Mesa City Center to attract entrepreneurs and developers to the downtown.

“ASU will be training the workforce of the future right here in Mesa, and the business world has its eyes on us,” he said.

Top photo: Shovels are lined up for the groundbreaking of the new ASU at Mesa City Center in downtown Mesa on Friday. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

Mary Beth Faller

Reporter , ASU Now


Past Presidents Luncheon brings former ASU Senate presidents together

January 10, 2020

The end of the year is often a time for reminiscing, and on Dec. 17, 11 former presidents of Arizona State University's Senate got the chance to reminisce together.

Invited by the current president, Shirley Rose, the former presidents gathered for lunch and conversation in the Graham Room at the Memorial Union. Only a few of those present were still active members of the ASU faculty, but a number remain linked to ASU, thanks to the connections of the Emeritus College. group photo Former ASU Senate presidents reminisced at the Past President's Luncheon. Download Full Image

Each attendee talked about a few key experiences of their presidencies.

One major topic was how the aspects of service in the Senate and as president have shifted due to university changes during the past 30 years. From a university of roughly 42,000 students on one campus, ASU has grown to four campuses with over 70,000 students and nearly 40,000 online students. In 2008, a single Senate with representatives from all campuses was formed, and a massive revision of the ACD policy manual was completed, now applying to all campuses.

While noting the different issues they worked on, the former presidents also highlighted the common experience of working for shared governance at ASU.

For example, each Senate president promoted active faculty participation in working with the administration and the Board of Regents to improve the university. The former presidents also described their presidential service — with the opportunities to benefit the institution and to work closely with colleagues on these issues — as a high point of their careers at ASU.

Rose also sought advice about moving ahead in the future, with the aim to make the luncheon an annual event to provide a sounding board for future presidents. 

Written by Philip VanderMeer, Senate President 2008-2009

Desire to make a difference by merging scholarship, practice led Jon Gould to ASU

The world-renowned expert is the new director of the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice

January 6, 2020

Jon Gould is an internationally recognized criminal justice policy and reform expert whose talent for merging scholarship and practice is aimed squarely at making a difference in the world.

He credits his passion for applying the lessons of academia to the policy world, and vice versa, for leading him to the job of director of Arizona State University’s School of Criminology and Criminal Justice. Foundation Professor Gould took over as the school's director on Jan. 1 after serving as inaugural director of the Washington Institute for Public Affairs Research and chair of the Department of Justice, Law and Criminology at American University in Washington, D.C. He assumes the position from newly named Regents Professor Cassia Spohn, who is returning full time to the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice faculty to devote more time to scholarship and research. Jon Gould began work Jan. 1, 2020, as director of ASU's School of Criminology and Criminal Justice Jon Gould began work Jan. 1, 2020, as director of ASU's School of Criminology and Criminal Justice in the Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions. Download Full Image

ASU’s school appealed to him on several fronts, he said. He already knew many of the the school's faculty and found that the school is “operating on all cylinders.”

“It has remarkable scholars and is doing a tremendous job of putting ASU on the map to become among the nation’s leaders,” he said. “To use a sports metaphor, I want to lead a sports team that’s already in the playoffs and lead them to even greater glory.”

That means working to fortify the school’s already impressive national leadership position (ranked No. 5 for its PhD program and No. 6 for its graduate degree by U.S. News & World Report) to become even better known by colleagues around the country. To do that means to dive into what the school’s home, the Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions, is known for: solutions-based approaches.

“It is not enough, especially at a public university like ASU, to only have scholarship and to teach students,” Gould said. “You must be part of the conversation to create a solution for criminal justice systems in this nation and in criminal justice systems around the world.”

Originally from Chicago, Gould said one of his favorite quotes is from renowned architect and fellow Chicagoan Daniel Hudson Burnham (1846–1912), who said, “Make no little plans. … Make big plans; aim high in hope and work.”

Gould said he was lured to ASU by the opportunity to make a difference.

“When I sat down with the dean and the provost and talked ideas, with every single one of them, they said how they could push things forward,” he said. “I’m a guy who likes building things and this was an opportunity to work with top leadership that is like me and not scared of growth. This is rare in American academia, a university that is not fearful of growth.”

Jonathan Koppell, dean of the Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions, said of Gould: “We couldn’t be more excited that Jon is joining Watts College to lead our School of Criminology and Criminal Justice. Jon is a terrific scholar, who is universally respected for his contributions, and an experienced leader with a track record of achievement. I am particularly enthusiastic about his desire to engage the communities of policy and practice, giving even more power to the findings and insights generated by our field-leading faculty.”

Gould’s desire for academic knowledge to be relevant and useful was satisfied during his time as a U.S. Justice Department senior policy adviser during the Obama administration. He wrote a policy applying to law enforcement agencies designed to help prevent wrongful convictions through identifying and reducing eyewitness misidentifications.

“It was one of those rare moments when you can put together what you studied with the opportunity to make change,” he said.

Among Gould’s first priorities as director is simply listening.

“I’m a big believer in this leadership — you can’t take people in a direction they don’t want to go, because even if you do, the change isn’t going to be lasting because it’s not part of the institution’s DNA,” he said.

Other goals include broadening the school’s influence while streamlining its message, making sure the school is deeply engaged in solving some of the policy problems in criminal justice systems in Arizona and beyond and to “bring ASU to Washington, D.C., and make sure our research is not only at the table, but that they’re using it.”

Ed Maguire, a criminology and criminal justice professor and associate director of ASU’s Center for Violence Prevention and Safety, has been a fan of Gould’s since both men were on the faculty of George Mason University in Virginia.  

“I was especially influenced by two aspects of Jon's work,” Maguire said. “First, in a field heavily focused on crime control, Jon's research reminds us how important it is to focus also on justice.

“Second, as both a legal scholar and a social scientist, Jon draws an important distinction between the law on the books and the law on the streets. This is an important distinction for understanding the reality of law and justice in people's lives.”

Maguire said Gould’s work on miscarriages of justice, particularly on wrongful convictions, is groundbreaking.

“Jon is also a gifted teacher. He has mentored many doctoral students over the years who have gone on to build impressive careers of their own,” Maguire said. “His unique contribution to their careers is his emphasis on blending sociolegal scholarship with more mainstream work in criminal justice. These are two very different research traditions and Jon does a great job of bringing them together, both in his own work, and in his teaching.”

Gould holds both JD and PhD degrees and is admitted to the bar in both the United States and in New Zealand. He conducted the interview for this article from New Zealand, where he spent part of December advising that nation’s Ministry of Justice on criminal justice reform, as well as teaching a comparative criminal justice and criminology class.

He is the author of four books and over 50 articles focusing on such diverse subjects as erroneous convictions, indigent defense, prosecutorial innovation, police behavior, hate speech, sexual harassment and international human rights. His first book, "Speak No Evil: The Triumph of Hate Speech Regulation," was a co-winner of the 2006 Herbert Jacob award for the best book in law and society. His second book, "The Innocence Commission: Preventing Wrongful Convictions and Restoring the Criminal Justice System," was named an outstanding academic title by the American Library Association.

Gould has won awards for his teaching and service and is a regular contributor to The Hill newspaper.

Mark J. Scarp

Media Relations Officer, Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions


ESPN host Matt Barrie to be inducted into Cronkite School’s Alumni Hall of Fame

December 30, 2019

Matt Barrie, an ESPN SportsCenter anchor and studio host for the network’s college football coverage, will become the newest member of the Alumni Hall of Fame at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Barrie, who also hosts a podcast and calls college football games for ESPN, will be formally inducted during an upcoming 2020 ceremony at the Cronkite School in front of students, faculty, family and friends. Barrie is a 2001 graduate of the Cronkite School, where he earned his bachelor’s degree. Matt Barrie on the set of the ESPN College Football Halftime Report (Photo by Melissa Rawlins / ESPN Images) Download Full Image

“Anyone who knows me knows I’m a loyal Sun Devil and proud Walter Cronkite graduate,” Barrie said. “And now, to be recognized for my career by the university that laid the foundation for it — I’m humbled and grateful.” 

Barrie has been at ESPN’s anchor desk for “SportsCenter: AM” for a number of years, and he frequently hosts “SportsCenter on the Road” from different high-profile events around the country, such as the Masters Tournament and college campuses during football season. He also co-hosts an ESPN golf podcast with’s Michael Collins called “Matty and the Caddie.”

Over the course of his broadcast career, Barrie has earned 11 Emmy awards and three Edward R. Murrow journalism awards. Barrie got his start as a sports reporter at WJFW-TV in Wisconsin, before continuing on to WLTX-TV in South Carolina and KXAS-TV in Texas. He joined ESPN in 2013. 

Barrie was invited to deliver the keynote speech at the Cronkite School’s convocation ceremony for its fall 2018 graduates. While addressing the students, Barrie mentioned the struggles he has overcome while encouraging the graduates to keep going even when faced with adversity.

“No matter the score, no matter how many things aren’t going your way, you stay in the game and you will win,” he said.

Barrie is the 50th inductee into the Cronkite Hall of Fame, joining Pulitzer Prize-winning Los Angeles Times reporter Julie Cart, CNN International’s Becky Anderson, Arizona Diamondbacks President Derrick Hall and Bushtex CEO Adelaida Severson, among others.

Cronkite School Dean Christopher Callahan called Barrie a great ambassador for the Cronkite School and Sun Devil Nation.

“We’re quite proud, at the Cronkite School, of Matt’s continued success over the years,” Callahan said. “Matt is a fantastic role model for our students, and his achievements in a highly-competitive field reflect his talent and illustrate his tenacity, drive and professionalism.”

Assistant vice president, Media Relations and Strategic Communications

Fellowship theme challenges the ‘Age of Dehumanization’

How can the humanities restore humanity? ASU's Institute for Humanities Research asks this question with its 2020–21 Fellows Program theme

December 17, 2019

How can the humanities restore humanity?

The Arizona State University Institute for Humanities Research asks this question with its 2020-21 fellows program theme, “Recovering the Human(e) in an Age of Dehumanization.” Recovering the Humane in an Age of Dehumanization The ASU Institute for Humanities Research 2020-21 Fellows Program theme is "Recovering the Human(e) in an Age of Dehumanization." Download Full Image

The new theme invites scholars to explore what it means to be “human(e)” in a world where humanity is often forgotten. In topics such as technology, medicine, politics, gender, race and ecology, how can the humanities begin to lead the conversation?

Selected fellows will dedicate one year of research related to this theme. They will also be invited to share their research with the academic community and to produce a strong application for an external grant.

In addition to the fellowship, the Institute for Humanities Research is working with unit heads to develop undergraduate courses that will embed the theme of “Recovering the Human(e)” into humanities classes. 

The fellowship application is now open to all ASU tenured or tenure-track faculty as well as any faculty eligible for a research release.

Successful proposals for the fellows program will outline a rich scholarly project rooted in the humanities that has clear and feasible outcomes for the fellowship year (starting in May 2020) and that has the potential to be funded by outside agencies.

The IHR Fellows Program provides funds toward one course buyout (in the spring semester) for each faculty member as well as research funds of $2,500 per faculty member.

Applications are due Feb. 17, 2020. Learn more about the theme and application guidelines.

Lauren Whitby

Communications Specialist, ASU Institute for Humanities Research


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New support group aims to prevent postpartum depression and stress

December 12, 2019

ASU Clinical Psychology Center to offer support group for expectant mothers

Becoming a new mother can be exciting, but it is also one of the most stressful and vulnerable times in the lives of many women. It is estimated that as many as 85% of new moms experience some form of postpartum depressive symptoms, and a large number go on to experience clinical levels of depressive symptoms.

Starting February 21, 2020, the Clinical Psychology Center in the Arizona State University Department of Psychology will launch a new support group for expectant mothers. This group will be open to members of the community, and ASU staff, students and alumni.

The goal of the support group is to prevent postpartum depression and stress following birth.

Postpartum depression is often confused with “baby blues,” which are normal mood swings that happen during the week or two after the baby is born. Baby blues can include anxiety, irritability or trouble sleeping, but postpartum depression is more severe and can last up to a year after the birth and include symptoms like withdrawing from family, excessive crying or feelings of worthlessness or shame.

“The arrival of a new baby is filled with a lot of new stressors. Even though it is an exciting time, there are a lot of changes that come with pregnancy. There are body changes, emotional changes and life transitions,” said Sarah Curci, a clinical psychology graduate student who will run the group.

The support group will provide a way for expectant mothers to think about the transitions that accompany a new baby and to learn coping strategies. The ASU Clinical Psychology Center has three goals for the group: teach better stress-management tools, increase attachment with the expected baby and leverage existing support networks in the participants’ lives. This program has been demonstrated to reduce depressive symptoms, prevent new cases of major depression and improve mood management.

“This group is designed to provide moms a space to talk about things that can be stigmatized or are otherwise not socially acknowledged, despite being quite common,” said Austin Blake, a clinical psychology graduate student who will work with Curci to run the group.

The new group will allow pregnant women to have a space where they can feel validated in their own experiences and learn from other women who are going through similar things.

“It is a really normal experience to feel stressed during this time, and another goal we have is to help participants realize that it is normal to feel unprepared or like that they aren’t doing a good job,” Blake said.

Group details

The program meets two hours a week for six weeks, and each session is $15. The groups will be led by ASU clinical psychology doctoral students and will be supervised by a licensed clinical psychologist at the Clinical Psychology Center, 1100 E. University Drive in Tempe. For more information, please call the ASU Clinical Psychology Center at 480-965-7296. 

Top photo: Camylla Battani,

Robert Ewing

Marketing and Communications Manager , Department of Psychology


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ASU ranks 10th on environmentally friendly campuses list

December 4, 2019

Arizona State University works vigilantly to incorporate sustainability practices in all of its daily environments. In 2006, the university made real headway by establishing the nation’s first school of sustainability. Since then, efforts to become a more environmentally conscious campus have multiplied, and the university’s efforts have earned notice.

U.S. News and World Report recently highlighted ASU as one of 10 environmentally friendly college campuses, citing the university’s Carbon Project, which helps reduce carbon emissions on campuses, and ASU’s Fair Trade designation, which encourages vendors to use products that are produced with fair labor practices and environmental protections.

The ranking came from Sierra Magazine’s 2019 Cool Schools scores. Thompson Rivers University in British Columbia, Canada, ranked No. 1. The top 10 includes the University of California, Irvine, the University of Connecticut and Colorado State University. ASU ranked 10th in the nation, ahead of the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Oregon State University and Cornell.

"ASU continues to be recognized for its comprehensive solution-focused approach to sustainability. With efforts across research and education, climate action, water optimization, zero waste, personal action, collaborative action, resilience, community success, and food; we appreciate the recognition of ASU’s success," said Corey Hawkey, assistant director of University Sustainability Practices.

In 2006, ASU increased its efforts to certify its buildings under the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system. The Fulton Center on the Tempe campus became ASU’s first LEED-certified building by reducing its urban heat island effect through roof and landscape design, using recycled building materials and reducing interior and exterior water usage by more than 30% and 50% respectively. So far, ASU has 54 LEED certifications.

Wrigley Hall, which is home to ASU’s School of Sustainability and the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, was also renovated using sustainable products and low-emitting or low-emissions paint. The roof is also lined with 124 solar panels, a reminder that ASU is committed to renewable energy sources.

At the Polytechnic campus, students have a new tool to learn about holistic food systems through the Garden Commons, a community garden which aims to eliminate food insecurity among the ASU community. The locally, organically grown produce supports the campus and nearby food banks.

Learn more about ASU’s sustainability efforts and how students, faculty and staff can make an impact.

Top photo: Three hundred solar panels cover much of the Memorial Union patio and Cady Mall. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

Jimena Garrison

Copywriter , Media Relations and Strategic Communications

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7 ASU faculty named AAAS fellows

November 26, 2019

Seven outstanding faculty from Arizona State University have been named as fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

ASU’s C. Michael Barton, Julian Chen, Gary Marchant, Emilia Martins, Charles Perrings, Sander van der Leeuw and Hao Yan were honored for recognition of their career contributions to science, innovation or socially distinguished efforts to advance science and its applications.

The AAAS, publisher of the journal Science, is the world’s largest general scientific society. Election as a fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers. Within that general framework, each awardee is honored for contributions to a specific field.

The seven new ASU faculty members' election this year brings the total number of AAAS fellows affiliated with ASU to 81.

The AAAS 2019 fellows individual scientific achievements include:

C Michael Barton

C. Michael Barton (anthropology), for distinguished contributions to the field of anthropology (geoarchaeology), particularly using data science and computational modeling to study the long-term, dynamic interactions of people and the environment. He has ongoing projects on human ecology and the emergence of coupled socio-natural landscapes in the Mediterranean.

"Understanding how humans interact with the environment over the long-term past is one of the best things we can do to help us understand how people will deal with this in the future," Barton said. "We're not starting from zero. We're starting from a long history."

Barton is director of the interdisciplinary Center for Social Dynamics and Complexity, and heads the Graduate Faculty in Complex Adaptive System Science. Barton also directs the international Network for Computational Modeling in Social and Ecological Sciences (CoMSES Net), is a member of the Science Steering Committee of AIMES (Analysis and Integrative Modeling of the Earth System, FutureEarth), and co-directs collaborative projects with the National Center for Atmospheric Research on social dimensions of climate change.

Sander van der Leeuw (anthropology), for outstanding contributions to the application of adaptive complex system theory in anthropology and the emerging field of sustainability. Van der Leeuw is an archaeologist and historian by training, specializing in the long-term impacts of human activity on the landscape. He is recognized as a pioneer in the application of the complex adaptive systems approach to socio-environmental challenges, and in this context has studied ancient technologies, ancient and modern man-land relationships and innovation. In 2012, he received for his work the U.N. Environment Agency’s highest award: “Champion of the Earth for Science and Innovation."

At ASU, he is the founding director of the School of Human Evolution and Social Change and was dean of the School of Sustainability. Currently, he is director of the ASU-SFI Center for Biosocial Complex Systems.

"Whenever any change occurs, man-made or natural, for better or worse, it alters in real time what options exist and what approaches will steer us toward positive futures," said van der Leeuw. "But the social scientists and nature scientists looking for those changes on their own sides of the aisle rarely have access to the same culture, tools or trade languages."

To that effect, van der Leeuw and ASU colleagues are working on a multiyear plan to create intellectual fusion among these once-distinct fields of study. This includes establishing shared research agendas, shared computational software, and convergent development and implementation standards.

Julian Chen 

Julian J.L. Chen (biological sciences), for distinguished contributions to our understanding of the function and evolutionary divergence of telomere sequences and telomerase structure in eukaryotes. Chen is a professor of biochemistry in the School of Molecular Sciences at ASU. His research focuses on the structure, mechanism, biogenesis and evolution of the telomerase enzyme that plays a critical role in human aging and cancer.

Telomeres cap the ends of chromosomes to prevent chromosome fusions. Typical human cells are mortal and can only undergo a finite number of cell divisions due to the gradual loss of telomeres. Telomerase is an enzyme essential for maintaining telomere length and conferring cellular immortality to allow for infinite cell growth. Therefore, stem cells contain high levels of telomerase and live for a long time, while typical human cells lack telomerase and die with old age.

"Telomerase is one of the most fast-evolving enzymes in biology. How telomerases employ divergent mechanisms to maintain telomeres in different species is a fundamental and fascinating question," Chen said. "In addition to the basic research, we are also looking for ways to enhance telomerase activity which will restore the lost telomere length in adult stem cells and to even reverse cellular aging itself."

Because of its role in chromosome stability, telomerase regulation is a critical step in tumorigenesis and aging. Elucidation of the molecular mechanism of telomerase function could have significant impact on the development of therapeutics for human aging and cancer.

Gary Marchant

Gary Marchant (societal impacts of science and engineering), for distinguished contributions to research, teaching and outreach at the intersections of law, science and biotechnology, including important work with legislative, executive and judicial groups.

“Law moves much slower than science and technology; it's known as ‘The Pacing Problem,’” said Gary Marchant, Regents Professor of law and faculty director of the Center for Law, Science and Innovation. “So, with many questions in genetics and other emerging technologies, legislators and regulators have to establish rules. When someone claims injury or invasion of privacy, courts and juries are forced to adjudicate new claims using old laws, which often fit poorly.”

His research interests include legal aspects of genomics and personalized medicine, the use of genetic information in environmental regulation, risk and the precautionary principle, and governance of emerging technologies such as nanotechnology, neuroscience, biotechnology and artificial intelligence.

Emilia Martins

Emilia P. Martins (biological sciences), for pioneering use of phylogenetic comparative methods to infer evolutionary mechanisms of animal behavior and for service as a program director at the National Science Foundation. Martins studies behavioral evolution by mapping the ancient history of lizard communication in the southwestern U.S. and by studying how sensory systems impact social behavior in the biomedically-important zebrafish.

“We study the mechanisms underlying the evolution of complex and multimodal communicative signals,” Martins said. “Why are there so many kinds of lizard displays? Why use both visual and chemical signals? Why does signal composition vary across individuals and species?”

More generally, her research program asks long-term questions about the evolution of complex behavioral phenotypes, and how evolutionary forces have interacted over long periods of time to shape phenotypic change. Martins is a professor in the School of Life Sciences and associate director of graduate programs.

Charles Perrings 

Charles Perrings (biological sciences), for distinguished contributions to our understanding of the interactions between economic behavior and ecological processes. Perrings’ research addresses the relation between economic behavior and changes in the diversity of other species. A recent focus has been the relation between behavior and the emergence and spread of infectious diseases of humans, animals and plants.

One example is the role of behavior in the impact of heavy rainfall events, such as hurricanes, on the transmission of vector-borne infectious diseases in temperate areas of the world, including the southern coastal U.S. The breakdown of public and private health infrastructure can put people at increased risk of infection, but the movement of people may be even more important.

"Since mosquito-borne diseases tend to be spread by the movement of people rather than the movement of mosquitoes, disaster-induced movements of people can shift where and when outbreaks occur," Perrings said.

Perrings directs (with Ann Kinzig) the Ecoservices Group — a group researching the interactions between society and the biophysical environment. He is a professor in the School of Life Sciences.

Hao Yan

Hao Yan (chemistry), for pioneering work and distinguished contributions in structural DNA nanotechnology and molecular self-assembly. His overarching research goal is to achieve programmed design and assembly of biologically inspired nanomaterials and to explore its applications in nanoelectronics, controlled macromolecular interactions and biosensing and bioimaging. 

One of his more recent applications was in the burgeoning field of nanomedicine, with his work on using nanobots to fight cancerous tumors by choking off their blood supply.

Constructed from DNA folded into 3D shapes — a process nicknamed “DNA origami” — these autonomous, molecular-level machines “go into the blood to find the tumor and kill it,” said Yan. Crucially, they leave healthy cells untouched. Yan hopes to begin to be able to treat human cancer patients within the next five years.

Yan is currently the Milton D. Glick Distinguished Professor in Chemistry and Biochemistry in the School of Molecular Sciences and director of the Center for Molecular Design and Biomimetics in the Biodesign Institute.

Election as an AAAS fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers. This year, 443 members have been awarded this honor by AAAS because of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. New fellows will be presented with an official certificate and a gold and blue (representing science and engineering, respectively) rosette pin on Saturday, Feb. 15, at the AAAS Fellows Forum during the 2020 AAAS annual meeting in Seattle.

Joe Caspermeyer

Manager (natural sciences) , Media Relations & Strategic Communications


11 ASU academics recognized as world’s most influential researchers over the past decade

November 26, 2019

Arizona State University is at the forefront of research and innovation and is recognized as one of the fastest-growing research universities in the country. In fiscal year 2018, ASU hit a record $617.7 million in research expenditures, rising to seventh in national research rankings. And over the past decade, ASU researchers have been busy publishing papers and pioneering contributions in their respective fields, and their peers have taken notice.

About 6,200 academics from around the world, including 11 researchers (one retired) from ASU, have been named Highly Cited Researchers by the Web of Science Group. In order to receive this prestigious title, the researchers’ published papers had to rank in the top 1% of most cited works over the last decade. These researchers were cited the most by their peers in order to advance the work in their areas of expertise. old main Download Full Image

“We’re very proud of the researchers who have been recognized for their exceptional work,” said Sethuraman "Panch" Panchanathan, executive vice president of ASU’s Knowledge Enterprise and ASU’s chief research and innovation officer. “Being cited by ones’ peers is a hallmark of highly respected work, and is demonstrative of the caliber of professionals dedicated to advancing impactful, cutting-edge research here at ASU.”

Below are the ASU academics recognized as Highly Cited Researchers in 2019.

The Biodesign Institute

Hao Yan is the Milton D. Glick Distinguished Professor in Chemistry and Biochemistry in the School of Molecular Sciences and director of the Center for Molecular Design and Biomimetics in the Biodesign Institute. Yan has made great strides in his research of structural DNA nanotechnology and DNA-directed self-assembly. One of his most recent achievements involves the use of nanobots — and a process dubbed “DNA origami” — to kill cancerous tumors. The DNA origami, which is folded into 3D shapes — much like the folded works of art — chokes off cancerous tumors’ blood supply.

Wei Liu is a faculty member of the Center for Applied Structural Discovery at the Biodesign Institute and an assistant professor in the School of Molecular Sciences in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences who has been honored as a highly cited researcher for three years in a row. Professor Liu has spent over a decade developing new tools for studying the structure and function of membrane proteins with a focus on G protein-coupled receptors involved in the development of cancer.

Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering

Paul Westerhoff is an ASU Regents Professor in the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. Westerhoff has earned wide recognition for his focus on the treatment and occurrence of emerging contaminants in various bodies of water, and the risks nanomaterials can create. His research team is now examining how artificial intelligence can help alleviate global water issues.

Sefaattin Tongay is an assistant professor in the School for Engineering of Matter, Transport and Energy in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. Tongay’s work is focused on next-generation quantum materials and understanding their optical, electrical, mechanical and magnetic properties. Tongay argues that classic 3D materials won’t be able to meet demands in future technological advancements. His research involves 2D materials and utilizing these materials’ properties in new applications.

W. P. Carey School of Business

Kevin G. Corley is the chair of the Department of Management and Entrepreneurship and a professor in the W. P. Carey School of Business. Corley’s field research examines the process by which managers and employees establish their roles in an organization, and how they process change around them. Corley’s research has helped analyze organizational change and how it affects identity, image and learning.

Luis R. Gomez-Mejia is an ASU Regents Professor in the Department of Management and Entrepreneurship in the W. P. Carey School of Business. Gomez-Mejia researches the relationships of international management, strategic management, executive compensation and family business. One of his most highly-cited papers focuses on family business and whether any unique attributes help family firms make business decisions based on financial rather than socioemotional criteria.

Thomas Y. Choi is a professor in the Department of Supply Chain Management in the W. P. Carey School of Business. Choi has led the study of the upstream side of supply chains for decades and is currently looking at ways purchase managers play a lead role in various areas, including cyberdefense. In one of his groundbreaking studies, Choi analyzed social networks among suppliers, rather than traditionally looking at buyer-supplier relationships.

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Jianguo Wu is the Dean’s Distinguished Professor of Sustainability Science in the School of Life Sciences in The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and has been focused on landscape ecology for 25 years. His research analyzes urban planning and ways we can improve the landscapes where we live. In one of his most recent published papers, Wu argues for contextualizing global, regional and local analysis to tackle landscape ecology problems. By researching both the bigger and smaller pictures, Wu believes we better position ourselves to handle complex sustainability concerns.

Uwe Weierstall is a research professor in the Department of Physics in The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and is credited with important research in the area of allergic disease. Weierstall collaborated with a team from the MIPT Center for Molecular Mechanisms of Aging and Age-Related Diseases to investigate the structure of a G protein-coupled receptor responsible for inflammation in asthma and other allergic diseases. By looking at the 3D structure, researchers can understand how drugs control these receptors, potentially paving the way to design drugs with fewer side effects.

Marc Messerschmidt is an associate research professor in the School of Molecular Sciences in The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. His areas of expertise include materials analysis, X-ray crystallography and chemistry. 

Michael O’Keeffe is an emeritus Regents Professor in the School of Molecular Sciences in The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and has led groundbreaking work on the fundamental structure and properties of molecules and materials over the decades. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded him the 2019 Gregori Aminoff Prize in crystallography for his contributions to the development of reticular chemistry. 

Jimena Garrison

Copywriter, Media Relations and Strategic Communications

Legends Luncheon honors defenders of the gridiron

November 19, 2019

Update: See video and photos from the 2019 Homecoming and Legends Luncheon below.

More than 35 of ASU's best defensive football players will return for the Legends Luncheon this Friday. Download Full Image

Arizona State University’s defensive gridiron greats will be honored at the Legends Luncheon the day before this week's Homecoming game, where the Sun Devils will take on the Oregon Ducks. The luncheon will celebrate ASU’s former student-athletes who played three years in the NFL, have been inducted into the Sun Devil Athletics Hall of Fame or were named First Team All American during their time in college.

ASU’s football players and coaches will be honored at the event hosted by the ASU Alumni Association and the Sun Devil Club from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, Nov. 22, at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown, 340 N. Third St. These defensive players have achieved numerous athletic accolades on the gridiron including Most Valuable Player, Pro Bowler and inductee into the College Football Hall of Fame.

Players and coaches returning for the Legends Luncheon represent football teams from 1967 to 2007, including players from the 1969 WAC championship team, 1970 Peach Bowl team, 1987 Rose Bowl team and 1997 Rose Bowl team. Some of the more than 50 players returning for the event are Bob Breunig, Ron Brown, Curley Culp, Windlan Hall, Al Harris, Bob Kohrs, Nathan LaDuke, Ron Pritchard, Phillippi Sparks, Jeremy Staat and Darren Woodson.  

Video by ASU

Former NFL and ASU wide receiver J.D. Hill, who played for the Sun Devils in 1967, 1968 and 1970, had this to say about the importance of football defense: “When it really gets down to it, it’s defense that really puts the game where it needs to be, especially to give you an opportunity to win. And without defense, you just can’t win.”

Former Dallas Cowboys and ASU quarterback, and current Sun Devil Athletics consultant and Sun Devil Club ambassador Danny White talked about some of the great ASU defensive players who went on to have successful careers in the NFL.

“All of the pressure or lack of pressure on the offense comes from the defense,” said White, who played for the Sun Devils from 1971 to 1973. “We had a defense that set the tone,” White said. “They flew around. They were physical. When you mention names like Breunig, Haynes, Pritchard and Culp, there’s one common denominator, and that’s 'tough.'”

Sun Devil Athletics Deputy Athletics Director Jean Boyd, who played for the ASU defense during the 1991–94 seasons had this to say: “They say offense wins games but defense wins championships. A great defensive player really is a comprehensive individual who understands the mind, body and spirit of the game and seeks to elevate themselves in all those areas to be the best that they can from a physical standpoint.”

Information about the Legends Luncheon can be found at

Tracy Scott

Director, Strategic Communications, Office of Senior Vice President & Secretary of University