ASU to break ground on Block 12 on Jan. 24

January 16, 2013

Arizona State University and the surrounding community are invited to the groundbreaking of Block 12 – College Avenue Commons, the future space of the Del E. Webb School of Construction and other university resources.

Taking place at 3:30 p.m., Jan. 24, on 7th St. and College Ave. in Tempe, the event will feature building displays, food and a brief presentation from ASU President Michael Crow about the intentions for the space. Parking is available in the Fulton Center Parking Garage. Download Full Image

The building is part of a longstanding partnership between ASU and the City of Tempe to expand the Tempe campus in order to fulfill the growing need for educational space.

“We are very excited for this collaboration with the City of Tempe. We hope this project will set in motion the future extension of Cady Mall,” said Ed Soltero, assistant vice president, university architect, in the Office of the University Architect.

Aside from classroom and administrative space, Block 12 will house a Grab and Go market, café, bookstore component, study space and the Experience ASU tour group.

“The teaching space and auditorium will be the first glimpse that prospective students and parents have of ASU, so we want it to reflect a very urban, innovative and sustainable design,” said Soltero.

The development of College Avenue between 6th and 7th streets into a flexible urban space to support special events also will feature sustainability initiatives.

Keeping in mind the hot Arizona summers, Soltero assures there will also be plenty of shaded areas for students to socialize and study. Future plans include retail space and a roof deck. The project is set to be completed by July 2014.

Block 12 joins a list of acquired educational space by ASU. The university recently purchased the University Center in Tempe and the Centerpoint Office Building to accommodate research and administrative needs.

Partnership to advance next phase of radiation exposure device project

January 16, 2013

Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute has announced a partnership with Life Technologies Corporation as it enters the next phase of a multimillion-dollar, multi-institutional research project to develop a medical device to rapidly assess an individual’s exposure to radiation in the event of a nuclear incident.

The project enters a $9.33 million contract option as part of a five-year, $35.44 million project funded by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) within the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This phase will focus on prototype development of a gene-expression based system for individuals exposed to abnormal levels of radiation. A first responder cleans up a radiation contaminated site Download Full Image

“We are pleased that Life Technologies is joining our team as a commercial partner,” said Lee Cheatham, deputy director of ASU’s Biodesign Institute and lead investigator of the project. “We have completed initial scientific feasibility and now must develop a working device. Life Technologies’ experience in delivering FDA-cleared assay systems to the marketplace is a great fit for this project. Their strong product focus will ensure that we develop for BARDA an effective and easy-to-use system.”

“In the event of a nuclear emergency, potentially thousands of people would need to be screened per day,” said Ronnie Andrews, president of medical sciences at Life Technologies. “We are very proud of the robustness of our instruments that they would be selected for this type of application.”

The partnership is designed to develop genetic assays that would be run on several Life Technologies real-time PCR instruments including the Applied Biosystems 7500 Fast Dx and the QuantStudio Dx. All of these instruments perform a reaction called real-time PCR (polymerase chain reaction), a method of rapidly producing DNA from a small starting amount, detecting genetic matches if present and reporting the results.

Since the project was launched in 2010, ASU has led the research activities, demonstrating that the science of gene expression is a viable approach to directly measure radiation exposure. Of the 11 project teams launched in 2010, the ASU team is one of six continuing development.

Developing the system required the identification and validation of biomarker signatures to provide an accurate indication for the level of absorbed radiation. Joshua LaBaer, director of the institute’s Virginia G. Piper Center for Personalized Diagnostics is leading the biomarker effort. Sally Amundson, Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, is providing extensive experience in the identification of radiation responsive genes and biodosimetry measurements. Researchers from Translational Genomics Institute in Phoenix, HTG Molecular in Tucson, and the University of Arizona have also contributed to the early phases of the project.

The ASU effort is part of BARDA’s congressionally mandated program to develop medical countermeasures against chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats, and against pandemic influenza and emerging infectious disease outbreaks and other natural and intentional threats to public health. 

Joe Caspermeyer

Managing editor, Biodesign Institute