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ASU Business and Finance team supports autism research

October 30, 2013

More than a dozen ASU Business and Finance employees converged early Sunday morning in support of people affected by autism. The Sparky’s Business walk team convened at Tempe Beach Park for the 8th annual Arizona Walk Now for Autism Speaks event.

The 5K-walk/run was a collaboration between two nonprofit organizations: Arizona-based Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC) and Autism Speaks. Download Full Image

Tracy Grunig, director of University Audit and Advisory Services and Sparky’s Business team member, had many reasons to lace up her athletic shoes and walk the 5K.

“I walked to show support for my family members who are meeting the challenges presented by autism; I walked to show solidarity with my fellow ASU staff who are involved with SARCC; and I walked to celebrate the progress individuals are making in their day-to-day struggle to overcome the challenges of autism,” Grunig said. “SARCC personifies the hope, strength and resourcefulness of the human spirit.”

According to a SARRC correspondence sent to attendees following the event, it’s estimated that 20,000 people were in attendance and that more than $1.5 million was raised for autism research and local programs.

Barbara Hoskins was a Sparky’s Business walk team member and helped contribute to the team’s $1,365 collective donation. An administrative assistant for the ASU Police Department, Hoskins said that she was happy to bring a buddy and join her colleagues in a non-related work activity.

“I felt it was a worthwhile cause and worth the time and effort to raise funds for research to find out why there is an increase in cases of autism,” she said.

Hoskins’ colleague, Lisa Frace, is a SARRC board member and associate vice president of Planning and Budget at ASU. Frace brought the walk idea to Business and Finance employees during a quarterly leadership summit held in late September by Morgan Olsen, executive vice president, treasurer and chief financial officer.   

Olsen, who ran during the event, encouraged Business and Finance employees to elect how they best would like to show their support. Potential participants were notified via email that they could choose to run, walk, raise funds or volunteer their time to assist event-related activities. Abundant volunteer opportunities included registration, set-up, tear-down, T-shirt distribution or water-station management – to name a few.

“This was a fantastic event to participate in that advocates for people affected by autism,” Olsen said. “This year’s walk-team endeavor underlines one of the New American University tenets, which is to be socially embedded. I am hopeful that the future community-service projects our group participates in will attract even more colleagues to help foster awareness about charitable and social causes.”

Wendy Craft

Marketing and communications manager, Business and Finance Communications Group


New health studies launched with ASU, Mayo seed grants

October 30, 2013

Researchers from Arizona State University and Mayo Clinic are teaming up to study critical health problems with support from seed grants funded jointly by ASU and Mayo Clinic. These new projects will contribute to advances in:

• identifying antibodies involved in inflammatory bowel disease Download Full Image

• improving nutrition and physical activity among homeless children

• developing better prosthetic hands

• enhancing the quality of colonoscopies

• understanding biological processes involved in addiction and eating disorders

“The seed grant program is one of many ways ASU and Mayo Clinic work together to improve human health and advance the science of health care delivery. This program provides the opportunity to launch innovative research efforts with the potential for significant impact on society,” says Sethuraman “Panch” Panchanathan, senior vice president for Knowledge Enterprise Development at ASU.

Over the past decade, ASU and Mayo Clinic have partnered on several joint research projects, research centers, academic programs, joint faculty appointments, dual degrees and provision of health services.

The seed grant program began in 2005 and provides $40,000 to each winning team to initiate studies that advance biomedicine and health. The goal of the program is to develop preliminary results that can help attract substantial funding from external agencies. Since its inception, the program has funded 54 projects.

"The Seed Grant program is a cornerstone of the Mayo Clinic-ASU relationship that continues to create new and lasting partnerships between scientists and physicians from each institution,” says Dr. Dean Wingerchuk, vice chair for clinical research at Mayo Clinic in Arizona. “It provides a direct mechanism for advancing new technologies and health care innovations with a goal of improving health care delivery and outcomes."

The winning proposals are judged on five criteria. They must be scientifically interesting and innovative, have valid methodology, show collaborative effort, offer the likelihood of future funding or collaboration, and be feasible to complete within the project period. ASU faculty members on the winning teams represent a variety of disciplines, including engineering, nursing, chemistry, biomedical informatics and psychology.

The 2014 projects include:

“Autoantibody biomarker discovery in inflammatory bowel disease using Immunoproteomics.”
Joshua LaBaer, professor, ASU Biodesign Institute; Dr. Shabana Pasha, specialist in gasteroenterology/inflammatory bowel disease, Mayo Clinic.

“Pilot nutritional and physical activity data in homeless children.”
Diana Jacobson, assistant professor, ASU College of Nursing and Health Solutions; Dr. Brian Lynch, assistant professor of pediatrics, Mayo Clinic.

“Design and implementation of a soft synergy-based hand for prosthetic applications.”
Marco Santello, professor, ASU School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering; Dr. Carmen Terzic, chair of physical medicine and rehabilitation, Mayo Clinic.

“Enhancing the quality of optical colonoscopy.”
Jianming Liang, associate professor, ASU Department of Biomedical Informatics; Dr. Suryakanth Gurudu, associate professor of medicine, Mayo Clinic.

“Chromatin alterations produced by drugs of abuse and binge eating.”
Foster Olive, associate professor, ASU Department of Psychology; Traci Czyzyk-Morgan, assistant professor of physiology, Mayo Clinic.

Learn more about past seed grant recipients.

Learn more about collaborations between ASU and Mayo Clinic.