'Difference Maker' award honors ASU physicist, educator

April 23, 2013

Regents’ Professor Stuart Lindsay has been selected to receive the 2013 Gary S. Krahenbuhl Difference Maker Award presented by ASU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

The annual award was established through generous contributions of faculty, staff and friends of ASU, to recognize and celebrate a faculty member who personifies the spirit of difference-making demonstrated by Krahenbuhl, a former dean of the college. Regents’ Professor Stuart Lindsay has been selected to receive the 2013 Gary S. Download Full Image

The Edward and Nadine Carson Presidential Chair in Physics, Lindsay has been a pioneer in both research advances and in education initiatives at ASU for more than 30 years. His studies in nanoscale science and nanotechnology explore problems at the interface of biological, chemical and solid materials.

He is also the director of the Center for Single Molecule Biophysics at the Biodesign Institute, where he leads a  successful research program largely driven by graduate students. His successes extend from basic science to developing patents and strong collaborative interactions to transfer technology to partner companies. In addition to leading a center in the Biodesign Institute, Stuart has played significant roles in the establishment of ASU’s Center for the Convergence of Physical Science and Cancer Biology, led by professor Paul Davies.

Lindsay’s research endeavors also include the launch of Molecular Imaging in 1993, a company that developed nanotechnology imaging tools. The group’s atomic force microscopes have been known worldwide to be the best available for biological applications. Sold to Agilent Technologies, with whom Lindsay still consults, the instruments developed by Lindsay’s group continue to drive the advancement of the fields of nanoscience and nanotechnology.

Most recently, Lindsay has developed a new way to read the base pair sequence of DNA or the enzyme components of proteins. His team, in partnership with Roche Laboratories, uses two nanopores to electrically detect and distinguish the different base pairs of DNA and the enzymes of proteins. The goal of the venture is to develop a system that can read an individual’s genome for a cost of less than $1,000. This equipment would be vital for personalized medical care approaches. The project is also in collaboration with IBM.

“Professor Lindsay thinks strategically and demonstrates an outstanding ability to develop research partnership inside and outside of ASU,” said Robert E. Page, vice provost and dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “He also mentors one of the largest research groups in CLAS, which has mostly included graduate students from physics and his students have gone on to highly successful careers. A dedicated teacher, innovative researcher and highly visible spokesperson for the college and university, he exemplifies all the qualities that this award was created to honor in liberal arts and sciences.”

Lindsay was nominated by the Department of Physics, the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and the Beyond Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science.

“Professor Lindsay is an outstanding teacher of physics and chemistry. He is known as an instructor who generates excitement in his classes, and his passion for science is evident to every one of the students,” said Robert Nemanich, chair of the Department of Physics. “He has been tremendously innovative on using technology to connect with his students and a leader in our department’s efforts to develop and offer a rich online environment for physics classes.”

One of those courses, General Physics I (PHY 111) has been offered to more than 200 students each semester since fall 2010. It is an algebra-based, problem-oriented course required for many science and health majors. Lindsay employed streaming video clips and a virtual white board to present the information in ways that build understanding while providing the mathematical description of the physical phenomena. In addition, the course includes video demonstrations.

The goal of the class is to present the information in a rich environment that provides students access to the materials through words, equations, examples and video-based demonstrations. In addition, with online office hours using Adobe Connect, the students have direct access to Lindsay. This course is now widely recognized as a breakthrough in online education of mathematically intense physics courses, according to Nemanich.

Lindsay is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Physical Society. He has published more than 200 publications, has 29 patents and received a Humboldt Senior Scientist Award in 1993. In 2009, he was nominated for ASU Professor of the Year, receiving an Honorable Mention recognition, and received the Faculty Distinguished Achievement Award in 2007.

Lindsay is the 11th recipient of the award.

The Gary S. Krahenbuhl Difference Maker Award has been awarded since 2003 to a tenured faculty member in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences “who demonstrates a broad vision for academic scholarship and a passion for engaging students in discovery and exploration.”

Prior recipients are:

• Donald Johanson, Virginian M. Ullman Chair in Human Origins, a professor of physical anthropology in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change and founding director of the Institute of Human Origins (2012).  

• Matthew Whitaker, ASU Foundation Professor in History and founding director of the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy – now with the School of Letters and Sciences (2011).

• Heather Bimonte-Nelson, a professor in the Department of Psychology, honored in part for her brain awareness programs for children (2010).

• Stephen Batalden, a professor of history and the founding director of ASU’s Melikian Center for Russian, Eurasian and East European Studies (2009).

• Neal Woodbury, a professor in the department of chemistry and biochemistry, and deputy director of ASU’s Biodesign Institute (2008).

• Nancy Jurik, a professor of justice and social inquiry in the School of Social Transformation (2007).

• Jane Maienschein, a Regents’ Professor and President's Professor, and director of the Center for Biology and Society in the School of Life Sciences (2006).

• James Collins, a professor in the School of Life Sciences (2005).

• Noel Stowe, a professor of history and founder of ASU’s Public History Program, deceased (2004).

• Richard Fabes, director of the School of Social and Family Dynamics (2003).

Margaret Coulombe

Director, Executive Communications, Office of the University Provost


College of Health Solutions combines key players under one roof

April 23, 2013

Editor's note: This is an abbreviated version of an article that first appeared in the March 2013 edition of ASU Magazine.

“(Our) medical students will learn health economics, finance, systems thinking, behavioral training and other important subjects.”
– Betty Phillips, ASU executive vice president and university provost
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Launched in 2012, Arizona State University’s College of Health Solutions boasts a straightforward mission, one as bold as its schools: to increase the university’s impact and contributions to quality health outcomes for our communities. The multidisciplinary college is a key component in ASU’s strategic initiative to bring students, faculty and even community partners together to build a new model for health education.

And the timing couldn’t be better.

“It is time for a new model of integrated and interprofessional health education and delivery given the current costs and patient outcomes of the U.S. health care system,” says Keith D. Lindor, dean of the college and executive vice provost of Health Solutions at ASU. “America spends too much for health care that has sub-optimal outcomes. We need to move to a new model for health in this nation.”

The new college is serving students in a variety of ways never before offered. Under the College of Health Solutions umbrella are the School of Nutrition and Health Promotion, the Department of Biomedical Informatics, the School of the Science of Health Care Delivery, and the Doctor of Behavioral Health Program. The college also will collaborate with affiliated ASU health units, including the College of Nursing and Health Innovation, the School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering, and numerous research centers and programs, such as the Center for Health Information and Research, the Health Care Delivery and Policy Program, and the Healthcare Transformation Institute.

The largest part of the College of Health Solutions is the School of Nutrition and Health Promotion. Lindor, who earned his Doctor of Medicine at renowned Mayo Medical School in Rochester, Minn., in 1979 and came to ASU after serving as the Mayo school’s dean from 2005 to 2011, points to the reason: “To me, the name speaks volumes. This is one of the few places in the country that emphasizes nutrition and exercise science,” Lindor says. “Much of the focus within the college is not on what happens in the hospital or the doctor’s office, it is on the things we do every day.”

Good nutrition and exercise are not just keys to staying healthy, they are also critical to making good health cost-effective. Lindor is fond of the saying, “A stitch in time saves nine,” and finds it highly applicable to staying healthy in the first place in order to avoid a cascade of other highly expensive interventions.

“As we work with our faculty and train our students to be transformative leaders in the future of health care, we are going to focus more on a healthy environment, which is one of the most important drivers of good health,” Lindor says. “We are seeing more links between behaviors like eating well and exercise and being healthy.”

Just one example is gastric bypass, which is the most effective intervention in diabetics who are obese, the dean says. He notes the cost of this single procedure is $100,000, and that there are likely to be many other expensive health needs for these patients.

“Compare this to the cost of teaching people what to do and how to eat to be more healthy,” and avoid obesity in the first place, he says.

The college, which offers many opportunities within the health arena by crossing traditional boundaries, also brings under its umbrella the School of the Science of Health Care Delivery, which will offer an innovative master’s degree in that subject to medical students receiving their training at Mayo Clinic Arizona.

“The idea is that if we are going to change things we need people who are not just trained in medicine, but who are trained in all the other factors important in providing health care,” says Betty Phillips, ASU executive vice president and university provost, who investigates how people can change their eating habits and environment to combat obesity.

“These medical students will learn health economics, finance, systems thinking, behavioral training and other important subjects.”

Having an understanding of all aspects of health care delivery is not just about producing the next generation of well-rounded professionals.

“Huge changes in the health care system are inevitable,” Lindor says. “We believe that the training our students receive in the science of health care delivery will prepare a wide variety of people involved in health care to navigate these changes and lead us to better systems that improve health outcomes, lower costs and enhance access.”

Phillips concurs: “The idea is that if you are going to make health care better, you need to have people who not only understand medicine, but also understand how it is delivered.”

ASU already has an unparalleled presence in the field of bioinformatics, and Health Solutions has made this capability a centerpiece of the new college. The public may think of bioinformatics as the use of computers in medicine, but professionals in the field define it more broadly as data-driven decision-making. The data can relate to everything from behavioral changes to interpreting whole-genome sequencing for cancer therapy.

Experts predict that in the future bioinformatics will play a key role in determining which drugs and therapies work and which don’t, but they will also be present in our everyday lives, such as in the collection and analysis of data on our smartphones about our activities, what we eat, our temperature, blood pressure, social interactions and other biological markers of our overall health.

The College of Health Solutions will be on the cutting edge of the new reality in health care delivery, and student offerings are many. Undergraduate and graduate programs are available in an array of interdisciplinary fields that challenge learners to think critically and to creatively resolve real-world issues.

Programs are available in nutrition, exercise and wellness, kinesiology, biomedical informatics, health sciences, the science of health care delivery, and additional areas of study currently being developed. Potential career paths might include: health care administration, hospital clinicians, medical practice management, dietitian, personal trainer, health coach, physical/occupational therapist, informatics, research, public health informatics, IT management in a health setting, and many others.

Written by Christopher Vaughan

Lisa Robbins

editor/publisher, Media Relations and Strategic Communications