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How do the humanities impact business?

February 8, 2013

In a complex business world where data analysis and marketing are highly valued skills, how do humanities coincide with and give individuals a leg up on the competition? Humanities at Arizona State University are taking a closer look at this question to decide what the future of business holds.

Robert Mittelstaedt, dean emeritus of ASU's W. P. Carey School of Business, feels that educators must combine business ethics and the humanities to produce graduates who will excel in their fields. Download Full Image

“For business majors, we try to ensure a healthy mix of hard-core business subjects and general studies that will help students build the base that will lead them to success – but it is only a start. We all have to keep learning more about the humanities and business over our lifetime,” he said.

Equally important, he notes, is the ability to communicate. When dealing with other businesses, customers and even employees, it is vital to have empathy, strong leadership and motivational skills to grow and prosper as a company and individual.

“I do not know a single highly successful business person who cannot: communicate effectively; analyze and deal with complexity; understand what motivates employees and customers; make decisions and take action; and challenge and lead others to success they never imagined they could achieve,” said Mittelstaedt.

But what about the tools we use to communicate? Is technology overrunning the need for humans in business?

Brian Johnson, corporate futurist for Intel, feels that while technology used in business is getting “smarter” and more powerful, humans are still needed for their humanistic qualities that computers cannot replicate.

“Emotional intelligence and cognitive synthesis are and will be an increasingly more important part of our business and economic lives. As we begin to offload more work to computers and machines, it will force us to focus on these humanistic qualities,” said Johnson.

Johnson says that as we build these technologies, we have to keep in mind the type of world we want to have. He says that is important to understand the cultural, legal, human and ethical impact of the devices.

What do you think? What is the place for the humanities in business? Join the conversation online now at

ASU, Mayo Clinic research teams receive individualized medicine grants

February 8, 2013

An external panel of venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and medical device manufacturers has awarded $100,000 grants to two joint Arizona State University-Mayo Clinic research teams that are working to apply personalized medicine to the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and cerebral aneurysms.

The Center for Individualized Medicine at Mayo Clinic and the Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development (OKED) at Arizona State University joined in sponsoring the awards. More than 20 teams submitted proposals, with the winning teams including: Download Full Image

Development of nanobodies that target amyloid-β oligomers for individual diagnosis in Alzheimer’s disease: Michael Sierks, PhD, School for Engineering of Matter, Transport and Energy, Arizona State University; Terrone L. Rosenberry, PhD, and Pritam Das, PhD, both of Department of Neuroscience, Mayo Clinic.

The EndoVantage Interventional Suite (EVIS) for personalized clinical management of cerebral aneurysms: David Frakes, PhD, School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering and School of Electrical, Computer, and Energy Engineering, Arizona State University; Brian Chong, MD, Division of Neuroradiology, Mayo Clinic.

“The Center for Individualized Medicine at Mayo Clinic works to translate research breakthroughs into real-world applications that can improve health care for our patients,” said Jeremy L. Friese, director of New Business and Development in Mayo’s Center for Individualized Medicine. “We’re excited to see this kind of research collaboration be a component of the broader Mayo Clinic partnership with Arizona State University.”

“The quality of applications received for this opportunity reflects the superior quality of use-inspired research activities engaged by ASU and Mayo Clinic researchers in the area of health and personalized medicine,” said Sethuraman “Panch” Panchanathan, senior vice president of ASU’s Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development. “Through this collaborative effort, we are able to rapidly advance commercialization of novel ideas with the potential for significant economic development.”

Arizona Technology Enterprises (AzTE), the technology venturing arm of Arizona State University, is managing the initiative on behalf of ASU.

The competition was open to research pertaining to individualized medicine, broadly defined as “discovering and integrating the latest in genomic, molecular and clinical sciences into personalized care.” Funds can be used for a variety of activities, including prototype development, software or service development, pilot execution, company formation, or research endeavors leading to a commercialization product/ service.

Alzheimer’s disease team information: More than five million Americans now have Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and over the next 50 years the prevalence is expected to triple. The successful targeting of biomarkers is a critical component of individual diagnosis for many diseases, including AD. Unfortunately, biomarker targeting is not yet feasible for use with AD patients, and the development of appropriate protocols would have huge commercialization potential because of the staggering number of prospective AD patients. The applicants from both Mayo Clinic and ASU have long experience and strong complementary interests in the biochemical basis of AD and in reagents that would be useful in diagnosis and therapy.

Cerebral aneurysm team information: Current treatment planning for cerebral aneurysms (CAs) is primarily qualitative and driven by prior training, experience and convention. The EndoVantage Interventional Suite (EVIS) will be an innovative and ground-breaking new software platform that will radically enhance the personalized management of CAs. EVIS will utilize high-fidelity finite element medical device models and personalized clinical data to simulate the deployment of endovascular devices into patient-specific blood vessel models in real-time. State-of-the-art computational fluid dynamics will then be applied to simulate hemodynamic outcomes. EVIS will introduce a new endovascular treatment paradigm wherein quantitative engineering integrates with personalized treatment design.

The Center for Individualized Medicine discovers and integrates the latest in genomic, molecular and clinical sciences into personalized care for each Mayo Clinic patient. Visit for more information.

AzTE is a nonprofit organization which operates as the exclusive intellectual property management and technology transfer organization for ASU and its research enterprise. Established in 2003, AzTE is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Arizona State University Foundation for A New American University. Comprising industry and university veterans, AzTE brings together ASU’s researchers and industry partners to transform discoveries into marketable products and services, taking innovation out of the lab and into the commercial marketplace. AzTE currently offers for licensing more than 300 novel technologies in the life and physical sciences.