ASU News

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.

ASU News

Can you break the code? CryptoRally event to challenge students

October 31, 2013

Think you can decipher secret messages? Try your hand as a super sleuth during the third annual CryptoRally, Nov. 2, at ASU’s Tempe campus.

Students from the School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences, and other students who are interested, will be challenged to solve a series of ciphers – words turned into a secret code. Starting at 10 a.m., teams will receive their first cipher, which can be solved using mathematical techniques. Once a cipher is solved, each team is then led to their next clue, similar to a scavenger hunt. cryptorally graphic with image of cipher Download Full Image

For the first time, this year’s competition will include a "junior" division for middle school students who have been studying cryptography and practicing their deciphering skills. Prizes will be awarded to the winning teams in both collegiate and middle school-age categories.

The event is directed by Nancy Childress, professor of mathematics, who teaches cryptography and has run the CryptoRally for the past two years.

Cryptography, the technology of making and breaking codes and ciphers, is an important field of study today, according to Childress. “Cryptography applies anytime one is concerned with information security, whether the information is personal, financial, proprietary or defense-related.”

After the competition, there will be a cryptography lecture. In “Cannonballs, Donuts, and Secrets: An Introduction to Elliptic Curve Cryptography,” Lawrence Washington of the University of Maryland will describe how elliptic curves have become very important in cryptography. The lecture, which is free and open to the public, is set to begin at 4 p.m., in the Life Sciences E-wing, room 104.

The event is sponsored by Apriva, a secure mobile communications company based in Scottsdale, Ariz.

The CryptoRally will begin in the Physical Sciences A-wing, room 206. A full schedule of the day’s event can be found at

Rhonda Olson

Marketing and Communications, School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences