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ASU Media Relations

News media representatives with questions about the university or seeking an expert on a particular subject can reach us by email: or by phone: 480-965-3502.

Normal office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Mountain Standard Time), Monday through Friday. After hours, please use the above number which will be forwarded to an on-call media relations officer.

Zika Experts

Zika virus molecule

Travel warnings for the first time are being issued to locations within the U.S., there has been intense aerial spraying of mosquitos in a section of Miami, and researchers are rushing a vaccine in to testing. Zika is in the U.S. and it’s a fact of life in the Western Hemisphere. What we do now will either help us contain the spread of the virus or will allow it to become a pandemic.

ASU experts are ready to comment on the various aspects of the virus and its spread.

For interviews with ASU researchers involved in Zika research or policies, including through ASU’s in-house HDTV studio, please call or email Skip Derra, 480-254-6534 or


New Technology

Andrew Maynard
Director, Risk Innovation Lab; Professor, School for the Future of Innovation in Society 
EXPERTISE: emerging technologies, genetic engineering, gene editing

While conventional ways of tackling Zika-carrying mosquitoes are being used, like insecticide spraying and removing areas they can breed, there are a number of emerging technologies such as genetic engineering and gene editing that could help in the fight against the disease. 


Andrew Maynard
Director, Risk Innovation Lab; Professor, School for the Future of Innovation in Society 
EXPERTISE: how we think about and act on risk, risk avoidance

“The CDC is doing a good job of providing information, but this needs to be amplified and made even more accessible if people are to avoid the more serious consequences of Zika and to help prevent its spread,” Maynard says. 


Qiang "Shawn" Chen
Professor, Biodesign Center for Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology; School of Life Sciences
EXPERTISE: viruses, plant-based therapeutics, vaccines for West Nile and Dengue.

Chen says he believes that large-scale outbreaks of Zika in the U.S. may be unlikely. This is because the U.S. has seen only sporadic spread of Dengue and Chikungunya, the mosquitos that spread the disease are found mainly in Southern states and the U.S. does a much better job of protecting people from mosquitos.


Brenda Hogue
Associate Professor, School of Life Sciences; Biodesign Center for Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology
EXPERTISE: RNA virus replication, virus structure

The majority of people who are infected with Zika do not exhibit symptoms or they have only mild symptoms (fever, headache, muscle and/or pain, light rash) that are typical of other viral infections, according to Hogue.

Florida Cases

Bert Jacobs
Director, School of Life Sciences; Biodesign Center for Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology
EXPERTISE: sexual transmission, infectious diseases, vaccinology

“In the past, cases have been associated with people returning from Zika infected areas infecting others, usually sexual partners,” Jacobs says. “This seems not be the case, indicating that the virus may be in mosquitoes in Florida, even though it has not been detected yet in mosquitoes in Florida.”


Stephen Johnston 
Director, Biodesign Center for Innovations in Medicine
EXPERTISE: distinguishing Zika from Dengue, immunosignature technology

One of the most important clinical needs is a test that can readily distinguish the Zika virus from Dengue and Chikungunya infections, which are also present in these regions, Johnston says.

Alex Green
Assistant Professor, Biodesign Center for Molecular Design and Biometrics; School of Molecular Sciences
EXPERTISE: low cost Zika test, RNA sequences to detect pathogens

“We design different RNA sequences to detect pathogens," Green says. "We can take our tools, put them on pieces of paper in a very stable and low cost format, and they can be deployed around the world." Green added that the method eventually could lead to a $1 Zika test.


ASU Perspective

Statement from ASU President Michael M. Crow in response to a political ad from the Ann Kirkpatrick for U.S. Senate campaign on the McCain Institute for International Leadership.

“The American political experience is at its best when candidates for public office are motivated by the power of their ideas and their commitment to truth.  Distortions of facts don’t move our country forward, despite this being a tactic used by many seeking public office.  

“Let me be clear: ASU is proud to be the home of the McCain Institute for International Leadership - a non-partisan organization committed to promoting humanitarian action, human rights and democracy, national security, and to embracing technology in producing better designs for educated decisions in national and international policy.  We are pleased to have people and countries from around the world providing philanthropic investments that help support centers such as this – in this case a university institute committed to spreading democracy and promoting global discourse and understanding.  We should be encouraging more participation from those willing to help advance these ideals.”

Trending Topics: Find an Expert

To book any of these experts or others, please call ASU Media Relations at 480-965-3502, or email: ASU has experts available for interview on these trending topics:


Adriana Sanford
Clinical Associate Professor, W.P. Carey School of Business
EXPERTISE: international business and law, EU issues

DNC Hack

Jamie Winterton
Director, Strategic Research Initiatives, Global Security Initiative
EXPERTISE: cybersecurity

Policing: Use of Force

Scott Decker
Professor, School of Criminology & Criminal Justice
EXPERTISE: Criminal justice policy, gangs, violence, and the offender’s perspective

Michael White
Professor, School of Criminology & Criminal Justice
EXPERTISE: Policing, police use of force, police misconduct, and tech/innovation

Neal Lester
Professor, English
EXPERTISE: race and recent violence

William Terrill
Professor, School of Criminology & Criminal Justice
EXPERTISE: Police behavior, police use of force policies/practice

Presidential Election

Richard Herrera
Associate Professor, School of Politics and Global Studies
EXPERTISE:  politics, election

Lisa Magaña
Associate Professor, School of Transborder Studies
EXPERTISE: immigration, Latino vote


Marlene Tromp
Dean, New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences
EXPERT: Xenophobia's role in politics and policy


ASU in the News

Last week Dr. Crow spoke at the University of NSW during his visit to Australia. Arizona State University, Kings College London, and University of NSW recently established the "PLuS" teaching...

July 26, 2016 | Intelligence comes in many types, not levels: Michael Crow

James Gee of Arizona State University's Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College tells Education Week the handheld phenomenon may be a Poké Ball to play and a way to "enchant the...

July 22, 2016 |

Lawrence Krauss, Arizona State University physics professor and creator of ASU's Origins Project, was recently featured on the Al Jazeera news network as part of their Upfront episode, “Is religion...

July 19, 2016 |