About the Partner

npj Microgravity is part of the Nature Partner Journals series and is published by Springer Nature in collaboration with The Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University, with the support of NASA.

The Biodesign Institute plays a critical role in advancing the research mission of Arizona State University, a comprehensive metropolitan university that U.S. News & World Report named #1 university for innovation in the country, ahead of both MIT and Stanford. The Biodesign Institute embodies the guiding principles of the New American University, as defined by Arizona State University President Michael Crow, specifically, to conduct use-inspired research, fuse intellectual disciplines and value entrepreneurship.

Encompassing 350,000 square-feet of award winning, state-of-the-art, LEED-certified buildings, the Biodesign Institute represents Arizona’s single largest research infrastructure investment in the biosciences. Its talented researchers are pioneers of a dynamic new academic research model and hub of 21st century innovation, with the Biodesign Institute’s convergent technologies and fields of research focusing on biomedicine and health outcomes, sustainability and security. Created on the premise that scientists can overcome complex societal issues by re-imagining the “design rules” found in nature, the institute’s researchers are addressing an expansive array of global challenges by creating “bio-inspired” solutions, including: new vaccine discovery and delivery; early detection and treatment of cancer and infectious diseases; techniques for detecting and removing contaminants from air and water; the application of nanotechnology for biomedicine and electronics; and the use of spaceflight as a biomedical research discovery platform.

To advance its bio-inspired research mission, the Biodesign Institute has established 11 different research centers and has more than 200 active research projects ongoing. Its 65 tenured research faculty, who include one Nobel Laureate and four National Academy members, publish in top-tier, high impact scientific journals and collaborate with research and commercial enterprises around the world.

Since its inception in 2003, the Biodesign Institute has attracted more than $300 million in external funding from competitive grant awards as well as support from philanthropic and industry sources. In FY2012, the Biodesign Institute researchers received $58 million in award funding for research activities. Working in an entrepreneurial culture, its researchers have generated 50 annual invention disclosures and patents and fostered more than a dozen spinout companies. In 2009, the institute won Arizona’s “Excellence in Economic Development Award” for its innovative contributions to the state’s economic growth.

The Biodesign Institute Mission

The Biodesign Institute at ASU addresses today’s critical global challenges in healthcare, sustainability and security by developing solutions inspired from natural systems and translating those solutions into commercially viable products and clinical practices.