Research Roundup week three: Lizards, DNA and Alzheimer's

Electricity through DNA strands, researching Alzheimer's cures and variety in lizards

In recent ASU research news: 

Studies in how we age

ASU professor David Brafman and Mayo Clinic Dr. Richard J. Caselli received a two-year, $408,540 grant from the National Institute of Aging. The money will go toward their project researching treatments for Alzheimer’s disease. The project, “Generation and characterization of isogenic hiPSC lines with various ApoE genotypes,” allows them to generate cell types that are hard to find and valuable for study. 

DNA Currents

In a collaboration with Duke University and New York University, ASU researchers developed and created a DNA circuit that can split electric currents similar to a wall adapter. The new advancements expand upon what researchers already knew about sending electrical currents through DNA. They used four strands of DNA, called guanine quadruplex (G4), which solved the issue of two strands of DNA not splitting charges, only conducting them. 

Lizards, lizards and more lizards. 

ASU scientists researching why there are such a large variety of lizards have found that changes in genes that control limb development and the interbrain were responsible for the variety. The researchers also suggest that the rapid rate of reproduction in lizards could have contributed. The study put together the family trees of three lizard species from Panama and one species from the American southeast. 

The last week, from the Science and Tech desk:

ASU professor Lawrence Krauss accused of sexual misconduct

Relevant quote: I was told ... specifically, 'Be careful around Krauss.' ... He's best to be avoided.” – Theresa Fisher, doctoral student at the School of Earth and Space Exploration.

Thom Wolf | Courtesy

Professor Lawrence Krauss speaks at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018. Photo courtesy of Janice Sinclaire, communication director for the Bulletin of The Atomic Scientists. 

ASU's Interplanetary Initiative researchers study reactions to alien life

Relevant quote: "It's important to take it ahead of time how people will respond to (the discovery of extraterrestrial life) because historically, it's been that everyone is going to freak out. With every passing year, it seems more and more likely that there's life out there." – Douglas Vakoch, president of Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence.

Ben Lacasse

"ASU Psychologist studies people's reactions to the possibility alien life." Illustration published on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018. 

ASU Digital Prep offers college-level classes to high school students

Relevant quote: “Taking online classes … gives me more time for castings, auditions and all of my bookings. It just gave me more flexibility for life.” – Sixteen-year-old high school sophomore and ASU Digital Prep student Victor Faulring.

Miami Junior Senior High School | Courtesy

 A student at the Miami Junior Senior High School in Miami, Arizona, takes advantage of a program that allows students to take college level classes by attending the ASU Digital Prep School on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018.

Picking up Slack's slack: ASU student creates University-specific messaging app

Relevant quote: "I think that it's great for my students who are trying to communicate with each other outside of class. The funny thing is you never know how these tools work with students. Like some of the students were sending notes, if a student in their group wasn't in class, they were messaging them, sending them a little note saying, 'Oh, here's what we talked about today.' " – Gregory Broberg, lecturer in the School of Social Transformation.  

Delia Johnson

Photo illustration of a student opening the Pitch app, created by a team of ASU students, on the downtown Phoenix campus on Monday, Feb. 26, 2018.

Reach the reporter at or follow @mitchellatencio on Twitter.

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