ASU physics professor elected Fellow of the Royal Society

May 4, 2015

Arizona State University Regents' Professor John C.H. Spence has been elected as a Fellow of the UK Royal Society, as a foreign member.

The Royal Society is a fellowship of many of the world’s most distinguished scientists drawn from all areas of science, engineering and medicine, roughly equivalent to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. portrait of ASU professor John Spence Download Full Image

The society dates back to the 1660s, and its fundamental purpose is to recognize, promote and support excellence in science and to encourage the development and use of science for the benefit of humanity. Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, Charles Darwin and Sir Isaac Newton have been members of the Royal Society.

Spence is among the 2015 class of fellows, which includes 47 Fellows (selected from the British Commonwealth) and 10 Foreign Members. Spence was elected as a Foreign Member, on account of his dual U.S.-Australian citizenship.

“This award is great honor and credit to all the ASU graduate students and postdocs I have worked with in physics, and to the support I’ve had from the university, since I first joined Professor John Cowley’s group several decades ago,” Spence said.

Spence is the Richard Snell Professor of Physics, at ASU. He also is the director of science for the National Science Foundation’s BioXFEL Science and Technology Center.

Spence has had a distinguished career making several significant contributions to biology and materials science. Most recently Spence – with Henry Chapman, of University of Hamburg, and ASU's Petra Fromme, Uwe Weierstall, Rick Kirian and Bruce Doak – developed the first application of x-ray free-electron lasers (XFEL) to structural biology using protein nanocrystals. They pioneered femtosecond serial crystallography, the technique that uses the lasers to peer into protein structure and make movies of molecular machines at work.

Spence has also been a world leader in the development and application of atomic-resolution electron microscopy. He co-invented a widely used technique for locating impurity atoms in nanocrystals, developed with J.M. Zuo a method for mapping chemical bonds in crystals, and published with H. Kolar the first observation of dislocation kinks at atomic resolution and in motion.

Working with many gifted graduate students and postdocs at ASU physics for nearly 40 years, Spence has developed new microscopies and spectroscopies, which have given scientists new eyes to understand atomic processes in solids.

Sir Paul Nurse, president of the Royal Society, said of this year’s class of fellows:

“Without scientific knowledge, we might not be able to solve some of the greatest challenges of our time – food shortages, climate change and tackling diseases. The scientists elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society this year are leaders in their fields and have contributed much to the scientific endeavor. We are delighted to welcome them alongside the likes of great British scientists such as Newton, Boyle and Darwin.”

Director, Media Relations and Strategic Communications


ASU clinic to provide downtown Phoenix residents with expanded services

May 4, 2015

Residents who live in a landmark downtown Phoenix affordable housing high-rise will benefit from a new state-of-the-art clinic being built by Arizona State University through its Center for Applied Behavioral Health Policy.

The facility will also serve as a valuable training ground for students working under faculty supervision.
 Michael Shafter of ASU and John Bentz of PAG-CDG Download Full Image

The College of Public Service and Community Solutions is leasing 15,000 square feet of space on the first floor of the Westward Ho building, but this is not the beginning of the relationship. ASU nursing students currently provides residents with health services such as blood pressure checks, nutritional help, and disease prevention programs.

The expanded facility will also give residents access to counseling, referral services, community assistance as well as educational and cultural enrichment opportunities. The clinic will provide hands-on experience and professional development training for students majoring in social work, nutrition, therapeutic recreation and nursing.

“We could not be more excited about this unique opportunity to put the design imperatives of Arizona State University and our college into practice. An integral part of our mission is to fuse research, service and learning. This innovative partnership does exactly that; and the Westward Ho initiative exemplifies our dedication to developing collaborative solutions in our community,” said Jonathan Koppell, dean of the College of Public Service and Community Solutions.

The new facility was made possible by a lease recently approved by the US Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) between ASU and PAG-CDG (Westward Ho developers and property managers).

“This is a rare project for HUD due to the lease and the related programming in the facility," said John Bentz, president of PAG. "We are proud that it is happening right here in downtown Phoenix.”

“Establishing an ASU presence within this historic landmark of our community is the embodiment of our university’s commitment to community embeddeness”, said Michael S. Shafer, professor of social work and director of the ASU Center for Applied Behavioral Health Policy in the College of Public Service and Community Solutions.

The 16-story Westward Ho is a historically significant building. It opened as a hotel in 1928 with 600 elegant rooms. With the exception of one building in Long Beach, California, the hotel was the tallest reinforced concrete structure west of the Mississippi. In 1979, the 600-room hotel was converted to affordable housing. Today, Westward Ho is a 289 unit "elderly preference" affordable housing development within one-fourth of a mile from a light rail station and close to downtown amenities.

“We are happy to have Arizona State University here providing health and social services," said Mildred Webb, an 84-year-old resident at Westward Ho. “They have helped me and others many times and now my life is better. I am very happy they are expanding.”

In addition to renovating office space for the faculty, staff and students that work at the Center for Applied Behavioral Health Policy, Westward Ho plans to repair and upgrade various building components including central plant mechanical and plumbing system repairs and replacement of select in-unit features.

“The lease represents the culmination of years of discussions with ASU and will be a true community asset, not only to the residents of Westward Ho, but also the general public,” said Bentz. “This is a great example of a public-private initiative between multiple organizations coming together to create a unique and special community asset.”

The clinic is scheduled to open in the third quarter of 2015.

Paul Atkinson

assistant director, College of Public Service and Community Solutions