ASU ranked by U.S. News as one of best places to earn an online degree

January 16, 2013

Arizona State University, recognized as one of the top major public research universities in the country, is quickly becoming one of the nation’s best universities for students wishing to earn an online degree.

The just-released U.S. News & World Report 2013 "Best Online Education Programs Rankings” list ASU 40th for best online bachelor’s degree programs. The university is 15th among public universities offering online bachelor’s degree programs and the only Pac-12 school making the list. student working on a computer Download Full Image

Four online graduate degree programs also were ranked among the nation’s best, including:

• Business – 2nd overall

• Nursing – 17th overall

• Engineering – 23rd overall

• Education - 49th overall

This is the first year U.S. News has ranked online degree programs overall. The full list and more detailed information on each online program can be viewed here

“Over the past three years, ASU has assembled an exceptional array of program offerings, quality services and dedicated resources for online students,” said Phil Regier, executive vice provost and dean of ASU Online. “Students who choose an online program with ASU learn from the same excellent faculty, engage with the same rigorous content and earn the same degree as students who attend on ground.

"The result is unprecedented access to a leading Research-1 university and opportunity for students anywhere to benefit from all that ASU has to offer.”

U.S. News defines the online degree programs in its rankings as “a program for which all the required coursework for program completion is able to be completed via distance education courses that incorporate Internet-based learning technologies.”

The program rankings included strength in these over-arching categories:

• student engagement (including graduation rate and class size)

• faculty credentials and training (including doctoral and tenure-track faculty and formal training for faculty in distance education)

• student services and technology (including student debt upon graduation, technologies/services available to students)

• admissions selectivity (for graduate programs, including GPA scores of admitted students and acceptance rate)

ASU currently offers 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs entirely online, with additional programs expected by fall 2013. Learn more at ASU Online:

Sharon Keeler

Partnership to advance next phase of radiation exposure device project

January 16, 2013

Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute has announced a partnership with Life Technologies Corporation as it enters the next phase of a multimillion-dollar, multi-institutional research project to develop a medical device to rapidly assess an individual’s exposure to radiation in the event of a nuclear incident.

The project enters a $9.33 million contract option as part of a five-year, $35.44 million project funded by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) within the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This phase will focus on prototype development of a gene-expression based system for individuals exposed to abnormal levels of radiation. A first responder cleans up a radiation contaminated site Download Full Image

“We are pleased that Life Technologies is joining our team as a commercial partner,” said Lee Cheatham, deputy director of ASU’s Biodesign Institute and lead investigator of the project. “We have completed initial scientific feasibility and now must develop a working device. Life Technologies’ experience in delivering FDA-cleared assay systems to the marketplace is a great fit for this project. Their strong product focus will ensure that we develop for BARDA an effective and easy-to-use system.”

“In the event of a nuclear emergency, potentially thousands of people would need to be screened per day,” said Ronnie Andrews, president of medical sciences at Life Technologies. “We are very proud of the robustness of our instruments that they would be selected for this type of application.”

The partnership is designed to develop genetic assays that would be run on several Life Technologies real-time PCR instruments including the Applied Biosystems 7500 Fast Dx and the QuantStudio Dx. All of these instruments perform a reaction called real-time PCR (polymerase chain reaction), a method of rapidly producing DNA from a small starting amount, detecting genetic matches if present and reporting the results.

Since the project was launched in 2010, ASU has led the research activities, demonstrating that the science of gene expression is a viable approach to directly measure radiation exposure. Of the 11 project teams launched in 2010, the ASU team is one of six continuing development.

Developing the system required the identification and validation of biomarker signatures to provide an accurate indication for the level of absorbed radiation. Joshua LaBaer, director of the institute’s Virginia G. Piper Center for Personalized Diagnostics is leading the biomarker effort. Sally Amundson, Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, is providing extensive experience in the identification of radiation responsive genes and biodosimetry measurements. Researchers from Translational Genomics Institute in Phoenix, HTG Molecular in Tucson, and the University of Arizona have also contributed to the early phases of the project.

The ASU effort is part of BARDA’s congressionally mandated program to develop medical countermeasures against chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats, and against pandemic influenza and emerging infectious disease outbreaks and other natural and intentional threats to public health. 

Joe Caspermeyer

Manager (natural sciences), Media Relations & Strategic Communications