New ASU, Nature journal to highlight spaceflight research

October 10, 2014

It’s a field of scientific discovery with practical applications that could be astounding: new drugs and vaccines to halt the spread of disease and infection, improved telecommunications linking people around the world, enhanced manufacturing capabilities and the very future of interplanetary exploration.

That interdisciplinary compendium of scientific research and innovation now has a new home. The International Space Station The International Space Station will begin hosting one of Cheryl Nickerson's experiments in the coming months. Photo by: NASA Download Full Image

On Oct. 10, Nature Publishing Group and the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University announced the launch of npj Microgravity, a new open access journal. The journal is specifically dedicated to publishing research that enables space exploration and research that is enabled by spaceflight. It will also publish research utilizing ground-based models of spaceflight.

“We are in a Renaissance period for spaceflight research that has tremendous potential for breakthrough advances in diverse scientific and technological domains to benefit life on Earth and exploration of space,” said Cheryl A. Nickerson, a professor in the Biodesign Institute, who is the editor-in-chief of the new journal.

Microgravity, which astronauts experience during spaceflight, is an extreme environment in which gravity is greatly reduced. Studying it provides a unique opportunity to not only enhance future spaceflight missions, but also provides novel insight into our understanding of biological, physical and engineering sciences on Earth.

npj Microgravity, an online-only and free to access journal, captures the discoveries from reduced gravity and other similar environments, thereby providing scientists and science enthusiasts alike a way to stay at the cutting edge with the latest research.

Nickerson, who is also a professor in ASU's School of Life Sciences, is internationally recognized for her pioneering research in utilizing the microgravity environment of spaceflight as a unique research platform to provide novel insight into infectious disease mechanisms and to understand how physical forces dictate the outcome of host-pathogen interactions that lead to disease.

“I am delighted to be a part of this new initiative, which I believe is exactly the type of platform needed to highlight and broaden microgravity and analogue research into widespread mainstream acceptance with the highest values of scientific integrity historically defined by the Nature brand,” she said.

This is the latest launch in the series of Nature Partner Journals (npjs), a new series of online, open access journals published in collaboration with world-renowned international partners. As with all titles within the series, npj Microgravity adheres to high editorial standards and will publish high-quality open research.

“For over fifty years, humanity’s imagination has been captured by what lies beyond our own small planet,” said Martin Delahunty, global head of partnership journals at Nature Publishing Group. “The research undertaken into space exploration has even led to technological advances which affect our everyday life. And for the first time, scientists looking to publish on this topic will have the option of choosing a high quality, dedicated journal which is open to all.”

npj Microgravity will publish scientific research in the life sciences, physical sciences and engineering fields, which is needed to develop advanced exploration technologies and processes, particularly those profoundly affected by operation in a space environment. It will also publish research that is enabled by spaceflight and spaceflight analogues that provide novel insight into biological, engineering and physical sciences to benefit Earth-based research and the general public.

Media contact:

Joseph Caspermeyer,
Biodesign Institute

State of mind: Startup receives funding for brain-optimizing wearable tech

October 10, 2014

A spinout company, powered by discoveries made at Arizona State University, has raised $13 million in funding, led by Khosla Ventures. Thync is engineering the first lifestyle wearable that uses neurosignaling algorithms – waveforms that signal neural pathways – to shift and optimize people's state of mind in areas related to energy, calm and focus. 

“We share Thync’s belief that unlocking the power of the mind will be a great advancement and a frontier that consumers should have access to,” said Samir Kaul, partner, Khosla Ventures. “We back the talented team at Thync because we see a revolutionary convergence at the intersection of neuroscience and consumer technology.” Download Full Image

Sales of products and services related to inducing energy and relaxed states exceed $400 billion per year globally. Recent market research indicates that in the U.S., energy drinks are a $12.5 billion per year industry, while coffee, alcohol and artificial stimulant use is at an all-time high. The wearables market is projected to top more than $7 billion in 2015, with an estimated 300 million wearables to be shipped. Thync encompasses all of these categories with a chemical free product that will tap directly into the source – the user’s brain.

Thync’s technology platform comprises neurosignaling algorithms, hardware, software and biomaterials. The company is integrating the most advanced aspects of neuroscience and consumer electronics to create a new category of products that give individuals access to their own capabilities, without the need for chemicals or supplements.

“We created Thync to help people better access the power of their mind,” said Thync CEO and co-founder Isy Goldwasser. “We believe that when you conquer your mind, you can conquer your day.”

Thync was founded by engineering and neuroscience experts from ASU, Stanford, Harvard and MIT. They have advanced neurosignaling by leveraging decades of research and extensive testing to ensure a safe, effective, aesthetically designed lifestyle device that anyone can use.

“The Thync team is working hard on introducing neuroscience to 21st century engineering,” said Jamie Tyler, associate professor in the School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering and co-founder of Thync. “For the first time, we are able to target and optimize neural pathways and brain circuits for personal benefit. Thync technology converges on many of these same pathways to achieve positive effects.”

To date, more than 70 companies have been launched based on ASU discoveries. These companies and their sub-licensees have attracted more than $450 million in funding from venture capital firms and other investors, with much of this financing achieved during the last several years. Recently launched startups now employ more than 200 people in Arizona alone.

Thync is headquartered in Silicon Valley, with an office in Boston. More information is available at