Salivary science attracts networks, pioneering health research

May 7, 2014

What connects swine in North Carolina, recreational water use and 21 percent of the U.S. population? The answer was one of the many intriguing outcomes of the Salivary Biosciences Symposium held on April 22 on Arizona State University’s Tempe campus. 

Sponsored by ASU’s Institute for Interdisciplinary Salivary Bioscience Research, more than 30 of the institute’s collaborators gathered in person or virtually, worldwide. Their goal: to forge better ways to assess health disparities, social experiences and long term health impacts of stress, and track emergent diseases, such as the pig-borne pathogen, hepatitis e-virus.  Salivary Biosciences Symposium attendees Download Full Image

Researcher Chris Heaney from Johns Hopkins University partnered with ASU Foundation Professor Douglas Granger, the institute’s director, to develop “next-generation” salivary methods to assess hepatitis, water borne and other infectious diseases. Heaney’s epidemiological studies in the U. S. were challenged by a reluctance of people at the beach, “not being willing to join a study if it involved blood or stool.”

Collection issues were particularly dire in his work overseas, Heaney said. “In clinics in developing countries, you might have thousands of people coming in and no opportunities to do follow ups, ever, particularly during elections in Bangladesh. People risk their lives to come even once.” 

“That means one shot to see, diagnose and treat disease,” Heaney said. “These salivary tests could provide that link to rapid diagnosis and treatment.”

In addition to Heaney and Granger, the symposium attracted researchers from ASU’s Department of Psychology, School of Electrical Computer and Energy Engineering, School of Music and T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics, and others using saliva studies to improve health, development and performance in South Africa, Germany, Canada and institutions across the U.S., including the San Diego Zoo.

“We want to shepherd responsible, rapid and impactful ways to help people, as stewards of this growing field of salivary sciences,” said Granger.

Gerald Giesbrecht, an assistant professor in the Department of Paediatrics with the University of Calgary, said the institute and symposium did just that, offering him opportunities learn the latest techniques from people at the forefront of salivary bioscience and to gain exposure for his work.

“In hearing talks from people who are working in areas that are very different from my own, I identified several ideas that I think can be applied to my work that examines the effects of psychological stress on the development of young children,” said Giesbrecht.  

“It is often the case that new findings require years before they are published, so this is a way to help guide the work that I’m doing right now,” he added. “ASU certainly has a great deal to offer and I see Doug and the institute as a hub that connects different ‘satellite’ research groups. This symposium allowed me to make new connections with folks in Berlin and Baltimore.” 

Among the cutting-edge approaches discussed was a study piloted by Granger and ASU Professor Olga Kornienko in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and students in the School of Music who examine social networks with the help of members of the ASU marching band. More about this and other institute research can be found in the spring issue of the CLAS Magazine.   

Margaret Coulombe

Director, Executive Communications, Office of the University Provost


Bruce Nevel to lead ASU Facilities Development and Management

May 7, 2014

Bruce Nevel has been named associate vice president for Facilities Development and Management (FDM) at Arizona State University. Morgan R. Olsen, ASU’s executive vice president, treasurer and chief financial officer, announced Nevel’s appointment on May 7.

A career naval officer with 25 years of leadership experience in facilities management, engineering operations and acquisition, Nevel is a registered professional engineer and certified energy manager. Download Full Image

Nevel will join ASU in August 2014 from the U.S. Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southwest in San Diego, Calif., where he serves as the chief operating officer. Nevel’s scope of responsibility there includes capital improvements, asset management, public works, energy management and environmental services, valued at $3 billion annually. He directs a 60-officer team and 3,200 civilian personnel in support of 18 major Navy and Marine Corps installations.

“Bruce Nevel’s background includes managing multiple, simultaneous, high-value projects and operations spanning public works, construction, facilities management and contract administration,” Olsen said. “His wealth of knowledge and expertise make him the ideal leader for the university’s multifaceted facilities management and development activities.”

Nevel’s educational background includes the Columbia University Graduate School of Business executive education program, a master’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Florida and a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Tufts University.

"ASU was attractive to me because my years of managing construction projects and leading facilities management organizations for the Navy has a lot of similarity to leading a facilities management organization for a university," Nevel said. “After meeting Dr. Olsen and the ASU Business and Finance department leaders, I’m even more confident that I made the right choice to become a Sun Devil and to help shape the future of facilities management at Arizona State."

Prior to his current assignment in San Diego, Nevel’s naval career took him from Maine to California, and Hawaii to Florida. His early focus was facilities management. He then moved to construction management for the U.S. Navy and Marines. He was in charge of construction totaling $300 million annually at the U.S. Marine Corps Base in Camp Pendleton, Calif. Nevel has also worked overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan. As a battalion commander, he and his team built forward-operating bases in Afghanistan that supported military efforts during 2009-2010.

In his new role as ASU’s chief facilities officer, Nevel will manage multiple service agreements and lead more than 400 employees who work in various FDM departments, including:

• the Office of the University Architect
• Capital Programs Management Group
• Facilities Management
• Administrative Services and Business Operations

At each ASU campus, Facilities Development and Management is responsible for facilities, infrastructure and grounds, including the management, planning, design, construction, renovation, maintenance and repair of all university-owned property, totaling more than 19 million gross square feet of space in six physical locations.

“I am confident with his broad experience leading large numbers of people and managing sizeable, complex budgets, Bruce Nevel will ably lead Facilities Development and Management in support of ASU’s goals and mission,” Olsen said. “We are delighted to have him join our Business and Finance team.”

Visit to learn more about the office of ASU Business and Finance.

Wendy Craft

Marketing and communications manager, Business and Finance Communications Group