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The Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology at ASU's Biodesign Institute manages microbial communities that provide services to society. Most of the services make our society more environmentally sustainable, such as generating renewable energy and cleaning polluted water and soil. However microbial services also make humans healthier.
Center researchers are known for breakthrough discoveries including the first comprehensive analysis focusing on beneficial bacteria ("the gut biome") in children with autism. This study, under the leadership of Professor Rosa Krajmalnik-Brown, has opened the door to rigorous new bioinformatic and statistical analyses of intestinal microflora. It is now believed that the microbiome can be mined to find diagnostic biomarkers for many other diseases. Ground breaking biome research continues at the center and through transdisciplinary collaborations with other centers such as the Virginia G. Piper Center for Personalized Diagnostics, directed by Dr. Joshua LaBaer, founder and former director of the Harvard Institute of Proteomics.
The Swette Center also partners with other universities nationally and globally, bringing renowned visiting scholars to ASU from countries as diverse as Spain, France, Turkey, Egypt, Pakistan, India, China, Korea, Brazil and Mexico.