Addressing world hunger

How are we going to sustain nine billion people by 2050?

BIO5 researchers are working to solve the world’s looming food crisis by creating new, sustainable and environmentally friendly “super crops”

Gathering & analyzing data that matters

Driving innovation and bold solutions with bioinformatics

BIO5 scientists are developing new technologies that gather, manage, store, analyze, visualize, and integrate vast amounts of data, allowing us to tackle complex biological challenges.

Preventing diseases

Creating innovative tools, therapies, and technologies

BIO5 scientists are researching how genetics and the environment intersect and impact disease evolution.

Personalizing medicine

Translating knowledge into practice

BIO5 researchers study and advance molecular sciences like genomics and proteomics that give physicians real world tools to determine the best course of therapy for each individual patient.

Identifying & mapping genetic & environmental factors

Preventing diseases

BIO5 scientists are researching how genetics and the environment impact disease evolution, why they only affect some people, and where the two intersect so we can better prevent and protect against illness.

Research Successes

Research excellence depends on attracting the top scientific minds in the world to the UA and supporting them with equally top-notch facilities and state of the art tools.

BIO5 provides this type of environment for our researchers, who are successfully creating solutions to grand biological challenges like feeding a growing world population, treating major diseases, generating biofuels, and dealing with environmental issues including pollution, water safety, and climate change.

  • Understanding Infections of the Brain

    Anita Koshy, MD, is a neurologist and infectious disease specialist who was trained in one of the most prestigious national labs in the country addressing infections of the central nervous system. Dr. Koshy has developed new models for the study of toxoplasmosis, a parasite that infects over 10% of Americans and causes severe brain diseases in those with weakened immune systems. Now a member of the BIO5 Institute at the UA, her clinical and research interests include how infections of the brain occur and how we can better understand them on a molecular level in order to improve their treatment.

  • Defining Normal Aging and Memory Loss

    Carol Barnes, PhD, believes that once you understand how the normal brain ages, you can better understand diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Far too little is known about the most basic mechanisms of how we remember things, or fail to, as we age. Dr. Barnes studies the brain’s main center for learning and memory- the hippocampus. In her laboratory, Dr. Barnes conducts animal behavioral studies. One major breakthrough has been recording impulses in hundreds of brain cells at once in a freely behaving animal, producing a giant mural of memory in action. That map shows exactly which cells fall down on the job during aging, and could one day show us how to fight Alzheimer’s disease.

  • Studying How Cells Work- or Don’t- in Plants and Humans

    David Galbraith, MA, PhD, is convinced that cell sorting techniques he’s developed in his work as a plant scientist might also have the potential to enhance our understanding of how cells of all types work – or, in the case of diseases such as cancer, how they fail to work. Instead of focusing on the cell as a whole, this technique focuses on cell nuclei – each with distinct genetic material that regulates the functions of all living organisms. This could potentially help us understand everything from how plants respond to environmental stresses and how to increase the yield of food crops, to treating diseases where the action of cells go awry, as happens with cancer.

  • How Modern, Urban Environments Affect Genetic Development and Treatment

    Donata Vercelli, MD, is working to dissect the genetic patterns of thousands of children and focus on the molecular mechanisms that regulate allergic inflammation in humans. In her lab, she is exploring ways that modern urban life has affected genetic development in infants and children in various environments. Dr. Vercelli aims to provide theoretical insights into asthma that will feed into applications in biochemistry and pharmacology for drug designs that will have global impact.

  • The Role that Genetics and the Environment Play in Asthma

    Fernando Martinez, MD, and Regents’ Professor of Pediatrics at the UA, is internationally renowned for his work studying the childhood origins of adult airway disease. Dr. Martinez is focused on finding the links between genetic disposition and environmental triggers underlying the development of asthma and chronic airflow limitation. This includes implementing novel strategies for prevention and early intervention in asthma and COPD.

  • Processing Immense Data Sets to Study Genomes

    Eric Lyons, PhD, is working with the iPlant Collaborative to create a computer infrastructure that enables researchers in the biological sciences to process immense data sets. Dr. Lyons has developed a system called CoGe, or Comparative Genomics. CoGe provides the tools to allow any scientist in the world to compare and analyze any genome side by side. Originally developed for plant genomes, the software is designed to accommodate any set of genomes from all domains of life. This software will make it easier for researchers around the world to identify genes responsible for qualities like disease resistance or food quality in crops, and has major applications for future use with humans.

  • Plant Biotechnology

    Eliot Herman, PhD, and Monica Schmidt, PhD, are working with plant biotechnology to enrich and fortify crops. They spent ten years finding the protein in soybeans responsible for soy allergies, and have created a hypoallergenic soybean. They are now focused on how their hypoallergenic, carotene-enriched soybeans can fortify everyday products to help feed populations, aid premature baby’s intestine formulations, and help with degenerative eye disorders among many other things.

  • Biomedical Optics and Imaging Innovations Promise Earlier Cancer Detection

    Jennifer Barton, PhD, knows that early detection is the single most important factor in cancer survival. However, current testing methodologies have limitations. By combining work in optical engineering and oncology by developing miniature endoscopes that employ novel optical imaging techniques, there is promise for earlier cancer detection. By using Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT), a noninvasive technique that concentrates a beam of near-infrared light on tissue, it will be possible to create an image of the cells below the surface.

  • Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

    Jill Tardiff, MD, PhD, is a nationally renowned cardiologist who specializes in sudden cardiac death, a disease that is one of the main causes of death in young adults. Dr. Tardiff brings an experienced clinical perspective to the strong program in cardiac muscle fibril function and dysfunction at the UA’s Sarver Heart Center.

Commercial Successes

BIO5 scientists work with the UA's Tech Launch Arizona to commercialize discoveries and facilitate connections and collaborations among life scientists, companies, industry, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and economic development organizations.

BIO5 researchers have formed twenty-five spinoff companies in the last eight years, resulting in new technologies, diagnostics, and treatments.


previously Salt Lake City, UT

Montigen was acquired by SuperGen and no longer exists in name. Montigen uses its drug screening method to discover and create promising anti-cancer compounds. Candidate drugs inhibit aurora-A kinase, a gene amplified in most human cancer cells, and small molecules that target tyrosine-kinase receptors that play critical roles in transducing growth signals to cancer cells.

BIO5 Faculty Member(s)

Laurence Hurley


San Diego, CA

Cylene Pharmaceuticals is a clinical-stage, private company. They are developing a first-in-class cancer drug based upon novel structures in DNA that regulate genes.The management team has the experience and talent to deliver these new agents as pharmaceutical drugs to patients and to the market. The company’s record has enabled Cylene to attract investors which will fulfill unmet medical needs of cancer patients and their families.

BIO5 Faculty Member(s)

Laurence Hurley

Valley Fever Solutions

Tucson, AZ

Valley Fever Therapy, Inc. is moving Nikkomycin Z to the market as a therapy for Valley Fever. Valley Fever Therapy is studying pharmaceutical compounds, improved methods of diagnosing cocci and vaccine candidates intended for the prevention of valley fever.

BIO5 Faculty Member(s)

John Galgiani

Sonora Transplants

Tucson, AZ

Sonora Transplants developed rootstocks for greenhouse/controlled environment crop production.

BIO5 Faculty Member(s)

Gene Giacomelli and Chieri Kubota, with Tucson entrepreneurs Robert Schatz and Ron Richman


Tucson, AZ

Luceome offers a rapid method of screening kinase inhibitor drugs for cancer treatment.

BIO5 Faculty Member(s)

Indraneel Ghosh with Reena Zutshi, who serves as CEO


San Francisco, CA

Theregen Corporation (formerly Iken Tissue Therapeutics) is a regenerative medicine company that develops cell-based therapies for patients with cardiovascular and vascular disease.

BIO5 Faculty Member(s)

Stuart Williams


Tucson, AZ

GUSA technology is based on the low-cost manufacture of DNA microarrays.

BIO5 Faculty Member(s)

Mike Hogan


Tucson, AZ

GAAS Corporation is a research and professional services company in the field of bioscience and natural products.  GAAS Analytical offers expertise and experience to the dietary supplement and biotechnology industry, including research institutes and universities, small and medium biotechnology firms, raw material suppliers, finished product manufacturers, and legal professionals.


Carlsbad, CA

GenVault provides integrated archiving and retrieval solutions for organizations managing DNA collections.

BIO5 Faculty Member(s)

Mike Hogan


Tucson, AZ

RediRipe developed an inexpensive produce sticker that changes color when the produce is ripe.

BIO5 Faculty Member(s)

Mark Riley

Q Therapeutics

Salt Lake City, Utah

Q Therapeutics, Inc, develops glial progenitor stem call therapeutics for the treatment and possible cure of glial-mediated diseases in the central nervous system.

BIO5 Faculty Member(s)

Mani Ramaswami


Tucson, AZ

Queregen provides patented expression vectors and services for protein production.

BIO5 Faculty Member(s)

David Harris


Tucson, AZ

Angiomics has a microvessel model to test new drugs that affect angiogenesis (cancer drugs, among others). No technology licensed from the UA.

BIO5 Faculty Member(s)

Stuart Williams and Jay Hoying

Topical Technologies

Tucson, AZ

Topical Technologies develops new topical agents for the prevention of skin cancer.

BIO5 Faculty Member(s)

David Alberts

Cancer Prevention Pharmaceuticals

Tucson, AZ

CPP commercializes a two-drug combination for preventing recurrence of colon cancer.

BIO5 Faculty Member(s)

Eugene Gerner


Tucson, AZ

bioVidria commercializes novel silica-based material for improved throughput in high throughput screening of new drugs and diagnostic applications.

BIO5 Faculty Member(s)

Mary Wirth