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.

  • Neural Regeneration

    Lalitha Madhavan, MD, PhD, is a neurologist whose research concentrates on stem cells and their potential to help understand and treat neurological diseases. The ultimate goal of her studies is to devise brain repair strategies for neurological disorders based on the manipulation of stem cells, and also in combination with other alternative approaches. Her current projects center on studying stem cells in the context of aging and Parkinson’s disease.

  • The Role of Novel Medical Diagnostics in Environmental Monitoring

    Linda Powers, PhD, and her team of bioengineers, have developed technology that enables people working in the field to rapidly monitor and identify microbes causing contamination in floors, water, and air; to detect bioterrorism agents; and to test for disease organisms such as those causing SARS and avian flu. Much of Dr. Powers’ work has commercial applications and can be used in protecting airports and borders, aiding pharmaceutical companies, and speeding water quality testing. Dr. Powers’ is currently working with NASA’s Spaceward Bound program on tests that may be part of a future Mars mission. Her lab is also focused on making less expensive diagnostics for HIV, TB, and malaria for field use in Third World countries.

  • The Role of Nanotechnology in Personalized Medicine

    Marek Romanowski, PhD, and his work on translating physics into medical products have huge implications for the evolution of personalized medicine. On cue, a tiny pillbox of gold floating in your bloodstream can deliver its medicine exactly to the right cell, one that is sick with cancer, avoiding all of your healthy cells. A gold capsule – about 50 to 200 nanometers in diameter, large enough to do the work of transporting a few molecules of medicine and respond to light signals – is too large to pass out through the kidneys. But on command by an enzyme, it can fall apart into pieces smaller than 10 nanometers, just a few molecules. The new size can easily leave our bodies at no risk. The gold pillbox has many other possible applications. In addition to delivering a drug, it can become a part of a diagnostic test, or deliver genetic material to a cell to permanently modify the cells’ DNA—a key step in gene therapy.

  • Bioinformatics and Systems Biology

    Rod Wing, PhD, and his lab, The Arizona Genomics Institute, specialize in building what geneticists call a physical map of a genome- a crucial foundation of any genome sequencing effort. AGI has earned a reputation for providing extremely high-quality maps, as documented in previous sequencing efforts leading to the genome sequences of rice and corn. Having the genome sequence will allow scientists to locate and identify genes that can improve and strengthen crops and increase yield in order to help solve the Earth’s looming food crisis by creating new strains of the cereal crops that make up 60% of humankind’s diet.

  • New Research in the Prevention and Treatment of HPV

    Samuel Campos, PhD, studies early events of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infection. HPVs are small, non-enveloped DNA viruses that cause a variety of lesions ranging from benign waters to cervical cancers. Although over 100 types of HPVs have been identified, HPV16 is the most prevalent, and is alone responsible for more than 50% of cervical cancers in women worldwide. Dr. Campos and his lab study the mechanisms of HPV virus transmission at a cellular level, in hopes to discover new approaches for the prevention and treatment of HPV.

  • Studying the Effects of Nature’s Toxicants on the Lungs

    Scott Boitano, PhD, and his lab focus on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD. Lung disease is expanding worldwide, and is one of the top uncontrolled American epidemics. It leaves about 900.000 Americans too ill to work, costing billions in medical care and lost productivity. Most of the disease is linked to smoking and to environmental and occupational conditions. Dr. Boitano’s main focus is the affect of arsenic on the lung’s epithelial cells. The interactions between arsenic and the body’s tissues affect lives not just in Chile, Mexico, or Bangladesh – where arsenic in drinking water can reach very dangerous levels of up to 500 or even 1,000 ppb—but everywhere. Dr. Boitano is studying the long-term risks found in many American cities and towns where arsenic values are between 50 and 10 ppb, and where there are strong changes in how cells signal each other and repair wounds.

  • Emerging Contaminants and Sustainable Water Systems

    Shane Snyder, PhD, and his group focus on the development of safe water treatment technologies that minimize energy consumption and maximize water quality and sustainability for urban, agricultural, and industrial needs. Their research in chemistry involves developing and applying methodologies to identify and quantify both known and unknown environmental contaminants using a wide array of state of the art analytical instrumentation. By combining the disciplines of engineering, chemistry, and toxicology, they are able to comprehensively address challenging environmental issues such as potable water reuse, municipal bio-solids for agricultural applications and novel disinfection byproducts.

  • Genetic, Evolutionary, and Environmental/Social Basis of Disease

    Yann Klimentidis, PhD, is a geneticist who is developing new, evolutionary-based approaches to determining which areas of the genome could carry genes that explain why certain ethnic groups are more susceptible to diabetes, certain types of cancer, lupus, hypertension, and other common diseases. These approaches could allow us to identify new genes involved in the pathogenesis of these diseases, and thus new therapeutic approaches for prevention and treatment.


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