Outdoor photo of the Clark Center Courtyard showing a large banner with the Stanford Bio-X logo.

The James H. Clark Center.

The Stanford Bio-X initiative has an inspiring history of sparking interdisciplinary collaboration and innovation to benefit human health. The collaboration that became Bio-X began in 1998, and the first Bio-X Seed Grants were awarded to faculty beginning in 2000. In 2003, the first faculty members moved into the James H. Clark Center, the hub of Bio-X.

At a time when science was suggesting new avenues of research and, indeed, spawning entirely new disciplines of study, Bio-X was designed to bring together faculty and students in engineering, chemistry, physics, biology, medicine, humanities, ethics, law, and now also sustainability. The idea was simple: to encourage these bright minds to pursue high-risk, high-reward interdisciplinary research.

Bio-X has inspired and funded an incredible array of interdisciplinary collaborations, not only among the 50+ faculty who reside at the Clark Center but also among the roughly 1,300 other Stanford faculty affiliated with Bio-X, the 385 Bio-X PhD Fellows, and the 1,000+ undergraduate researchers supported by Bio-X.

As we celebrate two decades of the Clark Center and 25 years of collaborative research through Bio-X, this timeline highlights some of the remarkable moments and noteworthy achievements that have been empowered by Bio-X and the Clark Center, showcasing the strong and innovative community built by the program since its inception.

Dr. Ellen Kuhl.

Ellen Kuhl named director of Stanford Bio-X

Professor Ellen Kuhl, the Walter B. Reinhold Professor in the School of Engineering and currently the Robert Bosch Chair of Mechanical Engineering, will begin her term as the Catherine Holman Johnson Director of Stanford Bio-X on September 1st, 2024.

Research Releases Hot Off the Press

Stanford Bio-X Fellow Jack Silberstein (center)
in the lab.

3D-printed buckyballs printed by the DeSimone
lab's r2rCLIP system.

Stanford Bio-X Fellow Rebecca Culver.

Research Highlights


Stanford Bio-X undergraduate Ashlyn Callan.


Stanford Bio-X Fellow Yuhang Fan in the lab.


Dr. Carolyn Bertozzi.

Carolyn Bertozzi awarded the 2022 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Bertozzi is honored for founding the field of bioorthogonal chemistry, which researchers across the world now use to study molecular interactions in living organisms without disrupting natural cell chemistry.



Dr. Zhenan Bao.

Zhenan Bao receives the VinFuture Prize for female innovators

Zhenan Bao receives the inaugural award for scientific advancements for her pioneering work on the development of skin-inspired electronics and their applications to a range of medical and energy applications.



Dr. Zhenan Bao (left) and Dr. Xiaoke Chen (right)
in the lab.

Stretchable probe measures brain chemicals central to Parkinson’s, depression, and gut disease

With support from a Stanford Bio-X Seed Grant, Bio-X affiliated faculty members Zhenan Bao, Xiaoke Chen, Aida Habtezion, James Dunn, Bianxiao Cui, Sergiu Pașca, and Yi Cui invent NeuroString — a soft, implantable probe that can monitor fluctuations in brain chemicals, like a fitness tracker for the brain.



Dr. Daniel Palanker.

Researchers develop advances in retinal prosthetics

Two manuscripts highlight advances in an implantable devices that can restore vision to patients suffering from macular degeneration. This work was originally launched by a Stanford Bio-X Seed Grant in 2008, facilitating clinical trials and a company. Hear more from Dr. Daniel Palanker and Dr. Stephen Baccus in this video!



Novo Nordisk Foundation fellowship program expands

Inspired by the success of the longtime collaboration between the Foundation and Bio-X, Novo Nordisk expands its Interdisciplinary Postdoctoral Fellowship Programme to include the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Oxford and the Weizmann Institute of Science.

Dr. Karl Deisseroth.

Karl Deisseroth wins the 2021 Lasker Basic Medical Research Award 

Deisseroth and his co-winners are honored for their development of a technique that uses light-activated microbial proteins to activate or inhibit neurons, which led to the development of optogenetics.



Dr. Sergiu Paşca.

Sergiu Paşca receives 2021 Judson Daland Prize

Paşca is awarded the prize for Outstanding Achievement in Patient-Oriented Clinical Investigation for his creation of human brain models that he used to better understand the mechanisms of neuropsychiatric disorders.


Bio-X and Clark Center continue despite the pandemic

Throughout the COVID-19 shutdown, Bio-X's programs and research continue without disruption. The Clark Center stays fully open, and the Bio-X Undergraduate Summer Research Program pivots to a rich virtual program that students say was invaluable in keeping them connected to their peers as well as advancing their scientific careers. Bio-X awards 21 new PhD Fellows and 21 new Seed Grants.

Dr. Ellen Kuhl.

To predict COVID’s spread and recovery, Professor adapts a computational model of the brain

Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, Bio-X Professor Ellen Kuhl transforms her computational model of how diseases spread in the brain into a model that uses real airline travel data to help policymakers understand how decisions could affect the spread of the virus.


A vaccine patch 3D-printed by the DeSimone lab.

3-D printing lab opens in Clark Center

Joseph DeSimone, an innovative polymer chemist, has made breakthrough contributions in green chemistry, fluoropolymer synthesis, colloid science, and nano-biomaterials. DeSimone’s lab focuses on innovative 3-D printing technologies and applications of 3-D fabrication in translational medicine.


Stanford Bio-X Fellow Lyndsay Stapleton.

Improving surgery recovery by reducing adhesive scar tissue with a sprayable gel

Joseph Woo and Eric Appel, with first author Stanford Bio-X Fellow Lyndsay Stapleton, co-authors Stanford Bio-X/Novo Nordisk Foundation Visiting Scholar Anton Smith and Travel Award recipient Anthony Yu, and additional support from a Stanford Bio-X Seed Grant, find that applying a gel to internal tissues after cardiac surgery significantly limits the formation of adhesions, a problematic form of scar tissue.


Insights into herpesvirus infections from cryogenic electron microscopy

With support from a Stanford Bio-X Seed Grant, Ann Arvin and Clark Center building resident Wah Chiu acquire some of the most detailed pictures ever of proteins on the surface of the chicken pox virus to reveal clues about how to block herpesvirus infections.

Dr. Sarah Heilshorn (left) and Dr. Erinn Rankin.

Seed Grant team tackles a deadly form of ovarian cancer

With support from a Bio-X Seed Grant, professors Erinn Rankin, Sarah Heilshorn, and Oliver Dorigo build a collaborative team spanning the schools of medicine and engineering, using new materials and imaging techniques to better understand high-grade serous ovarian cancer.


Left to right: Lydia Tam, Dr. Michelle Monje,
Praveen Pallegar.

Researchers zero in on ‘chemo brain’

A long-term study in the lab of professor Michelle Monje finds that three types of cells in the brain’s white matter are involved in the cognitive dysfunction that follows chemotherapy treatment. The study’s authors include Stanford Bio-X affiliated faculty members Erin Gibson and Hannes Vogel, Stanford Bio-X Genentech Fellow Anna Geraghty, and numerous Stanford undergraduates who participated in the Stanford Bio-X Undergraduate Summer Research Program over multiple years of the study: Andrea Goldstein, Alfonso Ocampo, Jacob Greene, Lydia Tam, and Praveen Pallegar.

Collaboration supercharges medical imaging

Previous Stanford Bio-X Fellow and current Stanford faculty Adam de la Zerda, in collaboration with Bio-X founding faculty member and Nobel Laureate Steve Chu as well as Stanford faculty Darius Moshfeghi and lead author Stanford Bio-X Fellow Orly Liba, find a relatively simple, low-cost fix that substantially improves images obtained via a widely used optical scanning technique, opening the door to “virtual biopsies.”

Dr. Ada Poon (left) and Dr. H.-S. Philip Wong.

Seed Grant team develops nanoantenna that can transmit from inside a living cell

With support from a Bio-X Seed Grant, professors H.-S. Philip Wong and Ada Poon further a collaborative effort to implant nanoscopic antennas into cells to monitor them from within. The cell-sized antenna is so tiny that 10 of them could fit side by side within a human hair.

Carla Shatz wins the Kavli Prize in neuroscience

Bio-X director Shatz and her colleagues are recognized for discovering the mechanisms that the brain uses to determine which connections among neurons to strengthen and which to prune back, shaping how the brain develops.


Stanford Bio-X Fellows.

William K. Bowes Jr. establishes endowment for Bio-X Fellows

Philanthropist and venture capitalist Bowes’ endowment supports the Bio-X Graduate Fellowship Program, which awards three years of full tuition and stipend to current Stanford graduate students with interdisciplinary research interests.

To date, the Bio-X PhD Fellowship program, including the Bowes Fellowships, has awarded a total of 385 Stanford Bio-X PhD Fellows.


Biodesign co-founders Dr. Paul Yock (left) and
Dr. Josh Makower (right).

Name change marks Biodesign’s 15th anniversary

The program is re-named the Stanford Byers Center for Biodesign after Silicon Valley venture capitalist and Biodesign mentor Brook Byers. The anniversary also launches the center’s new emphasis on creating affordable health care technology innovations.

Biodesign has launched 56 companies since inception.

Stanford Bio-X & Novo Nordisk Foundation Visiting
Scholars/Visiting Postdocs.

Stanford Bio-X Senior Scholar Program with Novo Nordisk Foundation launches

The Interdisciplinary Postdoctoral Fellowship Programme brings talented visiting scholars and visiting postdocs from Denmark to Stanford. The Fellows spend three years at Stanford gaining international research and networking experience, with mentorship from Bio-X-affiliated faculty, before returning to Denmark for a final year.

To date, Stanford Bio-X has brought 17 visiting scholars/visiting postdocs to Stanford.

Left to right: Dr. Soichi Wakatsuki, Dr. Yiorgo
Skiniotis, Dr. Wah Chiu.

Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) and Bio-X collaborate to enhance Stanford cryo-EM capabilities, resources, and expertise

Bio-X strengthens its role as a bridge between the main campus and the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. The Clark Center welcomes top-tier SLAC-affiliated researchers Soichi Wakatsuki, Yiorgo Skiniotis, and Wah Chiu, who enhance Stanford’s electron cryo-microscopy capabilities.

Dr. W.E. Moerner.

W.E. Moerner awarded the 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Moerner and his colleagues are honored for their work to develop microscopy techniques that use fluorescence to create high-resolution images of nanoscale molecular structures inside living cells.



Seed Grant recipients Dr. Polly Fordyce (left) and
Dr. Martha Cyert (right).

Stanford Bio-X initiates Bio-X Innovation Partners, beginning to establish an endowment to secure the future of the Bio-X Seed Grants Program

The interest on the endowment provides base level of support for the Stanford Bio-X Interdisciplinary Initiatives Seed Grants Program in perpetuity. The Bio-X Seed Grants catalyze innovation by funding high-risk, high-reward collaborative interdisciplinary projects related to biosciences, engineering, biomedicine, humanities, and sustainability.

To date, the program has awarded Seed Grants to 252 faculty teams.

Dr. Thomas Südhof.

Thomas Südhof awarded the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

Südhof and colleagues receive the Nobel, Südhof for his work in exploring how neurons in the brain communicate with one another across synapses.


Dr. Michael Levitt.

Michael Levitt awarded the 2013 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Levitt and his colleagues receive the prize for building pioneering computerized methods for modeling complex chemical systems, including protein dynamics and enzymatic reactions.


The ChEM-H / Neuro research complex, completed
in 2019.

Stanford Neurosciences Institute launches

Bill Newsome directs the interdisciplinary institute, which is launched from the Bio-X NeuroVentures Program. The campus-wide initiative brings together researchers with existing expertise and those who are new to the field to spur collaborative efforts to understand the brain.

The initiative is now the Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute.


Stanford team discovers receptor for Alzheimer's disease beta-amyloid blocker

Research published in Science shows how a protein fragment known as beta-amyloid, strongly implicated in Alzheimer's disease, begins destroying synapses before it clumps into plaques that lead to nerve cell death. To read more about this work and Bio-X director Carla Shatz, see the October 2013 issue of Discover Magazine.


Dr. Brian Kobilka.

Brian Kobilka is awarded the 2012 Nobel Prize for Chemistry

The studies by Kobilka and colleague Robert Lefkowitz are crucial for understanding how G-protein-coupled receptors function. In 2011, Kobilka and his research team captured an image of the β-adrenergic receptor at the exact moment that it is activated by a hormone and sends a signal into the cell.

Dr. Daphne Koller.

Daphne Koller, Ph.D., trains computers to analyze breast cancer microscopic images

Koller, professor of computer science, and team develop C-Path, which assesses more than 6,500 factors while evaluating the tissue of cancer patients. This machine will assist doctors in identifying cancer while also learning more about the disease itself.


Karl Deisseroth is awarded the inaugural HFSP Nakasone Award

This Stanford Professor and Bio-X researcher is awarded an unrestricted research grant of $10,000 for his work developing new optogenetic methods for the study of neuronal networks underlying behaviors.


Dr. Karl Deisseroth (left) and Dr. Carla
Shatz (right).

Optogenetics Innovation Laboratory opens in Clark

The opening is marked by a Laboratory Open House Ceremony and ribbon cutting by Shatz and Deisseroth, director of the lab.

Since 2010, over a thousand participants from Stanford and around the world have enrolled in training courses and workshops hosted by the Optogenetics Innovation Laboratory (OIL).

Professor sequences his entire genome at low cost, with small team

Stephen Quake completes a genome sequencing project for less than $50,000. Scientists will benefit from this step in cost-efficient technology by creating more examples of human genetic code to study specific genes and mutations.

Dr. Bill Newsome.

Bio-X NeuroVentures Program starts

Bill Newsome directs the new program designed to enhance collaborative activity in neurosciences. The first manifestation of the program will be development of the optogenetics laboratory, building on work by Professor Karl Deisseroth funded through Bio-X in previous years.

NeuroVentures has funded major seed grants as well as collaborative equipment grants.


Noninvasive diagnosis of fetal aneuploidy by shotgun sequencing DNA from maternal blood

New findings developed by a Bio-X professor succeed in finding a new way to sequence DNA samples. Professor Stephen Quake and team have advanced the capabilities of diagnosing conditions before birth.

Dr. Carla Shatz.

Carla Shatz becomes the new director of Stanford Bio-X

President Hennessy names Shatz, head of Harvard’s neurobiology department, to lead Bio-X and chart the growth of its efforts in biomedical research.

Dr. Stephen Quake.

Microfluidics lab opens its foundry at Clark Center

Professor Stephen Quake opens Microfluidics Foundry in the Clark Center to assist academic researchers. The foundry will be a research resource for teachers, researchers and students who work on advancing this effective and valuable technology.


2023 Stanford Bio-X undergraduates.

Bio-X undergraduate summer research program begins

The program started with one applicant in 2006, and has grown to more than 180 applicants annually.

In 2023, Bio-X welcomed 70 undergraduate students into the Bio-X community, supporting their hands-on laboratory research in Stanford faculty labs and their participation in rich Bio-X programming. See group photo.

First Bio-X Symposium, “Watching Life,” hosts more than 400 participants

Jointly hosted by Bio-X, Stanford Molecular Imaging Program and the Beckman Center for Molecular and Genetic Medicine, the event includes presentations on imaging molecules and effective approaches to research.


First Annual Kids’ Day at Clark Center

Stanford students and faculty assist visiting children with hands-on science experiments. Kids are drawn into the amazing and important aspects of science.

The annual Science Day at the Clark Center brought more than 300 young people to campus to learn and discover.

Bio-X PhD fellowship program starts

Nine graduate students win fellowships in the first class to be awarded Bio-X PhDs. The students are from a variety of departments, including Chemistry, Mechanical Engineering and Neuroscience.

385 PhD fellows have been funded by Bio-X to date. 305 of them have completed their programs, received their doctorates, and found exciting positions in academia, industry, and beyond. (See group photo.)


Simbios is funded

Simbios, the NIH Center for Biomedical Computation at Stanford, receives $20 million for a center that explores and simulates biomedical discoveries. The center will develop software that makes it possible to study biological structures and their functions in a safe environment.

Clark Center is completed October 24

The official dedication is held during a ceremony that highlights how the design of the building supports the work of its inhabitants. The speakers reiterate the goals of Bio-X and speak to the building design’s support and communication of these goals, mainly a transparency and lack of barriers.


Bioengineering department takes up residence in the newly completed Clark Center

Faculty committees worked with the Deans of Engineering and Medicine to bring this imaginative program into being.


Biodesign program moves into the Clark Center

The program features a space for students to bring ideas to life using the prototyping lab, materials and work space. The program’s partnership with the Product Realization Lab expands the capability of students to realize their designs. The Biodesign program has been successful in filing dozens of patents and responsible for dozens of startups in the Bay Area.


Animal imaging facilities are established in the building

The Stanford Center for Innovation in In-Vivo Imaging (SCI3) provides a facility that engenders a greater understanding of in-vivo images at both molecular and cellular levels. The main hub of SCI3 resources is housed in the Clark Center. More than a hundred laboratories make use of the technology offered at the SCI3 facility annually.

Dr. Matthew Scott.

Matthew Scott is named the new Director of Bio-X

Professor of developmental biology and genetics Matthew P. Scott is appointed new director of Bio-X for a five-year term. While continuing with his active research, two professorships, and teaching in the School of Medicine, Scott will focus on supporting the initiative’s goals and collaborations in several areas of emphasis: biocomputation, biophysics, biodesign, bioengineering, chemical biology, genomics/proteomics and regenerative medicine.


The Bioengineering department is created through a collaboration between the Schools of Medicine and Engineering

Approved by the Board of Trustees, this department offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. Intended to be housed in the Clark Center until it receives its own building, the Bioengineering department begins accepting graduate students in 2003.

Bioengineering is now a very successful department with graduate and undergraduate programs and dozens of faculty and courtesy faculty.

Construction starts for Clark Center

The building was uniquely designed and is constantly changing to meet the needs of the innovative research and technology being developed by the amazing resident scientists.

Ground breaking for the Clark Center

The Clark Center officially opens on October 24, 2003, with over half of the lab space left as shell space. The remaining labs would be created and customized in the building over time. Architects Foster + Partners are also known for projects like the Hong Kong Airport and the Millennium Bridge in London.

Today 48 faculty labs including over 1,000 scientists work in the Clark Center, and thousands visit the building daily.


The Bio-X IIP seed grants start with the first round of grants

Bio-X awards $3 million in grants for imaginative interdisciplinary research and education projects. The Bio-X Interdisciplinary Initiatives Program Committee called on faculty members to propose imaginative new interdisciplinary, interactive research and educational projects in biology, medicine, computer science, engineering and other disciplines.

Bio-X has now funded 252 projects campus-wide, bringing over 1,000 Stanford faculty together to do collaborative work. The seed grants have resulted in more than 700 publications, over 120 patents, and more than a tenfold return on research funds for Stanford.

Jim Clark funds the creation of the Clark Center as a hub for Bio-X

James Clark, a Stanford alumnus, former professor and Silicon Valley entrepreneur, donates $90 million to fund a home for the Bio-X initiative. An anonymous donor contributes an additional $60 million. The Clark Center becomes the “nucleus” for collaborations taking place across campus.


James Spudich, left, and Steven Chu provide a proof of concept for what would later become Bio-X


Supported by the success of their personal long-standing collaboration, they convene a group of like-minded faculty who envision a program to link the faculty and students of multiple departments with the goal of sharing information and inspiring new and imaginative research projects.

A faculty steering committee is created to provide strategic leadership and direction to Bio-X. Key members include William Mobley, Sharon Long, Jean-Claude Latombe, Lucy Shapiro, Richard Zare, Steve Chu, Jim Spudich, Charles Kruger, Michael Levitt, Harvey Cohen, Chaitan Khosla, and Channing Robertson.

Today more than 1,300 faculty and thousands of other scientists across campus are connected and are conducting collaborative research.

Stanford Bio-X PhD Fellows in 2022 - the 385 Stanford Bio-X PhD Fellows represent 47 different departments and programs.

Stanford Bio-X Undergraduate Summer Research Program participants in 2023 - the Bio-X Undergraduate Summer Research Program
has awarded 1,061 students to date, supporting them to conduct hands-on research in the labs of 374 Stanford faculty members.