Welcome to the biweekly electronic newsletter from the Bio-X Program at Stanford University for members of the Bio-X Corporate Forum. Please contact us if you would like to be added or removed from this distribution list, or if you have any questions about Bio-X or Stanford.

Seed Grant Program

SEED GRANTS FOR SUCCESS - Stanford Bio-X Interdisciplinary Initiatives Program (IIP)

The Bio-X Interdisciplinary Initiatives Program represents a key Stanford Initiative to address challenges in human health. The IIP awards approximately $3 million every other year in the form of two-year grants averaging about $150,000 each. From its inception in 2000 through the fifth round in 2010, the program has provided critical early-stage funding to 114 different interdisciplinary projects, involving collaborations from over 300 faculty members, and creating over 450 teams from five different Stanford schools. From just the first 4 rounds, the IIP awards have resulted in a tenfold-plus return on investment, as well as hundreds of publications, dozens of patents filed, and most importantly, the acceleration of scientific discovery and innovation.

THIS YEAR IS OUR 6TH ROUND OF SEED GRANTS, AND WE'VE RECEIVED 118 LETTERS OF INTENT (LOIs). We're currently in the process of reviewing the selected LOIs, which will have full proposals as part of their seed grant applications. Competition is intense, and the criteria for the proposals include innovation, high-reward, and interdisciplinary collaboration. To view the 114 different projects that have been funded from the first 5 rounds, please click here.

** IIP SEED GRANT SYMPOSIUM NEXT MONDAY, AUGUST 27, 2012: Each year, Bio-X holds 2 annual IIP symposia which showcases the awarded seed grant projects. The next one will take place on Monday, August 27, 2012 in the Clark Center Auditorium, including both oral and poster presentations. Please click here or see below under "EVENTS" for the oral presentation agenda. The last symposium was held on February 13, 2012, and over 150 attendants were present for the 8 podium presentations and 103 poster presentations. The recorded talks are now online.

We are cultivating and are highly successful in building meaningful collaborations with numerous corporate colleagues. New collaborations through our seed grant projects are highly encouraged. To learn about how to get involved, please contact Dr. Hanwei Li or Dr. Heideh Fattaey.




Every year, graduate students and postdoctoral scholars of Bio-X affiliated faculty are highly encouraged to apply for the Bio-X Fellowships, which are awarded to research projects that are interdisciplinary and utilize the technologies of different fields to solve different biological questions. Students are encouraged to work collaboratively with professors of different departments, thus creating cross-disciplinary relationships among the different Stanford schools. Our fellows have conducted exciting research, resulting in publications in high-impact journals and have been offered excellent positions in industry and academia.

** On Thursday June 21, 2012, our 18 newest Bio-X Fellowship awardees were just announced at the BIO-X FELLOWS SYMPOSIUM. The symposium also consisted of four 15-minute presentations and thirty-five 1-minute research introductions that truly demonstrated the synergy of different yet distinctive disciplines, merged together to address various life bioscience questions. To date, we now have a total of 126 Bio-X Fellows. To view the numerous projects that have been awarded over the years, please click here.

Many fruitful collaborations and relationships have been established with industry through these fellowships. Please contact Dr. Hanwei Li or Dr. Heideh Fattaey if you'd like to learn more about how to get involved with the Bio-X Fellowships.



Stanford/Intel study details power of new chip to diagnose disease, analyze protein interactions
Bio-X Affiliated Faculty PJ Utz

Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine and Intel Corp. have collaborated to synthesize and study a grid-like array of short pieces of a disease-associated protein on silicon chips normally used in computer microprocessors. They used this chip, which was created through a process used to make semiconductors, to identify patients with a particularly severe form of the autoimmune disease lupus. Although the new technology is focused on research applications, it has the potential to eventually improve diagnoses of a multitude of diseases, as well as to determine more quickly what drugs may be most effective for a particular patient. It may also speed drug development by enabling researchers to better understand how proteins interact in the body. “When I see patients in the clinic right now, I may know they have arthritis, but I don’t know which of the 20 or 30 types of the disease they have,” said associate professor of medicine Paul (P.J.) Utz, MD, noting that existing methods can take days or even weeks to answer such questions. “Now we can measure thousands of protein interactions at a time, integrate this information to diagnose the disease and even determine how severe it may be. We may soon be able to do this routinely while the patient is still in the physician’s office.”

Blocking destruction of defective proteins unexpectedly delays neurodegeneration in mice, study shows
Molecular and Cellular Physiology Faculty Thomas Sudhof

One might expect that ridding a brain cell of damaged proteins would be a universally good thing, and that impairing the cell’s ability to do this would allow the faulty proteins to accumulate within the cell, possibly to toxic levels. So a lot of scientific effort has gone into looking for ways to enhance the process by which cells dispose of banged-up proteins. But this thinking may need some revision, according to a new study from the Stanford University School of Medicine. Senior author Thomas Sudhof, MD, professor of molecular and cellular physiology, and his fellow researchers have unexpectedly found that inhibiting the process by which damaged proteins are ordinarily broken down within cells both delayed the onset of symptoms in laboratory mice that are highly prone to neurodegeneration and significantly increased their longevity. The study, published online Aug. 15 in Science Translational Medicine, also showed that blocking the activity of cells’ in-house garbage disposals — known in the biology business as proteasomes — in nerve cells taken from the neurodegeneration-prone mice restored several key biochemical characteristics necessary for the cells’ healthy function.

Modeling and experiments of magneto-nanosensors for diagnostics of radiation exposure and cancer
Bio-X Affiliated Faculty Shan Wang
Publication in Biomed Microdevices

Abstract: We present a resistive network model, protein assay data, and outlook of the giant magnetoresistive (GMR) spin-valve magneto-nanosensor platform ideal for multiplexed detection of protein biomarkers in solutions. The magneto-nanosensors are designed to have optimal performance considering several factors such as sensor dimension, shape anisotropy, and magnetic nanoparticle tags. The resistive network model indicates that thinner spin-valve sensors with narrower width lead to higher signals from magnetic nanoparticle tags. Standard curves and real-time measurements showed a sensitivity of ~10 pM for phosphorylated-structural maintenance of chromosome 1 (phosphor-SMC1), ~53 fM for granulocyte colony stimulation factor (GCSF), and ~460 fM for interleukin-6 (IL6), which are among the representative biomarkers for radiation exposure and cancer.

Identification of naturally occurring fatty acids of the myelin sheath that resolve neuroinflammation
Bio-X Affiliated Faculty Lawrence Steinman and William Robinson
Publication in Sci Transl Med, Vol 4, Iss 137

Abstract: Lipids constitute 70% of the myelin sheath, and autoantibodies against lipids may contribute to the demyelination that characterizes multiple sclerosis (MS). We used lipid antigen microarrays and lipid mass spectrometry to identify bona fide lipid targets of the autoimmune response in MS brain, and an animal model of MS to explore the role of the identified lipids in autoimmune demyelination. We found that autoantibodies in MS target a phosphate group in phosphatidylserine and oxidized phosphatidylcholine derivatives. Administration of these lipids ameliorated experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis by suppressing activation and inducing apoptosis of autoreactive T cells, effects mediated by the lipids' saturated fatty acid side chains. Thus, phospholipids represent a natural anti-inflammatory class of compounds that have potential as therapeutics for MS.



August 23, 2012, 4:30 PM - 5:30 pm
Clark Center Auditorium, Stanford, CA
“Imaging with Peptides - Past, Present and Future”
Speaker: Ananth Srinivasan, PhD, Consulting Professor
Chemical and Systems Biology
August 24, 2012, 12 pm - 1 pm
Munzer Auditorium, Stanford, CA
“Mitochondrial genomics: new insights into an ancient organelle”
Speaker: Vamsi Mootha, MD, Harvard Medical School
Bio-X IIP Symposium
August 27, 1 - 5 pm
Clark Center Auditorium: Stanford, CA

Symposium Talk Titles and Speakers:
1:00pm ~ Introduction

1:10pm ~ Novel Molecular Force Probes to Investigate the Mechanism of Touch Sensation ~ Prof. Alexander Dunn (Chemical Engineering)

1:30pm ~ Examining the threshold of T cell memory by AFM-based receptor mapping ~ Prof. Manish Butte (Pediatrics)

1:50 pm ~ Imaging the Ovarian Cancer-Associated Protein AXL to Stage Disease and Monitor Therapy ~ Prof. Edward Graves (Radiation Oncology)

2:10pm ~ Computerized Quantitative Imaging Assessment of Age-Related Acute Macular Degeneration ~ Prof. Daniel Rubin (Radiology)

2:30pm ~ A compact optical sensor for parallel analysis of blood components ~ Prof. James Harris (Electrical Engineering)

2:50pm ~ Rapid Laser-based Diagnostic Tool for Pulmonary Tuberculosis ~ Prof. Robert Byer (Applied Physics)

3:10pm ~ Novel Silk Scaffolds for Pancreatic Islet Encapsulation ~ Prof. Magali Fontaine (Pathology)

3:30pm ~ Protection of mitochondrial functions in neurons from patients with Huntington’s diseases ~ Prof. Xin Qi (Case Western Reserve University)

3:50pm ~ Closing comments

4:00pm ~ Reception and poster session (Clark Courtyard)



Stanford University
Bio-X at Stanford University
Bio-X Seed Grants
The Bio-X Interdisciplinary Initiatives Program (IIP) provides seed funding for high-risk, high-reward, collaborative projects across the university, and have been highly successful in fostering transformative research.
Office of Technology and Licensing "Techfinder"
Search the OTL Technology Portal to find technologies available for licensing from Stanford.
Stanford Center for Professional Development
- Take advantage of your FREE membership!
- Take online graduate courses in engineering, leadership and management, bioscience, and more.
- Register for free webinars and seminars, and gets discounts on courses.
Stanford Biodesign Video Tutorials on how FDA approves medical devices
A series of video briefs recently produced by the Stanford Biodesign Program teaches innovators how to get a medical device approved for use in the United States. This free, online library of 60 videos provides detailed information on the Food and Drug Administration regulatory process, short case studies and advice on interacting with the FDA.

To learn more about Bio-X or Stanford University, please contact Dr. Hanwei Li, the Corporate Forum Liaison of Bio-X, at 650-725-1523 or lhanwei1@stanford.edu, or Dr. Heideh Fattaey, the Executive Director of Bio-X Operations and Programs, at 650-799-1608 or hfattaey@stanford.edu.

Release Date: 
August 20, 2012