Welcome to the biweekly electronic newsletter from Stanford Bio-X for members of the Bio-X Corporate Forum. Please contact Dr. Hanwei Li, the Bio-X Corporate Forum Liaison if you would like to be added or removed from this distribution list, or if you have any questions about Stanford Bio-X or Stanford University.
** Check out the article by Stanford President John Hennessy in the Nov/Dec 2013 issue of the Stanford Magazine on Bio-X and the Clark Center, "A Cauldron of Innovation".
Q&A: Stanford's Carla Shatz on fostering successful interdisciplinary collaboration
A national report on the value of interdisciplinary approaches in the sciences highlighted Stanford Bio-X as a model for success. Carla Shatz, the director of Stanford Bio-X, talks about the report's recommendations and the factors that have helped Bio-X shine. Click here for the article!
**SAVE THE DATE: The next Bio-X Interdisciplinary Initiatives Seed Grants Program Symposium is taking place on Wednesday, August 27, 2014 in the Clark Center Auditorium from 1-4 pm, followed by a poster session of various research within the Bio-X community during the reception in the Courtyard. Go below to EVENTS or click here to view the entire agenda with 8 oral presentations on awarded Bio-X Seed Grant projects.
**UPDATE: Bio-X has closed the 7th RFP for its IIP Seed Grants, and review of the 141 Letters of Intent is underway!
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 5 rounds, the IIP awards have resulted in a 10-fold-plus return on investment, as well as hundreds of publications, dozens of patents filed, and most importantly, the acceleration of scientific discovery and innovation.
In 2012, Stanford Bio-X selected 23 new seed grant projects as the winners of the 6th round. Please go here to view the list of awardees, along with the titles of their projects and the abstracts of the research. Competition was intense as the awardees were chosen from 118 Letters of Intent (LOIs). Selection criteria included innovation, high-reward, and interdisciplinary collaboration. (To view the 114 other IIP projects that have been funded from the first 5 rounds, please click here.) In addition, SANOFI has also funded 4 new Bio-X IIP Seed Grant projects from round 6!
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.
IIP Seed Grants-Related Events
** On Monday, March 3, 2014, Bio-X had a Poster Session, featuring 105 different posters from research by all scientists within the Stanford Bio-X community. Over 250 people attended the session, which allowed for an excellent venue to discuss science and research with colleagues from both academia and industry.
** On Monday, August 26, 2013, Bio-X had its second annual IIP Symposium of the year at the Clark Center, which highlights projects that exemplify the Stanford Bio-X mission of crossing boundaries to bring about interdisciplinary research and solutions in the field of life bioscience. The symposium was a huge success with over 300 people attending this event, which included 8 oral presentations and 136 poster presentations. Recorded talks from the symposium will be uploaded soon. If you'd like to view the talks for previous symposia through the years, please click here.
**UPDATE: Bio-X has recently announced its 19 new fellows for the 10th year of the Bio-X Fellowships!!
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.
To date, with the 19 new awardees, Stanford Bio-X has a total of 173 Fellows.
You can view the numerous Fellowship projects that have been awarded over the years as well as oral presentations from previous symposiums here.
**UPDATE: The 9th annual Bio-X USRP is currently underway with this year's 65 new awardees!!
The Bio-X Undergraduate Summer Research Program supports undergraduate research training through an award designed to support interdisciplinary undergraduate summer research projects. The program is an invaluable opportunity for students to conduct hands-on research, learn how to carry out experiments in the laboratory, and develop the skills to read and analyze scientific literature. This program is eligible to Stanford students who want to work in the labs of Bio-X affiliated faculty.
To date, with 65 new awardees from 154 applications this year, 306 students have been awarded the opportunity to participate in the Bio-X Undergraduate Summer Research Program.
Participating undergraduates are also required to present poster presentations on the research that they've conducted during the program. Please click here for title lists of past posters that our undergraduates have presented.
Many fruitful collaborations and relationships have been established with industry through fellowships. Please contact Dr. Hanwei Li or Dr. Heideh Fattaey if you'd like to learn more about how to get involved with these fellowship programs.
Stanford team achieves "Holy Grail" of battery design: a stable lithium anode
Bio-X Affiliated Faculty Yi Cui and Steven Chu
Engineers across the globe have been racing to design smaller, cheaper and more efficient rechargeable batteries to meet the power storage needs of everything from handheld gadgets to electric cars. In a paper published today in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, researchers at Stanford University report that they have taken a big step toward accomplishing what battery designers have been trying to do for decades – design a pure lithium anode. All batteries have three basic components: an electrolyte to provide electrons, an anode to discharge those electrons and a cathode to receive them. Today, we say we have lithium batteries, but that is only partly true. What we have are lithium ion batteries. The lithium is in the electrolyte but not in the anode. An anode of pure lithium would be a huge boost to battery efficiency. “Of all the materials that one might use in an anode, lithium has the greatest potential. Some call it the Holy Grail,” said Yi Cui, a professor of Materials Science and Engineering and leader of the research team. “It is very lightweight, and it has the highest energy density. You get more power per volume and weight, leading to lighter, smaller batteries with more power.” But engineers have long tried and failed to reach this Holy Grail. “Lithium has major challenges that have made its use in anodes difficult. Many engineers had given up the search, but we found a way to protect the lithium from the problems that have plagued it for so long,” said Guangyuan Zheng, a doctoral candidate in Cui’s lab and first author of the paper. In addition to Cui and Zheng, the research team includes Steven Chu, the former U.S. Secretary of Energy and Nobel Laureate who recently resumed his professorship at Stanford. “In practical terms, if we can triple the energy density and simultaneously decrease the cost four-fold, that would be very exciting. We would have a cell phone with triple the battery life and an electric vehicle with a 300 mile range that cost $25,000 – and with better performance than an internal combustion engine car getting 40 mpg,” Chu said.
Blood-oxytocin levels in normal range in children with autism, study finds
Bio-X Affiliated Faculty Karen Parker and Antonio Hardan
Autism does not appear to be solely caused by a deficiency of oxytocin, but the hormone’s universal ability to boost social function may prove useful in treating a subset of children with the developmental disorder, according to new findings from the Stanford University School of Medicine and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford. Low levels of oxytocin, a hormone involved in social functioning, have for years been suspected of causing autism. Prior research seeking a link has produced mixed results. Now, in the largest-ever study to test the purported connection, the range of blood oxytocin levels has been shown to be the same in children with autism as that observed in two comparison groups: children with autistic siblings and children without autistic siblings. In other words, similar numbers of children with low, medium and high oxytocin levels were found in all three groups. A paper describing the new findings was published online Aug. 4 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Although autism was not directly linked to oxytocin deficiency, the Stanford team found that higher oxytocin levels were linked to better social functioning in all groups. All children with autism have social deficits, but in the study these deficits were worst in those with the lowest blood oxytocin and mildest in those with the highest oxytocin. In the comparison groups, children’s social skills also fell across a range that correlated to their oxytocin levels.
Stanford scientists use lasers and carbon nanotubes to look inside living brains
Bio-X Affiliated Faculty Hongjie Dai
Some of the most damaging brain diseases can be traced to irregular blood delivery in the brain. Now, Stanford chemists have employed lasers and carbon nanotubes to capture an unprecedented look at blood flowing through a living brain. The technique was developed for mice but could one day be applied to humans, potentially providing vital information in the study of stroke and migraines, and perhaps even Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. The work is described in the journal Nature Photonics. Current procedures for exploring the brain in living animals face significant tradeoffs. Surgically removing part of the skull offers a clear view of activity at the cellular level. But the trauma can alter the function or activity of the brain or even stimulate an immune response. Meanwhile, non-invasive techniques such as CT scans or MRI visualize function best at the whole-organ level; they cannot visualize individual vessels or groups of neurons.
Autistic brain less flexible at taking on tasks, study shows
Bio-X Affiliated Faculty Vinod Menon
The brains of children with autism are relatively inflexible at switching from rest to task performance, according to a new brain-imaging study from the Stanford University School of Medicine. Instead of changing to accommodate a job, connectivity in key brain networks of autistic children looks similar to connectivity in the resting brain. And the greater this inflexibility, the more severe the child’s manifestations of repetitive and restrictive behaviors that characterize autism, the study found. The study, published online July 29 in Cerebral Cortex, used functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI, to examine children’s brain activity at rest and during two tasks: solving simple math problems and looking at pictures of different faces. The study included an equal number of children with and without autism. The developmental disorder, which now affects one of every 68 children in the United States, is characterized by social and communication deficits, repetitive behaviors and sensory problems.
Researchers discover universal molecular ‘flag’ that highlights critical genes
Bio-X Affiliated Faculty Anne Brunet
After probing more than 200 genetic data sets, researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have identified a molecular flag that labels genes critical to a cell’s function. The flag appears to exist universally — in cells ranging from worms to humans — and can be used to help decipher the function of unfamiliar cells, said Anne Brunet, PhD, associate professor of genetics and senior author of the study. For example, by examining a cell’s collection of flagged genes, researchers can classify a cell as a muscle, skin or other type of cell. “This is the new era of using available data to make really new hypotheses and new discoveries,” Brunet said. “This paper exemplifies why it’s nice to be at Stanford where we’re embracing big data.” The study was published in the July 31 issue of Cell. This identifying flag is a long molecule, abbreviated as H3K4me3, that attaches to the proteins associated with DNA called histones. Other researchers had spotted this flag, but no one had probed its prevalence or significance. It generally marks about 1,000 genes in each cell, but the genes flagged vary among types of cells, Brunet said. The molecule does not cue the cells to make more of the proteins encoded by the genes it marks. Instead, Brunet said, she believes it regulates how frequently the DNA is transcribed, ensuring that the critical proteins are produced methodically, like clockwork, rather than in spurts of rapid transcription followed by transcription-free gaps.
Study reveals brain mechanism behind chronic pain’s sapping of motivation
Bio-X Affiliated Faculty Rob Malenka
Chronic pain is among the most abundant of all medical afflictions in the developed world. It differs from a short-term episode of pain not only in its duration, but also in triggering in its sufferers a psychic exhaustion best described by the question, “Why bother?” A new study in mice, conducted by investigators at the Stanford University School of Medicine, has identified a set of changes in key parts of the brain that may explain chronic pain’s capacity to stifle motivation. The discovery could lead to entirely new classes of treatment for this damaging psychological consequence of chronic pain. Many tens of millions of people in the United States suffer persistent pain due to diverse problems including migraines, arthritis, lower back pain, sports injuries, irritable bowel syndrome and shingles. For many of these conditions, there are no good treatments, and a crippling loss of mojo can result. “With chronic pain, your whole life changes in a way that doesn’t happen with acute pain,” said Robert Malenka, MD, PhD, the Nancy Friend Pritzker Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and the study’s senior author. “Yet this absence of motivation caused by chronic pain, which can continue even when the pain is transiently relieved, has been largely ignored by medical science.” A series of experiments in mice by Malenka and his colleagues, described in a study published Aug. 1 in Science, showed that persistent pain causes changes in a set of nerve cells in a deep-brain structure known to be important in reward-seeking behavior: the pursuit of goals likely to yield pleasurable results. Malenka’s lab has been studying this brain structure, the nucleus accumbens, for two decades. “We showed that those brain changes don’t go away when you transiently relieve the mice’s pain,” Malenka said. The experiments also indicated that the mice’s diminished motivation to perform reward-generating tasks didn’t stem from their pain’s rendering them incapable of experiencing pleasure or from any accompanying physical impairment, he said.
Rare developmental disorder linked to tumor-suppressing protein, researchers find
Bio-X Affiliated Faculty Laura Attardi
A protein known for its tumor-suppressing properties can also trigger developmental disorders, including CHARGE syndrome, according to researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine. CHARGE, which affects 1 in 10,000 babies, is an acronym whose letters stand for some of the more common symptoms of the condition: coloboma of the eye, heart defects, atresia of the choanae, retardation of growth and/or development, genital and/or urinary abnormalities, and ear abnormalities and deafness. Originally, the researchers were examining the tumor-suppressive properties of the protein, called p53, not investigating developmental disorders. But when a mouse model developed a strange set of deficiencies, the researchers followed a trail of clues that led them to link p53 with CHARGE syndrome. “It was a very big surprise and very intriguing,” said Jeanine Van Nostrand, PhD, lead author of a paper describing the research and a former Stanford graduate student, now at The Salk Institute for Biological Studies. “P53 had never before been shown to have a role in CHARGE.” The paper was published online Aug. 3 in Nature. The senior author is Laura Attardi, PhD, professor of radiation oncology and of genetics.
Stanford bioengineers create remote-controlled nanoscale protein motors
Bio-X Affiliated Faculty Zev Bryant
In every cell in your body, tiny protein motors are toiling away to keep you going. Moving muscles, dividing cells, twisting DNA – they are the workhorses of biology. But there is still uncertainty about how they function. To help biologists in the quest to know more, a team of Stanford bioengineers has designed a suite of protein motors that can be controlled remotely by light. "Biology is full of these nanoscale machines that can perform complex tasks," said Zev Bryant, an assistant professor of bioengineering and leader of the team. "We want to understand how they can convert chemical energy into mechanical work and perform their specific tasks in cells." Bryant's team, including doctoral student Muneaki Nakamura, designed blueprints for protein motors that would respond to light. Splicing together DNA from different organisms such as pig, slime mold and oat – the oat had the light-detecting module – the bioengineers created DNA codes for each of their protein motors. The remote-controlled nanomotors are described by Nakamura, Bryant and their colleagues in a paper that appeared online Aug. 3 in Nature Nanotechnology.
August 11, 2014, 6:45 am - 8 am
LKSC Lecture Hall 130, Stanford, CA
"Issues in Anesthesia Related Health Policy Research: Evidence of Value & Value of Evidence"
Speaker: Thomas Miller, PhD, MBA Director of Health Policy Research, ASA
|Neurology & Neurosciences
August 22, 2014, 8 am - 9 am
300 Pasteur Drive/LKSC-130, Stanford, CA
"Rapidly Progressive Dementia"
Speaker: Michael Geschwind, MD, UCSF
|Bio-X Interdisciplinary Initiatives Symposium
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Clark Center Auditorium
Bio-X Interdisciplinary Initiatives Program grant awardees will give fifteen-minute presentations at the symposium. A poster session will be held during a post symposium reception, where students involved in interdisciplinary research will present their work.
Biomarkers of the Social Deficits of Children with Autism
KAREN PARKER (Psychiatry)
Antonio Hardan (Psychiatry)
Joshua Elias (Chemical & System Biology)
Pluridirectional High-energy Agile Scanning Electron Radiotherapy (PHASER): A Novel Design for Radiation Treatment of Cancer
PETER MAXIM (Radiation Oncology)
Billy Loo (Radiation Oncology)
Sami Tantawi (SLAC)
Visualizing the Molecular Processes of the Retina in Living Subjects
ADAM DE LA ZERDA (Structural Biology)
Mark Blumenkranz (Ophthalmology)
Single Molecule and High-Resolution Imaging of Developmental Signal Transducers
W.E. MOERNER (Chemistry)
Matthew Scott (Developmental Biology)
Developing Biomimetic Hydrogels to Enhance Pluripotent Stem Cell-based Therapy for Smooth Muscle Tissue Repair
FAN YANG (Orthopaedic Surgery)
Renee Reijo Pera (Obstetrics and Gynecology)
Bertha Chen (Obstetrics and Gynecology)
Real-time Measurements of Biological Interactions using Multiplexed Peptide Arrays on Silicon Wafer
PJ UTZ (Medicine)
Shan Xiang Wang (Electrical Engineering)
Engineering the Outside of the Cell from Within: Cytoskeletal Control of Cell Wall Structure and Mechanics
KC HUANG (Bioengineering)
Wolf Frommer (Biology)
David Ehrhardt (Plant Biology)
Probing the Active Mechanics of Hair Cells - Faster than the Speed of Hearing
BETH PRUITT (Mechanical Engineering)
Tony Ricci (Otolaryngology)
Reception and poster session
|Bio-X Seed Grants
The Stanford 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 Stanford Bio-X or Stanford University, please contact Dr. Hanwei Li, the Bio-X Corporate Forum Liaison, at 650-725-1523 or email@example.com, or Dr. Heideh Fattaey, the Executive Director of Bio-X Operations and Programs, at 650-799-1608 or firstname.lastname@example.org.