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 113 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.

In the spring of 2012, we will have a call for proposals for the 6th round of seed grants from our faculty. Competition is intense, and the criteria for the proposals include innovation, high-reward, and interdisciplinary collaboration. To view the different projects that have been funded, please click here.

Every year, two symposia are held at the Clark Center to showcase the seed grant projects. Talks that are presented at the symposia are recorded, and can be viewed here. The next IIP symposium will take place at the Clark Center on February 13, 2012.

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.



Technologies give high-resolution ‘snapshot’ of cancer tissues
Bio-X affiliated faculty Stephen Quake and Michael Clarke
Stanford researchers have melded tools and technologies from engineering, computer science and stem cell biology to analyze hundreds of individual cancer cells and draw the most accurate portrait yet of the cellular composition of human colon cancer tissues. In doing so, they have shown that the development of cancer is a kind of caricature of normal tissue development, and have discovered markers that allow them to gauge more accurately how dangerous a cancer is likely to be. They hope the work will lead to better and more targeted cancer therapies. ... In a paper published online Nov. 13 in Nature Biotechnology, a team led by Stephen Quake, PhD, and Michael Clarke, MD describes how they used the single-cell PCR microfluidic technology invented in the Quake laboratory to analyze the individual gene-expression profile of hundreds of single colon cancer cells, which then they grouped into different subtypes.

Aging stem cells may explain higher prevalence of leukemia, infections among elderly
Bio-X affiliated faculty Irv Weissman
Human stem cells aren’t immune to the aging process, according to scientists at the Stanford University School of Medicine. The researchers studied hematopoietic stem cells, which create the cells that comprise the blood and immune system. Understanding when and how these stem cells begin to falter as the years pass may explain why some diseases, such as acute myeloid leukemia, increase in prevalence with age, and also why elderly people tend to be more vulnerable to infections such as colds and the flu. “We know that immune system function seems to decline with increasing age,” said Wendy Pang, MD. “This is the first study comparing the function and gene expression profiles of young and old purified, human hematopoietic stem cells, and it tells us that these clinical changes can be traced back to stem cell function.” ... The study was published online Nov. 28 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Pang, who is in the Medical Science Training Program at Stanford, is the first author of the research; professor of pathology Irving Weissman, MD, is the senior author. Weissman is also the director of Stanford’s Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine.

Regeneration of specialized cells offers hope for treating chronic kidney disease
Bio-X affiliated faculty Steven Artandi
Damage to podocytes — a specialized type of epithelial cell in the kidney — occurs in more than 90 percent of all chronic kidney disease. Now researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have uncovered an unexpected pathway that reveals for the first time how these cells may regenerate and renew themselves during normal kidney function. This finding is an important step toward one day therapeutically coaxing the cells to divide, which could be used to treat people with chronic kidney disease. “Researchers have studied these cells for years, but the prevailing view has been that they don’t renew themselves,” said associate professor of medicine Steven Artandi, MD, PhD. “Now we’ve found that podocytes can enter and leave the cell cycle in response to certain common signaling pathways.”

Nanoparticle electrode for batteries could make large-scale power storage on the energy grid feasible, say Stanford researchers
Bio-X affiliated faculty Yi Cui
The sun doesn't always shine and the breeze doesn't always blow and therein lie perhaps the biggest hurdles to making wind and solar power usable on a grand scale. If only there were an efficient, durable, high-power, rechargeable battery we could use to store large quantities of excess power generated on windy or sunny days until we needed it. And as long as we're fantasizing, let's imagine the battery is cheap to build, too. Now Stanford researchers have developed part of that dream battery, a new electrode that employs crystalline nanoparticles of a copper compound. In laboratory tests, the electrode survived 40,000 cycles of charging and discharging, after which it could still be charged to more than 80 percent of its original charge capacity. For comparison, the average lithium ion battery can handle about 400 charge/discharge cycles before it deteriorates too much to be of practical use.

Scientists identify defect in brain cell channel that may cause autism-like syndrome
Bio-X affiliated faculty Ricardo Dolmetsch
Neuroscientists at Stanford University School of Medicine have homed in on potential differences in autistic people’s brain cells by studying brainlike spheres grown in an elaborate process from skin cells. The scientists studied cells from patients with Timothy syndrome, a rare genetic condition that is associated with one of the most penetrant forms of autism: In other words, most people with the Timothy syndrome mutation have autism as a symptom, among other problems. ... In this study, the scientists suggest that the autism in Timothy syndrome patients is caused by a gene mutation that makes calcium channels in neuron membranes defective, interfering with how those neurons communicate and develop. The flow of calcium into neurons enables them to fire, and the way that the calcium flow is regulated is a pivotal factor in how our brains function.



MIPS Molecular Imaging Seminar
December 12, 2011, 4:30 pm - 5:30 pm
Clark Auditorium, Stanford, CA
"Iron oxide nanoparticles for molecular and cellular imaging"
Speaker: Claire Corot, Research Vice President, Guerbet
December 13, 2011, 4 pm - 5 pm
Clark Auditorium, Stanford, CA
"Role of Dendritic Cells in Promoting, Preventing and Treating Cancer"
Speaker: Edgar Engleman, MD, Professor of Stanford University
December 14, 2011, 4 pm - 5 pm
Clark Auditorium, Stanford, CA
Frontiers in Biology - "The strange case of pluripotentiality: embryonic stem cells, germ cells and genomic conflicts"
Speaker: Thomas Zwaka, MD, Professor at Baylor College of Medicine
January 12, 2012, 11 am - 12 pm
Clark Center Auditorium, Stanford, CA
"Frontiers in Quantitative Biology Seminar"
Speaker: Bill Bialek, PhD, Professor of Princeton University



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: 
December 09, 2011