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
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 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.
** THE LIST OF 23 NEW AWARDEES FOR OUR 6TH ROUND OF SEED GRANTS ARE NOW LISTED ON THE BIO-X WEBSITE. 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.
** On Monday, August 27, 2012, Bio-X held one of its 2 annual IIP Seed Grant symposiums at the Clark Center Auditorium, which showcases some of the awarded seed grant projects. The symposium was a success with 8 podium presentations, 154 poster presentations, and over 200 attendants. The recorded talks are now posted online here. Previously recorded talks are here.
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 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.
De la Zerda, assistant professor of structural biology, has been named one of Forbes Magazine's "30 under 30"
Bio-X Affiliated Faculty Adam de la Zerda (also former Bio-X Fellow)
De la Zerda, assistant professor of structural biology, has been named one of Forbes Magazine's "30 under 30." Each year, the magazine compiles a list of 30 up-and-coming stars under the age of 30 in 12 different categories. Nominations are submitted by readers and a panel of experts in each category. De la Zerda, who was chosen for the science category, pioneered novel molecular-imaging techniques in which he uses nanotechnology to watch how molecules move within the body, leading to insights at the cellular level of what goes wrong in diseases such as cancer and age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness.
Researchers both induce, relieve depression symptoms in mice by stimulating single brain region with light
Bio-X Affiliated Faculty Karl Deisseroth
Among those who suffer from depression, the dual inabilities to experience enjoyment in things once pleasurable and to physically motivate oneself — to meet challenges, or even to get out of bed in the morning — have been documented for decades, though it has been mysterious why these very different kinds of symptoms show up together, and also disappear together when depression is successfully treated. It has been suspected that the brain chemical dopamine could be a key player in the illness. And yet, in the long history of the study of depression, no one has been able to clearly tie these key concepts together, until now. Researchers at Stanford University have successfully induced and relieved depression-like deficiencies in both pleasure and motivation in mice by controlling just a single area of the brain known as the ventral tegmental area. It is the first time that well-defined types of neurons within a specific brain region have been directly tied to the control of myriad symptoms of major depressive illness. In the paper published in Nature on Dec. 12, Stanford bioengineer Karl Deisseroth, MD, PhD, and a team including postdoctoral scholars Kay Tye, PhD, and Melissa Warden, PhD, and research assistant Julie Mirzabekov have used a technique known as optogenetics to pinpoint a specific brain location that produces multiple depression-like symptoms. The region in question is the ventral tegmental area, or VTA, a source of dopamine and a central player in the brain’s internal motivation and reward systems.
Researchers report progress in quest to create objective method of detecting pain
Bio-X Affiliated Faculty Sean Mackey
A method of analyzing brain structure using advanced computer algorithms accurately predicted 76 percent of the time whether a patient had lower back pain in a new study by researchers from the Stanford University School of Medicine. The study, published online Dec. 17 in Cerebral Cortex, reported that using these algorithms to read brain scans may be an early step toward providing an objective method for diagnosing chronic pain. “People have been looking for an objective pain detector — a ‘pain scanner’ — for a long time,” said Sean Mackey, MD, PhD, chief of the Division of Pain Medicine and professor of anesthesiology, pain and perioperative medicine, and of neurosciences and neurology. “We’re still a long way from that, but this method may someday augment self-reporting as the primary way of determining whether a patient is in chronic pain.” The need for a better way to objectively measure pain instead of relying solely on self-reporting has long been acknowledged. But the highly subjective nature of pain has made this an elusive goal. Advances in neuroimaging techniques have initiated a debate over whether this may be possible. Such a tool would be particularly useful in treating very young or very old patients or others who have difficulty communicating, Mackey said.
Researchers use stem cells to pinpoint cause of common type of sudden cardiac death
Bio-X Affiliated Faculty Joseph Wu
When a young athlete dies unexpectedly on the basketball court or the football field, it’s both shocking and tragic. Now Stanford University School of Medicine researchers have, for the first time, identified the molecular basis for a condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy that is the most common cause for this type of sudden cardiac death. To do so, the Stanford scientists created induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS cells, from the skin cells of 10 members of a family with a genetic mutation that causes the condition. The researchers then coaxed the cells to become heart muscle cells so they could closely study the cells’ behavior and responsiveness to the chemical and electrical signals that keep a heart beating normally. They also used these bioengineered heart cells to quickly pinpoint the drugs most likely to be effective in human patients and to study their potential as preventive medications. ... The research highlights what many experts consider to be some of the main advantages of iPS cells — the ability to quickly create patient-specific cells of nearly any tissue type for study, as well as to allow rapid and safe drug screening. Wu, an associate professor of medicine and the co-director of the Stanford Cardiovascular Institute, is the senior author of the research, published Jan. 3 in Cell Stem Cell. Postdoctoral scholars Feng Lan, PhD, and Ping Liang, PhD, and graduate student Andrew Lee are co-first authors of the work.
Peel-and-stick solar panels
Bio-X Affiliated Faculty Xiaolin Zheng
For all their promise, solar cells have frustrated scientists in one crucial regard – most are rigid. They must be deployed in stiff and often heavy fixed panels, limiting their applications. So researchers have been trying to get photovoltaics to loosen up. The ideal: flexible, decal-like solar panels that can be peeled off like band-aids and stuck to virtually any surface, from papers to window panes. Now the ideal is real. Stanford researchers have succeeded in developing the world’s first peel-and-stick thin-film solar cells. The advance is described in a paper in the December 20th issue of Scientific Reports. Unlike standard thin-film solar cells, peel-and-stick thin-film solar cells do not require any direct fabrication on the final carrier substrate. This is a far more dramatic development than it may initially seem. All the challenges associated with putting solar cells on unconventional materials are avoided with the new process, vastly expanding the potential applications of solar technology.
Blood test accurately predicts lymphedema, study shows
Cardiovascular Medicine Faculty Stanley Rockson
Scientists at the Stanford University School of Medicine have identified a set of proteins circulating in blood whose levels accurately flag the presence of lymphedema. The findings, reported Dec. 18 in PLoS ONE, spur optimism that this common but relatively neglected condition, which affects an estimated 10 million people in the United States, finally will be amenable to detection (and, eventually, treatment) with 21st-century techniques. Lymphedema is an often-painful inflammatory condition resulting from the blockage of lymphatic vessels that ordinarily drain fluid from the tissues throughout the body. In the developed world, lymphedema most often arises as an unintended consequence of radiation therapy for cancer. For example, about one in four breast-cancer survivors eventually develops lymphedema, said Stanley Rockson, MD, professor of cardiovascular medicine and the study’s senior author. Numerous other factors, including parasitic infections endemic in some developing countries, can cause it as well, he said.
January 8, 2013, 4:15 pm - 5:15 pm
Alway M106, Stanford, CA
"Beyond Immune Checkpoint Blockade: Manipulation of T cell Regulatory Circuits in Cancer Therapy"
Presenter: James Allison, Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
January 9, 2013, 2 pm - 3 pm
Clark Center S360, Stanford, CA
"Harnessing gene-environment interactions to identify functional targets for molecular intervention in phenotype"
Speaker: Oliver Stegle, PhD, Wellcome Trust Genome Sciences
|Neurology and Neurosciences
January 14, 2013, 4 pm - 5 pm
Clark Center Auditorium, Stanford, CA
FRONTIERS IN AGING - "The Proteostasis Challenge in Biology, Aging and Disease"
Speaker: Richard Morimoto, PhD, Northwestern University
|Nanobiotechnology Seminar Series
January 10, 2013, 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm
Munzer Auditorium, Stanford, CA
Speaker: David Haussler, PhD, UCSC
Some Wednesdays 10 am, Oct 2012 - May 2013
An exciting program in medical imaging research
Jan - Dan Spielman - Metabolic Imaging of the Heart using Hyperpolarized 13C MRS
Feb 20 - Jennifer McNab - Initial Applications of 300 mT/m Gradients
April 17 - Edward Shapiro - The History of CT Reseach at Varian- from the mid-70s' to today
May 22 - Anthony Wagner - Cognitive Neuroscience of Remembering: fMRI approaches to Understanding Memory
|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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or Dr. Heideh Fattaey, the Executive Director of Bio-X Operations and Programs, at 650-799-1608 or email@example.com.