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 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.
CURRENTLY, WE ARE HAVING OUR 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 114 different projects that have been funded so far, please click here.
On February 13, 2012, we held one of our two annual IIP symposia at the Clark Center, which showcases the awarded seed grant projects. 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.
Scientists discover multitude of drug side effects, interactions using new computer algorithm
Bio-X Affiliated Faculty Russ Altman
A week ago, you started a new prescription medication for acne. Today, you feel dizzy and short of breath and have difficulty concentrating. Your symptoms are not listed in the package insert as possible side effects of the drug, but why else would you be feeling so odd? Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer. ... Now researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have devised a computer algorithm that enabled them to swiftly sift through millions of reports to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration by patients and their physicians and identify “true” drug side effects. The method also worked to identify previously unsuspected interactions between pairs of drugs, most notably that antidepressants called SSRIs interact with a common blood pressure medication to significantly increase the risk of a potentially deadly heart condition. The research, which includes a list detailing several dozen of the most prominent drug interactions, was published March 14 in Science Translational Medicine. Russ Altman, MD, PhD, a professor of bioengineering, of genetics and of medicine at Stanford, is the senior author of the research, and graduate student Nicholas Tatonetti is the first author.
Revolution in personalized medicine: First-ever integrative 'omics' profile lets scientist discover, track his diabetes onset
Bio-X Affiliated Faculty Michael Snyder
Geneticist Michael Snyder, PhD, has almost no privacy. For more than two years, he and his lab members at the Stanford University School of Medicine pored over his body’s most intimate secrets: the sequence of his DNA, the RNA and proteins produced by his cells, the metabolites and signaling molecules wafting through his blood. They spied on his immune system as it battled viral infections. Finally, to his shock, they discovered that he was predisposed to type-2 diabetes and then watched his blood sugar shoot upward as he developed the condition during the study. It’s the first eyewitness account — viewed on a molecular level — of the birth of a disease that affects millions of Americans. It’s also an important milestone in the realization of the promise of truly personalized medicine, or tailoring health care to each individual’s unique circumstances. The researchers call the unprecedented analysis, which relies on collecting and analyzing billions of individual bits of data, an integrative Personal “Omics” Profile, or iPOP. The word “omics” indicates the study of a body of information, such as the genome (which is all DNA in a cell), or the proteome (which is all the proteins). Snyder’s iPOP also included his metabolome (metabolites), his transcriptome (RNA transcripts) and autoantibody profiles, among other things. ... The research was published in the March 16 issue of Cell.
Straintronics: Engineers create piezoelectric graphene
Materials Science & Engineering Faculty Evan Reed
In what became known as the ‘Scotch tape technique,” researchers first extracted graphene with a piece of adhesive in 2004. Graphene is a single layer of carbon atoms arranged in a honeycomb, hexagonal pattern. It looks like chicken wire. Graphene is a wonder material. It is a one-hundred-times-better conductor of electricity than silicon. It is stronger than diamond. And, at just one atom thick, it is so thin as to be essentially a two-dimensional material. Such promising physics have made graphene the most studied substance of the last decade, particularly in nanotechnology. In 2010, the researchers who first isolated it shared the Nobel Prize. Yet, while graphene is many things, it is not piezoelectric. Piezoelectricity is the property of some materials to produce electric charge when bent, squeezed or twisted. Perhaps more importantly, piezoelectricity is reversible. When an electric field is applied, piezoelectric materials change shape, yielding a remarkable level of engineering control. Piezoelectrics have found application in countless devices from watches, radios and ultrasound to the push-button starters on propane grills, but these uses all require relatively large, three-dimensional quantities of piezoelectric materials. Now, in a paper published in the journal ACS Nano, two materials engineers at Stanford have described how they have engineered piezoelectrics into graphene, extending for the first time such fine physical control to the nanoscale.
Therapeutic angiogenesis due to balanced single-vector delivery of VEGF and PDGF-BB
Publication in FASEB J by Bio-X Affiliated Faculty Helen Blau
Therapeutic angiogenesis by delivery of vascular growth factors is an attractive strategy for treating debilitating occlusive vascular diseases, yet clinical trials have thus far failed to show efficacy. As a result, limb amputation remains a common outcome for muscle ischemia due to severe atherosclerotic disease, with an overall incidence of 100 per million people in the United States per year. A challenge has been that the angiogenic master regulator vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) induces dysfunctional vessels, if expressed, outside of a narrow dosage window. We tested the hypothesis that codelivery of platelet-derived growth factor-BB (PDGF-BB), which recruits pericytes, could induce normal angiogenesis in skeletal muscle irrespective of VEGF levels. Coexpression of VEGF and PDGF-BB encoded by separate vectors in different cells or in the same cells only partially corrected aberrant angiogenesis. In marked contrast, coexpression of both factors in every cell at a fixed relative level via a single bicistronic vector led to robust, uniformly normal angiogenesis, even when VEGF expression was high and heterogeneous. Notably, in an ischemic hindlimb model, single-vector expression led to efficient growth of collateral arteries, revascularization, increased blood flow, and reduced tissue damage. Furthermore, these results were confirmed in a clinically applicable gene therapy approach by adenoviral-mediated delivery of the bicistronic vector. We conclude that coordinated expression of VEGF and PDGF-BB via a single vector constitutes a novel strategy for harnessing the potency of VEGF to induce safe and efficacious angiogenesis.
Study supports use of quick shot for seizures
Emergency Medicine Faculty James Quinn
For treating prolonged seizures outside a hospital setting, a quick intramuscular shot of anti-convulsant medication with an auto-injector, a kind of spring-loaded syringe, is as effective — if not more effective — than starting an intravenous line to administer medicine directly to the bloodstream. That’s the finding of a new study by researchers at Stanford and 16 other universities and hospitals nationwide. The study was published Feb. 16 the New England Journal of Medicine. The finding is important because giving a shot to someone who is convulsing is generally safer and less time-consuming than starting an IV, said James Quinn, MD, a professor of emergency medicine at Stanford and one of the study’s investigators. “If patients are having a grand mal seizure, it can be tough to find a vein and get the medicine started, and it may increase the chance of a needle-stick injury either to the patient or medic,” Quinn said. For this reason, emergency medical technicians treating status epilepticus in the field are always looking for an alternative, although to date the intravenous route has been considered the gold standard, Quinn said. But there has not been clinical-trial data about the safety and efficacy of the shot versus the IV drip. (The shot administers midazolam, a sedative; the IV administers lorazepam, a similar sedative.) ... The clinical trial involved about 79 hospitals and 33 emergency medical services agencies, as well as more than 4,000 paramedics and 890 patients, according to the National Institutes of Health, which helped to fund it.
March 22, 2012, 12 pm - 1 pm
Munzer Auditorium, Stanford, CA
"Epigenetics and Cancer: Lessons Learned from Yeast"
Speaker: Ali Shilatifard, PhD, Stowers Institute for Medical Research
March 27, 2012, 12 pm - 1 pm
Li Ka Shing Center Rm 130, Stanford, CA
"Large Granular Lymphocytes: Biology, Pathophysiology, and Clinical Application"
Speaker: Michael A. Caligiuri, M.D., Prof. of Medicine & Dir. of OSU Comprehensive Cancer Center
March 29, 2012, 12 pm - 1 pm
Munzer Auditorium, Stanford, CA
"ReMS - A Novel piRNA Mediated Epigenetic Mechanism Related to Stem Cells"
Speaker: Haifan Lin, PhD, Director of Yale Stem Cell Center
|Nanobiotechnology Seminar Series
April 12, 2012, 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm
Li Ka Shing Center Rm 130, Stanford, CA
"Twenty years to Develop Nanotechnology: 2000 - 2012"
Speaker: Mihail Roco, PhD, Chair of US National Science and Technology Council Nanoscale Science, Engineering and Technology (NSET), Senior Advisor for Nanotechnology National Science Foundation (NSF)
|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.
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|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.