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.

WE ARE CURRENTLY IN THE PROCESS OF REVIEWING THE 118 BIO-X INTERDISCIPLINARY INITIATIVE SEED GRANT LETTERS OF INTENT THAT WE'VE RECEIVED FOR OUR 6TH ROUND. 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.

Each year, Bio-X holds 2 annual IIP symposia which showcases the awarded seed grant projects. The most current symposium was held on February 13, 2012 at the Clark Center, 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 utilizes 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 excellent jobs in industry and academia.

The 2012 Bio-X Fellowship awardees will be announced soon. Competition is intense, with only ~15% of proposals accepted each year. To view the numerous projects that have been awarded over the years, please click here.

** On THURSDAY, JUNE 21, 2012, the BIO-X FELLOWS SYMPOSIUM will be taking place at the Clark Center Auditorium between 2 to 5 pm. The symposium will be composed of 4 15-minute talks and one-minute introductions of the various research done by the Fellows, as well as the announcement of the new Bio-X and Bio-X SIGF Fellows by Dr. Carla Shatz. Please see below under EVENTS or click here for the symposium details.

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.



Deisseroth wins four awards for seminal work on optogenetics
Bio-X Affiliated Faculty Member Karl Deisseroth
Over the last seven months Karl Deisseroth, MD, PhD, has received several major awards recognizing his seminal work in the development and application of optogenetics — a now-widespread research technology that involves the engineering of nerve cells so that they can be stimulated or inhibited by different wavelengths of light. Deisseroth is associate professor of bioengineering and of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and a member of Bio-X, the university’s interdisciplinary research program. This month, Deisseroth received the Perl-UNC Neuroscience Prize, awarded by the University of North Carolina Neuroscience Center, and delivered his prize lecture at the university on May 14. ... In November, Deisseroth was honored with the 34th annual W. Alden Spencer Award and Lecture ... Also in November, Deisseroth, along with three algal biologists (Peter Hegemann, PhD; Georg Nagel, PhD; and Ernst Bamberg, PhD), was awarded the 2012 Klaus Joachim Zuelch Prize, for their scientific discoveries in optogenetics ... Finally, in February, Deisseroth received the Rush and Helen Record Neuroscience Award.

State stem cell agency awards three grants for development of new therapies at medical school
Bio-X Affiliated Faculty Helen Blau, Joseph Wu, and Renee Reijo Pera
Three researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine were awarded today a total of $11.9 million from the state stem cell agency in the third round of its Early Translational Awards. The awards are meant to move promising stem cell therapies out of the laboratory and into human clinical testing. Helen Blau, PhD; Joseph Wu, MD, PhD; and Renee Reijo Pera, PhD, will receive amounts ranging from $1.8 to $5.2 million to further their work in researching the use of pluripotent stem cells as therapy to rejuvenate old muscles, heal damaged hearts and treat urinary incontinence. Wu’s $4.8 million award is of particular note because it supports an international collaboration between his lab and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research in Germany.

Totally RAD: Bioengineers create rewritable digital data storage in DNA
Bio-X Affiliated Faculty Drew Endy
Sometimes, remembering and forgetting are hard to do. “It took us three years and 750 tries to make it work, but we finally did it,” said Dr. Jerome Bonnet of his latest research, a method for repeatedly encoding, storing, and erasing digital data within the DNA of living cells. Bonnet, a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford, worked with PhD Candidate Pakpoom Subsoontorn and assistant professor Drew Endy to reapply natural enzymes adapted from bacteria to flip specific sequences of DNA back and forth at will. All three scientists are bioengineers. In practical terms, they have devised the genetic equivalent of a binary digit – a “bit” in data parlance. “Essentially, if the DNA section points in one direction, it’s a zero. If it points the other way, it’s a one,” Subsoontorn explained. In the computer world, their work would form the basis of what is known as non-volatile memory – data storage that can retain information without consuming power. In biotechnology, it is known by a slightly more technical term, recombinase-mediated DNA inversion, after the enzymatic processes used to cut, flip, and recombine DNA within the cell. The team calls their device a “recombinase addressable data” module, or RAD for short. They reported their findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

Cloak and swagger: Engineers use plasmonics to create an invisible photodetector
Bio-X Affiliated Faculty Mark Brongersma
It may not be intuitive, but a coating of reflective metal can actually make something less visible, engineers at Stanford and UPenn have shown. They have created an invisible, light-detecting device that can “see without being seen.” At the heart of the device are silicon nanowires covered by a thin cap of gold. By adjusting the ratio of metal to silicon – a technique the engineers refer to as tuning the geometries – they capitalize on favorable nanoscale physics in which the reflected light from the two materials cancel each other to make the device invisible. Pengyu Fan is the lead author of a paper demonstrating the new device published online May 20th in the journal Nature Photonics. He is a doctoral candidate in materials science and engineering at Stanford University working in Professor Mark Brongersma’s group. Brongersma, a Keck Faculty Scholar in the School of Engineering, is senior author of the study.



Baxter Labs
May 31, 2012, 12 pm - 1 pm
Lorry Lokey Bldg - G1002, Stanford, CA
REGENERATIVE MEDICINE SEMINAR SERIES - "The Heterogeneity of Mesenchymal Stromal Cells: Why is it so hard to make significant progress in the field?"
Speaker: Richard Schaefer, MD, Visiting Professor of Stanford University
June 4, 2012, 4 pm - 6 pm
393 Serra Mall, Herrin T-175, Stanford, CA
“Skin stem cells in silence and action”
Speaker: Elaine Fuchs, PhD, Professor of Rockefeller University
June 6, 2012, 2012, 4 pm - 5 pm
Clark Center Auditorium, Stanford, CA
FRONTIERS IN BIOLOGY - "Signal Transduction in the RIG-I Antiviral Innate Immunity Pathway"
Speaker: Zhijian James Chen, Professor of University of Texas Southwestern
June 7, 2012, 3:15 pm - 4:15 pm
Clark Center Auditorium, Stanford, CA
BIO-X SEMINAR - "Mapping genome-wide nucleosome dynamics"
Speaker: Steven Henikoff, PhD, Investigator, HHMI
June 21, 2012, 2 - 5 pm
Clark Center Auditorium: Stanford, CA

Symposium Talk Titles and Speakers:
2:00 pm - Introduction by Dr. Carla Shatz

2:10 pm - Mihalis Kariolis, Bioengineering
Engineering receptor based antagonists of the Gas6/Axl system for therapeutic applications

2:25 pm - Elsa Birch, Chemical Engineering
Host metabolic interaction during viral infection: modeling and measuring T7 phage infection of E. coli

2:40 pm - Jack Wang, Neurobiology
Local Axonal Protection by WldS as Revealed by Conditional Regulation of Protein Stability

2:55 pm - Jennifer Brady, Microbiology and Immunology
Mechanisms of Nuclear Reprogramming Elucidated by Heterokaryon RNA Sequencing

3:10 pm - One-minute introduction by fellows and introduction of new Bio-X and Bio-X SIGF Fellows by Dr. Carla Shatz

4:00 pm - Reception - Clark Center 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: 
May 29, 2012