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.

Bio-X Director Dr. Carla Shatz wins 2011 Ralph W. Gerard Prize

Dr. Carla Shatz, Director of Bio-X and Professor of Biology and Neurobiology, was awarded the 2011 Ralph W. Gerard Prize in Neuroscience this past weekend in Washington, D.C., during the Society of Neuroscience's annual meeting. The Gerard Prize is a prestigious honor given by the 40,000-member society in recognition of outstanding contribution and research in neuroscience.

Dr. Shatz has devoted her research career to elucidating the dynamic interplay between genes and environment, and how that interplay shapes brain circuits. Specifically, her research focuses on the visual system, and the changes in brain circuitry during critical periods of development both in utero and after birth. In addition to understanding brain wiring and developmental disorders, Dr. Shatz's work also delineates the interactions between the nervous and immune systems.

In addition to the Gerard Prize, Dr. Shatz has been inducted into the Royal Society of London, England, and also is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine. To read more about Dr. Shatz and the Gerard Prize, please click here.


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.



Study shows brain abnormalities in breast cancer patients treated with chemotherapy
Bio-X affiliated faculty Shelli Kesler
A neuroimaging study from the Stanford University School of Medicine has found that when asked to perform certain tasks, women who have undergone chemotherapy for breast cancer had significantly less activation of a part of the brain known to play a critical role in planning, attention and memory than did breast cancer patients without such treatment, as well as healthy women. The research, published Nov. 14 in the Archives of Neurology, advances previous findings about the effects of chemotherapy and breast cancer on brain function. It provides “further evidence that primary breast cancer may cause measurable brain injury,” the study authors wrote, adding that women treated with chemotherapy experience additional brain abnormalities and cognitive difficulties.

New model establishes guidelines for earlier cancer detection
Bio-X affiliated faculty Sam Gambhir
Tumors can grow for 10 years or longer before currently available blood tests will detect them, a new mathematical model developed by Stanford University School of Medicine scientists indicates. The analysis, which was restricted to ovarian tumors but is broadly applicable across all solid tumor types, published online Nov. 16 in Science Translational Medicine. “The study’s results can be viewed as both bad and good news,” said Sanjiv “Sam” Gambhir, MD, PhD, professor and chair of radiology and the study’s senior author. (Sharon Hori, PhD, a postdoctoral scholar in Gambhir’s laboratory, is the lead author.) The bad news, Gambhir said, is that by the time a tumor reaches a detectable size using today’s available blood tests, it is likely to have metastasized to other areas of the body, making it much more deadly than if it had been caught early on. “The good news is that we have, potentially, 10 or even 20 years to find the tumor before it reaches this size, if only we can improve our blood-based methods of detecting tumors,” he said. “We think our mathematical model will help guide attempts to do that.”

Lightning-fast, efficient data transmission developed at Stanford
A team at Stanford's School of Engineering has demonstrated an ultrafast nanoscale light-emitting diode (LED) that is orders of magnitude lower in power consumption than today's laser-based systems and is able to transmit data at the very rapid rate of 10 billion bits per second. The researchers say it is a major step forward in providing a practical ultrafast, low-power light source for on-chip data transmission. Stanford's Jelena Vuckovic, an associate professor of electrical engineering, and Gary Shambat, a doctoral candidate in electrical engineering, announced their device in a research paper set to be published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications.



November 21, 2011, 11 am - 12 pm
Li Ka Shing Center 120, Stanford, CA
"Switching human T cell responses on and off in vivo using T cell epitopes"
Speaker: Mark Larche, PhD, Professor of McMaster University
Frontiers in Biology (Biochemistry)
November 30, 2011, 4-5 pm
Clark Center Auditorium, Stanford, CA
"Rethinking How Embryos are Made: Specialized Ribosomes and Signaling Filopodia"
Speaker: Maria Barna, PhD, Professor of UCSF



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: 
November 18, 2011