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 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.

** WE HAVE JUST ANNOUNCED THE AWARDEES OF OUR 6TH ROUND OF SEED GRANTS, FOR WHICH WE HAD RECEIVED 118 LETTERS OF INTENT (LOIs). 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, and the awardees were selected from criteria including innovation, high-reward, and interdisciplinary collaboration. To view the 114 different 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 will be posted online soon. To view the previously recorded talks, please go 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.



Stanford-led research teams win HHMI innovator awards
Bio-X Affiliated Faculty Axel Brunger and Liqun Luo

Two teams of scientists led by Stanford professors have received Howard Hughes Medical Institute Collaborative Innovation Awards. ... One of the teams is led by Axel Brunger, PhD, professor of molecular and cellular physiology and of neurology and neurological sciences. His team received a $6 million, four-year award to develop new methods of sample delivery, data collection and analysis in order to study structures of nanometer or micron-scaled crystals of biological molecules using the Linac Coherent Light Source at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. ... Also receiving a $6 million award is a group led by Liqun Luo, PhD, professor of biology. Luo's team plans to develop a suite of tools for mapping neuronal connections in the complete mouse brain. They will then use those tools to study the organization of neural circuits and how they are affected by specific neurotransmitters, to ultimately better understand how sensory perception works.

Quake receives 2013 Nakasone Award
Bio-X Affiliated Faculty Stephen Quake

Stephen Quake, PhD, professor of bioengineering and of applied physics at Stanford and an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, has received the 2013 Nakasone Award from the Human Frontier Science Program Organization for “prolific inventions that have advanced biological measurement techniques.” Drawing upon his background in applied physics, Quake has introduced large-scale quantitative approaches in many areas of biology that were previously impossible to address. ... In addition to a $10,000 research grant and a gold medal, Quake will give the HFSP Nakasone Lecture at the annual meeting of HFSP awardees to be held in Strasbourg, France, in July 2013.

Columbia University honors Shapiro with Horwitz Prize
Bio-X Affiliated Faculty Lucy Shapiro

Lucy Shapiro, PhD, is one of three recipients of the 2012 Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize awarded by Columbia University. Shapiro, a professor of developmental biology at the School of Medicine, and her colleagues Richard Losick, PhD, from Harvard, and Joe Lutkenhaus, PhD, from the University of Kansas Medical School, were recognized for their work on the three-dimensional organization of bacteria cells. Established in 1967, the Horwitz Prize is Columbia University's top honor for achievement in biological and biochemistry research.

Bionengineers introduce "Bi-Fi" — the biological Internet
Bio-X Affiliated Faculty Drew Endy

If you were a bacterium, the virus M13 might seem innocuous enough. It insinuates more than it invades, setting up shop like a freeloading houseguest, not a killer. Once inside it makes itself at home, eating your food, texting indiscriminately. Recently, however, bioengineers at Stanford University have given M13 a bit of a makeover. The researchers, Monica Ortiz, a doctoral candidate in bioengineering, and Drew Endy, PhD, an assistant professor of bioengineering, have parasitized the parasite and harnessed M13’s key attributes — its non-lethality and its ability to package and broadcast arbitrary DNA strands — to create what might be termed the biological Internet, or “Bi-Fi.” Their findings were published online Sept. 7 in the Journal of Biological Engineering. Using the virus, Ortiz and Endy have created a biological mechanism to send genetic messages from cell to cell. The system greatly increases the complexity and amount of data that can be communicated between cells and could lead to greater control of biological functions within cell communities. The advance could prove a boon to bioengineers looking to create complex, multicellular communities that work in concert to accomplish important biological functions.

Identification of microbes in healthy lungs sheds light on cystic fibrosis in new study
Pediatrics Faculty David Cornfield

Healthy people’s lungs are home to a diverse community of microbes that differs markedly from the bacteria found in the lungs of cystic fibrosis patients. That’s the result of new research from Stanford University and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, which has wide implications for treatment of cystic fibrosis and other lung diseases. “The lung is not a sterile organ,” said David Cornfield, MD, an author of the new study, published Sept. 26 in Science Translational Medicine. Although decades of received scientific wisdom said healthy lungs lacked resident microbes, scientists had begun questioning that notion. “This research confirmed a long-held suspicion that a forest of microbes exists in both healthy and diseased lungs,” said Cornfield, a pulmonologist at Packard Children’s and a professor of pediatrics in pulmonary medicine at the School of Medicine. “More surprising, our data presents a suggestion that the lung flora provides microbial homeostasis that might function to preserve health.”

Blocking key protein could halt age-related decline in immune system, study finds
Bio-X Affiliated Faculty Jorg Goronzy

The older we get, the weaker our immune systems tend to become, leaving us vulnerable to infectious diseases and cancer and eroding our ability to benefit from vaccination. Now Stanford University School of Medicine scientists have found that blocking the action of a single protein whose levels in our immune cells creep steadily upward with age can restore those cells’ response to a vaccine. This discovery holds important long-term therapeutic ramifications, said Jorg Goronzy, MD, PhD, professor of rheumatology and immunology and the senior author of a study published online Sept. 30 in Nature Medicine. It might someday be possible, he said, to pharmacologically counter aging’s effects on our immune systems. In the study, the Stanford team fingered a protein called DUSP6 that interferes with the capacity of an important class of immune cells to respond to the presence of a foreign substance, such as those appearing on the surface of an invading pathogen or in a vaccine designed to stifle that invasion. The researchers also identified a potential lead compound that, by inhibiting DUSP6’s action, restores those cells’ responsiveness to a more youthful state.



Cancer Biology
October 2, 2012, 12 pm - 1 pm
Munzer Auditorium, Beckman Center, Stanford, CA
“Reversible Epigenetic Methylation of DNA and RNA in Mammalian Cells”
Speaker: Chuan He, PhD, University of Chicago
MIPS Molecular Imaging Seminar Series
October 4, 2012, 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm
Clark Center Auditorium, Stanford, CA
Title: TBD
Speaker: Peter Caravan, PhD, Harvard Medical School
October 8, 2012, 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm
Clark Center Auditorium, Stanford, CA
"Imaging of Normal and Abnormal Cartilage in Children"
Speaker: Diego Jaramillo, MD, MPH, University of Pennsylvania
Nanobiotechnology Seminar Series
October 11, 2012, 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm
Li Ka Shing, LK 130, Stanford, CA
“The Fluid Phase of Solid Tumors – What are the travel scenarios of cancer cells in patients? ”
Speaker: Peter Khun, PhD, Scripps Research Institute



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: 
October 01, 2012