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.

Stanford scientist Brian Kobilka wins Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Congratulations to BRIAN KOBILKA, MD, professor and chair of molecular and cellular physiology at the Stanford University School of Medicine, who has won the 2012 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on G-protein-coupled receptors, or GPCRs. .. In the 1980s, Kobilka joined Lefkowitz's lab and they began to work together to learn more about the epinephrine receptor, also known as the beta-adrenergic receptor. Kobilka was able to isolate the gene for the receptor (no small feat at the time) to learn more about its composition. ... In 2011, Kobilka and his team were the first to obtain a three-dimensional image of the same G-protein-coupled receptor bound to its signaling molecule — an extremely difficult technical endeavor due to the protein's size and complexity. Knowing the structure is important to be able to design better drugs to activate or inhibit the receptors. "It was so exciting to see this three-dimensional structure and finally know how these trans-membrane regions interact during signaling," said Kobilka. "I hope my discovery leads to better and less-expensive drugs for patients." (To read the entire article, please click here.)

Brian Kobilka is a Bio-X affiliated faculty member, who has received 2 IIP Seed Grant awards from Bio-X: 2000's Single Molecule Analysis of G Protein Coupled Receptor Activation, and 2008's High-Affinity, Highly Specific Peptoid Antagonists for G-Protein Coupled Receptors.

Other articles on Brian Kobilka and Nobel Prize:
Fact sheet on work by Nobel laureate in chemistry Brian Kobilka
Nobel Prize work on G-protein-coupled receptors paves way for drug discoveries
Dean Pizzo congratulates Nobel Prize winner Kobilka
Colleagues share thoughts about Kobilka's Nobel Prize


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.

**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 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's Roundtable panelists discuss healthy brains and the exciting frontiers of neuroscience
Stanford President John Hennessy, Bio-X Director Carla Shatz, Neurology and Neurological Sciences Faculty Frank Longo, and others

The human brain is an amazing machine, easily the most complex computer on the planet. It can learn any language at an early age and, in time, it can find creative ways to rewire its neural connections to recover from a massive injury. But as remarkable as the brain is, we still know little about how it actually does any of these things. We're still at a loss for how to help a grandmother suffering from Alzheimer's remember her grandchildren. However, among the speakers at the "Gray Matters" 2012 Roundtable discussion at Stanford on Saturday, there was an encouraging sense that we're nearing the threshold of understanding those mysteries. Experimental drugs are helping mice with Alzheimer's learn and remember new experiences. Scientists are discovering what strengthens developing neural pathways in children. "Neuroscience is a priority at Stanford, and we see this as the great new frontier for research," said Stanford President John Hennessy. With faculty in the School of Medicine studying brain biology, engineers inventing new therapeutic devices and the law and economics faculty investigating how and why people make decisions, Stanford's interdisciplinary nature puts it in good position to advance understanding of the brain. Moderated by ABC News' Juju Chang, a 1987 Stanford graduate, the panel included Carla Shatz, a professor of biology and neurobiology and director of Stanford's Bio-X program; Dr. Frank Longo, the chair of the Department of Neurology and Neurological Sciences; Jill Bolte Taylor, a neuroanatomist who specializes in post mortem investigations of the brain; Bob Woodruff of ABC News, who suffered a traumatic brain injury while reporting from Iraq; and Hennessy. [To watch the roundtable webcast, please click here.]

Institute of Medicine chooses four new members from med school

Four members of the School of Medicine faculty have been elected to the Institute of Medicine. They are: Lloyd Minor, MD; Stephen Quake, PhD; David Spiegel, MD; and David Stevenson, MD. With their selection, the medical school now has a total of 69 IOM members. ... Established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine is recognized as a national resource for independent, scientifically informed analysis and recommendations on health issues. Its active membership consists of 1,732 highly accomplished professionals. The elections were announced Oct. 15.

De la Zerda and Yeh receive NIH Director's Early Independence Award
Bio-X Fellow Graduate and Affiliated Faculty Adam de la Zerda, and Pathology Acting Faculty Member Ellen Yeh

The National Institutes of Health has recently recognized two budding Stanford scientists as worthy of skipping a grade, so to speak. An often-lengthy stint as a postdoctoral scholar is usually considered a prerequisite for becoming an independent investigator, but for the second year in a row, the NIH has recognized a small number of outstanding scientists who deserve to break the mold. Adam de la Zerda, PhD, assistant professor of structural biology, and Ellen Yeh, MD, PhD, acting assistant professor of pathology, have each received an NIH Director's Early Independence Award, with grants of $1.25 million each to support the first five years of their research as independent investigators.

Snyder, Cherry receive National Human Genome Research Institute grants to advance work on ENCODE project
Bio-X Affiliated Faculty Michael Cherry and Michael Snyder

Two medical school investigators have received grants from the National Human Genome Research Institute as part of a massive collaborative effort to catalogue the functional elements of the human genome. The $30.3 million grant will be distributed among 15 investigators participating in the National Institute of Health's ENCODE (Encyclopedia of DNA Elements) project. Michael Snyder, PhD, director of the Stanford Center for Genomics and Personalized Medicine, and Michael Cherry, PhD, associate professor of genetics, are among the recipients.

Grant to probe 'provocative' cancer questions
Bio-X Affiliated Faculty Dean Felsher

Provocative isn't a word normally associated with cancer research — particularly in an era of exceedingly tight scientific funding. Many investigators find it best to stick to tried-and-true research proposals and, as a result, to expect only incremental advances over previous work. But in 2010, National Cancer Institute director Harold Varmus proposed a $22 million funding mechanism aimed at "major unsolved or neglected problems in oncology," which he called "Provocative Questions." ... Stanford's Dean Felsher, MD, PhD, professor of medicine and of pathology, is one of five Bay Area recipients of new five-year grants; Felsher will receive about $545,000 during the first year (funding levels for the additional years will be dependent on future federal allocations) to study why some tumors die when the cancer-causing genes called oncogenes are turned off. The concept is one called oncogene addiction, and Felsher's been studying it for years.

Scratching the surface: Stanford engineers examine UV effects on skin mechanics
Bio-X Affiliated Faculty Reinhold Dauskardt

Reinhold Dauskardt, PhD, of Stanford’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering has been studying skin for years. But when he sent his students to look for data on the mechanical properties of skin, they came back empty-handed. A lot was known about skin structure and disease, but few papers actually talked about its mechanical function – its ability to stretch and resist tension without tearing. “That motivated us to get more interested in the skin itself,” said Dauskardt. He and his team, including Ph.D. student Krysta Biniek and postdoctoral researcher Kemal Levi, focused on the outmost layer of skin: the stratum corneum. It protects deeper layers from drying out or getting infected, and it’s also our first line of defense against UV radiation. Their study was published October 1 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). They found that beyond the well-documented DNA damage and cancer risk, UV rays also change the way the outermost skin cells hold together and respond to strain.



Cardiovascular Institute
October 16, 2012, 12 pm - 1 pm
LKSC Building, 2nd Floor, Paul Berg Hall, Stanford, CA
“APJ/Apelin or Molecular Switches to Heart Failure”
Speaker: Pilar Ruiz-Lozano, PhD, Stanford University
October 17, 2012, 4 pm - 5 pm
Clark Center Auditorium, Stanford, CA
Frontiers in Biology: "Taste recognition in Drosophila"
Speaker: Kristin Scott, UC Berkeley
Stem Cell Biology & Regenerative Medicine Institute
October 23, 2012, 10 am - 11 am
Clark Center Auditorium, Stanford, CA
"iPS Technology and its Potentials for Future Medicine"
Speaker: Hiromitsu Nakauchi, MD, PhD, University of Tokyo
October 26, 2012, 7 am - 8 am
Li Ka Shing, LK 130, Stanford, CA
“Biomarkers in academic neurosurgery: EGFRvIII, extracellular RNA, and developing the expert neurosurgeons of the future”
Speaker: Bob Carter, MD, PhD, UCSD



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 12, 2012