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 IIP SYMPOSIUM took place on Monday, September 26, 2011 at the Clark Center. Over 150 people attended the symposium, which included 6 talks and 131 poster presentations. The symposium represented collaborations from hundreds of faculty from at least 5 different Stanford schools and dozens of departments.

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.

To view the talks presented on September 26, please click here. Please note: the videos will work on both Windows and Mac operating systems with "typical" browsers (IE, Firefox, Safari). The Quicktime Player Plugin is required to view the video content, and it can be downloaded at http://www.apple.com/quicktime/. The videos are delivered in a streaming format; therefore, playback quality may be affected by the internet speed of the user.



Scientists turn liver cells directly into neurons with new technique
Bio-X affiliated faculty Marius Wernig
Fully mature liver cells from laboratory mice have been transformed directly into functional neurons by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine. The switch was accomplished with the introduction of just three genes and did not require the cells to first enter a pluripotent state. It is the first time that cells have been shown to leapfrog from one fundamentally different tissue type to another. The accomplishment extends previous research by the same group, which showed in 2009 that it is possible to directly transform mouse fibroblasts, or skin cells, into neurons.

Study of COX-2 inhibitors could lead to new class of stroke drugs
Bio-X affiliated faculty Katrin Andreasson
A study, in mice, by investigators at the Stanford University School of Medicine points toward potential new therapies for stroke, the nation’s third-leading cause of death and foremost single cause of severe neurological disability. The study, published online Oct. 3 in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, also may reveal why a much-heralded class of blockbuster drugs failed to live up to their promise. ... The new study helps explain why these drugs can be troublesome and how there may actually be some benefits to reap from the very molecular activity that these drugs were intended to block.

Novel math formula can predict success of certain cancer therapies
Bio-X affiliated faculty Dean Felsher
Carefully tracking the rate of response of human lung tumors during the first weeks of treatment can predict which cancers will undergo sustained regression, suggests a new study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine. The finding was made after scientists gained a new insight into therapies that target cancer-causing genes: They are successful not because they cause cell death directly, but instead because they slow the rate of tumor cell division. In other words, squelching messages promoting rampant cell growth allows already existing death signals to prevail and causes tumors to shrink. The research highlights the emerging promise of applying mathematical and computational concepts to the study of complex biological systems.

New molecular target for diabetes treatment discovered
Bio-X affiliated faculty Seung Kim
Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have identified a key molecular pathway responsible for the natural decrease in the proliferation of insulin-producing cells that occurs as a person ages. Artificially activating this pathway, which is normally not functional in adults, may be a new way to combat diabetes. “We’re hopeful that soon we might be able to manipulate this pathway in a therapeutic way in humans,” said professor of developmental biology Seung Kim, MD, PhD, “perhaps by rekindling its expression and then activating it through a drug we could give in an injection or through some other route. This could be a kind of one-two punch against diabetes.”

Sulfur in hollow nanofibers overcomes challenges of lithium-ion battery design
Bio-X affiliated faculty Yi Cui
Stanford researchers have used nanotechnology to invent a better lithium ion battery cathode. ... The research group of battery inventor Yi Cui, an associate professor of materials science and engineering, uses nanotechnology to fabricate electrode materials that greatly improve the electrical storage capacity of lithium ion batteries. In previous research, they reinvented battery anodes by fabricating them with silicon nanowires. Now, Cui and his students have used sulfur-coated hollow carbon nanofibers and a special electrolyte additive to improve the other end of the rechargeable lithium ion battery, the cathode. The results were published online Sept. 14 in the journal Nano Letters.

In vivo targeting of HER2-positive tumor using 2-helix affibody molecules
Publication in Amino Acid from Bio-X affiliated faculty Zhen Cheng
Molecular imaging of human epidermal growth factor receptor type 2 (HER2) expression has drawn significant attention because of the unique role of the HER2 gene in diagnosis, therapy and prognosis of human breast cancer. In our previous research, a novel cyclic 2-helix small protein, MUT-DS, was discovered as an anti-HER2 Affibody analog with high affinity through rational protein design and engineering. MUT-DS was then evaluated for positron emission tomography (PET) of HER2-positive tumor by labeling with two radionuclides, (68)Ga and (18)F, with relatively short half-life (t (1/2) < 2 h). In order to fully study the in vivo behavior of 2-helix small protein and demonstrate that it could be a robust platform for labeling with a variety of radionuclides for different applications, in this study, MUT-DS was further radiolabeled with (64)Cu or (111)In and evaluated for in vivo targeting of HER2-positive tumor in mice. ... Two-helix small protein scaffold holds great promise as a novel and robust platform for imaging and therapy applications.



October 17, 2011, 4:15 - 6:15 pm
393 Serra Mall, Herrin T-175, Stanford, CA
"The continuous directed evolution and functional delivery of biological macromolecules"
Speaker: David Liu, PhD, Professor of Harvard University
MIPS/Philips Molecular Imaging Seminar Series
October 17, 2011, 4:30 - 5:30 pm
Clark Auditorium, Stanford, CA
"Applications of proteomics to characterizing cancer cell state"
Speaker: Parag Mallick, PhD, Professor of Stanford University
Nanobiotechology Seminar Series
October 18, 2011, 4:30 - 5:30 pm
Clark Auditorium, Stanford, CA
"Targeting tumors with tumor-penetrating peptides"
Speaker: Erkki Ruoslahti, MD, PhD, Distinguished Professor of UC Santa Barbara
Microbiology and Immunology
October 24, 2011, 12 - 1 pm
Munzer Auditorium, Stanford, CA
"Physical modeling of bacterial growth and form"
Speaker: KC Huang, PhD, Professor of Stanford University
October 24, 2011, 5:30 - 6:30 pm
Li Ka Shing LK 102, Stanford, CA
"Investigating the VHL pathway in renal cell carcinoma progression" and "Renal cell carcinoma epidemiology: Data from the VA health care system"
Speakers: Amato Giaccia, PhD, and John Leppert, MD, Professors of Stanford University
October 27, 2011, 3:15 - 4:15 pm
Clark Auditorium, Stanford, CA
"Epigenetic variation as a driving force for development and cancer"
Speaker: Raphael Irizarry, PhD, Professor of Johns Hopkins University



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.
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Search the OTL Technology Portal to find technologies available for licensing from Stanford.
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- Take advantage of your FREE membership!
- Take online graduate courses in engineering, leadership and management, bioscience, and more.
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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 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 14, 2011