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 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.

The talks presented on September 26 will be uploaded soon on the Bio-X Channel website. To view the talks given during the previous Bio-X IIP Symposium on March 11, 2011, please go to: http://bioxchannel.stanford.edu/groups/biox/wiki/1a9ac/IIP_Symposium__March_2011.html. 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.



The road less traveled - quote from New Scientist magazine about the Bio-X Seed Grant program
Scientists are having to find more innovative ways to fund their work: grants from the US federal government, which still bankrolls 60 per cent of research at academic institutions, are not as generous as they once were. ... Many universities are stepping in to help, however. Stanford gave Helen Blau, head of the Baxter Laboratory for Stem Cell Biology, a grant to explore why adult stem cells won’t grow in culture dishes. Blau solved the problem – the cells don’t like plastic’s rigidity – and was awarded NIH funding for further studies, which almost certainly would never have happened without the pilot results.

Researchers create first human heart cells that can be paced with light - Bio-X affiliate faculty
In a paper published Sept. 21 in the Biophysical Journal, lead author Abilez, a postdoctoral scholar and PhD candidate in bioengineering, and a multidisciplinary team from Stanford describe how they have for the first time engineered human heart cells that can be paced with light using a technology called optogenetics. In the near term, say the researchers, the advance will provide new insight into heart function. In the long term, however, the development could lead to an era of novel, light-based pacemakers and genetically matched tissue patches that replace muscle damaged by a heart attack.

Ivy Foundation grant advances molecular imaging work - Bio-X affiliate faculty
Sanjiv "Sam" Gambhir, MD, PhD, professor and chair of radiology, has received a five-year, $10 million grant from the Ben and Catherine Ivy Foundation to develop new molecular-imaging agents for a variety of scanning technologies (PET, MRI and MRS) in order to image, at the molecular level, brain tumors of the variety known as glioblastoma multiforme.

New technique gives precise picture of how regulatory RNA controls gene activity
A new technique developed by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine allows researchers to identify the exact DNA sequences and locations bound by regulatory RNAs. This information is necessary to understand how the recently identified RNA molecules control the expression of neighboring and distant genes. The study offers a startling glimpse into the intricate world of gene expression and how RNA, once thought to be only a lowly cellular messenger, actively unlocks our DNA-based genome.

Engineering hepatocyte growth factor fragments with high stability and activity as Met receptor agonists and antagonists - publication in PNAS Volume 108, Issue 32 from Bio-X affiliate faculty
The Met receptor tyrosine kinase and its ligand hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) play an important role in mediating both tumor progression and tissue regeneration. The N-terminal and first Kringle domains (NK1) of HGF comprise a naturally occurring splice variant that retains the ability to activate the Met receptor. However, NK1 is a weak agonist and is relatively unstable, limiting its therapeutic potential. Here, we engineered NK1 mutants with improved biochemical and biophysical properties that function as Met receptor agonists or antagonists.



Cardiovascular Institute
October 4, 2011, 12 - 1 pm
Li Ka Shing Center, 291 Campus Dr., Paul Berg Hall, Stanford, CA
"Cardiovascular Institute: Optogenetics: Development and Application"
Speaker: Karl Deisseroth, MD, PhD, Professor of Stanford University
MIPS/Philips Molecular Imaging Seminar Series
October 10, 2011, 4:30 - 5:30 pm
Clark Auditorium, Stanford, CA
"The quantitative imaging of tumor hypoxia"
Speaker: John Humm, PhD, Attending Physicist from Memorial Sloan-Kettering
October 13, 2011, 11 am
Clark S360, Stanford, CA
"Frontiers in Quantitative Biology Seminars"
Speaker: Ido Golding, Ph.D., Professor of Baylor College of Medicine
Nanobiotechnology 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



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: 
September 30, 2011