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
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 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.
THIS YEAR IS OUR 6TH ROUND OF SEED GRANTS, AND WE'VE RECEIVED 118 LETTERS OF INTENT (LOIs). We're currently in the process of reviewing the selected LOIs, which will have full proposals as part of their seed grant applications. Competition is intense, and the criteria for the proposals include innovation, high-reward, and interdisciplinary collaboration. To view the 114 different projects that have been funded from the first 5 rounds, please click here.
** Last week, 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 to 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.
Researchers prove that leukemias arise from changes that accumulate in blood stem cells
Bio-X Affiliated Faculty Ravi Majeti, Stephen Quake, Irv Weissman (all principal co-authors)
Imagine that a police bomb squad comes upon a diabolically designed bomb controlled by a tangled mass of different wires, lights and switches, some of which have a real function while others are decoys. The police don’t know how to begin defusing the bomb because they don’t know which parts are important. Then imagine the police discover the bomb-making factory and are able to see hundreds of these bombs at various stages of construction. With this information, they can reconstruct how the bomb was put together, and therefore how to disarm it. For a team of researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine, the bombs they need to defuse are killer leukemias. The researchers report that they have used advanced techniques to survey what’s in the “bomb factory:” the stem cells that produce all blood cells. In the process, they have proven a controversial theory that blood cancers — and perhaps all cancers — arise only when mutations accumulate over long periods of time in stem cells. The research, published Aug. 29 in Science Translational Medicine, also sets the stage for the discovery of more effective therapies for defeating deadly cancers.
Mathematics or memory? Study charts collision course in brain
Bio-X Affiliated Faculty Josef Parvizi
You already know it’s hard to balance your checkbook while simultaneously reflecting on your past. Now, investigators at the Stanford University School of Medicine — having done the equivalent of wire-tapping a hard-to-reach region of the brain — can tell us how this impasse arises. The researchers showed that groups of nerve cells in a structure called the posterior medial cortex, or PMC, are strongly activated during a recall task such as trying to remember whether you had coffee yesterday, but just as strongly suppressed when you’re engaged in solving a math problem. The PMC, situated roughly where the brain’s two hemispheres meet, is of great interest to neuroscientists because of its central role in introspective activities. “This brain region is famously well-connected with many other regions that are important for higher cognitive functions,” said Josef Parvizi, MD, PhD, associate professor of neurology and neurological sciences and director of Stanford’s Human Intracranial Cognitive Electrophysiology Program. “But it’s very hard to reach. It’s so deep in the brain that the most commonly used electrophysiological methods can’t access it.” In a study published online Sept. 3 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Parvizi and his Stanford colleagues found a way to directly and sensitively record the output from this ordinarily anatomically inaccessible site in human subjects. By doing so, the researchers learned that particular clusters of nerve cells in the PMC that are most active when you are recalling details of your own past are strongly suppressed when you are performing mathematical calculations.
Stanford engineers create a tiny, wirelessly powered cardiac device
Bio-X Affiliated Faculty Ada Poon
A team of engineers at Stanford has demonstrated the feasibility of a super-small, implantable cardiac device that gets its power not from batteries, but from radio waves transmitted from outside the body. The implanted device is contained in a cube just eight-tenths of a millimeter in radius. It could fit on the head of pin. The findings were published in the journal Applied Physics Letters. In their paper, the researchers demonstrated wireless power transfer to a millimeter-sized device implanted five centimeters inside the chest on the surface of the heart—a depth once thought out of reach for wireless power transmission. The paper’s senior author was Ada Poon, an assistant professor of electrical engineering at Stanford. Sanghoek Kim and John Ho, both doctoral candidates in Poon’s lab, were first authors. The engineers say the research is a major step toward a day when all implants are driven wirelessly. Beyond the heart, they believe such devices might include swallowable endoscopes—so-called “pillcams” that travel the digestive tract—permanent pacemakers and precision brain stimulators. The devices could potentially be used for virtually any medical applications for which device size and power matter.
Stanford biologist and computer scientist discover the "anternet"
Bio-X Affiliated Faculty Deborah Gordon and Electrical Engineering Faculty Balaji Prabhakar
On the surface, ants and the Internet don't seem to have much in common. But two Stanford researchers have discovered that a species of harvester ants determine how many foragers to send out of the nest in much the same way that Internet protocols discover how much bandwidth is available for the transfer of data. The researchers are calling it the "anternet." Deborah Gordon, a biology professor at Stanford, has been studying ants for more than 20 years. When she figured out how the harvester ant colonies she had been observing in Arizona decided when to send out more ants to get food, she called across campus to Balaji Prabhakar, a professor of computer science at Stanford and an expert on how files are transferred on a computer network. At first he didn't see any overlap between his and Gordon's work, but inspiration would soon strike. "The next day it occurred to me, 'Oh wait, this is almost the same as how [Internet] protocols discover how much bandwidth is available for transferring a file!'" Prabhakar said. "The algorithm the ants were using to discover how much food there is available is essentially the same as that used in the Transmission Control Protocol." ... Prabhakar wrote an ant algorithm to predict foraging behavior depending on the amount of food – i.e., bandwidth – available. Gordon's experiments manipulate the rate of forager return. Working with Stanford student Katie Dektar, they found that the TCP-influenced algorithm almost exactly matched the ant behavior found in Gordon's experiments. "Ants have discovered an algorithm that we know well, and they've been doing it for millions of years," Prabhakar said. ... Prabhakar said that had this discovery been made in the 1970s, before TCP was written, harvester ants very well could have influenced the design of the Internet. Gordon thinks that scientists have just scratched the surface for how ant colony behavior could help us in the design of networked systems.
Early use of stents better than medical therapy alone for certain patients with coronary artery disease, researcher says
Cardiovascular Medicine Faculty William Fearon
For patients with stable coronary artery disease who have at least one narrowed blood vessel that compromises flow to the heart, medical therapy alone leads to a significantly higher risk of hospitalization and the urgent need for a coronary stent when compared with therapy that also includes initial placement of artery-opening stents. Those are the findings of a study published online Aug. 28 in the New England Journal of Medicine that was designed to evaluate the benefits of using a diagnostic tool called fractional flow reserve, or FFR, to help determine the best course of treatment for fixing a narrowed artery. “We believe there is a significant proportion of patients who benefit from stenting early on as opposed to receiving only medical therapy,” said William Fearon, MD, associate professor of cardiovascular medicine at the Stanford University School of Medicine and co-principal investigator and senior author of the multi-center international trial called FAME 2. “For this group of patients who have significant ischemia [blood vessel narrowing that compromises flow to the heart muscle] based on assessment with FFR, the need for hospitalization and urgent revascularization is much higher and the pain relief is much less when only medical therapy is prescribed. People feel better and do better with FFR-guided placement of coronary stents up front in this setting.”
|Nanobiotechnology Seminar Series
September 13, 2012, 5:30 PM - 6:30 pm
Li Ka Shing Center Room 130, Stanford, CA
“Responsive Polypeptides and Sheddable Multilayer Nanoparticles for Controlled Systemic Delivery ”
Speaker: Paula Hammond, PhD, MIT
|Neurology & Neurosciences
September 14, 2012, 8:00 am - 8:59 am
300 Pasteur Dr, LKSC 120, Stanford, CA
“Genetic & molecular characterization of the paroxysmal dyskinesias”
Speaker: Louis Ptacek, MD, UCSF
|Human Document Project Meeting
You are cordially invited to attend the 2012 Human Document Project meeting happening this month. We have an exciting project that we are working on -- preserving one document about mankind for one million years.
2012 Human Document Project Meeting
Wednesday, Sept 12th, 9am - 5pm
Clark Center Auditorium
Further details below.
We look forward to seeing you there!
Leo Depuydt, Professor of Egyptology & Ancient Western Asian Studies, Brown University
Miko Elwenspoek, Professor of Transducers Science and Technology, University of Twente
Drew Endy, Assistant Professor of Bioengineering, Stanford University
Michael Fischer, Professor of Anthropological Sciences, University of Kent
Andreas Manz, Professor Dr., Head of Research, Korea Institute of Science and Technology, Saarbrucken
Steve Quake, Professor of Bioengineering, Stanford University
Michael Shanks, Professor of Classical Archaeology, Stanford University
Laura Welcher, Director of The Rosetta Project, The Long Now Foundation
Tim D. White, Professor of Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley
[student] Jeroen de Vries, PhD Candidate, Transducers Science & Technology, University of Twente
Preliminary agenda attached: http://www.humandocument.org/2012/
|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 email@example.com, or Dr. Heideh Fattaey, the Executive Director of Bio-X Operations and Programs, at 650-799-1608 or firstname.lastname@example.org.