Stanford faculty named in first cohort of Chan Zuckerberg Biohub investigators
The Chan Zuckerberg Biohub committed more than $50 million to support 47 of the best investigators from Bay Area universities, including Brian Kobilka among the 19 at Stanford University. These investigators each receive a five year appointment and funding to carry out non-conventional scientific exploration and to invent new tools to accelerate the pace of discovery toward curing, preventing and managing every disease.
Five faculty members elected to National Academy of Medicine
The academy elected Stanford faculty members Laura Carstensen, Christopher Garcia, Mark Krasnow, Mark Musen and Thomas Rando to its membership. Garcia is a professor of molecular and cellular physiology and of structural biology, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. His research focuses on understanding and manipulating interactions between receptors and ligands, particularly in the fields of immunology, stem cell biology and neurobiology.
Seven researchers receive NIH grants for ‘high-risk’ work
Aashish Manglik received an Early Independence Award, which supports promising young investigators with up to $1.25 million over five years. The awards are meant to allow exceptional early career scientists to more quickly assume independent research positions by eliminating or shortening the traditional postdoctoral training period. Manglik, MD, PhD, instructor of molecular and cellular physiology, focuses on decoding the molecular basis of transmembrane signaling and transport in order to understand how cells recognize and respond to their extracellular environment.
Scientists Discover Atomic-resolution Details of Brain Signaling
Axel Brunger, the study's Principal Investigator, and scientists have revealed never-before-seen-details of how our brain sends rapid-fire messages between its cells. They mapped the 3-D atomic structure of a two-part protein complex that controls the release of signaling chemicals, called neurotransmitters, from brain cells. Understanding how cells release those signals in less than one-thousandth of a second could help launch a new wave of research on drugs for treating brain disorders.
See more at doi:10.1038/nature14975.…
Kobilka elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences
Brian Kobilka was among the 197 “thinkers and doers” elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2015. The academy, one of the country’s most prestigious honorary societies, is a leading center for independent policy research.
New insights into how the brain stays bright
Axel Brunger, PhD, professor and chair of Stanford’s Department of Molecular and Cellular Physioogy , and a team composed of several Stanford colleagues and UCSF scientists including Yifan Cheng, PhD, have moved neuroscience a step forward with a close-up inspection of a brain-wide nano-recycling operation. They determined atomic-resolution structures by single particle electron cryo-microscopy which show a protein called NSF alone and interacting with its target, a protein complex called SNARE that is formed when membranes fuse together.
See more at: doi:10.1038/nature14148…
Chris Garcia wins Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award 2014
Recent graduate of the Immunology program, Michael Birnbaum, honored his former mentor Dr. K. Christopher Garcia, recipient of the Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award, with a humorous roast at this year's holiday party. Using protein engineering techniques, the Garcia Lab studies how the structure and biochemical properties of T cell and cytokine receptors can affect downstream signalling.
Miriam Goodman awarded Excellence in Graduate Education 2014
Dr. Mirriam Goodman, along with 10 other faculty members, earned the Excellence in Teaching Award in recognition of her effort to develop and implement an innovative and closely mentored experience for PhD students as they entered their training in the biosciences.
From the Brunger lab: Complexin inhibits spontaneous release and synchronizes Ca2+-triggered synaptic vesicle fusion by distinct mechanisms
The Brunger lab developed a single vesicle fusion assay that mimics characteristics of calcium-triggered synaptic vesicle fusion as well as spontaneous release. The assay qualitatively reproduces the effects of complexin-1 and key mutations on both spontaneous release and evoked release that have been observed in cortical neuronal cultures.
See more at: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.03756…
From the Madison lab: Blocking brains's 'internal marijuana' may trigger early Alzheimer's deficits, study shows
A-beta, a substance suspected as a prime culprit in Alzheimer’s disease, may start impairing learning and memory long before plaques form in the brain.
Hospital bids farewell to twins
The 2½-year-old sisters, who were surgically separated at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford in December, moved March 9 from Palo Alto to UC-Davis Children’s Hospital in Sacramento.
Mom’s CPR saves son
Jose Agredano Jr. got CPR from his mother after being struck in the chest by the ball during a soccer game — an impact that triggered a rare and often lethal medical condition.
Podcast: The relationship between science and magic
When he’s not developing computer models to improve cancer detection, Parag Mallick, PhD, is juggling fire, walking on stilts or mastering card tricks. In this podcast, he talks about how he became a member of a professional performance troupe and the relationship between science and magic.
A call to harness mindset for healing
Researchers encourage more health care providers to place emphasis on the importance of people’s mindsets and social context in healing.
Training improves memory, changes brain
Stanford scientists found that teaching ordinary people a technique used by “memory athletes” not only boosted their recall ability but also induced lasting changes in the organization of their brains.