Life Sciences Division Newsletter
In this issue:
Scientific News »
- Researchers Identify Possible New Breast Cancer Oncogene and Therapy Target »
- Scientists Create First 3-D Model of a Protein Critical to Embryo Development »
- Public Affair’s Jon Weiner Blogs on Why We Should Care About Life Sciences »
- In the News »
- Recent Publications »
- Choong among Three Lab Researchers to Win UC Proof of Concept Grants »
- Bissell Receives BCRF Grant »
- Celniker and Colleagues Win 2012 Drosophila Image Award »
- Lab, UC Berkeley Host Richmond Bay Campus Meeting; Panel Includes Canaria »
- OSTP Scientist Maxon to Help Lab Develop Biosciences Programs »
- Updates from Life Sciences Representatives of Lab Diversity & Inclusion Council; Announce Guest Lecture of Frank C. Worrell on November 7 »
- Public Affairs Offers Free Media Training Workshops »
- Maria Maroudas Joins Human Resources Team »
- Division Achieves Full Compliance for Performance Management Process »
Mina Bissell and Saori Furuta of the Life Sciences Division are the corresponding authors of a paper in the Journal of Clinical Investigation that links the FAM83A protein to therapy resistance in breast cancer and identifies the protein as a possible new oncogene. This discovery helps explain the clinical correlation between a high expression of FAM83A and a poor prognosis for breast cancer patients and may also provide a new target for future therapies. Other co-authors of the JCI paper are Sun-Young Lee, Roland Meier, Marc Lenburg, Paraic Kenny and Ren Xu. More »
Today at Berkeley Lab, September 12, 2012
Eva Nogales, of the Life Sciences Division, led the construction of the first detailed and complete picture of a protein complex that is tied to human birth defects as well as the progression of many forms of cancer. Knowing the architecture of this protein, PRC2, should be a boon to its future use in the development of new and improved therapeutic drugs. Also working on this project were Claudio Cifferi, Gabriel Lander, Alessio Maiolica, Franz Herzog and Ruedi Aebersold. More »
Today at Berkeley Lab, September 17, 2012
OK, I’m not shy to say it…I’m a baby-boomer. So, what? Just simply means I’m getting to be middle-aged, and that means I’m getting more interested in my health. When I came to Berkeley Lab in 2011 I didn’t really have a good grasp of what that meant in terms of life sciences or health research. Sure, Berkeley Lab was good at physics, nanotechnology, chemistry, etc. But, cancer research? Knew nothing about it. But that was my own ignorance, naturally. Turns out Berkeley Lab is pretty good at knowing not just something about cosmological bodies, but our human bodies as well. More »
Today at Berkeley Lab, September 24, 2012
A review of Life Sciences researchers, staff, and students who have appeared in the news media. This is but a sampling of our coverage. Please note that some links may expire after time.
A September 12 Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News story highlighted research into drug resistance in breast cancer, work led by the Lab’s Mina Bissell.
A September 12 Men’s Health magazine story featured work by the Lab’s Andy Wyrobek showing a link between nutrition and fertility in older men.
A September 14 Reuters news story featured work by the Lab’s Andy Wyrobek showing a link between nutrition and fertility in older men. The Korea Times and Shanghai Daily also covered his work.
A September 26 issue of Florida Weekly magazine includes stories on cancer research led by the Lab’s Mina Bissell and Saori Furuta. The stories appear on pages A2 and A8.
What follows is a review of Life Sciences recent publications. It is not a complete list, but only a sampling.
Daemen A, Wolf DM, Korkola JE, Griffith OL, Frankum JR, Brough R, Jakkula LR, Wang NJ, Natrajan R, Reis-Filho JS, Lord CJ, Ashworth A, Spellman PT, Gray JW, Van't Veer LJ. Cross-platform pathway-based analysis identifies markers of response to the PARP inhibitor olaparib. Breast Cancer Research Treatment, 2012 Sep;135(2):505-17. Epub 2012 Aug 9. PMID: 22875744 Abstract »
Kassube SA, Fang J, Grob P, Yakovchuk P, Goodrich JA, Nogales E. Structural Insights into Transcriptional Repression by Noncoding RNAs That Bind to Human Pol II. Journal of Molecular Biology, 2012 Sep 4. pii: S0022-2836(12)00701-2. doi: 10.1016/j.jmb.2012.08.024. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 22954660 Abstract »
Peled AW, Foster RD, Esserman LJ, Park CC, Hwang ES, Fowble B. Increasing the time to expander-implant exchange after postmastectomy radiation therapy reduces expander-implant failure. Plastic Reconstruction Surgery, 2012 Sep;130(3):503-9. PMID:22929235 Abstract »
Petrillo LA, Wolf DM, Kapoun AM, Wang NJ, Barczak A, Xiao Y, Korkaya H, Baehner F, Lewicki J, Wicha M, Park JW, Spellman PT, Gray JW, Van 't Veer L, Esserman LJ. Xenografts faithfully recapitulate breast cancer-specific gene expression patterns of parent primary breast tumors. Breast Cancer Research Treatment, 2012 Oct;135(3):913-22. Epub 2012 Sep 2. PMID: 22941572 Abstract »
Lo RY, Jagust WJ. For the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative. Vascular burden and Alzheimer disease pathologic progression. Neurology, 2012 Sep 25;79(13):1349-1355. Epub 2012 Sep 12. PMID: 22972646 Abstract
Cardenas VA, Reed B, Chao LL, Chui H, Sanossian N, Decarli CC, Mack W, Kramer J, Hodis HN, Yan M, Buonocore MH, Carmichael O, Jagust WJ, Weiner MW. Associations Among Vascular Risk Factors, Carotid Atherosclerosis, and Cortical Volume and Thickness in Older Adults. Stroke, 2012 Sep 13. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 22984010 Abstract »
Ashton RS, Conway A, Pangarkar C, Bergen J, Lim KI, Shah P, Bissell M, Schaffer DV.Astrocytes regulate adult hippocampal neurogenesis through ephrin-B signaling. Nature Neuroscience, 2012 Oct;15(10):1399-406. doi: 10.1038/nn.3212. Epub 2012 Sep 16. PMID: 22983209 Abstract »
Della-Maria J, Hegde ML, McNeill DR, Matsumoto Y, Tsai MS, Ellenberger T, Wilson DM, Mitra S, Tomkinson AE. The interaction between Polynucleotide Kinase Phosphatase and the DNA Repair Protein XRCC1 is Critical for Repair of DNA Alkylation Damage and Stable Association at DNA Damage Sites. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2012 Sep 19. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 22992732 Abstract »
Schwartz YB, Linder-Basso D, Kharchenko PV, Tolstorukov MY, Kim M, Li HB, Gorchakov AA, Minoda A, Shanower G, Alekseyenko AA, Riddle NC, Jung YL, Gu T, Plachetka A, Elgin SC, Kuroda MI, Park PJ, Savitsky M, Karpen GH, Pirrotta V. Nature and function of insulator protein binding sites in the Drosophila genome. Genome Research, 2012 Sep 20. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 22767387 Abstract »
Zeng GL, Kadrmas DJ, Gullberg GT. Fourier domain closed-form formulas for estimation of kinetic parameters in multi-compartment models. BioMedical Engineering OnLine, 11:70, September 2012. Online »
Poon JK, Dahlbom ML, Moses WW, Balakrishnan K, Wang W, Cherry SR, Badawi RD. Optimal whole-body PET scanner configurations for different volumes of LSO scintillator: a simulation study. Physics in Medicine and Biology. 57(13):4077–4094, June 7, 2012. Online »Zeng GL, Hernandez A, Kadrmas DJ, Gullberg GT. Kinetic parameter estimation using a closed-formed expression via integration by parts. Physics in Medicine and Biology. 57(18):5809–5821, September 21, 2012. Online »
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Woon-Seng Choong (right) of the Life Sciences Division, Yuegang Zhang (left) of the Materials Sciences Division and Youn-Hi Woo (center) of the Physical Biosciences Division were awarded 2012 UC Proof of Concept grants. Choong received the grant for his proposal “Back-Side Readout Silicon Photomultiplier.” The grants support technologies approaching commercialization and based on UC intellectual property that require a demonstration of their marketplace viability to potentially secure a licensee. Ninety-six proposals from across the UC system competed on commercial interest, level of innovation, and their likelihood to benefit California’s economy once commercialized. Only 22 proposals, representing six UC campuses and Berkeley Lab, were selected for funding. More »
Adapted from Today at Berkeley Lab, September 26, 2012
Scientific Advisors of The Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) unanimously approved funding for Mina Bissell’s proposal “Organotypic 3D Models of Breast Cancer: Molecular Determinants of Metastasis, Dormancy and the Function of Exosomes,” over one year beginning October 1, 2012. Whereas there are a number of models to study invasion/metastasis, there are very few models of how or why breast cancer cells remain dormant for years and then “wake up” (recur) unexpectedly. In this project it is argued that these two steps are the rate-limiting stages of tumor progression, but very little is known about the underlying mechanisms. The Bissell Lab is well poised to develop new and complex physiologically relevant models to shed light on the triangle of metastasis, dormancy and recurrence with special emphasis on the role of a newly discovered class of mediators of metastasis referred to as “exosomes.” The work will be done in collaboration with David Lyden of Weill Cornell Medical College.
The Best Drosophila Image Award 2012 was presented to Life Sciences Sue Celniker and colleagues, co-authors of the Cell article “A Protein Complex Network of Drosophila melanogaster,” at the Annual Drosophila Research Conference 2012. The image title is “Drosophila Protein Interaction Map: a paradigm for metazoan proteome.” The winning image and runner- up images can be found on the Drosophila images website.
Drosophila Protein interaction Map (DPiM)
About the image: Proteins in a cell accomplish their functions by interacting with other proteins and forming macromolecular complexes. Determining the nature of these relationships is essential to understanding protein function. We generated a high confidence protein interaction network derived from affinity purification and mass spectrometry of more than five thousand fly proteins. This Drosophila Protein interaction Map (DPiM) is the largest metazoan protein complex map to date. The image depicts network visualization of major component of DPiM. The thickness of each line connecting the proteins is proportional to the score of the interaction between them. Different colors indicate distinct functional protein clusters, some of which are labeled. DPiM defines nearly five hundred protein clusters and assigns functions to hundreds of uncharacterized fly proteins. It serves as a starting point for studying dynamics of protein complexes in development and evolution.
Guruharsha KG, Rual JF, Zhai B, Mintseris J, Vaidya P, Vaidya N, Beekman C, Wong C, Rhee DY, Cenaj O, McKillip E, Shah S, Stapleton M, Wan KH, Yu C, Parsa B, Carlson JW, Chen X, Kapadia B, VijayRaghavan K, Gygi SP, Celniker SE, Obar RA, Artavanis-Tsakonas S. (2011). A Protein Complex Network of Drosophila melanogaster. Cell, 147, 690-703.
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Lab employees and the community were invited to join in a discussion with Lab and UC Berkeley scientists on the proposed research for the Richmond Bay Campus (RBC). The evening gathering took place on September 6 at the Richmond Memorial Auditorium.
Richmond City Councilman Jeff Ritterman addressing the panel with Canaria at end of table; photo from post of Jason Jaacks, Richmond Confidential
The MC of the RBC Forum on Research and Sciences was Graham Fleming, vice chancellor for research at UC, Berkeley. Cathy Koshland, vice provost for teaching, learning, academic planning & facilities at UC Berkeley, gave an overview of UC Berkeley research at the new campus; and the Lab’s Jay Keasling presented a brief talk on “biology: past, present & future.”
His presentation was followed by science snapshots of additional members of the panel: Susannah Tringe, JGI, Berkeley Lab; Celine Pallud, Joint BioEnergy Institute, Berkeley Lab; Kara Nelson, civil and environmental engineering, UC Berkeley; and Life Sciences Christie Canaria, who spoke on her research on Huntington Disease. “It was an honor for me to represent the Life Sciences Division,” says Canaria. “Sharing our work with the community is an important aspect of the science we do at LBNL.”
After the presentations the panel members fielded questions from the audience, in person or via comment cards collected at the gathering. Questions not addressed that evening will inform a question and answer document published after the meeting. For the latest information about the plans visit the Richmond Bay Campus website; it includes a Contra Costa Times article on the forum and other news items.
Adapted from Today at Berkeley Lab, September 5, 2012
Mary Maxon, assistant director for biological research at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, has been named Berkeley Lab’s new Biosciences director of development as of September 4. She is working with Associate Lab Director for Biosciences Jay Keasling to develop new research programs, centers and facilities in the biosciences fields. Maxon, who holds a Ph.D. in molecular and cell biology from UC Berkeley, has worked at the White House these past three years, where she helped develop the National Bioeconomy Blueprint. Prior to her position there, she worked for the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. Go here to read an interview with her.
Maxon is integrating herself into Life Sciences. She and Division Director Gary Karpen meet weekly to discuss strategic planning, opportunities for big-program funding, and the division’s role in the Biosciences. While Maxon’s home base is JBEI, she works from Potter Street on Tuesdays in room 267 where she welcomes Life Sciences researchers and other division members to meet with her.
There will be an opportunity to hear Maxon speak at the Life Sciences Annual Scientific Retreat on February 21, 2013 where she will be presenting a key-note talk on current and future opportunities in biosciences research.
Adapted from Today at Berkeley Lab, September 4, 2012
Updates from Life Sciences Representatives of Lab Diversity & Inclusion Council; Announce Guest Lecture of Frank C. Worrell on November 7
Life Sciences representatives in the Lab Diversity & Inclusion Council, Eleanor Blakely and Kathleen Bjornstad, report that the September Council meeting included a discussion of a short (8 minute) video of Jo Handelsman discussing “The Practice of Mentoring.” Handelsman is a professor of molecular, cellular and developmental biology at Yale University and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor. She has implemented several programs to promote excellence in scientific teaching and she is the author of the books “Entering Mentoring” and “Scientific Teaching.” In the video Handelsman describes guidelines that she and her colleagues have developed to help scientists become better mentors. These include listening, asking questions, stating expectations and building independence. Good advice for scientists at all stages of their careers.
Handelsman is also a senior author of a gender bias study published online in PNAS last month and highlighted in a New York Times article on September 24. Science professors at American universities widely regard female undergraduates as less competent than male students with the same accomplishments and skills, the new study by researchers at Yale concluded.
Guest lecturer Frank C. Worrell
The Work Climate Survey, earlier announced to take place in the fall, has been delayed and will not be rolled out until January 2013. The purpose of the survey is to obtain anonymous information Lab-wide on diversity and inclusion issues in the work place.
The Council has a speaker and social activities subcommittee assigned to bring guest lectures and cultural events, such as the annual Cultural Festival, to the Lab. Handelsman is on the committee’s list as a potential guest lecturer in the coming year. The next lecture will be presented by Frank C. Worrell who will speak on Wednesday, November 7, noon, in the building 50 auditorium.. Blakely and Bjornstad encourage everyone to attend his talk. Worrell, professor of cognition and development in the Graduate School of Education, University of California, Berkeley will speak on “Celebrating Multiple Identities: Looking for Similarities, Building on Differences.”
Worrell will draw on his research and professional experiences to showcase two things: There is incredible diversity within all groups; and there are remarkable similarities across all groups. He will touch on issues of belonging and identity, especially as they relate to an individual’s status as a member of a minority group or a member of the majority group, and highlight the need for open and respectful communication in diverse societies.
Berkeley Lab’s Office of Public Affairs is offering a series of onsite media training sessions. The two-hour session is ideal for researchers and others who may find themselves talking to the news media or speaking in public. The program includes a brief primer on working with the news media and why it’s important to properly communicate science in these challenging budget times, and will offer an opportunity to practice delivering your messages on-camera. Each session is limited to six participants. The free class is led by former CBS News producer and current Lab communications manager, Jon Weiner. The most recent session was held on October 12; Weiner offers media trainings at Potter Street, if there is interest.
Several Life Sciences researchers have already taken advantage of the media training by Weiner who held two media training sessions at Potter Street over the summer. One of the participants was Sylvain Costes. “In this digital era where everything gets recorded, duplicated and amplified, scientists must be extra careful when trying to convey to a large audience the societal impact of their research,” he says. “This training helped me be better prepared for interacting with journalists and made me realize one must plan an interview as thoroughly as a scientific talk. One must have a strategy for what to say and more importantly for what not to say. Understanding what a journalist expects, keeping in mind our responsibility towards the lab and society was very useful. Finally, the mocked interview was very instructive, as it helped me identify my strengths and weaknesses in these kinds of interactions.” Life Sciences colleague Sue Celniker agrees, “I think the class was very valuable. It made me think about the ‘hard’ questions and the idea of always being prepared.”
Email here if interested in a free media training session.
Adapted from Today at Berkeley Lab, September 19, 2012
Level-1 Message from Chris Diesch on September 25:
I am pleased to announce the appointment of Maria Maroudas as HR Division Partner for Life Sciences, Computing Sciences and IT as part of the Computing Sciences and Biosciences HR Center team.
As you may already know, she has served as a key member of the HR Service Center Team and has been an integral part of establishing the hiring and onboarding processes with the launch of Taleo in May 2011. When Maria joined the Lab she provided HR support to the Computing Sciences and IT Divisions as an HR Assistant. In addition to her support of these groups, Maria was a key member for the Recruitment and Hiring Process Improvement project. Before Berkeley Lab, she worked in HR for MobiTV in Emeryville. Maria holds an M.S. in Human Resources Management from Golden Gate University. She will be located in 50B-4218C and can be reached at 495-2727 or at email@example.com. She will visit Potter Street weekly and is available for meetings onsite, if necessary.
I am very pleased and proud to announce that the Life Sciences Division achieved 100% compliance on the performance management process this year. I want to extend my sincere appreciation and thanks to all of you who dedicated much time and effort toward completing this important process by the September 14, 2012 deadline. I'd like to take a moment to acknowledge the department heads for their review, input and oversight of the performance review process for each of their groups, and give special thanks to Gail Mosley for her heroic efforts in gathering, shepherding and tracking all of the performance reviews (161 to be exact) for the Division. Her tenacity and patience were critical to our success in achieving this very important Lab-wide goal.
With the beginning of FY13 just around the corner, I wish you a positive and productive year ahead.
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