SBP OETIS Chronicle - FY2016 Q3

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The Office of Education, Training, & International Services


In this issue: ‣ Introducing OETIS ‣ GSBS Student Achievements ‣ High Tech High Interns ‣ Faculty Profile ‣ STEM Expo ‣ Upcoming Events & More!

Introducing the new

Office of Education, Training, & International Services (OETIS) Pictured (from left to right): (Top) Dr. Guy Salvesen, Dr. Malene Hansen, Dr. Diane Klotz, (Bottom) Alexia Pimentel, Dr. Nisha Cavanaugh, Susie Bolor, Stacy Smith, Dr. Sharon Schendel, Julie Cooke, Doug Broadhurst.

Previously, the SBP Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS) and the Office of Training and Academic Services (OTAS) were separate entities with singular but overlapping goals. We are now one unified Office of Education, Training, and International Services (OETIS). Through OETIS, SBP emphasizes its commitment to educating and training the next generation of scientists. The mission of OETIS is to establish SBP as an unparalleled institution for innovative graduate education and postdoctoral training. Key elements of the vision for the new office include: Ø Establish a comprehensive portfolio of education and training opportunities. Ø Provide SBP faculty with resources and information to assist them in mentoring students and postdocs. Ø Serve as a centralized resource for education- and training-related information, statistics, and alumni information. Ø Support the Institute’s efforts to develop graduate education and postdoctoral training programs that highlight SBP’s unique position in the areas of basic and translational research. The services we provide include: w Graduate Education Programs and Training Opportunities w Career advising for postdocs and students w Workshops & professional development programs w Foreign national taxes w Visa renewals & travel letters

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Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Training Writing support (CV/Resume, grant proposals, etc.) Immigration sponsorship for incoming students, postdocs, and staff and much more!

We have been in the works of programming new exciting career development programs, including the Etiquette Series (this Spring), a full-year leadership development program (Starts Fall 2016), and a Grant Writing Workshop Series (Winter 2017). For a more detailed list of the upcoming events and workshops, please see page 6 or the OETIS calendar on the Intranet. To celebrate the merging of our office, we held a Happy Hour last March. It was great to see some of your faces!

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Issue One: Spring 2016

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Office of Education, Training, & International Services Staff Diane M Klotz, PhD Director k

Education & Training

International Services

Nisha A Cavanaugh, PhD Manager, Postdoctoral & Academic Programs

Doug Broadhurst, MA Manager, International Services

Stacy Smith Manager, Graduate Program

Susie Bolor Senior International Advisor

Winter 2016 Graduate

Mirco Guigli

Leadership Support Sharon Schendel, PhD Graduate Education & Postdoctoral Training Specialist Alexia Pimentel Program Coordinator

Guy Salvesen, PhD Faculty Advisor, Graduate Education Malene Hansen, PhD Faculty Advisor, Postdoctoral Training

Mentor: Jeffrey Price Thesis: Investigation of Structured Illumination Confocal Microscopy for High Content Screening

Julie Cooke Sr. Vice President, Human Resources

SBP booth at STEM Expo showed what worms can teach us about health and disease By Sharon Schendel, Graduate Education & Postdoctoral Training Specialist SBP Medical Discovery Institute hosted a booth at the San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering held on March 5 at Petco Park. Over 20,000 kids, parents, and science enthusiasts attended the event, which featured presentations and displays by more than 120 local organizations and companies involved in STEM research and development. The Expo marked the start of a 10-day festival of STEM activities held at sites around San Diego, including the Reuben H. Fleet Science Museum, San Diego public library branches, and a number of local elementary schools that hosted “STEM In Your Backyard” demonstrations and presentations. The SBP booth highlighted the importance of animal models in developing therapies to treat diseases in humans. Dr. Malene Hansen’s lab members kindly prepared plates carrying two types of Caenorhabditis elegans- some plates harbored wild type worms, while others had “Roller” mutants that have defects in collagen that affect their movement and overall shape. SBP graduate students, post-docs, faculty, and staff who volunteered their time were instrumental in helping the kids and their parents view the C. elegans with magnifying glasses so that they could compare the wild type and mutant worms, which provided an effective demonstration of how important careful observation is to scientific discovery. The students and post-docs also had the opportunity to discuss the broad range of research activity at SBP. Many of the kids got lab coats with the SBP logo and quite a few kids wore their coats as they visited other booths. We also gave away temporary tattoos with DNA helices. We were pleased that so many of the kids- even the very young ones- knew what DNA was and its importance. The day was a great success and demonstrated the interest in science that kids in the San Diego community have. SBP looks forward to participating in future events that promote interest in STEM careers. Learn more about the event at: Above: The morning volunteer shift at the SBP STEM Expo booth. Pictured (from left to right) are: Khooshbu Shah, Tiara Tirasawasdichal, Sharon Schendel, Lindsay Ward-Kavanaugh, Elaine Kao- Heatherington, Kristen Cusato, Susan Gannon, Peishan Lee, and Shimrit Braun Kamin Right: Deborah Pré helps a budding scientist find C.elegans worms.

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GSBS Faculty Profile: By Sharon Schendel, Graduate Education & Postdoctoral Training Specialist

Francesca Marassi joined SBP in late 2000 and is a Professor in the National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center. Francesca originally lived in Mantua, Italy, a town located 45 km south of Verona. When Francesca was 12, her family moved to Toronto, Canada. There she discovered she had a talent for science, which was fostered by excellent teachers in chemistry and math. As an undergraduate student in Chemistry and Geology at the University of Toronto, Francesca worked as a research assistant at the IsoTrace Laboratory in the Department of Physics. Her project focused on radio-isotope dating of geological samples, space rocks, and archaeological artifacts. While developing methods to extract and analyze sulfur from iron pyrite (fool’s gold), she got an initial taste of the challenges and rewards that accompany experimental research. Francesca pursued her Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry at the University of Toronto under the guidance of Dr. Peter Macdonald. Her studentship was productive, resulting in five first author papers that used solid state NMR to explore how phospholipid head groups in membranes respond to variations in surface electrostatics and the presence of proteins. This basic research has broad applications, but is particularly useful for researchers who are designing lipid-based drug delivery vehicles. Upon completing her Ph.D. Francesca joined the lab of Dr. Stanley Opella at the University of Pennsylvania. During her post-doc, Francesca expanded her research focus to develop and use solid state NMR methods for structure determination of membrane proteins ranging from bacterial peptides to the Vpu protein from the HIV virus. In 1998 Francesca joined the Wistar Institute in OETIS Chronicle

Philadelphia and by 1999 she was promoted to Assistant Professor of Pharmacology at the University of Pennsylvania. In the interim, she and Dr. Opella had married, and they made the decision to move to California. Dr. Opella is Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at UCSD and he and Francesca continue to collaborate on a number of research avenues. Francesca’s research at SBP is broad-ranging and seeks to understand how the three-dimensional structures of membrane-embedded proteins relate to their biological functions. Francesca’s lab uses solidstate and solution NMR spectroscopy to examine the structures of membrane-embedded virulence factors from the bacterium Yersinia pestis, which could have important applications for the development of medical countermeasures for plague and bioterrorism. On the eukaryotic side, the Marassi lab uses NMR to analyze the membrane insertion structural and functional properties of Bcl-2 family proteins that regulate mitochondria-dependent programmed cell death. Francesca serves on the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS) Admissions Committee and just accepted her second GSBS student. As her first student, Francesca mentored Yi Ding, who graduated from the program last June. Under Francesca’s guidance Yi produced three first author papers and appeared as co-author on four papers. When she’s not in the lab, Francesca enjoys hiking and spending time with her coonhound Lola, and her cat Mo. She also enjoys spending time with her husband! We thank Francesca for her commitment to GSBS and for her dedicated mentorship of her students. Issue One: Spring 2016

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Novel Melanoma Target Identified by Joseph Mazar and Colleagues By Emily Pugach, Postdoctoral Associate in CPCCG Whether in San Diego or Orlando, Sanford Burnham Prebys employees are not strangers to beautiful weather. The importance of lathering on sunscreen before committing to a day of sunny skies is no joke, as anyone who’s forgotten to do so can tell you. But prolonged UV exposure is not only painful, but also dangerous, and in conjunction with other factors can lead to skin cancer. The most common cancer in the United Sates, skin cancer is a subject near and dear to the heart of Joseph Mazar. Joseph, a postdoctoral associate in Ranjan Perera’s lab in Lake Nona, spent the past four years working out the role of a tiny RNA, microRNA-211 (miR-211) in metastatic melanoma, the most deadly member of the skin cancer family. Joseph knew that miR-211 is often “turned off” or lost in melanoma cells, so he and his colleagues initially set out to probe the importance of this microRNA in healthy melanocytes. In parallel, Joseph asked if there were molecular consequences of miR-211 loss in melanoma cells. Based on previous findings that miR-211 is modulated by hypoxia, Joseph hypothesized that miR-211 might somehow control melanocyte metabolism, a process often dysregulated in cancer cells. By carefully manipulating the amount of miR-211 in normal melanocytes and melanoma cells, Joseph demonstrated that indeed miR-211 modulates key metabolic processes in melanocytes. When miR-211 is turned off in melanoma cells they can rewire their metabolism to survive and proliferate in conditions normally inhospitable to healthy cells. Joseph and his collaborators recently published their findings in Molecular and Cellular Biology. Joseph considers his years working on miR-211, “an era unto itself,” a testament to the painstaking and extensive studies he and his colleagues undertook. Importantly, the team’s elegant work suggests tweaking miR-211 levels in melanoma cells could dampen their ability to metastasize, a discovery that was well worth the effort, and could eventually lead to new therapeutics. You can read all the details of Joseph’s study here:

As summer approaches and the U.S. presidential circus roles across the country and dominates the news, ask yourself:

Who would you vote for? Among the many issues being discussed on the campaign trail is immigration reform, an important issue for those foreign students, scholars and employees in the U.S. This issue generally focuses on several key areas: border security, a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, and visas for highly skilled foreign workers and its impact on American workers. Below are the Presidential campaign websites for each of the current candidates with their views on immigration reform and their plans if elected. Hillary Clinton: Ted Cruz: Jon Kasich: Sanders: Donald Trump:

Written by Doug Broadhurst, Manager, International Services

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High Tech High Interns Last January, students from High Tech High School came on campus to intern with a GSBS student. These students worked full time in the lab of their mentor for an entire month, and concluded the program with a presentation about their time here. Pictured from left to right: GSBS student Numana Bhat with her mentee Megan Johnson, Khalia Gohanna with her mentor Marco Maruggi, Francesca Boscolo Sesillo with her mentee Parker Côte, and lastly, Emily Sanchez with her mentor Marisa Sanchez.

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OETIS makes big push for providing writing and editing support for trainees By Nisha Cavanaugh, Manager, Postdoctoral and Academic Programs

The ability to write well is a critical skill for any scientist. Research discoveries and professional accomplishments may go unrecognized unless they are articulated in written form. Graduate students and postdocs must be able to create a variety of documents, including manuscripts, funding proposals, dissertations, CVs/resumes, and cover letters. However, many young scientists may be unsure about how to begin writing these documents, and how to develop a clear and effective writing style. Within the last month, the Office of Education, Training, and International Services (OETIS) has established two regularly-scheduled activities that will provide writing and editing support for our trainees. Agraphia Writing Group (AWG) AWG members set realistic, concrete goals to increase their writing output. Beginning April 26, Graduate Education & Postdoctoral Training Specialist Sharon Schendel will facilitate biweekly AWG meetings wherein students and postdocs discuss progress towards reaching their writing goals. At each meeting, Dr. Schendel will present tips and strategies on writing, language, and grammar. For more information about AWG and to sign up, visit CV/resume Consultation Sessions Since trainees may apply for jobs at any point during the year, our CV/resume Consultation Session will now be offered on a monthly, rather than annual, basis. Trainees are invited to stop by the scheduled meeting room, without an appointment, and talk with a member of the OETIS team who will provide feedback on the content, structure, and/or grammar of any of their application materials (e.g., CV, resume, cover letter). We encourage you to review our presentation materials on writing effective CVs or resumes prior to attending a session. The next CV/resume Consultation Session will be Wednesday, April 27, 2:00-3:30 pm, in Bldg. 5 Rm. 5332. Take advantage of these opportunities to enhance your writing skills and improve your written documents!

Students, Miguel Reina Campos and Marco Maruggi recently obtained fellowships to further their careers in research By Alexia Pimentel, Program Coordinator

After 10 long months of applying, Miguel Reina Campos was jubilated to find that he received a fellowship from the “La Caixa” Foundation. Since 1982, these opportunities have been made by the foundation specifically for Spanish students studying in USA and Canada. Miguel believes this will be extremely valuable to his career by providing him life-long professional relationships with other La Caixa fellows and financially help him accomplish his research goals here at SBP. “My PhD project will be focused on the study of treatmentacquired resistances in prostate cancer, which is the most prevalent in men both in Spain and USA,” Miguel explained. “Even though it is not the most lethal, the high incidence coupled to acquired resistances that lead to death makes it a clear medical need to be met. To

OETIS Chronicle

address this aim we will use bioinformatics analysis of available clinical data, genetically engineered mouse models and cellular biology and biochemistry techniques. We hope that this approach will give us better insight into the mechanism and will allow us to improve the current treatment.” Marco Maruggi was given an opportunity to uniquely focus and formally shape his PhD hypothesis and goals when he applied for the NIH (NCI) NRSA Ruth L. Kirschtein Predoctoral fellowship. This $31,000 fellowship covers his salary and annual budget for supplies and travel over the next 5 years. His project is entitled, “Hypoxiainduced mutagenesis and resistance to targeted therapy.” Marco summarizes the project by saying, “Although targeted drugs against cancer have shown tremendous promise in the clinic, a major problem is their inevitable development of resistance. Our studies will explore how cancer cells develop mutations that drive this adaptation, with the ultimate goal of prolonging the

therapeutic sensitivity of patients’ tumors.” Through this application process, he believes his ability to write in a concise, clear manner, has greatly improved, which is a usefull skill that will help him in the future.

Congratulations to Wesley McKeithan for winning “Best Overall Poster” at the 2016 Drug Discovery Conference at Stanford University!

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Upcoming Events Improving English Skills: Listening, Speaking, Critical Thinking, & Discussion – Tuesday Nights (May 10 – June 28), 5:30 – 7:30 pm in Bldg 2, Rm 2224 Instructor is Ms. Michelle Figueiredo, M.S.Ed. TESOL; Space is Limited to 14 participants! Registration Required:

CV/Resume Walk-In Sessions – Wednesday, April 27 & Monday, May 23 @ 2 – 3:30 pm in Bldg 5, Rm 5332 Just show up – no registration required!

Making the Most of Your Mentoring Relationship – Thursday, May 12 @ 10 – 11:30 am in Fishman Auditorium (Videocast to Lake Nona Rm A2220); Speakers: Nisha Cavanaugh, PhD & Sharon Schendel, PhD Register at:

Careers & Coffee: Business Development – Wednesday, May 18 @ 2 – 3:00 pm in Bldg 5, Rm 5332 Guest Panelist: Lubo Isakovic, PhD (Manager of Business Development, SBP) & Goran Pljevaljcic, PhD (Associate Director, BioNano Genomics, Inc.) Register at:

For a calendar and more information about upcoming events, visit: http://intranet/academicsupport/otas/workshops/Pages/default.aspx

OETIS Chronicle

If you would like to submit a piece to be added to the next issue, please contact Alexia at In the Next Issue. . . o GSBS Student-Mentor Retreat o Spring Graduates & Faculty Awards o GSBS’ 10th Anniversary o More OETIS workshops Please contact for any questions or concerns.

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