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Re-educating the general public at Fifty Shades » PAGE 8

Make a spinach quiche » PAGE 9

BDSM 101

Potluck Quandary?


News Briefs » PAGE 3 Journal Club » PAGE 5 Puzzles » PAGE 11

Synapse The UCSF Student Newspaper

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Volume 58, Number 6


‘Dear PI, I’m Pregnant’ By Debbie Ruelas Staff Writer


n 2011, I had my son. It w a s a n amazing and life-changing event. While not everything has ch ange d ( I’m still a grad student with all the normal school responsibilities), some things definitely have. I’d like to share with you some of my experiences, in the hopes that it will be helpful, or at least somewhat entertaining. Last week, I was talking to a friend who was about to break the news to her PI that she was pregnant. It was making her feel anxious — and it wasn’t just the hormones. I remember feeling extremely nervous about telling my own PI, much more than telling anyone else in my life. I think it was partly because I was only in my third year of grad school — as opposed to being on the way out — which meant the progress on my project would certainly slow down. I didn’t know how my PI was going to react to my asking for three months off lab after having the baby. I also felt a little awkward about saying the words, “I’m pregnant” to him. My PI is an MD, and he knows by now where babies come from, so I felt like the words “I’m pregnant” were tantamount to saying “I menstruate and have sex.” I felt especially awkward about this because up to that point, our conversations had been mostly about Western blots and flow cytometry. Instead of saying “I’m pregnant,” I decided to casually work it into our conversation. I scheduled a meeting with him to discuss some recent experiments, and planned to throw in an “Oh, F.Y.I. …” as we wrapped up. So I presented my experiments to him on my laptop, and toward the end of the meeting, I presented the last slide, which contained a recent sonogram. He looked at it in astonishment, and then a wide smile came across his face. I felt incredibly relieved to see that smile. Since then, he has been extremely supportive of my having a good work-life balance in my life. It was a huge relief to me to have such a supportive PI. However, that may not be the case in every lab. Below are some tips



Science Blogs by UCSF Students Gain Traction By Alexandra Greer Science Editor


hoever said that scientists aren’t good communicators? At UCSF, students from all types of graduate programs are using their skills outside of the classroom, clinic and laboratory to communicate their ideas to a wide audience of followers. Using a variety of creative media, including radio, video, blog posts and cartoons, these UCSF students (and one recent alum)

help translate scientific research into understandable and even exciting narratives. While their approaches are unique, each provides an entertaining way to stay well-informed about cutting-edge health news. Here are four outstanding blogs created by UCSF students and alum that are worth following: Youreka Science Science sometimes gets a bad rap for being dry, dense and esoteric, and one common challenge with science education is finding

understandable and exciting ways to communicate breakthroughs in scientific research. Youreka Science, started by UCSF Biomedical Sciences PhD student Florie Charles, may offer a solution. Using visual story-telling through whiteboard drawings, Youreka Science illustrate scientific advances outlined in recent journal articles in a way that’s understandable to audiences ranging from high school to PhD level. “We want to empower people by educating them about their health,” says Charles, “How diseases affect us and what we’re actively doing to treat them — by encouraging critical thinking and promoting the scientific method, and by bringing awareness to the importance of funding biomedical research at all levels.”



White Coat Ceremony Marks the Beginning for 120 Students By Priya Jayachandran Staff Writer


he School of Pharmacy and the UCSF Pharmacy Alumni Association welcomed 120 first-year students of the Class of 2017 into the profession of pharmacy at the 12th annual White Coat Ceremony. Students, faculty, staff, alumni, family, and friends gathered in Cole Hall on October 11, to mark this occasion, which was first celebrated in 2001. To date, more than 1,300 student pharmacists have participated in the ceremony, which honors the students’ decision to become a health care professional. After the customary processional of the first-year class, School of Pharmacy Dean B.

Photo by Frank Farmer Front row: Samantha Morgan, Jeffrey Morimune, Olivia Nathan, Jenny New, Khanh Nguyen, Neda Nguyen, Thien Nguyen. Rear row: Harinder Chahal, Bob Day, Cathi Dennehy, Marcus Ferrone, Lisa Kroon, Leon Levy.

Joseph Guglielmo, PharmD, offered opening remarks. He spoke of a recent landmark in the profession, the signing of Senate Bill 493 into law, which gives pharmacists the status of health care providers, and the impact this leg-

islation will have on the future of pharmacy and the graduates of UCSF. Vice Dean Sharon Youmans, PharmD, MPH (’85) and fourth-year student pharma-


2 | October 17, 2013 |


Thursday, Oct. 17, 5-7 p.m., Cardiovascular Research Institute, Mission Bay
 Come celebrate university-community partnerships that promote health equity in San Francisco and the Bay Area. The event includes a keynote from UCSF alumni, Dr. Sandra Hernandez, Excellence in Partnership Awards ceremony, live performance, networking, Hors d’oeuvres and beverages.

Friend Way Plaza, Mission Bay
 Shop healthy, shop fresh, shop Californiagrown at the UCSF Farmers’ Market every Wednesday (rain or shine). Sponsor: Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market Association.


Thursday, Oct. 17, 6-7 p.m., Genentech Hall Atrium, Mission Bay
 Bring your favorite board games to share. Enjoy free beverages, pizza and raffle prizes provided by GSA & Student Life. 

Thursday Oct. 17, noon-1 p.m., Library, CL 215, Parnassus
 Organized by the student-led Health Technology Interest Group, this lunchtime elective will expose students to health-related tech tools that are available to them now and in the future; teach students how to use these tools; and provide opportunities for students to connect with mentors. Students can register via the Student Portal. 




Friday, Oct. 18, noon-1 p.m., Student Resource Center, Mission Bay This will be our first organizational meeting where we will discuss the ongoing Spanish seminar series, creating a Spanish journal club, and seek suggestions from members on events/activities they'd like to see. Lunch will be provided with R.S.V.P.. Please send an email to to R.S.V.P or if you have any questions. We look forward to seeing you there!

Friday, Oct. 18, noon-1 p.m., Multicultural Resource Center, Parnassus This will be our first organizational meeting where we will discuss the ongoing Spanish seminar series, creating a Spanish journal club, and seek suggestions from members on events/activities they'd like to see. Lunch will be provided with R.S.V.P.. Please send an email to to R.S.V.P or if you have any questions. We look forward to seeing you there!



Friday, Oct. 18, noon-1 p.m., Graduate Division Conference Room, third floor, Mission Bay Community Center Synapse is looking for Mission Bay and Parnassus writers, bloggers, photographers and designers. Come to the lunch meeting, share your story ideas and enjoy a free lunch. RSVP to


Friday, Oct.18, 1-2 p.m., Helen Diller, 160, Mission Bay
 The Muslim Community at UCSF holds regular Friday prayer services (Jum’a) for the UCSF Muslim community every week. Join your fellow brothers and sisters for prayer, lunch and socializing. All are welcome.


Friday, October 18, 4-5 p.m., Genentech Hall Auditorium, Mission Bay RIPS is a seminar series wherein one student and one postdoc present their current research. Talks are 15 minutes in length and are preceded by a 20-minute social. Snacks and beverages are provided


Monday, October 21, noon-1 p.m., Student Health and Counseling Services, Rutter Center, third floor, Mission Bay Take a breather! Student Health & Counseling offers this stress management workshop designed for women who are UCSF students. Learn helpful techniques to relax and manage your stress from Felicia De La Garza Mercer, Ph.D. This workshop will focus on Chilling Out — Relaxation Skills. Free lunch for students who RSVP to felicia.mercer@ucsf. edu.

 Wednesday, Oct. 23, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Gene

Friday, Oct. 18, 1:30-2 p.m., Medical Sciences, 180, Parnassus
 The Muslim Community at UCSF holds regular Friday prayer services (Jum’a) for the UCSF Muslim community every week. Join your fellow brothers and sisters for prayer, lunch and socializing. All are welcome.


Friday, Oct. 18, noon-2 p.m., Millberry Union, 111W, Parnassus There will be a pup every Friday in October, so don’t miss out. Take time to de-stress with Lady Jenna, a Cockapoo from Animal Assisted Therapy of SPCA. Enjoy some tea or hot chocolate, and leave your stress at the door. Sponsor: Student Life. Part of Mental Health Awareness Week.


Sunday, October 20, 2-3 p.m., Cole Hall, Parnassus Gathering of musicians to sight read chamber music, meet other UCSF artists, and to form chamber music ensembles!


Monday, Oct. 21, noon–1 p.m., Health Science West, 301, Parnassus This fun and practical inter-professional program will provide useful strategies and etiquette on how to enter and exit conversations, make introductions and small talk, manage the buffet, and talk about your professional interests with potential contacts at a conference. Lunch will be provided. Cosponsors: OCPD, APhA, ASUC, and ASDA.


Tuesday, Oct. 22, noon-1 p.m., Saunders Court, Parnassus To celebrate Open Access Week, the Library will be giving out free buttons, T-shirts, and more, so stop by and talk with us about the changes in scholarly publishing and how, together, we can transform scholarly communication. participate-open-access-week-eventsoctober-2013


Wednesday, Oct. 23, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., ACC, 400 Parnassus Ave.
 Shop the Farmers’ Markets on Wednesdays to pick up locally grown produce and more. Sponsor: Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market Association.


Wednesday, Oct. 23, noon-1 p.m., MU 123W, Parnassus Synapse is looking for Mission Bay and Parnassus writers, bloggers, photographers and designers. Come to the lunch meeting, share your story ideas and enjoy a free lunch. RSVP to


Wednesday, Oct. 23, noon-1 p.m., Nursing, 527, Parnassus Student Health and Counseling offers this one-time workshop at the Parnassus campus. Take the first steps toward achieving a healthy weight, presented by Student Health’s Dietitian. Learn more about nutrition, exercise and mindful eating in this one-hour overview discussion. Free lunch for students who RSVP to


Wednesday, Oct. 23, 12 noon-1 p.m. Room C-130, Parnassus UCSF Global Health Sciences will hold an information session about its master’s degree Program. The session will be led by Madhavi Dandu, MD, MPH, and Kim Baltzell, RN, PhD, MS, Program Directors and Medical School alumnae. There will be ample time for questions and answers. Light refreshments will be served.


Thursday, Oct. 17, 6-10 p.m., Cal Academy, Golden Gate Park See treasures from the Academy’s geology collection up close, then take a trip to the Gem and Mineral Vault to admire precious stones rarely seen by the public. Try your hand at mural painting with roving art gallery bus ArtIsMobilUs and marvel at the musical musings of poster artists from the Treasure Island Music Festival. NightLifeTickets,


Thursday, Oct. 18, 5-9 p.m., Stanyan and Waller Streets, SF Off the Grid is a roaming mobile food extravaganza that travels to different locations daily to serve delicious food, with a free side of amazing music, craft and soul.


Friday, Oct. 18, 5-8.45 p.m., de Young Museum, 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, Golden Gate Park Friday Nights at the de Young offer a variety of interdisciplinary arts programs, including live music, dance performances, film screenings, panel discussions, lectures, artist demonstrations, special performances, hands-on art activities and more. Programs

are free and open to the public, but do not include admission to the museum’s galleries.


Saturday, Oct. 19, 5-9 p.m., Roxie Theater, 3117 16th St., SF Since the assassination of Dr. George Tiller in Kansas in May 2009, there are only four American doctors left who openly provide third-trimester abortions. After Tiller paints a complex, compassionate portrait of these physicians. Please join us in a special screening, followed by a Q&A with filmmaker Martha Shane, moderated by members of UCSF's Medical and Nursing Students for Choice.


Be a part of Synapse's annual TRAVEL issue. We welcome the UCSF community to share stories, photographs and anecdotes about places recently visited, both far and near. Send your submissions to Synapse@ucsf. edu. Please include your school and year. Deadline is Oct. 25.


The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) is sponsoring a competition for the most effective and creative video showing how biomedical and biological research is funded in the United States and how the results of federally funded research benefit Americans. Ideas for submission include, but are not limited to: interviews, animation and music/dance videos. The grand prize winner will receive $5,000. Video submissions will be accepted starting Oct. 1 through Nov. 30. The winner will be announced in February 2014. http://


Spend some time with friends/family at CLS Outdoor Program’s winter cabin in Truckee (North Lake Tahoe). The cabin sleeps up to 15 people. Conveniently located near North Tahoe’s best ski areas, this wintery home comes fully equipped. Reservations begin for students on Oct. 16 at both Parnassus and Mission Bay Fitness & Recreation Centers at 8 a.m. First come, first served. In person reservations only. Please call (415) 476-2078 for more details.


The Science and Health Education Partnership (SEP) offers opportunities for UCSF volunteers to work with San Francisco K-12 teachers to co-plan and co-teach a series of four investigative science lessons in the teachers’ classrooms during the spring semester. The commitment is only 20 hours, flexibly scheduled from January to May. Professional students, graduate students, postdocs, research scientists and faculty are all eligible to apply. Applications will be available online starting Friday, Oct. 4 on SEP’s website:


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It Takes Two: Academia and the Drug Industry This is the final article in a three-part series about partnerships between the pharmaceutical industry and academia.

By Benjamin L. Cohn Staff Writer


he number of new drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration per billion dollars spent by the drug industry on research and development has halved approximately every nine years since 1950. Put another way, the cost of bringing a drug to market is soaring: Larger pharmaceuticals now spend at least $5 billion per chemical entity. Such low rates of return on investment have caused companies to drastically cut their own R&D departments and seek creative ways to bolster the efficiency of drug candidate development. One strategy that is gaining momentum is partnerships with academic medical centers. The Bay Area chapter of the Oxbridge Biotech Roundtable (OBR-Bay) recently invited local bio-entrepreneurship leaders to UCSF to

participate in a discussion of the conditions leading to the increase in academic-industry partnerships, current models for collaboration and projections for the future. The panel consisted of Jeffrey Bluestone, Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost of UCSF; Corey Goodman, co-founder and Managing Partner of the investment firm venBio; Douglas Crawford, Associate Director of the QB3 Institute for Quantitative Bioscience; and Daria Mochly-Rosen, Director of the SPARK translational science program at Stanford University’s School of Medicine. Hurdles to Overcome Douglas Crawford notes that faculty now move more freely back and forth between industry and academia, as universities become more welcoming of pharma. However, each side has still has some hang-ups about the other, says Corey Goodman. Industry scientists may worry that academic investigators don’t respect intellectual property (IP) and won’t keep proprietary information secret. Academics may fear forfeiting IP rights from their discoveries or the chance to publish their work. However, Bluestone believes that fear of losing IP rights for their discoveries shouldn’t prevent academics from participating in industry collaborations. Billion-dollar ideas are extraordinarily rare, he says, and drive so much bad behavior. If the ultimate goal is to improve patient

Share your adventures in the Synapse TRAVEL issue

Be a part of Synapse's annual TRAVEL issue. We welcome the UCSF community to share stories, photographs and anecdotes about places recently visited, both far and near. Send your submissions to Deadline is Oct. 25. Photo by Guillaume Desachy


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Synapse is the UCSF student-run weekly newspaper, which runs on Thursdays during the academic year and monthly during the summer. Synapse seeks to serve as a forum for the campus community. Articles and columns represent the views of the authors and not necessarily those of the Board of Publications or the University of California.


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Paid advertisements do not necessarily reflect the views of Synapse. Synapse and its editorial board reserve the right to decline advertisements promoting false or misleading claims, known health risks, or content deemed by the editors to be antithetical to the interests of UCSF students or the UCSF community. Synapse does not accept advertisements from tobacco or alcohol manufacturers, or sexually oriented personal ads. Synapse reserves the right to run any ad with a disclaimer.

outcomes, he argues it is better to do the research first and worry about royalties later. After all, biomedical research supported by the National Institutes of Health is ultimately funded by public tax dollars, and the public should be the ultimate beneficiary of new discoveries. Goodman notes that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has, in any case, significantly narrowed its definition of what is patentable in the life sciences, a trend recently highlighted by the Supreme Court’s judgment to revoke Myriad’s patents of the “breast cancer gene." Rather than splitting hairs trying to protect IP, Bluestone suggests that academic investigators protect what they most cherish: The ability to choose the work they want to do, to publish and not to let a project they are passionate about get shelved merely for lack of an obvious profit. By coming to the table as equals, both industry and academic partners can come out with what they most prioritize. Another serious obstacle to fruitful collaboration between academia and industry is the issue of data reproducibility. To fill their pipeline, the pharmaceutical industry routinely selects candidate drug targets from reports in the scientific literature, which are vetted by in-house validation programs. However, several recent reports have suggested that published findings from academic labs could only be reproduced 11%-50% of the time in industry labs, irrespective of the tier journal or scientific area. Faulty Data Besides grave implications for the progress of science itself, this inability to reproduce data may further inflate the cost of drug development by keeping bad targets in the pipeline or designing clinical trials based on either faulty, incomplete or too narrowly applicable data. There are likely to be many reasons for this irreproducibility, and experts emphasize that scientific fraud is likely to be only a small piece of the picture. Rather, inappropriate statistical analyses, insufficient sample size, negligence of controls or insufficient reporting of experimental conditions are all potential contributors. Additionally, the biology itself may be subject to experimental conditions not obvious to the experimentalist. Working together, academic and industry scientists should be able to elevate the scientific rigor of basic research and address the issue head on. Moving Forward Together In addition to preventing and treating human disease, an infrequently mentioned component of the official NIH mandate is to promote the economic well-being of the nation. Thus, the suffering of the pharmaceutical industry should be everybody’s concern, says Crawford. Bluestone also warns against a brain drain, anticipating that stagnation in the drug industry will drive young talent into other fields. Despite some cautionary remarks, however, the panel generally expressed optimism for the future of drug development. Hitting rock bottom, remarks MochlyRosen, may have provided the perfect catalyst for a total system overhaul. While new paradigms for drug development are still under experimentation, it seems now safe to predict that improving patient outcomes in the future will require meaningful cooperation between medical science professionals across industry, academia and beyond.

Benjamin Cohn is a fourth-year BMS student at UCSF/Gladstone Institutes and a correspondent for the Oxbridge-Bay chapter.

NEWS BRIEFS USCF Researcher Wins NIH Innovator Award to Build Breast Tissue

Zev Gartner, PhD, has been named a recipient of the 2013 National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director’s New Innovator Award, which will provide his lab with up to $1.5 million in research funding over the next five years. Gartner, a faculty member in the UCSF School of Pharmacy’s Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, will use the funding to develop a revolutionary new way to rapidly and precisely build 3-D human tissue in vitro — among the most structurally complex and detailed to date — for studying basic biology and testing therapeutics. Specifically, Gartner plans to build a functional human mammary gland, starting with modular substructures such as the lining of the milk ducts, made of two cell types in layers, and working up a hierarchy of complexity incorporating the ducts with blood vessels, immune cells and connective tissue. These models will provide new insight into how normal human tissues assemble themselves during development, and conversely, how they break down in diseases such as breast cancer.

Caucasians Found to Be More Susceptible to Atrial Fibrillation An individual’s race or ethnic background could be a determining factor when it comes to risk of atrial fibrillation, the most frequently diagnosed type of irregular heart rhythm, according to a new UCSF study. Researchers discovered that self-described non-Hispanic whites are more likely to develop atrial fibrillation than people from other race or ethnic groups. “We found that consistently, every other race had a statistically significant lower risk of atrial fibrillation compared to whites,” said senior author Gregory Marcus, MD, an associate professor of medicine who specializes in electrophysiology in the UCSF Division of Cardiology. “So this suggests that white race is itself a risk factor for atrial fibrillation.” The team’s findings are reported in a study published online on October 8 and in the November 12 issue of Circulation. The researchers studied the records of 14 million patients in California who visited the emergency room, had outpatient services or were hospitalized between 2005 and 2009.

Bioethics Professor Selected to Visit UCSF Professor Wylie Burke has been awarded the UCSF Presidential Chair, a position that is intended to encourage new or interdisciplinary program development and to enhance quality in existing academic programs. Burke is one of the pre-eminent scholars today examining the ethical, legal, and social implications (ELSI) of advances in human genetics, particularly the translation of novel genomic technologies from the bench to the clinic. While in residence at UCSF, Professor Burke will teach a new, interdisciplinary course, “Challenges in ‘Precision’ Genomic Medicine and Public Health” in the spring quarter of 2014. She will also be a keynote speaker in the Presidential Chair Lecture Series (May 5-9, 2014) and participate in seminars and working groups sponsored by the Center for Transdisciplinary ELSI Research in Translational Genomics. Burke is a Professor and Chair of the Department of Bioethics and Humanities at the University of Washington.

4 | October 17, 2013 |


Not All Babies Are Born Equal By Elieth Martinez Contributing Writer


s I venture through my third year of medical school, I am often reminded that not all babies are born equal. Patient rooms in the county hospital are filled with cheery physicians. They are filled with reassuring news about a common cold, a fever without a source, or inquiries about a first newborn. White coats are not worn, and ID cards and stethoscopes are covered in multicolored stickers. My patients are often either black or brown, most of them having grown up in either a gentrified city or in segregated housing projects. Having grown up in these communities myself, I know there are issues that a doctor’s visit can’t solve, such as environmental toxins affecting the health of asthmatic children or unsafe neighborhoods that keep children from getting the exercise we health care practitioners recommend. Part of my responsibility as a medical student was to do a home visit with a public health nurse. I chose to visit a patient with a recurrent cough. I approached her home, just a few blocks from the county hospital. Metal bars covered the windows, kids ran around the living room area playing tag, and oldies with Spanish lyrics filled the air. It felt just like home. And just like home, there was only one room with three beds to house this family. That one room, with mold growing through cracks in the walls, and that house, sheltering other immigrant families, too. The public health nurse and I sat on their colorful sofa and listened to the mother’s concerns. I knew what she was going to say before she began — that working two jobs was not enough to pay the rent, that she was afraid to file housing complaints due to her undocumented status, and that the bullet-sized hole through her window was due to an accidental driveby shooting. As usual, I’m filled with anger, and I express it as usual — I call for one of the four kids. He comes over, and I give him a high five. I ask, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” And I get the usual, expected, “Hmmm,” as he shrugs his shoulders. I begin with the headto-toe exam, which I was trained to carry out in my first two years of medical school. Before I get to the heart, though, I take my stethoscope buds off. I place the bell of my lilac stethoscope on my patient’s chest, and suggest he listen to his own beating heart. And as usual, I get a long drawn-out smile as he thinks of becoming a doctor. It works every time. Being a first-generation Latina medical student is not an easy journey. Fortunately, I have mentors in the profession who come from similar backgrounds and who faced similar hardships. They became my green light, and I hope to do the same for my pediatric patients. As I start writing my H&P (history and physical), my little patient takes my lilac stethoscope again. He places it on his mother’s sunburnt chest, covered with wrinkles from her work. He listens. It’s all I wanted. I may not have the Band-Aid to cover that hole in the metal-bar-covered window, or a suction tube to remove the years of mold, but my job, for that moment, is complete.

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that I shared with my pregnant friend. Maybe they can helpful to others in the same situation, too: • Procrastinate, as needed: If you think the news may not be received well by your PI, it’s completely acceptable to wait longer to spread the news. Doing this also allows you to point out that you’ve already proven you can do your work while pregnant. Also, you can announce your pregnancy after successfully completing an experiment or project. • Seek support, as needed: If you are having morning sickness or complications due to pregnancy, consider telling your PI and your colleagues earlier, rather than later. This may be better for your baby and your own health. It may also be a relief to have the extra sympathy and support. • Plan your leave: Think about how much time you think you’ll want to take off. Research how much time your program will allow you to take. It may be useful to contact your program coordinators. They can give you advice on family leave, etc. • Take the pulse: Talk to other women who have been pregnant in your lab, and ask how your PI reacted to the news. Was he or she supportive throughout the pregnancy and afterward? Were there any instances where he or she was not supportive? • PIs are people, too: Finally, it is very likely that your PI will be completely supportive of your having a child. Most PIs have had children, have nieces or nephews, or at least have close friends with children. Like most people, they will probably be happy for you. If they don’t they are jerks, and should be promptly disregarded.

cist Ryan Beechinor (’14) offered personal reflections on becoming a pharmacist. Dr. Youmans spoke of the risks we take for change to happen and both the opportunities and challenges associated with change. She noted that change “keeps you thinking pro-actively instead of reactively” and called on the student pharmacists to “become advocates for our patients, the profession, and for change,” in a nation where access to quality health care can still prove to be a challenge. Student speaker Ryan Beechinor offered a unique and refreshing outlook on “learning in the negative space.” “Some of the most important learning experiences you will have will come from your mistakes,” Beechinor said, as he asked the Class of 2017 to be courageous in asking questions and finding answers. Beechinor commented on a personal connection to the Class of 2017: He served as a student representative on the Admissions and Executive Committees that drafted the final list of acceptances. After the first-year students had been formally dressed in their white coats by the School of Pharmacy faculty and alumni, Lisa Kroon, PharmD, Chair of the Department of Clinical Pharmacy, led the student pharmacists in reading the Oath of a Pharmacist.The School of Pharmacy’s Class of 2017 is truly diverse. Fifteen US states and territories and 13 countries are represented, and over 25 of the students were born outside the US. In addition to science majors, the class includes students with majors in business, communication, education, history and music.


Debbie Ruelas is sixth-year BMS student.


Priya Jayachadran is a first-year pharmacy student.

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GENETICS: Expression of the TEL-Syk fusion protein in hematopoietic stem cells leads to rapidly fatal myelofibrosis in mice. Graham, M.T.; Abram, C.L.; Hu, Y.; Lowell, C.A. PLoS One. 8(10):e77542.

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Some cancers arise from common “mistakes” in cellular division: Certain regions of our chromosomes are statistically more likely to break, and when they accidentally rejoin in the wrong place, they can generate fusion proteins (proteins that are the result of two genes getting accidentally stuck together) of products that when mutated, cause the cell to uncontrollably divide more. Other cancers have more elusive causes. In this paper, researchers extensively characterized the causative mutation behind a patient’s leukemia. Cells isolated from the patient were found to have a fusion protein of TEL and Syk, which resulted in constitutive activation of the transcription factor STAT5 when the mutant gene was transformed into cells in vitro. When these transformed cells were implanted into mice, it was lethal in about two months. Mice showed significant early myeloexpansion (cell overgrowth), followed by extensive liver and spleen fibrosis and damage, leading to death. VIROLOGY: HIV-associated disruption of mucosal epithelium facilitates paracellular penetration by human papillomavirus. Tugizov, S.M. et al. (Palefsky) Virology. 446(12):378-88. Human papilloma virus (HPV) is much more common in HIV-infected individuals than non-infected individuals. Here, researchers wanted to determine whether this association was biological in nature, by testing whether HIV-infected tissues are more susceptible to infection with HPV. Expression of the HIV proteins tat and gp120, which can be found in HIV-infected mucosa, is known to compromise the expression of tight junctions between epithelial cells, which is a primary defense against infection with invasive pathogens. To test this phenomenon experimentally, the researchers added tat and gp120 to in vitro cultures of polarized epithelial cells. Indeed, they found that the tight junctions were compromised when exposed to the HIV proteins, but they also found that HPV virions were able to penetrate deeper into the polarized epithelial layers when the tight junctions were compromised. IMMUNOLOGY: Deletion of the activating NKG2C receptor and a functional polymorphism in its ligand HLA-E in psoriasis susceptibility. Zeng, X.; Chen, H.; Gupta, R.; PazAltschul, O.; Bowcock, A.M.; Liao, W. Experimental Dermatology. 22(10):679-681.

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Psoriasis is a skin disease characterized by rough, scaly patches of skin that is caused by an overgrowth of skin cells, which is thought to be due to immune system dysregulation. NK cells, which can respond to a variety of pathogens by killing infected cells, have long been suspected of playing a role in the disease — though the exact process by which they contribute to psoriasis has so far proved elusive. Here, researchers performed a population study on Caucasians to see whether there were correlations between certain alleles or mutations in NK-cell related genes and psoriasis. Perhaps counter-intuitively, they found that deletions in the activating NKG2C receptor on NK cells correlated positively with psoriasis, and they found additional susceptibility with a low-expressing allele for HLA-E. The researchers conclude that without the activating NK receptor NKG2C, NK cells may not be able to inhibit self-reactive, potentially psoriasis-causing T-cells as efficiently, thereby contributing to disease. PHARMACOLOGY: Epoxyeicosatrienoic acids prevent Cisplatin-induced renal apoptosis through a p38 MAPK regulated mitochondrial pathway. Liu, Y. et al. (Kroetz). Molecular Pharmacology. October 3. [Epub ahead of print] Cisplatin is a commonly used, often life-saving chemotherapy used for a variety of solid tumors. Like most chemotherapeutic agents, however, the drug has significant toxicity issues: Cisplatin, in particular, tends to cause kidney failure due to tubule cell death. Many cellular pathways contribute to the tubule cell death, and it was thought that if some of those pathways could be inhibited, cell death due to chemotherapy treatment could perhaps be limited, helping to reduce serious side-effects of treatment. Recently, this research group found that epoxyeicosatrienoic acid (EET) levels are increased by inhibition of soluble epoxide hydrolase (sEH), which has been proposed to treat renal disease. Here, the group found that inhibition of sEH prevented apoptosis of kidney cells treated with cisplatin by preventing mitochondrial damage and reactive oxygen species formation in the cell, which was also corroborated by adding extra EETs to kidney cells treated with the drug. The authors conclude that sEH inhibition may be a novel therapeutic strategy to prevent cisplatin toxicity during cancer treatment.

Alexandra Greer is a sixth-yea Biomedical Sciences student. For comments and paper suggestions, email Alexandra Greer at

6 | October 17, 2013 |


UCSF Domestic Violence Conference to Explore Counseling Strategies By Sue Wang Contributing Writer


sychiatric and mental health nurse Kate Melino understands the need for domestic violence screening in health care better than most. During her two-year employment at Toronto’s Women’s College Hospital, she was paged to emergency rooms across the city to respond to cases of domestic violence and sexual assault. Now Melino is a student coordinator for the 13th annual Domestic Violence Conference at UCSF, which takes place on October 26. The conference, called “Opening Doors,” will explore how to start difficult conversations about domestic violence with patients and what do to if abuse is identified. “There’s the idea that it [domestic violence] is more of a social issue,” said Melino, “but you can see lots of health care consequences.” Kate went on to describe how for children, anxiety often manifests as stomach pain. Chronic stress from family violence increases the chance of heart disease, stroke and alcohol abuse. Furthermore, exposure to violence is shown to contribute to poor medication adherence, chronic pain and depression. At this year’s conference, the keynote speaker is Erica Monasterio, a UCSF faculty member who works with adults and adolescents experiencing violence in a primary care setting. Health care professionals from each of UCSF’s professional schools (medi-

cine, dental, physical therapy and pharmacy) will lead training workshops on the most effective screening and counseling strategies for patients in their areas of practice. Breakout sessions and a multidisciplinary panel discussion will present up-to-date information on laws and resources for victims, as well as delve deeper into the issues surrounding elder abuse, children and violence, LGBTQ issues, violence in prisons and the military, and perspectives when working with victims and perpetrators. The conference will

close with a survivor panel comprising members of the UCSF community, to encourage those experiencing violence to speak out. Melino acknowledged the culture of silence around family violence and believes that screening for violence is a vital first step in ending it. Speaking as a health practitioner, she said, “It’s the elephant in the room. But just asking about it means it’s safe to talk. A lot of what you do as a health care provider is modeling, the patient will follow you.” Although the patient may not respond at the initial screening, the act of asking means, “You’re letting patients know the door is open, and maybe they’ll give you a little bit at a time.” Health practitioners are in a unique position to educate patients on resources available, document instances of violence on their medical record, and refer them to someone who is better equipped to help, like Melino. Between 55 percent and 95 percent of

women who are physically abused by their partners never contact NGOs, shelters or the police for help. “It’s a hard issue,” said Melino, “but we need to encourage people to come forward.”

13th Annual Domestic Violence Conference at UCSF Saturday, October 26, 2013 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Health Sciences West, Parnassus Register at spdvconference.eventbrite. com To receive elective credit under EPI 180.08, sign up by October 18. Complimentary breakfast and lunch will be provided. EMAIL Sue Wang is a first-year medical student.

Volunteers display quotes from victims of domestic violence.

Photo by Sarah Gomez/MS2


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Dental School Hosts 10th Anniversary Research Day

Photo by Mason Tran/DS4 Muhammad Mughni, BDS, MPH, explains his analysis of ethnic disparities in Medicaid dental utilization in San Francisco at the Research and Clinical Excellence Day on October 10.

By Joy Chang Staff Writer


he UCSF School of Dentistry celebrated the 10th anniversary of its Research and Clinical Excellence Day on October 10. The dental school and most of the dental clinics were closed for the momentous occasion. The day opened with Dr. Michael McMaster, the chair of UCSF Dentistry’s Research and Clinical Excellence Day and an Adjunct

Professor in the Department of Cell and Tissue Biology, urging students to take action and bring change to the world, stating that “no matter what, the next 10 years [of progress] will start today.” Executive Vice Chancellor Dr. Jeffrey Bluestone reinforced the theme by stating the “future of UCSF depends on people in the room,” and that UCSF has a responsibility to provide the tools to carry this out. Dean John D. B. Featherstone followed, with an inspirational presentation about the

research and development of CAMBRA, Caries Management by Risk Assessment, which, over the past 40 years, has become a philosophy that changes the way caries is managed around the world. Dr. Andrei Goga chaired the morning session of oral presentations. Student oral presentations focused on the cutting edge of dental research. • Janice Hwang, a second-year dental student and an American Association for Dental Research Student Research Fellowship awardee, presented her work on “Hypoxia enhances phenotypic effects of sonic hedgehog heterozygosity.” • Jean Calvo, a second-year dental student and a summer research fellow, presented her research on the “Effectiveness of an interactive patient education device in reducing children’s dental anxiety.” • Neek LaMantia, a second-year dental student and a summer research fellow, presented “Optical imaging methods for guided laser ablation of dental caries.” The morning session concluded with presentation of the Outstanding Clinician Award to Dr. Sheila Brear, a Health Sciences Associate Clinical Professor and Division Chair for General Dentistry, who shared her thoughts on influential characters in dentistry. Though only a select number of students had the opportunity to deliver an oral presentation for their research, many students had the opportunity to showcase their summer work in a poster presentation. The first Research and Clinical Excellence Day in 2003 consisted of 20 posters, but this year, that number had grown to 48 posters. Students and other researchers were able to view the results of their peers’ hard work over lunch provided by UCSF. Dr. Nathan Young. Di Liu chaired the afternoon session of oral presentations that included:

• An international dental program student presented her work on “Mutacin genes in streptococcus mutans and caries status in children.” • Kei Katsura, a DDS-PhD student, presented her work on “Wdr72 regulates enamel development during the maturation stage.” • Samuel Clarot, a second-year dental student and a summer research fellow, presented his work on “Modulation of tooth formation through GPCR signaling.” The afternoon session concluded with a lecture by Dr. Diane Barber, the Professor and Chair of the Department of Cell and Tissue Biology, who shared her journey through teaching, research and service in academia. The day concluded with the presentation of awards. Timothy Wen, on behalf of the John C. Greene Society, presented Dr. Brent Lin with the Mentor of the Year Award. The winners were announced by Dr. Peter Sargent, the Associate Dean of Research, who said he was “remarkably impressed at the professional presence” of the work of all of the students. • The winner of the Research Associate category was Jacob Simon. • The winners of the Postdoctoral/Resident category were Dr. Alejandra Navarro (first place), Dr. Wendy Yang (second place) and Dr. Seungil Kim (third place). • Winners in the Graduate category were Kei Katsura (first place), Sheila Nguyen (second place) and Frances Yang (third place). • Winners for the Predoctoral category were Jose-Julio Hernandez-Blouin (first place), the Ernest Newbrun Award for Research Excellence, Janice Hwang (second place) and Neek LaMantia and Evan You (third place).

Joy Chang is a second-year dental student.


Dental Student Group Volunteers at Laney College Health Fair By Dr. Pamela Alston, DDS Contributing Writer


he Student National Dental Association–UCSF chapter (SNDA) participated in a community health fair at Laney College in Oakland on September 28. The health fair offered community residents free health monitoring, such as blood pressure, cholesterol and vision screenings. In addition, organizations offered resources on topics such as nutrition, tobacco use cessation, mental health, children’s health and dental health. The Alameda County Dental Society (ACDS) partnered with SNDA at UCSF and Alameda Health System to offer dental screenings and oral health resource information. Dr. Norma Solarz and Dr. Pamela Alston represented ACDS. Dental students conducted outreach, identifying people with concerns and questions about oral health, as well as assisting in the screening. Although health fair participants were excited about the opportunity to purchase health insurance, some displayed apprehension regarding their oral health status and their perceptions about the affordability of oral health care. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) provides for the expansion of Medicaid to cover U.S. citizens with incomes below 133 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL). Some adult dental benefits will be reinstated to adult Medi-Cal beneficiaries in May 2014. However,

dental care for adults is not included in the Act’s essential benefit package. Passers-by who correctly answered questions on topics on the prize wheel won prizes. Students also had the opportunity to share oral health information, raising participants’ oral health literacy levels in an engaging way. The dental students gained insight into the magnitude of challenges for adults without the means to pay for dental care. A recent environmental study of the dental care sector by the American Dental Association (ADA) found that dental benefits coverage for adults has been steadily eroded in the past decade. The ADA found that since the beginning of the new millennium, more adults in all income groups have experienced increasing difficulties in affording dental care.

Dr. Pamela Alston is a volunteer assistant clinical professor in the department of Orofacial Sciences at UCSF’s School of Dentistry.


Photo by Ivy Avanessian/DS2 Dr. Pamela Alston and members of the Student National Dental Association-UCSF chapter providing oral health education and dental screenings.

8 | October 17, 2013 |

Science Blogs » FROM HOME PAGE

BMS graduate student Florie Charles runs Youreka Science.

Neuroscience PhD alum Darya Pino Rose created Summer Tomato.

Recent videos, which run 5-10 minutes in length, span a variety of topics — from discussing the interactions between gut microbes and HIV infection to the unexplored links between obesity and cancer. The videos move quickly from introduction to methods and results of each paper, and clearly explain the importance of the scientists’ work. “I try to feature papers that are published in a variety of different journals,” Charles says. “I choose papers that have a relevance to biomedical science and that range from basic science findings to more translational research.” Recently, Charles has begun a partnership with organizations as well as specific laboratories, to help them communicate their scientific work to a wider audience, and her blog was featured on both i09 and the blog SpotOn. To visit Youreka Science, to go

One Radio, go to

Carry the One Radio UCSF scientists are breaking ground daily in every field of biomedical research — from cancer biology to virology, age-related disease and much more. Keeping up with the scientific literature is a chore even within a scientist’s personal field of study, and it’s overwhelming to attempt to further keep an eye on your colleagues’ work in other fields. Carry the One Radio (CTOR), started by UCSF Neuroscience PhD student Osama (Sama) Ahmed, is a great way to both keep up with and be introduced to UCSF scientists and the great work that they do. It’s like UCSF’s own version of NPR’s RadioLab. CTOR podcasts provide excellent introductions to even the most esoteric fields, by explaining in layman’s terms the importance and excitement of each field of research. “I started Carry the One as a way to get students from under-represented backgrounds to hear about science, straight from scientists,” says Ahmed, the podcast’s founder. “We want to provide a means for scientists and the public to engage directly. And we want to get high school students excited about science through direct outreach.” Carry the One’s most recent podcast discusses how micro-RNAs can influence gene transcription and our immune system’s response to disease, as described by UCSF’s Dr. Mark Ansel. CTOR has big plans, too: “We want to branch out and do more than just interviews,” says Sama. “We're currently producing a story about a group of low-income high school students whose lives were transformed after a 10-week internship at the Gladstone Institutes.” Sama is always looking for eager UCSF students to help with interviews and story ideas. Another way to get involved is to support Carry the One through Patreon, a crowd-funding tool that lets supporters donate on a per-episode basis. To check out podcasts at Carry the

Summer Tomato Summer Tomato isn’t your typical food blog, purporting to solve your every dietary problem with the newest unsupported fad diet. Darya Rose, a UCSF neuroscience PhD alum, puts her skills to good use, evaluating primary literature and troves of unsubstantiated advice to identify morsels of trustworthy diet and weight-loss tips. And she presents them in an understandable form. “My goal is to help people stop dieting and get on the real path to better health and lifelong weight control,” says Rose. “Listening to my audience was the key to successful blogging. [I found that] what they really want is to know how to make real changes in their lives — the little tips and tricks that make healthy eating easier.” Rose has a variety of useful and fun features on her blog, including a weekly roundup of food and exercise-related scientific studies from around the Web and weekly healthy, easy and fun recipes. Rose’s blogging success has led to the recent publication of her book, Foodist: Using Real Food and Real Science to Lose Weight Without Dieting, by HarperCollins. “Writing a book was thrilling and incredibly rewarding,” says Rose. “I look forward to continue spreading the Foodist message.” It’s clear that Rose has found a way to use her training to better her own life and has found her passion in communicating her findings to others. “All my life, I have strived to balance academic and professional success with personal health and fitness, and over the past two decades, I have tried pretty much everything,” says Rose. “Ultimately, it was my scientific training that convinced me the best way to optimize health, maintain productivity and look my best is to stay away from all diets and health trends and teach myself how to cook and eat real food.” To visit Rose’s blog, go to BMS Cartoons Getting a PhD in the biomedical sciences means reading a lot of scientific papers about a wide variety of human diseases. The immense volume of necessary scientific jargon, paired with the sheer volume of literature to follow, can often result in an overwhelming urge to zone out completely and call it a day. Jenny Qi, a fourth-year UCSF Biomedical Sciences PhD student, knows this feeling well. “Sometimes, it can be a little hard to focus on the details,” she says. “Putting scientific talks and papers in cartoon form helped me get past the minutiae and really distill them down to the main ideas — what was the pur-

pose of the study, what did the authors actually do, why was this important?” Every week, Qi draws up a cartoon for the UCSF Biomedical Sciences Journal Club presentation, in which a recent research article is presented and discussed by PhD students, postdoctoral researchers and faculty of the BMS program. These cartoons go up on her blog and are also published bi-weekly here in the UCSF newspaper, Synapse. After almost a year of publishing her cartoons online, Qi was happy to see her readership expand beyond the UCSF community. “I started getting subscribers outside of the UCSF community, many of whom were high school and college students who were simply interested in science. “I realized that cartoons could help make science more accessible to people, and that is critical to sustaining our field, particularly now that funding is so scarce,” she said. To visit Jenny’s blog, go to bmscartoons. Two to Watch Students are constantly coming up with innovative ways to communicate their ideas and spread the word on new scientific breakthroughs. These are some new student-run

blogs to keep an eye on as they hit their blogging stride: CheckedBYScience, written by UCSF Biomedical Sciences PhD student Marta Wegorzewska, is a blog that creates "the educational tools that will help healthy mom’s deliver healthy babies." Through a recent collaboration with UCSF's Dr. Seth Bokser, Marta plans to discuss health topics and issues related to pregnancy and prenatal care — a recent post explains the risks and benefits of labor induction with pitocin. Check out her blog at Ready Set Med is a healthcare technology blog recently started by the MD/PhD student Timothy Schmidt. "New technology holds the potential to address some of the largest problems in medicine," he writes in his first post, "[It] provides hope that more people will be able to more quickly benefit from the latest in medical knowledge." With one foot in the clinic and the other firmly planted in basic research, Tim plans to use the blog to discuss recent technological advances that have the potential to improve healthcare. Go to to check it out.

Alexandra Greer is a sixth-year graduate student in the Biomedical Sciences.


Action Potential BDSM 101: Re-educating the General Public after Fifty Shades Editor's note: Using personal experiences as a guide, this column seeks to advise and entertain its readers on the ever-complicated topics of love and sex. The anonymity of the column provides our contributing writers the freedom to recount completely and honestly even the most sordid tales. If you have any topics you would like to see covered, email synapse@ucsf. edu. We'll find someone who's done the "dirty" work so you don't have to!


ood Vibrations should win an award for “Most Open and Friendly Atmosphere of any XXX Store.” Not that I’m any judge of sex shops (I’ve only been in one other), but the fact that they give sensual workshops throughout the month on top of their bright environment personally clinches the title for them in my mind. In honor of “Hump Day,” Good Vibrations stores around the city offer one such erotic workshop free of charge. The topic is different at each location, so after perusing the available topics, my partner and I decided to take this once-a-month opportunity to delve into the often misunderstood world of BDSM. For those unfamiliar with the acronym, I’ll recap the brief vocabulary rundown the workshop started off with: BDSM stands for Bondage, Domination or Discipline, Sadism or Submission, and Masochism. Our workshop took place at the Polk Street store, in the Antique Vibrator Museum. Our teacher was a spunky and enthusiastic store employee who had decided to cover BDSM in honor of the recent Folsom Street Fair. When engaged in properly, it is a SSC (safe, sane and consensual) intimate practice. People often associate it with pain, which can be involved, but is not necessarily always a part of play, and the lifestyle has been gaining in interest since the recent popularization of a work of BDSM fiction that should only be used as cow fodder. Even then, I wouldn’t eat the hamburger that comes from that steer; our instructor recommends Anne Rice’s take on BDSM if you want some actual and accurate literature. She stayed true to the introductory nature of the workshop, covering all the basics in

terms of types of play and the tools of each, as well as specific safety issues to keep in mind When engaging in bondage, always think of blood circulation. For “impact” play for beginners, target areas for flogging, whipping, paddling or caning should be the butt or upper back. And sensory-deprivation “sensation” play can make use of items you already have in your dungeon — I mean, bedroom — like headphones or a pillowcase twisted into a blindfold. Overall, our instructor was very conscious of presenting BDSM play as something that any pair could engage in, even if they weren’t going so far as to suspend each other from the ceiling by chains (Advanced BDSM 101 for another night). She made sure to mention tons of resources for those that wanted to further educate themselves, and we all received 15 percent off coupons at the store in the event we were tantalized enough to buy any of the toys she had showed us. For the sake of this article (but really for our libidos) my partner and I decided to try out a few things we’d learned after the workshop — you know, to provide accurate feedback on how it effects bedtime fun time. We didn’t want to start off with anything too intense (besides which much of the equipment is a little pricey for a UCSF student budget), so we used our coupons to buy a small rubber tickler-flogger combo and some sexy fishnets so I could play dungeon mistress with style. We are definitely on the vanilla end of the BDSM spectrum, but even the little bump in intensity we achieved with sensory deprivation, courtesy of a blindfold, and the use of the tickler, to provide stimulation to otherwise unreachable parts of my body while my partner was helping himself to the *ahem* Taco Special, was ah-mazing. After our trial romp, we decided we wanted a bigger taste of BDSM-style intimacy. Amazon kindly provided us with a significantly less expensive Under the Mattress Bondage Kit for the couple that wants to tie but lacks the necessary headboard. Be daring but safe, Mischiefs! And be sure to check out Good Vibrations’ website for information on upcoming workshops.

FOOD | October 17, 2013 | 9

Potluck Quandary? Bring on the Quiche By Matthew Nordstrom Staff Writer


here is an art to signing up for a potluck. There are those people whose names always seem to pop up 30 seconds after the list is posted, right next to drinks, chips or cups/plates/utensils. The speed at which they sign up and the peace of mind they seem to have with their decision is beyond me. The next coveted spot is salads or sides. They are easy, great at room temperature and you can play with an infinite number of variations on black beans and quinoa. You also feel good about yourself because they are the healthy options at the potluck. Then comes the last spot to be filled — the dreaded main courses. If you are one of the unlucky souls to be a “main courser,” you understand the misery involved. Many people will be expecting something hot and meaty, which means you pretty much have two options. Crockpot, or hijack someone’s oven. Well, I have found a third option — quiche. You may feel like someone’s grandmother when you walk in, but just embrace it. Walk up to a co-worker, pinch their adorable cheeks, and comment on how tall they’ve gotten. The wonders of the quiche are as follows: It can be made the night before; it is rich, so it can satisfy those meat eaters; and it is meant to be eaten at room temperature. To make sure it isn’t cold, just pull it out of the refrigerator about one to two hours be-

fore the potluck. So in anticipation of many thanks, I will say “You’re welcome,” for alleviating that potluck maincourse stress. Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck. Spinach Quiche 3 eggs 1 cup whipping cream ½ cup of milk ¼ cup grated gruyere (cheddar can work, too) 2 tablespoons finely minced shallots or onion 2 tablespoons butter 1 10-ounce package of frozen spinach, thawed and drained ½ teaspoon salt ⅛ teaspoon pepper Pinch of nutmeg 1 prepared crust (handmade or frozen is fine) Preheat the oven to 375°. Cook the shallots or onions for 1 to 2 minutes in butter at medium-high heat. Add the spinach, and stir for several minutes to evaporate all of the water. Stir in the salt, pepper and nutmeg and taste for proper seasoning. Remove from heat.

Thursday,*October*24th* 5:30%9:00pm))

Raffle Prizes!!

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Photo by Matthew Nordstrom/MS2

Beat the eggs, milk and cream until combined. Gradually stir in the shallot and spinach mixture. Pour into the pastry shell, sprinkle with cheese, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. To

check for doneness, poke the center with a toothpick. It should come out moist, but without any egg batter coating it.

Matthew Nordstrom is a second-year medical student.

Blue Bottle Coffee’s Mint Plaza Café: Boon or Blunder? By Dawn Maxey Staff Writer


an Francisco is well known for its haute coffee culture and boasts over 938 coffee shops, by online count. Amongst the stiff competition, Blue Bottle Coffee has made a name for itself by offering immensely popular single-origin espresso-based drinks and pour-over coffee. Over the years, Blue Bottle has expanded to 11 locations, including 5 in New York City and 6 in the Bay Area. Although the cafés all use the same beans, they aren’t exactly the same. The San Francisco Mint Plaza and Heath Ceramics warehouse locations use Saint Benoît milk, for instance, while the Hayes Valley and Ferry Plaza locations exclusively use Clover milk. In addition, Blue Bottle at Mint Plaza is the only location to offer a full-food program. Already a big fan of Blue Bottle’s beverages, I decided to visit the Mint Plaza café to see if the food matched the high-quality coffee. The shop is tucked away in downtown San Francisco at Mint Plaza, a public outdoor space surrounded by four historic buildings. When I arrived, a little before 1 p.m., the line was out the door, but only about 10 people deep. After 10 minutes of waiting, I was dismayed to find that the line was moving at a glacial pace. On the bright side, it allowed me ample time to study the menu, which included items such as a tuna melt made with Ortiz oil-cured tuna, piquillo peppers, green olives, capers and Provolone cheese ($8.50 a quarter-pound All-Beef Hot Dog ($7.50) and a grilled cheese sandwich served on Acme bread ($10). I was taken aback by the sky-high prices for what seemed like pretty simple plates, but reserved judgment in case the food turned out to be God’s gift to my tastebuds. When I reached the cashier, an eternity later, I told him I’d like to try the grilled cheese sandwich. “Is that on the menu?” he asked. I stared back, unbelievingly. There were 10 items on the short menu, and a grilled cheese is not exactly an exotic item. I told him that it was and Mint Plaza Cafe settled down to wait for my sandwich. 66 Mint Plaza A long while later, one of them glanced at San Francisco, CA 94103 the order and slowly began untying the bag containing sliced bread. Total time from order Mon.-Fri. 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. to first bite? Twelve minutes — which is painSat., Sun. 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. fully long, considering that no one else had ordered food, all five ingredients were prepared ahead of time, and all that was necessary was assembly and toasting. Time considerations aside, I turned my attention to the sandwich. It didn’t appear unusual in any way — just a regular old ham-and-cheese sandwich on two thick slices of bread. Upon first bite, my tastebuds unanimously agreed with my eyes — this was pretty average. The Provolone cheese was unmemorable, and the slices of ham didn’t add any dimension. The Acme bread was nice and chewy, and the mustard served on the side turned out to be pretty good, but this was thanks in no part to the Blue Bottle chefs. I finished my meal moderately thirsty and severely underwhelmed. Glancing around at my surroundings, I did see some things that made this particular location stand out. Patrons are able to order espresso from a vintage San Marco espresso machine and special coffee prepared from Blue Bottle’s Siphon Bar, a drip-coffee contraption imported from Japan at more than $20,000 (which supposedly results in perfect flavor extraction). There’s also a nice courtyard outside where customers can enjoy their purchases. Taking everything into consideration, however, the astronomical prices, slow service and mediocre food have convinced me that Blue Bottle should skip the food venture and stick to what it’s known for — great coffee.

Dawn Maxey is a third-year medical student.

10 | October 17, 2013 |


Artist Feature: Rabbit Quinn By Akshay Govind Associate Editor


ast Tuesday, I found myself at Bazaar Café, a cozy venue in the Richmond that provides a welcoming environment for performers to play all-original music, and I was lucky enough to meet and listen to a fantastic pianist, vocalist, composer and visual artist named Rabbit Quinn. Accompanied by percussionist Beth Wiesendanger and cellist Natasha Littlewood, Quinn played a set of deeply personal music, each song an aural painting of people or experiences that have shaped her life, and by extension, her art. After listening to her play live, I had to buy her recently released debut album, Lost Children, a project she worked on every Sunday for roughly four years. Clearly a perfectionist, Quinn has put together a gem. Her lyrics blend piquant humor with contemplative reflection, often using snippets from nursery rhymes, fairy tales and children’s games to produce imagery with an instant sense of familiarity. When I asked Quinn about her approach to storytelling, she used the phrase “Show and don’t tell.” To further serve this philosophy, the liner notes of the album include portraits Quinn has drawn herself for each song, set alongside the lyrics, which are laid out as if in a weathered children’s book. Highlights from the album include “Fur & Bones,” a song dedicated to her late drummer friend Tobias, who as Quinn put it, “lost his battle with depression.” Quinn got the idea for "Blueberry Coat" illustration from the album Lost Chidren, by visual the song when she came artist and musician Rabbit Quinn.

upon the decaying carcass of a deer while hiking. As she thought about what the deer once was, and where its essence may have gone, she finally found the medium to address her feelings of grief for her friend. “The Muckraker” features an extended piano interlude recorded on a Bösendorfer grand piano under a tongue-in-cheek, spoken-word tragedy explained as being due to “the hand of God, and the lack of fire escapes.” “Blueberry Coat” explores the process of finding one’s identity while breaking free from a confining situation. It uses colorful string arrangements, onomatopoetic vocals and a piano part that combines the regularity of baroque with the syncopation of the blues. The masterpiece of the album is definitely “October Girl,” written to feel like a Broadway show tune. Again, it features the glorious Bösendorfer and allows Quinn to find voices that are a hyperbolic version of her own, as she exclaims, among other things, that she “won’t go to the goddamn beach.” In Lost Children, Rabbit Quinn communicates her life experiences elegantly and meaningfully without ever being sappy. Her expertise at the piano shines throughout, and her visual art is playful and complements her melodic voice well. I highly recommend seeing her play live — this week’s upcoming shows include October 19 at the BrainWash Café and October 22 at Off the Grid McCoppin, with more information available at her website, Her album is available at or the preferred method, from the old suitcase she carries at every show. Happy listening.

Akshay Govind is a second-year resident in the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. | October 17, 2013 | 11


Piled Higher  and  Deeper  by  Jorge  Cham

The Weekly Crossword

ACROSS 1 Staff symbol 5 Make revisions 9 Columbus ship 14 Country crooner Jackson 15 Baseball team 16 Small intestine part 17 Nevada senator 18 Make much of 19 Hasidic leader 20 Centennial State 22 Pay increases 23 SAG member's gig 24 Musical based on "La boheme" 25 Feudal tenant 28 Wolverine State 32 Increased 33 Daydream 34 Zodiac sign 35 Starter home, for some 36 Late actress McClanahan 37 Macon residents 40 Triad, in music 42 Sooner State 43 Discontinues 44 Sneaker brand 45 Suggestive 46 Dwell on 49 Blue Hen State 53 Prepared a card game 54 Only prefix 55 Egyptian sacred bird 56 Chip maker 57 One of Sony's record labels




by Margie E. Burke




















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36 40




43 44


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Grad School Illustrated

title: "Be  Specific."  -­  originally  published  9/23/2013

by Jillian Varonin

Copyright 2013 by The Puzzle Syndicate

58 Ohio team 59 Impoverished 60 Siege site of 1993 61 2003 Woody Allen film, "Anything ___"

8 9 10 11 12 13

Golf peg Feared fish Crohn's disease Bird beaks London subway Iowa college town 21 Map feature 22 Right-hand page Week of 10/14/13 - 10/20/13 DOWN 24 Orange peels 1 DEA agent, 25 Common people, slangily in La Paz 2 1954 Sonny 26 Sneak ____ Rollins song (2 wds) 3 Airplane part 27 Winding device 4 Sign one's name 28 Food from heaven 5 Ultimate purpose 6 Semiconductor 29 Rotary-wing 7 Division word planes, briefly


30 31 33 35 38 39 40 41 43 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 54

Sky-blue Exigencies Gets frothy Plant cuttings Tangled Horrible Large intestine beginnings Out of control Multi-colored cat Museum piece Father of Thor Nota ____ Fill up Amino acid Son of Adam Disencumbers Abstract being Mend a hem

Jillian Varonin is a fourth-year BMS student. Mission Bay Retail | University Development and Alumni Relations

Edited by Margie E. Burke

Difficulty : Medium

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Wednesday, October 30, 2013, 12:00-2:00 pm | Gene Friend Way | Rain or Shine

        (Answer appears elsewhere in this issue) Ten years after the opening of Genentech Hall at Mission Bay, UC San Francisco celebrates the campus’ place at the center of a new global health economy. Festivities kick off at noon. Please join Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann for special remarks at 12:30 pm welcoming our community partners, employees, faculty, and friends to Block Party 7!

Copyright 2013 by The Puzzle Syndicate


‘Beautiful,’ the Musical, Honors Carole King Solution to Sudoku

                           By Jenny Qi    Editor       Executive            onfession:    Ihave  never  managed to   sit  through   anything   longer  than two hours without glancing         at my watch at least once. Until now.  Beautiful:   The  Carole   King  Musical is in


San Francisco for its pre-Broadway world premiere. The gorgeously arranged “1650 Broadway Medley” sets the scene for King’s early songwriting career in the 1960s, and the rest of the musical biography kept my toes tapping and my heartstrings tugged. Tony award-winning Jessie Mueller wins the audience over as the talented but charmingly modest King. She is believably ingenuous in her depiction of King’s humble entry into the music world and young romance with her musical partner Gerry Goffin, played by Jake Epstein. Their sweetly rendered love song, “Some Kind of Wonderful,” made the frosty San Francisco evening a little warmer. Despite the popular perception of musical theater, however, Beautiful is not all sappy ballads and peppy dance ensembles, and therein lies its strength. Beautiful is grounded in the

true story of King’s relationships — with music, with her fellow songwriters and friends Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann, and with her restless husband, Goffin. Although King had a wildly successful music career, penning countless hits for diverse performers before releasing her own breakthrough solo album, Tapestry, her marriage was often troubled. Her pain over the dissolving relationship is palpable in Mueller’s performance of the bittersweet “One Fine Day,” and it’s heartbreakingly relatable. Ultimately, this musical is uplifting but honest, best epitomized by King’s introduction during her Carnegie Hall performance, when she says, “Sometimes, life doesn’t go the way you wanted, but you get something beautiful” anyway. Beautiful is playing at the SHN Curran Theater through October 20 (and worth a visit to Broadway after that). It’s a lush performance and, after a long week, a lovely reminder that life is beautiful, even when it’s not.

Jenny Qi is a third-year BMS student.

In commemoration of this remarkable milestone, the first 500 attendees will receive a special gift!

Farmers’ Market


Chalk Art Contest

First 300 customers receive a one-of-a-kind reusable Block Party shopping bag with purchase after 11:30 am, provided by Campus Life Services Retail & University Development and Alumni Relations.

Join our chalk art contest from 11:00 am-12:30 pm! Judging begins at 12:45 pm, winners announced at 1:00 pm. Sign up in front of Publico on day of event – hurry, space is limited. Chalk will be provided. Grand prize, $500 gift card redeemable at Café 24/Publico.

Photo booth | Prize wheel and give-aways | Music | Jugglers and stilt walkers | Free chair massage brought to you by Living Well at UCSF and Campus Life Services Retail | Lunch specials | 35+ vendors

Love your vendor! Buy on campus, support Arts & Events. Partial proceeds from Retail partnerships fund Arts & Events for the UCSF community. Find out more at:

12 | October 17, 2013 |

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Solution to Sudoku

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Write for Synapse Free Online Classifieds for UCSF Students & Staff on Synapse Who needs CraigsList when you can post FREE classified ads on the Synapse website? All you need is a email account. Go to to sign up today!

Vision Optical Look sharper. See better. Find us easier, too. Contemporary prescription glasses, sunglasses, and contact lens fitting Millberry Union, B1 For appointment & information 415.476.3100 Hours: M-F 8:30 am-5:00 pm

look sharper Vision Optical

Open at Parnassus & Mission Bay Campuses

for your convenience we accept: All major Credit Cards • Recharge for catering Bear Hugs • UCSF Resident Meal Card

breakfast, lunch, or dinner…

Parnassus: Millberry Union I Level, Parnassus, 415.661.0199 Open Daily 7:00 am-10:00 pm Mission Bay: 550-B Gene Friend Way, Mission Bay, 415.865.0423 Mon-Fri 7:00 am-9:30 pm / Sat-Sun 8:00 am-9:00 pm

You’re Funding Fun! A portion of every dollar you spend at campus retail vendors helps support Arts & Events at UCSF

Get a gourmet taste of Italy. panini, insalate, zuppa, hot pasta, gelato, dolci We offer student discounts. Millberry Union, Plaza Level 415.681.9925

Mon-Thu, 6:30 am-6:00 pm Fri, 6:30 am-4:00 pm Closed Sat & Sun

You’re Funding Fun! A portion of every dollar you spend at campus retail vendors helps support Arts & Events at UCSF

You’re Funding Fun! A portion of every dollar you spend at campus retail vendors helps support Arts & Events at UCSF

Synapse (10.17.13)  
Synapse (10.17.13)  

Volume 58, Number 6