Vocal Chords Prepares Elite Runner Juggles for Winter Concerts Med School, Training
IN THIS ISSUE
News Briefs » PAGE 3 Journal Club » PAGE 5 Puzzles » PAGE 11
Chamber Music Society will also perform » PAGE 6
Track star works out with the Impalas at Kezar » PAGE 7
The UCSF Student Newspaper
Thursday, December 5, 2013
Family House Offers a Home Away From Home
Hatching Life Sciences Startups in UCSF’s Backyard Dogpatch incubator QB3@953 helps graduate students pursue new career paths
By Nicole Croom Staff Writer
s a referral hospital, UCSF offers care to many patients from distant cities. And if you are the parent of a sick child, you already have enough on your plate to think about without the added stress of how to take care of yourself and the rest of your family in an unfamiliar place. Family House, a nonprofit, privately funded program, offers a sense of community and stability for those struggling families facing the unimaginable. Family House primarily serves the families of oncology patients under the age of 18. The families are referred to Family House by social workers at Benioff Children’s Hospital if they live 50 miles outside San Francisco and have significant financial need. It was founded in 1981 and started off as a
Volume 58, Number 12
By Alex Loucks Staff Writer
Photo by Nicole Croom/MS2 Family House primarily serves the families of oncology patients under the age of 18.
single building, located across the street from the parking garage on Irving Street, which still houses up to 10 families a night. It expanded in 2005 to include a four-floor residence called the Koret Family House, located on 10th Avenue, that can house up to 24 families per night. Family House spares no expense in providing its residents all the comforts of home.
FAMILY HOUSE » PAGE 4
f you’ve got an idea for a startup and a spare $800, you might consider renting space in the new QB3 incubator building. QB3@953, which opened this fall at 953 Indiana St. in San Francisco, is designed to support biotech startup companies through the growing pains of launch and development. “Our fundamental belief is that the combination of entrepreneurship and great science is the most powerful force that can change the world for the better that we’ve ever discovered. So our goal is to give entrepreneurial scientists the tools they need to be able to create successful startup companies,” said Douglas Crawford, the associate director of QB3.
PUSO/VSA Raise Relief Funds for Typhoon Victims By Linda Chen Staff Writer
ince Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines, the world has scrambled to bring aid to victims in its devastating aftermath. At UCSF, the Pilipinos of UCSF Student Organization (PUSO) and the Vietnamese Student Association (VSA) banded together in the hope of uniting the eintire UCSF community in supporting relief efforts. The highlight of the relief effort was a fund-raiser held on November 21. PUSO and VSA served a simple breakfast and a hearty lunch, asking individuals to donate whatever amounts they deemed appropriate. Breakfast was a casual affair. The groups served biscotti, bagels and various morning beverages to early morning class-goers. Lunch was the main attraction, and included delicious BBQ skewers and vegetables, and meat lumpia (similar to small eggrolls) for those who pre-ordered. As the last lumpia were distributed, all agreed that the fundraiser had been a rousing success. More than $2,500 was raised, thanks to the generous response from students, staff and faculty. PUSO and VSA are not finished yet. They
Photo by Dr. Jennifer Cocohoba PUSO and VSA joined forces to raise more than $2,500 for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan. They are now collecting first aid supplies, pain relievers and multivitamins, toiletries, clothing and towels through December 13.
are collecting first aid supplies, pain relievers and multivitamins, toiletries, new or used clothing and towels through December 13. Donations may be dropped off in the bin located by the elevator on the ninth floor of the Medical Science building at Parnassus. Another student organization, the Student National Pharmaceutical Association, is col-
lecting nonperishable food items at the same location. If you prefer to make a monetary donation, PUSO/VSA recommends donating to NAFCON at nafconusa.org/.
Linda Chen is a second-year pharmacy student.
That $800 rents you eight feet of lab bench space per month. That may seem tiny to some, but not to Crawford. As he showed off a single occupied lab bench, he announced, “this eight-foot bench is the world headquarters of BioA2Z.” So, what are those critical tools for success? A balanced mixture of mentorship, resource allocation and peer-to-peer support. Located in the trendy Dogpatch neighborhood, QB3@953 blends in beautifully with the residential surroundings. The office space is sparsely but tastefully decorated, with just a splash of color to make the environment chic but cozy. The three lab areas are large and spacious, with room for startups to expand and shrink as necessary. Already, 24 companies have committed to space, with room for approximately 10 more startups. A brand-new building in a trendy neighborhood isn’t sufficient to draw entrepreneurs, though, and that is where the innovative approach to this new incubator comes into play. Learning from seven years of launching other QB3 incubators, Crawford and his team have once again improved upon their own model. Startups can now subscribe to a core facility with shared equipment — that means each startup is spending less money on equipment they don’t consistently use, and the facility reduces the overall redundancy of equipment among the labs. For example, instead of each lab having to throw down several grand for a PCR machine they are only going to use a couple of times a month, labs share the machine provided in the core facility. QB3@953 also reduces the logistical burden of ordering items in bulk, by providing a storeroom where startups can grab one box of gloves instead of ordering a whole carton. There’s even a deli fridge from which startups can grab one bottle of cell media. As an added bonus, QB3@953 has negotiated prices for all these items comparable to the prices for industry giants like Gilead, and they pass the savings on to the startups. In essence, “Because you only use what you absolutely need and the unit is so small, your costs are very small, so we allow people to create startups on a shoestring,” Crawford explains.
QB3@953 » PAGE 4
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EVENTS MISSION BAY EVENTS
HOW TO CHOOSE A THESIS LAB
Thursday, Dec. 5, 5:30-7 p.m., Genentech Hall, N114, Mission Bay Come and hear from senior students about things to consider when choosing your thesis lab.
POETRY AND THE END OF LIFE
Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013, 6-8:30 p.m. (reception with refreshments begins at 5:30 p.m.), Byers Auditorium, Genentech Hall, Mission Bay The end of a life is not solitary: it is our shared fate, a through-passing universally experienced, witnessed and attended. This multifaceted evening will bring together the words and thoughts of poets, caregivers, physicians, medical educators and hospice chaplains. The conversation will illuminate and share some of the ways that art makes possible an enlarged awareness and more intimate embrace of what the novelist Henry James called “the distinguished thing,” and Zen calls “the Great Matter” — a transition and challenge met and faced from many directions throughout the course of every human existence.
Friday, Dec. 6, noon-1 p.m., Graduate Division. CC-310, Mission Bay 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
MUSLIM FRIDAY PRAYER SERVICES
Friday, Dec. 6, 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.
MISSION BAY RIPS
Friday, Dec. 6, 4-5 p.m., Genentech Hall Auditorium, Mission Bay RIPS is a seminar series where 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.
Saturday, Dec. 6, 9 a.m.-noon, Student Resource Center, Mission Bay Do you love breakfast? Come to the Student Resource Center for some bagels, cereal and coffee. You can learn about campus events and make some new friends.
MISSION BAY FARMERS’ MARKET
The Ives Quartet performs a program celebrating the bicentennial of Verdi’s birth, featuring his String Quartet in E Minor. The Chancellor’s Concert Series on Thursdays is a great place to take a break from classes while listening to classical music. Seating begins at noon. If you are unable to come, you can now listen to the music through live stream. This concert is free.
UCSF LGBTQSA END-OF-YEAR GATHERING
Thursday, Dec. 5, 5-7:30 p.m., Faculty Alumni House, Parnassus It’s been another big year for LGBTQ people here at UCSF and beyond. Come help celebrate it at our annual end-of-year gathering. RSVP by Dec. 2. ucsf.co1.qualtrics. com/SE/?SID=SV_3arWfAg1mgVU24R
MUSLIM FRIDAY PRAYER SERVICES
Friday, Dec. 6, 1-2 p.m. , Medical Sciences, 163, Parnassus The Muslim Community at UCSF holds regular Friday prayer services (Jum’a) for the UCSF Muslim community every week. Come join your fellow brothers and sisters for prayer, lunch and socializing. All are welcome.
CHAMBER MUSIC SOCIETY AT UCSF AND VOCAL CHORDS: 2013 WINTER CONCERT
Saturday, Dec. 7, 3-5 p.m., Cole Hall, Parnassus Free chamber music concert featuring performances by talented UCSF students, residents and staff. Program includes works by Brahms, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Shostakovich and Ravel.
POP-UP ART SALE
Tuesday, Dec. 10, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Millberry Union Meeting Center, Parnassus The Visual Arts Club at UCSF is holding a one-day only pop-up art sale featuring hand-made jewelry, photography, ceramics, paintings, 3-D and mixed media art, Haitian metal sculpture, and much more. There will be a wide variety of goods available, at prices ranging from $10 to over $100. Don’t miss this chance to find something unique for your holiday gift giving.
GSA MEETING: GRADUATE, NURSING & PT STUDENTS
Tuesday, Dec. 10, 5:30 p.m., Library, 220, Parnassus Meet your executive board members at the monthly GSA meeting and be a part of the discussion on topics relating to student priorities. Visit the GSA website for more details and to RSVP: gsa.ucsf.edu.
IHI OPEN SCHOOL AT UCSF MONTHLY MEETING
Wednesday, Nov. 6, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Gene 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.
Tuesday, Dec. 10, 6-8 p.m., Library, 220, Parnassus The UCSF IHI Open School Chapter will hold monthly meetings every second Tuesday of the month. Join us for case discussions, article reviews, quality improvement and patient safety classes, speakers, etc.
PARNASSUS FARMERS’ MARKET
CHANCELLOR’S CONCERT SERIES FEATURING THE IVES QUARTET Thursday, Dec. 5, noon-12:45 p.m. Cole Hall, Parnassus
Wednesday, Dec. 11, 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, Dec.11, noon-1 p.m., Millbery Union 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. Email for more information and to RSVP: email@example.com.
HYANGPIRI KOREAN WOODEN FLUTE CONCERT
Wednesday, Dec. 11, 6-7 p.m., Medical Sciences, Cole Hall, Parnassus This performance is designed to introduce Korea’s traditional music and the sound of the Piri flute, side by side with the violin, in an East-West cultural exchange. Sponsored by the Korean American Health Professional Student Association.
VOCAL CHORDS A CAPPELLA, CALL FOR MALE VOICES
Wednesday, Dec. 11, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Health Sciences West, 300, Parnassus Do you enjoy singing? Vocal Chords A Cappella is seeking tenors, baritones and basses. Rehearsals every Wednesdays 6:30-8:30 p.m. Contact Jamie Wong at Jamie.Wong@ucsf.edu. facebook.com/ VocalChordsUCSF
OTHER CAMPUSES LAUREL HEIGHTS 2013 HOLIDAY CRAFT FAIR
Thursday, Dec. 5, noon-1:30 p.m. The Garden Room (next to the View), second floor, Laurel Heights Campus Don’t miss this opportunity to get your holiday shopping done early. This craft fair features hand-made gifts from the Laurel Heights Artisan Guild. Co-sponsored by the Artisan Guild and the Performing Arts Fund.
OFF-CAMPUS 84TH ANNUAL HOLIDAY TREE LIGHTING
Thursday, Dec. 5, 4-8 p.m., McLaren Lodge, Golden Gate Park, SF Join San Francisco’s Rec & Park for the 84th Annual Holiday Tree Lighting. Located at the historic McLaren Lodge in Golden Gate Park, this is an event you don’t want to miss. Festivities will include a train ride, live entertainment and a special visit from Santa.
CALIFORNIA ACADEMY OF SCIENCES: ‘TIS THE SEASON NIGHTLIFE
Thursday, Dec. 5, 6-10 p.m., Cal Academy, Golden Gate Park Grab your tackiest holiday sweater and chill out under a flurry of snowflakes, while grooving to a DJ set by Nathan Blaz of Geographer and the syrupy-sweet sounds of up-and-coming Portland R+B act Shy Girls. In the East Garden, meet a pair of live reindeer and learn how these “nomads of the North” stay warm during the coldest season of the year. Enjoy chocolate tastings with Ghirardelli Chocolate and a hot beverage bar featuring ciders, teas, hot toddies and more. http://bit.ly/NightLifeTickets, http://bit.ly/ CLSDiscounts.
OFF THE GRID: UPPER HAIGHT
Thursday, Dec. 5, 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.
EXPLORATORIUM AFTER DARK: GLOW
Thursday, Dec. 5, 6-10 p.m., Pier 15, SF Keep the season’s early darkness at bay
with light, color, and warmth. Explore bioluminescence, fluorescent and phosphorescent artwork and activities, and more. http://bit.ly/ExploratoriumAfterDark.
CALIFORNIA ACADEMY OF SCIENCES: FREE ADMISSION DAY
Sunday, Dec. 8, 10 a.m.- 5 p.m., Cal Academy of Sciences, SF The California Academy of Sciences is a world-class scientific and cultural institution in Golden Gate Park, a 400,000 square foot structure that houses an aquarium, a planetarium, a natural history museum and a four-story rainforest, all under a living roof.
ANNOUNCEMENTS GLOBAL HEALTH SCIENCES INFORMATION SESSION
UCSF Global Health Sciences will hold an Information Session about the Master’s Degree Program on Monday, Jan. 13, from noon-1 p.m. in Room S 261, Genentech Hall on the Mission Bay campus. The session will be led by Madhavi Dandu, MD, MPH, and Kim Baltzell, RN, PhD, MS, Program Directors, and MS alumni. There will be ample time for Q&A. Light refreshments will be served.
ONESTART LIFE SCIENCES ENTREPRENEURSHIP COMPETITION
The competition is for young life science entrepreneurs, and offers $150,000, lab space and mentoring, with the winners maintaining 100% equity. It was wildly successful last year in Europe, and this year, there will be simultaneous European and American competitions. OneStart is co-sponsored by the Oxbridge Biotech Roundtable. The group is run by international postdocs and graduate students and focuses on bringing the academic and industry communities together, with a particular investment in entrepreneurship and the startup community. More information is available at www. oxbridgebiotech.com/onestart/
BREAKTHROUGH PRIZE IN LIFE SCIENCES AWARD: REGISTRATION DEADLINE DECEMBER 11
Friday, Dec. 13, 8 a.m.-6:30 p.m., Genentech Hall Auditorium, Mission Bay UCSF will honor the recipients of the 2013 Breakthrough Life Science Awards by hosting a one-of-a-kind science symposium. Speakers include 2013 award winners Cornelia Bargmann, David Botstein, Lewis C. Cantley, Hans Clevers, Titia de Lange, Eric Lander, Napoleone Ferrara, Charles L. Sawyers, Bert Vogelstein, Robert A. Weinberg and Shinya Yamanaka. Stay tuned for simulcast and streaming information. Register: http:// tinyurl.com/lzeb8j9
CLASSIFIEDS RETAIL STORES FOR RENT
Sunset SF retail stores for rent: $2,800/ month each, 2132 and 2134 Taraval St., easy transportation, 1 bedroom, kitchen, full bath in the back of store. (415) 665-4567.
SEEKING VOLUNTEER RESEARCH ASSISTANT
UCSF’s Department of Social and Behavioral Science, Institute for Health and Aging, is looking for a volunteer research assistant to work with its research team, focusing on lifestyle behaviors to improve health and prevent disease among diverse ethnic communities (Filipino, Asian Americans, Hispanics). Bachelor’s degree required. Please send a cover letter stating your academic goals, strengths and interests, along with your curriculum vitae, to: melinda. firstname.lastname@example.org
synapse.ucsf.edu | December 5, 2013 | 3
Life of a Grad Student: Entering Class of 2012 array of projects, and the lab environment is collaborative. It’s really useful to have other grad students in the lab to serve as a model of how a successful PhD should go. There are bad days, but getting to do something I really like is the greatest thing I can imagine.
Gaining That Competitive Edge
Synapse: Is anything different from what you expected? I thought it would be a lot more solitary. My undergrad PI said that it was intellectually isolating — if you go to a cocktail party, you tell people what you do, and no one knows what you’re talking about. But within the context of a university, it’s almost the opposite. Synapse: Are there any challenges you’ve encountered? How did you deal with them?
By Jenny Qi Executive Editor
Student 1 Male, Mission Bay
ynapse: Tell us about your experience at UCSF so far.
If someone had told me how much I would have enjoyed it when I started, I don’t think I would have believed it. I’m glad, because I was reluctant to go to grad school in the first place. People say, “Don’t go unless you’re sure.” It’s scary to hear that, because how do you know you’re ready to commit your life to one thing? I’m still not sure, but I’m really happy here. Synapse: What about your lab experience? How did you choose your lab? It was my last rotation. I got the same feeling that I did about UCSF — as soon as I got here, something clicked, and I haven’t regretted that. The PI was respectful, there was an
If I have angst over anything in grad school, it’s choosing the project. It has to have a payoff but get you out in a reasonable number of years. It has to be creative, but not so creative that there’s no way to do it. It has to be interesting and able to respond to new ideas. I eventually just had to choose and hope it works out. It’s not that I’m worried that I won’t graduate or won’t do good science. But is what I’ve chosen the best use of my time? I’m just telling myself to not worry too much. Synapse: Is there anything else you’re still working on? With grad school, the most stressful thing is uncertainty — both day-to-day (whether I can do an experiment) and on the meta-level (whether the PhD will work out). You have to trust that it will. There’s probably some impostor syndrome that everyone has; I just try to have a little faith in myself and in my lab. Synapse: What advice would you give other students?
LIFE OF A GRAD STUDENT » PAGE 7
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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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By Debbie Ruelas Staff Writer
here’s an National Public Radio podcast called Freakonomics Radio that I really enjoy listening to while doing cell culture. In the episode titled, “The Economist’s Guide to Parenting,” a panel of economists considered some provocative aspects of parenting. One of the things that caught my attention was the research presented by Valerie Ramey, a professor of economics at UC San Diego. Together with her husband, Garey Ramey, they co-authored an article titled “The Rug Rat Race” (Brookings Papers on Economic Activity), in which they analyzed data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ “America Time Use Survey.” They found that in the 1980s, college-educated mothers spent an average of 13 hours per week caring for their children. However, today that number is 22 hours per week. That’s a 70 percent increase. What’s puzzling about this increase is that women are also making much more money than they did in the 1980s. For these higherearning mothers, the opportunity cost of not working can be substantial. So why would highly educated mothers who are receiving greater returns from paid employment be increasing the time they spend on caring for their children? Several explanations have been proposed, including safety concerns, greater enjoyment of child care and more flexible work schedules. The Rameys evaluated these hypotheses and found that they were not consistent with the data. Instead they offer a different explanation — preparing to send kids to college. Parents (particularly college-educated mothers) are spending more time on child care because of the perceived return on children attending good colleges. And it’s hard to argue with the fact that a good college education comes with many benefits. Economists have estimated that every extra year of education is worth an 8 percent increase to your annual earnings for the rest of your life. (I’m not sure whether this still applies to PhD students who take 10 years to graduate.) At any rate, the dilemma is that college admittance is much more competitive than it used to be. Nowadays, in order to get into a good college, you have to come across as wellrounded. This means participating in lots of extra-curricular activities. That’s where “The Rug Rat Race” comes in. The Rameys found that parents were spending added time shuttling their children to activities that would look good on a college application. Valerie Ramey admits she herself was also guilty of doing this.
SCIENCE MOM » PAGE 6
NEWS BRIEFS E-Cigarettes Described as Teens’ New Path to Addiction E-cigarettes have been widely promoted as a way for people to quit smoking conventional cigarettes. Now, in the first study of its kind, UCSF researchers report that, at the point when the study was conducted, young people using e-cigarettes were more likely to be trying to quit, but were also less likely to have stopped smoking and were smoking more, not less. “We are witnessing the beginning of a new phase of the nicotine epidemic, and a new route to nicotine addiction for kids,” said senior author Stanton A. Glantz, PhD, UCSF Professor of Medicine and Director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at UCSF. The study appears online in the current issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health. E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that look like cigarettes and deliver an aerosol of nicotine and other chemicals. Promoted as safer alternatives to cigarettes, they are gaining popularity among adults and youth around the world.
UCSF Scientist Wins $89M Grant to Study Anal Cancer in HIV-Infected People A UCSF investigator has won an eightyear grant from the National Cancer Institute for a major investigation into anal cancer, a debilitating and sometimes fatal disease largely concentrated among people with HIV. The total amount of the award over the life of the grant is projected to be $89 million. Anal cancer disproportionately affects HIVinfected men and women, but the rate of infection is rising among people who do not have HIV. The number of cases is expected to continue to grow in the general population. Like cervical cancer and some oral cancers, most cases of anal cancer are associated with human papillomavirus (HPV). “Given these strong biological similarities, it is very possible that biomarkers and treatments identified in the study will be applicable to cervical and HPV-associated oral cancer as well,” said Joel Palefsky, MD, a UCSF professor of medicine and principal investigator of the anal cancer project.
Specific Heart Contractions Could Predict Atrial Fibrillation A commonly used heart monitor may be a simple tool for predicting the risk of atrial fibrillation, the most frequently diagnosed type of irregular heart rhythm, according to researchers at UC San Francisco. In a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine (December 3), researchers discovered that patients who have more premature atrial contractions (PACs) detected by a routine 24-hour Holter monitor have a substantially higher risk for atrial fibrillation. PACs are premature heartbeats which originate in the atria, or the two upper chambers of the heart. A Holter monitor is a portable electronic device used to continuously monitor the electrical activity of a person’s heart. “We sought to determine how well PACs predict atrial fibrillation compared to an established but substantially more complex prediction model derived from the Framingham Heart Study,” said senior author Gregory Marcus, MD, MAS, an associate professor of medicine who specializes in electrophysiology in the UCSF Division of Cardiology. “Because PACs may themselves have a causal relationship with atrial fibrillation, it is theoretically possible that their eradication, such as through drugs or a catheter ablation procedure, could actually modify atrial fibrillation risk.”
4 | December 5, 2013 | synapse.ucsf.edu
Family House » FROM HOME PAGE
In Koret Family House, each floor has a communal living room stocked with toys; a communal kitchen along with shared cooking appliances; a communal dining room; an industrial-sized laundry room with a supply closet full of laundry and cleaning supplies, a community dry goods shelving unit, a shared freezer with bins for each room and a community fridge that includes any foods left by previous tenants that are still within their expiration date. There is also a communal library room stocked with donated books for all ages, along with a computer station (the house offers free Wi-Fi to its residents). The top floor of the house contains three suites for bigger families requiring extended stays. The accommodations are definitely on par with any affordable hotel. Unlike a hotel though, Family House is completely free for those families who qualify to stay under its roof, and it offers families the chance to bond with others facing a similar situation — a benefit that should not be overlooked, according to Anna Lark, the weekend manager of Koret House. Families staying at the Family House aren’t just sitting around worrying. The House offers many established programs to get families out and enjoying The City. “You’re going through a hard time and we’re here to make it happier,” said Lark. There are events planned for every holiday; specialized programs designed by volunteers with specific skills (such as baking classes, therapy dog visits and music lessons); passes to museums and the Millberry Union gym; and a new program started by Seamus Berkeley, an artist from, you guessed it, Berkeley, who paints portraits of families staying in the House. Family House, which does not receive funding from UCSF, is hugely dependent on people who generously donate time, money and supplies to the program. One well-known contributor to the cause is the band Train, which got its start in San
» FROM HOME PAGE
Photo by Nicole Croom/MS2 Family House has a communal kitchen along with shared cooking appliances.
Francisco. After the release of their newest album, the band created a “Save Me, San Francisco” winery and paired with Ghirardelli to make a chocolate of the same name. Ten percent of the proceeds from both goods goes to Family House. Extraordinary citizens like 86-year-old Violet Banta, who has been volunteering at Family House for six months, are also essential to keeping Family House going. Banta has been enthusiastically promoting the Family House program. “Wasn’t going to give up these [remaining] years for a cause that isn’t proper,” said Banta. “Nobody knows about Family House, such a shame! I’m not a rich person, but I can help with my mouth by spreading the word.” If you want to learn about upcoming volunteer opportunities or see what types of donations Family House needs, go to www. familyhouseinc.org and offer to help out today.
Nicole Croom is a second-year student in the School of Medicine.
Photo by Christine Fu/Photographer QB3 Associate Director Douglas Crawford gives Mayor Ed Lee a tour of QB3@953 at the launch party on October 30.
QB3@953 has other advantages, too, such as flexible lease terms, three types of office space (workspace, cubicle, personal office) and the lowest rent in town ($800/month for bench space). My personal favorite is the technical science support staff, who can handle the essentials of your lab work (such as passaging cell lines) while you are away, freeing you to present your work at a conference or meet with investors. Crawford also points out the value of working alongside other startup companies and the collaborative nature of the incubators. “When [entrepreneurs] come to look at the incubator, they ask only about two things, the price of the space and what equipment they get access to,” he said. “After they are here, they find the most dominant reason to be here is culture. But if I tell them that in advance, they’ll never believe me.” With all this support, it is hard to imagine companies failing — and they don’t. When I asked what the failure rate of the companies was, Crawford surprised me by saying they average only one or two companies failing a year, out of a total of 60 to 70. The QB3 incubators are always recruiting fresh faces with innovative ideas and the entrepreneurial spirit, and where better to recruit these talented individuals than from their next-door neighbor, UCSF?
“The job market for graduate students and postdocs in the life sciences is tough, to say the least. One of the most effective ways that grad students and postdocs can correct that problem is to create their own job,” said Crawford. UCSF and QB3 have partnered up to prepare graduate students and postdocs for that future. Offering seminars and mentorship programs like “Idea to IPO” and the “Startup in a Box” Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) workshop, UCSF and QB3 are committed to helping graduate students and postdocs transition into the entrepreneurial world. The idea is to utilize the academic environment to help nurture networking amongst scientists and entrepreneurs and get students and postdocs excited about startups as a career possibility. So if you have an idea and $800 in your pocket, check out QB3@953. It just may be the perfect place for you to launch your new career. Check out the QB3 website at qb3.org/ or the Startup in a Box SBIR workshop at qb3. org/startups/box.
Alex Loucks is a seventh-year Neuroscience student.
V C C M S
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synapse.ucsf.edu | December 5, 2013 | 5
OneStart Life Science Entrepreneurship Competition Comes to the Americas Applications are currently being accepted from young, enthusiastic Life Science Entrepreneurs for the chance to translate their cutting edge research into a successful startup. The winner will receive $150K, lab space, and business and intellectual property legal support.
By Benjamin Cohn Staff Writer
he OneStart Americas competition, a partnership between Oxbridge Biotech Roundtable and SR One, the venture capital arm of GlaxoSmithKline, officially launched on November 4 at the UCSF. The kick-off event was followed by similar events held this month in Los Angeles, San Diego and Boston. OneStart Americas invites individuals or teams of burgeoning life science entrepreneurs under 36 years of age to apply in one of four tracks: drug discovery, medical devices, diagnostics, or health information technology. Thirty-five selected semi-finalists will undergo two-months of extensive mentorship from venture capitalists, pharmaceutical executives, and other entrepreneurs in order to turn their idea into a comprehensive business plan. Entrants will compete for $150K, free lab space at QB3 in San Francisco for up to one year, and business and legal support. Winners will be selected from a pool of ten finalists based on criteria including innovation, potential impact on patient health, and quality of the business plan. The only stipulation is that the prize money be used to develop the idea. Unlike other entrepreneurial competitions, all intellectual property is retained by the winning team and neither OBR nor SR One claim any equity in the winning idea. John Daley, OneStart Director and a Stanford Law student, ran the inaugural OneStart competition in Europe last year and welcomed attendees of the UCSF launch event.
“OneStart’s expansion into the Americas allows us to bring the incredible mentorship, networking and fund-raising possibilities that we developed in Europe last year to the young bio-entrepreneurs here,” he said. Jill Carroll, a Senior Associate at the San Francisco SR One office, also spoke at the UCSF launch. She stressed how OneStart fits into SR One’s strategic mandate of investing in innovation. It has been increasingly difficult for fledgling projects to raise early stage capital, and SR One aims to spur innovation by giving such projects a needed push. Carrol cited the partnership between academia and industry as a unique characteristic of OneStart, since many competitions of this sort are solely academic in nature. OneStart’s focus on early-stage startups is a response to the difficulty these companies face getting support from more traditional sources of funding, like seed funds or venture capital. The competition welcomes ideas at all stages of development, with the emphasis on the potential of a team’s ideas, not necessarily how far the team has gotten in implementing their idea. Of course, applications still need to demonstrate sound scientific rationale for their business idea. More information on entry requirements, is available at oxbridgebiotech.com/onestart/. Individuals who are passionate about entrepreneurship but do not have a clear idea of their own and would like to join a team are encouraged to create a profile with the CoFounders Hub at oxbridgebiotech.com/onestart/find-co-founders-americas/. Alicia Shiu contributed to this report.
Alicia Shiu is a PhD student in Neuroscience at Stanford University. Benjamin Cohn is a PhD student in Biomedical Sciences at UCSF.
UCSF JOURNAL CLUB Recent research by UCSF scientists By Taylor LaFlam Staff Writer NEUROSCIENCE: Coexpression networks implicate human midfetal deep cortical projection neurons in the pathogenesis of autism. Willsey, A.J. et al. (State). Cell. 155(5):9971007.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has been the subject of burgeoning public and scientific interest. ASDs are a varied set of syndromes generally characterized by impaired social interaction, language difficulties and repetitive behaviors. Initial efforts to characterize genetic causes of ASD were hampered by its heterogeneity. Through next-generation sequencing, however, several groups have identified rare mutations with relatively large effects. Although rare mutations contribute to only a minority of ASD cases, it has been hypothesized that analysis of these genes can clarify the pathogenesis of the disorder. In this paper, the researchers used diverse human brain expression data to construct coexpression networks built around nine high-confidence ASD genes, and looked for enrichment of a separate set of probable ASD genes. They found the most significant convergence in expression in a population of cortical projection neurons in the second trimester of development. CHEMICAL BIOLOGY: K-Ras(G12C) inhibitors allosterically control GTP affinity and effector interactions. Ostrem, J.M.; Peters, U.; Sos, M.L.; Wells, J.A.; Shokat, K.M. Nature. doi:10.1038/nature12796 The small GTPase K-Ras is mutated in approximately 30 percent of all cancers and is frequently implicated in lung, colon, and pancreatic cancer. Years of attempts to design an effective therapy targeting this protein, however, have thus far proved fruitless. The K-Ras mutation G12C occurs in seven percent of lung cancers. Following in the footsteps of mutant-selective therapies such as the B-Raf (V600E) inhibitor vemurafenib, the Shokat group sought to specifically target this mutant with a compound that would covalently bind to this ectopic cysteine. In this paper, the researchers report development of a small molecule inhibitor that selectively binds K-Ras (G12C). They use in vitro assays to show that this inhibitor substantially decreases K-Ras activity by decreasing its affinity for GTP relative to GDP and by impairing binding to the enzyme target Raf. They are currently optimizing this inhibitor and investigating its therapeutic potential. HUMAN EVOLUTION: Many human accelerated regions are developmental enhancers. Capra, J.A.; Erwin, G.D.; McKinsey, G.; Rubenstein, J.L.; Pollard, K.S. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 368:20130025. Great apes may be our closest evolutionary relatives, but there are nevertheless obvious physical and cognitive differences between humans and chimpanzees. The genetic basis for human-specific traits remains largely unknown, though much of the difference is thought to be due to alterations in non-coding gene regulatory sequences. Researchers analyzed conserved regions that show many changes since humans diverged from chimpanzees to develop a set of approximately 2,600 so-called human accelerated regions. Based on sequence and histone modification data, they estimated that a third of them would function as developmental enhancers. The researchers then tested both the human and chimpanzee sequence of 29 of these regions by making transgenic mice. In five cases, there was a difference in expression pattern driven by human compared to chimpanzee sequence at embryonic day 11.5, suggesting that they merit further study as candidates for human-specific characteristics. DEVELOPMENTAL BIOLOGY: Species-specific regulation of the cell cycle and the timing of events during craniofacial osteogenesis. Yu, J. et al. (Schneider). Dev Biol. doi:10.1016/j.ydbio.2013.11.011. A bird’s beak tells much about its way of life and is subject to rapid evolutionary change. Previous experiments with quail-duck chimeras have shown that the neural crest mesenchyme is the critical determinant of species-specific beak and skull development. Earlier work has clarified the mechanism by which these cells shape the development of the skin, musculature, and connective tissue, but how it shapes the bony skeleton remained unclear. In this paper, the researchers confirmed that transplanted quail-to-duck neural crest mesenchyme drives the faster quail-like timetable for bone development. The researchers showed these cells regulate the cell cycle. These species-specific differences in cell cycle result in differences in the timing of osteogenesis and, consequently, differences in craniofacial skeleton size.
Taylor LaFlam is a fifth-year MSTP student. For comments or paper suggestions, email Taylor. LaFlam@ucsf.edu.
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6 | December 5, 2013 | synapse.ucsf.edu
New Chamber Music Society Teams Up with Vocal Chords for Winter Concerts
Photo courtesy of Chamber Music Society Musicians from the Chamber Music Society perform at the Family House Thanksgiving Dinner. (Left to right) Hanna Retallack (MS1), Sherman Jia (R2), Catherine Chiu (MS2), Arnold Kim and Russell Coh.
By Sherman Jia and Jamie Wong Contributing Writers
usic has an extraordinary ability to heal — it enriches the lives of both physicians and their patients. There is a large community of musicians at UCSF, but the opportunity to share their talents and love for music has been limited. To remedy this, students and residents have established the Chamber Music Society at UCSF, an organization that provides opportunities for UCSF musicians to deliver chamber music performances, and to provide outreach concerts at local health care-related facilities. The Society holds several sight-reading sessions each semester for musicians to meet one another and to form longitudinal chamber music groups. In just three months, the Society has created a network of over 50 musicians, composed of UCSF students, residents and staff. “The fact that so many groups are jumping at the opportunity to perform speaks to how much talent exists at UCSF, and how much potential the Society has in the years to come,” said Catherine Chiu, a second-year medical student. On December 7 and 14, the Chamber Music Society at UCSF will join Vocal Chords A Cappella in concert for two performances in Cole Hall at the Medical Sciences Building on Parnassus. These concerts will feature nine different chamber music ensembles, ranging from duets to quintets. The Vocal Chords, UCSF’s co-ed a cappella group, comprised of students, researchers, postdocs, staff, faculty and affiliates, will share new renditions of classic, contemporary and pop hits. Eight new members have joined Vocal Chords’ 14-member group this season, adding such talents as musical direction, undergraduate a cappella experience, musical theater, choreography and beat-boxing. “I’ve never done this [a cappella] before. I am so happy to be part of it this year, because it is a new musical challenge, and I’ve gotten to know new friends, the wonderful and tal-
A Winter Concert Saturday, December 7 and 14 UCSF Cole Hall, Parnassus 3–5 p.m. Free admission Free food and drinks ented members of VC,” said Jennifer Rakotomamonjy, a postdoctoral fellow of Physiology and former soul/R’nB songstress from France. “Joining the Vocal Chords was one of the best decisions I’ve made at UCSF,” added seasoned member Nicole Wong, a junior research specialist in the Department of Bioengineering/Therapeutic Sciences. “They’re
an outstanding group of people who have come together to share their passion for singing.” Vocal Chords has entertained and inspired audiences ranging from their Spring Concerts to singing the national anthem at the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford University last summer. Chamber Music Society information can be found at facebook.com/UCSFChamberMusicSociety. Vocal Chords can be found at facebook.com/VocalChordsUCSF.
Sherman Jia is a resident physician of Neurology and Jamie Wong is a third-year Physical Therapy student.
Science Mom » FROM PAGE 3
Her children were constantly busy with horseback riding, Brownies and softball; until one day when she realized that her obsessive parenting was making her unhappy. I can relate to feeling the need to give my child a competitive edge. Even though my child is only 2 years old, he has already been enrolled in a number of classes, including music and dance, gymnastics and swimming. I wouldn’t consider myself an obsessive parent. My kid only takes one class at a time, and we only do classes because they are a fun way for our family to spend time together. However, if I wanted to be an obsessive parent, San Francisco would be a perfect place to be. There are plenty of activities available that are geared towards toddlers, including art, dance, yoga, pre-school prep, bilingual classes, story time, soccer, basketball, baseball and more. These are classes for 2-year-olds! In talking to parents who have their kids enrolled in multiple classes, it really seems like a special kind of torture for both the parent and child. Neither appears to be particularly happy about constantly having to bounce from one class to another. Obviously, a happier and less stressed parent is going to a better parent. So, is all this extra time spent on obsessive parenting making parents unhappy in general? There have been countless studies on the happiness of parents, and they often seem to have contradictory findings. Recently, results of a study by the Pew Research Center indicated that parents find “much more meaning in the time spent with children than in the time spent at work.” However, they also show that parents consider “caring for their children to be much more exhausting than the work they do for pay.” Personally, I have to agree with this study. When I’m at home with my kid I feel more fulfilled, but I’m also dead tired. When I’m in lab, I’m happy (and less exhausted), but I’m also aware that my life is more meaningful than the results of my luciferase assay. In that regard, I think being a parent has given me a broader perspective in life. Are parents less happy? It’s possible. Do I really care? No, not so much.
Debbie Ruelas is a sixth-year BMS student.
Photo by Alyssa Nip/Pathology The Vocal Chords enjoying a last rehearsal at UCSF Mission Bay before A Winter Concert.
synapse.ucsf.edu | December 5, 2013 | 7
Elite Runner Juggles Medical School and Cross-Country Training
Cross Country Championships in Bend, Oregon. on December 13. "The women on the team range in age from 17 to over 70, and those who are older than me have been wonderful role models,” said Alexa Glencer, an Impala member and second-year medical student. “While running is clearly very important to each and every one of my teammates, it is only one component of their very successful lives." Erin Bank, a Research Development Specialist in the Research Development Office at UCSF, joined the Impalas in 2012. She qualified for and raced in the 2013 Boston Marathon, which was so tragically interrupted by a terrorist bombing. “I went from being devastated about having to walk the last five miles of the race due to a stress fracture, to being grateful to have legs at all, and that the many friends I had running and spectating the race were safe from the bombings,” Bank recalled. Bay Area's largest female-only running club
Photo by Emily Ferenczi /Impalas (Left to right) Meghan Morris (postdoc), Erin Bank (RDO Specialist), Angela Broad (MS1) and Michelle Meyer (MS3) at the Pacific Association Cross Country Championships in Golden Gate Park last month.
By Angela Broad Staff Writer
aking up at 4 a.m. to squeeze in a 10-mile run before a long day on her surgery rotation at Oakland’s Highland Hospital, Michelle Meyer, MS3, is nothing if not dedicated. By logging hundreds of training miles each month, she has found success running races around the Bay Area and beyond. Meyer represented her all-women’s running club, the Impala Racing Team, at the U.S. Olympic Trials in 2012, where she finished 84th. She has also won multiple local marathons.
So, how does Meyer stay so motivated? “I have awesome teammates,” she said. “I have a love for exploration and adventure, absolutely stunning views and intense races.” Meyer is an exceptional example of someone who combines a passion for a career in the health sciences with a passion for running at a high level. However, she is not alone. The UCSF connection Though not officially affiliated with UCSF, the team includes staff, faculty, students, postdocs and residents. At least 12 women on the 100-person Impala Racing Team combine
Life of a Grad Student » FROM PAGE 3
The most important thing in deciding what lab to join and what research to do is soul-searching and self-knowledge. It’s not bad spending a little time early in grad school stressing about this stuff, as long as it’s not overwhelming. You should do some soul-searching if you’re making big life decisions. It’s unpleasant, but a lot of what it takes to succeed is momentarily unpleasant. It doesn’t mean that it won’t lead to something good. I had no interest in this research question when I first started. I do now, but that’s grown out of a great personal fit — between myself and my PI and lab and also the kind of work I like to do. That’s probably more important to being happy in a lab than anything else.
Student 2 Female, Mission Bay Synapse: Tell us about your experience at UCSF so far. So far, it’s great. The classes are a little bit college-y, but I enjoyed the rotations —they exposed me to new things and helped me make an informed decision.
Synapse: What about your lab experience? How did you choose your lab? I started working on the project that I hope is going to be my main project — getting a project off the ground is always an exciting phase. I chose this lab based on whether the grad students there were still happy, because that was an indicator of what my experience would be. I wanted a lab with a lot of diversity in what people were working on, so I could be exposed to different things. There are also a lot of grad students spaced out throughout the years, so there’s a lot of perspective on what you’re doing. Ultimately, it’s really personal, because everybody’s looking for something different. Rotations are helpful for figuring out what you want in a lab. Synapse: Is anything different from what you expected? The most surprising thing was how social it is. Especially in the beginning, you spend so much time with your classmates, and there’s so much chatter about who’s doing what and what different labs are like.
running competitively with careers or training at UCSF. Perhaps it is no coincidence. “Running has instilled lifelong values of dedication and commitment, which are absolutely cornerstones for a medical career,” said Meyer, who ran track in high school, and competed in road races as an undergraduate at Stanford University. Indeed, many women on the team have been running for decades. Dr. Sarah Tabbutt, a pediatric cardiologist at UCSF, regularly races cross-country. This year, she and the team’s 50-plus age contingent have their eye on the prize — defending their national title at the U.S. Club
Established in 1979, the Impalas are a women’s elite development running club based in San Francisco. Fourteen runners on the team qualified for the 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials, the most of any club in the nation. The Impalas are the largest competitive, female-only running club in the Bay Area. Members in all age groups run in road, crosscountry, track and trail races in the Pacific Association league of USA Track and Field. The Impalas practice together on Tuesday evenings at the Kezar Stadium track, in the shadow of the Parnassus campus. While their colleagues head home for dinner, they click off laps on the weather-worn track in the fog and drizzle. Most Impalas have no aspirations to win prize money at major national races such as the Boston Marathon (though Meyer did win her weight in wine at the Napa-to-Sonoma Half Marathon). Still, the camaraderie, thrill of the chase and the chance to test themselves is reward enough. More information about the Impalas can be found at www.impalaracingteam.org/ or at facebook.com/ImpalaRacingTeam.
Angela Broad is a first-year medical student and a member of the Impala Racing Team.
My significant other is not a scientist at all, and in the beginning it was hard for him to empathize with what I was going through. ”
Synapse: Are there any challenges you’ve encountered? How did you deal with them? Getting here, there’s definitely a period where you feel like you’re in over your head and everyone else knows stuff that you don’t know. I think everybody goes through this. The other thing I found challenging was the decision of what lab to join. I spent a lot of time weighing pros and cons. And when it comes down to it, you know that you can’t really predict how it’s going to go. Also, my significant other is not a scientist at all, and in the beginning it was hard for him to empathize with what I was going through. Graduate school isn’t depicted in popular culture much, so I think what made it easier for him to understand what I was doing was when he met my classmates and could get an idea of what it’s actually like. Synapse: Is there anything else you’re still working on?
I’m starting to think about quals. Other people are telling me to ask the hardest questions about my project — what’s the worst that could happen — and I think I’ll need to lean on other people in my lab. I know I’ll get through it, but it’s just one of those uncertainties where you don’t know what’s going to happen until it happens. Synapse: What advice would you give other students? The one thing that I’ve done well so far is that I picked the right lab, in terms of the questions I’m asking and the people around me. I was able to do that by really asking what is important to me, what’s going to make me happy and knowing that this didn’t have to be the same as for my classmates. [For example,] I didn’t want to publish a lot of papers but be completely miserable. I just had to make that decision for myself.
Jenny Qi is a third-year BMS student.
8 | December 5, 2013 | synapse.ucsf.edu
Take the IT Security Challenge! Go to http://awareness.ucsf.edu EVERYONE WINS A PRIZE!
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...to update your software! Regular software updates help prevent viruses and malware from infecting your computer, which in turn help prevent data security breaches. There are always new emerging threats, so remember to update often. Be smart – go to security.ucsf.edu and use our free tools to protect the UCSF community. Together, we can advance health worldwide - securely.
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synapse.ucsf.edu | December 5, 2013 | 9
Sophie’s Got Verve By Yi Lu Editor
afe Sophie just opened this summer, but the shop, nestled on a quiet stretch of 16th Street between Sanchez and Church, serves up delicious cups of coffee like old pros — with a big assist from Verve Coffee Roasters. For those unfamiliar with it, Verve Coffee Roasters is an award-winning Santa Cruzbased company that places a premium on quality sourcing and roasting of their beans,
Cafe Sophie 3463 16th St., San Francisco (415) 529-2972 cafesophiesf.com vervecoffeeroasters.com Monday-Friday 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. Saturday, Sunday 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. but more to the point, makes a fantastically bright and clean cup of coffee. According to the Cafe Sophie staff, the beans they use are roasted in Santa Cruz on Wednesday, shipped on Thursday, and are ready to be brewed by Friday. If you’re look-
ing for a place to buy fresh Verve beans, Fridays at Cafe Sophie is the place to be. Cafe Sophie does not offer pour-over coffee, only drip, but they do a good job monitoring the freshness of their brew. Over several visits, I’ve never had a stale-tasting cup. Nevertheless, the coffee, while fantastic, just doesn’t taste quite like what you can get from Verve’s Santa Cruz locations. Maybe it’s the distance from the surf, or the vibe of the clientele: Think work-from-home tech/hipster culture versus attractive surfer/beach bum culture. If you happen to visit on one of the few warm days in San Francisco every year, or if you want a drink that you can nurse over the span of a couple of hours to optimize your study-to-dollar index, order the iced coffee, which comes with coffee ice cubes. I haven’t tried the other drinks on the menu, but my friend had good things to say about the “Honey Monkey,” a sweetened tea steamer. I wouldn’t know, because “tea” and “steam” are two words that I don’t understand in juxtaposition. Cafe Sophie is a great study spot. I’ve never had a problem finding seating, although I’ve only visited on weekdays. There is a nice
Photo by Yi Lu/MS2 Cafe Sophie serves Verve coffee, which is shipped in from Santa Cruz every Thursday.
assortment of big wooden tables you can share with your new tech-hipster friends, as well as individual tables to hunker down with your coffee and laptop. There is also some seating outside, but 16th Street in the Castro just can’t match the 16th Street experience in the Mission — bad for people-watching, probably better for quiet work. To further help your productivity, the noise registers at a pleasantly ambient level, and the music is what I would be playing anyway. (Lykke Li → Bon Iver → The Strokes? Yes, please.)
My favorite time to arrive at Café Sophie is after lunch, when the occasional afternoon sun can fill the cafe with so much natural light that you’ll be forced off your glaring laptop to enjoy a contemplative moment with your cup of joe. Come find me at Cafe Sophie sometime and say “Hi,” unless you’re drinking a tea steamer. It would be a shame to miss out on the opportunity to drink a good cup of Verve this side of Highway 17.
Yi Lu is a second-year medical student.
MAMA M. International Dental Student Team Wins Cook-off Work is Crimping My Life
ear Mama M, Being in grad school here is putting a horrible crimp in my family life. I have a wife and two young kids, and all my time spent in the lab doing research is just killing me. I can't find the energy to be fully present with my wife or with my kids. I get home tired and frustrated, and even though I tell myself on the ride home my new mantra: "Tonight, I will be fully present," I can't seem to do it. I feel I am failing at being a meaningfully present partner and parent. My wife has been so supportive, but tells me lately that she feels I am “selling out,” and that I am losing touch with this very important part of my life. She is right, but what can I do? Please help. Sincerely, Not Fully Here ______________________________
Photo by Mason Tran/D4 (Left to right) Amit Mongia, Mikhail Pliosnine and Purnima Sheoran, all first-year International Dentist Program students, captured first place in this year's Iron Chef Competition.
By Mason Tran Staff Photographer
he Asian Health Caucus hosted its annual Iron Chef Competition November 18 at the Faculty Alumni House. This year’s winners were chefs Amit Mongia, Mikhail Pliosnine and Purnima Sheoran, all first-year students in the International Dentist Program. Here the team proudly presents its “Asian Califusion,” which consisted of two dishes, “Chicken Curry on Green Parnassus Hill” and “Bamboo Sweet Delights.” The Iron Chef competition is open to three-student teams from all the UCSF schools. Teams are given $30 and a secret ingredient and must prepare a dish in 50 minutes for a panel of six judges, composed of faculty members and students. Asian Health Caucus is one of the oldest student-run organizations at UCSF. It was founded in 1975 “to promote mutual understanding and friendship among all members in the UCSF community, as well as increase awareness of Asian and Asian-American health issues.” The work of Asian Health Caucus includes participation in health fairs, mentoring round table meetings, minority bone-marrow drives and fun activities to get professional schools together.
Mason Tran is a fourth-year dental student.
ear Not Fully Here, Have you ever heard of the book, “Thoughts without a Thinker?”
I am not suggesting you read it, because Lord knows you have enough on your plate. I had to take a nap just reading about your life. It sounds very full and very overwhelming to be you right now. So, you don’t need to read the book, but it might be helpful to think about the title. It came to mind when I read your question. Our conscious thoughts get turned on about the time our eyes begin to open in the morning. (And this does not even begin to address the unconscious processes at work). It is hard to remain present when our thoughts zoom off like an over-achieving athlete taking performance-enhancing drugs on race day. The Self is often left behind. But, there is good news! You can do some things to bring yourself into your body and be present in the moment. Being present is an art. It sounds like you are ready to cultivate the practice of mindful liv-
ing, which is more of a philosophy than a single activity. You have a lot to be present for, sweetie, so try to be kind with yourself as you figure it out. First, a simple inquiry into your psyche: Ask your Self if you are just overwhelmed and being pulled in too many directions at once, or is there a more fundamental need to “check out”? If it is the latter, you may need more support to work through underlying fears that keep you rippin’ and runnin’ through life, never here and never not here. It is not an uncommon American problem. As a culture, we tend to run from our fears rather than sit with them. Busy-ness is sometimes a coping strategy and sometimes a fact of life. You have to decide which is true for you. On the other hand, if you just can’t get your work out of your mind when you come home, and there is no underlying unconscious process to work through, then some simple practices will help you on your way to being present. Second, drilling it in to your tired head, that you “will be present, godammit!” on your way home from work may not be the best way to be ... well, present. I think, for the time being, you are going to have to refine what presence means, and kindness to Self is your first practice. I don’t want to load you up with a bunch of meditative practices that you will feel bad about not having enough time to accomplish. I’d rather help you shift your mindset. There are ways to integrate a practice into the fastmoving, packed-to-the-gills lives we choose to live. Some basic breathing practices will drop you into your center, open your heart, and allow you to bring your full Self into any given moment. In short, sweetie, you need to breathe longer and deeper than ever before. I used to work in a maximum-security men’s prison in the middle of the desert. It
MAMA M. » PAGE 10
10 | December 5, 2013 | synapse.ucsf.edu
A Physician Reclaims His Own Joy in Medicine Nobody’s Boy: An Old Doctor and a New Science by Mike Denney By Shieva Khayam-Bashi Contributing Writer
y the age of 70, most physicians, surgeons and psychologists would be well into their retirement. Not Mike Denney. At the age of 71, Dr. Denney — a physician and surgeon — received his doctorate in depth psychology, with a passion for integrating the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of healing in his continuing work. For many years since then, he has been inspiring others by teaching, writing and practicing mind-body-spirit counseling, and steadfastly advocating for the integration of spirit and science in medicine. Now, Dr. Denney has written a mesmerizing account of his personal and professional journey, a medical memoir: Nobody’s Boy — An Old Doctor and a New Science. This enchanting memoir recounts the story of a young Mike Denney, who faced many challenges growing up in poverty on the near east side of Detroit in the 1930s. War, poverty, family strains and fear of death were among the many things with which he had to contend. Though he was clearly a thoughtful and intelligent boy, Denney’s stresses caused him to fail in grammar school and high school. At the tender age of 15, his future was doubtful. Then, one momentous night, the troubled boy stayed up to read what would become a lifealtering book. By the end of the night, he had a most extraordinary experience of inspiration, which gave him new clarity and purpose. That transformative moment brought him to a feeling of connection to the deeper self, the spirit, and to that same part of others, and it was what led Mike to decide to become a doctor. It was this newfound connection to a deep sense of empathy, compassion and love for the sacred in humans that became his guide, as he began the course of a medical career. Just as many trainees have experienced in medical education, however, Mike found that his demanding training as a
physician and surgeon opposed his instinct for connection. He found that it actually required that he become more dispassionate and less empathetic. He had “learned to treat patients without the emotional involvement that might cloud his clinical judgment,” in order to practice as a young surgeon. But one critical night in the Emergency Room, Mike hit a wall when he could not help but feel overwhelmingly deep emotions of connection and grief, after he was unable to save the life of a mangled, bleeding woman suffering injuries after an automobile collision.
This unexpected, intense emotional response turned Mike’s life around. It launched his journey into trying to reclaim the sacred inspiration and meaning that originally led him to choose the practice of medicine. He describes his process of examining whether it was possible to practice medicine scientifically, but also to integrate his own emotions and those of his patients, “to make a surgical incision with full awareness of and compassion for the human being under the drapery.” His new sense of self-realization, and his revived reverence for the spirit of each of his patients, led him to resolve that it must be possible “to find a union of science and spirituality in his work” — despite what most of the medical establishment taught. In the current medical era, there are countless stories of physicians who have become terribly dissatisfied with their work, for various reasons. Many physicians are seeking renewal and a way to return to the joy of being a healer. Dr. Denney’s story demonstrates how one physician was able to reclaim his own joy in medicine: “One way or another, I am going to find a way to stay connected with the deepest part of myself … and to include the spiritual aspect of healing as an integral and essential part of my work as a doctor.” For Dr. Denney and many others, it turns out that caring for the patient as a whole being — mind, spirit and body — is an integral key to the joy of practicing medicine. This, says Dr. Denney, is the New Science of medicine, the integration of science and spirituality, which will lead to more complete healing of patients, physicians and the field of medicine itself. Nobody’s Boy — An Old Doctor and a New Science is a richly personal, in-depth exploration of one physician’s journey of struggle, inspiration, dedication and reverence for the wholeness of human life and spirit. Mike Denney’s medical memoir offers an intriguing oasis of renewal, in which his story inspires us to reconnect to our spirits, and to remember the deepest meaning in the practice of medicine and healing.
Shieva Khayam-Bashi, MD, is a clinical professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine and medical director in the Skilled Nursing Facility at San Francisco General Hospital.
Mama M. » FROM PAGE 9 was hard to get those images out of my head when I came home. The stories … the trauma … my own responses to the work, kept me far from my Self, long after I left the job for the day. I had to cultivate some simple, daily techniques to leave work behind, or I would have stayed in prison all day and night. If you can’t get out of the lab or away from your research at the end of the day, you will miss out on the joys of partnership and parenting, and everything else that brings joy and balance. Disclaimer: Breathing and imagery techniques are not lofty practices, sugar. They are subtle. They sneak up on you. They don’t give you instant presence either. There are no quick fixes here, my dear. But, over time you will find, with these practices, that you are closer to your Self and more available to the people who love you. One more thing, I don’t know what your wife means by “selling out.” Let’s give her a pass, and forget she said it. She is tired and she misses you and probably misses the life you both used to have. Ask her what she wants and give her as much as you can. Kiss your babies. Love yourself. Make a plan that works for you both and develop a daily (and it does have to be daily, sweetie) practice that aligns your Selves at the end of the day. Remember, you are enough as you are.
As often as you can remember, whenever you cross a threshold, take a deep breath. A really deep breath — one that begins from the center of the earth and travels up through dirt and bones and concrete and into the soles of your feet and up your legs, belly, rib cage and into your heart … Then exhale... Exhale as s-l-o-w-l-y as your day will allow. Exhale all the way down your body. This will take less than a minute. When you are ready, add images to your breath … As you open a door, imagine you are showered with love and hope and energy… As you close a door behind you, imagine you are leaving behind all that is unlike love.
Practice 1: Breathing Through Doorways
Mama M. and her editor are health providers at UCSF who understand the challenges facing health professionals. This column offers students honest, compassionate advice, wisdom and love. All communication is confidential. Names and identifying information will be withheld to maintain anonymity. Send letters to MamaM.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Doors are magic. We pass through them all day long. In and out of offices, buildings, cars. If you can use these doors as a mindfulness exercise, you will be meditating all day long without ever sitting on a pillow or crossing your legs like a yogi.
Practice 2: Coming Home Take a minute before you enter your home … set an intention to be present. Not a yelling, bullying command, but a simple, calm, heart-felt intention. Take one full minute to drop into your belly and leave your work thoughts behind you. As you enter your home, imagine light and love and peace … and it will be there on the other side of the door, in one form or another. Even if it looks like chaos. Even if your wife is so very ready to hand you her day. Peace is always there. It is always there. It is always there. Mama M.
THE STRENGTH TO HEAL
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Capt. Ana Morgan, M.D., HPSP Medical Recipient Brooke Army Medical Center, Texas
You can begin training for the career you’ve always dreamed of with financial assistance from the U.S. Army. Through the Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP)*, you could be eligible to receive a full tuition scholarship for an accredited medical program. The HPSP provides reimbursement for books, laboratory equipment and academic fees. You’ll also receive a sign-on bonus of $20,000 and a monthly stipend of $2,157. During breaks, you’ll have the opportunity to train alongside other members of our health care organization. To learn more, call (650)347-3967 or visit San Mateo Medical Recruiting Center 400 S. El Camino Real, STE 450 San Mateo, CA 94402 Email: email@example.com www.goarmy.com/amedd.html
*Certain requirements and eligibility criteria apply. ©2013. Paid for by the United States Army. All rights reserved. Information subject to change.
synapse.ucsf.edu | December 5, 2013 | 11
The Weekly Crossword
ACROSS 1 Pirate's plunder 5 Barbershop item 9 Fancy flapjack 14 Angelic topper 15 State with conviction 16 Fit to be tied 17 "White Wedding" rocker 18 Like good citizens 20 Stephen King's "_____ Things" 22 "Life of Pi" director 23 Fall bloomer 24 Haggling point 26 Incisor neighbor 30 Recipe measure 33 Crazy-sounding bird 34 Sushi staple 35 Backspace over 37 Pistol-packing 39 Purge 40 Happen again 41 Fixed gaze 42 Catch in the act 44 Chocolate variety 45 Owned once 46 3D imaging 49 Eccentric 50 Afternoon social 51 Consider 54 New business 58 Unable to read 61 Glazier's sheet 62 Pale purple 63 At any time 64 Arab prince
Difficulty : Easy
by Margie E. Burke
Edited by Margie E. Burke
HOW TO SOLVE: (Answer appears elsewhere in this issue)
Copyright 2013 by The Puzzle Syndicate
Copyright 2013 by The Puzzle Syndicate
65 Keyboard key 66 Like grass at dawn 67 Contact, nowadays
11 Apt anagram of 36 vile 12 Evergreen tree 13 Barely beat 38 19 Night crawlers, 43 e.g. 47 DOWN 21 Lots of laughs 48 1 Runner's sore 24 Slim dagger 49 spot 25 Band hand 2 Roe v. ____ 26 Conflict, as 51 colors 3 Sunburn 52 soother 27 Blood line 53 4 Klondike hopeful 28 Wandering one 54 5 Peace pipe 29 Media mogul Ted 6 Cameo shape 30 Chocolate bean 55 7 Kitten's cry 31 Take by force 56 8 Bikini top 32 Bright and 57 9 Deciding factor bouncy 59 10 Mountain spine 60
Leptin Knockout Mouse Wonders if There’s Something Wrong with Other Mice
Celeb's entrance at the Oscars Military no-show Millionaire maker Ocean motion Red or Dead Give up, as rights Icy coating Ardor Eat too much Crockpot creation Like most pets Multi-user OS Chipper Roulette bet Street sign abbr.
Solution to Sudoku
Grad School Illustrated
by Jillian Varonin
By Staff Humorist
ep-/- mouse 73 thinks there’s something wrong with the other mice in the mouse house. “I’ve always thought the other mice were different somehow,” she mentioned, while noisily gnawing on her food. “But it dawned on me yesterday that all the other mice are horribly emaciated. It breaks my heart to look at them. Don’t they know there’s more food in their cage?” When pressed for a cause or rationale behind the observation, Lep-/- 73 said, “Maybe the food they receive is different and tastes bad? Or perhaps they’re so starved they’re not thinking straight and don’t realize the food is right in front of them? Or maybe they’ve been brainwashed by the media to the point where they’re so image-conscious that they willfully starve themselves? It’s just so sad.” When asked about her eating habits, Lep/- 73, who is several times bigger than an average mouse, said that she often wakes up and starts eating as soon as possible to ensure that her metabolism makes full use of the calories available. Time not actively spent eating is spent either thinking about eating or how she can make eating more efficient. She even sheepishly admitted to thinking about eating her “pathetically scrawny, wildtype mating partner” once, but he was too fast for her.
Jillian Varonin is a fourth-year BMS student.
Piled Higher and Deeper by Jorge Cham
title: "Peak Panic" - originally published 11/1/2013
Between swallowing bite after bite of mouse chow, the Leptin KO mouse said she tries to waddle out of the cage to talk to the other mice once a week. “The other mice and I get along great. But
there was one incident a month ago, when I bumped into a pair of wildtype mice on the other side of the mouse house. They passed by me and asked if I was ever stopped eating,” said the Leptin KO mouse. “When I
responded with, ‘Wait. You mean when I’m sleeping?’ they just laughed and scampered along. It really woke me up to their problem. I just don’t know what’s wrong with them.”
12 | December 5, 2013 | synapse.ucsf.edu
Solution to Sudoku
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You’re Funding Fun! A portion of every dollar you spend at campus retail vendors helps support Arts & Events at UCSF
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