IN THIS ISSUE
Candidate Statements Catalyst Awards
Voting for the GPSA Elections Students get inside access to will be held April 7-15 product development » PAGE 5 » PAGE 10
News Briefs » PAGE 3 Mythbusters » PAGE 9 Puzzles » PAGE 11
Synapse The UCSF Student Newspaper
Thursday, April 3, 2014
Volume 58, Number 25
GSICE Program Scientific Publishing In The Era of Open Access Helps Graduate Students Explore Career Options Part 2 This series explores the impact of open access journals on the scientific publishing industry. In this installment, we examine the publishing industry’s response to the growing popularity of open access journals.
By Alexandra Greer Science Editor
By Alexandra Loucks Staff Writer
magine yourself five years out from getting your PhD. You could be a science journalist working for a newspaper, or in a boardroom actively convincing venture capitalists which of the latest scientific advancements they should back. Perhaps the thought of working with politicians in Washington, DC to reform STEM education policy makes your heart race. Or, maybe you are simply unsure if academia is the right trajectory for you but don’t know what else to do. If the latter applies to you, you are not alone. As far back as 1998, a study published by the National Research Council stated that the number of academic, government and industry jobs was inadequate for the number of PhDs being churned out, revealing a need to drastically alter how graduate programs prepare students for future careers. The NIH Biomedical Research Workforce Working Group Report stated similar findings in 2012, and suggested that graduate programs expose students to alternative careers early on in their training and provide support for the transition. Luckily, at UCSF we have the visionary leadership that identi-
GSICE » PAGE 3
n October 2013, Science published an exposé of the peer review system at open access journals around the world. In his self-described “sting operation,” author John Bohannon submitted a critically flawed scientific article to hundreds of open access journals, with the intent of evaluating the quality of their peer review process. Unlike the traditional closed access model of scientific publishing, in which subscription fees cover the cost of editing, publication and distribution of the scientific journal, open access journals are, as the name implies, free to access. Bohannon’s article painted a bleak picture of open access peer review. Out of roughly 300 journals tested, 157 open access journals accepted the paper, 98 rejected
Photo by Mason Tran/D4 Stacks of scientific journals on library shelves are becoming a vanishing sight as more publishers offer open access journals and other online subscription options.
it and 49 did not respond to the submission. However, Bohannon’s article, along with the journal Science, received criticism for appearing biased because it failed to test the peer-review processes of any closed access journals alongside its test of open access journals. This questionable piece led to speculation about Science’s motives. Open access offers scientists a publishing alternative to the traditional closed journal model, and its growing popularity among scientists could threaten the bottom line
of traditional journals and publishers. As both the content creators for as well as the end users of scientific journals, scientists are intimately wedded to the publishing industry. Until recently, scientists had few options when it came to where to publish their research. The rise of the World Wide Web, with its ability to cut out the middleman, has brought disruption to scientific publishing. Open journals are able to make their articles available to the public for free over the Internet
SCIENTIFIC PUBLISHING » PAGE 8
Panel to Address State of the DTC Genetic Testing Industry Oxbridge Biotech Roundtable will host April 7 debate By Benjamin Cohn Staff Writer
Photo by Ernesto Diaz-Flores/Postdoc Students chat during an "GSice-breaker" seeson of the Graduate Student Internships for Career Exploration (GSICE) program.
he letter arrived in November. It was a cease-and-desist from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) addressed to CEO Anne Wojcicki: “Since July of 2009, we have been diligently working to help you comply with regulatory requirements regarding safety and effectiveness … You have not worked with us. Therefore, [you] must immediately discontinue marketing the [genetic testing kit] until such time as it receives FDA marketing authorization…” For only $99, Wojcicki’s company, the
Mountain View, California-based 23andMe, sells a kit which—until November—allowed customers to have DNA in their saliva tested for common genetic variants related to over 240 health conditions and traits. The traits range from the inane—earwax type or reading ability, for example—to the grave, such as risk of developing Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer’s. Though 23andMe continues to sell their kit, they now provide only non-health related interpretations of customers’ raw genetic data, which is primarily ancestry information. The FDA had long resisted regulating the direct-to-consumer genetics industry, so why
GENETIC TESTING » PAGE 9
2 | April 3, 2014 | synapse.ucsf.edu
EVENTS MISSION BAY EVENTS
FOOD TRUCK THURSDAYS AT MISSION BAY
CHANCELLOR’S CONCERT SERIES
Thursday, April 3, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., 4th Street & Nelson Rising Lane, Mission Bay Join the food truck lunch party every Thursday at Mission Bay and explore the tasty culinary options to break up your routine. Each week will feature two different vendors, so there will always be something new. Grab some friends, get some food, and take your lunch experience up a notch.
THE TWO BODY PROBLEM
Thursday, April 3, 6-7:30 p.m., Genentech Hall, N114, Mission Bay Want to have an independent career in science? Have a partner with similar ambitions? Worried about not just your individual job searches, but how to end up in the same geographical location? Come to a panel discussion with two couples that have completed successful joint job searches, and hear their stories and advice!
Friday, April 4, 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 Steven Chin, firstname.lastname@example.org.
MUSLIM FRIDAY PRAYER SERVICES
Friday, April 4, 1-2:30 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. Come join your fellow brothers and sisters for prayer, lunch and socializing. All are welcome.
MISSION BAY RIPS
Friday, April 4, 4-5 p.m., Genentech Hall Auditorium, Mission Bay Research In Progress Seminar is a seminar series at which 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.
23ANDME: DID THE FDA MAKE THE RIGHT DECISION?
Monday, April 7, 6-9 p.m., Genentech Hall, Mission Bay Join the Business Club for a debate on the FDA’s decision to demand 23andMe to immediately stop selling and marketing their product, insisting that 23andMe’s report on “254 diseases and conditions” constitutes medical diagnostics, and therefore requires FDA approval.
MISSION BAY FARMERS’ MARKET
Wednesday, April 9, 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
GAME NIGHT AT MISSION BAY
Wednesday, April 9, 6-9 p.m., Genentech Hall Atrium, Mission Bay Bring your favorite board games to share. Enjoy free beverages, pizza, and raffle prizes provided by GSA.
Thursday, April 3, noon-12:45 p.m., Cole Hall, Parnassus Looking for a place to study or relax between classes? CLS Arts & Events has got just what you need. The Chancellor's Concert Series on Thursdays is a great place to set up your laptop and study or just take a break from classes while listening to classical music. Seating beings at noon. If you are unable to come, you can now listen to the music through live stream. http://campuslifeservices.ucsf. edu/artsevents/29/the_chancellors_concert_ series_streaming_live_and_archived
EXPERIMENTAL DANCE THEATRE WORKSHOP
Thursday, April 3, 8:30-9:30 p.m., Millberry Fitness Center, Studio 2, Parnassus Experimental Dance Theatre will host an alllevels ballet workshop. Come and see what ballet is all about, brush up on your technique and meet our members!
MUSLIM FRIDAY PRAYER SERVICES
Friday, April 4, 1:30-2 p.m., Medical Sciences, 168, 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.
CAMPUS EVANGELISTIC FELLOWSHIP
Friday, April 4, 7-10:30 p.m., Nursing, 517, Parnassus Join the Campus Evangelistic Fellowship for its weekly meeting, with Bible study, hymn singing and fellowship.
ASUC MEETING: DENTISTRY, MEDICINE & PHARMACY STUDENTS
Monday, April 7, 5:30 p.m., Library, CL-221, Parnassus Meet your executive board members at the monthly ASUC meeting and be a part of the discussion on topics relating to student priorities. Visit the ASUC website for more details and to RSVP. http://bit.ly/ ASUCwebsite
GSA MEETING: GRADUATE, NURSING & PT
Tuesday, April 8, 5:30 p.m., Library, CL-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. http://bit.ly/gsawebsite
PARNASSUS FARMERS’ MARKET
Wednesday, April 9, 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, April 9, noon-1 p.m., Millberry 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 email@example.com to RSVP.
IMN MIDWEEK MEDITATION HOUR
Wednesday, April 9, 5:30-6:30 p.m., Library, CL 211, Parnassus The Integrative Medicine Network invites everyone in the UCSF community to experience a weekly guided meditation. All are welcome, whether you are looking to combat day-to-day stress using meditation or you'd like to uncover subtle layers of your self by diving deep. No experience in meditation is necessary. Both regular meditators as well as amateurs are welcome.
UCSF RUN CLUB
Wednesday, April 9, 5:30-6:30 p.m., Millberry Union Central Desk, Parnassus Please drop by and join UCSF Fit & Rec for a run. Each Wednesday night, the Run Club runs various distances (from 3-6 miles) at 9 to 11 minutes per mile.
Wednesday, April 9, 6-8:30 p.m., Clinical Sciences, 130, Parnassus English Corner is an informal conversational English class given as a free community service and provided on a voluntary basis by both people born and raised in the United States as well as many people who have, at one time in their lives, experienced life as a new immigrant to the United States.
OFF-CAMPUS OFF THE GRID: UPPER HAIGHT
Thursday, April 3, 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.
CALIFORNIA ACADEMY OF SCIENCES: REEL TO REAL NIGHTLIFE
Thursday, April 3, 6-10 p.m., Cal Academy, Golden Gate Park Lights, camera, action! This week, the magic of the movies comes to the museum as NightLife partners with the San Francisco Film Society for an evening of film-centric entertainment. Catch a screening of the Oscar-winning animated short Mr. Hublot and hear behind-the-scenes insights from the film’s animation supervisor Mickaël Coëdel. http://bit.ly/NightLifeTickets, http://bit.ly/ CLSDiscounts.
EXPLORATORIUM: AFTER DARK
Thursday, April 3, 6-10 p.m., Pier 15, SF Experience some of the fascinating and beautiful technologies that help us transcend our physical limitations. Featuring exoskeletons, wearable computers, 3D-printed prosthetics, electronically enhanced couture, and more. http://www. exploratorium.edu/visit/calendar/after-dark
BANK OF AMERICA FREE MUSEUM WEEKEND
Saturday, April 5-Sunday, April 6, Various locations, SF Holders of Bank of America credit cards and debit cards get free admission to several Bay Area museums for one weekend each month. http://bit.ly/BofAmuseums
For more information, contact Gail Lee at Gail.Lee@ucsf.edu.
ENTREPRENEURSHIP CENTER COURSE: FINANCING NEW VENTURES: DEADLINE APRIL 7
Monday, April 14, 5:30-7:30 p.m., Byers Hall, 212, Mission Bay Financing New Ventures is an eight-week survey of the financing landscape for life science/healthcare ventures that explores the range of options to get your venture funded ranging from SBIR grants to seed funding, angel funding, venture capital and alternative sources of capital. Co-taught by Adjunct Professors Stephanie Marrus, Director of the Entrepreneurship Center and Naeem Zafar, UC Berkeley/UCSF. This is a non-credit course and is open to Berkeley, Stanford and life science businesses. https://docs.google. com/forms/d/1NhvYiHOv4DEkHk9Cpa5laf UoZ7aUYNGRhWyHnavwIoo/viewform
CALLING ALL ARTISTS FOR THE 2ND ANNUAL RECYCLED/RECLAIMED ART SHOW
The Visual Arts Club, Campus Life Services Arts & Events and Living Green are excited to present The Recycled/Reclaimed Art Show on Thursday, May 8. UCSF students, staff and facility are invited to join the show. All submittals must be 99% made from recycled, reused or reclaimed material. Applications are due by April 15. campuslifeservices.ucsf. edu/upload/artsevents/files/Recycled_Art_ Show_Application_2014.
UCSA STUDENT LOBBY CONFERENCE
April 5-7, Sacramento, CA Join fellow UC students in speaking with state legislators at the State Capitol about legislation related to higher education issues. Never done it before? No problem! The weekend is full of workshops devoted to showing you how. All reasonable costs will be reimbursed by ASUC & GSA. Learn more: ucsa.org/our-work/ucsa-conferences/ slc/. Registration is required, so please sign up in advance with Christoph Hanssmann. Register: Christoph.Hanssmann@ucsf.edu.
ARE YOU A FIRST GENERATION TO COLLEGE STUDENT (FG2C)?
Register with the First Generation Support Services Office, for access to all of the First Generation Support Services and to help the office advocate for you. Register before April 15, 2014 to be entered to win one of three giveaways! bit.ly/firstgenregister.
FREE SYNAPSE CLASSIFIEDS
UCSF students and staff can now post online classified ads for free on the Synapse website. All you need is an @ucsf.edu email account. Try it out! synapse.ucsf.edu/classifieds.
FG2C BROWN BAG MENTORING
This Brown Bag Mentoring program is designed to help UCSF first generation college students connect with first gen faculty, postdocs, residents, fellows and alumni who have generously offered to meet with you over lunch. Sign up at bit.ly/brownbagmentor.
LIVINGGREEN SEEKING STUDENT INTERN
THE SYNAPSE LITERARY ISSUE IS COMING APRIL 24!
Are you interested in helping 'green' the University and learn new skills at the same time? Join a team of student interns to work on energy, water, or waste reduction projects by helping certify offices, labs, units or clinics as LivingGreen. This position just requires 10 hours/week and offers opportunities for training, building skills and interacting with staff across the university and medical center.
Submit poems, short stories and photos with captions to Synapse by APRIL 18. firstname.lastname@example.org.
synapse.ucsf.edu | April 3, 2014 | 3
» FROM HOME PAGE
fied the need for this support mechanism and implemented a program five years ago called the Graduate Student Internships for Career Exploration (GSICE) program. A collaboration between UCSF’s School of Medicine, the Office of Career and Professional Development (OCPD) and the Graduate Division, GSICE’s mission is to “support mentored career exploration by providing career planning and internship opportunities for UCSF’s basic and biomedical PhD students so that they can make free and informed career decisions by the time of graduation.” During the four-month course, students are exposed to multiple career trajectories and actively participate in a series of workshops to improve their chances of obtaining an internship in the career of their choice. “As a whole, the GSICE program activities provided a structured exploration of my interests and guided me towards the careers that I would find most fulfilling,” said Veena Singla, PhD, an alumna of the course. She interned with KQED’s Quest program, “a multimedia series that strives to deepen our understanding of some of today’s most pressing sustainability topics,” explained Singla. Now, she’s a staff scientist in the Health and Environment Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, a national nonprofit organization. “GSICE support was critical for my internship at KQED, and that internship helped guide my path,” she said. GSICE Program Coordinator Alexandra Schnoes, PhD, understands the plight of
Photo courtesty of Alexandra Schnoes GSICE Program Coordinator Alexandra Schnoes.
Two Dental Students Honored As 2014 Schweitzer Fellows
Photo by Cynthia Fuhrmann GSICE students participate in a calendaring exercise.
graduate students trying to navigate their way through their own research and the great unknown of the future career path. “You can simultaneously be really committed to your project but not want to do research long term, and that can sometimes be a challenge for [others] to understand— that those are not mutually exclusive,” said Schnoes. Keeping that principle in mind, GSICE was designed to help students actively decide what they wanted to do after graduation. “Not only were we going to send students on internships, but there should be a process by which students figure out what those internships should be and be ready for the experience,” she added. Thus, GSICE comprises a training component and an internship component. The training component consists of a series of workshops designed to expose students to alternative careers; assess the skills, values and interests that each student possesses to determine which career might best suit them. The workshops also address real-world issues, such as improving resume writing, how to conduct informational interviews and a Myers-Brigg inventory to discover communication styles. Additionally, students receive oneon-one sessions with a GSICE leader to help sort through the information and answer any questions they may have. “Our vision is that no one does a default anything after they graduate from here,” said
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The UCSF Student Newspaper synapse.ucsf.edu STAFF
Yi Lu | EDITOR Jenny Qi | EXECUTIVE EDITOR Angela Castanieto | ASSOCIATE EDITOR Akshay Govind | ASSOCIATE EDITOR Steven Chin | MANAGING EDITOR
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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Schnoes. “If you do a postdoc, it’s because you know it’s the right career move for you. If you don’t do a postdoc, it’s because you know you want to do something that doesn’t require it.” The internship component provides students with the much-needed hands-on experience in careers of their choice in order to make an informed decision about their career trajectory. Karl Saldanha, PhD, took the GSICE course in 2010 and pursued an internship at Genentech. While there, he worked on implementing a mobile application that would “allow employees to view real-time production process data on their mobile phones,” Saldanha explained. The internship was “great exposure to the biopharmaceutical industry, and helped me to confirm that this was the career path that I wanted to pursue following graduate school,” he added. A preliminary analysis of the students that have completed the program indicates that those who pursued an internship were more likely to go into their field of interest, whereas those who did not pursue an internship more often stayed in academia. Furthermore, Schnoes has seen a change in the way outside organizations view graduate student internships. “When GSICE started, the idea of graduate students doing internships was foreign. You had to explain to companies how it was going to work and why [they] should want a grad student and how that was different than an undergrad,” said Schnoes. “I’ve seen a lot more awareness, even just in postings. Now some sites will actually target internships to graduate students.” Now that GSICE has hit the five-year mark, Schnoes and the OCPD are reflecting about future goals and priorities. The Motivating Informed Decisions (MIND) project is just getting started (see Synapse, February 28), and may take over the “early intervention” aspect of GSICE, targeting younger students and helping them explore alternative career options sooner rather than later. This will allow GSICE to focus on helping students succeed in obtaining an internship. Furthermore, the program at UCSF is reaching out to other campuses in order to help implement similar programs and foster crosscollaboration. For example, through a grant with the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, GSICE is partnering with UC Davis to start a GSICE-like program there. Finally, GSICE wants to expand here at UCSF, possibly growing to two workshop series a year in order to target a larger student audience. Kate Vitale, who is currently enrolled in GSICE, emphasizes the importance of this training. "I feel really lucky that UCSF recognizes the need for a program like GSICE,” said Vitale. “The skills the program teaches are extremely valuable—even for students that are convinced that they want to stay in academia—and should be part of any graduate school education."
Alexandra Loucks is a seventh-year Neuroscience student.
Second-year dental students Valentina Zahran and Jean Calvo have been awarded prestigious Schweitzer Fellowships for 2014, which seeks to improve the health of vulnerable people. Fellows work on community health projects under the supervision of mentors. Zahran's project is geared toward survivors of human trafficking, as San Francisco is a huge hub for this population. By working with the Standing Against Global Exploitation (SAGE) Project, she will develop an oral health curriculum for trafficking survivors, which seeks to improve their oral health. Calvo's project will focus on the Emeryville Senior Center and West Oakland Senior Center, and is a community service project aiming to increase awareness of and access to care for the senior citizens in the East Bay.
Take the UCPD Emergency Management Survey The UCPD Emergency Management Division wants to know how best to reach out to the UCSF community, learn what our students, faculty, staff and affiliates perceive as their greatest concerns for disaster preparedness, and what types of emergency preparedness services and resources they currently use and would like to receive from UCSF. Our goal is to provide students, faculty, staff and affiliates with emergency preparedness information, plans and resources so that together we can be UCSF Prepared. Please complete one or more of the following surveys between April 1 and April 15. Surveys should take an average of five minutes each to complete. Upon completion of each survey you will be automatically entered into a prize drawing for a four person-seven day emergency preparedness kit. The more surveys you complete, the greater chance of winning! Winner(s) will be notified by e-mail by April 30, 2014. 1. Emergency Preparedness Information Sources: https://ucsf.co1.qualtrics.com/ SE/?SID=SV_cP9LfOvkSyeyBzn 2. Emergency Preparedness Desired Services: https://ucsf.co1.qualtrics.com/ SE/?SID=SV_e3xIjTnyNWpcv2d 3. Emergency Preparedness Resource Awareness: https://ucsf.co1.qualtrics.com/ SE/?SID=SV_ehr8t7mg3DJVy7j 4. Emergency Preparedness Practices: https://ucsf.co1.qualtrics.com/ SE/?SID=SV_87CQyWaqCgy4o5v
UCSF Presents Plans for Mission Bay Purchase UCSF presented preliminary plans for the acquisition and development of a new site at Mission Bay to community members on March 13. In a presentation to the Mission Bay Citizens Advisory Committee, UCSF said it is in advanced discussions with Salesforce.com to acquire a parcel of land known as Blocks 33 and 34, directly across Third Street from the UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay. While UCSF is still formulating initial plans for the site, the University would expect to build it out as designated in the Mission Bay South Redevelopment Plan and would follow the plan guidelines for height, bulk, setbacks, streetscape landscaping and other design matters. Buildings would be permitted up to 90 feet tall, with a tower up to 160 feet tall in a limited area at the north end of the site. UCSF will conduct a community process to solicit feedback on height, bulk and building design from neighbors.
4 | April 3, 2014 | synapse.ucsf.edu
Take the IT Security Challenge! Go to http://awareness.ucsf.edu EVERYONE WINS A PRIZE!
So many social networking sites...
But only one password? Make sure your UCSF password is different. Using a different password ensures that a breach of a social networking site does not affect your UCSF account. Additionally, never put confidential information on social networking websites. Be smart â€“ go to security.ucsf.edu and use our free tools to protect the UCSF community. Together, we can advance health worldwide - securely.
UCSF IT SECURITY AWARENESS
synapse.ucsf.edu | April 3, 2014 | 5
Candidate Statements Online voting takes place April 7-15.
CANDIDATE FOR PRESIDENT
School of Pharmacy Second Year CANDIDATE FOR PRESIDENT
Graduate Division Seventh Year CANDIDATE FOR VICE PRESIDENT OF DIVERSITY AFFAIRS
School of Pharmacy First Year
UCSF graduate and professional student body, we are embarking into an important era of the University. We have seen a change of some valuable leadership in our chancellor; the expansion of our campus split between 5 miles of dense city landscape; San Francisco’s housing costs have skyrocketed, along with general costs of living; and a new student government has been approved which needs strong leadership to transition smoothly. Such impactful changes as these have the power to completely remodel a small student community such as ours, sometimes without our knowledge or understanding. As a member of ASUC this past year, I have worked with incredibly talented and passionate young graduates and professionals from every school on campus and familiarized myself with
these issues. While on the committee to develop the GPSA bylaws and constitution, I gained a unique perspective from my colleagues, bringing my attention to many unmet needs and challenges of our students. I hope to continue serving the student body as president of GPSA, and promise to work adamantly with faculty to address immediate needs of the students while assuring that student interests are taken into consideration during these long-term changes. The division between Mission Bay and Parnassus has never been more apparent than it is today. As a professional student, too many Mission Bay colleagues walk in late to class or meetings, complaining that the bus was too full and they had to wait another 20 minutes. As students at a world-class university, we should not have to worry that our inter-
nal transit system is operating so inadequately as to prevent timely attendance to classes or meetings. I intend on addressing this issue directly, either by requesting further increased shuttle service or a student-only shuttle service to run extra “Grey” lines during peak hours. Furthermore, as Mission Bay develops, the student services must expand to meet the needs of both student populations on each campus. I hope to work with student services in setting up new offices at Mission Bay for financial aid and student life, as well as address any other concerns of the growing Mission Bay community. Every student should be concerned with the cost and availability of student housing provided by UCSF. In such an expensive city, I believe the administration should be more proactive in providing afford-
able housing for students in both quality and quantity, the latter of which has been largely neglected. This is not a problem that is solved easily due to external economic forces; however it should be made a priority as it directly affects the recruitment and retention of students. I hope that every student is excited to enter this new era at UCSF. I want to inspire confidence in you that, at the hands of good leadership, these changes will benefit every student on campus. In my support and development of GPSA, I hope that this new student government can unite graduate and professional students in an interoprofessional forum to collaborate and better our university and society.
I am Michael Le, a seventhyear DDS/PhD student running for President of Graduate and Professional Students Association (GPSA). As GPSA President, my primary goal is demonstrating to the UCSF students how their new unified voice in GPSA will continue to serve as an avenue to express their thoughts on many issues important them while enriching their student experience. My experience as both a graduate and professional student enables me to better understand the sentiments of each general population on key issues such as housing, transportation, and health care, etc. As a result, I can easily convey these sentiments to my peers and campus representatives, influencing the decisions that may positively or negatively affect student life at UCSF for the short- and long-term. With my involvement in Grad-
uate Students’ Association (GSA) for the past 2.5 years, initially as a Student Events Committee member and now as Interim President, I have seen how many decisions are made at UCSF, by GSA as well as the UCSF campus administration, on issues that affect students. While students are often present to make comments and suggestions prior to such decisions being made, it has sometimes been challenging to ensure this feedback is representative of the student population. In addition, sometimes these decisions surprise students, leaving them feeling upset, as they were not aware such decisions were being made, and maybe powerless, as they were not given an opportunity to even comment on the issue. Thus, I want work with the GPSA Executive Board to improve the lines of communication between students and deciding bodies to en-
sure students are given enough time to make representative comments on issues and decisions that affect student life. I also want to continue fostering opportunities for all UCSF students to interact with other students outside their academic cohort through regularly scheduled interprofessional social events, building upon successful events like the Welcome BBQ, Game Night, and Last Lecture. Providing an environment to build camaraderie between UCSF students allows them not only broaden their perspective on their own academic path, but also deepen their understanding of their peers in other academic paths. Lastly, I want to continue the work needed to allow students to keep some aspect of their UCSF email upon graduating as I believe they want to stay in touch with UCSF after graduation. Such
email facilitates current students to reach out to recent graduates on how their careers are going after UCSF. Overall, my daily interactions with both graduate and professional students provide me opportunities to learn the issues that are currently affecting them at the moment. Thus, as President of GPSA, I hope to enhance this relationship by closely working with each of the academic student governments to determine what their students think on current topics and gauge what projects their students want their representatives to work on. This will not only allow UCSF students to have greater control on enhancing their student experience here at UCSF, but also improve the student experience for every student at UCSF.
To be honest, a major reason why I came to UCSF was the obvious dedication to promoting diversity, and the plethora of opportunities at our disposal as students in San Francisco— where everyone and every culture has a niche. The progressive mentality of the city extends deep to the roots of our school here at UCSF. Not only is every culture/ language/preference welcomed, but rather than demanding uniform assimilation, everyone is encouraged to embrace their identity and treasure their differences. There is an organization to celebrate and spread awareness about any major culture, and if there isn’t, you can be sure that someone will create a new organization to fill that gap as soon as humanly possible. As UCSF students and affiliates, we get the incredible opportunity to experience and immerse ourselves in
absolutely whatever our individual passions or identities may be. Of the myriad of organizations and leadership opportunities at UCSF, Vice President of Diversity Affairs would be by far the most personally rewarding position for me. Being half Persian and half Vietnamese, I have struggled for the better part of my life to figure out which culture I can or should identify with. While I have been blessed with opportunities for many international experiences, I also encountered a lot of negative aspects regarding how some of our society views “outside” cultures, interracial families, and “foreign” customs. However, it is undeniable that every culture and identity has remarkable features that are timeless. The diversity of traditions that range worldwide is a major cause for celebration and preservation; we would be en-
tirely lost and stagnant as a human race without being able to embrace that. I want to be the Vice President of Diversity Affairs in GPSA at UCSF because I want to play a role in promoting all of UCSF’s diversity and outreach-based organizations. I believe that by increasing UCSF’s student involvement and awareness in these organizations and their events, we will ultimately be increasing our own society’s promotion of diversity and recognition of diversity issues in the long term. I have substantial experience working with many different populations—ranging in age, ethnicity, cultural beliefs, etc. Additionally, I have considerable leadership experience working with diverse demographics. My past experience has ranged from volunteering with hospitals, HIV/AIDS social service organi-
zations, and Make-A-Wish, to competing nationally in NCAA and USA sanctioned competitions on the UCSD’s Swimming & Diving team, to coaching college athletes and high school students, to working in biotech and pharmacy. If elected for this position, I would devote my time to effectively communicating with all of UCSF’s diversity and outreach-focused programs to ensure that their concerns and ideas are all heard. I will do my best to further these programs, progressing and supporting the individual goals of each organization. I believe I have a lot to offer in terms of a liaison for the diversity programs, and I can effectively work and collaborate with these crucial organizations that are essential to preserving the unique identities and diversity at UCSF.
6 | April 3, 2014 | synapse.ucsf.edu
CANDIDATE FOR VICE PRESIDENT OF DIVERSITY AFFAIRS
Graduate Division Second Year
Hi everyone, My name is Carlos Rojo, a second year Ph.D student at UCSF. Here’s a quick blurb on why I am running for Vice President of Diversity Affairs, my goals, and my qualifications to run for this position. The short and sweet answer for why I am running is this: not only does every one of you students deserve a chance to thrive at UCSF, not only does every student deserve to feel welcome, but our campus’ culture and its students will be much richer as a result. There are talented, smart, hard- working people that come from all backgrounds, and we all benefit, both practically and perhaps more subtly, by fostering each other’s development in an inclusive environment. A more diverse student body cre-
CANDIDATE FOR VICE PRESIDENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS – GRADUATE REP Graduate Division Second Year
School of Dentistry Second Year CANDIDATE FOR VICE PRESIDENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS – PROFESSIONAL REP
School of Nursing First Year
ward this goal. As an officer in a few student organizations, I have already been able to do so. As Vice President of the SACNAS chapter at UCSF (Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science), I’ve worked to perform outreach to high school students in underprivileged schools and to recruit and retain students of color at UCSF. Furthermore, I founded the student organization CIENCIA at UCSF, which invites world-renowned faculty to present their research in Spanish, the goals of which are to create an environment at UCSF where students, staff, and faculty can be immersed in high-level Spanish and thereby enrich the cultural landscape of UCSF and also expand interest/opportunities for international research. Although
I intend to represent the interests of UCSF students to the best of my abilities. With deep commitment to the University of California in general and UCSF in particular, I am poised to strengthen our collective institution by assessing and asserting the needs of our student body. I will remain open to a diversity of perspectives, work diligently to com-
CANDIDATE FOR VICE PRESIDENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS – PROFESSIONAL REP
ates a dynamic campus, full of wide-ranging ideas, outlooks, and problem-solving strategies. Practically speaking, this breadth of perspective undoubtedly assists the research world as we attempt to attack a problem from every angle or as medical students interact directly with patients from diverse backgrounds. Perhaps more subtly, I think we can all agree that affording every student, regardless of background, from 1st year med student to 7th year Ph.D candidate (hang in there 7th year! :), the opportunity to succeed in their studies and to feel welcome as they do so is the right thing to do. Broadly speaking, my goal for this position is to bolster the recruitment and retention of a diverse student body and expand/ create initiatives that work to-
it has been a pleasure to attend the various impressive events held by other like-minded organizations, it has been difficult to be able to know how to directly support their cause. As Vice President of Diversity Affairs, I hope to have a platform to be able to do so and thereby support all existing initiatives (and help create new ones) that will recruit and retain talented students from all backgrounds. Lastly, if you would like more info on the SACNAS chapter at UCSF or CIENCIA at UCSF and some of our activities, please visit our webpages: SACNAS: http:// ucsf.orgsync.com/org/sacnas/ home, CIENCIA: http://ucsf.orgsync.com/org/ciencia/home Thanks everyone and best of luck with all your studies!
municate pressing concerns, and advocate for UCSF students during times of institutional change. Ultimately, I will remain committed to the rights of students, the value of education, and the vitality of our university.
Dear UCSF student body, My name is Dongkook “DK” Lim, and I am writing to ask for your support in electing me as your Professional Rep of GPSA VP of External Affairs. I believe I will be able to serve you as a competent, responsible, and professional representative of UCSF GPSA to function as the bridge of communication between GPSA and UC Student Association (UCSA). In order to make sure that I can fully serve the needs of this position, I have been communicating with the external affairs representative of ASUC as well as the two representatives of GSA concerning the entailed commitments and responsibilities. The main duty of the VP of External Affairs is to attend and accurately represent GPSA Assembly at
the regular meetings of external organizations that affect GPSA, including the umbrella UC organization of UCSA and the Council of Student Fees. The position also requires regular attendance at the GPSA Assembly meetings to report on the ongoing issues from other UC professional schools and their possible effects on UCSF’s professional schools. I have been interested and involved in serving in student government since college. I served on the board of student government throughout college and was heavily involved with monitoring and improving student life as the president of one of the eight student houses. At UCSF, I have been fortunate to continue my involvement by serving as the social chair of my class for the past two years. Through these expe-
riences, I not only cultivated a strong desire to serve as the voice of the student body, but also learned much about working effectively with administration and other large student organizations. UCSF is very unique from its fellow UC schools. We lack an undergraduate body but have five world-renowned health professional schools and a graduate school. If elected as the VP of External Affairs, I would like to advocate for the unique needs of our students, including concerns over tuition and fees and an easily accessible support system tailored to health professional students. I plan to proactively gather the opinions and concerns of all health professional students. Then, I will use my understanding of the overarching trends of the UC system to tactfully work
with fellow UC schools and speak out for the interests of the UCSF student body. The VP of External Affairs is an important position to make sure our voice is heard by the greater UC system. I feel equipped for this position as I have extensive experience in student government and the desire to accurately and tactfully represent our professional schools. If elected, I will try to fulfill the outlined responsibilities and seek out new avenues to better serve UCSF through external affairs. Thank you very much for your time and attention. I ask that you please do not hesitate to contact me via email (Dongkook.Lim@ucsf.edu) if you have any questions or concerns about my application.
As the Vice President of External Affairs, I will represent the excellence of UCSF students to the greater University of California community. I am drawn to this role because it is a collaborative position that involves extensive community outreach. As a MEPN nursing student, I would also like to increase visibility of pre-licensure nursing students and better utilize their considerable experience. I am qualified for the various roles of the Vice President of External Affairs and look forward to collaborating with other student professionals to realize the goals of the Executive Council. As a Program Assistant at the U.S. State Department, Office of Foreign Missions, I coordinated events with multiple attendees of governmental and private agencies. In this position, I coordinated an Emergency Preparedness seminar that brought together
representatives from 15 foreign consulates, the San Francisco Police Department, the San Francisco Mayor’s Office, and the Red Cross, among other public organizations. Further, as a Health Counselor at the University of San Francisco, I coordinated a weeklong HIV/AIDS event in honor of World AIDS Day that included Positive+ speakers, contemporary films on HIV, and student group discussions. These past experiences have prepared me to coordinate logistics for the annual University of California Student Association. Additionally, I have experience meeting state and national legislative bodies on issues relevant to health care and education, which will serve me as VP of External Affairs when preparing testimony and representing students to legislators. As a student in Washington, D.C., I meet with
congresswoman Kay Granger and German congressman Swen Schulz to promote the CongressBundestag Scholarship, an international educational scholarship I was awarded in 2005. On the statewide level, I promoted health-related legislation in Sacramento with the Women’s Community Clinic to expand the legal scope of practice for advanced practice nurses, culminating in passage of AB-154. My involvement with SF AIDS Foundation, UCSF Students for Choice, and the national Nursing Students for Choice chapter developed my community outreach skills and also prepared me to coordinate student involvement at various conferences. My goals as Vice President of External Affairs include representing the financial realities of students at the Council of Student Fees; promoting legislation
relevant to graduate and professional students to legislatures and UCSF students; and also expanding student presence at congresses, seminars, and conferences. Most importantly, I would like to educate students about the role of the Executive Council and promote professional development for nursing students as the VP of External Affairs.
synapse.ucsf.edu | April 3, 2014 | 7
CANDIDATE FOR VICE PRESIDENT OF FINANCE
School of Dentistry First Year CANDIDATE FOR VICE PRESIDENT OF INTERNAL AFFAIRS
School of Pharmacy First Year CANDIDATE FOR VICE PRESIDENT OF INTERNAL AFFAIRS
School of Dentistry Second Year
University of California, San Francisco is not only an outstanding academic institution, but an intricate community which requires the necessary fuel to thrive. In order to meet the needs of this community, we must recognize the needs of the people within it. It takes dedication, organization, and an overall view of this community as a financial institution which will aid to its success. Obtaining my degree in mathematics from the University of California, Santa Barbara has provided me with the skill required in planning financial activities and budgetary needs. If granted the opportunity to be the Vice President of Finance, I will utilize my personal experience in mathematics, financial planning, and budget preparation
to meet the needs of the Graduate and Professional Student Association and UCSF, as a whole. As president of the University of California, Santa Barbara PreDental Society, advancing predental exposure to dentistry was a priority. I planned trips to dental schools to increase applicant exposure to the dental school requirements and their environment. These trips were often costly and required an astute understanding of the annual budget. I was able to adequately allocate funds for the travel, transportation, and lodging for the predental society members. As Global Dental Brigades UCSB Chapter founder and president, I raised $10,000 in liquid and $20,000 in supplies for our trip to Honduras. This funded the necessary equipment and overall
infrastructure needed to see 330 patients over a span of two week. As a member of the UCSF student body, I have benefitted from the various Registered Clubs and Organizations events. As Vice President of Finance, I would work to adequately allocate funds to continue these events which allow our diverse student population to thrive. Additionally, as a current dental student, I have become well-versed in the utilization of the student services fee. For example, as of 2012, $171,287 of student fees are being used for the publication of Synapse the campus newspaper. Much of the paper is covered in advertisements, yet the paper cannot sustain itself. We must further our knowledge of the readership of Synapse and do a cost benefit
analysis to determine its future and possible restructuring. After reviewing the current budget, I see a deficit in certain areas. If granted the opportunity to be the Vice President of Finance, I would aim to bridge the funding discrepancies in areas such as Student Health and Counseling Services need for mental health services, LGBT Resources Center allocations, and an improvement in Mission Bay Student Resources. I am a passionate member of this educational establishment and if granted the opportunity to join the GPSA as the Vice President of Finance, I would work alongside fellow board members to enhance UCSF and its diverse student community.
I knew the moment I approached the information table at the New Student Orientation Fair that I wanted to be involved with the ASUC (now called GPSA). During the first weeks of school, I was impressed by the various welcoming events they held for incoming students. I believe that I share similar values as GPSA. I value the promotion of interprofessionalism; as a pharmacy student, I understand how important it is to frame our education around teamwork and collaboration. I look forward to working with other colleagues from different organizations and schools and learn from them as they learn from me. Ultimately, I am running for Vice President of Internal Affairs because of my genuine passion for learning from all the various schools here at UCSF and want to devote
my time and energy to leading a profound interdisciplinary group. Prior to attending UCSF I attended California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB) where, during my sophomore year, I obtained the Treasurer position of the Pre-Pharmacy club and Vice President position of the Chemistry club. As Treasurer I managed the clubs budget and raised money for our group’s events and outreach programs. As VP of the Chemistry Club, I held and facilitated meetings. During my final year, I was elected President of the Pre-Pharmacy Club. I found it a privilege to lead other exceptional officers and members—taking charge of a multitude of community volunteer activities. Aside from being involved academically, I also coached gymnastics. I learned to teach and
communicate with kids of all ages while establishing rapport with parents. Coaching gymnastics has helped me to communicate better while developing traits I find necessary of a good leader, such as being a strong motivator, having patience, and demonstrating good work ethics. My experiences have provoked me to run for VP for GPSA. If elected VP, I will use my skills gained from my past leadership experiences to work well amongst other student leaders, so that I can effectively allocate funds, facilitate GPSA meetings, and plan events. At UCSF I had the pleasure of working as the social and media coordinator for UCSF’s 2014 Script Your Future medication adherence campaign. I also write for UCSF’s school newspaper (Synapse). I joined, not just
for writing experience, but also because I like knowing what issues and events are happening on campus, similar to what I would like to continuing doing as VP of GPSA. If elected my goal as VP is to hear and effectively relay the issues and opinions of the students. I hope to also promote interprofessionalism in two ways: helping fund organizations’ cultural and social events and expanding interdisciplinary activities for incoming and current students. More activities will make it easier to connect with people from different schools and will ultimately bring students together. I believe we are in a unique environment at UCSF where we are all in health care; thus, if we have the opportunity to work together we can improve the healthcare system.
My name is Randy Rosales, and I am a second-year dental student seeking your consideration for GPSA Vice President of Internal Affairs. Registered Campus Organizations (RCOs) play an integral part in educational and extracurricular activities. As an active member of the UCSF dental community, I am continually looking for more ways to be involved and enhance the experience that each students leaves with. My underlying desire to run for the position of Vice President of Internal Affairs stems from this idea and I believe that I can increase the opportunities for each RCO. With the student membership fee referendum voted down, RCOs were even more limited in their budget. They were forced to cutback on spending, and as a result, decreased the number of community events, and in some cases, even the quality. My main goal would be to develop a platform for RCOs to collaborate and coordinate events together, thereby getting the best use out of the limited funds. The purpose of merging Associated Students of UCSF and Graduate Students’ Association to form Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA) was to increase interprofessionalism. My intent aligns with the objectives of GPSA and could save RCOs financially and develop new collaborations amongst the UCSF community. If elected, I would wholeheartedly provide a median where our RCOs could better utilize their budget and new collaborations could blossom. Thank you for your time and considerations. I look forward to the opportunity to earnestly serve as an integral part of our UCSF community.
8 | April 3, 2014 | synapse.ucsf.edu
Open Access » FROM HOME PAGE
and are no longer reliant on publishers to negotiate with universities over subscription fees. As more scientists choose to publish in open access journals, they are forcing profound change upon a very large industry. Lucrative Subscription Model Scientific publishing is lucrative business, generating $9 billions in revenue annually, according to Outsell, Inc. a marketing firm focused on the scientific publishing industry. The main players are the journals, such as Science, and the publishers, such as Elsevier and Springer, who bundle the journals and sell them as annual subscriptions to research institutions and universities, like UCSF. Elsevier, one of the most prominent publishers, earned just under $3 billion in profit in 2012, according to the Reed Elsevier Media Centre. Other large publishers, like Springer and Wiley, also annually generate profits in the billions. “They’re making a lot of money and a fair amount of profit,” said Dr. Peter Binfield, cofounder of the open access journal PeerJ and former executive of several traditional closedaccess publishers. “And that’s almost all coming from subscriptions.” The Science controversy highlighted the tension between the traditional scientific publishing industry and the open access movement. The first open access journal, PLoS Biology was published in 2003. Since then, the number of scientific open access journals has significantly increased. The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) lists 8,847 open access journals in 2013, up from just under 5,000 in 2009. Furthermore, increasing numbers of scientists are opting to publish in open access
Illustration by Jillian Varonin/BMS4
journals. In 2014, as much as 12 percent of all peer-reviewed science, technology and medicine (STM) articles now being published are open access, according to Elizabeth Marincola, CEO of PLoS. Legislating Change The open access movement received a boost in 2008 when the NIH stated in its Public Access Policy that the results of any research funded by the NIH must be made publicly available in an open access format within 12 months of publication. Publishers have the most to lose when the industry shifts to more open access content. Without the need for subscriptions, journals do not need publishers to serve as middlemen between the journal and subscriber. The publishers responded to the NIH Public Access Policy by supporting legislation that would significantly weaken open ac-
cess mandates. In 2011, the Research Works Act (RWA) was introduced in Congress that sought to reverse the NIH’s policy to make all publicly funded research open access. The Association of American Publishers (AAP), made up of 425 publishers including essentially all major scientific publishing companies from the American Chemical Society to Elsevier, was the primary backer of the bill. In a critique of the bill published in the New York Times in 2012, Dr. Michael Eisen, associate professor of molecular and cell biology at UC Berkeley noted that the Research Works Act “should dispel any remaining illusions that commercial publishers are serving the interests of the scientific community and public.” He urged academic researchers around the world to respond by “publishing exclusively in one of the many ‘open-access’ journals that are perfectly capable of managing peer review,” and cancelling institutional journal subscriptions. Surprisingly, many prominent members of the AAP such as the AAAS (Science), Macmillan (Nature) and BioMed Central publicly opposed the bill. Many scientists singled out Elsevier— publisher of more than 2,000 scientific journals including Cell and The Lancet (and any journal listed in Science Direct)—as the driving force behind the unpopular bill. Elsevier had made significant campaign contributions to Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), an author of the bill, and the company had failed to show any public opposition to the RWA. In response, thousands of researchers signed a petition to boycott Elsevier publications. Elsevier quickly officially withdrew its support of the RWA, stating “we have heard from some Elsevier journal authors, editors and reviewers who were concerned that the Act seemed inconsistent with Elsevier’s longstanding support for expanding options for free and low-cost public access to scholarly literature.” Following Elsevier’s withdrawal of support for the Research Works Act, the bill was dropped without a vote.
fee the scientist must pay to be published. While some might balk at the high cost to publish in Cell Reports compared to other closed access Cell journals, the journal argued that the high APC was to discourage unnecessary submissions, considering the high submission rate for Cell Press journals. Many closed access journals are offering a new option to scientists: publish in the closed access journal of your choice, and provide your article open access by paying the journal an extra “open access” fee. For example, authors who publish in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS) can pay $1350 to make their specific article immediately available in an open access format while still publishing in the prestigious journal. While these hybrid models provide the flexibility for scientists to publish in their favorite journals while meeting their open access needs, open access advocates have raised concerns that these journals using the system to “double-dip”—receiving income from both journal subscription fees and the high article processing charges associated with open access. Publishers’ changing role As more journals adapt to open access, the publisher’s role as subscription middlemen continues to shrink. However, publishers do much more than negotiate subscription fees, and are also adapting to the changing business environment. Publishers are more involved in the process of journal management than many might realize. They assist scientific journals in copyediting and formatting content, organizing peer review of articles, printing and binding journal issues, and archiving back-issues, including standardized cross-reference and search information. Like their closed access counterparts, open access journals engage with publishers to develop a final product and disseminate it to scientists around the world. Even the open access journal PLoS works with other publishers, despite being both open access and a publisher in its own right. “PLoS engages with other publishers on issues like shared infrastructure (for example, Crossref, which provides DOIs [digital object identifiers, a type of electronic signature]). Similarly, STM publishers coordinate on discovery platforms, such as search engines,” said PloS’s Marincola. But in an open access-dominated publishing field, noted Binfield, “definitely there are elements of a publishing company that aren’t necessary anymore.” It remains to be seen what will happen to this billion-dollar industry. While much of its role may disappear with the advent of open access, there is still room for publishers to adapt to the changing business environment. For the time being, publishers, as well as journals, are making moves toward providing more open access content.
a lot of money and a fair amount of profit, and that’s almost all coming from subscriptions.” ~ Dr. Peter Binfield
If You Can’t Beat ‘Em… Rather than fight the open access movement, both journals and publishers now appear to be adapting. For example, in 2012 the traditionally closed access journal Cell created the open access journal, Cell Reports, with a $5,000 “article processing charge (APC),” a
PART 3: While the open access movement has made progress in making scientific journal content freely available, it isn’t free for everyone involved. Oftentimes, the cost burden simply shifts from the university, in the form of subscriptions, to the author, in the form of article processing charges. In the next installment, we examine pushback against high APCs and how the open access movement continues to evolve.
Alexandra Greer recently received her PhD and is now a postdoc at Genetech.
synapse.ucsf.edu | April 3, 2014 | 9
Genetic Testing » FROM HOME PAGE
did they reverse that decision now? And what is at stake for consumers, the industry and life sciences research? To learn more about the state of the DTC genetic testing industry, and discuss the FDA’s decision to impose sanctions on 23andMe, the Bay Area chapter of Oxbridge Biotech Roundtable will host a debate on the topic this April 7, at the UCSF Mission Bay campus. Speaking will be Andro Hsu, director of Product Marketing at Syapse, Inc.; Gianfranco de Feo, VP of Marketing, Bina Technologies; Patricia Zettler, fellow at the Stanford Law School Center for Law and the Biosciences; and Paul Billings, CMO of Life Technologies Corporation. Visit oxbridgebiotech. com/events/house-believes-fda-deregulate-direct-consumer-genetic-testing/ for free registration and more information. What’s the worst that could happen? The FDA’s decision to begin regulating DTC personal genomic testing is grounded, quite reasonably, in consumer protection. Previously, the stakes were lower. Unlike tests developed for use in clinics and hospitals, these tests were produced and sold directly to consumers by a single laboratory. In most cases, they were very expensive and relatively few people bought in. However, advances in technology have brought costs significantly lower and within reach of millions. Last year, 23andMe aggressively marketed their kit as a healthcare management tool which could inform customers of their genetic risk for disease, carrier status and potential drug responsiveness. Erring on the side of precaution, the FDA justified their decision given concerns that consumers would use (or misuse) the test results to make extreme medical decisions without consulting their doctor. They feared that 23andMe could be overstating the connection between genetic risk and actual disease in some cases, and that customers would conflate these results with medical diagnostic tests. This scenario seemed especially plausi-
ble following Angelina Jolie’s headline-grabbing elective double-mastectomy last May, which she chose to undertake upon learning that she carried a pathogenic variant of the BRCA1 gene. In practice, however, consumers of DTC genetic testing are not running to go under the knife. In a recent letter published in Nature, authors Green and Farahany argue that the FDA was overly cautious to throttle 23andMe without clear evidence of harm. They cite survey data collected by themselves and others from the last five years among consumers of DTC genetic testing. While critics of consumer genetics argue that learning one’s potential disease risk could cause undue worry or harm, the authors found that, on average, customers were actually slightly less anxious than their baseline immediately after receiving their test results, and never showed elevated anxiety over the following year. In the same cohort of over a thousand people, 42percent reported making positive changes in their health behavior after receiving their test results. Of these, 72 percent made changes to their diet, 61 percent changed their exercise habits, and 38 percent altered their use of supplements. Only 1 percent of all study participants made any changes to their prescription treatment without first consulting their doctor. The authors stress that more research is needed to know for sure the outcomes of consumer genetics testing, especially since early adopters of the technology may not be the most representative population. Stunting consumer genetics now, however, will make these studies more difficult to carry out. In another commentary published in the North Carolina Medical Journal in 2013, authors Adams, Evans and Aylsworth conclude that DTC genetic testing, while perhaps not hurting anybody, is probably not helping anyone either. Citing their own and other’s data from studies conducted in 2008 and 2010, they found variability between the relative disease risks reported by different consumer genetics companies, lessening the usefulness of these data in informing clinical decisions by cus-
tomers’ doctors. In many cases, the authors say, the same or better risk information can be determined by collecting good medical and family histories from patients. Crowdsourcing genetics Individual patient utility aside, proponents of DTC genetic testing argue that the real value comes from aggregate data of all testing customers. In a sense, 23andMe is in the business of selling kits as much as Google is in the business of providing a free search engine or email. An apt comparison, given that Sergey Brin—Google co-founder— was an early investor in 23andMe. In an interview with the magazine Fast Company, 23andMe board member Patrick Chung said: “The long game here is not to make money selling kits, although the kits are essential to get the base level data. Once you have the data, [23andMe] does actually become the Google of personalized health care.” Genetic data gathered on such a large scale could become invaluable to researchers in the pharmacy industry, government and academia. Though Wojcicki is far from her goal of signing up 25 million customers, 23andMe’s data set is already starting to bear fruit. In a 2014 paper published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Austra-
lian researchers at the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research used data collected from over 15,000 23andMe customers to identify 11 independent genetic markers associated with asthma with hay fever—something no previous genetics study had been able to do. Proponents of deregulating consumer genetics argue that, until shown otherwise, the potential benefits of the technology far outweigh the potential risks. In an interview with author Stephen Dubner, internet scholar Clay Shirky discusses the problems with over-regulating nascent technology: “It’s impossible to imagine what the second order effects of the technology would be… Trying to guess what a technology will do when regulating in advance is … almost the surest way to guarantee, just by the way the regulation would be structured, that you miss out on opportunities.” By the same token, consumer genetics could have enormous impacts, in aggregate, which would be missed by stunting the industry now. Of course, all this can’t come at the cost of exposing customers to harm, which is the FDA’s primary concern.
Benjamin Cohn is a fifth-year student in Biomedical Sciences at UCSF/Gladstone Institutes and a correspondent for the OxbridgeBay chapter.
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10 | April 3, 2014 | synapse.ucsf.edu
Students Get Insider Access With CTSI Catalyst Awards Staff Report
re you a student interested in an insider’s perspective on what it means to translate therapeutics, diagnostics, devices, or digital health into products and services that improve health? If the answer is yes, then the Catalyst Awards Internship Program might just be for you. “This experience introduces students to the process of translating basic research into valuable and commercially viable products, and helps them learn how to evaluate their own research for its potential to become a product,” said Irina Gitlin, PhD, senior program manager with UC-
SF’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI), which manages the program. “Through their involvement with the review process, which involves a team Catalyst Awards advisors, students get to hear criteria that’s important in the evaluation process, including identifying an unmet need, assessing competing technologies, and exploring the challenges of the regulatory or clinical path,” she added. Two of the six students involved in the Fall 2013 Cycle shared their thoughts on the experience: “Many of the challenges and pitfalls the advisors brought up about the proposed projects (i.e. regulatory strategy, patient tolerabil-
Photo courtesy of CTSI Roeland Hancock (left), PhD, Catalyst Awardee, Digital Health track, with Benjamin Cohn, Catalyst Awards Program intern and biomedical sciences graduate student.
ity for side effects, number of patients for a clinical study) were not things that I was used to thinking about as a graduate student. Acting as a fly on the wall during the initial review panel discussions allowed me to absorb so much about what experts in different fields think is important for product development.” “It's one thing to be aware of the criteria (eg. market landscape, IP position, etc...), but it was invaluable to define these criteria in discussions, apply them to real proposals firsthand, and watch them evolve over the course of the program.” Interns are not only involved in detailed discussions about specific challenges related to research proposals, but a new aspect of the program brings students and expert advisors together for organized lunch seminars, where discussion topics range from making career choices to differences in how academia and industry approach research programs.
Importantly, the internship offers exposure to many aspects of business and commercialization that students aren’t typically exposed to in an academic environment, Gitlin said. To learn more about the Catalyst Awards internship program, eligibility, and important dates, visit http://accelerate.ucsf.edu/training/ catalyst-internship. CTSI is a member of the Clinical and Translational Science Awards network funded through the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (grant Number UL1 TR000004) at the National Institutes of Health. Under the banner of "Accelerating Research to Improve Health," CTSI also provides a wide range of resources and services for researchers, and promotes online collaboration and networking tools such as UCSF Profiles.
synapse.ucsf.edu | April 3, 2014 | 11
The Weekly Crossword
ACROSS 1 Core members 6 Salon sound 10 Ashtray remnant 14 Beyond the 'burbs 15 Kudrow of "Friends" 16 On any occasion 17 In the first place 19 Frank Herbert sci-fi series 20 Pop's top, perhaps 21 Thug's pistol 22 Fraternity letter 24 Minnie of "The Riches" 27 Black ice, e.g. 28 Disco light 30 Wed in Vegas, maybe 32 Built-out window 33 Warning sign 34 MSNBC offering 38 Part of a "Jack & the Beanstalk" exclamation 39 Soon to get hitched 42 Solemn pledge 43 Commotion 45 Hodge-podge 46 "Don Giovanni", for one 48 Baltimore player 50 Smugly ingratiating 51 Fit to be tilled 54 Kind of circle 56 Ice cream flavor 58 Recurrent twitch
by Margie E. Burke 5
44 48 52
THE STRENGTH TO HEAL
starts with our scholarship.
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.
Copyright 2014 by The Puzzle Syndicate
59 Cookware item 62 Computer menu option 63 Light up 66 Frosty film 67 Iditarod vehicle 68 Weighed down 69 Stadium area 70 Youngster 71 Hostile force
8 9 10 11 12 13
Vacation spot Cell alternative Dress gaudily Throat dangler Carreras is one Pollster's concern 18 Pew area 23 Gullible one 25 Caviar, literally 26 Archaeological DOWN find 1 Gator's 28 Pillowy kin of 3/31/14 Week - 4/6/14 2 Surrounding 29 The Kingston glow ____ 3 Hung on the line 31 Building block 4 Joplin's "Maple brand 33 Make eyes at Leaf ___" 5 Qualified 35 Swampy 6 Shade of blue grassland 7 Score of zero 36 Apple spoiler 37 Move to and fro
40 Salinger or Steinbeck, e.g. 41 Residence 44 NASA launch 47 Wok, for one 49 Every last bit 50 Do laps, perhaps 51 Prevent, as disaster 52 Two make a diameter 53 Japanese cartoon art 55 Musical study 57 Wartime comrade 60 News tidbit 61 Say it isn't so 64 Albanian coin 65 A Bobbsey twin
Edited by Margie E. Burke
Difficulty : Easy
Capt. Ana Morgan, M.D., HPSP Medical Recipient Brooke Army Medical Center, Texas
HOW TO SOLVE:
(Answer appears elsewhere in this issue)
Copyright 2014 by The Puzzle Syndicate
Piled Higher and Deeper by Jorge Cham
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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
MTV’s Real World comes to UCSF By Staff Humorist
fter winning universal acclaim and several documentary awards for faithfully depicting the lives of spoiled adults in cities across the country, MTV’s Real World has come to San Francisco. “We’re so glad we can continue our timehonored traditions of showcasing the very best of the very worst of young-adult behavior,” said MTV spokesman Jared Lap at a recent press conference. “In our 29th season of this show, we plan to once and for all extinguish the general public’s faith in humanity by perpetuating stereotypes, playing on the insecurities of our cast members and providing more poor role models for the malleable youth of the United States.” This season will continue the show’s traditional format of depicting real life by providing cast members with fake day jobs where their performance will not be critically evaluated, Lap added. This season, the cast members will be working as research technicians at the UCSF.
Regina Templeton, a former model and member of this year’s cast was excited about the news. “Science runs in my family—my aunt was a vet tech for four months before the malpractice lawsuits forced her employer to fire her, so I expect I’ll be able to pick up everything really quick,” said Templeton. “If I do really well here, maybe they’ll give me an MD when I leave.” A UCSF Public Affairs associate at the press conference expressed excitement about the arrangement. “It’s just a perfect fit. It’s not like anyone can do any meaningful science in six months anyway, so cast members will be able to focus on other things like whining about their bosses to video cameras—just like normal people do.” More details on MTV’s plans to profit from the desperate behavior of their cast can be found on MTV’s website.
Parnassus Poets A New Life “A new life”, he says smiling, sitting up in bed.
Solution to Sudoku
title: "Hypothetically Speaking" - originally published 2/14/2014
“Not just a second chance”, he says firmly, “but a new life, with a new heart!” And he looks at me and laughs. Already the years drop off, his face looking younger, his body renewed with hope. ~Rev. Malaena Nahmias Chaplain-Intern, Spiritual Care Services
12 | April 3, 2014 | 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
You’re Funding Fun! A portion of every dollar you spend at campus retail vendors helps support Arts & Events at UCSF