Biophysical Netsletter - May 2014

Newsletter MAY 2014


TheBiophysical Society is proud to an- nounce that itwill be sponsoring its first BPSCongressional Science Fellowship, in conjunctionwith theAAAS, in2015. Public policy increasingly impacts scien- tific research, andbasic science literacy is increasinglyneeded todevelop responsible policy. The goal of theBPSCongressional Science Fellowship is toprovide a bridge between scientists andpolicymakers. The Fellowship is anopportunity for biophysi- cists, who come from a broad range of dis- ciplines, to gain an insider’s understanding of howpolicies aremade and implemented while, at the same time, giving them the opportunity toprovide their knowledge and skills to thosemaking policies. Applicationswill be acceptedbeginning July 1, 2014, with a deadline ofOctober 14, 2014. The term for the first fellowship will beginSeptember 2015 and end August 2016. TheBPSFellowship is open toBiophysical Societymemberswhohold a PhD, at any stage of their careers, and areUS citizens. BPSCongressional Science Fellowship

Thematic Meetings ModelingofBiomolecular Systems Interactions, Dynamics, andAllostery September10–14, 2014 Istanbul, Turkey May 5 AbstractSubmission June16 EarlyRegistration SignificanceofKnotted Structures for Functionof ProteinsandNucleicAcids September17–21, 2014 Warsaw, Poland May 12 AbstractSubmission June23 EarlyRegistration DisorderedMotifsand Domains inCellControl October 11–15, 2014 Dublin, Ireland June2 AbstractSubmission July 11 EarlyRegistration Biophysics: ChangingOur WorldContest June15 SubmissionDeadline

The Fellowship terms are full-time for 12 months, fromSeptember throughAugust, with amandatory two-weekorientation in August conductedby theAAAS. TheBPS Fellowwill receive a stipend, a relocation allowance, and funds toward travel and health insurance premiums. In addition, the Fellowparticipates in a yearlong seminar series on issues involving, science, technol- ogy, andpublic policy. For a complete descriptionof the fellow- ship, including requirements, application, and selectionprocess, visit sOpportunities/Fellowship/tabid/5482/ Default.aspx.

Biophysics: ChangingOurWorld Enter the contest towin$1,000.

Doyouknowofabiophysicsdiscovery that changed theworld for the better? One that led toanew technology, newdiagnostic tool, medical application, ornew industry?Seepage11 fordetailsonhow to submit yourentry.


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Message from thePresident 2015 ThematicMeetings


Members in theNews

Biophysical Society

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Biophysicist in Profile Biophysical Journal


StudentSpotlight UpcomingEvents









Message from the President


This year’s BPSAnnualMeeting inSanFrancisco served as a re- minder that, even in this difficult scientific funding climate, it is a great time tobe a biophysicist! The current strengthof our discipline was evidenced in the excellent science thatwas presented aswell as the energy and excitement that characterized themeeting. It is clear that scientists from a broad range of scientific areas are em- bracing the techniques andquantitative approaches that are at the core of whatwe, as biophysicists, do. Biophysics is in vogue!Whereas in the past scientists fromother disciplinesmay havewondered “what do biophysicists do?” they are now askinghow they can incorporate the

Officers President DorothyBeckett President-Elect EdwardEgelman Past-President FranciscoBezanilla Secretary Lukas Tamm Treasurer Paul Axelsen Council OlgaBoudker TaekjipHa SamanthaHarris KalinaHristova Juliette Lecomte Amy Lee Marcia Levitus MerrittMaduke DanielMinor, Jr. JeanneNerbonne Antoine vanOijen JosephD. Puglisi Michael Pusch BonnieWallace DavidYue Biophysical Journal Leslie Loew Editor-in-Chief


powerfulmethods of biophysics to strengthen their own scientific programs. What has and continues tomake theBiophysical Society unique, however, is its inclusiveness, in all of its incredible, and sometimes overwhelming, interdisciplinary breadth anddepth. Because of this breadth, the Society provides a context inwhich researchers fromdisparate fields come together to exchange ideas, establishnetworks, and form collaborations to solve important biological problems. It has and continues tobe the home for thosewho are at the forefront of developingnew tools and approaches for obtaining quantitative informa- tion about biology. As biologists ofmany stripes increasingly adopt quantitative approaches, biophysicswill continue to grow in its significance for the overall progress of bothbasic and appliedbiological research.

“ It is clear that scientists from abroad rangeof scientificareas areembracing the techniques andquantitativeapproaches that areat the coreofwhatwe, as biophysicists, do. ”

This is also awonderful time tobeBiophysi- cal SocietyPresident. The energy thatwas evident at theAnnualMeeting is equally evident in the Society’s elected leadership and member volunteerswho serve on the numer- ous committees that carry out theworkof the Society. This year eachof these committees continues to increase its activities andopportunities for membershipparticipation. TheMinority AffairsCommittee brought theBPSBiomo-

SocietyOffice RoKampman ExecutiveOfficer

Newsletter AlishaYocum MonikaZakrzewska Production LauraPhelan Profile

lecularDome, whichhas been showcased at the past threeAnnualmeetings, to the SACNAS meeting last fall, and inApril the PublicAffairsCommittee brought it to theUSAScience andEngineeringFestival, which350,000members of the publicwere expected to attend. TheThematicMeetingsCommittee selected fourmeetings, describedonpage 4, to sponsor in2015,more than in any previous year. Eachof thesemeetingswill provide students from the host countrywith interest inbiophysics anopportunity to attend an interdisciplinary internationalmeeting. Societymembers have volunteered to serve as judges andhave given over 30BPSbiophysics awards at state and regional science fairs. As biophysicists, particularly in this difficult period for scientific funding, we have opportuni- ties to advocate for all scientific disciplines. In addition toour regular advocacy efforts, page 1 of this newsletter describes twonew initiatives spearheadedby the PublicAffairsCommittee: the newBiophysical SocietyCongressional Fellowship and theBiophysics: ChangingOur Worldmedia competition. These activitieswill enhance our efforts to educateCongressional representatives and the public about basic research and its impact not only onhealth, but also on economicwell-being. In the comingmonths, watch for other committee projects intended to engage all—members andnon-members alike-—in this exciting and growing field. It is indeed a great time tobe a biophysicist. — Dorothy Beckett , President

EllenWeiss Public Affairs

The Biophysical SocietyNewsletter (ISSN0006-3495) is published twelve times per year, January- December, by the Biophysical Society, 11400RockvillePike, Suite 800, Rockville,Maryland 20852. Distributed toUSAmembers and other countries at no cost. CanadianGSTNo. 898477062. Postmaster: Send address changes toBiophysical Society, 11400 Rockville Pike, Suite 800, Rockville, MD20852. Copyright©2014 by the Biophysical Society. Printed in theUnited States of America. All rights reserved.





Biophysical Journal Call forPapers

Special Issue: Focus onQuantitativeCell Biology

For publicationDecember 2, 2014, Volume 107, Number 11

Biophysical Journal willpublisha special issueof the Journalwitha focusonQuantitativeCellBiology. The Journal welcomes submissions that report on studies of biologicalmolecules and structureswith a focus onmechanisms at the cellular level using the

concepts andmethodsofphysics, chemistry,mathematics, engineering, and computational science. Studies should further our understandingof the interactionsbetween thevarious systemsofa cell aswell ashow these

interactions are regulated. The Journal aims topublish the highest qualityworkandarticles shouldhave sufficient importance tobeof general interest tobiophysicists, regardless of their research specialty.

Deadline for submission: July 1, 2014

•Please includea cover letter stating that youwould like tobepart of the special issueonQuantitativeCell Biology • Select “Special Issue: Focus onQuantitativeCell Biology”when uploading your submission. • Instructions for authors can be found at:

images/edimages/Biophys/Instructions_to_Authors.pdf •Questions can be directed to the BJ Editorial Office at or (240) 290-5545.

Journal publication feeswill apply


Biophysical Society

Formore information, go to

BJ_CallForPapers_SpecialIssue.indd 1

1/22/2014 11:41:23AM





Announcing the2015 ThematicMeetings Each year, theBPS sponsors small, focused-topicmeetings organizedby Societymembers. The Society is pleased to announce the fourmeetings thatwill take place in2015.

NewBiological Frontiers IlluminatedbyMolecular Sensors andActuators Taipei, Taiwan June 28–July 1, 2015

Thismeetingwill explore a variety of cutting edge research tools that are critical toour understanding of cell signaling aswell as cellular structures in awide range of biological systems.Due to themultidisciplinary nature of such studies, we encourage participations of a diverse range of researcherswith interests that span the biological, chemical, andphysical sciences. Imageprovidedby Taipei 101.

Biophysics of Proteins andSurfaces: Assembly, Activation, Signaling Madrid, Spain October 13–15, 2015 Thismeetingwill focus ondifferent aspects related to the biophysics of tuning protein functions through their as- sembly intobiological or engineered surfaces. Particular aspects coveredwill include: 1) the effect of the interac-

tionwith surfaces on themolecular structure of proteins andprotein assemblies, with special interest in themodulationby surface-promotedorientation and two-dimensional accumulationof lipid-protein andprotein-protein interactions; 2) the effect of two-dimensional organization and entropy loss on the modulationof protein function; and3) the potential of introducing properly engineered surfaces to generate newor improvedprotein-based applications. The programwill include talks from the perspective of different systems and approaches reviewedby recognizedbiophysicists, with the goal of promoting fruitful discussions and future collaborations in the searchof general principles of surface biophysics defining and exploiting protein structure and function.





Polymers andSelf-Assembly: FromBiology toNanomaterials

Riode Janeiro, Brazil October 25–30, 2015

Many proteins assemble intopolymers, bothnaturally (as in actin and tubulin) andpathologically (as in amyloid). The study of the structure and functionof these biologi- cal polymers has been an important area of researchby

biophysicists. A large and growing community of chemists, chemical engineers, physicists, andmaterials scientists have been investigating the self-assembly of peptides formany purposes, from creatingnew bionanomaterials to forming assemblies for drug delivery. The aimof thismeeting is tobring together thesemultidisciplinary areas to share techniques and innovations, advancing our understanding of these complex systems.

Biophysics in theUnderstanding,Diagnosis, andTreatment of InfectiousDiseases

Stellenbosch, SouthAfrica November 16–20, 2015

Thismeetingwill explore the contributions of biophysics toour understanding of infectious diseases, focusing on tuberculosis,malaria, andHIV/AIDS. Themeetingwill provide a platform for scientists todiscuss the successes,

opportunities, and challenges for biophysics in structural biology,molecularmodeling, andhigh resolu- tionoptical techniques indiagnostics, therapeutics, and the basic science of the pathogen. Themeeting's location inSouthAfricawill provide the opportunity for attendees tomeetmanynew scientists and students.

Call for 2016ThematicMeetingProposals Submissiondeadline: June30, 2014

ThematicMeetingsareuniqueandexcitingbecause theybring together researcherswhodonototherwise attend the sameevents, bringingdifferentperspectives toaddressa commonproblem.AsaSocietymem- ber, youmay submit yourproposal for consideration. Checkyouremail later thismonth formoredetailsonhow to submitaproposal or and click 'Meetings' and then 'ThematicMeetings'.





Biophysicist in Profile JOE MINDELL

JoeMindell spent a lot of time as a childwonderinghow thingsworked.He benefited fromhaving an engineer for a father.Mindell says, “He understood and explained the innerworkings of things beau- tifully tomy brother andme.He had a very practical understanding of these things that profoundly openedup theworld tous.” In addition to regularly taking books aboutmath and science out of the library,Mindell looked forward to the elementary school science fair every year, so that he coulddelve into a project thatwoulddeepenhis understanding of theworld aroundhim. Inhigh school,Mindell became interested inphysics, especially inhow it explained theworld around him.He thought that hemightmajor inphysics upon enteringYaleUniversity, but he explains, “At the time, physics itself seemed focusedon elementary particles, whichwere far enough from the everyday TheDoubleHelix by JamesD.Watson , and “was struckbyWatson talking about howunderstanding helical diffraction required thinking about Bessel functions. And even though I didn’t knowwhat thosewere, it clearly confirmed the connectionbe- tweenmathematical thinking andbiological problem solving”Mindell says. These formative experiences convincedMindell to studymolecular biophysics andbiochemistry, inwhichhe receivedhis Bachelor of Science degree. After graduating fromYale, he studied at Albert EinsteinCollege ofMedicine and earned a combined MD-PhD.He completedhis PhDwork in AlanFinkelstein’s lab, using electrostatic analysis of charges ondiphtheria toxin channels as a tool tomap theirmembrane topology.He then completed a residency at Brigham andWomen’sHospital with an eye towardbecoming a nephrologist, due tohis interest in renal salt transport.Mindell found, however, that hewasmore drawn to a life in research than to pursuing a career as amedical doctor, sohe joined ChristopherMiller’s lab at BrandeisUniversity as a postdoc. InMiller’s lab,Mindell workedon theClC family of chloride channels. “For the first few years Iwas cloningnewhomologs of the family from the shark, whichhas an interesting salt transport system.Unfortunately, in the end, the proteins I foundwere frustrating, as they didnot lend themselves to furtherwork,” he says. He thenbegan toworkonmembrane protein structural biology.Mindell says, “Iwas able to form two-dimensional crystals of aClCwhich led to the first structural pictures of this family of proteins.” Soon afterMindell leftMiller’s lab, however,Miller discovered that the proteinMindell hadworkedon was not a channel at all, but rather a proton-coupled chloride transporter.Givenhis previous interest in transporters, fromhis daysworkingwithkidneys,Mindell decided to embrace this revelation.He explains, “Iwentwith it and gradually shiftedmywhole lab to study transporters, which are generally much lesswell understood than ion channels.” Mindell continues toworkwith transporters today, as a Senior Investigator in the intramural program at theNational Institute ofNeurologicalDisorders andStroke,NIH.His lab studies structure-function “ Our contactwith the peoplearoundushas tremendous influenceon ourwork... ” – JoeMindell world that they didn’t drawme in.”He began taking classes inneuroscience, where hewas first exposed to the idea of solving biological problemswith concepts fromphysics. Around the same time,Mindell read





relationships in secondary active transport- ers, focusing onbacterial homologs of impor- tantmammalian transporters, whichMindell explains, “are amenable tomany kinds of experiments not available for theirmammalian counterparts.” The secondmajor project of his lab concerns acidificationof intracellular organelles. “This process is drivenby a v-typeATPase,” says Mindell, “but, since theATPase is highly electrogenic, other ionsmust bemoved across themembrane todissipate the built-up charge.” Currently, they are using combinations of modeling, cell biology, imaging, and transport measurements to try to get an accurate picture of the ionmovements contributing to acidification, and todetermine the combinations of transport- ers used in this process. In addition to the science itself,Mindell finds the collegiality of research tobe one of themost rewarding aspects of hiswork.He says, “We all know that the stereotypical viewof the lone scientist off onhis own iswrong.Our contact with the people aroundus has tremendous influence onourwork…the social exchange of ideas is one of the things that I look forward to everydaywhen I go towork.”Mindell’s friends in the biophysics community findhim tobe particularly skilled at this sort of collaborative work. Kenton Swartz , one ofMindell’s close col- leagues atNIH, explains that the twohave had a major influence on eachother’s projects, despite collaborating formally only on rare occasions. Swartz says, “We have had joint labmeetings and journal clubs for about twelve years now, andhavementored eachother’s students and postdoctoral fellows. Joe’s fingerprints are on every piece of work that has come out ofmy laboratory in the last decade—we have perfected the role of highly interactive colleagues.” MerrittMaduke metMindell whenbothwere postdocs in theMiller lab, working ondiscover- ing and characterizing the first prokaryoticClC familymember. She recalls that, “Joewas able to really push the project forwardby determin- ing the two-dimensional structure ofClC-ec1 by cryo-EM.He didbeautiful work andwas exceedingly gracious and generous in sharing the

credit.”They are not currently working together, butMaduke frequently calls him to get his advice ondifficult problems, and to enjoy his friendship. “He is really smart and always willing to talk,” she says, “He is also verywitty in insulting his friends – in a lovingman- ner. It tookme awhile, but I knew I had finally gainedhis respectwhenhe got around to insultingme.”Throughout his career,Mindell has let his sense of humor shine.Miller says,

Mindellwithhis family.

“He had the chops—a quantitative chemist/ biophysicist at heart—andhe had thewicked, wicked sense of humor that endearedhim im- mediately to everyone in our group.”Another colleagueMindellmet at Brandeis, H. Ronald Kaback , recalls a timewhenMiller andMin- dell teamedup to play a prank onhimduring a presentation.He says, “Joe and a few other comedians underMiller’s influence sat in the audience and simultaneously shined laser point- ers on the screenduringmy presentation. The effect was uproarious, as I couldnot tell which spot wasmine.” Mindell’s balance of serious sciencewith a fun and collegial environment wasmodeled by his PhD andpostdoc advisors, Finkelstein and Miller.Mindell says, “They share an incred- ible passion for science and an incredible level of scientific rigor. They are also both a bit looney and very funny. I learned from them that youdon’t have to stophaving fun to be an extremely serious scientist.”Mindell extolls the virtues of developing this sort of balanced attitude for those just starting out in their scien- tific careers. “I lovewhat I do, and I can’t really imagine doing anything else,” he says. “For young peoplewho feel this way too, I suggest they find a problem they really love and attack it with vigor. If they are creative, hard-working, andpassionate, they can succeed and there’s no better life!”





Biophysical Journal Corner

Special Issue: Focuson QuantitativeCell Biology ThisNovember, Biophysical

Major goals of quantitative cell biology are to further our understanding of the interactions betweenmolecular networks within cells and to elucidate how these interactions are regulated. Understanding suchmechanisms and interactions at the cellular level will require the concepts and methods of physics, chemistry,mathematics, en- gineering, and computational science.Thus, bio- physicsts are ideally suited to lead such research. The Biophysical Journal aims to publish the highest qualitywork, andwe expect that all the articles in this special issuewill be of sufficient importance to be of general interest to biophysicists, regard- less of their research specialty.To allow rigorous peerreview, the deadline for submission to this special issue on quantitative cell biology is July 1, 2014, and authors interested inhaving their work included in this issue should specify that they are interested in being considered for this issue in their cover letter. Instructions for authors canbe found at http:// structions_to_Authors.pdf. — Dave Piston , Editor, Cell Biophysics Section New&Notables Eachmonth a fewpapers are highlighted in BJ with aNew&Notable, which are commentaries that highlight a point, question, or controversy raised in the paper they discuss. Visit to read these articles from a recent issue of BJ . Shedding Light onConfor- mationalDynamics inNa byChristofGrewer, which highlights the paper Correlat- ingChargeMovements with Local Conformational Changes of aNa+-CoupledCotransporter by IanForster and Monica Patti. Nanoscopic InjurywithMacroscopicConsequences: TauProteins asMediators ofDiffuse Axonal In- jury , byGuyGenin, whichhighlights the paper

Journal will publish a special is- sue focusing on quantitative cell biology.This venture recognizes the rapid growth of quantita- tive research in this area over the last few years.Traditionally, biophysics has thrived by apply- ing reductionist approaches to


unravel biologicalmechanisms and, to this day, approaches such as single-moleculemicroscopy continue to bring fresh insights into the functions of cells and organisms. Of course, we also know that these biomolecules interact to form complex functional networks that oftendisplay emergent properties that would be difficult to predict solely from anunderstanding of the constituent parts. At the same time, we are learning that cell-to-cell variability is not only universal, it is also functionally important.Thus, in the sameways that single-molecule experiments have informed our understanding of functional distributions ofmolecules, single-cell experiments are revealing the significant biological consequenc- es of heterogeneity. Ongoing advances in instrumentation and com- putationalmodeling capabilities continue to fuel the growth of quantitative cell biology. Formany years, therewas awide gap betweenhigh-through- put genomic andproteomic technologies, which yielded vast numbers of parameters ensemble- averaged overmillions of cells, andmicroscopic or cytometricmethods, whichprovideddata on a limitednumber of parameters in single cells. However, improvements in sequencing technology nowpermit genome-wide quantitative analysis of single cells. At the same time, technological breakthroughs are leading tomulti-parametric data from single cells, and together, these tech- nologies are leading to a convergence of high- throughput -omics and single-cell biology. Sitting on top of all these data aremathematical and computationalmodels, which are critical toward developing a quantitative understanding of such large and complex datasets.





Know theEditors LeonidBrown University ofGuelph Editor inCell Biophysics Section

Viscoelasticity of TauProteins Leads to StrainRateDepen- dent Breaking ofMicrotubules DuringAxonal Stretch Injury: Predictions from aMathemati- calModel byVivekShenoy, UnknownUnknowns: The Challenge of Systematic and Statistical Error inMolecular Dynamics Simulations , byAlan Grossfield, whichhighlights the paper IndolicidinBinding Induces Thinning of aLipid Bilayer , byRégis Pomès, Chris

HosseinAhmadzadeh, andDouglas Smith.


Q: What isyour areaof research? Adiverse group of light-sensitivemembrane proteins, calledmicrobial rhodopsins, has been the focus ofmy research formany years. In the past, it was thought that these proteins exist only in a small group of halophilicArchaea (Halobac- teria), but lately it became obvious thatmicrobial rhodopsins are omnipresent ecologically and taxonomically, being found inmany bacterial, fungal, and algal taxa.The range of their functions expanded substantially as well, from the original ionpumps andphotosensors to light-gated ion channels and light-switchable enzymes. Recently, microbial rhodopsins became very popular in the neurobiology community for their use in optoge- netics. My research onmicrobial rhodopsins startedwith the prototypical light-drivenprotonpump bacte- riorhodopsin, which entered almost every bio- chemistry textbook as the simplest bioenergetics machine. Later, it expanded to include other ion pumps andphotosensors,mainly from bacteria and fungi.We have beenusing a powerful combi- nation of site-directedmutagenesis withdifferent types of biophysical techniques,mainly spectro- scopic, to dissect functionalmechanisms of these proteins.The types of spectroscopywe employ include time-resolved laser spectroscopy in the visible, static and time-resolved infrared spectros- copy, Raman spectroscopy, and,more recently, solid-stateNMR (in collaborationwithVladimir Ladizhansky).The latter development brought us closer to structural biology and allowed expand- ing our efforts to othermembrane proteins, such as aquaporins andGPCRs. I have been blessed with a number of other great collaborators, who enriched our researchwith their expertise inmass spectrometry, ultrafast spectroscopy, low-tempera- ture spectroscopy,molecularmicrobiology, SAXS, andEPR.

Neale, JennyHsu, andChristopher Yip.

DriftingThrough the Beehive by BrianRoth, whichhighlights

the article Attraction of Ro- tors to the PulmonaryVeins in Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation: AModeling Study by Omer Berenfeld, ConradoCalvo, MakarandDeo, SharonZlochiver, and JoséMillet.

The Importance of Intrinsic Order in aDisorderedProtein Ligand byNatalieGoto, which

highlights the paper Confor- mational Recognition of an IntrinsicallyDisorderedProtein byAlfonsoDe Simone, James Krieger,Giuliana Fusco,Marc Lewitzky, PhilipSimister, JanMarchant, Carlo Camilloni, andStephanFeller.


TheReview Membrane Protein Structural Validation byOri- ented Sample Solid StateNMR: Diacylglycerol Kinase byTimo- thyCross,DylanT.Murray, ConggangLi, F. PhilipGao, andHuajunQinwas high- lighted in theApril 15 Issue. Visit thewebsite to read the full article.





Public Affairs

During the event, the SETworking group honoredCongresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX)with theGeorgeE. Brown, Jr. Award for leadership in science, technology, andmathemat- ics onCapitolHill. Johnson, the rankingmember of theHouse Science, Space, andTechnology Committee, is an active supporter of STEM edu- cation, women in science, and federal scientific research funding. BPSSignsPositionStatements onFY2015ResearchFunding After PresidentObama releasedhis budget request for FY2015 in earlyMarch, theBiophysical Soci- ety joined other scientific organizations in letting Congress and theAdministrationknowwhat lev- els of funding are necessary to continue tomake progress in research andmaintain a competitive advantage over other nations. The Society has joinedother organizations in signing letters sent toCongress asking them to appropriate aminimumof $32billion for the National Institutes ofHealth, $7.5billion for the National Science Foundation, and$5.2billion forDepartment of EnergyOffice of Science inFY 2015. These request numbersweremade taking into consideration the financial constraintsCon- gress has placedon itself inorder to shrink the deficit aswell as the President’s request for these agencies. For theNIH request, sent by theAdHocGroup forMedical Research, the letter stated: "TheConsolidatedAppropriations Act of 2014 included awelcome andmuchneeded increase for theNational Institutes ofHealth (NIH). However, this increase didnot give back all of the funds cut by sequestration inFY2013nor did it restore the purchasing power lost over the past decade.We hope FY2014 represents a first step toward restoring our nation’s preeminence in medical research. TheAdHocGroup forMedical

BPSVisits Capitol Hill OnMarch25 and26, Biophysical Society member Vasanthi Jayaraman , theUniversity of TexasHealthScienceCenter atHoustonMedical School, joined325other scientists, engineers, and business leadersmaking visits onCapitolHill as part of the 18 th Science-Engineering-Technology Congressional VisitsDay (CVD). This annual event is sponsoredby the Science-Engineering- TechnologyWorkGroup (SET), of which the Biophysical Society is amember. The purpose of the visitswas to educateCongress about the important role federal research funding plays in innovation and competiveness; explain the harm sequestration cuts have had to researchprograms; and express support for sustained andpredictable federal funding for research. Jayaraman alsohad the opportunity to learn about the federal budget for science agencies and the appropriations process from speakers that includ- ed representatives from

theWhiteHouse, Capitol Hill, and theAmericanAs- sociation for theAdvance- ment of Science. Overall, the visiting scien- tists held1250Congres- sionalmeetings and visited the offices ofmembers of Congress from45different states. Jayaraman, along withBPS staffmembers EllenWeiss and Ellen Mackall , metwith staff in the offices of Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), andCon- gressman JohnCulberson (R-TX).

CongresswomanEddieBernice Johnson (D-TX) speaks to theCongressional Visitsparticipants after receiving the2014GeorgeE. Brown, Jr. Award for Science-Engineering-Technology Leadership.





Research recommends thatNIH receive at least $32billion inFY2015 as the next step toward a multi-year increase inour nation’s investment in medical research. TheAdHocGroup alsourges Congress and theAdministration towork in a bipartisanmanner to end sequestration and the continued cuts tomedical research that squander invaluable scientific opportunities, discourage young scientists, threatenmedical progress and continued improvements inour nation’s health, and jeopardize our economic future.” The requests for the other agencies carried the samemessage. Congressional AppropriationsCommittees inboth theHouse andSenate are currently holdinghear- ings to learnmore about the President’s request fromAgency representatives andwill thenmarkup bills for funding tobe sent to the fullHouse and Senate later in the spring.


59 th AnnualMeeting Baltimore,Maryland February 7-11, 2015

Bridging the Sciences: Computation and Experiment

Biophysics: ChangingOurWorld Submissiondeadline: June15, 2014

Doyouknowofabiophysicsdiscovery that changed theworld for the better? That led toanew technology, newdiagnostic tool,medical application, ornew industry? TheBiophysical SocietyPublicAffairsCommittee invites you to submitaone-minutevideooraone-pagePDF thatdescribes one suchbiophysics innovationand its impact. Up to fiveprizes of$1000eachwill beawarded for the submissions thatbestde- scribehowabiophysics-inspired innovation changed theworld for thebetter. These storiesare critical inbuildingpublicandCongressional support forbasic researchbydemonstratinghow it impacts individualsand theeconomy. Submit your story to contests@biophysics.orgby June15, 2014.






ready to apply. After composing your initial port- folio, tailoring it for subsequent positionopenings is easier. First interviewswill typically take place at the endof the year, however, there are some searches that open throughout the year. Usually, the hiring process takes 6-8months fromwhen an institution identifies candidates towhen itmakes a final decision. Q: Having just completed theprocess, do youhaveanyadvice to thosebeginning tomake the transition? The applicationpacket usually consists of a cover letter, CV, research statement, and a teaching and/ ormentoring philosophy.Use the cover letter to explainhow your research is exactlywhat they are looking for. Showhow your unique perspec- tivewould complement the existing faculty in amanner that alsodistinguishes you from your advisors. YourCV shouldbe easy to read andup- to-date.Make sure the research statement focuses on the big picture and the biological significance of your research. Avoid just listing the techniques youknow—you are not applying for a technician position. Independent teaching experience is not necessary, but your teaching philosophy is impor- tant. The “chalk talk,” or oral exam, is an important part of each interview. This provides the commit- teewith the chance tounderstand yourwork and its potential. Most committees are simply looking for someonewho can enhance the institute’s cur- rent research initiatives. It is important tohave a positive attitude on interviews, presenting yourself as both a valuable asset and someonewithwhom theywill want towork. Q: Howdo I differentiatemywork from theworkofmyPI? Thoughdifficult, it is important that you are doingwork that is independent from thework of your PI. If you seek an academic position, you need to establish this independence from your PI early, inorder to sell your independence later. Ideally, this discussion should start as soon as pos-

Movingon fromYour PostdocPosition:Negotiating theTransition TheEarlyCareersCommittee hosted a panel at the 58 th AnnualMeeting inSanFrancisco, Cali- fornia, todiscuss negotiating the transition from postdoctoral training to a faculty position. The panel consistedof SethRobia , LoyolaUniversity Chicago, Stuart Campbell , YaleUniversity, Ravi Balijepalli ,University ofWisconsinSchool of Medicine andPublicHealth, and Marcos Soto- mayor ,OhioStateUniversity.Below are some highlights from the session. Q: Academic searches are sometimes very specific and sometimes quiteopen. How do I know if Iwill be considered for a position? If the job search specifically covers an area that is not your specialty, donot apply. If you find an ideal position, you should contact the search committee todiscuss the specific job requirements. Itmaynot be clear from the postingwhether you wouldbe a good fit, so make an effort to findout how yourworkwould fit into current research at the institute. Tailor your application to address specifically eachposition forwhich you apply. Q: How longdoes it take toprepare the documents toapply for theacademic po- sition?How longdoes thewholeapplica- tionprocess take? Composing your initial portfolio takes time, so start this process early. Most searches have ap- plicationdeadlines at the endof the summer, so itwouldbe best to start applicationpreparations at the beginning of the summer. It is critical to have your PI andothermentorswhohave beenon search committees review your applicationbefore you submit. Their feedbackwill help you decide what jobswouldbest suit your experience andwill allow you tohone your applicationswhen you are





siblewith yourmentor. Strive toproduce pre- liminary data tousewhen applying for transition awards and faculty positions. Q: Arepublications in “high-impact” jour- nals required inorder tobe considered? Most search committees are looking simply for the applicantwhose experience best fits the position. Therefore, highprofile publications are not neces- sary, but a goodpublication record that reflects the focus of the search is. Q: Doyouneed fundingprior tobeing hired? Funding expectations vary by institution and department. Some positions require that you come with funding, while other programs donot. Being a PI, co-PI, or having assisted inwriting a grant is valuable experienceworth including in your application. It alsohelps if you candemonstrate that youknowhow to get funding and/or publish as a senior author. Career transition awards like theNIHK99/R00Pathway to Independence or theAmericanHeart AssociationScientist DevelopmentGrants are designed to facilitate the transition to independence for postdocs and research associateswhohave held their PhD for nomore than five years. Later in your career, R01s are available for research associateswhobecome research associate professors. When entertaining anoffer, seek advice and consult yourmentors todeterminewhat you should ask for. It is important that you com- municate clearlywhat youwill need to succeed. Be sure to include time todo research, access to equipment and facilities, and research spacewith adequate plumbing, electric, and ventilation. Be clear about your time commitments; for example, make it clear if for the first year youwon’t serve on any committees, or for the first semester you won’t teach, etc.Make sure youwill have time to develop your own researchprogram. Most depart- ments have a finite budget for a start-uppackage Q: What do I need toknowabout negotiatingandacceptingaposition?

that leaves a 5-10%margin for negotiating. Make sure the final terms of the position are clearly stated in the offer letter before accepting. Q: Howdifficult is the transition from postdoc to faculty? The transition is very difficult. Youmay be able tonegotiate a one- year delay before teaching re- sponsibilities start, whichwill give you time to fo- cus on setting up your lab, securing funding, and publishing a paper. Try tohave all of your equip- ment ordered and ready for researchwhen you arrive. Also, learn to sayno topotential collabora- tions thatwill not help youpublishwithin the first year. It is also important not to get involved in committeeswithin your first year so that you can focus on getting your labup and running. There is no guarantee that youwill secure a tenure track academic position immediately. Both the timing and your experience lining upwith a par- ticular positionwill be rare.Make sure topursue options other than tenure-track faculty positions at researchuniversities in your search in case you are unable to secure such a position.


Looking for an opportunity tonetwork with biophysicists inFrance?Check out the upcoming networking event.

June 6 Institut Pasteur Centre deBiologie Intégrative des Maladies Emergentes Paris, France

Visit and click 'Meetings' then 'NetworkingEvents' for more information.






Grants andOpportunities


IDP The IDP subgroup is planning its activities for the 2015AnnualMeeting. Program co-chairs Rohit Pappu ,WashingtonUniversity, and EdwardLemke , EMBLHeidelberg, are crafting a program for the IDP symposium. At the annual businessmeeting, AshokDeniz , ScrippsResearch Institute, completedhis term as SubgroupChair and ElizabethKomives , Univer- sity ofCalifornia, SanDiego, beganher term.We welcome our other newofficers, ElizabethRhoades , Chair-elect, TanjaMittag , Secretary/Treasurer, and SarahBondos , Secretary/Treasurer-elect. The Subgrouphas elected JianhanChen , Kansas State University, asCouncilMember, IgnaciaEcheverria , University ofMaryland, as PostdocRepresenta- tive and AlexHolehouse ,WashingtonUniversity, as Graduate Student Representative. Congratulations to the twoStudent Research Achievement Award (SRAA) PosterCompetition winners of the IDP subgroup, KierstenRuff and Alex Holehouse , both fromRohit Pappu’s laboratory. — TanjaMittag , Secretary/Treasurer

Objective: To recognize an individual who has demonstrated excellence inAntarctic sci- ence or policy andwho shows clear potential for sustainedmajor and significant contribu- tions that will enhance the understanding of Antarctica. WhoCanApply: Nominees should be capable ofmaking a significant contribution in a field or topic that advances our under- standing of Antarctic science or policy during their career.

Deadline: May 22, 2014


TheNational ResearchCouncil ResearchAssociateshipPrograms

Objective: To provide postdoctoral and senior scientists and engineers of unusual promise and ability opportunities for research on problems, largely of their own choice that are compatiblewith the interests of the sponsor- ing laboratories and to, thereby, contribute to the overall efforts of the laboratories. WhoCanApply: Applicantsmust have earned a PhD, ScD,MD,DVM, or aca- demically equivalent researchdoctorate before beginning tenure.

Member in theNews

CeciliaBouzat , Instituto de Investigaciones Bioqui- micas andSocietymember since 1999, has received the 2014L’Oreal-UNES- CO award from the L’Oreal Foundation.

Deadline: August 1, 2014

Website: PGA/RAP/index.htm





Student Spotlight

CHRISTOPHER Y. KO Universityof California, LosAngeles JamesN.Weiss Lab

Q: What initiallyattractedyou tobiophysics?

Q: Whydidyou join theBiophysical Society?

As a student of science, I have come to realize that bridgingmultiple perspectives anddisciplines of study facilitates a deeper understanding of human biology. Accordingly, themultidisciplinarynature of biophysics iswhat initially attractedme to the field, and itwas pivotal inmy pursuit of under- standing the biology of the heart. Q: What specific areas areyou studying? My doctoral studies under thementorshipof James N.Weiss have focusedonunderstandingmecha- nisms of subcellular calcium release in cardiac myocytes anddetermininghow they contribute to the pathophysiology of cardiac arrhythmias. Q: What is your current researchproject? Currently, I am investigatinghowproperties of critical systems could explainhow calciumwaves that emerge dyssynchronously in cardiacmyocytes come to emerge synchronously in cardiac tissue and generate arrhythmia triggers. Q: What doyouhope todoafter graduation? After graduation, I aim topursue amedical educa- tion and a physician-scientist career tohelpbridge the understanding and insights gained through scientific researchwith the practice ofmedicine. I hope to contribute to the development of new therapies that could improve the overall effec- tiveness of clinical care.Working closelywith physician-scientists such asDr. Thao P.Nguyen has been influential inmy decision topursue this career path.

I joined theBiophysical Society to take advantage of thewealthof opportunities and resources it provides through its publications, AnnualMeet- ing, and themembers themselves. TheBiophysical Society is anoutstandingplatform for biophysicists to share anddisseminate knowledge in the field. Q: Whenyou’renot studyingbiophys- ics,what doyou like todo inyour spare time? Outside of the lab, I enjoy activities involving physical fitness and exercise. Surfing is a recent hobby I have pickedup thanks toDr.Weiss’ own passion in the sport. Chris came tomy lab fromwithundergraduate andmasters degrees in biomedical engineering, and a strong interest in integrating experimental and theoretical biology. He joined our research team applying systems approaches to understanding cardiac arrhythmias, andworked closelywith the theoretical team to develop a theory explaining how periodicCa waves triggering the heart beat arise from randomCa sparks in cardiacmyocytes. Chris performed all of the experimental work underpinning the validation of a theory demonstrating that this transition from sparks towaves is an example of criticality, a ubiquitous mechanism innature that has beenused to explain phenomena ranging from earthquakes to evolution to epidemics. Thanks toChris's outstanding contribu- tions to this research effort, we can add the heart's beating to this list. JamesWeiss, Christopher’s PI says:

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August 3–7 18th International Biophysics Congress Brisbane, Queensland

September 9-12 5th International Cell Membranes andOxidative Stress: Focus on Calcium Signaling and TRP Channels Congress Isparta, Turkey index.php/en

October 8-13 TheModes of Action of Vaccine Adjuvants (S1) Seattle,Washington http://www.keystonesymposia. org/index.cfm?e=web.Meeting. Program&meetingid=1339 October 27-29 3rd International Conference and Exhibition onCell &Gene Therapy Las Vegas, NV http://cellgenetherapy2014.

July12-17 European Bioenergetics Confer- ence (EBEC 2014) Lisbon, Portugal July13-18 Energy Conversion Processes andChemical Reactions in Clusters, Solution, Surfaces, In- terfaces, and Biological Systems Easton,MA

August 28-30 Pore-Forming Toxins: ameeting in memory of GianfrancoMenestrina, PFT2014 Trento, Italy

September 11-12 DrugDiscovery 2014 Mumbai, India ferences/index.aspx?conf=DDI14

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