Biophysical Newsletter - June 2014

Newsletter JUNE 2014


2014 Society Elections

Thematic Meetings Modeling of Biomolecular Systems Interactions, Dynamics, and Allostery September 10–14, 2014 Istanbul, Turkey June 16 Early Registration Significance of Knotted Structures for Function of Proteins and Nucleic Acids September 17–21, 2014 Warsaw, Poland June 23 Early Registration Disordered Motifs and Domains in Cell Control October 11–15, 2014 Dublin, Ireland July 11 Early Registration Biophysics: Changing Our World Contest June 15 Submission Deadline

The Society’s annual election for officers and councilors is now open. The 2014 can- didates for President-Elect are Susan Gilbert , Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Suzanne Scarlata , Stonybrook State University of New York. The President-Elect will serve a one year term, beginning in February 2015, followed by a year as President, beginning in February 2016. Frances Separovic of the Uni- versity of Melbourne is the candidate for Secretary. The Secretary serves a four- year term beginning in July 2015. Prior to July, the newly-elected Secretary will work with the incumbent Secretary for six months. Eight candidates are running for the four open Council posi- tions. Those elected will serve for three years, beginning in February 2015. The candidates

Candidates for President-Elect

Ruth Heidelberger University of Texas Health Science Center

Erika Holzbaur University of Pennsylvania

Susan Gilbert

Robert Nakamoto University of Virginia Health Science Center

Miklós Kellermayer Semmelweis University

Suzanne Scarlata

Candidate for Secretary

Gabriela Popescu University at Buffalo, SUNY

B. Montgomery Pettitt University of Texas Medical Branch

Frances Separovic

are listed on the right. Full biographical sketches and candidate statements are available at www. All regular Society members whose 2014 dues were paid by May 31 are eligible to vote. Eligible members may vote electronically by accessing the secure election site at prior to August 1, 2014, using their last name and member ID to log in.

Call for 2016 Thematic Meetings June 30 See Page 7 for Details

Pernilla Wittung-Stafshede Umeå University

Erin Sheets University of Minnesota


2 4 4 5 6 8


Biophysicist in Profile

Outreach Molly Cule Subgroups

10 12 13 15


Biophysical Society

Members in the News Call for Thematic Meetings

Grants & Opportunites

Biophysical Journal

Postdoc Spotlight Upcoming Events


Public Affairs






Biophysicist in Profile YADILETTE RIVERA-COLÓN

Officers President Dorothy Beckett President-Elect Edward Egelman Past-President Francisco Bezanilla Secretary Lukas Tamm Treasurer Paul Axelsen Council Olga Boudker Taekjip Ha Samantha Harris Kalina Hristova Juliette Lecomte Amy Lee Marcia Levitus Merritt Maduke Daniel Minor, Jr. Jeanne Nerbonne Antoine van Oijen Joseph D. Puglisi Michael Pusch Bonnie Wallace David Yue Biophysical Journal Leslie Loew Editor-in-Chief

As a child growing up in Puerto Rico, Yadilette Rivera-Colón was fasci- nated by science, often watching Beakman’s World and National Geographic specials on television. Her parents were not involved in science; her mother stayed at home to care for the children, and her father worked in an auto- body shop. Both placed a great deal of emphasis on the value of education for their children. Rivera-Colón explains that, “They always told me to study, because knowledge is the only thing that no one can take away from you.” When Rivera-Colón was just 15 years old, her mother was diagnosed with leukemia. She passed away soon afterward, but the care provided by her nurses comforted the family in her final days. Rivera-Colón was touched by their tender care, and decided to study to become a nurse, to help other families understand medical procedures and provide comfort within the hospital setting.

Rivera-Colón trained as a practical nurse at Escuela Vocacional Benjamin Harrison, a tech- nical high school. “The more I learned about the human body and human disease,” she says, “ the more I wanted to be able to do something about it.” She thought that as a medical doctor, she would be able to have a hand in curing diseases, so she began a pre-med program at University of Puerto Rico, Cayey.

“ Not everyone is interested in what you do, so make them see why it is cool. ” – Yadilette Rivera-Colón

Society Office Ro Kampman Executive Officer Newsletter Alisha Yocum Production Laura Phelan Profile

After studying to become a medical doctor for a few years, Rivera-Colón decided that she needed to try basic research before committing to a career in medicine. She took part in a summer program at the University of Mas- sachusetts, Amherst, where she studied under Craig Martin . There she got a taste of biochemistry and the world of proteins, and decided to pursue a PhD rather than an MD, so that she could continue to be directly involved in scientific research. Rivera-Colón graduated from the University of Puerto Rico, Cayey, with a BS degree in general natural sciences, and committed to attending the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, for her doctoral degree. The summer before she began graduate school, Rivera-Colón took part in the Biophysical Society’s Summer Research Program at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. The program was her first introduction to biophysics and was also the first course she took in English. She says, “I fell in love with bio- physics and made an amazing network of friends and colleagues who have supported me every step of the way ever since.” During the course, Rivera- Colón worked in the lab of Charles W. Carter, Jr . Carter introduced her to the study of protein structure, which she continues to work on to this day. Following the BPS summer program, Rivera-Colón began her graduate pro- gram at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, in Scott C. Garman’s lab. While there, she worked on determining the structures of human lysosomal enzymes that are defective in patients who have lysosomal storage diseases.

Ellen Weiss Public Affairs

The Biophysical Society Newsletter (ISSN 0006-3495) is published twelve times per year, January- December, by the Biophysical Society, 11400 Rockville Pike, Suite 800, Rockville, Maryland 20852. Distributed to USA members and other countries at no cost. Canadian GST No. 898477062. Postmaster: Send address changes to Biophysical Society, 11400 Rockville Pike, Suite 800, Rockville, MD 20852. Copyright © 2014 by the Biophysical Society. Printed in the United States of America. All rights reserved.





She recently completed her PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology. During her time in graduate school, Rivera-Colón found that the most rewarding aspect of her work was seeing her students succeed in achieving their personal and professional goals. Garman says of Rivera- Colón, “Her enthusiasm and support for the undergraduates she mentored led them to working as a well-oiled machine. She showed me how you can trust good undergraduates to be independent, and then watch them take personal responsibility for their projects.” Emily Schutsky worked in Garman’s lab as an undergraduate student, and Rivera-Colón served as her graduate student mentor during her time there. Rivera-Colón had a big impact on Schutsky’s own decision to pursue her PhD. “From working with her for two years,” Schutsky explains, “I was really able to experience first-hand how much she loved science, but even more than that, how she channeled that passion towards impacting others and inspiring young people to pursue degrees and careers in science, no matter their background.” Because of her interest in and dedication to teaching, Rivera-Colón pursued a postdoctoral posi- tion in the Penn-Postdoctoral Opportunities in Research and Teaching (Penn-PORT) Program at the University of Pennsylvania. She was accepted into this program, and is now training in Ronen Marmorstein’s lab at the Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute at the University of Pennsyl- vania’s Perelman School of Medicine. Her current project focuses on understanding the structural and biochemical properties of N-terminal acetyltransferases. She explains that, “these enzymes play a regulatory role in different biological processes, some of which are involved in cell prolifera- tion, and defects in this pathway result in cancer. Elucidating the molecular mechanisms for the different members of this enzyme family can aid the development of novel molecular probes and therapeutic compounds.” Next year, she will begin teaching undergraduate students in addition to continuing her research. Up to this point, Rivera-Colón has trained undergraduate researchers in small groups, but soon she will be teaching a large introductory course. She says that this will challenge her to develop a new set of teaching skills, which she will need to achieve her long-term goal of becoming a faculty member at an undergraduate institution. Rivera-Colón says, “Many undergraduate students from small schools that are not near research universities do not really know what research is. I hope to one day be able to train at least a few undergraduate students in basic laboratory techniques and how to read and access scientific literature.” Rivera-Colón recognizes that her goals are a bit atypical, but this does not diminish her dedication to undergraduate education. Few of her peers and mentors have supported her decision to pursue this path. “ Barry Lentz supported me since we met in the [Biophysical Society] summer course,” she says, “He was one of two faculty, with my PhD advisor Scott Garman, to encourage me to pursue a career in undergraduate education. Many people tried to discourage me from doing it because they think I could do ‘better.’ As flattering as that may sound, what is better than educating future researchers?” The biggest challenge Rivera-Colón has faced so far has been understanding what was expected of her each step of the way. “The idea of scientific training is to prepare trainees for a research career, but aside from classes, there is never a concrete set of expectations for graduate students or postdocs…in my experience, you play it by ear until you get it, and those who don’t, drop out of graduate school.” This lack of clearly defined expectations led Rivera-Colón to put the highest possible standards on herself, which has made her journey more difficult. “If more advisors established a basic set of expecta- tions for researchers on the first day of training, there would be a lot more success stories in science. The future of science depends on proper science education,” Rivera-Colón says. Rivera-Colón understands that an important part of science education is informing those outside of the scientific community about the value of research. “Only a small amount of people will read your awesome paper because no matter how interesting it is, scientific work is often very specialized,” she explains, “Not everyone is interested in what you do, so make them see why it is cool.”

Rivera-Colón with students Sarah Tarullo, Emily K. Schutsky, and Shaul Kushinsky at the UMass Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Awards ceremony.

Profilee At-A Glance Institution:

Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute at the University of Pennsylva- nia Perelman School of Medicine Research Area: Understanding the molecu- lar mechanisms of human N-acetyl-transferase activity in cellular processes.






Six Society members, listed below, were re- cently elected members of the National Acad- emy of Science for their work and achieve- ments in original research. Members in the News National Academy of Sciences in 1987. He was a strong supporter of women in science through- out his career. Crothers passed away on March 16, 2014. He is survived by his wife of 54 years Leena Kareoja-Crothers, two sisters, two daugh- ters, and four grandchildren. — Jason D. Kahn , University of Maryland, College Park

Donald M. Crothers

Donald M. Crothers was a pioneer in nucleic acid physical chemistry and protein-nucleic acid interaction. He graduated from Yale University in 1958, earned a second BA from the University of Cambridge, completed his PhD.with Bruno Zimm at UCSD, worked with Manfred Eigen in Göttingen, and then joined the Chemistry faculty at Yale in 1964. He served for 12 years as chair of the Chemistry Department and was a founding member of the Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry Department. He trained 67 PhD graduates and ~25 postdocs before retiring from Yale in 2003 and becoming a partner and consultant for biotechnology companies. Croth- ers’ work was characterized by interpreting bio- chemical and spectroscopic experiments with the greatest possible physical rigor. He was admired for his remarkable intellectual agility and deep insight. He made fundamental contributions to understanding the helix-coil transition in DNA, the thermodynamics of nucleic acid secondary and tertiary structure, DNA-drug interactions, hierarchical tRNA folding, chromatin structure and nucleosome positioning, sequence-directed and protein-induced DNA bending, the speci- ficity of DNA- and RNA-protein recognition, the regulation of transcription initiation, DNA cyclization kinetics, and the mechanism of ribo- switches. He co-invented the Zimm-Crothers viscometer and the electrophoretic mobility shift assay, and after retiring he worked on long-range chromosome mapping. He published more than 350 papers, cited more than 20,000 times to date. With Victor Bloomfield and Ignacio Tinoco , Crothers co-authored two influential books on nucleic acids. With David Eisenberg , he wrote the 1979 textbook Physical Chemistry with Applications to the Life Sciences , for which they received the 2008 Emily M. Gray Award from the Biophysical Society. Crothers received many research awards, including election to the

Donald M. Crothers

Dale Boger Scripps Research Institute Society Member since 2014

Joseph Puglisi Stanford University Society Member since 1998

Brenda Schulman St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Society Member since 2011

Howard Stone Princeton University Society Member since 2010

G. Marius Clore (not pictured) National Institutes of Health Society Member since 2009 David Shaw (not pictured) D.E. Shaw Research Society Member since 2010





Proposal Deadline: June 30, 2014 Each year, the Biophysical Society sponsors focused-topic meetings for 150–300 attendees organized by Society members. The Society provides partial financial support up to $10,000 for these meetings in addition to meeting management, including all web and on-site components. The Society has sponsored these thematic meetings, which have taken place in various locations around the world, since 2010. These meetings are unique and exciting because they attract researchers who do not otherwise attend the same events, bringing different perspectives together to address common problems. Call for 2016 Thematic Meeting Proposals

The Society is now calling for proposals for 2016 thematic meetings. Complete submis- sions will be considered by the Thematic Meetings Committee and, pending review, organizers will be contacted for additional information. The Committee’s final recom- mendations will be submitted to the Soci- ety’s Council for approval in November. For criteria, submission requirements, and a complete listing of past and future meet- ings, visit ThematicMeetings/tabid/2256/Default. aspx. Proposals must be submitted through this submission site for consideration.

Summer Savings—Post a Job Today

Do you have an opening in your lab or company? Don’t miss out on these summer savings—purchase a 60-day Job Posting for just $40 on the Society’s online Job Board. All jobs must be posted by June 30 to receive the discount. By posting to the online Job Board, your job will be seen by biophysicists around the world—ensuring you will get ap- plications from top candidates. To post a job go to and click on the ‘Job Board’ icon. Then select the ‘Summer Savings’ special upon posting your job.





Biophysical Journal Corner


with the Journal, the quality of the editors and the reviewers is extremely high...These days, when I send off a paper for review, I feel like we are just flipping a coin. Heads and the reviewers will read it. Flip it again to determine if they will really understand the content. I think Biophysical Journal is a journal where an author can really be confident that the paper will be evaluated in depth and expertly. In addition to being fair and comprehensive, our review process is generally fast with an average of fewer than 30 days between submission and first decision. Thank you to all our dedicated volun- teer editors and reviewers for assuring that this central function of our Journal continues to be so effectively responsive to the needs of our authors. New: longer paper option It is almost always possible to convincingly convey key research findings in 10 pages of text and fig- ures (given that control experiments or details that may be required to reproduce the reported results can be judiciously placed in supporting informa- tion). The editors believe that the current article length limit of 10 pages (approximately 12 with references) enhances readability. But, we have also heard from some in the biophysics commu- nity that there are instances when it is simply not possible to tell your stories within this constraint. BJ’s goal is to publish the best biophysics, includ- ing complex research that may justifiably require additional journal real estate. Therefore, effective July 1, papers longer than 12 pages will be permit- ted, but will require a justification and will also be assessed a higher page charge for each page beyond the 12-page target. New: Computational Tools Biophysics continues to evolve and grow. Our editors have seen a need for a new paper category called “Computational Tools” (CTs). These papers, which will describe software and databases that can help our readers in their research, will be up to five pages in length, including references. The CT should be new or should describe a sig- nificant new feature in an existing computational resource. All CTs will have to be freely accessible

This Editorial was published in the May 6 Issue of Biophyiscal Journal .

BJ and the Biophysics Community

As the Biophysical Society’s jour- nal, BJ has the privilege to serve the biophysics research commu-

Les Loew Editor-in-Chief

nity. While other journals may include subspe- cialties in biophysics or applications of various biophysical techniques, BJ publishes biophysics in all its depth and breadth. As the Society’s journal, BJ has the responsibility to listen and respond to the needs of its authors and readers who are work- ing in our rich and ever-growing field. The editorial process We understand that a journal’s review process is of paramount importance to authors. In fact, the most important benefit of submitting your papers in BJ is responsive, high quality review. Such reviews are only achieved because BJ’s Editorial Board includes more than 110 biophysicists who are prominent working scientists representing the full breadth of our field. Editors are assigned a submission based on their own research specialty, so authors can be assured that their work will be understood and appreciated. The editors are charged with soliciting reviewers and ultimately judging if the paper is acceptable. BJ is justifiably proud of the comprehensive reviews our submis- sions receive. I repeatedly hear from authors that the reviews helped them to significantly improve their papers. Here is a quote from an author whose paper was not accepted for publication: The reviews that we recently got back from BJ were long and detailed. … there is no question that the re- viewers worked hard and took the job seriously. I am certain that we have all had recent experiences where the review process has left us wondering whether or not the reviewers even read the paper. This not the case for Biophysical Journal. In my experience





Know the Editors

and open to the research community. The paper should describe what the CT does and how (eg:, descriptions of new algorithms or theories that are implemented by the software). The paper should also describe how the CT can be applied to biophysical problems, preferably with an example. The CT paper is not intended to be a user guide, which, together with any requisite download instructions, should be available on the authors’ website. These papers will be re- viewed for the CT’s general usefulness to biophys- ics research; reviewers will also be asked to test the CT software or explore CT databases. Those of us working on BJ have lots of ideas and plans that are at various stages of development. For example, be on the lookout for the newly designed BJ website, set to roll out as I write this. We are also producing our first special issue, which will focus on Quantitative Cell Biology; it is being edited by Dave Piston, who is now accepting sub- missions for review, with a target for publication in November. We continue our commitment to being responsive to both the needs of the growing biophysics research community and to the oppor- tunities that new publishing technologies and the changes in our field present to us. And, we always remain open to your ideas and suggestions. — Leslie Loew , Editor-in-Chief

Claudia Steinem University of Göttingen Editor in Membranes Section

Claudia Steinem

Q: What is your area of research?

My research interest is in membrane-confined processes such as fusion and fission, ion transport mediated by ion channels and protein pumps as well as protein-lipid and protein-protein interac- tions occurring at the membrane interface. To understand these processes on a molecular level, we pursue a bottom-up approach and develop and apply model membrane systems. In particular, we have established functional lipid bilayers on highly ordered pore arrays. These so-called pore-spanning membranes suspend nanometer- to micrometer- sized pores in an aluminum or silicon substrate. They separate two aqueous compartments and can hence be envisioned as an intermediate between solid supported and freestanding membranes. With these model systems in hand, we are able to inves- tigate transport processes mediated by ion chan- nels, such as connexons, and protein pumps, such as bacteriorhodopsin. Recently, we managed to reconstitute parts of the neuronal fusion machinery enabling us to study the fusion process between a planar pore-spanning membrane and a single vesicle on a molecular level. As pore-spanning membranes are similar to freestanding ones such as giant unilamellar vesicles, domain formation as well as membrane reorganization can be readily observed. We exploit this by studying the impact of protein binding on membrane domain reorga- nization, a process that is discussed in the context of Shiga toxin uptake into a cell. Similarly, we study the coupling of the plasma membrane to the underlying cytoskeleton mediated by the protein ezrin, making use of our pore-spanning membrane systems. All these studies are, of course, not pos- sible without great collaborators, who are in part unified in the Collaborative Research Center (CRC 803, html) established at the University of Göttingen.

Spotlight on Single-Molecule Dynamics in Membranes Associate Editor Lukas Tamm has com- piled a collection of top papers on membranes published in the last year. Visit www. home to view the virtual issue.





Public Affairs

FY 2015. The following Senators signed the letter: Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Cory Booker (D- NJ), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Benjamin Cardin (D- MD), Christopher Coons (D-DE), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Carl Levin (D-MI), Joe Manchin III (D-WV), Edward Markey (D- MA), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Mark Warner (D-VA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Ron Wyden (D-OR). Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) plans to move the ap- propriations bill quickly through her committee and to the Senate floor in June and July; the bill funding NSF will be one of the first to be consid- ered because it is usually not controversial. On the House side, the House Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee responsible for the NSF budget approved a spend- ing bill that would provide $7.5 billion for the Foundation in FY 2015 at the end of April. The vote was not contentious. NSF’s current budget is $7.17 billion. The Administration’s FY 2015 re- quest is $7.25 billion, an increase of $83.1 million or 1.2 percent. At the same time, though, the House Science Committee is considering legislation, the Fron- tiers in Innovation, Science, and Technology Act of 2014 (H.R. 4186), that would reauthorize NSF through 2015. This bill is very contentious since it calls into question how the NSF awards grants and is accountable for the research it funds. In response to the draft bill, the National Science Board, which directs the NSF, released a state- ment expressing concern that the bill “would compromise NSF’s ability to fulfill its statutory purpose,” create “significant new burdens on sci- entists” and limit the NSF’s flexibility by setting authorizations for individual NSF director ates. The Senate is not currently working on a reautho- rization bill. Thus, it does not seem likely that the reauthorization will occur in the current Congress. The House work is important to watch, though, since it could lay the groundwork for action in Congress in 2015.

NIH Changes Grant Submission Policy

On Thursday April 18, NIH released a notice indicating that effective immediately, NIH grantees, following an unsuccessful resubmission (A1) application, may submit the same proposal as a new (A0) application for the next appropriate due date. The notice states that “NIH will not assess the similarity of the science in the new (A0) application to any previously reviewed submission when accepting an application for review.” On her blog, Sally Rockey , Deputy Director for Extramural Research at NIH, explained that the policy change is being made in response to com- munity concern that meritorious research ideas not eligible for resubmission were being lost with the shrinking success rates at NIH over the past few years and productive labs have had to change focus in order to compete for NIH funding. The new applications will be considered with- out consideration of a previous submission and without an introduction of how the grant has responded to reviews prepared by the applicant. There is no time limit on when the new applica- tions may be submitted as long as it is after the summary statement is received. The time limit for A2 applications remains in effect. In addi- tion, a grantee does not have to submit an A2 but may choose to submit the same research as a new grant if desired. Appropriators Show Support

for NSF While Science Committee Expresses Concerns

With the annual appropriations process getting underway in April, 21 Senators signed a letter sent to the senior leadership of the Senate Appropria- tions Committee endorsing a $7.5 billion budget for the National Science Foundation (NSF) for






Georgetown University; Tamara Litwin , NIH; Steve Metallo , Georgetown; Keith Mickolajczyk , Penn State University; Bob Nakamoto , University of Virginia; Xiangyun Qiu , George Washington University; and Ling Chin Wan , NIH. These scientists enthusiastically helped individuals with their origami viruses and shared their scientific expertise with those who visited our exhibit. The Society would also like to thank its partners in bringing the Dome to the event: Wah Chiu , Matt Doherty , Daniela Dahlm , and Amber Eakin from Baylor University and Tony Butterfield from the Houston Museum of Science. Maryland Day Just a few miles away from the USA Science & En- gineering Festival, BPS President Dorothy Beckett orchestrated a second Biomolecular Dome event at the University of Maryland’s Maryland Day. The one-day event showcased the research and facili- ties of the University. Beckett, along with student volunteers, led students in the same activities tak- ing place at the Festival, with an additional activity illustrating how cells move. The featured films highlighted biophysics research taking place on campus as well as elsewhere.

USA Science & Engineering Festival The Biophysical Society was a proud supporter of public outreach and science education as a partner and participant in the 3rd USA Science and Engi- neering Festival held April 25-27 in Washington, DC. Referred to as “the Super Bowl of STEM,” the Festival attracted over 325,000 visitors. These individuals had the opportunity to hear from famous science ambassadors like “Bill Nye the Sci- ence Guy,” meet acting scientists, and learn about science, engineering, and math through hands-on activities. The Society brought the Biomolecular Dome to the event and showed a planetarium-style movie entitled The Human Brain, Images to Atoms . The Society also had staff and volunteers on hand to help attendees make their own origami viruses. Over 6,000 people watched the movie and were able to see images resulting from biophysics re- search. The Society would like to thank its volunteers, without whom the event would not have been a success: Dorothy Beckett , Uni- versity of Maryland; Kaitlyn Gerhart ,

BPS Members and staff helped attendees of the USA Science and Engi- neering Festival and Maryland Day create origami viruses.





Dear Molly Cule

Professor Molly Cule is delighted to receive comments on her answers and (anonymized) questions at , or visit her on the BPS Blog.

Haim recommends that whether you are a student, postdoc, or independent investigator, you find time to attend talks by policy makers, collaborate with government researchers, and participate in workshops and review meetings. Even activities like faculty senate or student government can become key steps in that career transition. “Without even realizing it, I was preparing for my current position while at Einstein, through my involvement in graduate student

How can I get involved in science policy?

Your desire to redirect your career after pursu- ing a research-focused PhD is not uncommon. Many scientists, of varying career levels, have chosen to pursue careers beyond the bench after completing their research training. Some have done so after years as an independent investiga- tor. Fortunately, as a scientist you have the skills needed to succeed in a variety of fields, including science policy.

Scientists develop the critical thinking and analytical skills that represent a key asset necessary for success in a variety of fields. Public policy, and more specifically, science policy and program manage- ment, is one field in which scientists are poised to be very successful.

Scientists develop the critical thinking and analytical skills that represent a key asset necessary for success in a variety of fields. Public policy, and more specifi- cally, science policy and program management, is one field in which sci- entists are poised to be very successful. Scores of junior and senior scientists alike have suc-

organizations and the Biophysical Society. Through these ac- tivities, I refined my ability to work success- fully in teams as well as strengthened my leadership skills,” says Haim. It is also important to note that while participating in these

cessfully made the transition from the bench to science policy. While there is no direct path for such a transition, there are a variety of options and paths available. Todd Haim , a BPS member now employed at the National Cancer Institute at NIH, started his transition to a career in science policy while a graduate student. He attended policy ses- sions and subsequently joined the Biophysical Society’s Public Affairs Committee. In that role, he made a visit to Congress and participated in many of the Committee’s public affairs activities. Haim says that at the time, he didn’t quite real- ize that it was such a key step in his career path. Yet, he notes that it is small experiences like that can help light that spark.

activities, you will be creating networking op- portunities that are bound to expose you to further opportunities in policy and public affairs. Such networking opportunities may open doors to temporary positions within federal agencies or roles on federal working groups and advisory committees. These experiences will also be critical in helping you figure out exactly how you want to partici- pate in policy activities and in which aspects you are most interested. There is no one way to impact science policy. Some scientists choose to have a profound impact by playing key roles in policy-related committees such as a federal agency’s advisory committee or a National Acad- emy of Sciences committee. Other scientists will





choose to devote a year or two of their career to the government through a rotation at a govern- ment agency, spending their sabbatical involved in policy activities, or participating in a science policy fellowship. The fellowships, while very competitive, are an excellent way to make that transition, and they come in many different forms: • The AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellowships are salaried opportunities for PhD scientists (or Masters degrees in fields such as engineering) to get placed at federal agencies or in a Congressional office for one to two years. (The Biophysical Society will be sponsoring its inaugural Congressional fellowship in part- nership with the AAAS in 2015.) • The National Academies’ Christine Mirzayan policy fellowships are an opportunity for gradu- ate students and recent PhDs to spend twelve weeks supporting a board or committee at the National Academies. • The ORISE fellowship programs include op- portunities for scientists at all stages to work in or with federal agencies. • The Presidential Management Fellowships are an excellent option for recent graduates who are ready to fully transition to a position within the federal government. • Many states have science policy fellowships, including the Hellman fellowships at the Ameri- can Academy of Arts & Sciences in Boston and the California State Science and Technology Policy Fellowships. These are just some of the many opportunities that provide scientists a foray into science policy. There are others. It is important to note that your interest in a policy career is important—there are multiple facets of science policy that would benefit from the involvement of trained scientists. Many scientists choose to provide their knowledge in specific scientific disciplines to guide the devel-

opment and implementation of policies such as engineers and physicists who assist with the development of climate change policies. This is often termed “science for policy.” Other sci- entists recognize the need for policies that can foster a conducive research environment, essen- tially developing “policy for science.” Yet other scientists will choose to get become involved in the management of federal research programs. Haim’s best advice to scientists considering a policy career is to talk to as many scientists involved in science policy as possible. It will quickly become clear that each position is very different. Haim transitioned to a policy position with experience in both academia and industry and considers himself fortunate to have found an excellent fit as a NCI Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program director. In this capac- ity, he is involved in the selection and manage- ment of projects at cancer startups focused on the development of innovative cancer therapeu- tics. He also helps lead initiatives such as the NCI SBIR Investor Forum that are designed to facilitate partnerships between NCI funded awardees and the investors and strategic partners necessary to advance the technology further towards the clinic.

Need career advice? Submit your own career conundrum to or visit the BPS Blog to view past Dear Molly Cule articles.






molecular dynamics simulations to obtain mem- brane structural information such as area per lipid molecule. Tim Salditt presented x-ray diffraction studies of fusion stalk formation in dehydrated lipid mixtures to characterize the energetic driving

MSAS A Report on the MSAS Subgroup Meeting in San Francisco

forces in SNARE-mediated fusion. The Thomas E. Thompson Award was presented to Sarah L. Keller for her contribution to the fun- damental understanding of lipid mixture phase behavior and ther- modynamics. Her talk, titled Some of My Greatest Mistakes was a tongue-in-cheek look at the

This year’s Membrane Structure and Assembly Subgroup (MSAS) symposium in San Francisco was devoted to a variety of aspects, mostly in the frontiers between biophysics and other sciences, such as microbiology, cell biology, and physics. For the first time we had a full-day symposium, which was very well attended from the first lecture to the last. The morning session started with a presentation by William Dowhan , based on his studies on lipid-protein interactions in bacterial membranes, on how lipids can determine protein structure. This was followed by a talk by Arne Gericke on how lipids mediate PTEN tumor sup- pressor function. One of the presentations con- necting cell biology and biophysics was given by Ana J. García-Sáez who described her studies on mitochondrial permeabilization in apoptosis. The cellular/molecular interface was also explored by Banafshe Larijani who showed her results on the effects of phosphoinositides and their derivatives on endomembrane morphology and function. The morning session ended with Robert V. Stahelin’s presentation on the molecular basis of the as- sembly and budding of the Ebola virus from the plasma membrane of human cells. In the afternoon Rumiana Dimova showed that AC and DC electric fields can be used to deform, po- rate, and precisely fuse giant vesicles. Anna Shnyro- va demonstrated that lipid nanotubes pulled from black lipid membranes can be used to study the interplay of dynamin assembly and membrane fis- sion. Next, Viola Vogel presented her nanotechnol- ogy-based work on how macrophages lift bacteria from surfaces through synchronization of the mo- tions and tensions applied by filopodia and lamel- lipodia. John Katsaras explained the advantages of combining neutron and x-ray scattering data with

Sarah Keller

connection between ideas and discovery highlight- ing some key publications from the Keller labora- tory. The award money of $ 1,000, as well as the symposium as a whole, were sponsored by Avanti Polar Lipids. All colleagues who are interested in our field are invited to be part of our community and asked to support it by being members of the subgroup. As this report is going to the printer the election of the 2016 MSAS chair is taking place, we congratu- late the elected person and thank all the candidates who agreed to run. Many thanks also to sponsors, members, and all attendees. We hope to see you in Baltimore next year! — Felix M. Goñi and Marjorie Longo , former and current MSAS Chair BIV After hosting a successful 4 th symposium at the recent Biophysical Society Meeting in San Fran- cisco, the BIV subgroup is excited to bring to your attention a few other worldwide events that provide further platforms for exciting discussions on how biomolecular processes inside the cell dif- fer from conventional in vitro experiments. These events will bring together researchers with diverse Upcoming Conferences Highlighting Biopolymers In Vivo (BIV) Themes





backgrounds in experiment, simulation and theory to discuss state-of-the-art advances on the in-cell behavior of biomolecules. The conferences below will foster new knowledge and help identifying key areas of future growth. Although these events are happening pretty soon, you may still have time to register. 1. Telluride Science Research Center workshop on Protein and Peptide Interactions in Cellular En- vironments , co-organized by Joan Emma Shea and Michael Feig from June 24 – June 28, 2014. This workshop brings together researchers from around the world in the beautiful city of Tellu- ride, Colorado in a small group setting to provide ample time for discussions on topics ranging from macromolecular crowding, chaperone-mediated folding, membrane-protein interactions and pro- tein aggregation. details?wid=345 2. CECAM workshop on the Self-organized Cyto- plasm , co-organized by Trevor Dale , Richard Sear , and Ignacio Pagonabarraga Mora from July 16- July 18, 2014. This workshop focuses on meso- scale dynamic structures formed in the cell and how they impact self-organized transport, protein solution phase behavior, and fluid mechanics. 3. FASEB Research Conference on Protein Folding in the Cell , co-organized by Jeffrey L. Brodsky and Pa- tricia L. Clark from July 20 – July 25, 2014. This conference will open with a keynote talk by past BIV chair Lila Gierasch and includes presentations on topics ranging from protein folding, chaperone machines, amyloid formation, and evolution of protein machines in the cellular environment. conf/Programs/11617.pdf — Jeetain Mittal , Secretary-Treasurer, BIV Subgroup


59 th Annual Meeting Baltimore, Maryland February 7-11, 2015

Bridging the Sciences: Computation and Experiment

Grants and Opportunities

Predoctoral Training in Biomedical Big Data Science (T32) Objective: To help ensure that a diverse pool of highly trained scientists is available in appropriate scientific disciplines to address the Nation’s bio- medical, behavioral, and clinical research needs. Who Can Apply: Any individual(s) with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to carry out the proposed research training program as the Training Program Director/Principal Investigator (Training PD/PI), US public/state controlled institu- tions of higher education, private institutions of higher education.

Deadline: July 28, 2014

Website: files/RFA-HG-14-004.html





Biophysical Journal Call for Papers

Special Issue: Focus on Quantitative Cell Biology

For publication December 2, 2014, Volume 107, Number 11

Biophysical Journal will publish a special issue of the Journal with a focus on Quantitative Cell Biology. The Journal welcomes submissions that report on studies of biological molecules and structures with a focus on mechanisms at the cellular level using the

concepts and methods of physics, chemistry, mathematics, engineering, and computational science. Studies should further our understanding of the interactions between the various systems of a cell as well as how these

interactions are regulated. The Journal aims to publish the highest quality work and articles should have sufficient importance to be of general interest to biophysicists, regardless of their research specialty.

Deadline for submission: July 1, 2014

• Please include a cover letter stating that you would like to be part of the special issue on Quantitative Cell Biology • Select “Special Issue: Focus on Quantitative Cell Biology” when up- loading 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 fees will apply


Biophysical Society

For more information, go to





Postdoc Spotlight GUISHAN ZHENG Harvard University Martin Karplus Lab

Q: In what field is your PhD? How did you specialize in biophysics? My PhD is in computational chemistry. As a graduate student, I was extremely interested in applying computational techniques to understand chemistry at the atomic level, especially those not feasible experimentally. As I learned more and more about computational chemistry, I realized there are even more interesting and challenging problems in biophysics, which are still waiting to be resolved or answered. Thus, I decided to pursue my postdoc in a computational biology lab. Q: What initially attracted you to the field? The development of QM/MM method has been shown to be able to accurately describe chemistry in biological systems. This inspired me to apply the method to study biological phenomena. I was especially interested in how enzymes achieved their catalytic power in cells. This is one typical problem that the QM/MM method can be ap- plied to to understand the unknown mystery of enzyme catalysis. Q: What is your current research project? I am currently studying how the “perfect” catalysis (catalysis whose rate is only limited by diffusion) is achieved by triosephosphate isomerase. I’ve been able to show the detailed reaction mechanism of this well-known glycolytic enzyme and identi- fied the origin of its efficiency using free energy simulations. This is the first time it was possible to use free energy simulations with the QM/MM potential for the study, for which I’ve improved the parameters of the QM method (i.e. density functional tight binding method) and developed a novel extended Lagrangian molecular dynamics with my collaborators.

Q: What skills and experiences have you gained/do you hope to gain from your postdoc position? As a postdoc working in Professor Karplus’ lab, I’ve learned to use free energy simulation tech- niques combined with the QM/MM potential and/or force fields to understand enzyme ca- talysis and protein conformational changes. I’m immensely grateful to Professor Karplus for his constant support and encouragement. Q: Tell us about a great experience or op- portunity you’ve had in the past year? Last year, I was able to publish our research on the understanding of the Bohr effects of hemoglobin using the computational titration method in Bio- chemistry . The research clarifies the origin of Bohr effect at the atomic level, which supplements the canonical Perutz model. Martin Karplus, Guishan’s PI says: Guishan Zheng is an outstanding postdoctoral fel- low, who is unusual in the computation community because he has made contributions to both quantum mechanical methodology and applications of model- ling to important problems. One of the latter is the first detailed test, verification, and extension of Perutz’s model for the Bohr effect. Although the proposal was made by Perutz in the 1970s, it is only now that it could be studied at the atomic level. Guishan has also introduced a method for speeding up QM/MM calculations and applied it to do the first free energy surface exploration of the critical enzyme triosephosphate isomerize and compared it with the reaction in solution.

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August 4-8 "Hands-on" Workshop on Computational Biophysics at Lake Tahoe Tahoe City, CA Training/Workshop/LakeTa- hoe2014/#.Uxod8T9dX4Y August 28-30 Pore-Forming Toxins: a meet- ing in memory of Gianfranco Menestrina, PFT2014 Trento, Italy

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

October 27-29 3rd International Conference and Exhibition on Cell & Gene Therapy Las Vegas, NV http://cellgenetherapy2014.con- October 28 – November 2 Cell Death Signaling in Cancer and the Immune System (S2) São Paulo, Brazil http://www.keystonesymposia. org/index.cfm?e=web.Meeting. Program&meetingid=1321

November 6-7 15th EMBL|EMBO Science and Society Conference Heidelberg, Germany events/2014/SNS14-01/index.html November 16-21 2014 Annual Meeting of the AES Electrophoresis Society Atlanta, GA ings/index.php

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

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