Biophysical Society Bulletin | May 2022

May 2022

T H E N E W S L E T T E R O F T H E B I O P H Y S I C A L S O C I E T Y

Biophysics Week, held annually since 2016, is a global campaign to increase awareness of the field of biophysics. The goal is to foster global public enthusiasm and support for biophysics. It is important to emphasize how pertinent it is for researchers to be able to collaborate across borders in science, especially in an interdisciplinary field such as biophysics. It is crucial for researchers to remain on the forefront of the latest developments and breakthroughs in biophysics research. The seventh annual event took place March 21–25, 2022, and included events hosted by BPS, BPS Subgroups, and Affiliate Event Organizers. BPS would like to thank members and communities all over the world who hosted events and supported and participated in Biophysics Week. The week featured both in-person and virtual events hosted by members in 13 different countries. From lab tours to experiments to seminars and webinars, these events allowed communities across the globe to participate and learn how biophysics impacts science research. BPS offered several resources such as profiles, classical lay summaries, lesson plans and experiments, and more throughout the week. Resources are still available at www.biophysics.org/biophysics-week. BPS would like to recognize our 2022 Biophysics Week Partners—British Biophysical Society, European Biophysical Societies’ Association (EBSA), International Union for Pure and Applied Biophysics (IUPAB), and Italian Society of Pure and Applied Biophysics (SIBPA)— for their efforts in making this event a success by promoting and sharing Biophysics Week around the world. Together, we advance the role of biophysics in science.

Inside President’s Message Biophysicist in Profile

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Biophysics Week Communities Member Corner In Memoriam Important Dates

Stay Connected with BPS

Public Affairs Publications

Opinion

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Career Development

President’s Message

AWorld of Refugees

The scene of elated members laughing and hugging as the Bio- physical Society (BPS) Annual Meet- ing concluded in February faded almost cinematically to reports of destruction and death as an un- hinged Vladimir Putin drove his mil- itary into Ukraine and set missiles flying. The leadership of BPS, like that of many other scientific societ-

it can put them in danger of kidnapping. The population is unprotected, [and] everyone knows that the army, the police, and the gangsters work together.” Luis provides some financial support for his family in Venezu- ela, easing the otherwise constant food insecurity. But travel is difficult. “After Maduro took the government, many airlines stopped traveling to the country and it was more difficult to travel to or from Venezuela. My family cannot visit the USA since they have no visa, and it is not possible to get a visa in Venezuela since there is no US embassy in the country. I have not seen them for over five years.” The number of Venezuelan refugees in the world has continued to grow. According to the Brookings Institution, a total of 5.3 million people fled Vene- zuela between 2015 and 2020. A postdoctoral fellow from Cuba, now studying at the Univer- sity of Wisconsin–Madison, also requested anonymity. She said there was little incentive to study in Cuba since advanced degrees did not lead to economic stability. “Both my parents have college degrees, but my father had to drive a taxi at night to feed the family.” Her mother, a mechanical engineer and an executive in a government agency, also had side jobs to supplement her $50/month salary before emigrating to Chile. But expressing dissatisfaction with the economic situation was not allowed. “The threats we faced were more psychological than physical. Speech that discredits or criticiz- es the government is punishable by prison sentence. Now, for my family there is real danger, and they are always afraid. And everything has consequences, whether you are inside Cuba or out.” Some BPS members offer advice for how the rest of us can help. Says EMBO Young Investigator Camilo Perez, originally from Colombia and now at the University of Basel, “I think it’s really important to support refugee scientists as much as we can. I am in the process of bringing a Ukrainian student into my lab. While our research areas do not overlap significantly, it is my hope that during an internship she will be able to learn skills that will benefit her PhD in the future or improve her chances to find a job in Switzerland.” Volodymyr Korkhov , a Ukrainian scientist living and working in Zurich, hopes international support “will ultimately lead to an even stronger Ukraine as a vibrant center for scientific investigation,” once rebuilding is underway. He suggests the heartening response from the West toward Ukraine might inspire more effective means of supporting scientists and scholars fleeing Afghanistan and other countries, many of whom remain in refugee centers facing uncertain futures.

Gail Robertson

ies, drafted a statement of support (https:/www.biophysics. org/news-room/bps-condemns-the-invasion-of-ukraine- and-urges-support-for-ukrainian-scientists) calling for hu- manitarian relief for refugees and easing of visa restrictions for those seeking to pursue studies and work elsewhere un- der safer circumstances. For some BPS members, the threat is not abstract: Alexey Ladokhin , a professor at the University of Kansas Medical Center, was reunited with his 12-year-old daughter earlier in March after she fled Ukraine and came to the United States by way of Poland. As of this writing, he is in Kyiv seeking safe passage for his parents. He contributes an impassioned opinion piece in this month’s BPS Bulletin . The war on Ukraine evoked a broader reflection on the effects of displacement and oppressive governments among sci- entists worldwide. At a recent Gordon Research Conference in Italy, discussions one evening over dinner soon turned to politics, revolutions, wars, and oppression, with first-hand ac- counts shared by several at the table. At one point, Rockefel- ler University and Howard Hughes Medical Institute scientist Rod MacKinnon leaned over to me and said, “You know, Gail, we are the only people at the table who haven’t lived in a war zone or under a crushing dictatorship.” Looking at these fa- miliar faces, I realized how rarely I consider their backgrounds and the unique solutions their specific challenges required. Ongoing conflicts, aggressions, and repressive regimes are pervasive. Venezuela and Cuba, for example, have failed their scholars and scientists, driving a brain drain over many years punctuated by mass exoduses. BPS member Luis, a postdoctoral fellow at Washington University, offered these thoughts but asked that we change his name to protect his family back home: “I would say nobody is safe in Venezuela. It is one of the most violent countries in the world and there is always the risk that any person can be a victim. I know cases of neighbors who have been kidnapped by members of the police and they are released only after the family pays a bribe. Otherwise, they are charged... and sent to jail. There are people who need to pay armed gangs monthly to avoid being attacked. I have asked my nephews and nieces not to mention in school that they have family living in other countries since

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President’s Message

Officers President

Gail Robertson President-Elect Taekjip Ha Past-President Frances Separovic Secretary Erin Sheets Treasurer Samantha Harris Council Patricia Bassereau Henry Colecraft Erin C. Dueber Martin Gruebele Gilad Haran Kumiko Hayashi Syma Khalid Francesca Marassi Susan Marqusee Carolyn A. Moores

Even Russian scientists opposing the invasion will be among those looking for new posi- tions. Many have already abandoned their home country to join the legions of politically displaced scientists seeking to continue their scientific careers. It is fitting at such a time that the 2023 Bio- physical Lecture, the Society’s highest honor, will be delivered at the next Annual Meeting by Ardem Patapoutian . Patapoutian, a recent Nobel laureate, fled war-torn Beirut as a young man, landing without a plan or guidance in Los Angeles, California. His great success is a testament to the courage of young scientists everywhere and the value we risk losing be- cause of the violent consequences of war. We can combat feelings of helplessness by making room in our laboratories for refugees and donating to the agencies that sup- port them. The Safe Passage Fund (https:/ www8.nationalacademies.org/academy- giving/nasem/academygiving.aspx?fund- name=Safe%20Passage%20Fund) established

by the National Academies helps Ukrainian scholars and their families to relocate, primar- ily to Poland, where they can continue to work and contribute during this time of upheaval. For a broader reach, United Kingdom-based Cara (Council for At-Risk Academics; https:/ www.cara.ngo/who-we-are/) works to aid displaced scientists and scholars from Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan. An agency with a long history, Cara helped many scientists displaced from Nazi Germany find new laboratories. The Institute of International Education’s Scholar Rescue Fund (IIE-SRF) is a global program that arranges, funds, and supports fellowships for threatened and displaced scholars at partner- ing higher education institutions worldwide (https:/www.scholarrescuefund.org). If you know of other ways to help, please contact me at garobert@wisc.edu or share with @hergologie and @BiophysicalSoc on Twitter. — Gail Robertson , President

Kandice Tanner Valeria Vasquez Biophysical Journal Vasanthi Jayaraman Editor-in-Chief The Biophysicist Sam Safran Editor-in-Chief Biophysical Reports

Join the BPS PUI Network Are you looking to connect with other PUI faculties or interest- ed in obtaining academic positions at Primarily Undergraduate Institution (PUIs)? Join the BPS PUI Network. The network creates opportunities for current PUI faculty to network and share expe- riences with one another. Members of the Network exchange tips and ideas such as teaching strategies, latest trends in education technology, online teaching, and more. Graduate students and postdocs interested in obtaining academic positions at PUIs are encouraged to join. Questions can be directed to Margaret Mainguy at mmainguy@biophysics.org. www.biophysics.org/PUI-Network Give the Gift of Membership Make a difference and give them the tools to succeed. www.biophysics.org/giftmembership

Jörg Enderlein Editor-in-Chief

Society Office Jennifer Pesanelli Executive Officer Newsletter

Executive Editor Jennifer Pesanelli Managing Editor John Long Production Ray Wolfe Proofreader/Copy Editor The Biophysical Society Newsletter (ISSN 0006-3495) is published eleven times per year, January-December, by the Biophysical Society, 5515 Security Lane, Suite 1110, Rockville, Maryland 20852. Distributed to USA members and other countries at no cost. Cana- dian GST No. 898477062. Postmaster: Send address changes to Biophysical Society, 5515 Security Lane, Suite 1110, Rockville, MD 20852. Copyright © 2022 by the Biophysical Society. Darren Early Laura Phelan

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Biophysicist in Profile

Theanne Griffith Area of Research The ion channels of somatosensory transmission in health and disease

Institution University of California, Davis

At-a-Glance

Theanne Griffith has loved science from the time she was a little girl, finding the joy of research as an undergraduate student. Now she is in her first year as an Assistant Professor at the University of California, Davis. In addition to her research and mentoring, she finds time to share her love of science more broadly, as the author of the children’s science adventure series The Magnificent Makers and co-writer on the nonfiction series Ada Twist, Scientist: The Why Files.

Theanne Griffith

Theanne Griffith grew up in Alexandria, Virginia, a suburb of Washington, DC. Her parents were both first-generation ac- ademics. “My mother was a professor of sociology at Buck- nell University and later went on to become the Chair of the Women’s Studies Department at Towson University and the director of their Institute for Teaching and Research on Wom- en,” she shares. “My father was a professor of economics at Bucknell University, with a focus on economic development in the Caribbean. He also founded and directed the Bucknell in Barbados Summer Study Program.” Griffith is the first in her family to pursue a career in scientific research. She loved science from the time she was a little girl, and began considering it as a career in high school after an advanced placement biology class introduced her to the field of neuroscience. She went on to major in neuroscience and Spanish at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, graduating in 2008. “My interest in biophysics was piqued as an undergraduate researcher at Smith College, were I stud- ied modulation of human GABA(A) receptors,” she says. “As a graduate student at Northwestern University, this interest was solidified, as I continued studying ion channels. This time, my focus was on ionotropic glutamate receptors and their regulation by auxiliary subunits. I was hooked and there was no looking back!” She received her doctorate in neuroscience at Northwestern University in 2015, and then began postdoctoral research with Ellen A. Lumpkin at Columbia University. “There, I har- nessed my knowledge of ion channel biophysics to investi- gate the role of voltage-gated sodium channels in somato- sensory transmission,” Griffith explains. “I made the surprising discovery that Nav1.1 is a critical determinant of excitability in a subset of cold-sensing peripheral sensory neurons, which I found to be due in part to the unique slow inactivation kinet- ics of these native channels.” Griffith is currently an Assistant Professor in the Depart- ment of Physiology and Membrane Biology at the University of California, Davis. “The overall goal of the Griffith lab is to

define the specialized roles for ion channels in somatosentory transmission and behavior. Continuing with the work I did as a postdoc, we are currently investigating new roles for Nav1.1 in various somatosensory modalities,” she related. “Nav1.1 is primarily studied in the central nervous system, where it con- tributes to repetitive firing in GABAergic interneurons, leaving its role in the peripheral nervous system underexplored. We are studying the role of this channel in various somatosen- sory modalities, including thermosensation, pain, and pro- prioception, using techniques that range from biophysics to behavior. As we are very interested in native ion channel func- tion, additional research directions include defining the unique molecular composition of ion channel complexes in distinct neuronal subpopulations, with the goal of understanding how native channels may be modulated or tuned in a cell-type– specific manner.” The biggest challenge she has faced in her career was also a personal one. “My mother was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer the day before my orientation to my gradu- ate program and died three years later. I was only 27 when she passed, and it was an extremely challenging time, as grad school is tough under the best circumstances. I had a supportive mentor who was very understanding, as well as awesome and supportive colleagues. Nevertheless, that experience shaped me in many important ways. It showed me the very real need and the importance of spending time with loved ones,” Griffith shares. “As a mother now myself, I strive to not let work interfere with the time I spend with my family. I’m not always successful, but I am proud of the progress I’ve made while maintaining healthy work boundaries. It has made me really focus on being organized and efficient with my time, and protective of it. In my first year as an Assistant Professor, I’ve learned the importance of saying ‘no.’ It’s tough to inter- nalize, especially as a Black woman. If I could hazard a guess, the one space in science in which we are overrepresented is the ‘Can you do this for me?’ category.”

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Biophysicist in Profile

The most rewarding aspects of her work are fostering the next generation of researchers and the excitement of discov- ery. “I absolutely love to witness the growth in my trainees. If I wasn’t a scientist, I’d be a teacher, as I love training and mentoring the future generation of scientists,” Griffith says. “A close second would be contributing to knowledge. I love getting results that no one has reported before, and really being at the forefront of scientific investigation. That was a big driver in my deciding to pursue a career at an academic R1 institution.” When she’s not working in her lab, Griffith spends time writ- ing children’s literature focused on STEM. “I am the author of the science adventure series The Magnificent Makers (Random House Children’s Books) and co-writer on the nonfiction series Ada Twist, Scientist: The Why Files (Abrams),” she reveals. “I also enjoy doing yoga, tending to my garden and house plants, and spending time outside with my family.” She also volunteers as a member of the Biophysical Society’s Committee for Inclusion and Diversity, and conceived of and organized the recent Justice for Underrepresented Scholars Training in Biophysics (JUST-B) Poster Session at the An- nual Meeting. “The inaugural JUST-B Poster Session was a huge success. Nearly 50 underrepresented trainees, from career stages spanning undergraduate researchers to senior scientists, presented their cutting-edge work,” she reports. “The session was attended by faculty, industry professionals, journal editors, and program officials from NIH. I couldn’t have hoped for a better turnout, which in my opinion shows just how needed this session was. I am thrilled to watch as this program evolves in the years to come.” To those just starting out in biophysics, Griffith says, “Wel- come! The biophysics community is amazing. The field is rapidly evolving with the development of cutting-edge optical, imaging, structural, and functional techniques. There is so much room for growth. We are happy you are here.”

Griffith at the inaugural JUST-B Poster Session with Delany Torres-Salazar, Ana Fernandez-Mariño, and Teresa Giráldez.

Griffith describes her favorite part of working under the biophysics umbrella: “I really love ion channels and understanding how they are uniquely tuned to achieve their physiological role. I also love the biophysics community! My work is definitely on the edge of what one might consid- er ‘biophysics.’ We don’t study channel function per se, but instead how channel function influences neuronal physiology and behavior. But I have truly fallen in love with the biophysics community, as I find it incredibly supportive and welcoming. Gathering with colleagues at the Annual Meeting is definitely a highlight of my year.” She explains further: “Being a part of the Society has intro- duced me to researchers and research that have changed the way I approach science. I am a neuroscientist by training, but the connections I have made with the biophysics community has given my research a special twist, allowing me to ask questions that span ion channel biophysics to mammalian behavior.”

The Biophysical Society is grateful to its Industry Partners.

For Industry Partner Membership information, contact alevine@biophysics.org. SILVER GOLD

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Public Affairs

Luyi Cheng

Elmer Zapata-Mercado

BPS Names Two Congressional Fellows for 2022–2023 BPS is pleased to announce that we will be sponsoring two BPS Congressional Fellows for the 2022–2023 policy year. The Public Affairs Committee (PAC), responsible for reviewing the applications and interviewing candidates, had a wide array of outstanding scientists to choose from. Ultimately, the PAC concluded that the only choice was to sponsor two Congressional Fellows for the first time in our program history— Luyi Cheng and Elmer Zapata-Mercado . “This will be the first time that the Biophysical Society has selected two candidates to support in a year-long fellowship pro- gram on Capitol Hill,” said Eric Sundberg , Chair of the PAC. “We are extremely proud to present these two candidates as repre- sentatives of biophysics and the scientific community at large.” Cheng and Zapata-Mercado will spend a year working in a congressional office on legislative and policy areas requiring sci- entific input. They will also participate in the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Science and Technology Fellowship Program, which includes an orientation on congressional and executive branch operations and a year-long seminar series on issues related to science policy. Cheng and Zapata-Mercato will begin their fellowships in September 2022. Read more about the Congressional Fellowship program at https:/www.biophysics.org/policy-advocacy/congressional-fellowship.

An Update from the Nation’s Capital Greetings from the U.S. Capitol! I’m Max Olender , and I’m privileged to serve as the 2021–2022 BPS Congressional Fellow. Along with 26 fellow scientists and engineers sponsored by other professional societies, I’m participating in the Science and Technology Policy

with Senator Casey’s office, my four-member team covers the Senator’s health policy portfolio; I specialize in health innovation, industry, regulation, and research. In this capac- ity, I’ve been closely engaged in authorization and oversight of government agencies within the Committee’s jurisdiction, including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), National Institutes of Health, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. My key responsibilities include supporting the Senator in pur- suing legislative and policy priorities, preparing for hearings and meetings, deliberating upcoming votes, reviewing and crafting public statements, and staying apprised of current events, trends, and constituent sentiment. To keep Senator Casey updated and informed on issues within the purview of the Subcommittee, I contribute to memos and issue briefs, draft new legislation, provide vote recommendations, devel- op and propose questions for hearing witnesses, and attend briefings and hearings. It is also my responsibility to meet with constituents, advocacy groups, and external stakehold- ers on behalf of the Senator. While much of my work goes unseen, it’s always exciting when my efforts result in demonstrable outcomes. I’ve di- rectly contributed to the introduction of bipartisan legislation,

Fellowship Program administered by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Through this program, I’ve been given the unique opportunity to bring sci- entific expertise and perspective

Max Olender

to Congress while learning about the policy-making process through hands-on experience. Having begun this one-year fellowship in September, I’m excited to provide a glimpse into what I’ve experienced in that time. I work as a member of the majority staff for the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions’ Subcommittee on Children and Families, serving under the leadership of Chair Bob Casey (D-PA). Collaborating closely

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Public Affairs

co-sponsorship of bills and resolutions, and signature of over- sight letters. In particular, I had the opportunity to participate in the legislative process for the PREVENT Pandemics Act, a major public health preparedness package, and to work on the Senator’s contributions to the bill addressing areas of medical device supply disruption and therapeutics to combat antimi- crobial resistant pathogens. I’m also fortunate that my tenure is coinciding with nota- ble events in the health policy space. This year, Congress is undertaking the FDA use fee reauthorization process, which occurs every five years and presents an opportunity for legis- lators to revisit FDA authorities, processes, and expectations. Other highlights have included the confirmation process of a new FDA Commissioner, hearings with leading government experts on the state of the COVID-19 pandemic and nation- al response, and establishment of the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H), a new agency to drive breakthrough translational biomedical and health research. The past several months have been a whirlwind of learning, with new experiences and opportunities around every corner, and I’m excited for what lies ahead. — Max Olender , BPS Congressional Fellow

Call for BPS Ambassadors Program Are you an advocate for biophysics education and knowledge sharing? Have you considered applying for the Biophysical Society (BPS) Ambassador Program to put those skills into action? The BPS Ambassador Program was developed to help make biophysics a more dynamic, inclusive, and interdisciplinary community to better serve the needs of our international membership. Currently, BPS works with twelve Ambassadors representing Argentina, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, India, Kenya, Malaysia, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Turkey, and United Kingdom. The Ambassador Program creates a global network of BPS members that serve as local Society resources in their home countries or regions to promote the field and foster conversations around biophysics. As a BPS Ambassador, you will play

Ambassador Program

Empowering Biophysics Globally

a key role in connecting the Society and its membership with relevant local content, serve as BPS point-of-contact, and help foster discussions on issues of importance to science around the globe. Through this program, the Society hopes to grow the biophysics network by educating and inspiring others to pursue careers in biophysics and further develop its advocacy efforts around the world. For the next class of Ambassadors (2023–2026), we are only accepting applications from outside of Argentina, Australia, Hong Kong, Kenya, Malaysia, Netherlands, Norway, and Turkey. An ideal country Ambassador is a mid-career to senior scientist, actively engaged in biophysics research and committed to remaining in the field for the duration of the Ambassadorship, an active paid member of the Society in good standing, able to attend the Annual Meeting at the start of their term, works proficiently in English, and has a demonstrated ability to contribute to organizations and scientific societies outside of their normal job duties. To learn more about the program, Ambassador eligibility, and benefits, please visit www.biophysics.org/out- reach/ambassador-program. Applications are open now and will be accepted through June 17, 2022.

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Publications

Know the Editor Timo Betz

Georg August University Göttingen

Editor, Cell Biophysics Biophysical Journal

Timo Betz

What has been your most exciting discovery as a biophysicist?

When I started to work on red blood cell membrane fluctua- tions, I realized that by using a precise measurement of both the spontaneous fluctuations and the mechanical properties, we can make clear predictions about the metabolic processes that are actively driving the fluctuations. This was possible by a stringent application of statistical mechanics extended to nonequilibrium processes. Although we could prove that the fluctuations are partially driven by active processes, we could not cross-check our quantitative predictions, simply because one cannot simply access genetic changes in human red blood cells. However, we were able to carry the experimental approach over to mouse oocytes. Again, by combining precise measurement of the mechanical properties inside the cell, by using optical tweezers, and the spontaneous fluctuations of endogenous granules, it was possible to measure molecular properties of the myosin-V motor, which drives the granules’ motion. The fascinating thing was that we could recover the values obtained from single-molecule experiments, although we were merely looking at average statistical fluctuations and knowing the viscoelastic properties. It was like Jean Baptiste Perrin must have felt when he determined the Avogadro con- stant by just watching the diffusion of particles. What are you currently working on that excites you? I am fascinated to study how living objects fulfil their function with such amazing reliability by using the nonlinear and non- equilibrium physics that dominates living cells. As a physicist, I love statistical mechanics because it provides a wonderful access to understand the microscopic world. Unfortunately, many of the powerful tools provided by equilibrium statisti- cal mechanics cannot be applied to cellular systems, sim- ply because these are inherently driven out of equilibrium. Currently, we are working on new analysis methods that allow quantification of general mechanical properties and active forces of such living, nonequilibrium systems by simply observing the active and passive motion of particles and molecules inside cells. Although the general consensus of the past years was that it is impossible to fully quantify a system by simple passive observations, new theoretical and exper- imental methods are being developed that may eventually provide this information. The dream is to directly understand active forces, mechanical properties, and the dynamic chang- es of both within a living cell by purely observing the motion of intercellular objects.

Editor’s Pick Biophysical Journal Tether-guided lamellipodia enable rapid wound healing Elgin Korkmazhan, Andrew S. Kennard, Carlos Garzon-Coral, Clau- dia G. Vasquez, Alexander R. Dunn “As the outermost layer of organs, epithelia must withstand and respond to various physical and chemical insults. How- ever, relatively few studies to date have examined how cells act to repair damage on the seconds timescale. Here, using in vitro and zebrafish models, epithelia were subjected to acute detachment from the underlying extracellular matrix. Even during large-scale detachments, cells remained attached to the extracellular matrix via long membrane tethers. Cells rap- idly extended lamellipodia along these tethers, allowing them to reestablish contact with the underlying substrate on the seconds timescale. The tether-guided lamellipodia observed may constitute an understudied mechanism used by epithelial cells to rapidly repair the damage caused by localized wound- ing events.”

Version of Record Published February 11, 2022 DOI:https:/doi.org/10.1016/j.bpj.2022.02.006 FollowBPS Journals

on Twitter @BiophysJ @BiophysReports @BiophysicistJ

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Opinion

The Tragedy and Triumph of Ukraine I was returning from the Biophysical Society Meeting in San Francisco, and it was right after landing at the Kansas City Airport on February 24, 2022, that I got a text message from my mother in Kyiv: “It has started.” Whatever miniscule hope I had of misinterpreting “it” swiftly vanished after my 12-year-old daughter texted me from Ivano-Frankivsk, “They are bombing our airport.” So, “they” have “started it,” Rus- sian Armed Forces bombing Ukraine, swiftly escalating from military targets to civil infrastructure, to residential areas, to children in shelters and maternity wards. In the subsequent days, I’ve received many messages of support from my colleagues and have been asked about the well-being of my family, for which I am very grateful. In addition to unanimous support of Ukraine, some also conveyed outrage at war crimes committed by Russia, but most expressed their “concern” over the “events in Ukraine” and wished “speedy resolution to the crisis.” I had no other answer than to state that the Russian aggression against Ukraine turned every single person of my nearly 50-million-strong nation into my family. I made a point to explain that the war against Ukraine had started long before 2022. For over three decades of my aca- demic career in the United States, I’ve been communicating to my colleagues the dangers of following Russian imperial narratives about Ukraine. I don’t know how successful I was in conveying that this propaganda is not only threatening the freedom and very existence of Ukraine, but also the freedom and the very existence of the Free World. Here, I will make these arguments once more, supported and/or illustrated by references to publications, lectures, and media presentations. The overlooked historic contributions of Ukraine to world culture and science How many of you know that numerous Nobel Prize win- ners were born in present-day Ukraine? The author of the Jablonsky Diagram was born and educated near Kharkiv. The “father” of the Soviet Space Program, Sergei Korolev , was Ukrainian. The Periodic Table was developed at the Odesa University. The spirit of Igor Sikorsky and the long tradition of aviation in Ukraine is manifest in the world’s largest aircraft, “Mria” (“Dream” in Ukrainian). The only specimen of this mar- vel of science and engineering was destroyed in February of 2022 by Russian-designed, Russian-built, and Russian-fired missiles. Dissolution of the Soviet Union and the political invisibility of Ukraine After the proclamation of Ukrainian independence in 1991, there were numerous signals that Western interests were not focused on Ukraine. For example, President Bill Clinton

stated that while he was not advocating for new West-East borderlines in Europe, he didn’t want the new developments in “Poland, Czechia and Slovakia” to antagonize the interests of “Russia and Ukraine.” Here we go, I said to myself upon hearing this. The new border in Europe is set, and Ukraine is given to Russia! This attitude was sealed with the ill-fated Budapest Memorandum of 1993, under which Ukraine sur- rendered its nuclear arsenal for guaranties of sovereignty and territorial integrity by the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and the Russian Federation. The interpretation by Russia of Ukrainian “territorial integrity” was, apparently, the violent assimilation of Ukraine, piece by piece, into Russia. Since the United States, the United Kingdom, and France failed to produce any meaningful action following the annex- ation of Crimea, Russia had no reason to doubt its grotesque interpretation of “territorial integrity” was correct. The invasion of eastern Ukraine, annexation of Crimea, and the indifferent reaction by the Western press and politicians This ongoing “special operation” by the Russian Federation begun in 2014 resulted in over ten thousand dead and nearly two million displaced Ukrainian citizens by the end of 2021. The bite of the sanctions imposed by Western powers at the time was miniscule. Sadly, many journalists and editors either willingly or unwittingly participated in Vladimir Putin’s propaganda, illustrated by the news feature entitled “Out in the cold,” in the journal Science ( Science 352:140–141, DOI:10.1126/science.352.6282.140). The editors bewil- deringly placed this article under their “Science in Russia” collection. We offered an incisive response in a Letter to the Editor, signed by nearly 150 scientists worldwide, “Crimea report leaves readers in the cold” ( Science 352:780–781, DOI:10.1126/science.aaf9663), as well as in an eLetter titled “’Out in the cold’ and Kremlin’s weaponization of culture” published with the original article cited above. We describe there how the piece essentially previewed the main points of Putin’s propaganda we now hear, six years later, in “justifying” his invasion of Ukraine. The role of the scientific community It is clear that the heroic resistance of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and the unification of the multi-ethnic society of Ukraine has galvanized the civilized world. The scientific community worldwide has answered the call for preserving and rebuilding Ukrainian science. However, it is only after the existential threat to Ukraine is completely eliminated that the implementation of a plan for restoring Ukraine’s economy and scientific infrastructure can be successful. Achieving this goal would require first winning the war on the battlefields of Ukraine, the economic destruction of the aggressor’s econo- my, followed by holding war criminals and their enablers ac- countable in International Criminal Courts. Ukraine’s success will be a success of the entire Free World. Слава Україні! — Alexey Ladokhin

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Career Development

My Journey into a New Field of Research: One Postdoc’s Experience I am a postdoc in the field of cancer biophysics. I’m surprised to find myself

I found that it is important to reach out to colleagues in the early phase of your postdoc to help you adapt and learn about your new field. Don’t hesitate to ask colleagues about new skills you should be learning or questions you have about their careers. You may have your PhD, but you’ll always need your learning spirit. Find a supportive mentor and take advantage of profession- al development. Connecting with the right mentor was an important factor in choosing my current postdoc position. I’m fortunate to have found a mentor who went through a similar transition in her early career: she did her postdoc in biology after earning her PhD in physics. Not only has she been sup- portive of me, but by sharing her experiences she has shown me potential issues to look out for. As I was coming from a background outside biology, she made sure that I was aware of possible errors or optimization processes that I might go through in biology research. I’m also fortunate to have a supportive institution. I’ll admit that in my postdoc search, I only considered my research interest and mentors. I had no idea how important my insti- tution would prove to be. Upon arriving, I was blown away by the many career development programs that are offered for trainees. These programs helped me build skills outside of a specific research area, including my communication skills. Be sure to explore opportunities that may be available through your institution or through your membership in the Biophysi- cal Society. Choose the field that ignites your curiosity and passion. A postdoc can be long and full of frustrations. Find a field that excites you and inspires you to keep searching for answers— that passion will help you stay focused.

here—after all, I earned my PhD in chemistry specializing in single mole- cule fluorescence techniques and other photophysical methods to study newly emerging fluorescence nanoparticles. Although I had absolutely no experience in cell culture and animal models, I was able to transition into this exciting field.

I hope that by sharing my experience, readers may be less intimidated by the idea of working in a new area of science. I became interested in biology after realizing the potential biological applications of nanoparticles—in particular that they could be applicable to diagnostic biosensors or drug delivery due to increased surface area. I began looking for opportunities in biological research that would allow me to continue utilizing photophysical tools and was fortunate to meet my current postdoc mentor. She inspired me to explore cancer biophysics and zebrafish animal models. I’ve come to truly enjoy my postdoc experience and want to highlight what helped me to adjust and settle into a new field. Choose a research area where you can use and grow prior skills. You might be daunted by the thought of branching out to a new area of science after years of dedication to your PhD research. The reality is that, even in a new field, you may find opportunities to use the skills you’ve built over the years. In my PhD work, I gained expertise in single molecule fluores- cence techniques by working with custom-built confocal and TIRF (total internal reflection microscopy). Now in my postdoc, I still get to use those skills but have also learned more about photophysical tools such as optical tweezers to investigate cancer metastasis with zebrafish. I was surprised to find that even while my research subject had changed significantly, I was still able to use and grow my skills in photophysical tools. My PhD gave me a strong foundation on which I was able to learn more about mechanobiology, immunology, animal models, and more.

Your PhD prepares you with professional skills that will take you beyond one straight path. I look forward to seeing where your curiosity takes your scientific career in the future! — Molly Cule Numbers By the In the last five years, BPS has provided 872 travel awards to the Annual Meeting.

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Career Development

Regaining and Preserving Wellness during and after the COVID-19 Pandemic The recent 66th Biophysical Society Annual Meeting in San Francisco, California included a workshop focusing on re- building research momentum during the COVID-19 era. The event was organized by BPS Members Sarah Bondos and Silvia Cavagnero , and included presentations by Wendy Ingram , CEO and co-founder of Dragonfly Mental Health, and Amy Honig- man , Senior Clinical Psychologist at the University of Califor- nia, Berkeley, specializing in graduate-student wellness. Lynn Zechiedrich , the Morrow Chair and Professor of Molecular Virology and Microbiology and Co-Director of the PhD Pro- gram in Quantitative and Computational Biosciences at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, joined as a panelist for a lively discussion with ample participation by the audience.

maintaining a healthy network of friends and finding plenty of community support are key steps to help recovering wellness, both during and after the pandemic. Zechiedrich provided several practical examples from her experience in academia. She high- lighted the importance of having kept regular online meetings during the pandemic and encour- aged PIs to check in with their students often, asking how they are doing and offering understand- ing and encouragement. She also explained that PIs are not mental

Workshop panelists Amy Honigman and Lynn Zechiedrich proudly show their BPS Meeting badges after the workshop.

health experts, but should know how and to whom to refer for assistance at our institutions. She concluded by men- tioning that PIs might need help themselves and that giving people the opportunity to help is beneficial to everyone. She noted the importance of refraining from a natural inclination to give advice or to relate other people’s issues to personal experience—just listen and care. An animated Q&A session concluded the event, including tips on finding appropriate therapists for complex cases, discus- sions on the importance of alternative counseling (e.g., online therapy services), and remarks on normalizing conversations about stress and mental health. More information on Drag- onfly Mental Health (www.dragonflymentalhealth.org), an organization that promotes the mental health of graduate students and academic personnel, was also provided. This workshop was sponsored by the Biophysical Society Commit- tee for Professional Opportunities for Women. TIPS FOR IMPROVING MENTAL HEALTH • Everyone focuses on “wellness” and “crisis,” but there are steps in between, including stress, distress, and disease, where rapid intervention is of very high value. • Practicing gratitude and self-compassion are the best things you can do for yourself and your lab personnel/trainees during crisis. More than 3,000 publications support this conclusion. • Maintain healthy networks of friends and supporters. Continue to hold group meetings. Stay connected. • When talking to people experiencing stress, refrain from giving advice or quoting personal experiences: just listen and care. • Be ready to refer people to appropriate mental health experts and organizations. • When dealing with someone in distress, ask: “Do you want to be left alone?” “Do you want to talk?” “Do you want to talk to an expert?” Then listen and respect the person’s decision. • Talking about stress and mental health, including asking whether someone is having thoughts of suicide, does no harm.

The workshop defined the many challenges posed by the recent pandemic and advised scientists, including princi- pal investigators (PIs) and trainees, on how to recover and maintain mental health. Ingram discussed how the world- wide pandemic affected individuals differently, citing recently published data. She stressed the importance of awareness, compassion, and flexibility. Honigman described the anxiety and depression brought about by the pandemic and highlight- ed the stress experienced by many researchers. She agreed with Ingram that an effective recovery requires inner strength and compassion for oneself and others. She encouraged the audience to celebrate even small successes on a regular basis and, importantly, to take a few minutes every day to practice gratitude. She advised PIs to do a lot of compassionate listening. Both of them emphasized that cultivating and Workshop organizers and panelists. From left to right: Wendy Ingram, Silvia Cavagnero, Sarah Bondos, Amy Honigman, and Lynn Zechiedrich.

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BiophysicsWeek

BPS Student Chapter Events Cornell Student Chapter of the Biophysical Society The Cornell Biophysical Society Student Chapter hosted two student seminars followed by an in-depth discussion of prominent research topics in the biophysics field on March 23. Shobhita Gupta led the student seminars with a presentation that explored structural protein interactome networks and their genome-wide functionalities using machine learning methods. Her talk delved into the significance of using deep learning neural networks to study protein-protein interaction interfaces. The implications of this research are vast since it has the potential to both bridge the gap between ge- nome-sequencing data and structural proteomic analysis and uncover new biology as it relates to human diseases such as cancer. Her talk was followed by Dhruva Nair ’s, whose presen- tation was centered around characterizing novel components in the bacterial flagellar motor. The impact of this research is significant because experimentally determin- ing these structures could lead to better treatment outcomes of Lyme disease. Following the student seminars, President Gupta led a research-based discussion on the application of biophysics to gene and protein structure, gene regulation, advanced optical imaging, and other related fields that is being conducted in labs at Cornell University.

University of Maryland Baltimore Biophysical Society Student Chapter

For Biophysics Week 2022, the University of Maryland Baltimore Biophysical Society Student Chapter hosted a virtual research talk and panel titled “Biophysics in Pharmaceutical Sciences.” This event was held in conjunction with Caldwell University’s American Chemical Society Student Chapter. Undergraduate students from Caldwell University and Goucher College were invited, and inter-

ested undergraduates who follow the chapter’s Twitter page (@umb_bps) were able to attend. Five speakers, all of whom are graduate students and members of the student chapter, gave brief 15-minute talks about their research. The talks fo- cused on the biophysical methods each uses in their research and how it contributes to pharmaceutical sciences. Following the talks, the undergraduates in attendance were able to ask the speakers questions in a panel format. Ques- tions covered topics from research to graduate school to career aspirations. It was a lively discussion with participation from all involved. The event was very successful, each of the speakers did an excellent job, and more than 50 people attended this event virtually.

Cedarville University Student Chapter The brand new BPS student chapter at Cedarville University celebrated Biophysics Week with a talk on “Science and Scripture” with speakers Steve Gollmer , Georgia Purdom , and Aaron Hutchison .

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BiophysicsWeek

Gā ṅ geya Student Chapter, India In India, the Gā ṅ geya BPS Student Chapter hosted a Biophysics Week Webinar Series on March 25 that featured talks on hot topics in the field of biophysics. Milano Student Chapter, Italy The BPS Milano Student Chapter kicked off their first Biophys- ics Week event as an official chapter with a series of talks as well as a career panel for young biophysicists. This ambitious group seeks to create an inclu- sive community of students to raise awareness of the field of biophysics at an early stage of a student’s career.

into the international community. The underlying core principles of physics, data science, molecular biology, and organic chemistry were emphasized. Expert panelists led round-table discussions involving more than 200 participants who attended. These addressed how national and regional higher education and collabora- tive mechanisms could be overhauled to create the multidisciplinary biophysics culture. BPS Subgroup Events Celebrating Bioengineering in Biophysics: Personal and Scientific Journeys Together, we are stronger. Marking the occasion of the March 2022 Biophysics Week, the Bioengineering Subgroup of the Biophysical Society celebrated the scientific and life jour- neys of seventeen scholars of all levels from postdoctoral associates to senior professors, representing a breadth of subdisciplines as well as cultural backgrounds. Bioengineering has grown to be a broad discipline representing a breadth of technologies and applications and bringing the engineering mindset to solving biomedical problems. Biophysics is rooted in the fundamental underpinnings and inner workings of the technologies and the phenomena underlying complex physi- ological as well as technological systems and is a major force driving several biomedical subfields. The convergence of the fields of biophysics and bioengineering was aptly captured by the science and the life journeys of the featured speakers (from left to right, top row): Ning Jiang , Whelton Miller , Padmini Rangamani , Farid Alisafaei , Paul Macklin ; (middle row): Alison Pouch , David Odde , Erin Teich , Jerome Irainto , Kalpana Mandal , Aaron Streets ; (bottom row): Samaneh Farokhirad , Flavia Vitale , Rogelio Hernandez-Lopez , Jina Ko , Jeanne Stachowiak , Neha Kamat . The talks can be accessed from the Biophysics Week page of the Biophysical Society website and these stories can be accessed at https:/mailchi.mp/836818146b1b/biophys- ics-week-5285537?e=90b9bee071.

The newly created Milano Student Chapter of the Biophysical Society will organize a round of conferences for the biophysical week

Monday March 21, 15:00 (Hybrid Mode) Jeremy Gunawardena, Harvard Medical School: “ Using graph theory to understand the conceptual basis of biological systems ”

Monday March 21, 16:30 (Botanic Garden) Biophysical Week Opening , a refreshment is offered! Register at this link

Wednesday March 23, 15:00 (Online Only) “ Different Paths ” , how to grow in the quantitative world?

Hatice Holuigue, Università degli Studi di Milano Silvia Goldini , Bayer Pharmaceuticals Ugur Cetiner , Harvard Medical School Buscaglia Marco , Università degli Studi di Milano

Thursday March 24, 16:00 (Hybrid Mode) Giuliano Zanchetta , Università degli Studi di Milano: “ DNA liquid crystals: back to the origin of life ”

All hybrid talks will be held at the Department of Biosciences, room B7. Zoom link March 21, Zoom link March 23, Zoom link March 24

Follow us on Twitter for updates (@BiophysicsMilan)

Affiliate Event Workshop on Macromolecular Structure and Dynamics Affiliate Event Organizer, LUMS, a not-for-profit university, hosted a workshop, the second in a Biophysics-Week-affiliat- ed series, aimed at building a Molecular Biophysics research community within Pakistan and collaborating with interna- tional partners. This workshop highlighted developments in high-flux synchrotron beamlines, optical physics of micro-crystallites, cryogenic electron microscopy (Cryo-EM), and high-performance supercomputers. Virtual presentations by international speakers working in the interfacial disciplines of structural biology, molecular dynam- ics, and materials sciences showcased cutting-edge studies of biological and bio-organic materials led by the availability of synchrotrons, supercomputers, cryo-EM hubs, and inter- national consortia. These global developments effectively integrate medium-sized, developing countries like Pakistan

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