News & Announcements

Jun Li
The Basic Sciences Research Award recognizes a scientist or group of scientists identified as having made outstanding contributions to the Medical School in basic biomedical science research.

"Team Guan Lab contributed the winning prediction for subchallenge 1. Team GuanLab was comprised of Fan Zhu and Yuanfang Guan of the University of Michigan in the USA. There was a tie for winning submissions to subchallenge 2 between Team GuanLab and Team SBI_Lab. Team SBI_Lab was comprised of Javier Garcia-Garcia, Daniel Aguilar, Jaume Bonet, Daniel Poglayen, Oriol Fornes, Emre Guney, Joan Planas-Iglesias, Manuel Alejandro Marin, Bernat Anton, and Baldo Oliva of the Unversitat Pompeu Fabra in Spain. In addition, eight teams have been selected based on performance to participate in the Community Phase. These include: Team GuanLab, Team SBI_Lab, Team Lucia, teamMI, Team STSI, Team Linked Open Data, Team Outliers, and the UTSW team."

Bryan Moyers, Bioinformatics Ph.D. candidate, participates in new joint program, EM-PACE
This summer, I participated in the Ethiopia-Michigan Program to Advance Collaborative Engagement (EM-PACE). My part in the program was with the biomedical education team. In the past three years, Ethiopia has opened thirteen new medical schools in an attempt to fight the severe lack of medical doctors that the country faces. This is a complicated problem and has left the country’s medical schools grossly understaffed. I traveled with a partner from the Physiology department to Axum Medical College, one of four locations throughout Ethiopia that the EM-PACE program sent students. We spent a month in Axum teaching second year medical students Renal Physiology and Biochemistry. This helped expose students there to new cultures and helped encourage the idea of medicine as an international enterprise. More importantly, we were there to survey the situation and identify the best ways to help Ethiopia. Very little communication is done through email in Ethiopia, and contact via phone is difficult. Having feet on the ground observing the situation in Ethiopia was therefore crucial. We found ways that we could not only serve the medical community in Ethiopia better, but we also noted ways that we could cultivate the faculty and medical schools to be self-sustaining and less in need of aid. This involved becoming familiar with the facilities and culture of the area. The teaching group was not the only part of the EM-PACE program! There were several groups which stayed for different lengths of time, including a maternal health group, a bioengineering teaching group, a water sanitation group, and a business ventures group, all of which were stationed in the capitol city, Addis Ababa. This was a challenging and eye-opening experience for me; I believe that I am a better student and person for it. Michigan will be continuing this collaboration in the coming years, and we will need brave and motivated students. If you’re interested in learning more about the EM-PACE program and serving in any of these capacities—or others!—please contact me and check out the EM-PACE website.

Dr. Melvin McInnis
A smartphone app that monitors subtle qualities of a person's voice during everyday phone conversations shows promise for detecting early signs of mood changes in people with bipolar disorder, a U-M team reports. While the app still needs much testing before widespread use, early results from a small group of patients show its potential to monitor moods while protecting privacy.

Dr. Chinnaiyan
"Arul M. Chinnaiyan, M.D., has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences 2014 Class of Members. Chinnaiyan was elected member due to his work in the medical sciences, clinical medicine and public health. He is the director of the Michigan Center for Translational Pathology, a S.P. Hicks Endowed Professor of Pathology, an American Cancer Society Research Professor, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and a Professor of Urology at U-M. Chinnaiyan’s research focuses on functional genomics, proteomic and bioinformatic approaches to study cancer."

"Lots of apps claim they can help you fight jet lag. Now Michigan researchers say mathematical formulas suggest it's possible to adjust to new time zones a bit faster than previously thought, and they created their own free app to help. Doctors have long said exposure to light is key. But how much, and when? "If you get light in the wrong time or wrong way, it'll send you the wrong direction," said University of Michigan math professor Daniel Forger, who led the research published Thursday. A master biological clock, called a circadian rhythm, regulates when we become sleepy and when we're more alert. Travel across time zones and the body clock has to reset itself. Light is that clock's strongest regulator. In a study partly funded by the Air Force, the Michigan team used two equations proven to predict someone's circadian rhythm, and with computer modeling calculated different schedules of light exposure for more than 1,000 possible trips. It's possible to customize a block of time each day when you should be in light, the brighter the better, and another when you should avoid it, Forger's team reported in the journal PLoS Computational Biology. (It didn't address other potential remedies such as melatonin.)" - AP

Dr. Vivian Cheung
Dr. Vivian Cheung, professor of Pediatric Neurology and CCMB faculty member, has been selected as the vice president-elect of the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI). With this election, she will serve as the president-elect in year two and president in year three. Dr. Cheung is a HHMI investigator and research professor in the Life Science Institute. Dr. Cheung currently is serving on the Board of the American Society of Human Genetics, the Council of the NIH/ NIEHS and the ASCI Council. The ASCI is an honorary society to which physician-scientists from all medical specialties belong. Members are elected to ASCI on the basis of an outstanding record of scholarly achievement in biomedical research. The ASCI includes physician-scientists who are active clinically, in basic research, or in teaching. Many of its senior members are widely recognized leaders in academic medicine. The ASCI supports research into basic mechanisms and/or treatments of human disease, and to the education of future generations of physician-scientists. The ASCI considers the nominations of several hundred physician-scientists from the United States and abroad each year and elects up to 80 new members each year for their significant research accomplishments relatively early in their careers.

Dream 8 Challenge
Perturbation experiments are vitally important in causal signaling network inference, drug treatment simulation, etc. However, such experiments are expensive and time-consuming. How to generalize the observed time-course network dynamics to unseen situations remains a challenging task. To solve this problem, the Guan Lab developed a protein phosphorylation dynamics prediction method using truncated singular value decomposition (SVD). Their method is based on stationary Markov assumption and uses a regression method similar to Lasso regression. Any time-course data could be used as inputs (with or without inhibitors) to predict the perturbation under other inhibitors within the same cell culture. The Guan Lab have developed a novel network time-course projection algorithm that is capable to predict dynamic and direction networks across a specific time course.They applied this algorithm to the 2013 HPN-DREAM (Dialogue for Reverse Engineering Assessments and Methods) Breast Cancer Network Challenge. Among over 200 participating teams and over 100 final-round submissions, the Guan Lab's algorithm was one of the six winning methods.

Michelle Wynn
The purpose of the ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Awards is to recognize exceptional and unusually interesting work produced by doctoral students in the last phase of their graduate work. The nominees’ overall academic accomplishments will also be taken into account.

 John A. Williams, M.D., Ph.D.
"This award is the highest honor bestowed by the Medical School upon a faculty member for research in the biomedical sciences. Dr. Williams is recognized for his numerous research accomplishments, a strong focus on teaching and mentoring, and his valuable leadership to science, the Medical School, and the University. His contributions include serving as chair of the Department of Molecular & Integrative Physiology for 21 years, teaching and mentoring faculty, and as a training grant director for 20 years. Dr. Williams also started the expansion of his department’s scientific focus and status as a leader in research and graduate education."