Program Outcomes

Doctoral Training
To date our program has supported ten trainees; 4 current and 6 former fellows. One former fellow has received his PhD, and is currently working at Abbott Vascular, the sponsor of his training program industrial internship.

Diversity Outcomes

Diversity is a core value of the University of California. Our program shares this commitment to recruiting, training and promoting the careers of the most talented students from all backgrounds.

Fellowship Outcomes

Additional graduate fellowships awarded to trainees of this program include

GEM University Fellowship (1)
NSF Graduate Research Fellowship (3)
UC Berkeley Chancellor’s Fellowship (2)

Publication Outcomes

Since the program’s inception in 2011, current and former trainees have co-authored 11 journal articles based on their thesis research.  Examples of trainee publications include:

“Synovial stem cells and their responses to the porosity of microfibrous scaffold”
Lee BL*, Tang Z, Wang A, Huang F, Yan Z, Wang D, Chu JS, Dixit N, Yang L, Li S.  Acta Biomater. 2013, 9(7):7264-75

In this study, we identified and characterized a new type of stem cells from the synovial membrane of knee joint, named neural crest cell-like synovial stem cells, and demonstrated that their differentiation can be controlled by both soluble chemical factors and biophysical factors such as scaffold porosity.  When treated with transforming growth factor β1, these cells differentiated into mesenchymal stem cells and lost differentiation potential toward neural lineages.  Differentiation of these cells on electrospun composite scaffolds with various porosities was tested. Greater scaffold porosity enhanced cell infiltration in vitro and in vivo, increased the expression of chondrogenic and osteogenic genes and suppressed smooth muscle and adipogenic genes, suggesting potential use for tissue regeneration.

“Single-cell Western blotting after whole-cell imaging to assess cancer chemotherapeutic response”

Kang CC, Lin JM*, Xu Z, Kumar S, Herr AE. Anal Chem. 2014, 86(20):10429-36
Intratumor heterogeneity remains a major obstacle to effective cancer therapy and personalized medicine. To advance our understanding of heterogeneity of chemosensitivity within tumor cell subpopulations, we optimized and applied a new targeted proteomics modality, single-cell western blotting (scWestern), to a human glioblastoma cell line. This technique supports thousands of concurrent single-cell western blots. High-content imaging of individual glioblastoma cells was integrated into the method prior to the scWestern assays, allowing comparison of phenotypic and proteomic data on the same cells. This study demonstrated that non-apoptotic glioblastoma cell subpopulations show up-regulation of the multidrug resistant protein, P-glycoprotein (P-gp), suggesting a potential mechanism for their drug resistance.

“CRALBP supports the mammalian retinal visual cycle and cone vision”

Xue Y, Shen SQ, Jui J*, Rupp AC, Byrne LC, Hattar S, Flannery JG, Corbo JC, Kefalov VJ, J Clin Invest. 2015, 125(2):727-38

Mutations in the cellular retinaldehyde-binding protein (CRALBP) can lead to severe cone photoreceptor-mediated vision loss in patients. It is not known how CRALBP supports cone function or how altered CRALBP leads to cone dysfunction. Our results identified Müller cell CRALBP as a key component of the retinal visual cycle and demonstrate that this pathway is important for maintaining normal cone-driven vision and accelerating cone dark adaptation. We determined that deletion of the CRALBP gene Rlbp1 in mice impairs the retinal visual cycle. Mutant mice exhibited M-opsin mislocalization, M-cone loss, and impairment of cone-driven visual behavior, light responses and dark adaptation. Adeno-associated virus-mediated restoration of CRALBP expression in Müller cells of these mutant mice rescued the retinal visual cycle and M-cone sensitivity, suggesting potential gene therapeutic strategies for CRALBP-mediated vision loss in patients.

Industrial Internships
Fellows of this program have served as interns at:
Abbott Vascular
Alector
Caribou Biosciences
CellASIC Millipore
Genentech
Valitor

Beyond Coursework

Fellows of this program have access to a rich array of seminars, career development workshops and cultural activities available on the UC Berkeley campus, and in the broader San Francisco Bay Area. Fellows present their work at the Berkeley Stem Cell Center Retreat, held annually at the Asilomar Conference Grounds, Monterey, CA.