Ali Mortazavi to share $10 million in NIH funding for critical genome mapping

With new NIH funding, Ali Mortazavi, UCI assistant professor of developmental & cell biology, will study the structure of all expressed genes using state-of-the-art, long-read sequencing technologies. Steve Zylius / UCI



February 3rd, 2017 - The National Institutes of Health is expanding its effort to create a fundamental genomics resource for scientific use in studying human health and disease. And through its Encyclopedia of DNA Elements Project, UCI assistant professor of developmental & cell biology Ali Mortazavi will share $10 million in grant funding over four years with the California Institute of Technology to establish one of eight mapping centers across the nation to pinpoint where genes and the regulatory elements that control them lie within the genome. With this award, the UCI-Caltech Precision Transcriptome Center will be able to explore the structure of all expressed genes using state-of-the-art, long-read sequencing technologies across a broader diversity of biological samples – including those from individuals with various diseases, as well as highly specialized cells – to expand the catalog of candidate functional elements in the human and mouse genomes.


Mathematician Qing Nie awarded foundation grant to study cancer drug resistance

Qing Nie and fellow researchers received funding from the Jayne Koskinas Ted Giovanis Foundation for Health & Policy and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

January 30th, 2017 - UCI mathematics professor Qing Nie and his collaborators have been awarded $455,000 to study cancer drug resistance by the Jayne Koskinas Ted Giovanis Foundation for Health & Policy and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Along with an interdisciplinary team of experimental cancer biologists, engineers and mathematicians, Nie hopes to identify novel and more effective treatments for patients with breast cancer. Drug resistance is a key impediment to breast cancer therapy. While genetic mechanisms of drug resistance have been a focus of many studies, the ability of a cell to dynamically evade drugs through nongenetic means ­– such as plasticity, an organism’s capacity to adapt to environmental changes – is an often overlooked mechanism for lack of drug efficacy. “Cellular plasticity gives rise to dynamic tumor difference through the generation of distinct subpopulations with diverse properties, including susceptibility to therapy,” Nie said. “We hypothesize that cell state plasticity contributes to drug resistance and that an integrated experimental and modeling approach can be used to identify rational approaches to overcome plasticity-induced resistance.”

CCBS Opportunity Award Competition

Crossing Scales with Cell-Level Data

This means research that leverages data gathered at the level of single cells to integrate understanding at higher and lower levels. For example, the successful project might use such data to better relate the properties of tissues and organs to the interactions among molecules and genes.

• Step I: Before 12:30 PM on Sunday, hand in (or email to Karen Martin) a one paragraph abstract (can even be handwritten) briefly describing the nature of the project

• Step II: Send a more complete description (up to three pages) by email by Monday April 10th, to

       Currently, a review committee is being established and we anticipate awards to be announced by June 15, 2017.         





2016 Opportunity Awards

Congratulations to the winners of this year's CCBS Opportunity Awards competition based on the theme of Mechanisms of Disease! Each winning proposal will receive $10,000 to be shared between the faculty for lab project expenses; and a $1,000 award for research supplies to be shared between student and/or postdoctoral participants. We look forward to hearing about the projects at next year's annual CCBS retreat scheduled for March 31 - April 2nd, 2017, due to be held in Pasadena, CA! 


Single Cell Heterogeneity in Wnt and Metabolism in Xenograft Colon Tumors Xenografts


George Chen, Marian Waterman / TBD, Kai Kessenbrock & Devon Lawson
Microbiology & Molecular Genetics / Biological Chemistry & Physiology & Biophysics 

Understanding the systems-level changes during breast tumorigenesis using single cell RNA-seq


Quy Nguyen, Kai Kessenbrock / Tao Peng, Qing Nie 
Biological Chemistry / Mathematics 

Metabolic profiling of bacterial persister cell formation and virulence activation 


Jenu Chacko, Michelle Digman / Anerudh Kannan, Albert Siryaporn 
Biomedical Engineering & Laboratory for Fluorescence Dynamics / Physics & Astronomy 

Nuclear blebbing and lamin-mediated defets in cardiomyopathies


Kathryn Manakova, Jun Allard / Mehrsa Mehrabi, Anya Grosberg & Michael Zaragoza 
Mathematics / Biomedical Engineering & Pediatrics 

Dynamics of IncRNAs in the X inactivation center in mouse ES and human breast cancer cells 


Heather Karner, Sha Sun / Lily Li, Zeba Wunderlich / Praveer Sharma, Tom Schilling 
Developmental & Cell Biology / Developmental & Cell Biology / Developmental & Cell Biology 

Spatial dynamics of mutation accrual in melanocytic nevi


Rolando Ruiz, Anand Ganesan / Pete Taylor, Olivier Cinquin / Sebastien de Feraudy
Biological Chemistry & Dermatology / Developmental & Cell Biology / Dermatopathology 

Gli Phospohrylation and Sufu involvement in Drug Resistant Basal Cell Carcinoma


Kerrigan Blake, Scott Atwood / Leo Lagunes, Lee Bardwell & German Enciso 
Developmental & Cell Biology / Developmental & Cell Biology & Mathematics 

Investigating mechanisms of epileptic seizure onset 


Logan Harriger, Beth Lopour / Sean Horan, John Lowengrub 
Biomedical Engineering / Mathematics 

2015 Opportunity Awards

CinquinPic CCBSWebsite
Image courtesy of Dr. Olivier Cinquin:
C. elegans germline stem cells express lower levels of Cyclin E than their differentiating descendants, which may be part of a strategy to minimize the accumulation of replication-dependent mutations.
Congratulations to the winners of this year's CCBS Opportunity Awards competition based on the theme of Dynamics and Complexity! Each winning proposal will receive $10,000 for project expenses and $1,000 personal award to be split between student and/or postdoctoral participants. We look forward to hearing about the projects at next year's annual CCBS retreat scheduled for March 18-20th, 2016 at the Sheraton Universal Hotel, Universal City.
Diffusion kinetics of free to bound NADH during early stages of ovarian folliculogenesis
Rachel Cinco, Ulrike Luderer / Nik Hedde, Enrico Gratton
Developmental & Cell Biology / Biomedical Engineering
Understanding complex and dynamic cell behavior during craniofacial skeletogenesis Christopher Rackauckas, Qing Nie / Praveer Sharma, Tom Schilling
Mathematics / Developmental & Cell Biology
Unraveling spatio-temporal dynamics of the deacetylase SIRT1 in living cells
Lorena Aguilar, Paolo Sassone-Corsi / Suman Ranjit, Enrico Gratton
Biological Chemistry / Biomedical Engineering & Laboratory for Fluorescence Dynamics
Dynamic regulation and noise attenuation in IncRNA network for X-chromosome inactivation
Tian Hong, Chunhe Li, Qing Nie / Heather Karner, Sha Sun
Mathematics / Developmental & Cell Biology
Profiling the dynamic transcriptome of FSHD during myogenesis through single-cell mRNA sequencing
Mandy Jiang, Ali Mortazavi / Christopher Ma, Kyoko Yokomori
Developmental & Cell Biology / Biological Chemistry

Wetware: Art, Agency and Animation


We invite you to view "WETWARE: art | agency | animation" - an exhibition at the interface between biology, technology and art being shown at the Beall Center for Art & Technology in the Claire Trevor School of Arts. The exhibition runs until May 7, 2016.

WETWARE features art in the light of today’s convergent living technologies: While artists have previously staged “Artificial Life” through the hardware and software of computers and robotics to simulate living systems, increasingly it emerges from wetware itself. Whether touching upon the brain’s position between spiritualism and metabolism, the synthesis of luminescent protocells from scratch, or microbes that possess the technical ability to make gold and clean water, contemporary artists who employ laboratory methods in the context of Synthetic Biology are getting particularly “close to life” today.

WETWARE presents beaded necklaces containing synthetic amino acids, protocells to simulate movements of phytoplankton, bacteria that produce energy to run a musical synthesizer, a desktop gene machine, A-Life parasites fed with electro trash, as well as an artificially grown brain-in-a-vat nourished with Hegel’s Phenomenology of the Spirit. The exhibition juxtaposes art projects that creatively and critically investigate the anthropocentric mindset in engineered moist “Artificial life,” and the responsibility that arises with it. In WETWARE, the concepts of art, agency, and animation acquire new meanings, while aliveness is questioned in terms of components, circuits, and systems.

The exhibition features international artists who have increasingly extended their work towards wetware practices: Adam Brown, Gilberto Esparza, Thomas Feuerstein, Lucie Strecker & Klaus Spiess and Orkan Telhan. In addition Evelina Domnitch & Dmitry Gelfand (with sound by Richard Chartier) and Anna Dumitriu present new works developed during their three-week residencies at the Beall in collaboration with the UCI Center for Complex Biological Systems and the UCI Newkirk Center for Science & Society.

WETWARE is curated by Beall Center Artistic Director David Familian and Jens Hauser, a Paris and Copenhagen based art curator, writer and media studies scholar who focuses on the interactions between art and technology. 

Free admission. Open to the Public.




Feb 6 until May 7
Tuesdays - Saturdays
from 12 – 6pm
Closed Sundays & Mondays
Closed: Mar 22 - 29
Beall Center for Art + Technology
University of California, Irvine
Claire Trevor School of the Arts
712 Arts Plaza
Irvine, CA 92697-2775
Adrienne Lipscomb
Interim Programs Director
Tel. (949) 824-6206



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