School of Humanities and Sciences
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Professor of Biomedical Data Science and of Statistics
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsStatistical models and reasoning are key to our understanding of the genetic basis of human traits. Modern high-throughput technology presents us with new opportunities and challenges. We develop statistical approaches for high dimensional data in the attempt of improving our understanding of the molecular basis of health related traits.
Basic Life Science Research Associate, Biology
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsProtein misfolding in the cell creates toxic species linked to an array of diseases. Protective cellular protein quality control (PQC) mechanisms evolved to selectively recognize misfolded proteins and limit their toxic effects. Molecular chaperones recognize misfolded proteins, while the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) promotes their clearance through the attachment of ubiquitin chains. We previously identified a PQC pathway for spatial sequestration and clearance of misfolded proteins, conserved from yeast to humans, that is amplified when the UPS is impaired. However, the identity of the E3 ubiquitin ligases involved in this pathway—and how they interact with the chaperone machinery—is unresolved. Starting with a fluorescence microscopy-based genetic screen in yeast, we show that distinct chaperone and ubiquitination circuitries cooperate in PQC of soluble misfolded proteins in the cytoplasm and nucleus. In contrast with the canonical model where Lys48-linked ubiquitin chains are sufficient for proteasomal targeting, we found that cytoplasmic misfolded proteins requires tagging with mixed ubiquitin chains that contain both Lys11 and Lys48 linkages to be degraded. Each type of linkage-specific ubiquitination requires a distinct combination of ubiquitin ligases and chaperones. Strikingly, unlike cytoplasmic PQC, proteasomal degradation of nuclear misfolded proteins only requires Lys48 ubiquitin linkages and is independent of Lys11-specific circuits. We conclude that cytoplasmic and nuclear PQC involve combinatorial recognition by defined sets of cooperating systems. The distinct PQC requirements reveal underlying differences in nuclear and cytoplasmic proteome management, with important implications for our understanding of a wide range of diseases.
John A. and Cynthia Fry Gunn Professor and Professor of Neurology and of Neurosurgery
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsNeuron death, stress, gene therapy
Assistant Professor of Physics
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsIn between the few-particle realm where we have mastered quantum mechanics and the macroscopic domain describable by classical physics, there lies a broad swath of territory where quantum effects are relevant but still largely out of our control and partly beyond our comprehension. This territory includes metrological instruments whose precision is limited by the quantum projection noise of millions of atoms; and materials whose bulk properties emerge from many-body interactions intractable to simulation on classical computers. Professor Schleier-Smith’s research aims to advance our control and understanding of many-particle quantum systems by engineering new quantum states and Hamiltonians with ensembles of laser-cooled atoms.
Mark J. Schnitzer
Professor of Biology and of Applied Physics
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsThe Schnitzer lab has three major research efforts: 1) In vivo fluorescence imaging and behavioral studies of cerebellar-dependent motor control and motor learning. 2) Development and application of fiber-optic fluorescence microendoscopy imaging techniques for studies of learning and memory in behaving mice and for clinical uses in humans. 3) Development of high-throughput, massively parallel imaging techniques for studying brain function in large numbers of Drosophila concurrently.
Jennifer Schwartz Poehlmann
Senior Lecturer of Chemistry
BioReaching out to Stanford’s diverse body of students and beyond to share the excitement of scientific discovery has been a growing passion for Dr. Jennifer Schwartz Poehlmann. In addition to coordinating and co-teaching Stanford’s freshmen chemistry sequence, she takes a leadership role in developing training programs for teaching assistants and enhancing classroom and lab experiences for undergraduates, while also providing STEM learning opportunities for incoming freshmen and local high school students.
Jennifer Schwartz Poehlmann studied chemistry at Washington University in Saint Louis Missouri (A.B. 2002) before coming to Stanford University as a graduate student (Ph.D. 2008). Her thesis work under Prof. Edward Solomon addressed structural contributions to reactivity in active sites of non-heme di-iron enzymes, including ferritins. She joined the Stanford Center (now Vice Provost) for Teaching and Learning as a Teaching Fellow in 2008. In 2009, she became Lecturer and Introductory Course Coordinator for the Department of Chemistry, and in 2011 was promoted to Senior Lecturer. She has received multiple awards for her teaching and training work, including the Walter J. Gores Award for Excellence in Teaching, Dean’s Award for Achievements in Teaching, Hoagland Award Fund for Innovations in Undergraduate Teaching, and Society of Latino Engineers and School of Engineering’s Professor of the Year Award.
Dr. Schwartz coordinates and co-teaches the introductory course sequence of Chem31A, 31B, and 33 for about 450 students each year. She has also created a set of companion courses (Chem31A-C, 31B-C, and 33-C) designed to provide motivated students an opportunity to build stronger study habits and problem solving tools that help them persevere in the sciences regardless of prior science background. In parallel, she has been involved in the creation and teaching of the Leland Scholars Program, which facilitates the transition to college for incoming freshman intending to study in STEM or pre-health fields.
Dr. Schwartz has always believed that well-prepared and enthusiastic teachers inspire and motivate learning, yet excellent teaching requires training, feedback, reflection and support. She has worked both within the department and more broadly to help ensure that teaching assistants throughout the university receive the training, practice and mentorship they need to grow and excel as educators. She previously directed the Department of Chemistry’s TA Training program and, with the Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning, co-founded and directs the Mentors in Teaching Program, MinT, which provides training and resources to teaching mentors from more than 15 departments on campus. Through MinT, advanced graduate students learn effective ways to mentor TAs, through mid-quarter feedback, classroom observation, establishment of teaching goals, and workshops that enable new TAs to better engage with students in the classroom.
Enhanced Learning Experiences
Dr. Schwartz has been heavily involved in the development of hands-on, guided-inquiry lab activities that are now fully integrated into lab/lecture courses throughout the introductory general and organic chemistry sequence. Through the “Inspiring Future Scientists in Chemistry” Outreach Program, she is also helping to bring the excitement of exploring real-world chemistry into local high schools. She works with local high school teachers to design lab experiences that reinforce and compliment the chemistry concepts in the California State curriculum. Stanford Chemistry students take these activities to local high schools, providing hundreds of students the opportunity to work with enthusiastic young scientists while getting hands-on experience in chemistry. The program aims to demonstrate how chemistry relates to the ‘real world’ and to promote an appreciation for both science and higher education.