Engineering Professor Co-Authors Article in ‘Biophysical Journal’

Dr. Amit Saha

Dr. Amit Saha

Dr. Amit Saha, a lecturer and research scientist in the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering, has co-authored an article that has been published in the Biophysical Journal, which is a leading topical journal in the field of biomechanics and biophysics. Entitled, “Cholesterol Regulates Monocyte Rolling through CD44 Distribution,” the interdisciplinary publication includes contributions from other researchers, namely Dr. Pawel Osmulski, Dr. Shatha F. Dallow, Dr. Maria Gaczynska, Dr. Tim H. Huang and Dr. Anand K. Ramasubramanian. The researchers undertook this study as part of a National Institutes of Health grant focused on discovering the contributions of bacterial infections to heart disease.

According to Saha, atherosclerosis, which may lead to heart attack and stroke, is the thickening of blood vessel walls due to the accumulation of ‘fatty’ cells or foam cells. The foam cells are formed when a certain type of white blood cells called monocytes enter the blood vessel wall, get stuck, and take up a lot of cholesterol. As it can be imagined, the first step of this process, namely the ’touch down’ of monocytes from flowing blood to vessel wall, is extremely crucial. The efficient capture of fast moving monocytes is brought about by interactions between proteins on the surface of the monocytes and on the surface of endothelial cells on blood vessel wall.

“In this research, we have shown that cholesterol levels on monocytes can redistribute the proteins mediating the interaction, thus providing efficient brakes,” he said.

The study shows that cholesterol, a well-known cause of atherosclerosis (a thickening of blood vessels walls due to the accumulation of ‘fatty cells’ that may lead to heart attack or stroke), can significantly influence the disease initiation and progression by a mechanism that was not focused on previously. The results demonstrate that chemicals can change the course of biological phenomena by altering the underlying physics.

Read the article online.

YMCA Students Visit SJSU

Elementary school students enrolled in Silicon Valley YMCA Summer Day Camps visited San Jose State University’s campus June 24 for a scavenger hunt. As part of the challenge, the young students learned about the different degrees SJSU offers while touring the campus. One clue included “Where would you go if you want to become a teacher?” The answer, which most of the groups discovered around 1 p.m. is Sweeney Hall, home of the Connie L. Lurie College of Education. At each stop, the students gathered for a photo to prove their successful answer to each campus clue.

The Silicon Valley YMCA Day Camp visit highlights one aspect of SJSU’s Four Pillars of Student Success plan released in spring 2016, college readiness. Initiatives in the college readiness pillar are focused on creating a college-going culture in Santa Clara County while also helping to prepare students in K-12 for college-level courses.

San Jose State receives $2M for Student Success

San Jose State University is one of a dozen Bay Area institutions to receive funding from the Koret Foundation as part of a multi-year $50 million initiative to support higher education.

SJSU will receive $2 million from the Koret Foundation to support student success, with University Advancement’s Tower Foundation administering the gift. The influx of funding comes on the heels of the recently released SJSU’s Four Pillars of Student Success: College Readiness, Advising, Student Engagement and Clearing Bottlenecks plan. The data-driven campus-wide student success strategy has one goal: to significantly increase retention and graduation rates for all students while improving the quality of their educational experience.

The $2 million has been earmarked to support college readiness, advising and student engagement at San Jose State. It will be used to create a new student information analytics system that will improve advising and to support the Spartan Scholars Program, a newly launched summer bridge program that is aimed at increasing retention and graduation of underrepresented and first-generation students.

SJSU’s Four Pillars plan was created by Provost Andy Feinstein and Vice President for Student Affairs Reggie Blaylock, with input from multiple campus stakeholders, including students. The plan was highlighted in a recent NPR story in which Feinstein shared that the university is offering up to 500 additional course sections to help students make progress toward degree (with funding from the university’s general fund.)

“They (SJSU students) are the inspiration that keeps me going and get me up in the morning,” he said, during the NPR interview.

According to its press release, Koret believes that education not only enables individual success and mobility, but also helps build a vibrant Bay Area. The initiative addresses a number of high priority needs at each institution, including capital, research, scholarships, technology, and recruiting, advising, and retention programs for low-income, first-generation students.

“The Koret Foundation is proud to fund this initiative that builds on and expands our longstanding commitment to these important Bay Area academic institutions,” said Michael Boskin, President of the Koret Foundation. “This program is designed to be a catalyst for new approaches to optimize student success, improve completion rates, and bolster career advancement opportunities, particularly among underserved populations.”

Read the full press release and view an outline of the initiatives at all of the higher education institutions partnering with Koret online.

Based in San Francisco, the Koret Foundation supports civic, cultural, and educational organizations that promote a vibrant and distinctive Bay Area. Koret focuses its giving in two major areas: strengthening Bay Area anchor institutions and fostering Jewish connection and identity. Since its founding in 1979, Koret has invested $500 million to contribute to a higher quality of civic and Jewish community life. For more information, visit http://www.koretfoundation.org/

Town Hall Set for New Science Building

Town Hall Flier

Town Hall Flier

A university-wide town hall on construction plans for a new science building is scheduled for May 4, from 11 a.m. to noon, in the Student Union Theatre. The event is co-hosted by Administration and Finance, Facilities Development and Operations, and the College of Science. Students, staff and faculty are invited to attend.

Students Celebrate Culture at SJSU Showcase April 21

The Third Annual SJSU Cultural Showcase will be held Thursday, April 21, at 6 p.m. in the Student Union Ballroom. The event will feature cultural performances followed by a reception. Tickets are on sale now: $3 with a student ID or $5 for the general public. The event was originally founded in 2014 by Salzburg Scholars. The students, who attended a Global Alliance Seminar in Salzburg in summer 2014, were charged with promoting global citizenship upon their return. They coordinated the planning and execution of the event in its first and second year. Below are some photos from the 2015 SJSU Cultural Showcase event, which featured dozens of performers, an art display and cultural foods.