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The Scientist
The Scientist

Jef Akst

Recent Articles

Radical journal gathers support

By | February 26, 2010

The scientific community appears to be fighting to convince Elsevier to continue to publish its only non-peer-reviewed journal, after the publisher began to linkurl:consider installing a traditional peer review system;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/57121/ when the journal published a controversial paper supporting the arguments of AIDS deniers. Image: flicker/linkurl:meviola;http://www.flickr.com/photos/69659670@N00/ Despite the uproar that article created, the editor-in-chief of lin

New neurons rewire mouse brain

By | February 25, 2010

Embryonic neurons transplanted into mice can induce a period of flexibility in a relatively rigid older brain, suggesting a possible mechanism to repair damaged brain circuits, according a study published this week in Science. Inhibitory neurons transplantedfrom the embryonic braininto the postnatal brain Image: Derek Southwell"It's terrific," said neuroscientist linkurl:Takao Hensch;http://golgi.harvard.edu/Faculty/faculty_profile.php?f=takao-hensch of Harvard University, who was not involved

Regulatory science gets boost

By | February 24, 2010

The linkurl:National Institutes of Health;http://www.nih.gov/ (NIH) and the linkurl:US Food and Drug Administration;http://www.fda.gov/ (FDA) linkurl:announced a new collaboration;http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm201706.htm this morning (Feb 24) that will support efforts in translational and regulatory science, including a contribution of $6.75 million in regulatory research grants over the next three years. Image: Wikimedia commonsSince Margaret Hamburg took the rei

NIH reviewers praise new rules

By | February 23, 2010

While the transition to the new shortened grant applications at the linkurl:National Institutes of Health;http://www.nih.gov/ (NIH) and the corresponding review guidelines hasn't been completely smooth, reviewers who have participated in the first few rounds of funding under the new system generally support the changes. Image: Wikimedia commons"I think it's an improvement over the old system," said linkurl:Karin Rodland,;http://www.pnl.gov/biology/staff/staff_info.asp?staff_num=5747 a researche

Banking on hope

By | February 18, 2010

Ten years ago, scientists discovered stem cells in the dental pulp of human teeth. Despite the fact that there are still no FDA-approved therapies using these cells, companies are emerging that charge consumers up to $1,600 to extract and store them. But is there enough scientific evidence to support this type of cellular banking? Image: Wikimedia commons, Loadmaster (David R. Tribble)"We simply don't know how useful these cells will be for tissue engineering and regeneritve medicine," said lin

NIH deputy director leaving

By | February 18, 2010

Deputy Director Raynard Kington is leaving the National Institutes of Health (NIH) this summer after 10 years with the agency to take a position as president of Grinnell College in Iowa. Raynard KingtonImage: Wikimedia commons, NIH"I have a lump in my throat imagining Raynard leaving the NIH, where he has made so many outstanding and long-lasting contributions," Collins wrote in linkurl:a statement announcing Kington's resignation;http://www.nih.gov/about/director/02172010_statement_kington.ht

African genomes sequenced

By | February 17, 2010

Scientists have sequenced the genomes of five individuals from indigenous populations in southern Africa, including famed South African Bishop Desmond Tutu, revealing new genetic variation among humans that they say will advance medical genomics research, according to a study published this week in Nature. Bushmen of southern AfricaImage: Stephan C. Schuster"It's the first genome sequence of a minority population in Africa," said human geneticist linkurl:Sarah Tishkoff;http://www.med.upenn.edu

Science crime: A recent history

By | February 16, 2010

Last Friday, biology professor Amy Bishop shocked the country when she linkurl:allegedly shot and killed;http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/13/us/13alabama.html?emc=eta1 three of her colleagues at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, purportedly motivated by the university's recent decision to deny her tenure. Although certainly one of the most heinous crimes in recent memory, it is by no means the first criminal offense to disturb the scientific community. Here is a timeline of some disquieting

Genetic coding revamp

By | February 14, 2010

Scientists have developed a new genetic language using a ribosome that can read instructions that are 4 base pairs long, enabling the construction of designer proteins containing a variety of unnatural elements, according to a study published online today (February 14) in Nature. Image: Wikimedia commons, S. Jähnichen"It is brilliant," said organic chemist linkurl:John Sutherland;http://www.chemistry.manchester.ac.uk/aboutus/staff/showprofile.php?id=390 of the University of Manchester in th

Yeast heaters

By | February 10, 2010

Yeast living in the nectar of flowering plants can act as miniature space heaters for winter-blooming flowers, suggesting the microorganisms may be a third player in what scientists have traditionally viewed as a two-part plant-pollinator relationship, according to a study published online today (February 9) in Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Helleborus foetidusImage: Carlos Herrera"It's pretty exciting," said evolutionary microbiologist linkurl:André Lachance;http://www.uwo.ca/biology

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