Jef Akst

Recent Articles

Alive via autophagy

By | March 1, 2010

By Jef Akst Alive via autophagy Huafeng Zhang and Gregg Semenza, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine The paper: H. Zhang, et al., “Mitochondrial autophagy is an HIF-1-dependent adaptive metabolic response to hypoxia,” J Biol Chem, 283:10892–903, 2008. (Cited in 72 papers) The finding: By examining mouse embryonic fibroblasts, molecular biologist Gregg Semenza of The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and collea

Golden opportunity

By | March 1, 2010

By Jef Akst Golden opportunity Donald Glotzer may hold the honor of being the world’s oldest “early career” scientist. Throughout his entire career as a surgeon, the thought of academic research became an itch Glotzer never had time to scratch. He had chosen surgery as his specialty thinking it would give him time to conduct laboratory experiments, but he quickly learned that he was wrong—surgery, he says, “was a total commitment

New sugar protein tool - for real

By | February 28, 2010

Scientists have devised a new way to make sugar-linked proteins, an important step towards understanding a key type of protein modification and refining drug therapies that utilize the so-called glycoproteins -- as well as the subject of two high-profile papers that were recently retracted. Image: Wikimedia commons, S. Jähnichen"It's a pretty important thing that they've done," said synthetic biologist linkurl:Jason Chin; of the Med

Physician-scientists: vanishing?

By | February 26, 2010

Biomedical research needs practicing physicians -- understanding the issues that arise in the clinic is arguably one of the best ways to inform the work done in the lab. But recently, there is evidence to suggest the numbers of physician-scientists -- MDs who dedicate a significant amount of their time to medical research -- may be dwindling, argues researcher and hematologist linkurl:Andrew Schafer; of Weill Cornell Medical College and

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; when the journal published a controversial paper supporting the arguments of AIDS deniers. Image: flicker/linkurl:meviola; 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; of Harvard University, who was not involved

Regulatory science gets boost

By | February 24, 2010

The linkurl:National Institutes of Health; (NIH) and the linkurl:US Food and Drug Administration; (FDA) linkurl:announced a new collaboration; 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; (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,; 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;

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