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Photos courtesy of TransForm Pharmaceuticals (left) and Pioneer Hi-Bred(center and right) The majority of participants in The Scientist's "Best Places in to Work for Scientists in Industry" survey reported that they valued their workplaces because the companies maintained industry standards, kept promises, and sustained the staffs' pride in their work. The magazine asked employees in life sciences companies to evaluate their own workplaces and identify company characteristics that employees c

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Temples of Science

By | June 2, 2003

Image courtesy of Magnus Stark The Broad Center for the Biological Sciences, at the California Institute of Technology, designed by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners James Spudich, a Stanford University biochemist, likens the cell to a city. It incorporates roads and pathways, he says, and houses large structures, akin to buildings, such as the mitochondria and nucleus. But unlike the city, the cell can completely transform its own structure according to its needs. The right signals can convert t

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Targeting Estrogen Receptor-B: A Case Study in Drug Discovery

By | May 19, 2003

 Models of estradiol (left) and genistein. For decades, researchers believed that a single estrogen receptor mediated the effects of estrogens in the body. So imagine their surprise when Jan-Åke Gustafsson of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm announced at a 1996 Keystone symposium the discovery of a second estrogen receptor in the rat prostate. The revelation added unexpected complexity to scientists' understanding of estrogen's biological action. Many attendees scurried back to

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Constructing Chimp Haven

By | May 5, 2003

As thanks for their years of contributions to humankind through their use in biomedical research, some chimps will be guests of honor at a retirement party this spring. Set to break ground on May 30 is Chimp Haven (http://www.the-scientist.com/news/20021008/02/), a 200-acre chimpanzee sanctuary in Shreveport, La., which is slated to hold about 200 chimps retired from medical testing. The warm, moist climate of Louisiana is expected to provide a natural environment conducive to monkeying around

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Creature Comforts

By | May 5, 2003

All Illustrations: Tammy Irvine, Rear View Illustrations Researchers are bringing the wild inside their laboratories. Compelled by studies that suggest animals' bodies and minds react to even minor changes in living conditions, scientists are decorating animal cage interiors to mimic the exterior world of nature, thus challenging lab animals to think and move. A large, complex living space outfitted with objects that stimulate animals' mental and physical growth form the ideals of environmen

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The Power of Power Laws

By | April 21, 2003

Michael Trott, © Wolfram Research,Inc. The possibility of mathematical power laws governing the scaling of fundamental biological properties, such as metabolic rate, within a species group has been strongly suspected for almost a century. But since 1997, the laws have been confirmed by overwhelming experimental evidence and backed by convincing mathematical theory. Before, research biologists were puzzled by the fact that a wide range of ultimately related properties, such as aortal surf

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Natural Solutions to Pollution

By | April 7, 2003

Courtesy of Steven Rock HEADING OFF RUNOFF: Trees planted in Amana, Iowa, to protect stream from agricultural run-off Humankind has passed a remarkable environmental milestone: People now consume more of Earth's natural resources than the planet can replace.1 In light of this, pollution abatement technologies, coupled with development of renewable energy resources, seem destined to become big business during the 21st century. What is unfolding is a multidisciplinary, biology-led wave of

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Can Science Make Cigarettes Safer?

By | March 24, 2003

Courtesy of Vector Tobacco  READY, SET, STOP: Quest's 'step down' low- and no-nicotine cigarettes. The major toxins in cigarettes, perhaps surprisingly, don't come from the chemicals that manufacturers add. "The carcinogens mostly come from the burning of tobacco," says Kenneth Warner, director, University of Michigan Tobacco Research Network. Just burning tobacco also produces carbon monoxide, a big contributor to heart disease. So, tobacco companies are turning to science to make ciga

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Depending on Cigarettes, Counting on Science

By | March 24, 2003

Courtesy of California Department of Health Services Faster than an injection, more reinforcing than crack cocaine: Smoking a cigarette speeds nicotine to the brain faster than any other delivery method, giving smokers precise control over their exact nicotine dose with each puff they take. It turns out that those two attributes--speed and control--greatly enhance nicotine's addictive effect on the brain. "It's not just the drug, but how you take it," says Timothy Baker, associate director, U

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Public Health and Smoking Cessation

By | March 24, 2003

Quitting the habit means fighting nicotine addiction. "It's not like drinking, where you have a huge social drinking population of nonaddicted people. People who smoke regularly tend to be addicted," says Timothy Baker, associate director, University of Wisconsin Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention. With nearly half the US adult population lighting up in 2000, public-health researchers are hard-pressed to figure out what helps--and what doesn't--in the fight against nicotine addictio

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