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More than Money

By | September 16, 2002

With a population of just 143,000, the city of Dundee may not seem the kind of glitzy destination that competes with knowledge centers such as San Francisco and Boston: Golf and mountain climbing qualify as top entertainments, and it takes less time to fly from New York to London than to drive there from Dundee. If fresh air fails to lure prospective lecturers to Dundee University's life science division, the median annual salary of researchers in the region--$37,757 (US)--probably won't start

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No Longer at Equity

By | September 16, 2002

Image: Marlene J. Viola Look for big changes in the stock options that lure many scientists out of academia and into the biotechnology industry, life sciences compensation analysts say. The stock market decline has stripped options of their value, just as regulators have begun to eye them suspiciously. Seemingly obscure accounting issues are critical to scientists in biotech firms, who may have gambled half their pay package on options or on rights to buy shares in a company at a set price. "

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Race and Ethnicity Matters

By | September 16, 2002

Richard Tapia often tells disadvantaged children about his own humble upbringing in the barrios of Los Angeles. Then he tells them that he earns six figures as a mathematician. "People are shocked when they find out how much money I make," says Tapia, now Noah Harding Professor in the Department of Computational and Applied Mathematics and director of the Center for Excellence and Equity in Education at Rice University. "[Counselors] told me I should be a trash worker or a mechanic, and not b

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The Ethical Biotech

By | September 16, 2002

With ImClone Systems' chief executive Sam Waksal under indictment for insider trading and fraud, the black cloud over corporate business ethics that first rose over Enron now hovers above the biotech industry. While Waksal may be an outlier, the problems at ImClone have prompted the industry to once again examine ethical standards. Perhaps more than any other industry, biotech is experienced in dealing with ethical issues, with managers constantly embroiled in hot-button debates over stem cell

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Classifying Breast Cancer Models

By | September 2, 2002

Image: Anne MacNamara The exciting use of cDNA microarrays to reveal molecular subclasses of human tumors has spread to the study of animal models that mimic human tumors. With unsuspected subclasses of human lymphomas, melanomas, colon carcinomas, and breast carcinomas uncovered, researchers naturally have been inspired to apply microarray analysis to animal tumor models that in some instances have been studied for decades. How closely, they wonder, will experimental tumors resemble human tum

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Plastic in My French Fries?

By | September 2, 2002

Image: Getty Images Every research scientist knows that discovery often depends as much on happenstance--serendipity--as it does on methodical searching. If a group of researchers from Stockholm didn't know it earlier, they certainly learned the lesson over the last five years. The presence of acrylamide bound to hemoglobin in laboratory workers who perform polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis--a commonly used method to separate and analyze proteins-- wasn't necessarily surprising, but when Emma

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Pollutants without Borders

By | September 2, 2002

Image: Corbis ENDANGERED BELUGAS: One challenge for researchers is to find out how chemicals are getting into the lipids and tissues of animals such as the beluga whales who reside in the St. Lawrence Seaway. During the last 50 years, millions of pounds of chemicals have dispersed into the environment in a multitude of forms: industrial wastes, abandoned chemical weapons, fertilizers, pesticides, cleaners, furniture treatments, and the list goes on. Now, a small cadre of environmental re

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Science and Politics in the United Kingdom

By | September 2, 2002

Science and politics in the United Kingdom have enjoyed a summer of love, but now the holidays draw to a close. Universities, policymakers, and politicians prepare to return to the fray, and the detailed decision making due during the coming months about allocation of new funds announced in the summer will test just how strong the new relationship is. Hopes are high. "We're seeing a renaissance of British science," enthused Ian Gibson (Labour, Norwich North), chair of the House of Commons Sel

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Bio-Psycho-Social: All Relevant in Space

By | August 19, 2002

What happens when astronauts on extended missions become really angry at a crewmate, or seriously melancholy? In the small, isolated confines of a spaceship what can they do? A team of researchers under the auspices of the National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI)--a consortium of institutions studying health risks related to long-duration space flight--is creating a smart medical system designed to help distant space farers resolve or mitigate biopsychosocial upsets. The researche

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Information Overload

By | August 19, 2002

Image: Erica Johnson A healthy volunteer died in a Johns Hopkins asthma study because the researcher missed information about an inhalant's potential dangers. A vendor to a large pharmaceutical company says that the firm wasted almost two years trying to isolate a compound, not realizing that fellow colleagues had already obtained a patent for it. University of Minnesota researchers, as many others do, discovered after three years of research that results they were writing up had already been

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