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Septic sperm

By | April 1, 2009

Toxin-affected dead worm embryos and their antidote-carrying siblings. Credit: Courtesy of Hannah Seidel" />Toxin-affected dead worm embryos and their antidote-carrying siblings. Credit: Courtesy of Hannah Seidel In 2006, Hannah Seidel, a graduate student in Leonid Kruglyak's lab at Princeton University, performed an experiment that hundreds of C. elegans biologists had done before: She crossed two c

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Stem cell rat race

By | April 1, 2009

Rat embryonic stem cells were used to construct a chimeric animal (inset), shown here with two of his pups. Credit: Above: Courtesy of Ping Li and Qi-Long Ying Inset: Courtesy of John Agnew" />Rat embryonic stem cells were used to construct a chimeric animal (inset), shown here with two of his pups. Credit: Above: Courtesy of Ping Li and Qi-Long Ying Inset: Courtesy of John Agnew In 1981, Martin Evans and Matthew Kaufman, wor

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Working modeler

By | April 1, 2009

One day in late 2004, television art director Karen Steward visited the penthouse floor of a glass office building in Los Angeles to sit down with UCLA epidemiologist Sally Blower and the half dozen members of Blower's Disease Modeling Group and talk about television. Steward was enlisting Blower's scientific expertise for the third episode of the CBS drama NUMB3RS, in which an FBI agent's

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A matter of chow

By | March 1, 2009

Kozul holding standard chow (left) and purified chow (right). Credit: Photo by Jon Gilbert Fox" />Kozul holding standard chow (left) and purified chow (right). Credit: Photo by Jon Gilbert Fox Three hours after a particular poster session began at the 2007 Society for Toxicology meeting, the line to see Courtney Kozul's poster still wrapped around the room, and she had collected 90 business cards. Cl

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Tooth ferrying

By | March 1, 2009

"These are from Justin," says Ruth McCarrick-Walmsley, as she slides a dish of cells under a microscope. The view through the eyepiece includes an array of silvery cells, fanned out in curved lines, looking like a school of fish. These bone progenitor cells, derived from an eight-year-old's baby teeth, represent a major advance in finding a cure for a rare, devastating disease that has stymied resea

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Antifungal fight

By | February 1, 2009

Kishor Wasan, a pharmacologist at the University of British Columbia, needed a negative control. It was 2000, and he was investigating a new way to deliver anti-fungal drugs in pill form, generally cheaper and easier to administer than intravenous injections. "I said, 'Let's take a drug I know doesn't work'," Wasan recalls. He turned to amphotericin B, an antifungal membrane disruptor that Wasan

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Catching crabs

By | February 1, 2009

Blue Crab Credit: Wpopp / Wikimedia" />Blue Crab Credit: Wpopp / Wikimedia It was late last September when 73-year-old farmer Archie Page pulled a six-inch blue crab out of his pond in Swansboro, NC. After catching it, Page spent the day parading around in his pick-up with the crab in the back. "I couldn't believe it," he says with a soft Southern twang. Two months later, standing on a rickety dock a

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Energy from E. coli

By | February 1, 2009

From left: Jay Keasling with Francesco Pingitore and Chris Petzold. Credit: Courtesy of Lawrence Berkeley Nat'l Lab - Roy Kaltschmidt, photographer" />From left: Jay Keasling with Francesco Pingitore and Chris Petzold. Credit: Courtesy of Lawrence Berkeley Nat'l Lab - Roy Kaltschmidt, photographer Jay Keasling watches as 700 billion Escherichia coli swish around inside a benchtop bioreactor in the brand-spanking new

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Bio-Microsoft

By | January 1, 2009

Drew Purves Credit: Courtesy of Microsoft Research" />Drew Purves Credit: Courtesy of Microsoft Research Drew Purves had been a postdoc at Princeton University for almost five years when he saw a weird job advertisement in August 2006. He and his companions in Stephen Pacala's lab were the techies of the ecology world, building mathematical models of forest ecosystems. Weaned on a Commodore-64 computer and the BASIC

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Icy treasure

By | January 1, 2009

The giant volcano sponge Anoxycalyx joubini can grow large enough for a diver to swim inside. Kim can now study these deep sponges using the SCINI. Credit: Courtesy of Stacy Kim" />The giant volcano sponge Anoxycalyx joubini can grow large enough for a diver to swim inside. Kim can now study these deep sponges using the SCINI. Credit: Courtesy of Stacy Kim Four decades ago, Paul Dayto

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