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A Change in EU Science?

By | August 30, 2004

Ask a selection of European scientists what they think about the way the European Union funds basic research and you'll get a pretty clear answer. It may be a frustrated snort or a bitter laugh, but you'll get the picture. Now, the European Commission has outlined plans for an overhaul of research funding, but scientists' hopefulness is tinged with skepticism. Many researchers say that the EU's current Framework Programme, which awards funds to researchers, is plagued by baffling mountains of pa

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Diagnostics + Therapy = Theranostics

By | August 30, 2004

© g. Tompkinson/Photo Researchers, Inc.Drug companies and diagnostic test developers are increasingly teaming up to produce theranostics, a treatment strategy that packs a one-two punch: a diagnostic test that identifies patients most likely to be helped or harmed by a new medication, and targeted drug therapy based on the test results. Theranostic tests differ from traditional ones such as those for blood glucose, because the new tests are based on sophisticated technology involving geneti

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How To Negotiate for Academic Lab Space

By | August 30, 2004

Space – as in simple square footage, not the stuff beyond the stratosphere – can be a limiting factor in your capacity to conduct research. At most academic institutions, the department chairperson has the final say in how much space each faculty member has. So how can you get a bigger slice of the departmental pie?Advice from Department ChairsHajjar: "The best way to negotiate for space is to show your department chair that program expansion is necessary to advance the field and tha

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Bush and Science at Loggerheads

By | August 2, 2004

At the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in San Diego, Fred Gage and colleagues examine how a generic embryonic stem cell evolves into a highly specialized brain cell. Their hope is that understanding stem-cell evolution will reveal what keeps cells healthy and lead to new therapies. But federal restrictions on human embryonic stem-cell research are discouraging Gage and others. "I would say that I'm limiting my effort in this field," he says. "It's been time consuming. Resources are taken a

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How to Be a Good Mentor

By | August 2, 2004

In the juggling act that is your work, a new student in the lab might make you feel that you have one more thing to keep aloft. Nonetheless, a mentor's job is to transform that student into a juggler, too. That student must first help keep your hoops airborne and eventually juggle as a standalone act.Your main responsibility is providing opportunities to conduct research. That involves providing a hypothesis or two, bench space and equipment time, training in techniques, office space and a lab c

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The Heart of Europe's Biotech Sector

By | August 2, 2004

More than 5,000 scientists with higher academic degrees work in public research in Europe's Upper Rhine valley, making this area one of the highest densities of life sciences-related research in the world. Now, the triangle region from Basel, Switzerland, in the south to Strasbourg, France, and Freiburg, Germany, in the north is striving to become the European heart of the biotechnology sector.The Dreiländereck or la Régio, as the region is called locally, has a lot going for it: excel

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How to Write a Business Plan

By | July 19, 2004

Interdisciplinary communication is tricky business. Ecologists andmolecular types may use certain lingo, but PhDs and MBAs speak entirely different languages. That can mean trouble for a business plan.Business and science make up one of the riskiest marriages around. Still, many MBAs and PhDs take this plunge because of the potential for blockbuster profits. However, even a solid scientific idea, one that fills a gap in the market, can sink for lack of business savvy, says Tom Fitzsimons, direct

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Massachusetts Should Team Up on Biotech

By | July 19, 2004

Courtesy of Neil W. Van DykeMassachusetts contends for the forefront of life-sciences research and development. Nonetheless, some business leaders worry that Massachusetts could fall behind, because this state lacks a formal link between industry and the state's public and private academic institutions. An ongoing roadmap, however, aims to keep Massachusetts on track as a leader in biotechnology.Academic-industrial partnerships generate widespread benefits in other states. In a report on the nee

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Ongoing Battle over Transgenic Mice

By | July 19, 2004

Adecade-long war over genetically modified mice still rages. In 1994, Klaus Rajewsky's laboratory at the University of Cologne in Germany created the first transgenic conditional knockout mouse.1 With this mouse, researchers could turn on a genetic mutation at a specific period of development in a specific type of cell. Rajewsky assumed that his mouse would soon be used in labs throughout the world. Simply pleased with his research success, he never considered applying for a patent on a mouse. "

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SEC and FDA Join Forces Against Biotech

By | July 19, 2004

A biotechnology stock, ImClone Systems of New York City, served as the root of Martha Stewart's insider-trading conviction, and life-science lawyers say that the biotech industry is ripe for more securities-related cases. Largely in response to the ImClone debacle, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) initiated new policies that make it easier for these two agencies to cooperate on biotechnology cases. "Biotech has been hot for the last co

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