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NIH Tackling Tricky Ethics Reform

By | April 12, 2004

Digital VisionAs the US Congress and others investigate conflict-of-interest allegations at the National Institutes of Health, ethics lawyers warn that reforms will not be easy, and questions remain about whether overly aggressive changes could hinder the practical application of biomedical research. At issue are NIH scientists' outside consulting relationships with drug and biotechnology companies that work with the agency. In December 2003 the Los Angeles Times reported that federal research l

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Scientists Puzzle Over Ancient Ossuary

By | April 12, 2004

© Royal Ontario Museum, Brian Boyle, MPAIn October 2002, a group of archaeologists held a press conference in Washington, DC, to announce a startling discovery. A limestone box had been discovered in Israel with the inscription "James the son of Joseph the brother of Jesus." It was a stunning find: the first physical evidence of Jesus. The news swept through the field of biblical archaeology. The ossuary, a container for the bones of the deceased meant to be kept in a cave, was already on i

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Do-it-Yourself Manufacturing

By | March 29, 2004

Richard WebbyCourtesy of St. Jude Children's Research HospitalWhen Richard Webby heard through the grapevine that his employer, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., planned to build a factory on the hospital campus, he didn't express much interest, assuming it was a business decision. "It was a shrug your shoulders kind of reaction," says the virologist who is part of the World Health Organization's network of influenza experts.But when the Asian bird flu erupted in 2003, he

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MRC Director Calls for Discourse

By | March 29, 2004

digitalvisionThe UK Medical Research Council's major reform of its grants system, announced last month, has assuaged many scientists, but some still question the new CEO's radical plans to persuade researchers to communicate with the public. The CEO, Oxford University neuroscientist Colin Blakemore, has suffered personally at the hands of animal rights activists. To help researchers avoid such controversies in the future, he proposes that a scientist's public communication plans be evaluated by

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Reform Plan Enrages Italian Researchers

By | March 29, 2004

Courtesy of Paola AgazziTrooping through streets alongside empty hearses, Italian postdoctoral researchers mark what they consider the death of their role in the country's universities. Others cover themselves under sheets as a symbol of their ghostly presence in the country's higher education world. They are joined by associate and ordinary professors who display unmistakable protest signs: "Good-bye, Moratti."Letizia Brichetto Arnaboldi Moratti, Italian Minister of Education, University and Sc

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Tracking a Textbook: From Idea to Publication

By | March 29, 2004

PROPOSAL PATHWAYSelling YourselfPart of a prospectus is convincing the publisher that you are the right person to write the proposed textbook. Teaching experience is a plus; prestigious publications do not show that you can explain mitosis to a freshman. In your sample chapter, show concise writing that is inclusive, yet innovative.WRITING AND REWRITING CYCLERegarding ReviewsThe goal is to satisfy reviewers (course instructors) while retaining the flavor and rationale of your book. Reviewers can

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Biodefense Squeezes US Science Budgets

By | March 15, 2004

Francesco FiondellaWhen he addressed the nation in January, President George W. Bush left little doubt that he intends to invest enormous amounts of federal cash into homeland security, including efforts to protect Americans from bioterrorism. What the president did not say during his annual State of the Union speech was where the funds will come from.The federal budgets for FY2004 and FY2005 reflect a fundamental shift in White House priorities when it comes to scientific research, one that foc

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Cell Biologist Multitasks for Women

By | March 15, 2004

Mary OsbornCourtesy of Mary OsbornMary Osborn helped pioneer immunofluorescence microscopy, and in her images, the three-dimensional cells dance across a black screen in flecks of colored light, helping scientists see new aspects to diseases such as muscular dystrophy and cancer. Her diligence and focus in pursuing this technology for understanding cell structures has provided her a place among Europe's most prominent scientists: She ranked among the most highly cited researchers during the earl

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Funding Deters Scientists from Developing New Models

By | March 15, 2004

In the 1950s, a young psychiatrist sought an animal with neurons large enough for electrophysiology experiments on learning and memory. The animal, Aplysia californica, eventually got dissected in neurobiology labs around the world. The psychiatrist fared a little better; he was awarded the Nobel Prize.The tale of Eric Kandel and Aplysia, like that of Thomas Hunt Morgan and Drosophila or Sydney Brenner and Caenorhabditis elegans, has become a scientific bedtime story. The moral: Choose the right

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How to Be a Cancer Entrepreneur

By | March 15, 2004

Photo courtesy of ChemGenex TherapeuticsDennis Brown left an assistant professorship at Harvard's Joint Center for Radiation in 1988 to start Matrix Pharmaceuticals. When that company sold, Brown's inner entrepreneur led him to create ChemGenex in 1999. The company works with small-molecule therapies and has two in Phase I and II clinical trials for cancer. "The first company did what it set out to do," Brown says. "Many people got significant training and went on to start their own companies."P

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