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Optical Slices of Life

By | December 15, 2003

Courtesy of Cellomics  CRYSTAL CLARITY: Confocal microscopy provides unprecedented resolution of cellular structures Confocal microscopy, a decades-old technique,1 has experienced a relatively recent explosion in popularity. The technology's greatest impact has been felt in the life sciences, where its ability to generate crystal-clear images of biological structures and to monitor changes in living samples in real time enables functional analysis of biological processes. The key advant

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Presents for Profs

By | December 15, 2003

Newsday NODS OF APPROVAL A single breakout season can earn a major league baseball player the accolade of his own bobblehead doll. Scientists have a tougher time, though. Nobel laureate James Watson had to wait 50 years to earn head-nodding credibility; he joins a small pantheon of scientists so honored. Francis Crick, Watson's colleague in the discovery of DNA's structure, hasn't made the cut, but Albert Einstein has. And for the psychiatry world, Sigmund Freud nods approvingly. ($21.95; www

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Thinking Beyond Tomorrow

By | December 15, 2003

Courtesy of Getty Images That discovery is fraught with unpredictability poses an enormous problem when evaluating research priorities and allocating funding. It also sends many scientists scrambling for cover when they are asked to prognosticate the future. The Scientist asked anyway. Research scientists, venture capitalists, patent attorneys, even a biomedical professor-turned-mystery author offered their opinions on what will be the hottest new technologies five years hence. Their response

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High-Performance Computing On-Demand

By | December 1, 2003

Michel Tcherevkoff Ltd. Grid computing is hot these days. With high-profile projects ranging from a search for extraterrestrial intelligence to a search for smallpox therapeutics, many researchers are looking to the grid as a way to get supercomputing power without dishing out supercomputing prices. The Grid Computing Info Centre defines a grid as "a type of parallel and distributed system that enables the sharing, selection, and aggregation of geographically distributed 'autonomous' resourc

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Lights, Camera, Action in the Membrane

By | December 1, 2003

Courtesy of AfCS-Nature Signaling Gateway (www.signaling-gateway.org)  A WORK IN PROGRESS Complex as it is, this cell signaling map isn't finished. But since every interaction shown is a potential point for therapeutic intervention, understanding the wiring of these messaging systems could deliver new drugs to the clinic. Signal transduction wasn't exactly the first thing that came to mind when my mother told me that she had medullary thyroid cancer. Thoughts of not having my mother aroun

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Antibody Drug Development: On Target

By | November 17, 2003

Courtesy of Abbott Laboratories  BETTER LIVING THROUGH IMMUNOLOGY: Though the exact cause of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is unknown, people suffering from the disease have an excess of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-a) that accumulates in their joints. Abbott Laboratories' Humira, a humanized monoclonal antibody that targets TNF-a, helps prevent the inflammation characteristic of RA and inhibits the progression of structural joint damage. As soon as Köhler and Milstein described hyb

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Hands-On Power

By | November 17, 2003

Courtesy of Mike Curtis  TAG, YOU'RE SICK! School children learn about communicable diseases with handheld computers and a program called Cooties. In the 1830s, Charles Darwin used a pen and paper to document finches and other fauna and flora in the Galápagos Islands. For the next century and a half, most scientists relied on the same tools to take notes or collect data. Today, Dave Anderson, associate professor of biology at Wake Forest University, follows in Darwin's footsteps--

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Microplate Reader Madness

By | November 17, 2003

Courtesy of Cellomics The ArrayScan VTI HCS Reader Microtiter plates have become standard consumables in both research and clinical laboratories. Also known as microwells and microplates, microtiter plates essentially are flat trays bearing a number of isolated reaction chambers, from six to 1,536, and arranged in a 3n x 2n array (e.g., for a 96-well plate, n=4). All the plates share a common footprint (approximately 128 x 86 mm) regardless of manufacturer and configuration, so that robot

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fMRI: The Perfect Imperfect Instrument

By | November 3, 2003

Courtesy of Chloe Hutton, Functional Imaging Lab  THICK OR THIN? The cerebral cortex thickness metric can be used to study the progression of diseases such as Alzheimer disease, epilepsy, mental retardation, and schizophrenia, and to investigate how brain function is affected in the abnormal regions. According to legend, functional neuroimaging can trace its roots to the stroke of noon on a day in the late 19th century, when Italian physiologist Angelo Mosso observed a sudden increase in

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Hot Stuff: Annual Thermocycler Roundup

By | November 3, 2003

Courtesy of Biometra Biometra's TGradient Things are getting hot in the thermal cycler world. Since The Scientist's last annual review of thermal cyclers,1 a number of vendors have updated their product lines, and several plan to release new products within the next year. With improved user-friendliness and visual appeal, the thermocycler class of 2003 features something for every user. Most thermal cyclers use thermal engines based on the Peltier effect, in which heat is transferred fro

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