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3 Calif stem cell grants revoked

By | November 3, 2009

California's stem cell funding agency giveth and it taketh away: Just last week, the agency awarded more than $250 million to stem cell researchers -- the largest research grant round in its five-year history -- but it also terminated three grants awarded in a previous round due to slow progress earlier this year. Human embryonic stem cellsImage: Wikimedia commons, Nissim BenvenistyThe California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) identified the underperforming projects by reviewing gr


Malaria vaccine hits Phase III

By | November 3, 2009

The first-ever Phase III trial for a malaria vaccine has officially begun.


One stop research shopping

By | November 3, 2009

Ever spent days combing the internet for that one reagent or cell line that could take your research to the next level --- to no avail? A new linkurl:effort,; funded by a $15 million grant from the National Institutes of Health's National Center for Research Resources, aims to fix that by centralizing catalogs of reagents, cell and tissue banks, and model organism lines so that researchers can spend less time scouring

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Pioneering protein chemist dies

By | November 3, 2009

Mildred Cohn, a renowned chemist who battled sexual discrimination for much of her career, died last month (October 12) at age 96, succumbing to pneumonia at a hospital in Philadelphia. Combining chemistry, biology, and physics, Cohn opened up new avenues for interdisciplinary biology and helped found the emerging fields of biochemistry and biophysics. Image: Erica P. Johnson"Mildred was a pioneer in many ways," linkurl:Joshua Wand; of

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Science foundation for Nigeria?

By | November 3, 2009

A four-year-old promise to create a $5 billion publically funded competitive granting agency in Nigeria -- which would be the second such agency in Africa -- was revived last month, but leading African scientists remain skeptical that the plan will ever get off the ground. Image: MikeBlyth, Wikimedia Commons "We were really hopeful in the beginning," said linkurl:Mohamed Hassan,; chairman of Nigeria's Presidential Advisory Committee for Science and


Conflicted psychiatrist leaves Emory

By | November 2, 2009

The Emory University psychiatry researcher who failed to report hundreds of thousands of dollars in pharmaceutical company payouts while receiving millions of dollars in funding from the National Institutes of Health to study the company's anti-depressant drugs is leaving the university, according to the linkurl:__Atlanta Journal-Constitution__.; linkurl:Charles Nemeroff,;http://www.psychiatry.emo


Geron trial may resume next year

By | October 30, 2009

The Geron Corporation could be cleared to resume its stalled human embryonic stem cell (hESC)-trial for spinal cord injury in the third quarter of next year, linkurl:the company announced today; (October 30). Human embryonic stem cellsImage: Wikimedia commons, Nissim BenvenistyThe Phase I trial, which received clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in January to administer hESC-derived progenitors of neural support tissue into


Tippling through the ages

By | October 30, 2009

Among the few cultural traditions shared by human populations across time and geography is the abiding urge to make and consume alcoholic beverages. Alcohol was also one of the first medicines as well as a component of many early religious practices. But modern humans' choices are limited to a few alcoholic staples -- beer, wine, and "hard" liquor. Many of the beverages enjoyed by cultures past have been lost to the historical record. Patrick McGovern, a University of Pennsylvania researcher wh


An antiviral leash for HIV?

By | October 29, 2009

A structurally-distinct immune protein prevents the release of HIV and other viruses from infected cells by literally tying them to the cell membrane, according to a study published online today (October 29) in Cell. This antiviral leash -- known as tetherin -- could be co-opted as a new type of antiviral therapy, the authors say. Scanning EM image of HIV particles (yellow) trapped on the surface of a cell (green) by tetherinImage: Devon Gregory and Marc Johnson"It's a key step forward," said


Can USDA's NIFA be ag's NIH?

By | October 27, 2009

Historically short-shrifted by federal funding bodies, academic agricultural research was recently promised redemption: a federal funding agency of its very own that will award competitive grants in a fashion similar to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). But will the new agency, the linkurl:National Institute of Food and Agriculture; (NIFA), be able to put public-sector agricultural science on an equal footing with biomedical research? Technicians measure switch


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