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NIH stimulus grants for postdocs

By | March 27, 2009

The National Institutes of Health, awash in $10 billion dollars of stimulus cash and scrambling to get it out the door, has linkurl:announced;http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-09-056.html a new round of supplemental grants that aim to retain or hire new postdoctoral fellows in the labs of NIH-funded investigators. These "administrative supplements" are meant to "promote job creation and economic development along with accelerating the pace and achievement of scientific rese

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Pluripotency via plasmids

By | March 26, 2009

Researchers are one step closer to reprogramming stem cells that are safe for use in the clinic with a new virus-free method for deriving human induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells that doesn't rely on integrating foreign DNA, according to a linkurl:study;http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/1172482 published online today in __Science__. Skin cells induced to a pluripotent stateImage: Junying Yu / UW-MadisonSince these cells' genomes have never been genetically modified, they provide

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Trial safety lacking, says GAO

By | March 26, 2009

The system for protecting the safety of people who participate in clinical trials is in shambles and needs a major overhaul, according to the conclusions of a two-year undercover US government investigation. The undercover investigation, which caught a commercial institutional review board approving a fake study made up by investigators at the Government Accountability Office (GAO), is "absolutely" a positive step, said Adil Shamoo, a professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the Univ

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EU animal research under fire

By | March 25, 2009

New proposed European laws to harmonize animal research across the EU could seriously hamper biomedical research, according a linkurl:report;http://www.esf.org/emrc/pdpasp published yesterday (Mar. 24) by the European Science Foundation (ESF) and a linkurl:declaration;http://www.understandinganimalresearch.org.uk/policy_issues/european_regulation/uk_bioscience_sector_declaration issued today (Mar. 25) by a group of leading British life sciences organizations. Image: Understanding Animal Researc

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India debates open access

By | March 24, 2009

India's premier publicly-funded research organization is pushing to make all research published at its institutions open access. But its pleas are falling on deaf ears, critics say, as individual laboratories have been slow to take up the charge. Image: India MostLast month (Feb. 6), the head of research and development planning at India's linkurl:Council of Scientific and Industrial Research;http://www.csir.res.in/ (CSIR), linkurl:Naresh Kumar,;http://www.jst.go.jp/astf/document3/CV%20Naresh%

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The genomics of ethnicity

By | March 24, 2009

Researchers have assembled the first-ever map of copy number variants (CNV)-- duplications, deletions or rearrangements in the genome that result in different gene copy numbers -- in African Americans. The study, appearing in linkurl:__BMC Genetics__;http://www.biomedcentral.com/bmcgenet/ today, also identified two CNVs that differed in frequency between African American genomes and those in people of European descent. linkurl:Joseph McElroy,;http://www.msgenes.ucsf.edu/fellows_Joseph_McElroy_P

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Are cavers killing bats?

By | March 23, 2009

The continued spread of a mysterious disease that has killed thousands of bats in the Northeast United States may have a surprising human cause. Scientists are suggesting that cavers may be inadvertently transporting fungal spores on their clothing or gear and contributing to the deadly march of White Nose Syndrome (WNS), named for the downy coat of fungus covering the muzzles of its victims. Little brown bats with WNS"It appears that there's been a significant tracking via cavers," linkurl:De

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Breaching the blood-brain barrier

By | March 23, 2009

Researchers have identified a novel mechanism by which immune cells wiggle their way across the blood-brain barrier in diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS). A type of T-cell involved in autoimmune disease leads the way, entering the brain and perhaps priming the blood-brain barrier's membrane to attract other immune cells -- opening the door for those cells to do their inflammatory damage, according to a study published online yesterday (Mar 22) in Nature Immunology. The choroid plexus is

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Science groups ramp up NIH advocacy

By | March 20, 2009

As the FY2010 federal budget readies for Congressional battles and public debate, science advocacy groups are upping their recommendations for funding increases at the National Institutes of Health. But are their calls realistic? The Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research, which is composed of the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC), the linkurl:Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology;http://opa.faseb.org/pdf/2009/Funding_Recommendation.3.18.09.pdf (FASEB), the Campaign

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Double-duty antibodies

By | March 19, 2009

In a study challenging a long-held doctrine of antibody binding -- which states that a single antibody corresponds to just one antigen, fitting it like a lock fits a key -- researchers have created a designer version of an antibody that can bind two completely different targets. Two-in-one antibodiesImage: Allison Bruce & Jenny BostromThe findings, reported in this week's Science, raise the possibility that antibodies with dual specificity could occur naturally, the authors say. The result

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