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Retracted: highly cited paper

By | April 26, 2010

Two papers (one highly cited) on the mechanism of estrogen signaling have been retracted after an investigation by Wyeth found that the research data of its former employee Boris Cheskis were "unreliable." Image: Wikimedia commonsThe retractions do "clear up an area of uncertainty," said molecular endocrinologist linkurl:David Ray;http://www.medicine.manchester.ac.uk/staff/DavidRay of the University of Manchester School of Medicine, whose studies on a related topic conflicted with the now-retr

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Yale postdoc shot, killed

By | April 26, 2010

A postdoctoral fellow at Yale University was shot and killed as he left his condominium in Branford, Connecticut this morning (26th April). Vajinder Toor, 34, was gunned down shortly before 8:00 AM EDT today in the parking lot of his housing complex. The gunman, who the linkurl:__New Haven Register__;http://www.nhregister.com/articles/2010/04/26/news/doc4bd586e9df5ac180416529.txt reports as being a "Chinese national," also tried to shoot Toor's pregnant wife as she rushed to her husband's aid.

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Lights, camera, mitosis!

By | April 23, 2010

Cells multiply and divide millions of times each day in our bodies, but researchers still don't know exactly which genes are involved in mitosis. The linkurl:MitoCheck;http://www.mitocheck.org/ consortium, a European research collaboration, aims to change that. Like sports trainers filming individual players to dissect the finer points of their games, MitoCheck researchers capture individual cells dividing to tease apart the contributions of individual genes to the process of mitosis. The conso

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FDA floats new conflict policy

By | April 22, 2010

Advisers to America's top drug approval agency will have to provide more detailed information about financial interests they hold in pharmaceutical and medical device companies, the US Food and Drug Administration linkurl:announced;http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm209119.htm yesterday (21st April). The FDA grants conflict of interest waivers to some members of its 32 advisory committees, which convene to discuss food and drug safety issues, review impending approvals

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HIV aids deadly pathogen

By | April 22, 2010

Salmonella can wreak havoc in (or kill) people infected with HIV -- and not for the reason scientists have long assumed. Salmonella typhimuriumImage: Wikimedia commons, V. BrinkmannMax Planck Institute for Infection BiologyInstead, a new study in Science shows that Salmonella's ability to cause disease in HIV patients does not appear to stem from a weakened or ineffective immune system, but an overactive one that actively protects the bacteria. The findings may help direct research on developi

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T cell debate settled

By | April 22, 2010

The question of how T cells escape the thymus and enter the circulation to fight infections has finally been answered. "These findings will be taught in textbooks down the road," Kristin Hogquist from the University of Minnesota, who was not involved in the research, wrote in an email. "This is a fascinating study," she added. A T cell exiting the thymusImage: Courtesy of Jessica HuppiScientists have long wondered how T cells exit the thymus, where they mature. The thymus is threaded with both

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New front in animal rights war

By | April 21, 2010

A recent legal dispute between the University of South Dakota and an animal rights group represents a new front to the battle between scientists and animal rights groups: state open records laws. Image: Wikimedia CommonsAsociacion Animalista Libera!Specifically, activists have turned to state open records laws to obtain information about biomedical research happening at state institutions. "In addition to the federal [Freedom of Information Act], animal rights groups are also using state open

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FRPAA's back!

By | April 20, 2010

On Capitol Hill, as the dust settles from the tortured passage of healthcare reform legislation, and US lawmakers ready for a coming fracas over financial reform, a bill that would make data from almost all federally funded research available to the public within six months of publication returns to the legislature's to do list. Image: Wikimedia CommonsDavid MonniauxAccording to linkurl:GenomeWeb,;http://www.genomeweb.com/house-bill-proposes-federal-open-access-policy late last week, Representa

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Tough microbes to treat toxins?

By | April 20, 2010

Human pollutants can cause drastic decreases in microbial diversity, but the bacteria that survive the contamination may yield clues for how to remove such toxins from the environment, according to a study published in The International Society for Microbial Ecology Journal. This study suggests "that bacteria can survive in highly toxic environments," said linkurl:Mihai Pop,;http://www.cbcb.umd.edu/~mpop/ a bioinformaticist at University of Maryland, who was not involved in the research.Aircraf

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Crab shells help spinal injury?

By | April 19, 2010

Material from crushed up crab and shrimp shells can restore electrical function to damaged guinea pig spinal cords, suggesting it may one day serve as a treatment for spinal cord injuries, according to a study published April 16th in the Journal of Experimental Biology. This paper is an "intriguing first step," said linkurl:Scott Whittemore,;http://louisville.edu/kscirc/bios/dr-scott-r-whittemore.html professor of neurological surgery at the University of Louisville, who was not involved in th

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