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MD biotechs queue for tax credits

By | July 7, 2008

Representatives from Maryland biotechnology start-ups made like potential contestants for __The Price is Right__ last Monday (June 30) and camped on a Baltimore sidewalk awaiting a chance at success. But these people weren't desperate to participate in the greatest game show on Earth, with a chance to win fabulous cash and prizes. They were lined up for a chance to suckle at the teat of the state's Department of Business and Economic Development, which was passing out state tax credits to biotec

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Visual system surprise

By | July 7, 2008

The soil-dwelling model organism C. elegans, long assumed to lack any visual system whatsoever, in fact appears to be strongly responsive to light, according to a linkurl:paper;http://www.nature.com/neuro/journal/vaop/ncurrent/abs/nn.2155.html published online yesterday (July 6) in Nature Neuroscience. The study identifies four sensory neurons that act as photoreceptor cells driving this phototaxic behavior, and suggests a conservation of phototransduction between vertebrates and worms. "The

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New FASEB head focuses on election

By | July 3, 2008

Richard Marchase, the 93rd president of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), who took office this week, said he plans to continue to focus on encouraging US voters in the upcoming November elections to consider science issues. "The upcoming Presidential election and the incoming administration present unique opportunities to highlight the importance of biomedical research on a national scale," he said in a press release. Marchase, the linkurl:vice president fo

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Ethics training for human studies?

By | July 2, 2008

All researchers conducting studies with human subjects and members of institutional review boards may soon have to undergo mandatory training in human research ethics. According to a linkurl:notice;http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2008/E8-14917.htm in the Federal Register yesterday (July 1), the Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP) is seeking public comment on whether such training should be required. According to the notice, also reported in the linkurl:Chronicle of Higher Education,;htt

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Neuroscientist claims stolen data

By | July 2, 2008

A prominent neuroscientist is accusing two former researchers in his lab of taking data without his permission and publishing misleading interpretations of them against his wishes. linkurl:Nikos Logothetis,;http://www.kyb.mpg.de/~nikos director of the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Tubingen, Germany, says that two former researchers working in his lab took fMRI data from monkey brain scans without his permission and made misleading interpretations in a paper published this m

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Sluggish economy hits biotech

By | July 2, 2008

Not one single venture-backed US company completed an linkurl:initial public offering;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/18293/ (IPO) in the second quarter of 2008, according to a linkurl:report;http://www.nvca.org/pdf/Q2_08_Exits_Release.pdf released yesterday (July 1) by the National Venture Capital Association, and the news means that small, privately-funded biotech companies may find it difficult to stay afloat in these uncertain economic times. "Companies will either disappear or

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Brain's neuronal nexus mapped

By | July 1, 2008

A structural brain map -- the most detailed to date -- provides support for a controversial theory of a "default" state of brain activity, and could bring key insights into the physiological basis of illnesses such as schizophrenia, depression, and Alzheimer's disease. Researchers have identified a set of axonal pathways in the human cerebral cortex that forms structural "core" of the cortex -- a neuronal nexus that acts as the main relay station between disparate brain regions involved in cogn

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Diet drug duke-out

By | July 1, 2008

When you're a pharmaceutical company hoping to turn a profit on a controversial product, your work never stops, it would appear. Although, I suppose that's true of any pharmaceutical company nowadays... GlaxoSmithKline, marketers of the over-the-counter weight-loss drug alli, which we linkurl:profiled;http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2008/06/consumers_face_a_bewildering_a.html in last month's issue, is asking the FDA to force weight-loss supplement sellers to conduct clinical trials

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UK gives third hybrid embryo ok

By | July 1, 2008

British biologists have received government approval to create the world's first human stem cells from hybrid embryos, part pig, part human. The Warwick Medical School team, led by linkurl:Justin St. John;http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/med/staff/stjohn of the Clinical Sciences Research Institute, was granted the country's third animal-human embryo license from the linkurl:Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority,;http://www.hfea.gov.uk/ which goes into effect today (July 1). The team plan

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Govt settles anthrax suit

By | June 30, 2008

A former US army biodefense researcher who was a "person of interest" in the still-unsolved case of the 2001 anthrax letters and who sued the government, claiming the investigation ruined his reputation, will receive a $5.8 million settlement from the Justice Department. The FBI turned its attention on the researcher, linkurl:Steven J. Hatfill,;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/20669/ in 2002 as part of its investigation of the mysterious anthrax case that caused the death of five p

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