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Furloughs for state school profs

By | July 22, 2009

Universities across the US are forcing their employees to take unpaid leave, effectively reducing the salary budget without reflecting pay cuts on paper. But for most researchers, who cannot easily pause their studies, what furloughs really amount to is a simple reduction in income -- the same amount of work for less money. Image: linkurl:Flickr/hoyasmeg;http://www.flickr.com/photos/emeryjl/2553639968/ "Especially in the sciences, [professors can't just stop] laboratory experiments or any ongoi

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NCI tackles trial enrollment

By | July 22, 2009

Why does it take so long to complete a clinical trial? One bottleneck that many researchers face is enrolling enough participants to make the study statistically significant. On Monday (20 July), the National Cancer Institute's Cancer Biomedical Informatics Grid -- aka caBIG -- announced plans to team up with the Susan Love Research Foundation to create a database of 1 million women interested in participating in clinical trials via the linkurl:Army of Women;http://researchers.armyofwomen.org/

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Brain (minus machine) interface

By | July 21, 2009

Learning to use an implanted brain electrode to control a prosthetic or robotic arm might be easier than researchers thought, suggests a linkurl:study;http://www.plosbiology.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pbio.1000153 published online yesterday (21 July) in PLoS Biology. Ideally, the goal of a brain-machine interface is "to control the prosthetic naturally," said lead author linkurl:Jose Carmena;http://www.eecs.berkeley.edu/~carmena/ from the University of California, Berkeley. To date,

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DNA may differ between tissues

By | July 20, 2009

Recent findings may spell trouble for genome-wide association studies based on DNA obtained through blood samples.

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Vector did not kill HIV trial

By | July 20, 2009

New findings have disproved a leading explanation for why an experimental HIV vaccine made subjects more susceptible to the virus, reopening the door for further HIV vaccine efforts based on similar principles. Human Immunodeficiency VirusImage: NIAIDThe Merck-funded STEP study, which used an adenoviral vector to deliver an HIV vaccine candidate, was halted in 2007 after the data suggested the vaccine increased the risk of HIV infection. Researchers thought the effect might be due to an immune

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Spontaneous speciation?

By | July 15, 2009

In a world without natural selection and no vast mountain ranges dividing populations, one might expect biodiversity to remain forever stagnant. But according to a study published this week in Nature, new species can arise arbitrarily and without provocation, challenging the widely held notion that physical isolation and selection are the driving forces behind speciation. Image: Wikimedia commons"So much of ecology and evolutionary biology is based on this idea of adaptive divergence leading to

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FASEB head outlines funding goals

By | July 14, 2009

linkurl:Mark Lively,;http://www1.wfubmc.edu/biochem/Faculty/Lively.htm a professor of biochemistry at Wake Forest University, took over as the president of the linkurl:Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB);http://www.faseb.org/ on July 1 of this year. In a conversation with The Scientist, Lively outlines some of FASEB's goals for the upcoming year, including the organization's views on what to do when the $10.4 billion in stimulus funds for the NIH runs out. Imag

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Renal researchers faked data

By | July 13, 2009

Two researchers conducting animal studies on immunosuppression lied about experimental methodologies and falsified data in 16 papers and several grants produced over the past 8 years, according to the Office of Research Integrity (ORI). Image: Rainer Zenz via Wikimedia The scientists, Judith Thomas and Juan Contreras, formerly at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), falsely reported that they performed double kidney removals on several rhesus macaques in experiments designed to test

26 Comments

Collins seen as boon to NIH

By | July 9, 2009

It would be difficult to find a more universally lauded and liked researcher than geneticist Francis Collins, who the Obama administration linkurl:nominated;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/55818/ yesterday (July 8) to take the reins at the National Institutes of Health. Collins led the US government's Human Genome Project in his time as director of the NIH's National Human Genome Research Institute. Francis CollinsImage: WikipediaAlmost immediately after the announcement of Collins's

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Embryonic twist yields turtle shell

By | July 9, 2009

The bizarre body plan of turtles may be less of an evolutionary feat than scientists once believed. According to a linkurl:study;http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/325/5937/193 published online today in Science, the unique organization of the ribs and the development of the unusual shell that turtles call home may be explained by a relatively small structural variation from their animal relatives that occurs during embryonic development. Image: Wikimedia commons"The turtle body plan

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