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Francis Collins leaves NHGRI

By | May 28, 2008

The director of the NIH's National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), linkurl:Francis Collins,;http://www.genome.gov/10000779 announced today (May 28) that he will step down from his position on August 1. Collins linkurl:started;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/16074/ as NHGRI director in 1993 and led the institute through the linkurl:Human Genome Project,;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/20030415/03/ which concluded in 2003. linkurl:Robert Cook-Deegan,;http://www.genome.duk

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Pan-European biobank needed: ESF

By | May 28, 2008

Greater coordination between Europe's biobanks is "urgently needed," says a group of leading European scientists in a policy briefing linkurl:published;http://www.esf.org/research-areas/medical-sciences/news/ext-news-singleview/article/europes-biobanks-need-urgent-coordination-scientists-say-446.html yesterday (May 27) by the European Science Foundation (ESF). Europe has many large linkurl:biobanks;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/20978/ -- repositories of biological samples and oth

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Cancer genes team up

By | May 27, 2008

Scientists have long known of the tumor suppressors and oncogenes that kick-start cancer. Now researchers report that downstream genes affected by such mutations act synergistically to further promote cancer progression, according to a study published online in linkurl:Nature;http://www.nature.com/nature/index.html on Sunday (May 25). "When cells convert from normal to cancer," said Hartmut Land from the University of Rochester Medical Center, an author of the study, "you have a forest of [gen

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Want longevity? Call a friend

By | May 27, 2008

Having a social life may just be the key to linkurl:longevity,;http://www.the-scientist.com/2006/3/1/28/1/ and the effect of interacting with peers shows up even in basic molecular pathways, according to a new study from University of Iowa researchers. Though research has previously shown that animals engaging in social interaction may have longer life spans, a new linkurl:study;http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/abstract/105/21/7506 published in __PNAS__ yesterday (May 26) explores the molecular

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Foldit for fun

By | May 23, 2008

When I first heard about a computer game based on folding proteins, I must admit, I was skeptical. How fun could it possibly be to manipulate a virtual protein for points? Well, after countless hours of first hand experimentation I've arrived at an answer: Very. The game is called Foldit, and luckily for one of the game's principle founders, David Baker, a biochemist at the University of Washington, thousands of others have come to the same conclusion. Baker hopes that Foldit -- launched two we

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Senate passes NIH funding

By | May 23, 2008

Yesterday the US Senate approved linkurl:a bill;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54650/ that includes $400 million for NIH funding. The provision is part of the Senate's Supplemental Appropriations bill for 2008, primarily intended to support the Iraq war. The bill was passed with 75 in favor, 22 opposed. President Bush has vowed to veto the bill if it contains non-military funding measures. The bill will now be sent back to the House of Representatives for a vote.

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GINA becomes law

By | May 22, 2008

President Bush signed into law the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) yesterday (May 21). GINA, which passed the House and Senate linkurl:last month,;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54567/ prevents insurers and employers from using genetic test results to discriminate against employees.

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Mainland animal lab poses risks: GAO

By | May 22, 2008

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has not demonstrated that moving foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) research from an island lab in New York to a linkurl:new mainland animal research facility;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/23091/ would be safe, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) told a Congressional committee this morning (May 22). "We found that linkurl:DHS;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54186/ has not conducted or commissioned any study" to assess whether

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Virginia U in secretive tobacco deal

By | May 22, 2008

Another US university has been found in bed with big tobacco, this time on the down-low. linkurl:The New York Times reported today;http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/22/us/22tobacco.html?pagewanted=1 that Virginia Commonwealth University entered into a contract with Philip Morris in 2006 that severely restricts researchers' ability to disseminate findings from studies funded by the tobacco company. Tobacco funding in academic research is a contentious issue, with the debate primarily centered arou

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Thousands vie for Gates grants

By | May 21, 2008

Biologists have been submitting research proposals in droves hoping to receive money from a new linkurl:Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation;http://www.gatesfoundation.org/default.htm grant program aimed at improving linkurl:global health.;http://www.the-scientist.com/2008/3/1/42/1/ As Yiwu He, Gates foundation senior program officer in global health, told me at a biomarker linkurl:meeting;http://www.biomarkerworldcongress.com/ in Philadelphia on Monday (May 19), the Gates Foundation has gotten abo

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