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A new twist on nanoparticle behavior

By | September 23, 2008

Researchers hoping to develop linkurl:nanoparticles;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/15659/ as medicines or carriers of therapeutic molecules have much more to worry about than the type of material they plan on miniaturizing, according to a linkurl:study;http://www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.0805135105 in this week's issue of the __Proceedings of the National Academy of Science__. Researchers in Ireland found that the corona, or cloud of proteins and other biomolecules that adher

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Four biologists win "genius" prize

By | September 23, 2008

The MacArthur Foundation today announced the recipients of its 2008 MacArthur Fellows (a.k.a. Genius Awards): Among the 25 winners, who will receive $500,000 over the next five years, four were life scientists. Here's the line-up: linkurl:Kirsten Bomblies,;http://www.weigelworld.org/members/kirstenb a plant evolutionary geneticist at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, studies genetic incompatibility in Arabidopsis as a model for the development of new plant species in shared

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Who's advising McCain on science?

By | September 23, 2008

While Democratic Presidential hopeful linkurl:Barack Obama;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54995/ unveiled an impressive stable of science policy advisers last week, his opponent linkurl:John McCain;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/55012/ has yet to ante up. As linkurl:__Wired__;http://blog.wired.com/wiredscience/2008/09/obama-campaign.html reported on Wednesday, the Obama science team includes Nobel laureates linkurl:Harold Varmus;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display

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High risk NIH grants announced

By | September 22, 2008

Forty-seven researchers -- including 31 early career investigators -- will split a pot of $138 million dollars for research recognized by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as bold and potentially transformative. The NIH Director's Pioneer and New Innovator Awards aim to fund high risk-high reward projects that tend to get passed over during the linkurl:peer-review selection;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54893/ for NIH R01 grants. "There's a tendency for investment early in

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Ancient fingers and toes

By | September 21, 2008

Were animals with four limbs the first to evolve fingers and toes-- or did such digits evolve long before? A linkurl:study published today;http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/abs/nature07339.html (September 21) in Nature claims to resolve this long-standing question. For many years, most paleontologists debated whether digits arose 380 million years ago as a novel evolutionary trait in tetrapods, or four-footed creatures. The new study, led by Catherine Boisvert, at Uppsala Unive

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More fat cells, less fat?

By | September 18, 2008

A fat-based hormone, the first of its kind to be identified, may regulate the body's metabolic rate, according to a linkurl:report;http://www.cell.com/content/article/abstract?uid=PIIS0092867408010143 in this week's __Cell.__ The results paradoxically suggest that aspects of metabolic disease could be controlled by spurring the production of new fat cells. "There's a strong dogma that excess fat is bad in every form, that the effects will always be negative," said principal investigator Gokhan

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Politics in the body?

By | September 18, 2008

Do you strongly support the war in Iraq and strict immigration policies? If so, you're more likely to have strong physiological responses to threatening stimuli such as loud noises and disturbing images, according to a study published in Science this week. Using tests of skin conductance in response to different types of images and startle response to loud sounds, researchers found that people with higher physical sensitivity to threatening stimuli are more likely to favor political policies t

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$500 million NIH funds boost?

By | September 17, 2008

The National Institutes of Health may be getting a healthy funding boost by year's end. Within the next couple of weeks, the US Senate is expected to debate a supplementary funding package that includes $500 million to NIH for 2008. Senate Committee on Appropriations chairman Robert Bryd (D- WVa) linkurl:introduced the supplement;http://appropriations.senate.gov/News/2008_07_31_Byrd_Comments_on_Second_Stimulus_Supplemental,_Releases_Details_of_Legislation.pdf?CFID=8566385&CFTOKEN=62920191 at t

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Haitian HIV clinic weathers storms

By | September 17, 2008

The trio of hurricanes that raked across Haiti recently left the linkurl:HIV/AIDS clinic that I visited;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/54367/ there earlier this year battered but not broken. While Gustav, Hanna, and Ike wrought widespread destruction across the country and killed hundreds of people, the Haitian Study Group on Kaposi's Sarcoma and Opportunistic Infections (GHESKIO) clinic in Port-au-Prince continues to function, according to the center's director linkurl:Jean Pape.;

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NAS to review anthrax evidence

By | September 17, 2008

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) yesterday (September 16) announced it will turn over scientific evidence against their chief suspect in the 2001 anthrax attacks, a US army microbiologist who linkurl:committed suicide;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54907/ in July, to scientists at the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) for independent review. Bruce Ivins, a researcher at the U.S. Army Medical Institute for Infectious Disease at Fort Detrick, Md, conducted studies on anthrax

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