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German monkey studies nixed

By | October 27, 2008

Local lawmakers in Bremen, Germany, are refusing to renew a prominent neuroscientist's license to conduct research on primates, despite the fact that his research was approved by a national regulatory body. The University of Bremen researcher, linkurl:Andreas Kreiter,;http://www.neuro.uni-bremen.de/~brain/staff/eak.htm works with 24 macaques to measure neuronal firing as part of his studies into cognition in the mammalian brain. During local elections last year, the regional parliament, in resp

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Palin vs. the flies

By | October 27, 2008

With just over a week to go until Americans choose their next President, the McCain/Palin campaign has linkurl:again;http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=mccains-beef-with-bears lashed out at what they've called wasteful "earmark" spending on "pet projects" in the form of scientific research. This time Alaska Governor and Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin leveled the charge, and she's picked a new target: fruit fly research. "Sometimes these dollars, they go to projects having lit

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Merck moves Seattle to Boston

By | October 24, 2008

When I heard that pharmaceutical company Merck was linkurl:slashing;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/55103/ more than 7,000 jobs across the company, my thoughts immediately went to Eric Schadt and his colleagues at Rosetta Inpharmatics, a Seattle-based Merck subsidiary. I linkurl:profiled;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/54801/ Schadt, who heads the company's research genetics department, in our July issue. Recent linkurl:reports;http://www.genome-technology.com/issues/blog

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New fills for funding gaps

By | October 24, 2008

David Vitrant, a PhD student in genetics at the University of Pittsburgh, thinks he's got a creative idea for alternative schemes to fund research: simply ask the public for money. He recently launched non-profit, called linkurl:FundScience,;http://fundscience.org/index.html that aims to connect researchers with potential donors. To explain why he started FundScience, Vitrant cited a number well-known to NIH-funded scientists: 42, the average age at which researchers these days receive their f

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Making mice forget

By | October 22, 2008

Manipulating the brain to over-express a protein can selectively erase short- and long-term fear memories in mice without compromising other memories or harming neurons, according to a study out this week in Neuron. The findings offer "a molecular paradigm by which we can actually erase a specific memory," linkurl:Joe Tsien,;http://www.gra.org/EminentScholarsDetail/tabid/368/xmmid/1072/xmid/193/xmview/2/school/Medical%20College%20of%20Georgia/Default.aspx a neuroscientist at the Medical Colleg

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Merck to cut jobs

By | October 22, 2008

Merck plans to eliminate 7,200 jobs by the end of 2011, according to their 2008 third quarter linkurl:financial report,;http://www.merck.com/newsroom/press_releases/financial/2008_1022.html released today. The cuts are part of ongoing restructuring efforts and come after a 28% profit plunge in the third quarter. The restructuring efforts began in 2005, and at the time the linkurl:pharmaceutical company;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/23391/ eliminated more than 10,000 jobs. The c

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Frog fungus spreads in Panama

By | October 17, 2008

A fungus that has eradicated more than 100 frog species across the globe has spread to an ecosystem in Panama that researchers hoped might hold out from infection a while longer. "The findings are a concern because it means the fungus will continue to move through eastern Panama, and we only have a [limited time] to do what we can to save the frogs, collect data, watch," linkurl:Karen Lips,;http://www.science.siu.edu/zoology/lips/ herpetologist at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, who

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Molecules That Matter

By | October 17, 2008

linkurl:"Molecules That Matter,";http://tang.skidmore.edu/pac/mtm/ a traveling exhibit that opened to the public at the newly renovated linkurl:Chemical Heritage Foundation;http://www.chemheritage.org/ in Philadelphia earlier this month, ties the history of the 20th century to a handful of the most influential molecules of the period. The goal of the exhibit is simple: to help the public, who typically cringes at memories from high school chemistry classes, to connect chemical discoveries to t

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Stem cell trial nearly a go?

By | October 17, 2008

The first clinical trial treatment based on embryonic stem cells may soon get the go ahead. In May, the Food and Drug Administration linkurl:placed a hold;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54647/ on a clinical trial application submitted by Geron Corporation, a California-based biotech. The company submitted a 22,500-page Investigational New Drug application to the FDA for an embryonic stem cell-derived compound -- called GRNOPC1 -- to treat spinal cord injury. Geron president and CEO

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A computer for living cells

By | October 16, 2008

In a boost to the field of linkurl:synthetic biology,;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/18854/ researchers have created an RNA-based device that can control gene expression of target genes, thus regulating molecular processes in living cells, a linkurl:paper;http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/322/5900/456 in this week's Science reports. The paper "shows this design approach for the first time in a biological system," linkurl:Christina Smolke;http://www.che.caltech.edu/gr

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