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NIH meetings move west

By | January 22, 2008

NIH peer reviewers based on the West Coast now have less far to travel for study section meetings, according to the Center for Scientific Review, the gateway for all NIH grant applications. For reviewers based far away from DC who have lamented the burden of traveling to Washington for study section meetings, the agency says half of scientific review officers will hold one meeting in Chicago, Seattle, Los Angeles, or San Francisco in 2008. All SROs will do so by 2009, according to in Peer Revie

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Peer reviewed, or just blogged?

By | January 22, 2008

A University of California, San Diego communications professor is starting an unusual experiment today (Jan 22): He's testing whether a large online community of academic bloggers are better at peer review than a few hand-picked experts. To compare the two review methods, Noah Wardrip-Fruin is posting excerpts from his new book about video games onto the linkurl:blog;http://grandtextauto.org/ Grand Text Auto, run by himself and five colleagues. He linkurl:told;http://chronicle.com/free/2008

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Stem cell trial death

By | January 22, 2008

A nine-year-old girl enrolled in a stem cell therapy trial has died, according to the company running the trial, StemCells, Inc. An independent committee ruled that the death was not caused by the stem cell treatment. The girl was one of six children being treated for a neurodegenerative disorder -- called Batten Disease -- with transplants of linkurl:neural stem cells;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54169/ derived from fetal tissue. Nature's stem cell blog linkurl:The Niche;http:

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US Agro debate continues

By | January 21, 2008

Two government agencies continue to bicker over how to protect US borders from agroterrorism and invasive species, which critics -- including a major congressional oversight committee -- say has left the country ill-equipped to handle either crisis. In 2003, antiterrorist legislation transferred control of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), which monitors the borders for agricultural pests and conducts much of the country's research relating to linkurl:agroterrorism,;http:/

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Do women blog about science?

By | January 19, 2008

When we asked readers who their linkurl:favorite science bloggers;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/home/53596/ were last year, we started the discussion by reaching out to a number of leading science bloggers. The bloggers who responded were all men, and most of the blogs they recommended were written by men. So perhaps understandably, GrrlScientist and others linkurl:wondered why we hadn't asked any women science bloggers about their favorites. ;http://scienceblogs.com/grrlscientist/2007/09/fa

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Science blogging conf.: Ethics, please

By | January 19, 2008

Do science bloggers need a code of ethics? Should they disclose conflicts of interest? Moderate comments? Protect anonymous colleagues? Those were some of the questions raised at the first session, led by linkurl:Janet Stemwedel, ;http://scienceblogs.com/ethicsandscience/ that I went to today at the linkurl:North Carolina Science Blogging Conference. ;http://wiki.scienceblogging.com/scienceblogging/ It's the second such conference, and I was stimulated enough by last year's to come back. (I ev

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Report faults NIH on conflicts

By | January 18, 2008

More than a year ago, Ned Feder, former National Institutes of Health researcher and now staff scientist at the linkurl:Project on Government Oversight,;http://www.pogo.org/index.shtml wrote in a linkurl:letter;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/43576/ appearing in the __The Scientist__ that NIH-funded scientists "have been filing financial disclosure statements within their own institutions. However, their disclosure statements are kept secret, within each institution." Feder asked th

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Surf's up for viruses

By | January 18, 2008

In membrane studies, pictures say thousands of words. Wednesday, the closing day of the Keystone symposium on the molecular basis for biological membrane organization, I watched a talk that contained millions of words worth of compelling images. In his presentation on retroviral transmission from infected cells to uninfected cells, linkurl:Walther Mothes;http://www.med.yale.edu/micropath/fac_mothes.html of The Yale University School of Medicine featured several time-lapse movies of viruses "sur

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UK approves chimeric embryos

By | January 18, 2008

A British regulatory agency this week granted two universities permission to develop human-animal linkurl:hybrid embryos;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/22210/ for stem cell research. Scientists intend to use the embryos, developed from human DNA in linkurl:non-human mammalian eggs,;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/15405 for neurodegenerative and diabetes research. According to a linkurl:statement;http://www.hfea.gov.uk/en/377.html from Britain's Human Fertilsation and

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What should NIH peer review look like?

By | January 18, 2008

Lawrence Tabak, who is spearheading the NIH's review of peer review, has read every single one of the thousands of responses submitted to the NIH last year, after the agency asked the biomedical community to weigh in on how it should linkurl:improve;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54100/ peer review. Last month, I sat down with him to talk about what he plans to do with this information. For starters, the "village vote" won't work, linkurl:Tabak;http://intramural.nidd

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