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Scientist survivors

By | June 22, 2010

"I've always been a bit shy about talking about science," said Kerstin Zechner, a genetics graduate student at the University of Oxford. So when she heard about the online competition that let high school students decide whether a scientist is worthy of receiving a ₤500 prize, Zechner hesitated, and then decided to give it a shot. As part of a two-week-long online event that ran in March called "I'm a Scientist, Get me out of Here," Zechner and other scientists responded to any questions

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New impact factors yield surprises

By | June 21, 2010

Thomson Reuters has released its 2009 Journal Citation Report, cataloging journals' impact factors, and shuffling in the top few spots have some analysts scratching their heads. Specifically, the publication with second highest impact factor in the "science" category is __Acta Crystallographica - Section A__, knocking none other than the __New England Journal of Medicine__ from the runner's up position. This title's impact factor rocketed up to 49.926 this year, more than 20-fold higher than la


Immunology 2.0: brain, gut?

By | June 18, 2010

In order to progress, should the field of immunology look to other organ systems such as the brain and gut, or should it focus its efforts on all that remains unknown about the immune system itself? Macrophage cell in early stages of infectionwith African swine fever virusImage: Wikimedia commons"The major advancements in any field come when branches of science collide," said linkurl:Kevin Tracey,; an immunologist at


Kyoto Prize goes to Yamanaka

By | June 18, 2010

Stem cell researcher linkurl:Shinya Yamanaka; will receive linkurl:this year's Kyoto Prize; in Advanced Technology for his work on generating pluripotent stem cells from adult tissues, the non-profit Inamori Foundation announced today (June 18). Shinya YamanakaImage: The Lasker FoundationIn 2006, Yamanaka, currently a senior investigator at the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular

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Lions, meet BeetleCam

By | June 18, 2010

Most wildlife photographers are hesitant to walk straight up to a lion to take its picture. Brothers linkurl:Will and Matt Burrard-Lucas; feel the same way, but that didn't stop them from getting extreme close ups of one of Africa's most fearsome predators. They designed a rugged, remote-controlled camera car that could traverse the African plains, snapping photos of animals as it went, while keeping the brothers at a safe distance, hiding in a bush. Image: linkurl:


More hope for genetic fix for HIV

By | June 16, 2010

Genetically modifying the stem cells of HIV patients may one day prove to be an effective, one-time therapy against the hard-to-kill virus, according to the results of a proof-of-principle trial published this week in Science Translational Medicine. Human Immunodeficiency VirusImage: Wikimedia commons, NIAIDIn contrast to the widely used highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), which patients must continue for their entire lives to control the virus, such a genetic treatment has the potent


Good news for rare disease?

By | June 15, 2010

The mother of young twins with a rare genetic disease is seeking approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to administer linkurl:a non-prescription compound; directly into the brains of her girls based on recent findings showing the compound dramatically improves cats with the disease. It may seem unusual for a parent to fill out such an application to the FDA, but Chris Hempel, who has two 6-year old children suffering from Niemann-Pick


How a shark's nose knows

By | June 10, 2010

New insight into how sharks sniff out prey may help explain the evolution of widely spaced nostrils, such as those of hammerheads. According to a linkurl:study; published in the latest issue of Current Biology, sharks navigate through odor trails by sensing time delays in the arrival of odor signals from one nostril to another. Presumably, sharks with more widely spaced nostrils can sense more subtle changes in the direction


New gut ecosystem model?

By | June 10, 2010

A new class of organisms may be cutting in on the classic, co-evolutionary, immune system-boosting tango between mammals and the beneficial bacteria that inhabit their guts: parasitic worms.Trichuris muris eggs with Escherichia coliImage courtesy of Kelly Hayes, University ofManchester Researchers at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom report this week in Science that they have found that parasitic worms of the genus __Trichuris__ -- inhabitants of many a mammal's large intestine


Support for UC-Nature ban

By | June 10, 2010

University of California scientists are speaking out in favor of UC's threat to boycott Nature Publishing Group over a proposed 400 percent hike in licensing fees. "Nature is making a very unfortunate move here," said linkurl:Alex Bell,; a professor of chemical engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. "Multiple-fold increases are unjustified. I think it's bordering on exploitation." In a letter mass e-mailed to faculty earlier thi


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