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Most Texas staff lose job appeals

By | June 23, 2009

Only a couple of the former University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) faculty members who challenged their terminations made in the aftermath of last year's Hurricane Ike have won their appeals in what some are calling "show trials," although some of the defeated professors have been rehired to the same or similar positions. Image: Wikimedia"The way that the whole thing was set up and executed, I think it was a farce," linkurl:Roger Vertrees,;http://www.utmb.edu/pathology/profiles/?user=rvertre

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Tool use alters brain's map of body

By | June 22, 2009

Researchers claim to have the first direct evidence of a century-old idea that using tools changes the way the human brain perceives the size and configuration of our body parts, according to a linkurl:study;http://www.cell.com/current-biology/abstract/S0960-9822(09)01109-9 published in the June 23 issue of __Current Biology__. Holding the tool at an elongatedarm's lengthImage: Lucilla Cardinali"To be accurate in doing an action with a tool, you need to make the tool become a part of your body,

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Finch researchers win Kyoto Prize

By | June 20, 2009

linkurl:Peter;http://www.princeton.edu/eeb/people/display_person.xml?netid=prgrant&display=All and linkurl:Rosemary Grant,;http://www.princeton.edu/eeb/people/display_person.xml?netid=rgrant&display=All emeritus professors at Princeton University who were the first to document natural selection in action, have won the 2009 Kyoto Prize in the category of Basic Sciences for their work on evolutionary adaptations in response to environmental flux. Image: Denise ApplewhitePrinceton University"I can

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Ancient bivalve had huge sperm

By | June 18, 2009

Sexually reproducing ancient crustaceans had sperm that were literally larger than life, according to a new study to be published in next week's issue of Science. The finding suggests that despite the extreme energetic costs of producing such sperm, the trait might be quite evolutionarily stable, the researchers say. Electron micrograph imageof ostracode spermImage: Renate Matzke-Karasz"This study fills a real gap by, for the first time, actually going back into the fossil record and examining

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Bird boogies for science

By | June 18, 2009

Everybody, yeah.Rock your body, yeah.Everybody, yeah.Rock your body right.Snowball's back, alright. linkurl:Snowball,;http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N7IZmRnAo6s the dancing cockatoo of YouTube fame, made an encore performance last Saturday (June 13) at the linkurl:World Science Festival;http://www.worldsciencefestival.com as part of__ linkurl:Avian Einsteins,;http://www.worldsciencefestival.com/2009/avian-einsteins __a panel discussion on the parallels between bird and human brains. Joined by s

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The science of storytelling

By | June 18, 2009

Science is a story -- a story about ideas, but also a story about the remarkable people who devote their lives to unraveling the wonders of nature. Scientists themselves, however, rarely have a vessel to impart their personal wisdoms since the main outlet for scientific research -- peer-reviewed literature -- is typically devoid of narrative. Not so last Friday (June 12) night at the linkurl:World Science Festival;http://www.worldsciencefestival.com/ in New York City. Two Nobel Laureates, two n

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Animal facility goes underground

By | June 17, 2009

The University of Iowa has gotten the green light to build a subterranean vivarium that will house experimental animals to be used in biomedical research and offer an extra measure of protection from animal rights extremists. The Iowa Board of Regents linkurl:approved;http://www2.state.ia.us/regents/Meetings/DocketMemos/09Memos/June/0609_ITEM12.pdf $11.2 million for the roughly 35,000 square foot facility -- which will lie under a grassy courtyard bordered by three research buildings -- last we

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NY to pay for eggs for research

By | June 17, 2009

New York has become the first and only state to opt to pay women for eggs donated for human embryonic stem cell research. The linkurl:Empire State Stem Cell Board;http://stemcell.ny.gov/ (ESSCB), which oversees New York's $600 million stem cell research program that was launched last year, came to the decision last week (June 11) following "extensive deliberation" from its ethics committee. Human oocyteImage: Wikimedia"The Board agreed that it is ethical and appropriate for women donating oocyt

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Splitting two birds with one gene

By | June 17, 2009

A single base pair change that turned a colorful bird entirely black probably guided the formation of a new species, researchers linkurl:report;http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/action/showForthcomingToc?journalCode=an in the August issue of __The American Naturalist__. Melanic (above) and chestnut-bellied (below) Monarch flycatchersImage: J. Albert Uy"It looks like we have a single mutation that's driving speciation in these birds," linkurl:J. Albert Uy,;http://biology.syr.edu/uy/ an evolutiona

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Lilly offers "free" assays

By | June 16, 2009

In a new initiative that aims to forge broader partnerships between pharma and academia, Eli Lilly has announced that it will conduct free drug development assays in four therapeutic areas on any compounds academic researchers and small biotechs care to send along. In exchange, the company will get first dibs on any licensing deals or collaborations that promising compounds might yield. What differentiates this initiative from the plethora of partnering opportunities out there, Alan Palkowitz,

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