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Reviewer rewards from the NIH

By | January 4, 2008

In an effort to keep good peer reviewers coming back, the National Institutes of Health is letting "permanent" reviewers, who typically serve for four years on chartered study sections, submit their own R01, R21, and R34 grant applications at any time, disregarding standard deadlines. NIH spokesman Don Luckett told me the agency decided to adopt the change after receiving feedback from long-term reviewers that their service put them at a disadvantage by requiring them to review applications whi

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Science vs. science

By | January 3, 2008

It's the first day of voting today in Iowa, and a perfect time to talk about...science? So says a linkurl:group of scientists;http://www.sciencedebate2008.com/www/index.php?id=2 who have joined Sciencedebate2008, now urging the candidates for US president to linkurl:debate their stance;http://www.the-scientist.com/2007/12/1/22/1/ on the environment, medicine, and science policy. This debate is vital, they argue, "given the many linkurl:urgent scientific and technological challenges;http://www.

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Blakemore denied Sir - again

By | January 2, 2008

In case you missed this over the holiday, former Medical Research Council head Colin Blakemore was denied knighthood by the UK, where news reports have attributed the decision to his support of animal research. In 2003, Blakemore was also linkurl:denied knighthood;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/21915/ for a similar reason. The snub smarts, especially since the chief of the MRC would normally automatically be granted a knighthood. That year, Blakemore threatened to resign as MRC he

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Still no bioterror work at Texas A&M

By | January 2, 2008

Research on bioterrorist agents at Texas A&M University is linkurl:still suspended;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/53600/ due to breaches in biosafety practices, although the university said last year it expected to be cleared to continue such work by the end of 2007. "The program continues to be on hold," Sherylon Carroll of the university's press office told The Scientist. "We are waiting for feedback from the Centers for Disease Control." The CDC suspended the university's bioterro

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Top NIH grants, grantees in 2007

By | January 2, 2008

It's the end of the year, so time to count the number of pennies the NIH has doled out in the last 12 months. Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News linkurl:published a list;http://www.genengnews.com/news/bnitem.aspx?name=28380062 of the top 20 PIs of the year, and Barton F. Haynes at Duke University ($46,482,429) sits at the top of that pyramid. The best-funded institutions were Johns Hopkins University ($566,516,255) and the University of Pennsylvania ($434,874,723). The list is some

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Cha vs. Flamm court drama continues

By | December 20, 2007

A fertility researcher who published a study suggesting that prayer improves in vitro fertilization success rates has renewed his legal battle against an obstetrician/gynecologist who has criticized his work. Kwang-Yul Cha, a fertility researcher and chancellor of the medical school at Pochon CHA University in Korea, filed a motion on Tuesday (Dec 18) for a new trial after a judge linkurl:threw out;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/53876/ his defamation lawsuit against University of Cal

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How are you doing, Bruce Alberts?

By | December 20, 2007

For Bruce Alberts, the week Science linkurl:announced;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54026/ he would be the journal's new chief editor was, decidedly, "hectic." Already, "I've got a lot of people sending me advice on how Science magazine could be improved," he told me Wednesday (December 19). His response: Bring it on. "A thousand minds are better than ten," he said, so he's going to be collecting suggestions from all corners about ways to improve t

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How we review peer review

By | December 20, 2007

In case you have never attended an open house workshop at the NIH's Center for Scientific Review, in which people who participate in NIH peer review gather to discuss how the process is going and could improve, here's how it typically goes: Tuesday morning (December 18), about 80 stakeholders such as study section leaders in the Biomolecular group (about one-sixth of the entire CSR) gathered in a large auditorium of the Natcher Building on the NIH campus to consider two questions. 1. W

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Psychiatrist kills ads to pay ransom

By | December 20, 2007

A leading child psychiatrist got thousands of emails this week criticizing a provocative advertising campaign by his center to raise awareness of mental illness in children. The New York Times linkurl:reported;http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/20/business/media/20child.html that Harold Koplewicz, the director of New York University's Child Study Center, received more than 3,000 emails in response to the ads, which used fake ransom notes to call attention to autism and depression in children. For e

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Unwinding DNA replication

By | December 20, 2007

Scientists have sorted out another piece of the DNA replication puzzle by showing what might happen to histones through the process of unwinding DNA. The linkurl:findings,;http://www.sciencemag.org published in today's (December 20) __Science__, identify a complex that can shuttle histones from parent to daughter strands of DNA as it replicates. As the replication fork moves along a strand of DNA, the linkurl:nucleosomes;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/23392 - the 4-histone pair c

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