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NJ nixes stem cell research

By | November 7, 2007

New Jersey voters nixed Governor Jon Corzine's proposal to borrow $450 million over 10 years to fund linkurl:stem cell research;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/home/53836/ yesterday (November 6). Voters defeated the measure by a 53-47 margin. Corzine introduced the proposal in July, and supporters argued it would serve as an economic boon to the state. California, New York, and Massachusetts have already devoted extensive funds to stem cell research. According to the New York Times, t

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Vaccine, immunity no help in HIV

By | November 7, 2007

Initial analysis confirmed that an HIV vaccine from a linkurl:halted;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/53633/ trial does not prevent or quell infection, according to data presented today at the HIV Vaccine Trials Network meeting. According to the linkurl:press release;http://home.businesswire.com/portal/site/google/index.jsp?ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=20071107005139&newsLang=en from Merck, the investigational vaccine (V520) was not shown to be effective at preventing infection or reduc

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Hugh Tilson, an Environmental Protection Agency administrator, is the new editor-in-chief of Environmental Health Perspectives, the flagship journal of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. As we recently reported, he was on the linkurl:short list;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/53666/ of candidates for the position. Tilson will take up his post at NIEHS later this month and will officially start as EHP?s top editor at the beginning of 2008. Tilson, a neurotoxicolog

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Fires force grant deadline extensions

By | November 6, 2007

We've seen (and some have felt) the destruction wrought by the wildfires that recently swept through Southern California: homes destroyed, communities displaced, and linkurl:study sites burned.;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/53723/ But the National Institutes of Health is also considering the delay that the California fires may cause in grant application submissions from researchers in the area. The NIH issued a linkurl:notice;http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-0

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Newt on neuroscience

By | November 6, 2007

In a talk Monday (Nov 5) that received a standing ovation by several hundred neuroscientists, Newt Gingrich urged scientists to pester lawmakers for greater linkurl:research funding;http://www.the-scientist.com/2007/7/1/28/1/. As the former Speaker of the House put it, "This is a multi-trillion dollar budget. They can always find the money if they want to." Gingrich tasked audience members to spend at least 15 minutes every six months appealing to lawmakers for funding. "If those who know are t

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iGEM parts and patents

By | November 5, 2007

This year's iGEM linkurl:winners;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/53832/ tackled a rather abstract information processing task, but many of the projects had direct health applications. In addition to the bactoblood and HIV project, there was a heart stem cell project, non-antibiotic resistant bacteria, a detection system for infections, and more. I asked Jeff Way of Merck KGaA in Germany, who was at the Jamboree as a judge, whether pharma and biotech companies were starting to apply s

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Remembering Reich

By | November 5, 2007

In case you missed it, Saturday (Nov 3) marked the 50th anniversary of the death of Wilhelm Reich, who passed away in federal prison. He was serving out a two year sentence for ignoring an injunction obtained by the Food and Drug Administration that outlawed his device that accumulated "orgone energy," which he described as a "universal life energy." (Saturday was also the 50th anniversary of the day when the linkurl:first living being;http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laika entered o

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The brain in silico

By | November 5, 2007

At the linkurl:Society for Neuroscience's;http://www.sfn.org/ annual meeting today (Nov 5), linkurl:Kathie Olsen;http://www.nsf.gov/news/speeches/olsen/olsen_bio.jsp laughingly introduced linkurl:Kwabena Boahen's;http://www.stanford.edu/group/brainsinsilicon/goals.html talk with, "Good luck." Boahen, a Stanford bioengineering professor, went on to describe his ambitious goals of creating affordable linkurl:supercomputers;http://www.the-scientist.com/2007/8/1/44/1/ neuroscientists can use in simu

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And the iGEM winner is...

By | November 4, 2007

The envelope please: This year's iGEM winner is linkurl:Peking University.;http://parts.mit.edu/igem07/index.php/Peking The team's concept was to create division of labor among bacteria. A group of bacteria can respond to stimuli by adapting to different conditions. But what if the group could split into two, with each population able to behave differently in the same environment? So the team engineered two different systems, which controlled the spatial and temporal dimensions of differentiati

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iGEM awards, part one

By | November 4, 2007

After yesterday's intensive day of presentations, some in the iGEM crowd this morning look a little worse for wear. Several are sporting a square orange and black stamp on their cheeks, the stamp of the UCSF all-high school team. It got a little crazy at the pub last night, one of the organizers told me. (I can only guess that it was the legal-aged mentors, and not the high school students, who stayed out late stamping faces.) The UCSF team, whose project focused on intercellular organelles, is

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