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Conference kerfuffle hits scientists

By | August 19, 2009

Confusion over an upcoming cardiology conference in Shanghai has forced registered scientists and clinicians to fight for reimbursements, including one who faced more than $2000 in spurious credit card charges he suspects are related to the conference. Image: Wikimedia Commons"This is the strangest thing that I've ever been involved in -- it's very weird," said linkurl:C. Richard Conti,; a professor of cardiology at the University of Florida and ed


Controlling proteins with light

By | August 19, 2009

Researchers have devised a way to control cell movement using flashes of blue light and have used the technique to uncover the function of a protein crucial to cell motility, they report online in linkurl:__Nature__; today (August 19th). "This is going to promote studies of cellular behavior and even of organismal behavior," linkurl:Keith Moffat,; a University of Chicago biophysicist who was not involved with th

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Pensions for postdocs

By | August 19, 2009

Postdocs funded by the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) will soon have a better way to save for retirement. The organization this month announced the creation of an internationally portable pension plan for the 400 or so recipients of linkurl:EMBO postdoc fellowships.; Image: Wikimedia CommonsIn most European countries, scientists can pay part of their salaries into a cou


Collins prepares for budget battle

By | August 17, 2009

Francis Collins, the new director of the National Institutes of Health, said today (17th August) that making sure the NIH's newly-invigorated budget does not "drop off a cliff" once $10 billion in stimulus funding expires at the end of 2010 will be his top priority as he takes the reins of the biomedical research agency. "FY '11 battles are going to be tough," Collins said. "This is the [issue] that wakes me up in the middle of the night." After being officially sworn in as the NIH's 16th dire


Worm glue to repair bones

By | August 17, 2009

Mimicking an adhesive naturally produced by marine worms, researchers have created a new glue that may help surgeons reconstruct shattered bone, they reported today (August 17) at the linkurl:American Chemical Society (ACS) 238th National Meeting; in Washington, DC. Sandcastle wormImage: Russell Stewart"It's a wonderful advance," said biophysicist linkurl:Bob Baier;


Polar researchers fouling nature

By | August 14, 2009

Research stations in Antarctica are sullying the pristine environment by improperly disposing of sewage waste, reports linkurl:a study; published this month in Polar Research. Downtown McMurdo Station Image: Wikimedia Commons via linkurl:Flickr; The study found that more than half of the research stations that operate on the continent lack sewage systems to prop


Conflicts brewing at the FDA

By | August 13, 2009

The US Food and Drug Administration's chief drug approver has been hit with allegations of a conflict of interest, and the head of the agency's division on medical devices is resigning amid claims that he was making decisions that betrayed close ties to industry.Image: FDA linkurl:Janet Woodcock,; director of FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, has apparently landed under

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Is HIV progression sex-linked?

By | August 13, 2009

A genetic variant on the X chromosome may explain why some HIV-infected women are slower to develop full-blown AIDS than men. Although several human genetic variants have been implicated in the control and spread of HIV within a host, this is the first time that a sex chromosome has been found to harbor a suspect stretch of genome related to the disease.HIV-1 budding from cultured lymphocyte Image: C. Goldsmith, courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention "I think it's a fasci

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Two stem cell lines lead studies

By | August 12, 2009

In a decade of research on human embryonic stem cells (hESCs), scientists have largely depended on just two cell lines, greatly limiting the diversity of research in the budding field, according to a linkurl:survey published; in the August issue of Nature Biotechnology. Human embryonic stem cellsImage: Wikimedia commons/PLoS Nissim Benvenisty"It's been sort of common lore that those [two lines] have been the most widely u


deCODE close to broke

By | August 11, 2009

Icelandic biotech deCODE Genetics may become another casualty of tough economic times. The company linkurl:announced today; (August 11) that it has only $3.8 million dollars left in its coffers -- enough to fund operations "into the latter half of the third quarter," which in Iceland runs through September. In a conference call this morning, the company said it was restructuring its business, dropping its medicinal chemistry and structural biology operations, and inste



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