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The secret of HIV control

By | December 4, 2008

The immune tricks that keep HIV in check in long term non-progressors (LTNPs) -- people who carry the virus but don't get AIDS -- have been a mystery for decades. It turns out that T cells in LTNPs destroy the virus by punching holes in infected cells and injecting a strong dose of apoptotic proteins, according to a study to be published in the December 19th issue of Immunity. "This study brings us closer to a potential vaccine or cure for AIDS," linkurl:Guido Silvestri;

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NIEHS gets new leader

By | December 3, 2008

linkurl:Linda Birnbaum,; a toxicologist and former head of EPA's Experimental Toxicology Division, will be the new head of the NIH's National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), ending a period of turmoil under her predecessor David Schwartz, who resigned from the institute early this year amidst allegations of mismanagement. linkurl:Raynard Kington,; acting head of NIH,


Postdoc censured for fudged images

By | December 3, 2008

A Texas stem cell researcher falsified data by mucking around with her results in Photoshop, according to an Office of Research Integrity (ORI) linkurl:ruling.; Peili Gu, a postdoc in linkurl:Austin Cooney's; lab at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) in Houston, Texas from 2000 to 2007, falsified images in three papers that investigated the role of the germ cell nuclear factor on the expression of pluripotency genes in


Animal activists hit wrong address

By | December 2, 2008

Los Angeles-based extremists who oppose the use of animals in scientific research destroyed a car, which they thought belonged to a University of California, Los Angeles, biologist linkurl:Goran Lacan.; The arson attack, which occurred on November 20th, also badly damaged two nearby cars, but none of the cars belonged to Lacan, according to Los Angeles police. Apparently, an LAPD spokesperson told the linkurl:__Los Angeles Times__,;


Texas profs sue university

By | December 2, 2008

An association representing faculty members at 85 University of Texas institutions is suing university officials on behalf of more than 3,000 University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) employees given the pink slip last week in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike. "[The University of Texas officials] had a predetermined agenda that had nothing to do with Ike" that included efforts to privatize universities and weaken the tenure process, Tom Johnson, executive director of the linkurl:Texas Faculty Ass


Will arthritis thwart cane toads?

By | December 2, 2008

The wave of pesky cane toads that is spreading across the Australian landscape with a rapacious disregard for the continent's delicate ecological balance might be slowed by a complaint familiar to anyone who travels frequently: a sore back. And one cane toad biologist is suggesting that this weakness may be the key to reining in the invasive amphibian's impact on native Australian species. University of Sydney biologist linkurl:Rick Shine;


Europe rejects stem cell patent

By | December 1, 2008

The European Patent Office (EPO) issued its final ruling last week rejecting a much-contested embryonic stem cell patent -- a decision that will likely be cheered by researchers and jeered by biotechs. The patent covered technology developed by linkurl:James Thomson,; a University of Wisconsin researcher, to culture primate embryonic stem cells derived from pre-implantation embryos. In last week's ruling, the EPO upheld a previous decision, made last summer,


Finding Nemo with electricity

By | November 26, 2008

Researchers have discovered an electrifying love story in the turbid rivers of the lower Congo rapids. Elephant-nosed electric fish find and recognize their mates through crackling communications, according a study published today (Nov. 25) in__ linkurl:Biology Letters.; Campylomormyrus__ elephant-nosed fish have a specialized muscular organ that emits millivolt-strength electric signals -- too weak for humans to much notice but powerful eno


Gut drives bone makeovers

By | November 26, 2008

The signals that tell your skeleton to lay down new bone come from an unlikely source -- your gut, according to a study published today (Nov. 26) in Cell. "This study revolutionizes how we think about the skeleton," linkurl:Cliff Rosen,; a bone biologist from Maine Medical Center Research Institute who was not involved in the research, told The Scientist. "We, as bone [researchers], thought of the skeleton as functioning independent of everything else," Ros


Critics rip Cell paper

By | November 25, 2008

Improper citation, disregard for antecedent research, and shoddy experimentation - those are just a few of the allegations levied against a recent research paper written by a team of Stanford University scientists. One of the paper's chief critics, University of Cambridge biologist linkurl:Peter Lawrence,; says that the problems with the publication exemplify a broader problem in scientific publishing. "There's a pressure on scientists to publish in these top j



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