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HIV vaccines: Back to basics?

By | March 25, 2008

With the recent linkurl:failure;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/53633/ of HIV vaccine clinical trials, the HIV/AIDS research community has resolved to concentrate more on the basic science behind the disease, shifting the main focus from vaccine product development towards immunology and virology research, they said at a meeting in Maryland held today (March 25). "We need to turn the knob towards discovery," said linkurl:Anthony Fauci,;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/53845/

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Fungi-farming ants: a new phylogeny

By | March 24, 2008

Species of ants that practice a complex form of fungi agriculture developed their knack for farming about 50 million years ago and have employed several different, successful strategies to culture their crops in the intervening millennia, according to a linkurl:study;http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/abstract/0711024105v1 published in __PNAS__ today. Smithsonian Institution entomologist linkurl:Ted Schultz;http://entomology.si.edu/StaffPages/schultz.htm told __The Scientist__ that humans - who de

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Synaptic activity protects neurons

By | March 23, 2008

Chatter between neurons can help protect them from the ravages of free radical damage, according to a linkurl:report;http://www.nature.com/neuro/journal/vaop/ncurrent/abs/nn2071.html published today (Mar 23) in __Nature__. Free radical, or oxidative, damage besets neurons as they linkurl:age;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/13036/ normally or degenerate due to chronic disorders, such as Alzheimer's or Parkinson's, or in acute events, such as strokes. University of Edinburgh neurosci

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Fired prof's racism claim rejected

By | March 21, 2008

A federal agency has told an African-American MIT stem cell researcher, who last year went on a 12-day linkurl:hunger strike;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/40634/ in to protest his tenure denial, that his claim of racial discrimination was too little, too late. According to MIT's school paper, linkurl:__The Tech__,;http://www-tech.mit.edu/V128/N8/sherley.html The US Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) rejected James Sherley's claim that the university refused him tenure ba

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Publishers ask NIH to delay open access

By | March 21, 2008

At the National Institutes of Health linkurl:open meeting;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54421/ on the new public access mandate yesterday (March 20), publishers continued to criticize the plan and called for the agency to delay implementing it. As part of the Congressional linkurl:appropriations act;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54028/ for FY2008, all articles arising from research funded by NIH funds must be submitted to PubMed Central within 12 months of publication.

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Changes to federal biotech grants?

By | March 20, 2008

The linkurl:House Committee on Small Business;http://www.house.gov/smbiz/ is calling on legislators to overhaul the federal Small Business Innovation Research linkurl:(SBIR);http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/15805/ program, which awarded more than $2 billion last year to biotech and other start-ups with promising and salable ideas or technologies. The committee is crafting legislation to reauthorize the SBIR program, which is managed by the US Small Business Administration (SBA) and i

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Flies weigh egg-laying options

By | March 20, 2008

Researchers have identified a small group of neurons in Drosophila that are key to determining how female flies choose where to lay their eggs, a study in Science reports. The neurons are part of a neural circuit that could serve as a model to probe the molecular basis of decision-making, the study's authors say. Chung-hui Yang, a postdoc in linkurl:Yuh-Nung Jan's;http://www.hhmi.org/research/investigators/janyn.html lab at the University of California, San Francisco, was intrigued by the fact

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India to protect university patents

By | March 20, 2008

The Indian government is moving towards approving a law that will create a framework for universities to patent their discoveries. Currently, ownership of innovations made through government-funded institutions belong to the Indian government, much like the situation in the US before the Baye-Dole Act was passed in 1980. That law stated that technologies developed with federal funding at a university belong to the institution. Its passing spurred universities to establish linkurl:tech transfer

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NJ med. school reaccredited

By | March 19, 2008

The embattled linkurl:University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey;http://www.umdnj.edu/ (UMDNJ) got a rare bit of good news today, when it was taken off probation and its accreditation was restored, according to linkurl:__The New York Times__.;http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/19/nyregion/19umdnj.html?ref=nyregion The Middle States Commission on Higher Education determined that the school had made sufficient progress in cleaning up its act after being on probation since June, 2006. UMDNJ pr

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Will NIH cap number of grants?

By | March 19, 2008

Last December, we asked our readers to tell us what they thought of the proposed changes to the peer review system. A number of readers linkurl:commented;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/54009/ that they would like to see a limit on the number of grants given to any one PI, noting that small labs are usually more efficient at training students and produce more publications per trainee. Indeed, limiting the number of NIH grants to five per principal investigator was one of the recommen

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