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NIH funding rates drop

By | April 15, 2010

Last year, the NIH funded fewer grants than it has for any year in the last nine years, and the average grant success rate -- 20.6 percent of reviewed grant applications funded among 26 institutions -- was the second lowest since 2000. Success rates are down from 21.8 percent in 2008 and only slightly higher than the 2006 ten-year low, when the NIH dispersed its funds out among only 20.0 percent of reviewed proposals. In total, 8,881 grant applications were funded last year, down from 9,460


PhD student admits misconduct

By | April 15, 2010

An Indiana University student researching the molecular physiology of diabetes admitted to a string of misconduct -- falsifying data in two papers, a successful grant application to the National Institutes of Health, and her defended PhD thesis. Image by Tomomarusan via WikimediaThe Office of Research Integrity (ORI) announced the misconduct finding this week in the linkurl:Federal Register.; Emily Horvath, who got her PhD from Indiana University


Nuclei swap to stop disease?

By | April 14, 2010

A technique may one day prevent something that is currently unpreventable -- the transmission of mitochondrial diseases from mother to child, according to a proof-of-concept paper published online today (April 14) in Nature. Blastocyst on day 5 after fertilizationImage: Wikimedia commons, EkemThe authors swapped the nuclei from one fertilized human egg with the nuclei from another, creating an embryo with nuclear DNA from the donor egg, but mitochondrial DNA primarily from the recipient. They s


Top killers share genes

By | April 12, 2010

Cancer, obesity, and even atherosclerosis share a common set of differentially expressed genes, suggesting a diverse number of human diseases share the same disrupted biological pathways, according to new research published this week in Cancer Cell. The genetic link also suggests that drugs currently used for the treatment of metabolic and cardiovascular diseases might also be used against cancer, researchers say. DNA microarrayImage: Wikimedia commons, Guillaume Paumier "In any year, there a


Hormones promote stem cell growth

By | April 11, 2010

Estrogen and progesterone promote the proliferation and activity of mouse mammary stem cells, according to new research published online today (April 11) at Nature -- possibly explaining the link between exposure to the hormones and breast cancer. Microphotography of a preparationof a healthy mammary gland Image: Wikimedia commons, linkurl:Luis A. Pardo et al.; "It's a pretty good paper," said linkurl:John Stingl,;http://www.cambri


Super Stemmys, a stem cell story

By | April 8, 2010

Stem cells to save the day! Or the heart, at least. That's the plot of a new children's book on adult (or repair) stem cells, published by the linkurl:Repair Stem Cell Institute; (RSCI) -- a Dallas- and Bangkok-based public affairs company that provides interested patients with contact information for stem cell treatment centers around the world. "It's a nice idea," said cell biologist Mahendra Rao of linkurl:Life Technologies,;


Announcing The Scientist's Labbies

By | April 7, 2010

Is your lab keyed in to cutting-edge technologies that help disseminate your life science research? Enter your lab website, blog, research videos, slideshow, or other presentation for a chance to win one of The Scientist's 2010 multimedia awards -- the Labbies! Expanding on our linkurl:Video Awards from last year,; The Scientist is looking for scientists and scientific laboratories that show real tech savvy in presenting their research to the wider world


Gut bacteria are what we eat

By | April 7, 2010

Gut microbes, which help humans degrade otherwise indigestible plant material, acquire some crucial digestive enzyme genes from the bacteria in the food we eat, according to a study published this week in Nature. This new finding provides an example of horizontal gene transfer by which diet can influence the genetic diversity and functionality of the human gut microbiome. Image: Wikimedia commons, Alessandro Scotti"It's a fascinating story," said microbiologist linkurl:Jeffrey Gordon;http://gor


The stem cell banking crisis

By | April 7, 2010

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has allowed a contract for the dissemination of embryonic stem cell lines approved for US government funding to lapse, shuttering a key stem cell bank, and doubling the price researchers pay for samples of some human embryonic stem cell (hESC) lines. Human embryonic stem cellsImage: Wikimedia commons, Nissim BenvenistyResearchers hoped that stem cell research would be moving forward by leaps and bounds with the number of hESC lines approved for federal fu


Wildlife manager or exterminator?

By | April 6, 2010

Alaskan wildlife biologists are questioning the new head of the linkurl:Alaska Division of Wildlife Conservation at the Department of Fish and Game; (ADFG) -- both his qualifications (or lack thereof) and his pro-hunter management strategies. A group of nearly 40 retired state biologists wrote a linkurl:letter; last month to linkurl:Denby Lloyd,; commission


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