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A Killer Protein

By | January 17, 2006

This month?s __Nature Biotechnology__ linkurl:includes an article;http://www.nature.com/nbt/journal/v24/n1/abs/nbt1175.html from Sergey Lukyanov that elevates fluorescent proteins from cool to killer. Lukyanov, of the Shemyakin-Ovchinnikov Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, and colleagues report the isolation of a GFP variant called KillerRed that acts as a photosensitizer. Photosensitizers produce reactive oxygen species upon stimulation with light; Killer

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Ben?s Birthday, Our Present

By | January 17, 2006

Rice University physicist Neal Lane penned linkurl:an interesting op-ed;http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/editorial/outlook/3590974.html in the __Houston Chronicle__ today. On the occasion of Benjamin Franklin?s 300th birthday, Lane asks (and takes a stab at answering) the question, what would Ben make of this whole intelligent design hubbub While unquestionably a man of God, Franklin reveled in science. Lane writes that Franklin would most certainly have cut any purported ID theorist a fai

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Fraud: Journals must act now

By | January 16, 2006

linkurl:Today?s science fraud revelation;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/22952/ is that a study published in __The Lancet__, purportedly demonstrating that common painkillers could protect against oral cancer, was pure fiction. The response of __The Lancet__ Editor Richard Horton, linkurl:as quoted by the BBC;http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/4617372.stm "The peer-review process is good at picking up poorly designed studies, but it is not designed to pick up fabricated research

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Can any stem-cell paper be trusted?

By | January 14, 2006

So, just how untrustworthy is the stem-cell literature? Very, according to one of the field's leading lights, David Shaywitz of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. He's the author of linkurl:an op-ed piece;http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/11/AR2006011102040.html that was meant to defend the beleaguered field of stem-cell research, despite linkurl:fraudulent papers;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/browse/blogger/13/date/2006-01/ from the lab of Korean researcher Hwang

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Feel the Pain

By | January 13, 2006

With the conference winding down, you can clearly feel the change in emotion throughout the halls, lobby and conference rooms of the St. Frances. What was once a vibrant and high energy crowd is now a dwindling group of tired and emotionally drained individuals. To navigate through the H&Q conference successfully, one needs stamina, good shoes and a strong posture. Call it coincidence, but the majority of companies I met with on Thursday were in the CNS field. My conclusion: The majority of

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They Don't Call it Peerless Review

By | January 13, 2006

I received an Email advertising the new journal __Autophagy__ today. In a list of features about the journal, the Email adds: ?We also point out that we have an expedited review process if your paper was rejected from a ?flashy? journal; we all know that even solid papers do not always get accepted into the top general audience journals.? The policy is expanded on a bit in their linkurl:submission guidelines here;http://www.landesbioscience.com/journals/autophagy/guidelines.php?PHPSESSID=85d

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International Deals

By | January 12, 2006

My time has been spent in ?Europe.? In the last two days, I have been to Italy four times, London and France each twice and made brief stops in Germany and Switzerland. The series of meetings that I have had with European companies has caused me to come to the conclusion that companies in that region are undervalued, undermanaged, underappreciated and unhappy with the lack of availabe capital. The companies are therefore looking to gain additional investor support from US venture capitalists. At

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CSI: My Cat

By | January 11, 2006

Some acts of scientific creativity deserve recognition. After finding her dead cat, a Virginia woman named Marylin Christian had a number one suspect: her neighbor?s dog, a German Shepard mix named Lucky. According to the linkurl:Washington Post;http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/08/AR2006010801330_pf.html, the woman, armed with memories of TV crime shows, asked Lucky?s owners for samples of saliva and fur. They obliged. Her county vet concluded that Lucky?s fur matc

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Crystallography's Grail found in PNAS?

By | January 10, 2006

Researchers have, since 1988, been searching for a so-called "universal nucleant," that is, a material that will nucleate crystal formation, much as a grain of sand nucleates the formation of a pearl. Buried in the biophysics section of PNAS's January 6 Early Edition is linkurl:a somewhat esoteric paper;http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/abstract/0504860102v1 that may just end this search -- and open one of structural biology's most persistent bottlenecks, generating high-quality crysta

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Early Days

By | January 10, 2006

A beautiful day in San Francisco and although many of the meetings at this year's H&Q conference seemed to spill into the streets surrounding the St. Francis Hotel, with men in suits or casual attire mingling in groups of two and three on the sidewalks, the lobby and hallways of the Hotel are still packed full of industry executives looking to make things happen. That's right, my first impression of this year's conference, and perhaps indicative of what's to come in 2006: people want to do deal

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