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On science: McCain v. the GOP

By | August 28, 2008

When it comes to matters of science, Republican US presidential hopeful John McCain is with his party on some issues, not quite on others. This week the Republican Party released linkurl:a draft of; its 2008 platform, one that will be debated in the days leading up to the GOP convention in St Paul, Minnesota, starting Monday (September 1). Some of the party's points regarding science differ from the campaign points McCain has be


Head of Austrian med school canned

By | August 27, 2008

The rector of a prominent Austrian medical university has been fired in the midst of a linkurl:scientific misconduct investigation; that has plagued the institution for months. The Medical University of Innsbruck's seven-person council unceremoniously dumped linkurl:Clemens Sorg,; an immunologist and the rector of the university, from his position on August 21, according to a linkurl:report;http://


Stem cell alchemy

By | August 27, 2008

For the first time, researchers have converted fully-differentiated cells in vivo into another type of cell without first reprogramming them to a pluripotent state. The conversion of pancreatic exocrine cells into fully functioning linkurl:beta cells; in living mice is described in a paper to be published tomorrow (August 28) in Nature. "This paper is an important milestone on the road that hopefully leads to the generation of new beta cells from


Thomas Weller dies

By | August 27, 2008

Thomas Weller, who shared the 1954 Nobel Prize in Medicine for propagating polio virus in culture, passed away on Saturday, August 23rd. He was 93. "Thomas Weller was one of the greatest scientists of the 20th century," said Dyann Wirth in linkurl:statement; released by the Harvard School of Public Health, where she is chair of the department of immunology and infectious dis


Viruses rule the deep sea

By | August 27, 2008

Viruses in the deepest ocean environments are unexpectedly strong regulators of the linkurl:deep sea biosphere,; according to a paper published tomorrow (August 28) in Nature. By infecting and killing bacteria and other prokaryotes viruses are the main producers of the organic matter that sustains life at 1000 meters deep and below. By generating this biomass, viruses also make major contributions to the carbon cycle and other linkurl:geochemical proc


Biden VP pick good for research

By | August 26, 2008

linkurl:Barack Obama; added Senator linkurl:Joe Biden; (D-DE) to the Democratic electoral ticket over the weekend, and Obama's choice of vice presidential running mate may be very good for the research community. Biden's linkurl:voting record and past comments; regarding science policy indicate that he supports robust funding for biomedical and en


Dems promise support for science

By | August 26, 2008

Upon last night's opening of the giant pep rally known as the Democratic National Convention, Democrats formally approved their linkurl:platform,; pledging to double federal funding of basic science research, lift the ban on funding embryonic stem cell research, and make the R&D tax credit permanent. The platform makes these promises against the backdrop of the current Administration's linkurl:treatment;ht


A wild cat chase

By | August 25, 2008

Over the past several weeks editors at The Scientist have received announcements from Allerca, the controversial company selling purportedly hypoallergenic cats, stating that some of their felines will be doubling in price this fall. According to a release sent out from the company last week, the price of the standard Allerca cat will go from $5,950 to $7,900 on September 1. But starting on November 1, the cost is skyrocketing to $15,000. The other cat breeds that Allerca sells are also going


Bill for CA animal researchers

By | August 25, 2008

linkurl:Legislation; seeking to criminalize some of the key methods used by animal rights protesters to target researchers was passed by the California State Senate last Friday (Aug 22). The Senate unanimously passed the bill, which now makes its way to the State Assembly, where it must be approved before it goes to the governor's desk, according to the linkurl:__Los Angeles Times__.;http://lati


Breaking the mucus barrier

By | August 21, 2008

Step aside sound barrier: Chemical engineers at Johns Hopkins University have broken the mucus barrier, a long-standing adversary to drug delivery in diseases such as cystic fibrosis, lung cancer, and cervical cancer. "We get asked all the time, 'Why on Earth do you want to study mucus?'" said Samuel Lai, a postdoc at Hopkins who presented the work yesterday (August 20) at the annual American Chemical Society meeting in Philadelphia. Lai has an easy answer to that question: Mucus has evolved

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