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The Nutshell

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Senate tweaks bioterror regs

By | June 11, 2008

The US Senate today (June 11) plans to introduce a biosafety bill that takes small steps towards resolving some controversial aspects of the system regulating research with agents that could be used for bioterrorism. The regulations, called the Select Agent Program, have been controversial since they were established in 2002. Researchers have said that the rules linkurl:created red tape;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/14717/ that stymied research, hindered international collaborati

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Trees have internal thermostat

By | June 11, 2008

Trees from the linkurl:Caribbean;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/53628/ to linkurl:Canada;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/15054/ maintain a constant leaf temperature regardless of the ambient air temperature, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania. The findings could dramatically alter interpretations of data used to approximate past climate from the composition of tree rings, the researchers say. Scientists who measure cellulose com

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Big pharma gets creative

By | June 10, 2008

With blockbuster drug patents set to expire in the next few years, big pharma is looking hard for ways to pack the discovery pipeline. One approach: the biotech model. Patrick Vallance, the head of drug discovery at GlaxoSmithKline, said at a meeting on Friday (June 6) that research at the company would be reorganized to be "more biotech-like," the Financial Times linkurl:reported.;http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/a36193c0-366e-11dd-8bb8-0000779fd2ac.html?nclick_check=1 He said the plan was to split

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Fauci at the UN

By | June 10, 2008

linkurl:Anthony Fauci,;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/13734/ director of the NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), addressed the United Nations General Assembly in New York City today (Jun 10), telling delegates and dignitaries that the key to controlling HIV/AIDS in developing nations is prevention, and especially the development of linkurl:vaccine;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54655/ for the disease. Fauci said that "a preventive HIV va

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FDA investigators banned

By | June 10, 2008

The Food and Drug Administration has disqualified seven investigators so far this year for misconduct, according to an linkurl:FDA document.;http://www.fda.gov/ora/compliance_ref/bimo/disqlist.htm The ruling bars the doctors from conducting clinical trials of any kind. The FDA, for reasons including submitting false information to the trial's sponsor or the FDA, or not complying with regulatory requirements, has disqualified more than 100 investigators from clinical trials over the past 40

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Big bucks for peer review?

By | June 9, 2008

The NIH's $1 billion linkurl:plan;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54733/ to improve peer review also includes compensation for reviewers: Grant reviewers will be compensated $250,000 for six years of service, if they qualify, The Chronicle of Higher Education linkurl:reported.;http://proxy.library.upenn.edu:2110/daily/2008/06/3136n.htm This surpasses the current $200 per day compensation. "In the end, peer review is only as good as the quality of the people doing it," Zerhouni told t

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Who's the greatest woman scientist?

By | June 9, 2008

Cosmetics company L'Oreal has linkurl:launched;http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/main.jhtml?view=DETAILS&grid=&xml=/earth/2008/06/06/sciwomen106.xml a search for the most influential woman scientist of all time. The corporation, which for the past decade has sponsored a linkurl:fellowship program;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/20260/ for female researchers, unveiled a linkurl:website;http://www.womeninscience.co.uk/ listing the nominees last Friday (Jun 6). Researchers and academic

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Cane toads wreaking more havoc

By | June 6, 2008

More bad news from Australia's war on linkurl:cane toads:;http://www.the-scientist.com/2008/4/1/48/1/ Now they're killing freshwater crocs. According to a linkurl:blog;http://blogs.nature.com/news/thegreatbeyond/2008/06/cane_toads_killing_crocs.html on __Nature__'s website, the invasive amphibians - which have recently hopped their way into the Northern Territory - are turning up in the stomachs of dead crocodiles. A linkurl:University of Sydney;http://www.usyd.edu.au/news/84.html?newscategory

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NIH peer review "review" ends

By | June 6, 2008

The NIH has wrapped up its year-long effort to reform the way it reviews grant applications, releasing today (June 6) a report that focuses on changes such as shortening and redesigning applications, making it easier for good reviewers to serve, and encouraging innovative and "transformative" projects. For instance, the agency plans to create a new investigator-initiated Transformative R01 Award program worth at least $250 million, and invest at least $750 million in innovative awards, such as

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Jobs at MedImmune

By | June 5, 2008

In a world where most companies seem to be cutting jobs, one company is looking to up their ranks by 25%. MedImmune announced today that they are looking to fill more than 800 positions in research and development and the clinic. AstraZeneca acquired MedImmune in 2007, and since then the latter company is doubling their pipeline in order to represent a quarter of Astra's projects. The recent acquisition may be a boon to MedImmune employees: AstraZeneca ranked at number two of best large c

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