The Nutshell

Daily News Roundup

Most Recent

boom boosts science theatre

By | November 19, 2009

The lifeblood of theatre pulses with love, hardship, and self-discovery. But with science... not so much. Laboratory-borne concepts, scientific jargon, and nitty-gritty details can sometimes seem impossible to translate into art, especially on the stage. Image: Pearson Scott Foresman Wikimedia Commons But boom, a one-act piece from playwright Peter Sinn Nachtrieb now in its second season of performances, does just that. boom addresses ecological succession and evolutionary biology while the pla


2nd human hESC trial?

By | November 19, 2009

A second company has requested permission from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to conduct a human clinical trial using embryonic stem cells. Human embryonic stem cellsImage: Wikimedia commons, Nissim Benvenistylinkurl:Advanced Cell Technology; (ACT) filed an Investigational New Drug (IND) application yesterday (November 18) to conduct a phase I/II trial using hESCs to treat a genetic eye disease. "I'm cautiously optimistic," said linkurl:Marco Zarbin;h


HIV antibody duds explained

By | November 19, 2009

Researchers may have finally answered the question of why many antibodies that target the HIV envelope are still unable to stop the virus from spreading -- a troublesome stumbling block in the protracted search for an effective vaccine. Human Immunodeficiency VirusImage: Wikimedia commons, NIAIDSlight variations in how those antibodies interact with their target on the HIV envelope cause conformational changes in the target molecule that render the antibodies ineffective, according to a study p


A fix for Down syndrome brains?

By | November 18, 2009

Boosting levels of a neurotransmitter in the brain may reverse some of the cognitive abnormalities that characterize Down syndrome, according to a study, published online today (November 18) in Science Translational Medicine, conducted in a mouse model of the disease. Child with Down syndrome Image: Wikipedia"The work is really fascinating," said linkurl:Roger Reeves,; a physiologist at Johns Hopkins Medical Institute who


"Study ethics, NIH!"

By | November 17, 2009

The government agency tasked with funding crucial life science research needs to focus more attention on ethical quandaries and nefarious business practices that often obscure the path from discovery to public benefit, says a strongly worded linkurl:letter; to linkurl:Francis Collins,; the director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), signed by more than 100 biomedical researchers, journal editors, and healt


deCODE files for bankruptcy

By | November 17, 2009

Iceland-based genomics pioneer deCODE linkurl:announced this morning; (November 17) that it has filed for bankruptcy. It will sell some of its holdings, but plans to continue operating its business and managing its properties as it does now. Image: Wikimedia commons, Jerome Walker, Dennis MytsIn the filing, deCODE listed total assets of $69.9 million and total debt of $313.9 million, as of June 30, 2009. deCODE, launched in 1996, quickly became a leader

1 Comment

EU trial rules stall research

By | November 17, 2009

European clinical trial guidelines meant to make trials safer and more efficient are actually slowing down studies that could help patients, and even dissuading researchers from launching trials at all, according to an opinion published online today (November 16) in PLoS Medicine. Image: Wikimedia commons, S. Solberg J.The European Union's Clinical Trials Directive, adopted in 2004, says that trials evaluating investigational medicinal products should follow Good Clinical Practice (GCP), an in

1 Comment

HIV trial vector specter

By | November 17, 2009

Did patients in a failed HIV vaccine trial halted in 2007 become more susceptible to the virus due to the adenoviral vector used to deliver the experimental vaccine? Researchers have speculated this may have been the case, and a new study proposes a mechanism for how this could have occurred. The in vitro linkurl:study,; published in the __Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences__ (__PNAS__) this week, reports that immune cells from


New head for US genome institute

By | November 17, 2009

National Institutes of Health director Francis Collins today (November 17) announced a successor to fill his vacant post as head of NIH's National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI). linkurl:Eric Green,; who has served as NHGRI's scientific director since 2002, will take over the top spot. Eric Green Image: NIH It's the first time in NIH's history that an institute's director has appointed his own successor. "Green is the perfect choice to be NHGRI director,"


China reaches for African science

By | November 16, 2009

China took on a new role in African science last weekend (November 8), announcing plans to promote research in agriculture, medicine, and clean energy as part of its $10 billion investment in the region. Image: US AID At the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in Egypt, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao told attendees that the country would create a science and technology partnership with Africa, which would entail carrying out 100 joint research projects and training 100 African postdocs in China, link

1 Comment

Popular Now

  1. NYU Halts Studies, Suspends Investigator
    The Nutshell NYU Halts Studies, Suspends Investigator

    Experiments conducted at the New York University School of Medicine violated several research standards, according to US Food and Drug Administration investigators.

  2. The Meaning of Pupil Dilation
    Daily News The Meaning of Pupil Dilation

    Scientists are using pupil measurements to study a wide range of psychological processes and to get a glimpse into the mind.

  3. Exercise-Induced Muscle Factor Promotes Memory
  4. Zika and Dengue Immunity: A Complex Relationship