June 2006

Volume 20 Issue 6

The Scientist June 2006 Cover

Departments

The Scientist

Making Your Case

How to avoid the biggest presentations mistakes.

Making Your Case

How to avoid the biggest presentations mistakes.

Contributors

CONTRIBUTORS

Harold Varmus is president of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center since 2000, and took the position after serving for more than six years as director of the NIH. The 1989 Nobel Prize winner is also a cofounder of the Public Library of Science and a member of the Science Initiative Group (SIG). On page 24, he makes the case for Global Science Corps, a SIG program that aims to place well-trained scientists and engineers in the research centers of developing countries to collab

Editorial

The Elephant Man and the Art of Jigsaw Puzzles

Talk of systems biology has a way of drifting, quite rapidly, into the abstract. I'm reminded of the preamble to Georges Perec's complex but engaging novel, Life, A User's Manual. "The art of jigsaw puzzles seems of little substance, easily exhausted, wholly dealt with by a basic introduction to Gestalt: The perceived object... is not a sum of elements to be distinguished from each other and analyzed discreetly, but a pattern, that is to say a form, a structure... knowl

Letter

Letters

A new type of cancer cell growth Re: cancer stem cells.1,2 Recently we have reported a novel type of cell division involved in the origin and growth of cancers.3,4 Termed neosis, this type of cell division occurs only in senescent polyploid giant cells and never in normal diploid cells. Up to 10% of tumor cells both in vitro and in vivo are polyploid, and so far there is no explanation of their role in cancer. These resemble senescent cells, which are thought to be part of the tumor

Notebook

Cockroaches: Nature's petri dish

Credit: © COURTESY OF THE CDC" /> Credit: © COURTESY OF THE CDC If the sight of a cockroach scuttling across your kitchen floor is enough to trigger paroxysms of disgust, then you'd be well advised to take a deep breath before browsing through "Cockroaches in the Home, Cockroaches Everywhere!!!" This exceptionally well-named publication was written by a team led by Sesai Mpuchane, associate professor of biological sciences at the University of Botswana, and it is meant to be scar

The Agenda

THE AGENDA

HIV'S ANNIVERSARY >> June 5 marks 25 years since the disease now known as AIDS was first reported (see p. 36), but it was only 51 years ago that researchers first dissected a virus into its constituent parts and put it back together. On June 10, 1955, Heinz L. Fraenkel-Conrat and Robley Williams at the Virus Laboratory of the University of California at Berkeley reported the deconstruction and reconstitution of the tobacco mosaic virus, demonstrating that RNA serves as its genetic materi

Notebook

Science pen pals

Credit: COURTESY OF THE J. DAVID GLADSTONE INSTITUTES" /> Credit: COURTESY OF THE J. DAVID GLADSTONE INSTITUTES Last spring, Sue Saunders was writing a grant proposal for the elementary school where she runs an after-school literacy program, when a conversation with her daughter Laura, a postdoc studying cancer biology at the J. David Gladstone Institutes, gave her an idea. Every month, Laura and a few fellow postdocs had been visiting Junipero Serra Elementary School in Bernal

The task of keeping elephants

Credit: © WILLIAM LORENZ" /> Credit: © WILLIAM LORENZ The adult African elephant (Loxodonta africana) eats between 150 and 170 kilograms of food and drinks as much as 200 liters of water every day. Now imagine keeping 7,000 of those animals fed. That's the task of the staff at Kruger National Park, a 2-million hectare reserve that stretches 350 kilometers along South Africa's border with Mozambique. The elephant's appetite has an enormous impact on the surrounding envi

An interview goes up in smoke

Credit: © DIEGO CERVO" /> Credit: © DIEGO CERVO Picture this: Among the cirque du swag of the BIO 2006 exhibit hall in Chicago, a cheerful young scientist pads up to the booth of a certain magazine of the life sciences. On scanning her nametag, one of my colleagues notices an interesting affiliation: Philip Morris. Intrigued, my colleague asks the senior research scientist about her work, which she says involves "harm reduction." With 16,000 people in attendance, BIO

Mumps in seat 21C!

As SARS emerged in 2003, attention quickly turned to airplanes, the most likely source of international spread. At the time, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) received passenger manifests, usually in hard copy, to notify people who had shared a flight with someone later diagnosed with the infection. In the Internet age, that procedure was hardly ideal. "The paper management of data was problematic," says the CDC's Christie Reed, mainly because of the di

Opinion

Time for a Global Science Corps

Spend a year in a lab in a developing country, and build scientific capacity around the world

Column

The Three Worst Places to Be a Postdoc

When choosing postgraduate training, senior faculty aren't always the best mentors

Uncategorized

Are You Listening

FEATUREPodcasts   Illustrations by John MacNeill For some, science podcasts are time-savers that open their minds to new fields. For others, they're just another fad. What's the future? BY ISHANI GANGULI Seventy-three-year-old Franklin Leach, professor emeritus of biochemistry and molecular biology at Oklahoma State University, was nearing the last leg of his daily neighborhood walk when he first heard that private medical in

8 Reasons to Tune In

FEATUREPodcast   8 Reasons to Tune In BY ISHANI GANGULI ILLUSTRATIONS BY JOHN MACNEILL Though the Top 25 podcast lists are still dominated by the likes of MTV and Dave Chappelle, science podcasts are coming into their own as journals, magazines, and radio shows throw their contributions into the mix. Here are eight that are worth checking out, and what our respondents think of them. For a more comprehensive listing of s

A science podcaster bares all

FEATUREPodcast   A science podcaster bares all BY ISHANI GANGULI ILLUSTRATIONS BY JOHN MACNEILL Chris Smith isn't afraid to shed a little clothing in the name of science. A clinician and Cambridge virology lecturer by day, he moonlights as a popular radio personality turned podcaster: the original Naked Scientist and the voice behind the Nature podcast. It all began at a Cambridge science festival in early 1999, whe

Uncategorized

Podcasts go to school

FEATUREPodcast   Podcasts go to school BY ISHANI GANGULI ILLUSTRATIONS BY JOHN MACNEILL Justin Gallivan was starting off the fall 2005 semester with his biochemistry course at Emory University in Atlanta when he noticed the front row of desks was covered with tape recorders and microphone-equipped iPods that students had brought to record his lecture. One coed even posted to the class website, offering five dol

The Scientist's Guide to Science Podcasts

FEATUREPodcast   The Scientist's Guide to Science Podcasts ARTICLE EXTRAS Related Articles: Are You Listening?For some, science podcasts are time-savers that open their minds to new fields. For others, they're just another fad. What's the future? 8 Reasons to Tune InA science podcaster bares allPodcasts go to school Absolute Science www.welltopia.com/ All in the Mind www.abc.net.au/rn/allinthe

25 Years with HIV

FEATURE25 Years with HIV BY PHILIP COHEN ARTICLE EXTRAS Feature ArticleThe Elite Controllers of HIVGAIL DUTTON reports from San Francisco on how infected nonprogressors - also known as elite controllers - are providing clues to the control, and potentially the eradication, of HIV. Related Articles: Jeff Getty: Lessons in desperate measuresHow a risky experiment led to a new understanding of HIV HIV Shows ItselfA 1981 report in

HIV Shows Itself

A 1981 report in the MMWR marks the beginning

The Impact of HIV

Its progression, 1981-2006 and beyond

The Long Journey Home

FEATUREScience in Africa   ALL PHOTOS BY STEPHEN PINCOCK Is African Science - Long Plagued by a Lack of Equipment and Resources - Poised for a Comeback? BY STEPHEN PINCOCK ARTICLE EXTRAS Related Articles: Why we must re-educate African Science Moving African science forwardAn continent-wide framework is necessary, argues an advisor to the New Partnership for

Why we must re-educate African science

FEATUREScience in Africa   Why we must re-educate African science BY KAZHILA CHINSEMBU ARTICLE EXTRAS Related Articles: The Long Journey HomeIs African Science - Long Plagued by a Lack of Equipment and Resources - Poised for a Comeback? Moving African science forwardAn continent-wide framework is necessary, argues an advisor to the New Partnership for Africa's Development When will Africa produce a Nobel

Moving African science forward

FEATUREScience in Africa   Moving African science forward An continent-wide framework is necessary, argues an advisor to the New Partnership for Africa's Development BY JOHN MUGABE ARTICLE EXTRAS Related Articles: The Long Journey HomeIs African Science - Long Plagued by a Lack of Equipment and Resources - Poised for a Comeback? Why we must re-educate African Science To succeed in its aspirations of

Systems Biology: Beyond the Buzz

FEATURESystems Biology   © THOM GRAVES Lessons from EGFR research show how to kick-start a systems approach for other areas of biology BY H. STEVEN WILEY ARTICLE EXTRAS Infographic: Seeing EGFR from a Systems Perspective If you want to start an interesting debate at almost any scientific meeting, just bring up systems biology. Latched onto by the scientific and even

Column

We Have Met the Enemy, and He Is Us

What infectious disease says about humanity's penchant for self-destruction!

Profile

How Bacteria Talk

It's a good thing "rock star of microbiology" Bonnie Bassler didn't end up studying cancer

Hot Paper

So Much Diversity, Such Little Cells

Comparative yeast genomics reveals mechanisms of genome evolution

Books etc.

Lipid Rafts' Failure to Launch

Debating what binds membrane microdomains

Papers to Watch

B.F. Voight et al., "A map of recent positive selection in the human genome," PLoS Biol, 4:e72, March 2006. Based on the combination of Linkage Disequalibrium with allele frequency in three human populations, ... the authors discovered recent alleles that probably provided selective advantages to their possessors in adapting to different environmental conditions imposed on the three populations since they separated approximately 100,000 years ago. Ueli SchiblerUniversity of

PAPERS TO WATCH

Cell division rewinds

PAPERS TO WATCH

Untangling nucleolar networks

Books etc.

SCIENTIST TO WATCH

Helen Blackwell: The Accidental Microbiologist

Lab Tools

Why You Should Be Annotating

Scientists who rely on accurate gene predictions should share in the burden of creating them

Upgrade Your Lab to TIRF

Why spend six figures on a new total internal reflection fluorescence system when you can upgrade your existing microscope for just $30,000?

How It Works

TIRF Microscopy

/article/flash/23556/1/ Click to view enlarged diagram Credit: ILLUSTRATION: ANDREW MEEHAN/ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: MICHAEL DAVIDSON" />/article/flash/23556/1/ Click to view enlarged diagram Credit: ILLUSTRATION: ANDREW MEEHAN/ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: MICHAEL DAVIDSON Stick a soda straw into a glass of water, and from the side, the straw will appear to bend at the interface between air and water. That effect is caused by the different refractive indexes of the air and water, which causes the li

BioBusiness

Biotechs AIM for Alternative Financing

London's lesser-known stock exchange offers the possibility of money for hungry biotechs

Making Ethics Fit

How companies are integrating ethics into their core foundation

THE ROUNDUP

Raising Arizona

THE ROUNDUP

FDA Seeks 'Little' Information

THE ROUNDUP

Biosimilars: Europe Says Yes

The Scientist

Finding Your Best Employees

How to select the right search firm

Can You Go Home Again?

Going from academia to business - and back again - is no easy feat. The exceptions not only prove the rule, but also that it can be done.

ROUNDUP

Ain't Misbehavin'?

ROUNDUP

Killer App: Microsoft Bio?

ROUNDUP

Multiple PIs

Foundations

The Discovery of Reverse Transcriptase

Credit: COURTESY OF DAVID BALTIMORE" /> Credit: COURTESY OF DAVID BALTIMORE In the spring of 1970 two young investigators shook the foundations of molecular biology's "central dogma," which holds that DNA is transcribed to RNA, which in turn is translated into protein. David Baltimore, then a 32-year-old virologist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was studying RNA viruses, trying to understand how they replicate their genomes. Hypothesizing the presence of a virus-assoc

Popular Now

  1. GM Mosquitoes Closer to Release in U.S.
  2. German Scientists Resign from Elsevier Journals’ Editorial Boards
  3. Symmetrical Eyes Indicate Dyslexia
  4. Judge Recommends Ruling to Block Internet Access to Sci-Hub
RayBiotech