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Potential

By | July 11, 1988

Employed in fields ranging from forensics to astrophysics to industrial chemistry, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR) systems vary considerably in price, performance, and flexibility. Before investing in one of these instruments, scientists should define how they plan to use the technology and which materials they will examine with the equipment. Manufacturers say that basic infrared spectroscopy technology has neared maturity; as a result, most standard units produced by differ

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Private Institute Briefs

July 11, 1988

Mononucleosis, the “kissing disease,” has brought the Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation and Johnson & Johnson closer together. Last month, the FDA approved a six-minute mononucleosis test, named Monoalert, that is the first product to reach the market as a result of a 1983 agreement between the research institute and the company. Scientists at Scripps originally identified the amino acid sequence in the virus that causes mono, and constructed a synthetic peptide that detects a

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The Department of Energy’s recruit is said to signal ambitious plans in gene sequencing research WASHINGTON—When the Department of Energy announced last month that Charles Cantor would direct its new center for the study of the human genome at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory it was making clear its intention to remain a major player in that field of study, despite NIH’s primary role. Cantor is a world-renowned bioengineer who has done pioneering work on techniques to separat

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Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) has been over the past few years one of the more actively investigated proteins among those involved in inflammation, immunity, and the growth and inhibition of cells. TNF is destructive to cancer— hence, its name. Loyd J. Old and colleagues at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York discovered TNF some 15 years ago. But it was only in 1984 that research into TNF really began to take off. “The decade-long effort to purify tumor necrosis

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s Common Wisdom

By | July 11, 1988

The history of science is replete with successes achieved through repudiation of the common wisdom. In the following, I offer some unconventional and speculative challenges to how we think about some large problems in contemporary biology. Most are not new thoughts, but to my knowledge they have not been refuted. I know they are mostly wrong; but I am not sure all are. They will surely be addressed, and most solved, during the next century. If I could foretell exactly how, I would be wasting

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Science Grants

July 11, 1988

BIOLOGY: Stable isotope research lab. $350,000 over three years from Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to Marine Biological Laboratory Ecosystem Center, J. Hobbie BIOMEDICINE: The Lalor Foundation made the following research grants: Inhibition and reinitiation of spermatogenesis in rats: development of a male contraceptive. $20,000 to Johns Hopkins University; B. Zirkin In vivo analysis of oviducal and uterine muscle during early pregnancy and its modification by drugs. $20,000 to University of Que

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Scientific Word Processor Integrates Tricky Symbols

By | July 11, 1988

Organic chemists and biochemists are likely to find ChemText, a scientific word processor from Molecular Design Ltd.; a powerful tool for smoothly integrating graphics and text in scientific documents. This versatile software package is equally suitable for both academic and industrial scientists. My experience with ChemText Version 1.1 stems from teaching a traditional two-semester organic chemistry course. However, I recently received the new Version 1.2 and have fiddled with it enough to

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Scientists Take On 'Year Of The Glove'

By | July 11, 1988

For scientists and health care professionals working with blood and tissue products, 1988 may well go down in history as the “Year of the Glove,” as the demand for rubber gloves soars. “We’ve seen a doubling of demand since the last quarter of 1987,” says Les Jacobson, of Baxter International Inc., a large medical glove manufacturer based in Chicago, Ill. “Glove manufacturers are switching their product mix— robbing Peter to pay Paul—to ease th

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The Peer-Review System: Pique. and Critique

By | July 11, 1988

In 1978, physicist Richard A. Muller of Berkeley was awarded two distinguished prizes—the Waterman Award and the Texas Instruments Foundation Founders’ Prize—for his research on cosmic rays and adaptive optics. The event was particularly notable because Muller had been refused support for this work after peer review by the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the Department of Defense. Many innovative

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The past few months have been difficult ones for the National Institutes of Health and its director, James B. Wyngaarden. A series of public controversies has rocked the institution, tarnishing what many regard as the crown jewel of the federal scientific establishment. The Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees NIH, removed Edwin Becker as head of NIH’S Office of Research Services for “inefficiency and mismanagement,” despite strong opposition from Wyngaard

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