June 1996

Volume 10 Issue 12

The Scientist June 1996 Cover



AIDS Researchers, Activists Wary Of Newspaper Article's Message

Despite contrary suggestions, they say CDC's prevention efforts aimed toward general public were not wasted A recent article in the Wall Street Journal is causing concern in the AIDS research community. The article, titled "AIDS Fight Is Skewed By Federal Campaign Exaggerating Risks" (A. Bennett, A. Sharpe, May 1, 1996, page 1), contends that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta has distorted the public's perception of the potential for contracting AIDS with a

Amateur Scientists Making Significant Discoveries While Fighting To Receive Recognition And Respect

Discoveries While Fighting To Receive Recognition And Respect In Tucson, Ariz., David Levy is a freelance writer and educator who spends his nights watching the desert sky for comets. STRUGGLE: Forrest Mims III, shown during a trip to the Mauna Loa Observatory, has encountered resistance to hisefforts to work at the site. In Miami, Randy McCranie is a postal worker who has conducted extensive investigations as a field biologist in Honduras. And in Seguin, Texas, Forrest M. Mims III is a pro

Pharmaceutical And Biotech Firms Taking On Drug-Resistant Microbes

Drug-Resistant Microbes As pesky pathogens continue to evolve, new technologies to combat them are emerging, spelling job opportunities for molecular biologists and chemists. OBSTINATE MICROBES: Margaret Rennels cites strains of pneumococcus resistence to two major drugs. At drug and biotech companies across the United States, scientists have set their sights on a most elusive target: drug-resistant microbes. Working in pharmaceutical- biotechnology partnerships, researchers are trying every

Opinions Vary On Whether Unabomb Suspect Will Damage Science's Image

Damage Science's Image MAD SCIENTIST? Unabomber suspect Theodore Kaozynski was turned in by his brother As the Federal Bureau of Investigation quietly builds its case against Unabomber suspect Theodore J. Kaczynski, observers ponder how the popular media's depiction of the Montana loner and former mathematician will affect the public's perception of science. Opinions range from beliefs that people will easily separate Kaczynski's credentials from his alleged crimes to fears that the case-play

Leaders of Science

Rebecca Taub

For Rebecca Taub, understanding liver regeneration may hold the key to at least one medical mystery. "If we can understand what happens during the growth of normal cells, we can understand cancerous growth," she explains. There are a number of clinical syndromes in which the liver regenerates itself, including toxic damage to the liver by alcohol, acetaminophen, and infections such as hepatitis. Understanding what triggers regeneration, how the liver functions while the cells are replicating,


Is There A Better Way To Secure Stable Funding For Medical Research?

For Medical Research? The 5.7 percent increase in the National Institutes of Health's appropriation for fiscal 1996 represents startling bipartisan support by the House, the Senate, and President Clinton. The $11.94 billion total appropriation, greater than the president's original request, is $640 million over the 1995 funding level. The increase was made possible largely by a Republican Congress otherwise zealous about controlling the debt and the deficit. But let's look this gift horse in t


What Is The Primordial Reference For The Phrase 'Publish Or Perish'?

if (n == null) The Scientist - What Is The Primordial Reference For The Phrase 'Publish Or Perish'? The Scientist 10[12]:11, Jun. 10, 1996 COMMENTARY What Is The Primordial Reference For The Phrase 'Publish Or Perish'? By Eugene Garfield   More than a year ago, I was asked by Joshua Lederberg, University Professor at Rockefeller University, if I knew the original reference for the ubiquitous expression "publish or perish." Little did I realize w


The Scientist - Crossword Puzzle - June 10, 1996

By Eric Albert Email: ealbert@world.std.com ACROSS 1 Serum + clotting proteins 4 AT, e.g. 10 Trace of one's thoughts: abbr. 11 Bile producer 12 Type of lymphocyte 13 Pertaining to marrow 14 Frog, for one 15 It passes on sensational news 17 Org. that puts things in orbit 19 Fibroblasts need it for cell division, abbr. 21 Social animals 22 ____globulin 23 With 1 Down, a lung infection 25 Self-limiting 27 Parkinson's follower 30 Rust, for one 31 First bi-Nobelist 32 It's in an orbit 33 Dreamland,


Baboon Marrow Boost?

Suzanne T. Ildstad recently reported that Jeff Getty, the AIDS patient who received the baboon bone-marrow transplant, showed improvements both in his clinical condition and laboratory results (T-cell count and reduction in viral count), in spite of the fact that the transplanted marrow had failed to engraft (S. Benowitz, The Scientist, March 4, 1996, page 3). In the article, Ildstad said: "We don't know the mechanisms for that-that's the nature of a clinical research trial; to open up new ques

Research 'Pyramids'

In his analysis of the research funding crisis, T.V. Rajan (The Scientist, April 29, 1996, page 10) correctly identified several serious problems, including a devaluation of scholarship, an emphasis on quantity rather than quality of publication, exploitation of junior associates, and overpopulation of the research community. All of these problems are almost unavoidable consequences of the pyramidal nature of large-scale academic research. Growth of the pyramid, which requires continuous consu

Sacrificial Lambs?

T.V. Rajan's concerns about the current state of affairs in funding and conducting scientific research (The Scientist, April 29, 1996, page 10) are no doubt shared by many academic scientists. Nevertheless, while Rajan clearly states substantive problems, he offers no ideas about how to re-create an academic environment in which junior and senior scientists' scholarship is intimately intertwined with their daily work at the lab bench. Neither does he consider consequences of returning to the mo

Selling Scholarship

T.V. Rajan's article "Cause Of Current Funding Crisis May Lie In De-emphasis Of Scholarship" [The Scientist, April 29, 1996, page 10] was informative and thought-provoking, but it had little to do with its title. Scholarship is as hard to sell as it is to define, and the personal inclinations or prerequisites for scholarship cannot be taught directly. Is it possible or desirable to educate just prospective Newtons and Einsteins? Of course, that is facetious, and there is a lot of room between N

Tenure Denial

Your recent article about the denial of tenure to Sharon Palmer in the department of chemistry at Smith College (B. Goodman, The Scientist, April 29, 1996, page 1) brings to mind the case of Cynthia Fisher. After receiving her doctorate in 1963 from Rutgers University, Fisher spent two more years there as a postdoc, then spent the next eight years raising her children. In 1977 she joined the biology department of Vassar College and was denied tenure there in 1985 (B. Spector, The Scientist, Ju


Researchers Homing In On Mechanisms Of Encephalopathic Diseases

Encephalopathic Diseases One of the great biomedical quests of the last 20 years surrounds a handful of rare and mysterious brain diseases that affect humans and a small group of other mammals. An ongoing international research effort is aimed at understanding the mechanism of these neurodegenerative diseases. Recently, this area has been of particular relevance because one of the disorders-mad cow disease-has become a major, well-publicized health problem in Europe. Four encephalopathic disea

Hot Paper

Gene Therapy

Y.P. Yang, F.A. Nunes, K. Berencsi, E. Gonczol, J.F. Engelhardt, J.M. Wilson, "Inactivation of E2a in recombinant adenoviruses improves the prospect for gene therapy in cystic fibrosis," Nature Genetics, 7:362-9, 1994. (Cited in more than 75 publications as of April 1996) Comments by James M. Wilson, University of Pennsylvania VIRUS BASHER: Penn's James Wilson limits the mouse immune reaction when testing gene therapy for cystic firbrosis. His technique: Cripple the viral vector. The first


C.R. Taylor, S.-R. Shi, B. Chaiwun, L. Young, S.A Imam, R.J. Cote, "Strategies for improving the immunohistochemical staining of various intranuclear prognostic markers in formalin-paraffin sections-androgen receptor, estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, p53 protein, proliferating cell nuclear antigen, and ki-67 antigen revealed by antigen retrieval techniques," Human Pathology, 25:263-70, 1994. (Cited in more than 35 publications as of April 1996) Comments by Richard J. Cote and Clive R.


Academic Biologists Finding Many Rewards In Consulting For Industry

Consulting For Industry As the life sciences march out of the ivory tower and into the halls of commerce, an increasing number of academic biologists are finding financial, intellectual, and personal rewards as consultants. However, consulting for industry has drawbacks. In addition to the need to comply with university rules regarding outside employment, consultants from academia are faced with a host of ethical dilemmas. Some, such as potential conflicts of interest, are so serious that criti


Fluorescence Spectroscopy Shedding Light On Complex Biosystems

Complex Biosystems Spectroscopic detection of fluorescent molecules, either those found naturally or those colored with fluorescent dyes, has created new research possibilities for scientists who study proteins and DNA. With photonic instruments like spectrophotometers and spectrofluorimeters, life scientists can measure the low-intensity light emitted from fluorescent molecules. "Because the character of the light emitted from a molecule changes in respect to the environment the molecule is i



Student employees at three University of California (UC) campuses recently voted to call a strike for the coming fall term. On May 1, members of the Association of Graduate Student Employees/United Auto Workers (AGSE/UAW) voted 77 percent in favor of striking at UC-Berkeley. Similar votes taken on May 14 by the Student Association of Graduate Employees/UAW at UCLA and on May 21 by the Association of Student Employees/UAW at UC-San Diego found 94 percent and 98 percent in favor of striking, resp

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