April 2005

Volume 19 Issue 7

The Scientist April 2005 Cover


About Us

Meet This Issue's Contributors

currently works at the University of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, where his research centers on the evolution of color vision in humans.


Women, Science, and Academia: A Three-Point Plan

ve questions such as, "Can women do math?" Women can do math, they can do science, and they can do engineering.


A better way to His-tag

I would like to report a significant drawback of the 6x polyhistidine (His) tag for affinity chromatography.

Postdocs: employees or not?

In your article on postdoc working conditions you quote Keith Micoli of the National Postdoctoral Association as saying that the wording of a NIH National Research Service Award "prohibits institutions from classifying fellowship recipients as employees."

Changes at Max Planck

could mislead the reader into thinking that it is just fantasy that the policy of the MPG is to grant different contractual conditions to PhD students based on their nationality.

The Vision of RNA

present his thoughts on the likely very important roles of regulatory RNA species in metazoan development, and I have joined the ranks of passionate amateurs intrigued by the implications.


Special delivery: Your n

In the fall of 2003, researchers at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston were facing a problem.

British science saved

If you are concerned that British science is on life support, you should worry no more. British science, it turns out, has been saved.

The Petri dish of security

walking barefoot every day through a corridor of filthy, unwashed floors.

No art please, we're scientists

As one of the world's biggest funders of biomedical science, the Wellcome Trust can usually gather scientists to a party like honey attracts bees.


Focus on Cancer

is one usually met with utter dread.


SU11248: Genesis of a New Cancer Drug

Every drug has a story behind it.

Hot Paper

Survival's Signature

Metastasis, the leading cause of cancer deaths, remains a poorly understood phenomenon.


Oncomine and caBIG Advance Cancer Bioinformatics

The Google search engine has revolutionized knowledge dissemination over the Internet.


Tissue Microarrays Go Mainstream

The biggest news these days in tissue microarrays (TMAs) may be that this former "next big thing" has become a standard tool for molecular profiling of disease.


Speciation's Defining Moment

Evolutionary biologists, both theoreticians and empiricists, have argued for decades about the relative merits of two speciation scenarios: allopatry and sympatry.

Getting by in a Game without Winners

A time-honored tradition for choosing teams, riding shotgun, and settling other childish disputes, the game called rock-paper-scissors has been around far longer than humans have been playing it.


Mammals feed off yeast pathway

The biochemical pathway that senses amino acid deficiencies in yeast is also at work in mammals, according to researchers at the University of California, Davis.

hinders mismatch repair

National Cancer Institute researcher Eric Huang and colleagues have identified a mechanism that promotes mutations under hypoxic conditions.

Sperm fusion protein identified

Japanese researchers have identified a sperm protein that is essential for the fusion of the sperm and egg membranes during fertilization.


The Million-Dollar Mislabel

In June 2003, the US Environmental Protection Agency surprised Plymouth State University in New Hampshire with a routine inspection of how their labs were managing chemical waste.

Tools and Technology

Unraveling Protein Folding

Figuring out how denatured proteins morph into their folded, active forms isn't just a challenge; it's one of the most elusive problems in biology.

Tools and Technology

DNA Synthesis Method Yields 15-kb Gene Cluster

DNA oligonucleotides are pretty inexpensive these days.


A Shrinking Target

Clifford Siporin, the president of Greystone Pharmaceutical Consultants, a contract research organization (CRO) in Parkland, Fla., has a challenge.

DNA Databases: The New Dragnet

Last November, California voters passed a $3 billion proposition, fondly known as Prop. 71, to fund stem cell research.

A Question of Chimeras

Looking to cure a host of neurodegenerative diseases, StemCells, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based company, has transplanted human neural stem cells into the brains of thousands of mice.

Biodefense spending by the numbers

Biodefense Spending DataIn late February, 758 microbiologists signed an open letter claiming that the number of NIH grants for research on bacteria and yeast had dropped precipitously since 2000 compared to the previous five-year period (see http://www.biomed-central.com/news/20050301/02). That drop, they say, was due to funding being siphoned off into billions of dollars in biodefense spending. In response, NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases claimed just the opposite &#


Hungarian academics face job loss

Hundreds of scientists at Hungary's universities may lose their jobs after the government mandated a 7.5% raise for faculty on January 1 but did not provide enough money to cover the extra expense.

French researchers strike over government policies

More than 8,000 scientists took to the streets of Paris and other cities across France in March to protest against the government's proposed reforms of the science system.

Researcher's faked data leads to lifetime ban on US grants

Eric Poehlman, a well-known obesity researcher with more than 200 articles to his name, says he fabricated data in 17 applications for US federal grants and agreed to be barred for life "from seeking or receiving funding from any federal agency in the future, including all components of the Public Health Service."

Reverse Transcript

The Dynamic Duo

One day in the early 1990s, Bert Vogelstein was showing fellow cancer researcher Sandy Markowitz around his lab at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in Baltimore.

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