September 2008

Volume 22 Issue 9

The Scientist September 2008 Cover

Departments

Contributors

Contributors

Over a career that spans more than half a century, John Holland, a professor of psychology, electrical engineering, and computer science, invented genetic algorithms, or computer code inspired by evolutionary biology. A MacArthur fellowship recipient, Holland is "really not quite sure" how he became interested in biology, but says he remembers being hooked by "the notion of combining mathematics

Editorial

Science and Politics

The call for a presidential science debate went unheeded, but it was worthwhile.

Mail

Mail

Finding more founders In the article "Rare History, Common Disease",1 various founder populations were mentioned. Glaringly omitted from these were the Amish, particularly the Old Order Amish. Work on the Amish started when Victor McKusick discovered several genetic defects in a uniquely inbred group of people, the Old Order Amish. This discovery resulted in the publication of Mendelian

Notebook

T cells and tears

Dama Laxminarayana processes a lupus patient's blood by centrifugation to obtain white blood cells. Credit: © creative Communications / WFUSM" />Dama Laxminarayana processes a lupus patient's blood by centrifugation to obtain white blood cells. Credit: © creative Communications / WFUSM On the third floor of a molecular biology lab in Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, immunologist Dama Laxmina

The Agenda

The Agenda

Credit: © Matjaz Boncina" /> Credit: © Matjaz Boncina GET POLITICAL » If you'd like to see one of the political figures we profiled in the feature beginning on page 30, you can hear Kenneth Thorpe deliver a keynote at Forum 08, a meeting focused on improving health. Forum 08 is being held Sept. 8 at the Westin Diplomat Resort in Hollywood, Fla. For more information, visit

Notebook

Judgment Day

Heartbreak came in three acts at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City this summer: animal, vegetable, and mineral. It was Identification Day and museum-goers lugged their scientific treasures triple-wrapped in newspaper, towels, and Hefty garbage bags and tucked inside rolling suitcases, duffels, Coleman coolers, and zippered pants pockets. Local experts waited to receive them wit

Whence this fish?

The Chiapas catfish's chocolate-brown color and white chin barbels are truly enigmatic. Credit: Courtesy of John Lundberg" />The Chiapas catfish's chocolate-brown color and white chin barbels are truly enigmatic. Credit: Courtesy of John Lundberg In February 2005, John Lundberg, an evolutionary biologist at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia, obtained molecular data from a tissue sample that

Maggot sleuthing

Richard Merritt Credit: Photo by G.L. Kohuth / Michigan State University" />Richard Merritt Credit: Photo by G.L. Kohuth / Michigan State University Two years ago, entomologist Richard Merritt from Michigan State University pulled an all-nighter in a Toronto hotel room to prepare for seven hours of testimony about a court case so controversial it precipitated the abolition of Canada's death penalty. As part of his te

Biotech in space?

The experimental chamber used in space. Credit: Courtesy of BioServe Space Technologies / University of Colorado" />The experimental chamber used in space. Credit: Courtesy of BioServe Space Technologies / University of Colorado This spring, the Space Shuttle Discovery carried some interesting cargo: Salmonella bacteria separated by a thin seal from their target host, C.elegans. The cargo came courtesy of SPACEHAB, a Texas-based

Opinion

Foundation-led Drug Discovery

Virtual biotechs target and develop translational research.

Column

My Favorite Fraud

A paper I read more than 25 years ago taught me a lesson I'll never forget.

Uncategorized

The Future of U.S. Science Policy

The Future of U.S. Science Policy Illustrations by Jordan Domont With an administration change at hand, research could come out of the shadows and into the political light. By Bob Grant Article Extras Ken Thorpe Egils Milbergs John Porter Lana Skirboll 2008 Election Coverage Vote for the next president Which biologist would you elect president? Science and Politics Careers: The Scientist as Politician In late 2001, the George W. Bush

Ken Thorpe: An academic who swims in political waters

Ken Thorpe An academic who swims in political waters By Kelly Rae Chi © Jordan Domont In 1967, when Ken Thorpe was 11 years old, his father took him to hear Martin Luther King, Jr. speak. They stood in an all-white Detroit suburb and watched King deliver an eloquent speech in a racially-charged environment. "It was remarkable in the sense that he put himself out there in a setting like that knowing that he likely was going to get heckled," Thorp

Egils Milbergs

Egils Milbergs Shaping federal science and technology policy from three time zones away By Bob Grant © Jordan Domont Though economist Egils Milbergs began his career inside the Beltway, he has worked on issues from the national to the local level, and now finds himself about as far away from Washington, DC, as a person passionate about national policy can get - in a place he calls "the other Washington." Chris Gregoire, the Gover

John Porter

John Porter Advocating science from inside the House By Andrea Gawrylewski © Jordan Domont In 1995 when the Republicans took over the US House of Representatives, times were tight for the Appropriations Subcommittee for Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, which allocates funds to the National Institutes of Health. Under a new budget resolution, the House budget committee told John Porter, then subcommittee chair, he needed to shave

Lana Skirboll

Lana Skirboll The hidden wizard of the NIH By Alla Katsnelson © Jordan Domont The Office of Science Policy at the National Institutes of Health, directed for the last 15 years by former neuroscientist Lana Skirboll, is sometimes jokingly referred to as the OKS - the Office of the Kitchen Sink: What comes over the transom is often half-baked, requiring some quick thinking and foundation-laying to shape useful policy. Skirboll displaye

Uncategorized

Biology's Gift to a Complex World

Biology's Gift to a Complex World How studying biological interactions and evolution yields techniques for predicting the outcome of complex interactions. By John Holland Article Extras 1 It broke new ground for aircraft turbine efficiency. In 1990, a Santa Fe, NM-based investment firm called The Prediction Company introduced a new strategy, the long-term success of which attracted the attention of some of the largest finance houses. The

Building Blocks and Recombination

Building blocks and recombination How studying biological interactions and evolution yields techniques for predicting the outcome of complex interactions. By John Holland Article Extras Biology's Gift to a Complex World--> Biology's Gift to a Complex World Complex Adaptive Systems Genetic algorithms function by recombining the building blocks of a system such as the features of a face or components of a jet engine. Each product of recombinatio

Complex Adaptive Systems

Complex Adaptive Systems By John Holland Complex adaptive systems are comprised of individual components, each with their own function: neurons conveying action potential for movement, antibodies binding foreign antigen for immune defense, companies selling products or services for profit. But when these components come together in a complex adaptive system, new properties emerge that may not have been predicted from the base function of the individual. Source: J

Jobs with the biggest differences in salary between gender

Median Salary by Position, Gender  Females    Males   Percent Difference Academic Positions       College/University Department Head (11-12 month appointment, tenured)  $184,250  $213,850 16.07% College/University Department Head (9-10 month appointment, tenured)  $140,000  $108,000 -22.86%

Jobs with the biggest differences in salary between gender

Median Salary by Position, Gender  Females    Males   Percent Difference Academic Positions       College/University Department Head (11-12 month appointment, tenured)  $184,250  $213,850 16.07% College/University Department Head (9-10 month appointment, tenured)  $140,000  $108,000 -22.86%

2008 Life Sciences Salary Survey

TheScientist 2008 Life Science Salary Survey Are you making too much money, or too little? Could you make more? Our US salary data in the life sciences can help. By Edyta Zielinska For additional salary data by job title, location and gender, visit https://www.the-scientist.com/salarysurvey/ When Pfizer announced it was closing its Ann Arbor, Michigan, facility in January of last year, Alla Karnovsky, one of more than 2,000 employees aff

Feature

Get more buck for your bang

Don't negotiate? "I think it's a misnomer to use the word negotiation" to describe discussion over compensation, says Rich Pennock, vice president of Kelly Scientific Resources, a recruiting agency for the life sciences. Most of the companies Pennock recruits for have fairly standardized promotion schemes, and he says it's perfectly reasonable to ask your manager to share those policies w

Salary Survey Methodology

The survey was conducted via a web-based survey which was open from February 15 to June 2, 2008. Participation in the survey was promoted by e-mail and advertising to readers of The Scientist and visitors to The Scientist web site. It was also promoted by participating scientific societies to their members. Usable responses were received from 4,702 individuals in the United States. Since many individuals are subscribers to The Scientist, and/or

Uncategorized

Thinking Big

Marc Kirschner likes to expose biology's essential processes, such as how a simple microtubule can form such a variety of structures. Lucky for biology.

Books etc.

Canvassing Protein Complexes

Two yeast studies begin to identify protein interactions on a genome-wide scale.

Hot Paper

Choosy cortex

Credit: brainmaps.org" /> Credit: brainmaps.org The paper: C. Padoa-Schioppa & J.A. Assad, "Neurons in the orbitofrontal cortex encode economic value," Nature, 441:223-6, 2006. (Cited in 76 papers) The finding: Researchers from Harvard Medical School measured neuronal firing rates in macaques who had been offered different juice rewards. By varying the amounts and types of

Mysterious resistance

Credit: brainmaps.org" /> Credit: brainmaps.org The paper: G. A. Jacoby et al. "qnrB, another plasmid-mediated gene for quinolone resistance," Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 50:1178-82, 2006. (Cited in 65 papers) The finding: Eight years after discovering qnrA, the first plasmid-mediated gene for resistance to the broad-spectrum antibiotic quinolone, George Jacoby of the

Uncategorized

Tomato Tomato

By Megan Scudellari Tom?to Tomäto brainmaps.org The paper: N. Schauer et al., "Comprehensive metabolic profiling and phenotyping of interspecific introgression lines for tomato improvement," Nature Biotech, 24:447-54, 2006. (Cited in 51 papers) The methods: To explore the genetics behind tomato nutrition and taste, Alisdair Fernie of the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology and collaborators embarked on t

Scientist To Watch

John Rawls: Raising a new model system

Credit: © Alex Maness Photography" /> Credit: © Alex Maness Photography In John Rawls' basement lab at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, thousands of spotted and striped zebrafish swim in their shoe box-sized tanks. Some of the eggs the fish lay Rawls will make sterile after fertilization - each time creating a new chance to examine the relationship between gut microbes and

Lab Tools

Middling Measures

Avoiding the pitfalls of medium-throughput SNP detection.

Uncategorized

SNPs in the clinic

User: Robert McWilliams, Division of Medical Oncology at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN Project: Determining whether variations in DNA repair genes affect risk for pancreatic cancer Related Articles Middling Measures Tips for medium-throughput SNP detection Wheat woes Harness Old Faithful Primer price crunch

Uncategorized

Tips for tackling medium-throughput analysis

Read between the lines when you get price points Often, companies will tell you you're paying $0.10 per sample, but "you can't just go off their numbers. You have to really cost it out," says Jeanette Papp, director of the UCLA Genotyping and Sequencing Core Facility. Some companies will sell enough primer for 4,000 samples even if you don't need it. Anticipate the sample quality and whether you

Wheat woes

Credit: Bluemoose / wikimedia.org" /> Credit: Bluemoose / wikimedia.org User: Gina Brown-Guedira, Eastern Regional Small Grains Genotyping Lab, USDA, and North Carolina State University, Raleigh Project: Assaying a large number of species of wheat with a handful of SNPs useful for identifying genes for traits such as

Harness Old Faithful

User: Vanessa Hayes, Children's Cancer Institute Australia for Medical Research, Sydney Project: SNP discovery and validation in blood samples collected on filter paper and stored for years, looking for prostate cancer markers Related Articles Middling Measures Tips for medium-throughput SNP detection

Primer price crunch

Credit: Melinda / wikimedia.org" /> Credit: Melinda / wikimedia.org User: Jose Royo, Andalusian Center for Development Biology, Spain Project: Determining the role of genetic variations in the development of human diseases and using this information to develop better drug targets Related Articles Middling Measures Tips for medium-th

Life Science Industry Awards 2008

Scientists' picks as their top suppliers of key instruments and services.

Life Science Industry Awards Methodology

To ensure complete accuracy and fairness in determining the winners for the Life Science Industry Awards, The Scientist selected BioInformatics, an unbiased third-party research firm based in Arlington, Va. The Life Science Industry Awards are unique as they allow the scientists to determine the winners. BioInformatics designed and fielded a 34-question electronic survey to registered members of The Science Advisory Boar

BioBusiness

Chasing Challenges

AstraZeneca's Karen Gotting-Smith is using a newly-created position to tackle some old problems.

Careers

The Scientist as Politician

So you want to change the world? It's easier than you think.

Foundations

First Actin-binding Protein, circa 1975

Inverted tubes of gelled macrophage supernate (left) and water (right) for comparison. Credit: © Stossel, T.P., and J.H. Hartwig originally published in J Cell Biol 68:602-619, 1976." />Inverted tubes of gelled macrophage supernate (left) and water (right) for comparison. Credit: © Stossel, T.P., and J.H. Hartwig originally published in J Cell Biol 68:602-619, 1976. It w

Uncategorized

Infographic: Median Academic Salary by State

Median Academic Salary by State This application is created by interactive maps. You can also have your visited states map on your site. If you see this message, you need to upgrade your flash player. var so = new SWFObject("http://www.interactivemaps.org/visited_states/visited_states.swf", "visitedstates", 500, 275, "7", "#000000"); addLocation('CA', '', 'Professor: $167,000Associate Professor: $119,500Assistant Professor: $93,250', ''); //California addLocation('CO', '', 'Profe

Median Salary by specialization

Median Salary by specialization var FO = { movie:"/supplementary/flash/Charts/FC_2_3_StckdColumn3D.swf", width:"530", height:"500", majorversion:"8", build:"0", flashvars:"&dataURL=/supplementary/xml/salary_survey2008/specialization.xml&chartWidth=530&chartHeight=500" }; UFO.create(FO, "ufoDemo"); Replacement content Related Articles: •Life Sciences Salary Survey, 2008• Life Sciences Salary Survey Home• Get more b

Median Salary by ethnicity

Median Salary by ethnicity var FO = { movie:"/supplementary/flash/Charts/FC_2_3_MSColumn3D.swf", width:"530", height:"500", majorversion:"8", build:"0", flashvars:"&dataURL=/supplementary/xml/salary_survey2008/ethnicity.xml&chartWidth=530&chartHeight=500" }; UFO.create(FO, "ufoDemo"); Replacement content Related Articles: •Life Sciences Salary Survey, 2008• Life Sciences Salary Survey Home• Get more buck for your

Median Salary by Citizenship

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Median Salary by Organization

Median Salary by Organization var FO = { movie:"/supplementary/flash/Charts/FC_2_3_StckdColumn3D.swf", width:"530", height:"500", majorversion:"8", build:"0", flashvars:"&dataURL=/supplementary/xml/salary_survey2008/organization.xml&chartWidth=530&chartHeight=500" }; UFO.create(FO, "ufoDemo"); Replacement content Related Articles: •Life Sciences Salary Survey, 2008• Life Sciences Salary Survey Home• Get more buck fo

Median Salary by Gender

Median Salary by Gender var FO = { movie:"/supplementary/flash/Charts/FC_2_3_MSColumn3D.swf", width:"530", height:"500", majorversion:"8", build:"0", flashvars:"&dataURL=/supplementary/xml/salary_survey2008/gender.xml&chartWidth=530&chartHeight=500" }; UFO.create(FO, "ufoDemo"); Replacement content Related Articles: •Life Sciences Salary Survey, 2008• Life Sciences Salary Survey Home• Get more buck for your bang&#

Median Salary By Level of Supervisory/Managerial Responsibility

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