October 2008

Volume 22 Issue 10

The Scientist October 2008 Cover

Departments

Contributors

Contributors

Ari Helenius is intrigued by the deceptive simplicity of a virus: "You can understand it on a molecular level, know every component of it, but its interaction with host cells turns on extremely complicated biology." This veteran virologist at ETH Zurich has spent a career tracking the complex interactions of pathogen and host (see "Foundations: Viral Cell Entry"). In "The Orange and the Circus Tent"

Editorial

Why the Philosophy of Science Matters

The central tenets of science enhance communication and our influence on society.

Mail

Mail

Biology:Big or little? Big science, with very few exceptions (one being the Human Genome Project), is a waste of money.1 Big science is grossly inefficient, and is designed to impress non-scientists (including university administrators). Anyone who has experienced the difference between forced collaborations (big science) and real collaborations (spontaneous, as-needed interactions) knows this is tru

Notebook

Bacteria Gladiators

When a new antibiotic isolated from Rhodococcus fascians is dripped onto a paper disc (white) in the middle of a plate full of other bacteria (orange), all the bacteria near the filter disc die. Credit: ® Kazuhiko Kurosawa" />When a new antibiotic isolated from Rhodococcus fascians is dripped onto a paper disc (white) in the middle of a plate full of other bacteria (orange), all the bacteria near the filter

The Agenda

The Agenda

Credit: Courtesy of Public Library of Science" /> Credit: Courtesy of Public Library of Science GOT VIRUS, NO VACCINE » If you've got viruses on the brain - thanks to Ari Hellenius's research using viruses ("The Orange and the Circus Tent") and the Hot Paper on HIV (Impeding PD-1) - tune in to the AIDS Vaccine 2008 meeting in Cape Town, South Africa, Oct. 13-16. If you can't go there yourself,

Notebook

Pimp my poster

A poster illustrating anatomy and photosynthesis in corn, by Michael Franklin, Rochester Institute of Technology, on Purrington's Flickr page. Credit: COURTESY OF Michael Franklin / Rochester Institute of Technology" />A poster illustrating anatomy and photosynthesis in corn, by Michael Franklin, Rochester Institute of Technology, on Purrington's Flickr page. Credit: COURTESY OF Michael Franklin / Rochester Institute of Technology

Uncategorized

Slideshow: Pimp my poster

Slideshow: Pimp my poster Images that illustrate expert Colin Purrington's tips for jazzing up scientific posters Slideshow: Pimp my poster var so = new SWFObject("https://photos.the-scientist.com/content/images/slideshows/pimp_poster/slideshow.swf", "gallery", "500", "400", "6", "#ffffff"); so.addVariable("file", "https://photos.the-scientist.com/content/images/slideshows/pimp_poster/slideshow.xml"); so.addParam("wmode", "transparent"); so.write("flashcontent");

Notebook

NO problem

Two years ago, whenever members of Jon Lundberg's team at Karolinska University wanted to get near their lab mice, they donned sterile gloves and reached into a steel isolator box. Not typical research rodents, these creatures had been bred to be completely germ-free. The technicians in the animal lab delivered the baby mice by cesarean section and kept them in complete isolation to eliminate the

Nabbing bats' nemesis

A little brown bat is inspected for signs of white nose syndrome. Credit: Courtesy of Kathryn Campbell" />A little brown bat is inspected for signs of white nose syndrome. Credit: Courtesy of Kathryn Campbell Wearing a mining helmet, Greg Turner scales a wobbly 30 foot ladder and squeezes his 6' 2" frame into the window of an abandoned white clapboard church. On

Notebook

A bee's life

A member of the Augochlorine bee family pollinates a tomato flower. Credit: Courtesy of USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service" />A member of the Augochlorine bee family pollinates a tomato flower. Credit: Courtesy of USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service On an organic farm in central New Jersey, the plants are vibrating with bees. With a swift twist of her insect net, Rachael Winfree captures a wild bee s

Uncategorized

Slideshow: Hunting for wild bees

Slideshow: Hunting for wild bees Join Rachael Winfree, an entomologist at Rutgers University, as she tracks what wild bees bring to ecosystems. Slideshow: Hunting for wild bees Join Rachael Winfree, an entomologist at Rutgers University, as she tracks what wild bees bring to ecosystems. var so = new SWFObject("https://photos.the-scientist.com/content/images/slideshows/pollinators/slideshow.swf", "gallery", "425", "325", "6", "#ffffff"); so.addVariable("file"

Opinion

What Makes Science 'Science'?

Trainee teachers don't have a clue, and most scientists probably don't either. That's bad news.

Column

Waiting for Einstein

The dawn of a unified theory of biology may finally be upon us.

Uncategorized

Biotech's Hidden Stepsister

Biotech's Hidden Stepsister The medical device industry, which grew as quickly as a teenager, now has some serious growing pains. By Alla Katsnelson Related Articles Financial Growing Pains of a Biotech Confronting Risk For the Hottest Jobs, Go Regulatory hen Amir Belson, an Israeli pediatric surgeon, came to Stanford University in 1998 for a fellowship in pediatric nephrology, in his pocket he carried a creased piece of paper on which w

When Cancer is Just the Beginning

When Cancer is Just the Beginning Mary Slattery at her home in New Jersey. Dustin Fenstermacher / wonderful machine Rarely, the body reacts to cancer by generating immune cells that chew their way into the brain. Could research with this handful of patients create a new therapeutic cancer vaccine? By Julia C. Mead • Photography by Dustin Fenstermacher Article Extras 1 But the antibody in Slattery's spinal fluid signified something more sinister: An immune re

The Orange and the Circus Tent

The Orange and the Circus Tent Illustrations by Grady McFerrin What viruses teach us about the workings of mammalian cells. By Ari Helenius Article Extras 1 In those days, my interest was largely biochemical, particularly in the properties of membrane proteins, although I did also spend a lot of time trying to take the virus apart to its individual components, in an attempt to recreate the infectious particle from scratch. Needless to sa

Persuasion Power

Ed Liu has produced innovative translational research and a world-class genome institute using his undeniable intellect - and charm.

Books etc.

Impeding PD-1

The discovery that blocking an inhibitory immune receptor restores T cell function in HIV sheds light on immune dysfunction.

Hot Paper

Factor tracker

Credit: Thomas Splettstoesser / wikimedia.org" /> Credit: Thomas Splettstoesser / wikimedia.org The paper: C.-L. Wei et al., "A global map of p53 transcription-factor binding sites in the human genome," Cell, 124:207-19, 2006. (Cited in 184 papers) The technique: Yijun Ruan, of the Genome Institute of Singapore, and colleagues wanted a better way to study where transcription factors (TFs) bind to DNA. They deve

Effector detector

Credit: ® CAMR/A. Barry Dowsett / Photo Researchers, Inc." /> Credit: ® CAMR/A. Barry Dowsett / Photo Researchers, Inc. The paper: T. Tobe et al., "An extensive repertoire of type III secretion effectors in Escherichia coli O157 and the role of lambdoid phages in their dissemination," Proc Nat Acad Sci, 103:14941-6, 2006. (Cited in 38 papers.) The study: Some virulent bacteria infec

Elastic enzyme

Credit: Proc Natl Acad Sci, 103:13682-7, 2006 / ® 2006 National Academy of Sciences, U.S.A" /> Credit: Proc Natl Acad Sci, 103:13682-7, 2006 / ® 2006 National Academy of Sciences, U.S.A The paper: M. Ekroos and T. Sjögren, "Structural basis for ligand promiscuity in cytochrome P450 3A4," Proc Natl Acad Sci, 103:13682-7, 2006. (Cited in 78 papers)

Scientist To Watch

Patricia Wittkopp: Fresh eyes on flies

Credit: ® Roy Ritchie" /> Credit: ® Roy Ritchie By the end of high school, Patricia Wittkopp was so over fruit flies. They had sparked her passion for genetics, but as she shopped around for an undergraduate research project at the University of Michigan, Wittkopp wanted more. "I remember thinking to myself, 'We already did a fruit fly lab in high school, and I want to do something else'," she says.

Lab Tools

Lab Tools: Close Encounters

Protein-protein interaction assays for all occasions.

BioBusiness

The Orphan Drug Act Turns 25

The legislation is credited with building biotech and spawning hundreds of drugs for rare diseases. So why do some analysts hesitate to call it a success?

The Scientist

Life in a Rent-a-Lab

Is working at a contract research organization right for you?

Foundations

Viral Cell Entry, circa 1980

In the late 1970s, scientists were divided on how viruses enter and infect host cells. Some investigators thought viruses were directly penetrating the cell membrane into the cytoplasm, while others argued the pathogens were first engulfed into clathrin-coated pits. As evidence, both sides used static electron microscopy images, which told different stories "depending on how you took the pictu

Uncategorized

Video: Shot in the Dark

Video: Shot in the Dark

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