April 2012

Volume 26 Issue 4

The Scientist April 2012 Cover

Featured Articles

image: Best Places to Work Postdocs, 2012

Best Places to Work Postdocs, 2012

By Sabrina Richards | April 2, 2012

Much has changed in the last 10 years for postdocs, who are staying in their positions longer than ever before—and coming out with more to show for it.

image: Are Cancer Stem Cells Ready for Prime Time?

Are Cancer Stem Cells Ready for Prime Time?

By Suling Liu, Hasan Korkaya, and Max S. Wicha | April 1, 2012

A flood of new discoveries has refined our definition of cancer stem cells. Now it’s up to human clinical trials to test if they can make a difference in patients.

Deliberating Over Danger

By The Scientist Staff | April 1, 2012

The creation of H5N1 bird flu strains that are transmissible between mammals has thrown the scientific community into a heated debate about whether such research should be allowed and how it should be regulated.


Capsule Reviews

Capsule Reviews

Consciousness, The Social Conquest of Earth, How Not to Be Eaten, and Horseshoe Crabs and Velvet Worms



Meet some of the people featured in the April 2012 issue of The Scientist.


The Two Faces of Metastasis

During development, the cells of an embryo change their pattern of gene expression, which allows them to detach from their original location and migrate to another part of the embryo, where the pattern changes again to allow formation of a new organ.


Telltale Tortoises

Researchers are permanently marking endangered reptiles in Madagascar to keep the animals from entering the illegal wildlife trade. Read the full story. [gallery]

Best Places for Postdocs, 2012

Postdocs at this year’s top-ranked institutions get to tackle human health and disease from every angle. 


Agents Provocateurs

Asking pointed questions is a key part of the scientific process.

Speaking of Science

Speaking of Science

April 2012's selection of notable quotes


Marked for Life

Conservationists working in Madagascar are doing the unthinkable—defacing the shells of endangered ploughshare tortoises—but it may be the animals’ last hope.


Microscopy Boot Camp

A researcher in Florida changes lives by showing struggling 20-somethings the ins and outs of life in the lab.

Robo Rat

More-realistic whiskered robots are better able to navigate dark or dusty environments, while providing insights into rodent sensory processing.

Bushmeat Roulette

Pathogens lurk in illegal wildlife products confiscated at US airports.

Critic at Large

Reading Into the Future

Will traditional scientific journals follow newspapers into oblivion?

Antibiotics in the Animals We Eat

Low-dose antibiotics in animal feed fuel drug-resistance in human infectious diseases.

Modus Operandi

A Brighter Beacon

A novel liquid laser set-up can detect single nucleotide mutations in a cancer gene.

The Literature

A Malignant Alliance

Two proteins interact to save adhesion molecules from degradation, potentially contributing to a more aggressive cancer.

Whirlpool Bistros

Fish adapt to feed for months along the entire depth of massive oceanic whirlpools that are rich in nutrients and plankton.

The Literature

Finding Phenotypes

Genes shared across species that produce different phenotypes – deafness in humans and directional growth in plants – may reveal new models of disease.


Truth and Beauty

With strong foundations in both art and science, Ahna Skop has been able to capture the marvel of—and mechanisms behind—cytokinesis.

Scientist to Watch

Emmeline Hill: Genes for Speed

Lecturer, School of Agriculture & Food Science, University College Dublin. Age: 38

Lab Tools

Live and In Color

How to track RNA in living cells

Eyes on Cancer

Techniques for watching tumors do their thing


The Best of Both Worlds

Choosing to work in industry does not preclude a return to academe. But the move back takes some planning and finesse.

Reading Frames

Shopping Your Science

A dose of marketing training may help you win grants, woo collaborators, and land jobs.


The World in a Cabinet, 1600s

A 17th century Danish doctor arranges a museum of natural history oddities in his own home.

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