June 2012

Volume 26 Issue 6

The Scientist June 2012 Cover

Featured Articles

image: Best Places to Work Industry, 2012

Best Places to Work Industry, 2012

By | June 1, 2012

Much has changed in the 10 years since our first survey of industry researchers. Large companies are now looking to small, nimble ones for services as well as innovation.

image: Targeting DNA

Targeting DNA

By | June 1, 2012

After 20 years of high-profile failure, gene therapy is finally well on its way to clinical approval.

image: Underground Supermodels

Underground Supermodels

By | June 1, 2012

What can a twentysomething naked mole-rat tell us about fighting pain, cancer, and aging?


Capsule Reviews

Capsule Reviews

The Aha! Moment, Imagine, Ignorance, and The Age of Insight



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

Critic at Large

Food for Thought

Plant research remains grossly underfunded, despite the demand for increased crop production to support a growing population.


Digging the Underground Life

A rare peek inside the subterranean home of the naked mole-rat

Pain Free

One of the naked mole-rat’s amazing qualities is the reduced ability to feel certain kinds of pain.

Delivering New Genes

Gene therapies typically involve the introduction of genetic material into target cells to replace or supplement an existing, usually dysfunctional, gene. 

Messing with HIV

Sangamo Biosciences is putting a different spin on gene therapy. 


Surgical Art

InĀ 1929 and 1930, Johns Hopkins Medical School surgeon Warfield Firor carried out a series of experiments to determine how long blood could flow between animals with joined circulatory systems. Without using any anti-coagulants, Firor attempted to es

Best in Industry, 2012

Whether working for a pharmaceutical giant or a biotech start-up with a unique vision, researchers who responded to this year’s Best Places to Work in Industry survey are translating society’s most pressing scientific needs into a new generation of drugs, research tools, and cutting-edge innovations.

Discovering Phasmids

Shortly after a rat infested supply ship ran around in Lord Howe Island off the east coast of Australia in 1918, the newly introduced mammals wiped out the island's phasmids—stick insects the size of a human hand. 


Avant-Garde Science

Why naked mole-rats and experimental gene therapies remind me of groundbreaking artists.

Speaking of Science

Speaking of Science

June 2012's selection of notable quotes


Finding Phasmids

Researchers rediscover a giant insect, thought to have gone extinct a century ago, and plan to reintroduce it to its native island off the coast of Australia.

A Can of Worms

Scientists at the American Museum of Natural History use DNA barcoding to show that even sardines infected with nematodes can still be kosher.

From Bones to Brains

With the help of a mother, one researcher uncovered a common link between autism and a devastating bone disease.

Space Rocks

Orbiting ultrasound machines are being used to diagnose and treat astronauts' kidney stones.

Critic at Large

Regulations for Biosimilars

As biologic drug patents begin to expire, generic versions will hit the market—but how will they be regulated?

Modus Operandi

Tracing the Ephemeral

A novel reporter system can track the ever-changing levels of the plant signal auxin with great precision.

The Literature

Grading on the Curve

Actin filaments respond to pressure by forming branches at their curviest spots, helping resist the push.

Growing Human Eggs

Germline stem cells discovered in human ovaries can be cultured into fresh eggs.

The Literature

Interfering with Resistance

Drug efficacy and resistance mechanisms shine a light on how drugs enter cells, which could facilitate the development of new sleeping-sickness treatments. 


Hacking the Genome

In pondering genome structure and function, evolutionary geneticist Laurence Hurst has arrived at some unanticipated conclusions about how natural selection has molded our DNA.

Scientist to Watch

Sohini Ramachandran: Population Tracker

Assistant Professor, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Brown University. Age: 30

Lab Tools

Sons of Next Gen

New innovations could bring tailored, fast, and cheap sequencing to the masses.

Microbiology Goes High-Tech

Out with toothpicks and pipettors; in with automation.


Motivate Your Lab

How to run an efficient and creative lab without micromanaging

Reading Frames

Migration: Micro and Macro

Biology and history both tell us that life began with migration: from cells to sharks, hummingbirds to human beings, life migrates for three reasons—survival, protection, and reproduction. 


The Blood Exchange, Circa 1930

Early 20th century cross circulation experiments on dogs paved the way for milestones in human cardiac surgery.

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