Neuroscientist Jerold Chun has studied brain development at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif. since 2003. In "How the lysophospholipid got its receptor", Chun tells the story of how his research group, in the search for genes that are activated in the embryonic brain, stumbled upon a new receptor and answered questions that had lipidologists stumped for years. "We didn't come from the lipid field and didn't understand many of the nuances of this discipline," Chun says. It was a surprising and interesting direction to take, he says, because "there weren't actually any reports of these lipids doing anything in the developing brain." Chun's lab is part of the Helen L. Dorris Child and Adolescent Neuro-Psychiatric Disorder Institute, and their work has been supported by several branches of the NIH, including the NIMH, NINDS, NICHD and NIDA.

Ewen Callaway graduated with a master's in microbiology from...

A recent graduate of the science communication program at University of California, Santa Cruz, Alla Katsnelson joined The Scientist in June as associate editor, responsible for our daily online news and the Lab Tools department. She studied rat whiskers and neuroplasticity at Oxford University, and, after receiving her PhD in 2002, has written for publications including Scientific American Online and Nature Medicine. She's eager to help researchers with their jobs, since like many scientists, Katsnelson remembers experiments that didn't go so well: In graduate school some of her radioactive biochemical assays went terribly wrong. "One day the experiment just stopped working and not a soul could help," she says.

This will be contributing editor Terry Sharrer's last issue on our masthead, as he recently became executive director of the Medical Innovation and Transformation Institute (MITI) of the Inova Health System in Leesburg, Va. In July, he retired from his post as a curator for medicine and science at the Smithsonian Institute, where he worked for nearly 40 years. In "The first combinatorial library", he describes how Mario Geysen developed the first combinatorial chemical library and used it to make more than a billion peptide compounds that could serve as potential epitopes for a foot-and-mouth virus vaccine. "That one experiment created more chemical compounds than had been synthesized in all earlier history," he says.

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