The University of Chicago laboratories of the prolific Richard J. Miller, a 41-year-old British neuropharmacology professor, is a study in cultural contrasts. Animated discussions of neurotransmitters are punctuated with dry British humor; and while classical music permeates Miller's office, rock 'n' roll is king in the labs, where he has attracted many scientists from his native country.

In Miller's labs, which are part of the department of pharmacology and physiological sciences, playful, barbed comments are common among British postdoctoral fellows Simon Gibbons and David Bleakman and graduate student Paul Chard. "People who don't know us think we're insulting each other," explains Gibbons. "It's really just the English sense of humor." They really do get along, they say. "There's a group of people who work out together in the gym, and four of us play squash regularly," says Gibbons, "not to mention going out for beers."

"If there's one constant, it's...

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