News

NIH Eyes Unprecedented Support Of Research In Soviet Laboratory
NIH Eyes Unprecedented Support Of Research In Soviet Laboratory
What happens when an eminent Soviet scientist, battling for reforms in his own country, must confront U.S. peer review? WASHINGTON -- The wave of perestroika in Soviet science has crossed the Atlantic and is lapping up on the shores of the Potomac. And one of the first landmarks it has encountered is the process of peer review. Two years ago biologist Valery Soyfer was waiting to emigrate to the United States after enduring nearly a decade of isolation for his human rights activities. At the
U.S. Sluggish In Commitment To Marine Biotechnology
U.S. Sluggish In Commitment To Marine Biotechnology
While Japan is bearish on the potentially lucrative field, American government and industry fail to show enthusiasm or backing WASHINGTON -- To promoters of U.S. competitiveness, Japan's Ministry of International Trade and Industry sometimes seems invincible. MITI has an enviable reputation for helping industry develop new products - often based on United States discoveries - that eventually dominate global markets. So MITI's decision to spend almost $200 million in the next decade on marine b
NSF Program To Encourage University Science Entrepreneurs Set For Slow Start
NSF Program To Encourage University Science Entrepreneurs Set For Slow Start
NSF told Congress about a great new plan for technology transfer but doesn't intend to spend much money on it WASHINGTON -- The National Science Foundation wants more university scientists to get into the technology transfer act. But a new program to do just that seeks only one tenth its originally planned funding. It also offers little assurance that the program will be around long enough to generate any commercial products. Last year NSF presented Congress with its plans for an $85 million
Big Award By Army Sparks Debate On Control Of Academic Research
Big Award By Army Sparks Debate On Control Of Academic Research
University of Minnesota math chairman resigns in controversy after his school is awarded a $67 million computer center contract MINNEAPOLIS -- Six months after the successful end to a heated competition to win a $67 million supercomputer research grant from the Army, University of Minnesota computer scientist Ettore Infante is trying to track down a bumper sticker portraying him as a warmonger. "It shows me on the head of a missile," says the genial dean of the university's Institute of Techn
Student Pugwash Confronts The Challenges Of Growth
Student Pugwash Confronts The Challenges Of Growth
With larger membership come questions of how the group can best serve the needs of its expanded constituency When approximately 40 undergraduate and graduate students meet this coming weekend on the campus of Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh to discuss military and environmental security, they will be advancing the goals of a movement that has sprouted across the nation in recent years. The event is a regional conference sponsored by Student Pugwash USA, a society whose name is still
FASEB Gathering Offers A Smorgasbord Of Activities
FASEB Gathering Offers A Smorgasbord Of Activities
William L. Dewey looks at this week's meeting of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology with an air of bemused satisfaction. "It's like going to a buffet lunch when you're really hungry and there's more there than you can eat," says Dewey, FASEB's president. "Too much good stuff." The organization's 74th annual meeting - taking place in Washington, D.C., from April 1 to 5 - is sponsored by four of the six FASEB corporate member societies (the American Physiological Socie
Earthquake Scientists Hope That Recent Rumblings Will Lead To More Funding
Earthquake Scientists Hope That Recent Rumblings Will Lead To More Funding
The San Francisco disaster proved the urgency of work toward mitigating damage as well as predicting when future quakes will strike WASHINGTON -- The physical aftershocks from last fall's deadly earthquake in San Francisco have ceased. But earthquake scientists are hoping that the political aftershocks from that devastating event, and the recent smaller trembler near Los Angeles, persist long enough to invigorate a field that has suffered from more than a decade of neglect since the launching
Articles Alert
Articles Alert
Department of Microbiology & Immunology University of Illinois Chicago A surface glycoprotein that is anchored via a lipid to the trypanosome cell membrane is transferred in vitro to red blood cell membranes, sensitizing the latter to attack by anti-trypanosome antibodies. M.R. Rifkin, F.R. Landsberger, "Trypanosome variant surface glycoprotein transfer to target membranes: a model for the pathogenesis of trypanosomiasis," PNAS, 87, 801-5, January 1990. (Rockefeller University, New York)
People: Two Population Biologists Share $240,000 1990 Swedish Crafoord Prize
People: Two Population Biologists Share $240,000 1990 Swedish Crafoord Prize
Paul Ehrlich, professor of biological sciences at Stanford University, and Edward O. Wilson, professor of science at Harvard University, have been selected by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences to share the 1990 Crafoord Prize. The two scientists will split the $240,000 award, which honors the field of population biology and the conservation of biological diversity. The prize is named for the late Holger Crafoord, former founder and chairman of a medical supply firm in Sweden, and his wife,
People: Caltech Chemist Wins AIC Gold Medal For His Studies Of Electron Transfer
People: Caltech Chemist Wins AIC Gold Medal For His Studies Of Electron Transfer
In the estimation of the American Institute of Chemists, Harry Gray's studies of electron transfer have outpaced those of all his competitors to earn him a Gold Medal this year. Gray, the Arnold O. Beckman Professor of Chemistry and director of the Beckman Institute at the California Institute of Technology, has been selected to receive AIC's 1990 Gold Medal. Gray, 54, was cited by AIC for his studies of inorganic chemistry and chemical reactions involved in electron transfer, a fundamental pro

Briefs

Government Briefs
Government Briefs
Cavazos Comes Late And Can't Stay Long If the Bush administration ever comes up with a coordinated plan to improve precollege science and math education, 10 A.M. on February 28 will hold an honored place in history. That's the date and time that Education Secretary Lauro Cavazos and NSF Director Erich Bloch appeared together - for the first time - before a congressional committee and talked about how their two agencies could team up to make things better. Bringing the two men together may not s
National Lab Briefs
National Lab Briefs
Livermore Decides Not To Blow Its Stack In a decision hailed by environmentalists, Lawrence Livermore National Lab announced it wants to cancel construction of an on-site incinerator whose stack would have emitted small amounts of radioactivity. But Director John Nuckolls' proposal to go ahead with the rest of what is known as a Decontamination and Waste Treatment Facility is likely to embroil the lab in another lengthy round of regulatory agency battles. The incinerator was part of a plan to r
Industry Briefs
Industry Briefs
From Q To GLQ223 Eight months after the FDA stopped a San Francisco group from giving an unauthorized drug called Compound Q to HIV-infected patients, another version of the drug will be dispensed to the same patients - this time by a pharmaceutical company and a biotechnology company now clinically testing the compound. Derived from a plant protein imported from China, Compound Q had been offered in 1988 and 1989 to between 80 and 100 patients by Project Inform, an AIDS advocacy group. Genelab
Association Briefs
Association Briefs
ACS' 10 Millionth Customer It may not garner as much hoopla as, say, being Macy's 10 millionth customer or, perhaps, scoring major league baseball's 10 millionth run. But the American Chemical Society's Chemical Abstract Service has recently achieved a milestone in its own right. The CAS chemical registry is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year by recording its 10 millionth chemical substance. CAS, which abstracts and indexes all the world's literature on chemical science and technology,
People Briefs
People Briefs
Harvey M. Florman has been appointed to the faculty of the Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology in Shrewsbury, Mass., as a staff scientist. He comes from the University of Wisconsin, where he was a senior scientist. Florman is a reproductive biologist with particular interest and expertise in the study of sperm-egg interactions. He holds a grant from the National Institutes of Health for a research program concerned with sperm binding receptors on mammalian eggs, and will be affiliated

Opinion

Gene Dreams: The Bursting Of The Biotechnology Bubble
Gene Dreams: The Bursting Of The Biotechnology Bubble
[Editor's note: On Oct. 14, 1980, a small San Francisco startup firm, a company that had yet to produce a single product, cornered the imagination and captured the deep pockets of Wall Street with a dazzling new concept - biotechnology. The company, Genentech Inc., was the creation of Robert Swanson, a venture capitalist, and Herbert Boyer, a biochemist who along with a colleague had been the first to extract a gene from one organism and successfully implant it in another. Investors liked this
Good Science Doesn't Guarantee Profitability
Good Science Doesn't Guarantee Profitability
[Editor's note: The following interview with Robert Teitelman took place on March 5, 1990, one month after Genentech Inc., a pioneer in the biotechnology industry, sold a controlling stake in the company to Roche Holding, Ltd., the Swiss parent of drug giant Hoffmann-La-Roche & Co. Teitelman, a senior editor at Institutional Investor, talked with Julia King, a contributing editor of The Scientist.] Q Who's managing today's biotechnology industry? Scientists or big business? A Early on it

Letter

Letter: Calls For Refuseniks
Letter: Calls For Refuseniks
I am pleased to report that Barbara Spector's article "Refuseniks Celebrate New Triumphs, Face New Hurdles" (The Scientist, Feb. 19, 1990, page 5), has elicited an unprecedented number of telephone calls to our office. Apparently, renewed interest has been stirred in refuseniks - all for the good. As I reread the article, I thought of another instance, in addition to the cited [Emanuel] Lurie case, of a refusenik whose wife, while on a visit abroad, embarked on a campaign to secure his release
Letter: A Plot In Time
Letter: A Plot In Time
G. Christopher Anderson's story "Accelerator Planners Worry That SSC May Be A Hard Act To Follow" (The Scientist, Feb. 5, 1990, page 1), was very interesting. It triggered the thought: Do the early Rutherford experiments and the Cyclotron energy levels of the 1940s fit into his plot of log energy versus time? An "eagle eye" look at this plot indicates that the Bevatron fits onto his plot at about the right place. I realize that the intent of the plot relates to international competition for bi
Letter: Lab Priorities
Letter: Lab Priorities
I was troubled by Liane Reif-Lehrer's suggestion that discussing a student's personal problems is an example of "urgent trivia" (The Scientist, Feb. 19, 1990, page 24). My observations as a graduate student suggest that senior investigators much too eagerly sacrifice good long-term relationships with their staffs at the altar of short-term pressures. While discussing a staff member's personal problems is not very "productive," it demonstrates a proper sense of priorities. I sincerely hope that

Commentary

A Crime Far Worse Than Fraud Threatens Scientific Progress
A Crime Far Worse Than Fraud Threatens Scientific Progress
We are all aware of the impending attempts by legislative and oversight bodies to insert themselves into the conduct and practice of scientific research. Recent incidents have accelerated the movement toward formation of a variety of institutional review mechanisms to deal with the problem of scientific fraud. But I believe that there is a much greater threat to the quest for truth than the one-in-a-million scientist who fabricates data. Because the overwhelming majority of outright deceptions

Hot Paper

Hot Papers
Hot Papers
R. Gentz, F.J. Rauscher III, C. Abate, T. Curran, "Parallel association of Fos and Jun leucine zippers juxtaposes DNA binding domains," Science, 243, 1695-99, 31 March 1989. Tom Curran (Roche Institute of Molecular Biology, Nutley, N.J.): "The leucine zipper structure caught the imagination of scientists in several disciplines, not just those involved in transcriptional regulation. In this paper, we presented an extensive mutagenesis analysis of the oncogenes fos and jun, demonstrating that th
Hot Papers
Hot Papers
T.R. Cech, "Conserved sequences and structures of group I introns: building an active site for RNA catalysis - a review," Gene, 73, 259-71, 20 December 1988. Thomas R. Cech (University of Colorado, Boulder): "How to look good writing a review article: Pick some really brilliant work to write about. In this case, the difficult and very successful head-scratching that provided the basis for the review was done by Francois Michel and, independently, by Richard Waring and Wayne Davies in 1982. Bas
Hot Papers
Hot Papers
W.E. Wright, D.S. Sassoon, V.K. Lin, "Myogenin, a factor regulating myogenesis, has a domain homologous to MyoD," Cell, 56, 607-17, 24 February 1989. Woodring E. Wright (University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas): "This paper describes the use of a novel cell line that overexpresses regulatory factors for the identification, cloning, and initial characterization of myogenin, a protein that regulates the decision of muscle cells to differentiate. Trans- fection of a myogenin cDNA i
Hot Papers
Hot Papers
S. Coleman, "Why there is nothing rather than something: a theory of the cosmological constant," Nuclear Physics B, 310, 643-68, 12 December 1988. Sidney Coleman (Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.): "The cosmological constant is a quantity that appears in Einstein's gravitational field equations. It can be thought of as the energy density of the ground state of quantum field theory, empty space. Experiment gives an upper bound on the constant (consistent with it vanishing altogether). Rough

Research

Immunotoxins: Monoclonals At Work In Fight Against Cancer
Immunotoxins: Monoclonals At Work In Fight Against Cancer
Since the discovery of monoclonal antibodies in 1975 (see pages 22 and 29), scientists have attempted to harness their power to bind selectively with substances in the body. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, researchers sought to combine potent cell toxins with a monoclonal antibody that would bind with cancer cells. They believed that the resulting immunotoxin (IT) could then be launched as a kind of surgical strike on cancer cells. But, as is the case with many new ventures in science, thing
Landmark Biotech Research Began With A Seaside Stroll
Landmark Biotech Research Began With A Seaside Stroll
A revolutionary new way to make monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) was born during a walk on the beach in La Jolla, Calif. During that stroll in 1984, Steve Benkovic, a professor of organic chemistry from Penn State University, and Richard Lerner, director of the Research Institute of Scripps Clinic in La Jolla, vented their frustrations - frustrations that arose from screening hybridoma-derived MAbs for catalytic (enzyme) activity. Monoclonal antibodies are of vital importance in diagnostics becaus

Profession

NSF Fellowships Weather Politics, Promote Superb Science
NSF Fellowships Weather Politics, Promote Superb Science
WASHINGTON -- Retiring Massachusetts Institute of Technology president Paul Gray was one. So were Stanford University president Donald Kennedy and Harvard University paleontologist and author Stephen Jay Gould, not to mention Nobel laureates Thomas Cech, Walter Gilbert, and Burton Richter. Like many others among the nation's scientific leaders, these researchers got their starts as National Science Foundation Fellows. Each year NSF gives out hundreds of three-year awards to the nation's outsta
Past Grant Recipients Give Florida's Whitehall Foundation Sunny Reviews
Past Grant Recipients Give Florida's Whitehall Foundation Sunny Reviews
As it approached its 50th anniversary a few years back, the Whitehall Foundation of Palm Beach, Fla., decided it was time for some serious self-evaluation. Officials there wanted to make sure that the foundation was supporting the right kind of scientists - and that the scientists were enjoying substantial gains from the backing they were getting. The most efficient approach to finding out, the officials concluded, was to query the scientists themselves. So they prepared a survey asking grant

Technology

Combinatorial Libraries: A New Fast Track To Monoclonals
Combinatorial Libraries: A New Fast Track To Monoclonals
Back in 1975, Georges Köhler and Cesar Milstein of the Medical Research Council, Cambridge, England, fused a mouse myeloma cell with a B cell to manufacture monoclonal antibodies (MAbs). Their breakthrough was viewed by the scientific community as nothing short of brilliant. In nearly every situation requiring a single component to be isolated - in distinguishing a tumor from normal tissue, for example - monoclonals proved a valuable tool. The natural diversity of these immune system prote