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News

U.S. Bioscience's Perilous Path From Class Act To Class Action
U.S. Bioscience's Perilous Path From Class Act To Class Action
Date: April 13, 1992 The orphan drug firm, Wall Street's darling in 1991, now faces fraud charges brought by some of its investors As 1991 came to a close, suburban Philadelphia-based U.S. Bioscience was riding high. In just 12 months the four-year- old biotechnology company had delivered its first anticancer product, Hexalen, to market. Corporate staff had doubled to 100 employees. The firm's much-publicized second product, Ethyol, was in accelerated review at the Food and Drug Administratio
Biotechnology Regs Raise Ruckus
Biotechnology Regs Raise Ruckus
A new set of biotechnology regulations for the state of Minnesota, approved by an administrative law judge in mid-March, have many researchers in the state alarmed. The scientists are disturbed not so much by the rules themselves--which require the obtaining of state permits for field tests of transgenic plants and microbes and the registration of labs working with recombinant organisms--as by the atmosphere surrounding their drafting. According to Jeff Tate, a plant physiologist at the Univer
Reinvigorating The Mathematics Culture: The Problems Are Not Only Quantitative
Reinvigorating The Mathematics Culture: The Problems Are Not Only Quantitative
Curriculum quality must change in order for the depleted math profession to attract young scholars, workshop attendees agree The teaching of mathematics requires drastic change, according to a group of academic mathematicians who met in Oakland last month. The approach and the content of university mathematics are dangerously out of synch with the needs of both students and industry, and the result, the mathematicians contend, is causing the number and quality of mathematics students to dwindl
Maturing Biotech Firms Face New Challenges
Maturing Biotech Firms Face New Challenges
Growing enterprises are rethinking staff needs and realigning priorities as they move to parlay early gains As more biotechnology companies bring products beyond the discovery stage, small, research-driven organizations find themselves acquiring large staffs. Company officials say this new era of growth demands that they change recruiting strategies to hire employees with different skills, cope with increased competition among companies for workers, and create management structures that will p
Gallo Investigation: A `Messy Business' Raises Many Issues
Gallo Investigation: A `Messy Business' Raises Many Issues
Gallo Investigation: A `Messy Business' Raises Many Issues Author: SCOTT HULER As the probe into alleged misconduct by the National Cancer Institute lab of Robert Gallo in its search for the AIDS virus deepens, the scope of the investigation broadens as well. Recently joining the National Institutes of Health's Office of Scientific Integrity (OSI) in its long-running investigation of Gallo are the General Accounting Office, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Ho

Notebook

Notebook
Notebook
Block That Kick! Study That Gene! Fiction, Fact - As Long As It's Science Patently Outstanding Take A Meeting Dubious Distinction Camden, N.J.-based Coriell Institute for Medical Research is putting a lot of muscle into its effort to survive the budget crunch facing research institutions. On April 15, a fund-raising event dubbed "Coriell Sports Day: Sports & Science United" is being held at the Eagles' Nest Country Club in Sewell, N.J., owned by former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback

Commentary

M.D.-Ph.D. Programs: An Insurance Policy To Safeguard U.S. Investment In Research
M.D.-Ph.D. Programs: An Insurance Policy To Safeguard U.S. Investment In Research
Biomedical research has enjoyed unequaled success in recent decades, and its spectacular growth is expected to continue in future years. There is, however, increasing concern that, owing to an anticipated shortage of adequately trained physician-scientists, the momentum may not be sustained. In a paper discussing the training of biomedical scientists, Joseph B. Martin refers to this phenomenon as the "opportunity-resource paradox" (Academic Medicine, 66[3]:123-29, 1991). Despite the great excit

Letter

Carbohydrate Research
Carbohydrate Research
Topiramate is a derivative of the monosaccharide D-fructose that is under development for the treatment of epilepsy by the R.W. Johnson Pharmaceutical Research Institute (a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson). This drug was discovered in my laboratory (U.S. Patent 4,513,006) and is currently in advanced clinical development. We have published on this anticonvulsant drug in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry (30:880, 1987) and Drugs of the Future (14:342, 1989), and have presented our findings at t
In Vitro Advances
In Vitro Advances
The article "Public, Private Health Concerns Spur Rapid Progress In Toxicology" (The Scientist, Feb. 17, 1992, page 1) did not mention the significant role that the public's concern for animals has had in advancing in vitro toxicology. This concern, for example, led to the establishment of the Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing at Johns Hopkins University in 1981. In fact, one of the toxicologists quoted in the article--John Frazier--is the associate director of that center (in addition
Grade Inflation?
Grade Inflation?
The article on the University of Michigan's new organic chemistry course (The Scientist, Feb. 3, 1992, page 6) provoked in me something akin to an allergic reaction. Consider, for example, this quote: "Their approach seems to be working. In a class of nearly 1,000 students, nearly 75 percent earned an A or B.... Less than 1 percent failed; more significantly, only 2 percent dropped the course. In contrast, when professors grade students on a curve, the results are considerably fewer high grades
Too Many Eyes On The Prize
Too Many Eyes On The Prize
Regarding Robert L. Brent's commentary in the Feb. 3, 1992, issue of The Scientist [page 12]: The pursuit and awarding of prizes, as Brent describes, serves as a general depressant to the great body of scientists who have not yet clearly differentiated between award winning and scientific distinction. It is probably too much to ask that the system be changed; however, clearing the air, as Brent has tried to do, helps to minimize the damage. ANTHONY W. CZARNIK Associate Professor of Chemistry O

Research

Computer-Conceived Chemical Compounds Make A Debut
Computer-Conceived Chemical Compounds Make A Debut
The fledgling field of computer drug design, viewed skeptically by some scientists, gained dramatic validation when scientists from Agouron Pharmaceuticals Inc. reported at a March 18 cancer symposium in Amsterdam that they have created a new compound. Agouron claims the compound, dubbed AG-331, demonstrates "significant anti-tumor activity" in animal tests. "This is a completely novel chemical entity that was not found in nature," says Mike Varney, a computational chemist at San Diego-based

Hot Paper

Cell Biology
Cell Biology
R. SchUle, P. Rangarajan, S. Kliewer, L.J. Ransone, et al., "Functional antagonism between oncoprotein c-Jun and the glucocorticoid receptor," Cell, 62:1217-26, 1990. Roland SchUle (Howard Hughes Medical Institute, The Salk Institute, La Jolla, Calif.): "The molecular mechanisms by which hormone receptors inhibit cellular proliferation and by which growth factors stimulate this process are poorly understood. In addressing this issue, we have shown that the proto-oncogene Jun/AP-1 can function a
Cell Biology
Cell Biology
E.R. Steuer, L. Wordeman, T.A. Schroer, M.P. Sheetz, "Localization of cytoplasmic dynein to mitotic spindles and kinetochores," Nature, 345:266-68, 1990. Michael Sheetz (Duke University Medical Center, Durham, N.C.): "A major question in the field of mitosis has been: What is the basis of force generation in the movements of chromosomes to the poles? This article shows that a cytoplasmic dynein component is present at the kinetichore at least in prometaphase. Because the microtubules in the spi
Cell Biology
Cell Biology
G.E. Ward, M.W. Kirschner, "Identification of cell cycle- regulated phosphorylation sites on nuclear lamin C," Cell, 61:561-77, 1990. Marc Kirschner (University of California, San Francisco): "It is naturally very exciting after so many years to finally have a `hot' paper. The significance of this paper as well as the accompanying papers in the same issue of Cell, by Erich Nigg's group at the Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research (pages 591-60) and Frank McKeon's group at Harvard Uni
Superconductivity
Superconductivity
R.C. Haddon, A.F. Hebard, M.J. Rosseinsky, D.W. Murphy, et al., "Conducting films of C60 and C70 by alkali-metal doping," Nature, 350:320-22, 1991. Robert Haddon (AT&T Bell Laboratories, Murray Hill, N.J.): "This was the first report of the solid-state doping of C60 and C70 to produce alkali metal fullerides. C60 and C70 films underwent doping with the alkali metals to produce conductors. The doped C60 films gave rise to conductivities comparable to those observed in n-type doped polyacetylene.
Astrophysics
Astrophysics
J.N. Bahcall, H.A. Bethe, "A solution of the solar-neutrino problem," Physical Review Letters, 65:2233-35, 1990. John Bahcall (Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, N.J.): "For approximately a quarter of a century, there has been a conflict between the predictions of standard astronomical and physical theories and what has been observed in experiments that detect neutrinos, produced by nuclear fusion reactions in the solar interior. Our paper has attracted attention for two reasons. First, w
Astrophysics
Astrophysics
L. Lu, A.M. Wolfe, D.A. Turnshek, "The redshift distribution of Lya clouds and the proximity effect," Astrophysical Journal, 367:19-36, 1991. Limin Lu (Washburn Observatory, University of Wisconsin, Madison): "Lyman-a clouds are clumps of gaseous material distributed between galaxies and probably contain primordial matter that has not been chemically enriched. These clouds can be used to study the intergalactic medium in the universe between now and when the universe was only about 10 percent o

Technology

Menu-Driven Interfaces Simplify Online Database Searching
Menu-Driven Interfaces Simplify Online Database Searching
In order to stay abreast of important developments in his field, University of Pittsburgh biologist Craig Peebles used to scan the table of contents of some half-dozen different journals each week. Every time he spotted something of interest, he would make a copy of the article and then add it to one of the stacks of papers he kept in his office for ready reference. While online services with easy-to-use, menu-driven interfaces offer researchers one avenue of access into the world of database

Profession

Survey: Pharmaceutical Scientists' Salaries Rose In 1990
Survey: Pharmaceutical Scientists' Salaries Rose In 1990
Buoyed by strong demand for personnel to conduct research and development programs in the quest for new products, average annual salaries for pharmaceutical scientists rose significantly in 1990, a recently released survey found. However, according to the study, the recession dampened starting pay during the same year. Healthy gains were posted by professionals in government, industry, and academia, according to the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS), which sponsored the
John C. Sheehan
John C. Sheehan
John C. Sheehan, who in 1957 chemically synthesized penicillin, a feat that had been thought impossible, died March 21 of congestive heart failure at his home in Key Biscayne, Fla. He was 76 years old. Sheehan, a professor of organic chemistry, emeritus, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, taught at that school for 31 years. He joined the faculty there as an assistant professor in 1946 and in 1948 began working on the synthesis of penicillin. The formation of a just small amount of n
People: Mass Spectrometrist Achieves Recognition As Virginia's 1992 Outstanding Scientist
People: Mass Spectrometrist Achieves Recognition As Virginia's 1992 Outstanding Scientist
Donald Frederick Hunt, a professor of chemistry at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, has been chosen as the state of Virginia's outstanding scientist of 1992. Hunt was introduced to the state's General Assembly on February 26 and was honored at a March 30 ceremony at the Science Museum of Virginia in Richmond. Also honored were Joseph Larner, a professor of pharmacology at the university's Health Sciences Center, who was given a lifetime achievement award, and William O. Bourke, chai
People: Top Westinghouse Talent Search Award Goes To New York Student's Marine Project
People: Top Westinghouse Talent Search Award Goes To New York Student's Marine Project
It's a temptation to say that for Kurt Thorn, of Wading River, N.Y., an interest in science was worth a lot of clams--after all, Thorn won $40,000 by becoming the top award winner in the 1992 Westinghouse Science Talent Search. In fact, though, it was clams that Thorn used to win the award. Clam shells, actually. "The basic idea is that clam shells produce daily growth lines," says Thorn, 16, a senior at Shoreham-Wading River High School. "The interest in the scientific community is in using

Briefs

People Briefs: Stanley Prusiner
People Briefs: Stanley Prusiner
Stanley Prusiner, a professor of biochemistry at the University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine, has received the New York-based Metropolitan Life Foundation's 1992 Award for Medical Research in Alzheimer's Disease. Prusiner received $200,000 to further his research plus a personal prize of $50,000 in February. Prusiner, 49, discovered the prion, a pathogen that causes several rare human brain diseases and is related to the agent that causes scrapie, a disease of cattle, sheep,
People Briefs: Terril A. Nell
People Briefs: Terril A. Nell
Terril A. Nell, a professor in the department of environmental horticulture at the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) in Gainesville, has been named chairman of the department. Nell had been acting chairman since June 1991. Nell joined IFAS as an assistant professor in 1977, and became an associate professor in 1982 and a full professor in 1987. He earned a bachelor's degree in ornamental horticulture from Auburn University in 1971, a master's degree in h
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