Frontlines

Thespians and Bioterror
Thespians and Bioterror
Frontlines | Thespians and Bioterror Courtesy of University of Louisville Healthcare workers face a reality problem in the face of bioterror: How do they prepare for possible epidemics, the signs and symptoms of which few have witnessed? The realistic answer: With a little touch of makeup magic. In its patient program, the University of Louisville employs a cosmetics specialist who simulates injury and converts actors into victims. They stage bioterrorism-related afflictions as real as fake

Snapshot

Married to Science
Married to Science
Snapshot | Married to Science  Click for larger version (40K) And some even like it Of the 308 surveyed readers of The Scientist who are married or in long-term relationships, 36% have scientists as partners, 8% working together in the lab. More than 100 respondents commented on such an arrangement--most are enthusiastic, or at least content with their lot. Most who work with their scientist partners extol the benefits of cooperation and mutual understanding. Said one: "It's great to

Wed, 01 Jan 1000 00:00:00 GMT

The Lab Is Alive, With the Sound of Music
The Lab Is Alive, With the Sound of Music
Frontlines | The Lab Is Alive, With the Sound of Music Erica P. Johnson The music may be base-ic, but a team from Ramon y Cajal Hospital (RCH) in Madrid have found the song inside us all. They took each nucleotide from the genome of Candida albicans, plus a few other organisms, and arbitrarily designated a tone from the do-re-mi scale (Thyamine is re, guanine is so, adenine is la; and cytosine is do). The end result: a full musical interpretation of the genome. Inspiration for the project

Foundations

DNA Base Pairs, and Erwin Chargaff
DNA Base Pairs, and Erwin Chargaff
Foundations | DNA Base Pairs, and Erwin Chargaff  Click for larger version (32K) Erwin Chargaff's groundbreaking research, which showed that DNA base pairs had a complementary relationship, laid the foundation for James Watson's and Francis Crick's DNA model. When word spread that Watson and Crick had solved the structure, Chargaff wrote to Maurice Wilkins, who worked with Rosalind Franklin at Kings' College, London--and who later received the Nobel Prize, along with Watson and Crick.

First Person

Stephen Wolfram
Stephen Wolfram
First Person | Stephen Wolfram Courtesy of David Reiss/Wolfram Research, Inc. Stephen Wolfram--wunderkind, untamed scientist--possesses a mind that is uncluttered by daydreams and everyday intrusions. ("The Super Bowl? What's that?" he once asked a colleague.) His brain turns over questions about the complexities of science, nature, and life, and instead of dismissing these puzzles, his mind works to answer them. So what if his answers turn science upside down? After all, here's a kid who

5-Prime

X-Ray-ted: A Crystal-Clear Lexicon
X-Ray-ted: A Crystal-Clear Lexicon
5-Prime | X-Ray-ted: A Crystal-Clear Lexicon Courtesy of Steve Ealick Crystal structures may clarify molecular organization, but the papers describing them are often so chock-full of jargon that they're largely unintelligible to those outside the crystallography field. Here are five prime definitions to get started. Phase Problem: Crystallographers blast their crystals with X-rays and record the patterns of diffracted radiation. The intensities of diffracted X-rays give information about

Science Seen

Licking the Genome
Licking the Genome
Science Seen | Licking the Genome  LICKING THE GENOME: On Feb. 3, 2003, the Royal Mail introduced a series of stamps celebrating the 50th anniversary of the discovery of DNA's structure. The top left stamp applauds the de-coding of the human genome. The others celebrate various aspects of genomic science. Philatelists lauded the humorous stamps, which instantly became collectors' items.

Tue, 01 May 2001 00:00:00 GMT

The Jon Yewdell Selection
The Jon Yewdell Selection
My Top 5 | The Jon Yewdell Selection Courtesy of Jon Yewdell 1. In the now distant year of 1970, the physical nature of the plasma membrane (or any membrane for that matter) was uncertain. Frye and Edidin used Sendai virus to fuse human and mouse cell, then stained the cells with fluorochrome-labeled antibodies specific for human or mouse antigens.1 They watched the unfolding drama in a fluorescent microscope as the human and mouse proteins completely mixed in real time, providing an elega

Data Points

Research Integrity
Research Integrity
Datapoints | Research Integrity The US Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Research Integrity oversees investigations of research misconduct related to US Public Health Service applications and awards.

So They Say

So They Say
So They Say
So They Say "Remember, this was probably the most prolific man in history. He had a lot of children." --Oxford geneticist Chris Tyler-Smith discussing the logistical workings of his theory, which traces 8% of Central Asian men as direct patrilineal descendants of Genghis Khan. From The Scientist. "It was absolutely safe to transport it the way he did." --Attorney Floyd Holder explaining why his client, Texas Tech University biologist Thomas Butler, felt assured to carry glass-encased pl

Editorial

Played Like a Fiddle on Bioterrorism
Played Like a Fiddle on Bioterrorism
During Pontiac's Rebellion, a pan-Native American uprising in the Great Lakes and Ohio River Valley in 1763, biological weapons were used. Two blankets from Fort Pitt's smallpox ward were purposely given to Delaware Indians who were trying to negotiate a surrender. A short time later, a vicious smallpox epidemic broke out. There has been but one subsequent incidence of bioterrorism in the United States of which I'm aware. That occurred in the fall of 2001, when five people died and as many as

Opinion

Tuxedo Park to Greenwich -- The Loomis Legacy
Tuxedo Park to Greenwich -- The Loomis Legacy
Alfred Lee Loomis played major roles in the development of both radar and the atomic bomb.

Letter

Evolution and Recommendations
Evolution and Recommendations
Evolution and Recommendations [Barry A. Palevitz] concludes that it is better not to burden society with graduates who, "despite their college education and our best efforts, will pass along personal biases instead of an accurate, objective reading of biology."1 To him, the theory of evolution is equal to "[the] germ theory of disease and the cell theory." Does it not occur to him that two people can look at the same "mountains of hard data" and apply valid but different patterns of logic
English as a First Language
English as a First Language
English as a First Language Sam Jaffe's article, "No Pardon for Poor English in Science"1 should have stressed the reason that poor English in scientific papers is so counterproductive. Whether English is the scientists' second or even first language, they frequently fail to say what they mean. If their results are unclear and their conclusions are inconclusive, their papers fall by the wayside and their lectures go unheeded. Too often at international conferences, which today are almost a
Nursery or the Lab
Nursery or the Lab
Nursery or the Lab Congratulations for your Postdoc Talk, "On Choosing Children."1 I think many women have felt that kind of "discrimination" as well; if you choose to get pregnant, [there is discrimination] from your colleagues, or if you decide not to be a mother, from the family or nonscientist friends, [in many cases] also women. It is very difficult for them to understand: "How can you delay or change that privilege for science ..." And I thought it was only happening in underdeveloped
Postdoc Plantation, Redux
Postdoc Plantation, Redux
Postdoc Plantation, Redux While the call to [postdoc] rebellion has a certain flare to it,1 I feel compelled to point out that many postdocs are barking up the wrong tree by assailing their mentors. The root cause of the postdoctoral predicament lies in the fact that many Western nations, and America in particular, have completely devalued academics. Education has been deemed frivolous and potentially subversive and been replaced with training. Training requires less classroom time, less d

Feature

Natural Solutions to Pollution
Natural Solutions to Pollution
Courtesy of Steven Rock HEADING OFF RUNOFF: Trees planted in Amana, Iowa, to protect stream from agricultural run-off Humankind has passed a remarkable environmental milestone: People now consume more of Earth's natural resources than the planet can replace.1 In light of this, pollution abatement technologies, coupled with development of renewable energy resources, seem destined to become big business during the 21st century. What is unfolding is a multidisciplinary, biology-led wave of

Research Front Page

Synthetic Molecule Turns Off Asthma-Invoking Protein; Get the Lead Out -- It Kills the Mitochondria; Interdisciplinary Research
Synthetic Molecule Turns Off Asthma-Invoking Protein; Get the Lead Out -- It Kills the Mitochondria; Interdisciplinary Research
Courtesy of Michael Kahn Synthetic Molecule Turns Off Asthma-Invoking Protein Asthma's trademark is a complex inflammatory response in the lungs that produces swelling and mucus, therefore making it difficult to breathe. One of the main components of this disease is an oxidant/antioxidant imbalance that can trigger production of activator protein-1 (AP-1). Researchers have designed a novel synthetic molecule with the power to target and turn-off this asthma-invoking protein (C. Nguyen et a

Research

Asthma, Genetics, and the Environment
Asthma, Genetics, and the Environment
Courtesy of Eric Erbe and Chris Pooley, ARS Image Gallery  SPRING CLEANING TARGETS: Tyrophagus putrescentiae, better known as dust mites, are microscopic, sightless, eight-legged arthropods that are natural inhabitants of indoor environments. Their droppings are the most common trigger of perennial allergy and asthma symptoms. Asthma is a classic example of gene-environment interaction. A host of environmental triggers, from cigarette smoke to cockroaches, can set it off. A dozen or so g
Striving for Perfect Balance
Striving for Perfect Balance
Late last year, the Food and Drug Administration approved the first osteoporosis treatment that stimulates bone formation, instead of slowing bone breakdown as other drugs do. Teriparatide decreased vertebral fractures by 90% while increasing spinal bone mass. This new drug is a portion of human parathyroid hormone (PTH), the primary regulator of calcium and phosphate metabolism in bone. Teriparatide (Forteo) is manufactured by Eli Lilly and Co. and is a clear step forward, though it does no

Hot Paper

Mending a Broken Heart
Mending a Broken Heart
Data derived from the Science Watch/Hot Papers database and the Web of Science (ISI, Philadelphia) show that Hot Papers are cited 50 to 100 times more often than the average paper of the same type and age. K.A. Jackson et al., "Regeneration of ischemic cardiac muscle and vascular endothelium by adult stem cells," J Clin Invest,107:1395-1402, June 2001. (Cited in 122 papers) A.A. Kocher et al., "Neovascularization of ischemic myocardium by human bone-marrow-derived angioblasts prevents cardiom

Technology Front Page

Good Vibrations; Annotation Illustration; Speedy Sequencing
Good Vibrations; Annotation Illustration; Speedy Sequencing
Gadget Watch | Good Vibrations Courtesy of Bel-Art Products Who hasn't experienced this frustration: When measuring out a minute quantity of a precious reagent in the microgram balance, your hand slips, and whoops! You've just dumped--and possibly lost--way more powder than you need. The Quaver® nonmotorized vibrating spatula and its nimbler sibling, the Quaverette®, could make such problems things of the past. Manufactured by Bel-Art Products (www.bel-art.com) of Pequannock, NJ, t

Technology Profile

Shhh: Silencing Genes with RNA Interference
Shhh: Silencing Genes with RNA Interference
 TECHNICAL KNOCKOUT: A Cy3-labeled siRNA targeting B-actin was transfected into HeLa cells and protein expression was analyzed 96-hours later. Red, Cy3-labeled siRNA; Blue: DAPI-stained nuclei; Green, B-actin protein. (siRNA was prepared and labeled using Ambion's Silencer siRNA construction kit and labeling kit, respectively). RNA interference, or RNAi, is all the rage these days. According to the Web of Science database (ISI, Philadelphia), the number of articles on the topic jumped fr
NMR Hits the Big Time
NMR Hits the Big Time
When it comes to structural biology, bigger really is better. Most biological processes are performed by enormous multicomponent complexes, such as the ribosome. To solve the structures of these monsters, biologists traditionally have used two different but complementary techniques, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and X-ray crystallography. They have had considerable success using the latter technique for protein structure determination, but the former technique has lagged behind, in part be

Technology

Nano-Quakes
Nano-Quakes
Courtesy of Advalytix  The Advacard is used instead of a conventional coverslip during microarray hybridization in the ArrayBooster instrument. Many microfluidics-based lab-on-a-chip devices use external pumps and micromachined parts to move liquids through tiny channels.1 Brunnthal, Germany-based Advalytix, however, takes a different approach: Its programmable microfluidic biochips dispense with micromechanics and instead employ a technology found in cellular phones to move sample volum
Getting a Grip on Gene Silencing
Getting a Grip on Gene Silencing
Courtesy of Active Motif One challenge in working with a family of homologous genes is finding a reagent that can silence one gene without acting on its brethren. This is a question of specificity, and Active Motif of Carlsbad, Calif., claims its gripNA™ probes are more specific than conventional antisense oligonucleotide reagents and more effective than the peptide nucleic acids (PNAs) from which gripNAs derive. Although PNAs exhibit strong hybridization and specificity properties, the
Better Mass Spec Results Off-Line
Better Mass Spec Results Off-Line
Courtesy of Advion BioSciences Electrospray ionization (ESI) mass spectrometry (MS), in which peptides are ionized as they elute from a liquid chromatography (LC) column, typically requires high flow rates, which reduces sensitivity and consumes large quantities of sample. Nanoelectrospray techniques for proteomics are more efficient, but can be labor-intensive and time-consuming. To make the process more practical for high-throughput experiments, Ithaca, NY-based Advion BioSciences recently

Profession Front Page

Looking to Study Bioterrorism?; Biotechs on Wheels; Swimming in Science in San Diego
Looking to Study Bioterrorism?; Biotechs on Wheels; Swimming in Science in San Diego
Tip Trove | Looking to Study Bioterrorism? Courtesy of John Noble The earlier you know that your focus will be on the policy of bioterrorism or the science of it, the better. Networking is key in this field. Many policy-focused schools allow access and exposure to the people who are studying terrorism. In this economy, the government is one of the few employers that is hiring. Speak to a military recruiter. Many military people have spoken to me about the positive experience and training they

Profession

Interview with Richard Ebright
Interview with Richard Ebright
Questions for Richard Ebright, a lab director at Rutgers University's Waksman Institute of Microbiology and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator who studies transcription in eukaryotes and prokaryotes. The Scientist: The Bush Administration's program calls for spending $1.75 billion annually over the next three years to fund bioterrorism research through the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) alone. That part of the plan directs the Institute to discover
Interview with Stanley Falkow
Interview with Stanley Falkow
Questions for Stanley Falkow, professor of microbiology and immunology and of medicine at Stanford University, who studies the genetic and molecular mechanisms by which bacteria become pathogenic. The Scientist: The Bush Administration's program calls for spending $1.75 billion annually over the next three years to fund bioterrorism research through the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) alone. That part of the plan directs the Institute to discover and produce al
Interview with Matthew Meselson
Interview with Matthew Meselson
Questions for Matthew Meselson, Thomas Dudley Cabot professor of the natural sciences at Harvard University, who has been outspoken on the topic of bioterrorism and traveled to Sverdlosk, in the former Soviet Union, to study an anthrax outbreak there in 1979. The Scientist: The Bush Administration's program calls for spending $1.75 billion annually over the next three years to fund bioterrorism research through the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) alone. That pa
Bioterrorism Research: New Money, New Anxieties
Bioterrorism Research: New Money, New Anxieties
Ned Shaw US scientists have reason to feel both heady and scared. The federal government recently released unprecedented billions of dollars to fund bioterrorism research. Yet, the merits of this sudden shift in focus are being debated, and some worry that the money will be squandered or wasted. "I have been really very upset by the focus on bioterrorism," says Stanley Falkow, professor of microbiology and immunology and of medicine at Stanford University. "Everybody's talking about it, but th
The Reckoning of Restrictions and Research
The Reckoning of Restrictions and Research
Erica P. Johnson New US visa restrictions, prompted by fears of renewed terrorist attacks, present a dilemma to people in science: How does the government guarantee the public safety and yet sustain the free exchange of research and researchers? Many observers say post-Sept. 11 limitations have already put scientific research at risk. Visas are harder to get and sometimes denied. Federal grants arrive with strings attached--restricted participation by researchers from overseas. And some academ
Structuring a New Career
Structuring a New Career
Anne MacNamara In structural biology, one head may be actually better than two, because the self-sufficient scientist holds an advantage over a group, according to David Speicher, a professor at the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia. "When you obtain crystal structures of a protein, this often leads to new hypotheses," he says. "By knowing crystallography, you're not dependent on waiting on someone else to produce the new structures that you want to study." Recent technological developments th
Learning To Share in New York City
Learning To Share in New York City
Courtesy of Kelly Guenther MOLECULAR DYNAMIC DUO: David Cowburn, president and CEO at the New York Structural Biology Center, and Willa Appel, executive vice president and COO. Ann E. McDermott, a Columbia University chemist, encountered a career crisis a little more than four years ago. Her cramped campus couldn't facilitate the kind of technology she needed to remain at the top of her field. Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometers require money and space. Money was available. Re

Fine Tuning

Break Down US Barriers
Break Down US Barriers
The future for foreign scientists and scholars is uncertain. Tightened security has left thousands of immigrants in confusion, and now the White House has reorganized the Immigration and Naturalization Service to create three new agencies: the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS), the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (BCBP), and the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (BICE), all housed within the Department of Homeland Security. The changes have done nothing

Postdoc Talk

Unlock the Box
Unlock the Box
Courtesy of Khairul-Bariah Abdul-Majid I stood beside my poster during the Scandinavian Society for Immunology meeting in Göteborg, Sweden in 1995, waiting for questions from the crowd. A few people showed great interest while others found it an utter piece of nonsense. It was my very first poster and I was very excited, even nervous. I was all set to defend or to discuss my masterpiece in case any one would pose a question directly. As the clock ticked away, I was becoming dumbfounded.

Closing Bell

Was She, or Wasn't She?
Was She, or Wasn't She?
Credit in science is not always distributed fairly. The losers are often graduate students or people otherwise in no position to protest. Among the most egregious examples, in my view, was the 1974 Nobel physics prize for the discovery of pulsars which was awarded to Anthony Hewish even though the radio-emitting objects had been first discovered, and their stellar nature verified, by his graduate student Jocelyn Bell Burnell.1 Feminists have made much of the case of Rosalind Franklin, whose