Editorial

Did He Just Get the Year Wrong?
Did He Just Get the Year Wrong?
Did He Just Get the Year Wrong? By Richard Gallagher I was dreamin' when I wrote this, forgive me if it goes astray But when I woke up this mornin', could've sworn it was Judgment Day The sky was all purple, there were people runnin' everywhere Tryin' 2 run from the destruction, U know I didn't even care Cuz they say 2000 zero zero party over, oops, out of time! So 2night I'm gonna party like it's 1999! --"1999" Prince Looking back over 2003, we could easily find ourselves slidin

Opinion

Integrity in Scientific Research
Integrity in Scientific Research
Integrity in Scientific Research Ned Shaw Last year, the Institute of Medicine published a major report1 that does not seem to have inspired much response. A fairly thorough search showed that only one journal, JAMA, mentions the IOM's Integrity in Scientific Research: Creating an Environment that Promotes Responsible Conduct (in a book review).2 Furthermore, the IOM's Web page, in announcing that a town meeting would be held to discuss the report, promises, but does not deliver, the w

Letter

Imaging Piaget
Imaging Piaget
Imaging Piaget I read your contribution to the Nov. 3 issue of The Scientist with interest.1 It has occurred to me that fMRI [functional magnetic resonance imaging] could be used to get at some surprisingly detailed aspects of human consciousness if taken while the subject was considering the answers to Piagetian questions. So, [I would like to know] if someone with access to fMRI might be willing to take on such a project. [As] fMRI reveals the locales of functioning responses to inp
On Drugs
On Drugs
On Drugs Your article1 implied that there are scientific reasons why research-ers don't support drug decriminalization. But there's a much better explanation: They want to keep their jobs and their grants. NIDA [National Institute on Drug Abuse] assistant director Hanson wouldn't even support needle exchange--for which the evidence is overwhelming--when the chips were down. Director Volkow claims, despite the evidence, that we don't know yet whether marijuana is toxic to the adolescent brai

Snapshot

The Complete Picture
The Complete Picture
Ned Shaw Here at Snapshot Central, global headquarters of the Snapshot section of The Scientist, it's been a hectic year. After months of effort from the Statistics Department, the Survey Division, and the Graphics Group, we have analyzed a year's worth of results in our attempt to dissect, diagnose, and define the average scientist. And what have our efforts revealed? By combining responses of more than 10,000 scientists to 23 surveys conducted this year, we can safely conclude that the aver

Frontlines

A Rediscovery, a New Species
A Rediscovery, a New Species
Frontlines | A Rediscovery, a New Species Courtesy of Luiz Claudio Marigo Much of the Brazilian Amazon remains accessible only by small boats, including the Rio Negro basin. Here, researchers conducting a long-term mammalian parasite study have rediscovered a forgotten bearded saki primate: Chiropotes israelita.1 Small, dark, and shy, Chiropotes lives high in trees. Its elusive nature and remote habitat contributed to the poor understanding of its taxonomy, says Shawn Lehman, anthropology

Foundations

BLAST From the Past
BLAST From the Past
Foundations | BLAST From the Past Courtesy of Warren Gish In late 1994, BLAST was fast, but it wasn't as sensitive as programs that produced gapped alignments, such as Bill Pearson's FASTA. To keep the statistics in sync with the new search algorithm, I conjectured that the statistics of Samuel Karlin and Stephen Altschul might be empirically applied to the interpretation of gapped alignment scores. By early 1995, Altschul at the NCBI [National Center for Biotechnology Information] h

First Person

First Person | Fotis Kafatos
First Person | Fotis Kafatos
Today, Kafatos, 63, has not lost his drive.

So They Say

So They Say
So They Say
So They Say "It's great. You can actually get him to agree with you." --Geneticist Bill Orr of Southern Methodist University in Dallas on why he likes the James Watson bobblehead doll. From The Scientist. "As a scientist, you cannot simply turn off the key and put the car in the garage." --Leeuwenhoek Medal-winner Karl Stetter on why he is starting up a biotech company in San Diego, instead of taking a pension since reaching Germany's mandatory retirement age. From Science. "It is

5-Prime

The Headline Grabbers
The Headline Grabbers
5-Prime | The Headline Grabbers This year's science newsmakers, besides comparative genomics and systems biology, include ... McSequence Remarkably, scientists completed the genomic sequence of the coronavirus responsible for the SARS pandemic less than two months after it was first identified. "We never had a disease [that] was so much into the public news," says Bhagirath Singh, scientific director of the Canadian Institute for Health Research's Institute of Infection and Immunity. He

Science Seen

A Comic Genius
A Comic Genius
Science Seen | A Comic Genius Courtesy of The American Philosophical Society  Lab picnics can be notoriously unfun affairs--the same faces, the same conversations, the same everything, save for the venue and missing white lab coats. That expectation, perhaps, makes photos like this all the more special: geneticist Barbara McClintock, in this photo from the 1980s, doing her best Groucho impression. function sendData() { document.frm.pathName.value = location.pathname; result =

Calendar

January Calendar
January Calendar
January Calendar Click to view enlarged January calendar (245K) --Compiled by Christine Bahls (cbahls@the-scientist.com) and Maria W. Anderson (manderson@the-scientist.com) function sendData() { document.frm.pathName.value = location.pathname; result = false if (document.frm.score[0].checked) result = true; if (document.frm.score[1].checked) result = true; if (document.frm.score[2].checked) result = true; if (document.frm.score[3].checked) result = true; if (document.frm.scor

Feature

The 2003 Readers' Choice Awards
The 2003 Readers' Choice Awards
"Give us the tools, and we will finish the job."--Winston Churchill Centrifuges, imaging systems, pipettes, PCR instruments, microscopes, and more--all indispensable components of the scientist's toolbox. They make science happen. Moreover, they make science compelling. Why else would television programs such as CSI and The X-Files devote so much screen time to such high-tech gadgetry? Most labs have these things, and naturally, researchers have their preferences. So, like last year, we

Research

Plants for Pain
Plants for Pain
Plants for Pain Click to view enlarged diagram (PDF, 255K) Painkillers have a small family tree. Most of the used, and sometimes abused, pain medications available have roots in either the willow tree or the poppy. Aspirin, originally derived from willow bark or other plant extracts, works on the same molecular pathways as medications with more recent origins, including the crop of highly targeted COX-2 inhibitors. And researchers time and again returned to the opium poppy to derive e
Gains in Pain Research
Gains in Pain Research
©2003 Elsevier NEUROPATHIC PAIN MECHANISMS: Neuropathic pain can originate from peripheral or central nervous system damage. (A) Following injury, damaged nerves attempt to regenerate. This often leads to accumulated nerve sprouts, gliosis, and a buildup of white blood cells. (B) After nerve damage, prominent changes in the dorsal root ganglion and dorsal horn can be observed. Sympathetic innervation occurs as does increased crosstalk between nociceptive and nonnociceptive neurons. (C
Alternative Splicing Goes Mainstream
Alternative Splicing Goes Mainstream
In eukaryotic genetics, the one-gene/one-protein concept has, for the most part, breathed its last. Researchers have rallied behind mechanisms such as alternative splicing, which may allow a lowly 30,000-gene genome to produce the dizzying variety of proteins that some believe is necessary to produce beings as complex as humans. Alternative splicing--the post-transcriptional editing process that can result in various mRNAs--was previously seen as an interesting but relatively uncommon sidesh

Hot Paper

Differentiating Hope from Embryonic Stem Cells
Differentiating Hope from Embryonic Stem Cells
Courtesy of Nadya Lumelsky and Ron McKay  PANCREATIC CELL PUZZLE: A cell sub-population in differentiated embryonic stem cell cultures produces pancreatic islet hormones, insulin (red) and glucagon (green). Although most cells produce only one type of hormone, the cells shown in yellow produce both. The co-production of the two hormones might signify developmental immaturity. The ethical dimension of embryonic stem cell research looms so large in the public consciousness that the underly

Research Briefs

Research Briefs
Research Briefs
Stem cells weave a web of hope Courtesy of Duncan Stewart University of Toronto investigators showed that injecting endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) into the pulmonary circulation of rats results in microvasculature regeneration, a process they say might translate into therapy for pulmonary arterial hypertension. Current treatment of PAH, a rare but deadly disease of largely unknown origin, is merely palliative. Team leader Duncan Stewart says that research to date has missed the point b

Technology Profile

Presents for Profs
Presents for Profs
Newsday NODS OF APPROVAL A single breakout season can earn a major league baseball player the accolade of his own bobblehead doll. Scientists have a tougher time, though. Nobel laureate James Watson had to wait 50 years to earn head-nodding credibility; he joins a small pantheon of scientists so honored. Francis Crick, Watson's colleague in the discovery of DNA's structure, hasn't made the cut, but Albert Einstein has. And for the psychiatry world, Sigmund Freud nods approvingly. ($21.95; www
Thinking Beyond Tomorrow
Thinking Beyond Tomorrow
Courtesy of Getty Images That discovery is fraught with unpredictability poses an enormous problem when evaluating research priorities and allocating funding. It also sends many scientists scrambling for cover when they are asked to prognosticate the future. The Scientist asked anyway. Research scientists, venture capitalists, patent attorneys, even a biomedical professor-turned-mystery author offered their opinions on what will be the hottest new technologies five years hence. Their response
Optical Slices of Life
Optical Slices of Life
Courtesy of Cellomics  CRYSTAL CLARITY: Confocal microscopy provides unprecedented resolution of cellular structures Confocal microscopy, a decades-old technique,1 has experienced a relatively recent explosion in popularity. The technology's greatest impact has been felt in the life sciences, where its ability to generate crystal-clear images of biological structures and to monitor changes in living samples in real time enables functional analysis of biological processes. The key advant

Technology

Yeast Proteomics Milestone
Yeast Proteomics Milestone
Courtesy of Won-Ki Huh  LOCAL COLOR: Researchers used librar-ies of tagged proteins to determine where those proteins accumulate, and to what levels. Shown are representative localization (top) and co-localization (bottom) data. Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, have probed the yeast proteome in the highest level of detail to date. Using sets of fusion-tagged proteins, the scientists, led by Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigators Erin O'Shea and Jonatha
Visualize Data from Biology to Banking
Visualize Data from Biology to Banking
Courtesy of Allometra Davis, Calif.-based Allometra has released software that will appeal to biologists and personal finance aficionados alike. Based on an algorithm that converts numerical data to color values, PyMood can display any kind of data, from yeast proteins to bank statements, in two- and three-dimensional space using up to one million colors, says Marta Matviemko, Allometra's founder and CEO. But its main function is to display the results of BLAST outputs. "The majority of our c
Do-it-Yourself Chips
Do-it-Yourself Chips
Courtesy of Mirjam Lohmann Microarray processing often takes place in core facilities and includes multiple instruments: a hybridization chamber, a fluidics station, a scanner, and a spotter for printing customized arrays. Now scientists can perform genotyping, gene expression profiling, and resequencing experiments at their own lab benches. The geniom® one from Mannheim, Germany-based febit, recently launched in Europe and slated for US release in 2004, is a fully automated benchtop micr

Profession

Moonlighting: If the Shoe Fits ...
Moonlighting: If the Shoe Fits ...
Moonlighting | If the Shoe Fits ... Courtesy of Bruce Benjamin Bruce Benjamin's daytime job as Chairman of he Department of Pharmacology and Physiology at Oklahoma State University in Tulsa may put shoes on his family's feet, but his weekend vocation, shoeing horses, helps his equine clientele do their jobs. Benjamin is a farrier, and the horses he shoes range from Clydesdales that haul to show horses that look like royalty. Benjamin's research interests include cardiovascular and ren
Become a Multidisciplined Scientist
Become a Multidisciplined Scientist
Tip Trove | Become a Multidisciplined Scientist Courtesy of Korn/Ferry International Working for a leading executive search firm, I've met many scientists just starting out who want to know how to plot the course of their careers. Since most biotech CEOs started on the bench, these scientists want to know how the CEOs got there and what skills are required. Generally, I think the most successful people in biotech companies are those who aren't limited by their job functions. I recruit
Love in the Lab
Love in the Lab
Source: Hellen Davis, author, The 21 Laws of Influence Illustrations: D.F. Dowd Tom Griffiths fell for his wife, Margaret, while watching rats running on a treadmill. It happened 13 years ago in a lab at the University of Illinois at Urbana. Margaret was a doctoral candidate in exercise physiology, studying the effects of diet and exercise on the livers of rats. Griffiths was a biology professor at the university. Introduced by a mutual friend, they started dating, and Margaret asked Griffit
You Can Go Home Again
You Can Go Home Again
Jian Ni spent more than a decade outside of China, earning his PhD at Cambridge University and joining Human Genome Sciences of Rockville, Md., when it was still a small company. He kept close tabs on events back home and regularly traveled to China to keep in touch with colleagues. When he finally returned last April to start his own biotechnology company, his contacts in Asia and the United States proved essential to his success in obtaining corporate partners. "We are focusing on licensing
From Russia, with Labs
From Russia, with Labs
Courtesy of Patrick Russo, ISTC  BIOTECH THAW: The Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry, Puschino branch, an ISTC-promoted laboratory located 100 km south of Moscow. The Moscow-based International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) coordinates Russian research collaborations with Western organizations and promotes commercialization of Russian discoveries and technologies. This accurate but colorless description hides what gives ISTC far more import: its role as risk manager tasked with pr
Silver Science
Silver Science
Courtesy of Adam Cooper, North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System  Bettie Steinberg The last sands in the hour-glass of Charles Gauntt's science career are silently descending. When the final grain falls on December 31st, Gauntt's 36-year stint as a virologist will officially come to an end. Retiring was his decision, one he made four years ago. No one had to push him or dangle an enticing severance package. All he needed was to think about fishing on a beautiful lake not far from t

Data Points

Foreign Ownership in U.S. Biotechs
Foreign Ownership in U.S. Biotechs
Data Points | Foreign Ownership in U.S. Biotechs Click for larger version of graph (25K) function sendData() { document.frm.pathName.value = location.pathname; result = false if (document.frm.score[0].checked) result = true; if (document.frm.score[1].checked) result = true; if (document.frm.score[2].checked) result = true; if (document.frm.score[3].checked) result = true; if (document.frm.score[4].checked) result = true; if (!result) alert("Please select") return result; }

Postdoc Talk

You're a What?
You're a What?
File photo Ah, the holidays. A time for gathering, feasting, celebrating, and some pretty complicated explaining. With all those family gatherings and holiday parties comes the dreaded question no postdoc really knows how to answer: "So, what do you do?" Usually something similar to the following dialogue ensues: "I'm a postdoctoral fellow in neuroscience at Emory University." "Emory? So you're some kind of doctor?" "Yes, I have a PhD." "So you're one of those fake doctors?" "Well, I don'

Fine Tuning

Don't Retire Your Mind as Retirement Approaches
Don't Retire Your Mind as Retirement Approaches
File photo This column is for anyone entering or already in the third age, my preferred term for that period of extended middle age and active elderhood that roughly spans ages 50 to 80. You may wish to ignore or repress thoughts about leaving or changing your career. It's easier to assume that you'll die in your lab or at your computer, or that something will magically present itself when it's time for you to retire. Even if you realize you are stagnating, it can be hard to proactively seek

Science Rules

Red Tape, Paperasserie, Papierkrieg, Papeleo ...
Red Tape, Paperasserie, Papierkrieg, Papeleo ...
The clock is ticking for the implementation of a common set of rules that will regulate the conduct of clinical trials in EU member states. The European Commission (EC) passed the EU directive on clinical trials in May 2001 in an attempt to simplify the clinical testing of medicines in Europe and to ensure that trials meet the highest standards of quality. Member states must comply with the new rules by May 1, 2004. But, some scientists worry that the proposed regulations will damage noncommer

Closing Bell

Haute Couture, Thy Name Is Not Scientist
Haute Couture, Thy Name Is Not Scientist
"A [student] ther was of oxenford also ... Ful thredbare was his [overcoat] ... For hym was [rather] have at his beddes heed Twenty bookes, clad in blak or reed, Of Aristotle and his philosophie, Than robes riche, or [fiddle], or gay psaltry." --Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales, circa 1386 "I can understand why the faculty would want to wear sandals, but do they have to be flip-flops?" --Caltech postdoc, 2003 True, we now have teraflop computers instead of parchment, but in on