News

Forging a Palace for Research on Aging
Forging a Palace for Research on Aging
Graphic: Cathleen Heard No one can escape one of the few risk factors common to neurodegenerative diseases, heart disease, and many cancers: age. Within the last decade or so, research on aging, once seen as unfeasible and impractical, has become the legitimate purview of many scientists who hope to prolong life, improve quality of later life, and delay humans' decay at the cellular and genetic level. By viewing aging as a fundamental root of other diseases, researchers studying the mechanisms
Scientists Seek Sense of Balance
Scientists Seek Sense of Balance
President John F. Kennedy's famous White House secretary Evelyn Lincoln described her key to maintaining intellectual vitality 21 years ago: "It's not who you are, but who you associate with that's important in life," she told a Detroit Free Press reporter.1 Although Lincoln was describing a philosophy of deep involvement with family, learning, and career--a career that kept her life enriched through a series of fascinating relationships with power figures--her philosophy now is gaining new cre
Skin Like New
Skin Like New
Repair of aging skin could become more than merely a cosmetic concern if current research fulfills its promise. Recent efforts to eliminate wrinkles and regenerate skin damaged by the years--or by injury, acne, or infection--may have applications for improved wound repair in the elderly, and potentially for protection against serious aging-related skin conditions. Geron Corp of Menlo Park, Calif., perhaps best known for its research into inhibition of telomerase to treat cancer, is also inves
NIH Sets Up Minority Health Center
NIH Sets Up Minority Health Center
When John Ruffin, former head of the National Institutes of Health's Office of Research on Minority Health (ORMH) was sworn in as the director of the new NIH National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NCMHD) on January 9, the ceremony took place against a background of support from unlikely political corners. The problem of health disparities between ethnic, racial, and socioeconomic groups in the United States has been discussed by NIH for several years.1 But the issue ca
An Anniversary--and a Revolution
An Anniversary--and a Revolution
Reprinted with permission from the American Society of Plant Physiologists Plant Physiology, flagship journal of the American Society of Plant Physiologists, inaugurated its 75th year of publication with a special January 2001 anniversary issue. According to Editor in Chief Natasha Raikhel of Michigan State University, "The January special issue focuses on conceptual breakthroughs of the past 25 years as perceived by over 40 authors who have been at the leading edge of this unprecedented surge
Wanna Bet?
Wanna Bet?
Steven Austad Life expectancy has increased remarkably in this century, but just how much farther can it go? One scientist bets that by 2150, someone--a woman, no doubt, (about 80 percent of centenarians now are women)--will live to the ripe old age of 150 with cognition intact. Another scientist bets that 130 will be the upper limit. To seal the bet, S. Jay Olshansky of the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health and Steven Austad of the University of Idaho department o
News Notes
News Notes
Government Organizes Against Pathogen Resistance Collaboration between government agencies, academia, and the private sector is the key to combating pathogen resistance and finding new ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat bacterial infections, according to a recently released action plan from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov/drugresistance/). The plan, developed by an intergovernmental task force headed by the National Institutes of Health, CDC, and Food and Drug Admi

Commentary

Remove the Roadblocks to Government Service
Remove the Roadblocks to Government Service
One of President George W. Bush's most pressing tasks will be staffing his administration. The president will need to appoint dozens of people to high-level government posts, including approximately 80 positions in science and technology. As individuals who have served as presidential appointees--one of us in the Clinton and Bush administrations and the other in the Reagan administration--we know the critical importance of having science and technology expertise in the White House. The ne

Letter

Career Path Difficulties
Career Path Difficulties
Speaking from the point of view of someone about to complete a Ph.D. and get a job (hopefully), I feel compelled to comment on two adjacent articles that appeared in The Scientist.1, 2 In the first of these articles, a National Institutes of Health official comments that "we have, to some extent, distorted the job market by encouraging scientists to use grad students instead of highly trained technicians because [grad students] are so inexpensive," and, "We probably should be making an effort to
Microarrays Beyond Reach
Microarrays Beyond Reach
Using the subheading "Microarray tools open genomes to discoverers" in the Jan. 22 Hot Papers article1 is much like telling a group of kindergartners: "Any of you can become the president of the United States." The fact is most of them will never be the president no matter how hard they try. Microarrays are excellent tools, but their exorbitant price makes them beyond the reach of most researchers. The few papers that have been published so far using the "chips" came from either rich labs or lab

Research

Microarrays on the Mind
Microarrays on the Mind
Researchers have suspected for years that chronic alcohol abuse and alcoholism change the programming of the human brain at the molecular level, particularly in the regions involving judgment and decision-making. In fact, during the past several decades, cell and animal studies have consistently indicated that changes in gene expression in the brain appear to be responsible for the tolerance, dependence, and neurotoxicity produced by chronic alcohol abuse.1 Until recently, however, technological
Evolution of Sexual Dimorphism
Evolution of Sexual Dimorphism
Sexual dimorphism makes life interesting for many species. In the case of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, the rear end of a male is so much darker than that of a female that a seasoned fly pusher can distinguish he from she even without the aid of a microscope. A telling investigation by Artyom Kopp and Sean Carroll at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Laboratory of Molecular Biology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Ian Duncan at the Department of Biology at Washington Uni
Research Notes
Research Notes
Inbreeding Isn't All Bad A geographically isolated population subjected to a bottleneck event and then the inevitable inbreeding seems a recipe for genetic disaster, yet the Chillingham cattle of northern England, highly inbred for three centuries, are remarkably healthy and fertile. In 1947, the herd consisted of five males and eight females, and by October 30, 2000, their numbers had grown to just 49 animals. Their secret to success: probably luck, explains Peter Visscher, a reader in animal

Hot Paper

Mitochondria as a Control in Apoptosis
Mitochondria as a Control in Apoptosis
For this article, Jennifer Fisher Wilson interviewed Guido Kroemer, Research Director, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Institut Gustave Roussy in Villejuif, France. Data from 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.   S.A. Susin, H.K. Lorenzo, N. Zamzami, I. Marzo, B.E. Snow, G.M. Brothers, J. Mangion, E. Jacotot, P. Costantini, M. Loeffler, N. Larochette, D.R. Goodlett,
Genomic Comparison of H. pylori Strains
Genomic Comparison of H. pylori Strains
For this article, Jennifer Fisher Wilson interviewed Richard A. Alm, principal research scientist, infection discovery at AstraZeneca R&D Boston. Data from 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.   R.A. Alm, L.S. Ling, D.T. Moir, B.L. King, E.D. Brown, P.C. Doig, D.R. Smith, B. Noonan, B.C. Guild, B.L. deJonge, G. Carmel, P.J. Tummino, A. Caruso, M. Uria-Nickelsen, D.M. Mills, C.

Technology

Brightening Up Microarrays
Brightening Up Microarrays
Microarray analysis, which allows scientists to analyze expression patterns of thousands of genes simultaneously, is the tool of the new millennium; no laboratory interested in genes and gene function can afford to ignore this technique. The technology, however, can be expensive and difficult to master, thus leaving some laboratories wary of investing in it. Now Amersham Pharmacia Biotech of Piscataway, N.J., offers the CyScribe™ First Strand cDNA Labeling Kit, designed to "enable even fir
Pyromania
Pyromania
Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) are the most common type of sequence variation in the human genome. These single-base variations at key sites in DNA are believed to be associated with susceptibility to certain diseases and differential response to pharmaceutical therapies. The detection and analysis of SNPs have typically relied on Sanger sequencing and electrophoresis for genomewide studies or hybridization-based methods whose accuracy may be inadequate. Pyrosequencing reads SNPs by che
Scoping Out Scopes Online
Scoping Out Scopes Online
The "sister" Web sites MicroscopyU (www.microscopyu.com) and Molecular Expressions (www.microscopy.fsu.edu) were developed for those interested in microscopy and related topics. Michael Davidson, a senior research engineering support specialist at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory of Tallahassee, Fla., explains, "we have been working on Molecular Expressions for five and a half years at a total cost of just over $2 million. The Web site has about 6,000 pages with 1,500 pages in various

Technology Profile

Diffusion in the Ranks
Diffusion in the Ranks
Suppliers of Dialysis Tubing Suppliers of Dialysis Devices (Not included in print edition) Dialysis effects the simple, gentle, and gradual separation of biological and other molecules from unwanted molecules in solution by selective diffusion through a semipermeable membrane. In practice, a sample of protein or nucleic acid that contains an unwanted small molecular weight compound, such as a buffer salt, is placed on one side of a semipermeable membrane. The dialysate, a solution of low ionic
Mutants Made Easy
Mutants Made Easy
Suppliers of in vitro Site-directed Mutagenesis Kits Biological research greatly benefits from the ability to introduce specific mutations into a DNA sequence. Researchers use site-directed mutagenesis procedures to precisely analyze individual amino acid residues in a protein sequence and in specific protein-nucleic acid interactions. Likewise, serial deletion and random insertion protocols can ease protein structural studies and promoter analyses. In their original incarnations, site-directe

Profession

Jobs in Aging Research
Jobs in Aging Research
Defining "aging research" as a field can be an elusive task. "It's difficult to wrestle this down to specific disciplines because it is so broad," says Daniel Perry, executive director of the Alliance for Aging Research (AAR), a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C. "I believe that the most important research is going to be done in areas where you never hear the word aging. A lot of science that adds to our understanding of aging goes by other names." William A. Haseltine, cha
Career-Enhancing Training Courses
Career-Enhancing Training Courses
Navigating today's job market requires the proper mix of knowledge and skills. Training courses, typically in the summer, provide the life scientist a means of acquiring additional expertise that can help attain that mix. For decades, well-established institutes have offered classroom and laboratory courses to enhance a life scientist's career.1 Additionally, some organizations are now considering long-distance electronic learning. According to John Macauley, director, Office of Courses a
Profession Notes
Profession Notes
Lack of Direction for Ph.D. Students Recent articles about postdocs have revealed job-related issues such as low salary, lack of benefits, and insufficient mentoring (H. Black, "The Plight of Postdocs," The Scientist, 15[2]:28, Jan. 22, 2001; K. Devine, "Reader Survey: The Postdoc Experience," The Scientist, 15[2]:29, Jan. 22, 2001). Now, a study released in January shows Ph.D. students with woes of their own as well. "At Cross Purposes: What the Experiences of Today's Doctoral Students Reveal a
An eCooperative for Medical Societies
An eCooperative for Medical Societies
In a venture that will allow medical societies to access technology information and provide enhanced member services, nine medical organizations announced creation of the Medical Society eCooperative in January. Participants will provide members with individualized Internet portals for information access and connectivity services. With the portals, members can provide their patients or clients with customized Web sites. Stu Charney, executive director of emerging technologies at Pharmacia, was
Funding Opportunities in the Life Sciences
Funding Opportunities in the Life Sciences
Organizations are welcome to submit information for consideration for future listings by contacting kdevine@the-scientist.com Click to view the PDF file: Funding Opportunities in the Life Sciences

Opinion

On Form and Substance in the Life Sciences
On Form and Substance in the Life Sciences
Illustration: A. Canamucio In a recent issue of The Scientist, an opinion article by Raymond J. O'Connor suggests that, in contrast to biomedical research, ecology has lagged behind the surging advances of most of the life sciences.1 O'Connor's main argument for the putative lag of ecological sciences is the failure to distinguish form from substance in the hypothetico-deductive research that drives most current scientific endeavors. Categorizing most ecological sciences as descriptive and poss