Editorial

Ignorance, Persecution, and HIV
Ignorance, Persecution, and HIV
This issue of The Scientist focuses on HIV-AIDS. While we concentrate on the struggle for full scientific understanding of the virus and the disease, the essential backdrop remains the scale of the ongoing epidemic and the misery that it causes: Every six seconds another person becomes infected with HIV; every day 8,500 people die of AIDS. Even with the relative success of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), infection is controlled rather than conquered. Moreover, HAART has side effect

Opinion

A Modest Financial Proposal
A Modest Financial Proposal
Figure 1The pace, direction, and application of scientific research are largely determined by the availability of money. At an individual level, grant applications consume a great deal of professional time; and gossip about funding successes and failures, along with speculation about donor intentions, fuels hope or opens the door to despair. Yet despite the importance of money, many scientists seem to be as shy about mentioning it in public as our Victorian ancestors were in talking about sex.Ov

Letter

Don Quixote in the Lab
Don Quixote in the Lab
Re: Darkness Before the Dawn – of Biology, 1 let's be honest: 50 years after an experiment that I was told in the 1970s very nearly "created life in a test tube," researchers are still spinning their wheels and having to "see new reasons for optimism." One study that generated a lot of excitement, when stripped of the technical jargon and wishful puffery, consisted of little more than whipping up a soapy froth with powdered clay and odd bits of RNA that didn't do anything. The claims to th
English and Science, Crimes and Misdemeanors
English and Science, Crimes and Misdemeanors
The author decries current usage of English in scientific circles.1 He completely misses the real problem.The German-speaking countries have periodic conferences to update the German language and keep it standardized. Unfortunately, English-speaking countries have no such forum. The result is that the English language has become an unqualified disaster.In ancient times, the phonetic alphabet was invented for a reason, that is, to make it easy for people to learn to read and write. Some languages

5-Prime

Regeneration, the Great Comeback
Regeneration, the Great Comeback
Which animals can regenerate?Figure 1This ability is widespread in the animal kingdom, but its distribution is spotty. Salamanders are the best-known regenerators, but cockroaches can regrow legs, Drosophila can renew discs, deer regain antlers, and humans can regenerate fingertips, if the wound is not sutured.What do regenerating systems have in common?In such systems a wound forms a blastema, a recognizable clump of proliferating cells that gives rise to the new structure. The distal tip of th

Frontlines

Killing Tumors, One Clove at a Time
Killing Tumors, One Clove at a Time
Figure 1When David Mirelman went to China 15 years ago for a conference on amoebic dysentery, a Chinese physician, claiming he knew a cure, handed Mirelman a bottle of fermented garlic. Mirelman took the bottle back to the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot, Israel, where he began studying the biochemical basis of garlic's curative powers.He quickly honed in on the protein allicin. When a cook crushes a garlic clove, the membranes of its cysts, which are filled with the protease alliinase, break. The
Mirror, Mirror in the Squid...
Mirror, Mirror in the Squid...
Figure 1When postdoctoral researcher Wendy Crookes and colleagues at the University of Hawaii-Manoa searched for membrane proteins that allow the immune system of the Hawaiian bobtail squid, Euprymna scolopes, to recognize the bioluminescent symbiotic bacteria, Vibrio fischeri, the unexpected turned up. Instead of finding membrane proteins, Crookes says they found proteins with similar characteristics that form hundreds of stacks of reflective platelets in the squid's light organ reflector.1 The

Snapshot

HIV Therapy Pipeline
HIV Therapy Pipeline
So far, 80 therapeutic agents are on the market to treat and prevent HIV/AIDS.Figure 1There are 83 medicines – including 15 vaccines – currently in clinical trials or awaiting Food and Drug Administration approval.Figure 2From a survey conducted by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association http://www.phrma.org/newmedicines/resources/2003-11-23.119.pdfGo to http://www.the-scientist.com/snapshot.htm to give us your feedback in the latest survey.

Foundations

Treating and Controlling HIV
Treating and Controlling HIV
Figure 1My colleagues and I had been working for a number of years to develop a novel therapeutic inhibitor of the HIV-1 protease enzyme. Eventually, a specific and potent inhibitor, indinavir, was developed and brought into Phase I trials in patients persistently infected with the virus. While sitting at home on a dreary, cold winter night in early 1994, I was staring at the figure that depicted the patient's plasma virus levels while on treatment. I was depressed by the observation that most p

First Person

Robert C. Gallo
Robert C. Gallo
What is your favorite paper?Figure 1I don't have any, because they are just transient things. ... There are a lot of steps, I think, in terms of [creating] long-term value.But if you had to choose?For me, IL-2 and HTLV-1, because they opened the field of human retrovirology. We published IL-2 in 1976 in Science, 1 and we published the first discovery of the human retrovirus in 1980 in PNAS.2Do you regret the high-profile controversy regarding the discovery of HIV with Luc Montagnier's group at t

Feature

Playing Hide and seek The Deadly Way
Playing Hide and seek The Deadly Way
Figure 1By November 2003, 40 million people worldwide – 5 million more than the year before – were infected with HIV. In 2003, three million died of AIDS, bringing the total number lost to the epidemic to nearly 32 million people, the size of the population of Canada.This insidious disease continues to prove itself. When this virus turns on, modern medicine can attack and kill, but it cannot cure. HIV hides. It slips inside other cells and waits. It can wait in reservoirs for years,
A HAART Attack
A HAART Attack
An ongoing regimen of HAART (highly active antiretroviral therapy) keeps HIV from exploding into AIDS. In the clinic, where patients precisely follow the HAART program, it wipes out detectable virus in more than 90% of patients. In the real world, where patients forget a pill here and there, the success rate falls to 50% or 60%, says Dean Hamer of the National Cancer Institute. In addition, HAART itself creates problems.Few, if any, patients could stay with HAART forever. "There are lots of prob
Smoking Out the Enemy
Smoking Out the Enemy
Figure 1Hope was once high that, over time, antiretroviral therapy would rid patients of HIV-infected cells. Such hopes hinged on the presumption that these drugs could reach any and all HIV reservoirs.That's clearly not the case, as the title of a recent conference in the French West Indies attests: the 1st International Workshop on HIV Persistence during Therapy. "HIV persistently replicates, even in infected patients whose levels of plasma viremia have fallen below detectable levels while on

Research

AIDS Unrelenting
AIDS Unrelenting
Figure 1Figure 2An estimated 5 million people became infected with HIV worldwide in 2003, and as many as 3 million died from AIDS, according to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). The total number of infected people worldwide is estimated at 40 million. Nowhere has been hit as devastatingly as Sub-Saharan Africa, which bears as much as 67% of the world's infected and roughly 3/4 of the deaths for 2003. In this area, prevalence among adults ranges from less than 1-in-100 in M
Stemming the Rush to Male HRT
Stemming the Rush to Male HRT
Figure 1CAUSE FOR CONCERNPhysicians wrote more than two million prescriptions for HRT in 2003. Many were for off-label use, intended to revive testosterone levels that wane with age."Fatigued? Depressed mood? Low sex drive? Could be your testosterone is running on empty." This Web sales pitch1 comes not from one of the myriad disreputable companies peddling 21st-century snake oils such as "Libido Enhancement Cream." Rather, the site belongs to Solvay Pharmaceuticals, Marietta, Ga., which produc
The Greatest Regeneration
The Greatest Regeneration
Figure 1In the regeneration game, mammals pale before such creatures as salamanders. Humans barely avert complete disappointment, regrowing digit tips if they are severed past the last joint, while salamanders are superheroes, regrowing any structure that can be cut off without killing them. Though the salamander is a stalwart regeneration model, research is expanding into model organisms such as the zebrafish and mouse, which offer broader tools and possibly better translation to clinical medic

Hot Paper

Adventures in the Gland of Plenty
Adventures in the Gland of Plenty
Figure 1ADIPONECTIN, A FAT CELL HORMONEFactors including PPAR-gand caloric availability influence adiponectin synthesis and secretion. Once released, adiponectin increases free fatty acid (FFA) transport, oxidation, and dissipation in skeletal muscle. It also increases the liver’s sensitivity to insulin either directly or by lowering circulating lipids. (Reprinted with permission from A.R. Salitel, Nature Med, 7:887–8, 2001.)Starvation is rarely a problem these days for those in indu

Briefs

Camel Antibodies Used to Fight Trypanosomes
Camel Antibodies Used to Fight Trypanosomes
Camel Antibodies Used to Fight TrypanosomesFigure 1Belgian scientists say that small antibodies taken from the dromedary may prove useful in treating tropical parasites such as the African trypanosome, which causes sleeping sickness. Penetrating the dense, variable-specific surface glycoproteins that coat the organism, such antibodies may be able to zero in on conserved oligosaccharides hidden beneath. Serge Muyl-dermans and colleagues at the University of Brussels demonstrated its use as a diag

Tech Watch

NCI Team Probes Chromosomal Architecture
NCI Team Probes Chromosomal Architecture
NCI Team Probes Chromosomal ArchitectureFigure 1TECH WATCH Though most cells in an organism contain the identical genome sequence, the same cannot be said for the genome's three-dimensional organization. Using high-resolution microscopy and a technique called chromosome painting, Tom Misteli, a cell biologist at the National Cancer Institute, and colleagues examined six chromosomes in eight mouse tissue types and found that chromosomes cluster differently in each tissue. While this could indicat

Technology

Science Under Glass: Inside a Biosafety Level 4 Lab
Science Under Glass: Inside a Biosafety Level 4 Lab
Figure 1PANDORA'S BOXESContainment cabinets in a BSL-3 laboratory, prior to the construction of modern BSL-4 labs.At first glance, the lab looks like any other. The refrigerators, centrifuges, and computers are all standard equipment, as are the ubiquitous work hoods. Even the fluorescent lighting and lack of windows are standard issue. It's the coiled air hoses, dangling from the ceiling – and maybe the air-locked, submarine style door that is the lab's only exit – that first betray
A Buyer's Guide to Low-Cost Gel-Documentation Systems
A Buyer's Guide to Low-Cost Gel-Documentation Systems
Figure 1Lab shutterbugs looking for new gel-documentation systems this year could be pleasantly surprised: Manufacturers are selling better cameras at lower prices. With companies now offering a largely common set of features, competition will center on cost and improved imaging equipment. And that's a good thing, because rapid developments in imaging hardware mean that last year's dream system is likely to be this year's budget-minded purchase.Imaging hardware ranges from simple scanner-based s

Tech

Applied Bio and Orchid Target Forensics Labs
Applied Bio and Orchid Target Forensics Labs
Determining the identity of a person through a DNA sample is rarely straightforward, especially if the sample comes from a decomposed, burned, or otherwise degraded source. A body that has been submerged under water for months, for example, may contain DNA fragments that are too small to be analyzed by conventional means. Two companies, Foster City, Calif.-based Applied Biosystems http://www.appliedbiosystems.com, and Princeton, NJ-based Orchid Biosciences http://www.orchid.com, have worked out
The Immunogold Rush
The Immunogold Rush
Figure 1Immunogold labeling is the method of choice for staining cell and tissue sections for electron microscopy, but the manual procedure involves a series of short wash-and-wait steps that can add up to an entire day of tedious bench work. Bannock-burn, Ill.-based Leica Microsystems' new immunogold labeling system solves this problem by automating most of the process.The EM IGL, which lists for $16,000 (US), reduces the amount of time and labor needed for staining by 70% to 80%, says Ann Kors
Mice Without Borders
Mice Without Borders
Figure 1Disease in laboratory animals interferes with biomedical research.1 Infectious agents often distort experimental results to such a degree that labs must increase the number of animals under investigation to compensate for statistical variability. Moreover, some rodent pathogens are hazardous to other lab animals and to the humans who study them.This past October, in an effort not only to control infection in lab animals, but also to harmonize international standards for monitoring their

Tip Trove

Be a Mentor, Build Character: Your Own
Be a Mentor, Build Character: Your Own
Figure 1The most important thing a mentor can do is to have an overwhelming desire to see the person being mentored succeed. Make that, for the moment, as important as your career. Do not measure incoming people by the standards of your very best protégé. Accept the fact that some people are going to be less than perfect. Have a lot of patience, and be willing to spend a lot of time. The very best people need you least. Your minority students especially, and often times women, may need

Data Points

Biotech Specs
Biotech Specs
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Profession

Accounting for British Science
Accounting for British Science
Figure 1The people responsible for commissioning research in the UK government departments agree: They are spending public money and they must make scientists more accountable. But researchers, already dogged by paperwork and procedure, fear the introduction of yet more layers of bureaucracy. That civil servants, and not scientists, set the new standards makes matters worse. Researchers argue that rather than promoting high-quality research, government bureaucrats are simply making it more diffi
Biotech Financing Freed
Biotech Financing Freed
Figure 1After several punishing years, the window for biotechnology financing in the US appears to be reopening, though mainly for larger companies with a strong product pipeline, leaving early-stage biotechs to scrap over a tightening pool of federal and local funds. Biotech companies raked in more than $12 billion (US) in 2003, the industry's second highest annual total, but well behind the $32 million raised in the boom year of 2000.Even more significant, analysts say, is the reappearance of
Save Money, Hire Masters
Save Money, Hire Masters
Figure 1A workforce crisis brewing in biotech will cost companies valuable time and money unless managers wise up and change their ways. Forecasters point to looming shortages of qualified staffers for bench lab and other emerging biotech jobs caused by a one-two punch: the turnaround economy and long-held hiring prejudices that favor academic research scientists.Poised for growth, many biotech companies are shifting focus from discovery to bringing their products to market. In turn, the job mar
Glofish Gives New Shine to GM Debate
Glofish Gives New Shine to GM Debate
Figure 1Walter Courtenay, a 35-year veteran of government and academic science, looks into his office aquarium and hopes he isn't seeing the future. University of Miami molecular geneticist Patrick Gibbs looks into his, and sees a mystery. Both researchers are watching a merry-looking breed whose trademark name is Glofish – America's first genetically engineered pet.Courtenay, a USGS research fishery biologist and specialist in invasive species, says the three vivid little Glofish that he

Postdoc Talk

Multidisciplinarity
Multidisciplinarity
Figure 1When I first applied for a job in a lab, I was 16 years old. My science and technology high school had a requirement for a senior research project. I interviewed at the National Institutes of Health, and I'll never forget it. The lab chief looked at my resume and berated me for listing my musical achievements, which were at the bottom under "other interests." He said that if I continued in both music and science, I would never be very good at either one of them.I don't remember that guy'

Science Rules

Help for the Harried Grant Writer
Help for the Harried Grant Writer
Figure 1Most US researchers have their own version of the burst dot-com bubble: the failed promise that electronic communications would ease the process of interacting with the federal government.Just like the old paper world of forms, forms, and more forms, the Internet has filled up with systems, systems, and more systems for applying for grants electronically. Each system requires researchers and laboratory staff to master a new set of clicks, meet a new set of deadlines, follow a new logic.B

Closing Bell

Pursuing the Perfect Cup of Coffee
Pursuing the Perfect Cup of Coffee
Figure 1I did something heinous. After receiving a cup of Dunkin' Donuts Coffea arabica that had clearly exceeded the 15-minute half-life from coffee to sludge, and after abandoning Starbucks where the maker of my venti-no-fat-no-whip-mocha-valencia forgot the shot, I went home and mixed beans from both sources, grinding into intimate contact the helpless slivers of endosperm, mindlessly obliterating the embryos within. I don't know the farmers who grew the brew, whether it was fruity or bold, o