News

Couple Lead Quest For New Allergy Drug
Couple Lead Quest For New Allergy Drug
A husband-and-wife team and their biotech firm rush to develop medicine that will stop allergic reactions before they even begin The allergy market is nothing to sneeze at. Consumers spend millions of dollars annually on medications to treat symptoms of allergic reactions. But at least one small biotechnology company is hoping to make this market disappear. Nancy and Tse Wen Chang and their Houston company, Tanox Biosystems Inc., appear to be front-runners in this first leg of a race to creat
Cashing In On Cracking The Code Of Autoimmunity
Cashing In On Cracking The Code Of Autoimmunity
Dozens of research teams vie for a vast commercial market awaiting those who discover how to protect the body against itself BOSTON--A decade ago, disorders like Graves' disease, myasthenia gravis, and systemic lupus erythematosus--diseases in which the immune system attacks the body's own tissues--were mysteries that eluded reliable or effective treatment. Too little was known about how the immune system works and, consequently, why it goes awry in these diseases. But research during the past
Panel Weighs Overhaul Of NSF's Grant System
Panel Weighs Overhaul Of NSF's Grant System
An agency report suggests merit review revisions that would simplify proposals, extend grant duration, and give staff more autonomy WASHINGTON--A report of an in-house panel that examined peer review at the National Science Foundation proposes drastic remedies for what it says is an overburdened and inefficient system of selecting and awarding grants. Its recommendations--longer-term grants, more autonomy for program officers and less reliance on outside reviewers, fewer categories of grants,
Researcher Flouts NIH Tradition By Trying To Sit In On Review Of His Grant Proposal
Researcher Flouts NIH Tradition By Trying To Sit In On Review Of His Grant Proposal
An epidemiologist's move to attend a closed meeting spurs debate over freedom of information versus the right to privacy WASHINGTON--No grant applicant had ever tried to breach the sanctity of an advisory council at the National Institutes of Health--until last summer, when University of Texas epidemiologist Darwin Labarthe knocked on the door. Notwithstanding the closed-door policy of the outside panel that advises the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, Labarthe told the NHLBI directo
Veterinary Researchers: Let More Money Go To The Dogs
Veterinary Researchers: Let More Money Go To The Dogs
Although $12 billion a year is spent in the U.S. for pet food and care, research funding for companion animal health falls short Three-year-old Jessie, her gums white from blood loss, was rushed, hemorrhaging and near death, to the emergency room of a Canadian hospital. Test results showed that she was suffering from massive ulcers brought on by an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication she had been given to treat a hip condition. After a surgeon at the hospital removed the largest ulce
RNA Researcher Sydney Brenner Captures 1990 Kyoto Prize For Advanced Technology
RNA Researcher Sydney Brenner Captures 1990 Kyoto Prize For Advanced Technology
The Inamori Foundation of Japan has awarded the 1990 Kyoto Prize for Advanced Technology to Sydney Brenner, director of the Medical Research Council's Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, England, for lifetime achievements in molecular biology research. The Kyoto Prizes, Japan's highest international awards, are given each year in three categories: advanced technology, basic sciences, and creative arts and moral sciences. The latter two were won by British primate researcher Jane Gooda
Wistar Director And Agricultural Scientist Receive Philadelphia's John Scott Awards
Wistar Director And Agricultural Scientist Receive Philadelphia's John Scott Awards
Orville Vogel, professor emeritus of agronomy and soil at Washington State University, and Hilary Koprowski, director of the Wistar Institute, received the 1990 John Scott Awards at a November 27 ceremony. The awards, given by the city of Philadelphia's Board of Directors of City Trusts, recognize men and women whose inventions have contributed to the "comfort, welfare and happiness" of mankind. Vogel, 82, was honored for his breeding of semidwarf wheats, which helped spawn the "green revoluti
Howard Schneiderman
Howard Schneiderman
Howard A. Schneiderman, 63, chief scientist and senior vice president of the St. Louis-based Monsanto Co., died December 5 of complications associated with leukemia. Schneiderman came to Monsanto in 1979 from the University of California, Irvine, where he was dean of the school of biological sciences and director of the Center for Pathobiology. He conducted research in developmental biology and genetics, including growth control, congenital malformations, and cancer. Under Schneiderman's direc

Opinion

Scientists Wary As New Year Dawns
Scientists Wary As New Year Dawns
The backbone of the United States' scientific enterprise - investigator-initiated research -- is being twisted by political forces that support high-profile but sometimes scientifically unjustifiable programs. To overcome those forces, say the nation's top researchers and science policymakers, scientists must put aside their interdisciplinary rivalries and work together to secure more support as well as more money for individual research initiatives. "The most important priority is for us to c
Many Top U.S. Researchers Are Disenchanted With Big Science
Many Top U.S. Researchers Are Disenchanted With Big Science
The scientists talked about their concerns, goals, and priorities for the coming year, among other topics. In a nutshell, all are worried about funding shortfalls. They also say 1991 will bring the U.S. face-to-face with critical choices about science education and the country's overall research efforts. As the federal government pumps millions of research dollars into a handful of megaprograms, hundreds of smaller, more important research initiatives are falling by the wayside, they say. Shou

Notebook

Notebook
Notebook
Drug Firms Tackle Drug Abuse Conflicting Conferences Fun With Numbers DOE Inspectors: No Paper Tigers Rowland Voted In At AAAS The pharmaceutical industry is finally picking up the ball on the development of medicines to treat drug abuse (The Scientist, Nov. 26, 1990, page 1). The Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association has established a nine-member Commission on Medicines for the Treatment of Drug Dependence and Abuse to work with the National Institute of Drug Abuse to develop scree

Commentary

Looking Back And Looking Ahead As We Greet A New Year And The Scientist's 100th Issue
Looking Back And Looking Ahead As We Greet A New Year And The Scientist's 100th Issue
As we ring in the New Year with best wishes to all our readers, The Scientist's staff has special cause for celebration: This is our 100th issue--and it marks the entry into our fifth year of publishing. When The Scientist was launched in September 1986, the idea of a newspaper for scientists had been brewing in my mind for more than 25 years. In the post-Sputnik era, scientists and policymakers became aware of the need to facilitate communication across established disciplines, and it was my

Letter

Evelyn Fox Keller Objects To Editor's Title
Evelyn Fox Keller Objects To Editor's Title
I was shocked and dismayed at the headline, or title, attached to my article in the October 15 issue of The Scientist [page 15]. The title not only was different from my original title--"Issues of Sex and Gender in the Pursuit of Science"--but entirely contrary to the meaning of my article, as it was, indeed, to all my efforts over the past decade. If there is a single point on which all feminist scholarship over the past decade has converged, it is the importance of recognizing the social con
Meeting The Challenge
Meeting The Challenge
As a charter subscriber to The Scientist, I have noted an increasing bias toward the acceptance of traditional "ends-justify-the-means" pro-vivisection arguments in your publication. Albert M. Kligman's Commentary "Animal Rights (And Wrongs) [The Scientist, Oct. 29, 1990, page 16] underscores this perception by damning the animal protection movement with "faint praise," while conveying a surprising bewilderment of non-anthropocentric values. Kligman "demands" that animal advocates be willing t

Research

Bioremediation: Cleaning Up With Biology And Technology
Bioremediation: Cleaning Up With Biology And Technology
As the necessity of cleaning up the environment moves to the forefront of the public's consciousness, researchers in increasing numbers have been enlisting some of the earth's tiniest creatures to help clean up highly polluted sites and reclaim soils and groundwater systems. Stimulated by advances in microbiology and biotechnology, the booming multidisciplinary field of environmental biotechnology focuses on the use of microorganisms to treat or degrade hazardous waste, encompassing the techniq
Articles Alert
Articles Alert
SIMON SILVER Department of Microbiology & Immunology University of Illinois Chicago Pseudopods flowing from phagocytes and amoeba constantly assemble and disassemble actin into rods and networks. This popular review of recent progress on regulation of cellular movement is full of wonderful graphics, suitable for textbooks and teaching. T.P. Stossel, "How cells crawl," American Scientist, 78, 408-23, September-October 1990. (Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston)
Articles Alert
Articles Alert
FRANK A. WILCZEK School of Natural Sciences Institute for Advanced Study Princeton, N.J. There is much interest currently in the properties of two-dimensional electronic systems. A whole class of new states of matter (the fractional quantized Hall states) has been discovered to be possible for interacting electrons in a layer subjected to a perpendicular magnetic field, and several related but distinct possibilities for additional states have been suggested theoretically. A unified framework f
Articles Alert
Articles Alert
DENNIS P. CURRAN Department of Chemistry University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, Pa. Like its natural predecessors FK506 and rapamycin, a non-natural immunophilin ligand (506BD) is a potent inhibitor of the FK506 binding protein's rotomase activity. However, unlike the natural compounds, the nonnatural analog does not interfere with T cell activation. Thus, inhibition of rotamase activity is an insufficient requirement for immunosuppressant action. B.E. Bierer, P.K. Somers, T.J. Wandless, S.J. B
Articles Alert
Articles Alert
THEODORE DAVIDSON Institute of Materials Science University of Connecticut Storrs How is adhesion between two plastics enhanced when polymer chains interpenetrate? Recent observations show that bonding of BPA polycarbonate (PC) to poly(butylene terephthalate) [PET] occurs in 10 minutes at temperatures above the glass transition of the PC. In 20 minutes at 216oC, fibrils are observed to grow from the PET into the PC; the kinetics of fibril length versus t1/2 are characteristic of a diffusion-co
Articles Alert
Articles Alert
PETER D. MOORE Department of Biosphere Sciences King's College London, U.K. Some plants, when perturbed by a grazing animal or by some sudden environmental stress, can transmit signals to other parts of the plant--or even to other plants--and induce in them a protective response. These can be thought of as "alarm systems." Oligosaccharides can act as signal compounds both in anti-herbivore and in anti-pathogen reactions. M. Chessin, A.E. Zipf, "Alarm systems in higher plants," Botanical Revie

Hot Paper

Molecular Biology
Molecular Biology
L. Osborn, C. Hession, R. Tizard, C. Vassallo, et al., "Direct expression cloning of vascular cell adhesion molecule 1, a cytokine-induced endothelial protein that binds to lymphocytes," Cell, 59, 1203-11, 22 December 1989. Laurelee Osborn (Biogen Inc., Cambridge, Mass.): "Vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (VCAM1) is of interest to scientists in several disciplines, particularly those studying cell-cell adhesion mechanism and the mechanisms by which the inflammatory response begins and progre
Molecular Biology
Molecular Biology
B. Mosley, M.P. Beckmann, C.J. March, R.L. Idzerda, S.D. Gimpel, T. VandenBos, D. Friend, A. Alpert, D. Anderson, J. Jackson, J.M. Wignall, C. Smith, B. Gallis, J.E. Sims, D. Urdal, M.B. Widmer, D. Cosman, L.S. Park, "The murine interleukin-4 receptor: molecular cloning and characterization of secreted and membrane bound forms," Cell, 59, 335-48, 20 October 1989. David Cosman (Immunex Corp., Seattle): "I can think of several reasons why our paper has been cited. There is substantial interest i
Immunology
Immunology
M.E. Hemler, "VLA proteins in the integrin family: structures, functions, and their role on leukocytes," Annual Review of Immunology, 8, 365-400, 1990. Martin E. Hemler (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston): "The focus of this review is VLA proteins. As members of the integrin family, these proteins mediate adhesion to a variety of extracellular matrix and cell surface ligands. These receptors attract wide attention because of their involvement in diverse areas such as embryo-genesis, leukoc
String Theory
String Theory
E. Brezin, V.A. Kazakov, "Exactly solvable field theories of closed strings," Physics Letters B, 236, 144-50, 15 February 1990. Edouard Brezin (Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris): "String theory, formulated as a random, two-dimensional surface--the world-sheet swept by the string in its motion, with a random metric tensor--was expressed as a two-dimensional version of quantum gravity. The usual approach for investigating string theories is perturbative: that is, one considers surfaces of increas
Crystallography
Crystallography
A. Wlodawer, M. Miller, M. Jaskolski, B.K. Sathyanarayana, et al., "Conserved folding in retroviral protease: crystal structure of a synthetic HIV-1 protease," Science, 245, 616-21, 11 August 1989. Alexander Wlodawer (Frederick Cancer Research Facility, National Cancer Institute, NIH, Frederick, Md.): "The protease is the only enzyme encoded by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) for which the three-dimensional structure has been elucidated by X-ray crystallography. The knowledge of the str
Molecular Biology
Molecular Biology
B. Berkhout, R.H. Silverman, K.-T. Jeang, "Tat trans-activates the human immunodeficiency virus through a nascent RNA target," Cell, 59, 273-82, 20 October 1989. Ben Berkhout (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH, Bethesda, Md.): "The unique feature of this study was the use of RNA-refolding mutagenesis. Rearrangement of RNA structures was first described by Charles Yanofsky [Stanford University] to explain the process of transcriptional attenuation ["Transcription atten

Profession

Despite Scientist Shortage, Future Ph.D.'s Fear Joblessness
Despite Scientist Shortage, Future Ph.D.'s Fear Joblessness
With funding opportunities dwindling in an unpredictable economic climate, graduate students planning to earn their Ph.D.'s in the next two years face a host of uncertainties, according to Betty Vetter, director of the Washington, D.C.-based Commission on Professionals in Science and Technology. Although the National Science Foundation and other agencies are anticipating a shortage of Ph.D. scientists beginning in the mid-1990s, students who will earn their doctorates before then are bracing th
Robert Hofstadter
Robert Hofstadter
Nobel laureate Robert Hofstadter, 75, died November 17 at his home in Stanford, Calif., after a long bout with heart disease. Hofstadter's early investigations, in which he measured the size of the neutron and proton in the nuclei of atoms, won him the Nobel Prize in physics in 1961. Hofstadter was one of the driving forces behind the creation of the Stanford Linear Accelerator. He also made substantial contributions to gamma ray spectroscopy, leading to the use of radioactive tracers to locate
Howard Hughes Medical Institute Enriches Undergrad Science Studies
Howard Hughes Medical Institute Enriches Undergrad Science Studies
This year, five graduating seniors from Atlanta's Morehouse College, one of the top historically black institutions in the United States, plan on attending graduate school in science. "That's up from zero last year, so this represents a giant step forward," says J.K. Haynes, chairman of the biology department at Morehouse. "If one college can place five minority students in graduate science programs every year, that's making a major contribution. And we see this trend continuing." Haynes belie

Briefs

Joseph Prospero
Joseph Prospero
Joseph Prospero has been named director of the Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (CIMAS) at the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. Prospero, an atmospheric chemist who formerly was chairman of Rosenstiel's Division of Marine and Atmospheric Chemistry, is a specialist in the global-scale properties of aerosols. CIMAS, a joint program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the University of Miami, brings together
Ronald C. Davidson
Ronald C. Davidson
Ronald C. Davidson, professor of physics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology since 1978, has been named director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL). Funded by the United States Department of Energy, PPPL operates on an annual budget of nearly $100 million. Research at the laboratory focuses on the creation of energy from the fusion of hydrogen nuclei confined by magnetic fields. Davidson's new position began on January 1. Davidson joined the physics faculty of MIT in 1978,

Technology

Hazardous Waste Disposal: An Offal Problem For Laboratories
Hazardous Waste Disposal: An Offal Problem For Laboratories
During the past decade, colleges and universities throughout the United States have found themselves grappling with an increasingly nettlesome problem: how, in a cost-effective way, to get rid of the hazardous waste material generated by their labs. Although academic labs account for a tiny fraction of the hazardous wastes produced nationwide--probably less than 1 percent--they must abide by the same stringent regulations as those imposed upon the industrial plants that produce most of the oth