News

Unraveling Leptin Pathways Identifies New Drug Targets
Unraveling Leptin Pathways Identifies New Drug Targets
Four years after its discovery, the weight-controlling protein hormone leptin is still making news. At the American Diabetes Association meeting in Chicago June 14, researchers from Amgen Inc. of Thousand Oaks, Calif., announced promising results of a Phase I clinical trial of leptin. And more than 100 papers and posters featured leptin at the Endocrine Society's annual meeting in New Orleans, June 24 to 27. Much of the excitement, though, lies beyond leptin, with the other players in the sign
Pasteurizing Eggs in the Shell: Researchers Take Strides Against Salmonella
Pasteurizing Eggs in the Shell: Researchers Take Strides Against Salmonella
SEALED AND DELIVERED: Pasteurized Eggs has won USDA's first seal certifying the efficacy of the process for making eggs nearly Salmonella-free. The difference between pasteurized and unpasteurized eggs from the shell is hardly visible. The pasteurized ones (top) are slightly cloudier. Eggs, sunny-side up, have been on the path to becoming a relic of the past. Salmonella enteritidis (SE) has become one of the most common causes of bacterial foodborne illness in humans in the United States, an
Cornell Professor-Student Dispute Draws Attention To Broader Issues
Cornell Professor-Student Dispute Draws Attention To Broader Issues
About ten years ago Antonia Demas, a self-described "middle-aged woman,'' returned to graduate school after raising a family, intending to develop the work she had been doing informally for many years. Volunteering in an elementary school in Trumansburg, N.Y., near Ithaca, she had used food and cooking in the classroom as teaching tools, and she proposed to explore ways of tying the school lunch program to the academic curriculum and improving education about nutrition. She has now become embro
Scientists Meet at Rockefeller to Discuss Molecular Strategies in Biological Evolution
Scientists Meet at Rockefeller to Discuss Molecular Strategies in Biological Evolution
In science, things often aren't as simple as they seem. This is certainly the case for the genetic code. Even as elegant experiments in the 1960s assigned DNA and messenger RNA (mRNA) base triplets to specific amino acids, researchers were wondering if a protein's blueprints were the sole meaning imparted by those long strings of A, T, G and C. But back then, they could do little more than wonder. Today, with more than a dozen genomes sequenced, researchers can ask age-old questions as well as
Reach Out to Public, IOM Tells NIH
Reach Out to Public, IOM Tells NIH
Who sets research priorities and goals at the National Institutes of Health? Obviously, scientists who have requisite knowledge of biomedicine play a major role. But a recent study by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) calls for changes at NIH that could give the public a bigger part in setting the scientific agenda. And an IOM report released July 8 is bound to stir debate over priority setting at the nation's single largest source of funds for biomedical research. In March of this year, IOM, un
The Use and Abuse of the
The Use and Abuse of the
Editor's Note: In this essay, the authors--both scientists and writers--discuss recent science news stories and express their opinions on how the stories were handled by the media, as well as how scientists and journalists deal with each other. In this issue of The Scientist, we also have two other features on communicating science: Commentary on page 8 and Opinion on page 9. The "B" word--breakthrough--divides scientists and journalists as no other. Tom Brokaw and Dan Rather invoke it regula

Cartoon

Cartoon
Cartoon
"Without getting too technical, it's rather like making sausage. We put the lead in here and out comes the gold.

Clarification

Clarification
Clarification
For a recent Hot Paper on leptin ( The Scientist, 12[5]:14, July 6,1998), investigators Michael Rosenbaum and Rudolph L. Leibel , both of Columbia University, wish to acknowledge the contributions to the research by Jules Hirsch and Florence Chu of Rockefeller University, Steven B. Heymsfield and Dympna Gallagher of the New York Obesity Research Center at St.Luke's/Roosevelt Hospital Medical Center, and Margery Nicolson of Amgen Inc. in Thousand Oaks, Calif.

Letter

Electronic Publication of Theses
Electronic Publication of Theses
I just chanced upon your article on electronic posting of dissertations (P. Gwynne, The Scientist, 11[21]:1, Oct. 27, 1997). As we are embarking on a similar project at the Université de Montréal, I was much interested in it. The points of view that you reflected were quite amusing. C. Robert Phillips' attitude was particularly funny as he only saw the ease to copy digital documents, but [he] missed the fact that computers offer immense text retrieval abilities so that plagiaris
Design in Nature
Design in Nature
The article by Steve Bunk in the April 13 issue of The Scientist (12[8]:4, April 13, 1998) contained an astonishing range of new developments in the Darwinian counter-culture, so many and so well focused that I'm curious about his sources and the circles he apparently travels in. While I try to keep abreast of all significant books and articles on either side of the evolution issue, this presentation makes me suspect there must be some forum or venue besides talk.origins in which these concepts
The Role of Tenure
The Role of Tenure
I think that the opinion piece by [Dominique G.] Homberger and [A. Ravi P.] Rau on tenure, teaching, and research (The Scientist, 12[10]:8, May 11, 1998) is one of the best summaries I have seen in defense of the current academic policies at most U.S. universities and colleges. Of course, most readers of The Scientist are probably already supportive of tenure as we know it. It would be nice to have this essay more widely available for public reading. David H. Evans, Ph.D., Professor Department

Commentary

Communication Is a Joint Venture Between Researchers and Editors
Communication Is a Joint Venture Between Researchers and Editors
A colleague here at The Scientist recently interviewed a microbiologist on the telephone. They were talking about bacteria, and the scientist commented that if he were an alien who had just arrived on Earth, he would surely be confused about the purposes of the kitchen sink and the toilet in a modern home. Based on microbiological evidence, he explained, he would no doubt incorrectly conclude that the respective uses of these amenities were reversed. As my colleague related this story, we crin

Notebook

A Note From The Publisher
A Note From The Publisher
Observant readers may have noticed a small but significant change on the front page of this issue of The Scientist --we have changed the subtitle of our publication from "The Newspaper for the Life Sciences Professional" to "The News Journal for the Life Scientist." While this change is of no earth-shattering importance in the greater scheme of things, it has significance to our editors and writers, and it affects the way we present ourselves to the world. The content and appearance of The Scie
Notebook
Notebook
STATE OF THE ART: Washington University's Marc R. Hammerman turned his wife Nancy's idea into reality when he transplanted developing kidneys into adult rats. ARTFUL SCIENCE The skilled hands of a surgeon can only do so much to assure the success of an organ transplant. Despite great advances in medicine, the body's immune system remains the ultimate judge of whether to accept or reject. But researchers at Washington University (WU) in St. Louis have found a promising method for growing kidney

Opinion

Communicating to the Public: Make Science Relevant, Human, and Clear
Communicating to the Public: Make Science Relevant, Human, and Clear
How well are we communicating science to the public? First, let's start with the children. Let's look at the results of the Third International Mathematics and Science Study. Tests were administered to about a half-million students in 41 countries in 1995, and the results were released in March 1998. We know that our fourth graders stack up reasonably well compared to peers in 40 other countries. Remarkably, by eighth grade, United States students are less competitive, and by graduation from hi

Research

Ubiquitin-Mediated Proteolytic System Plays Diverse Roles in Human Disease
Ubiquitin-Mediated Proteolytic System Plays Diverse Roles in Human Disease
A pharmaceutical milestone seems to have been reached last month when a National Cancer Institute panel approved an anti-tumor drug called PS-341 for government-financed clinical trials. PS-341 is the first agent targeting the ubiquitin-mediated proteolytic system to be headed for human testing, according to ProScript Inc., the small firm in Cambridge, Mass., that developed the drug. Clinical trials at NCI and several medical centers could begin later this summer if the Food and Drug Administra

Hot Paper

HIV
HIV
Paul Volberding C.C. Carpenter, M.A. Fischl, S.M. Hammer, M.S. Hirsch, D.M. Jacobsen, D.A. Katzenstein, J.S. Montaner, D.D. Richman, M.S. Saag, R.T. Schooley, M.A. Thompson, S. Vella, P.G. Yeni, P.A. Volberding, "Antiretroviral therapy for HIV infection in 1996--Recommendations of an international panel," JAMA-Journal of the American Medical Association, 276:146-54, 1996. (Cited more than 180 times since publication) Comments by Paul A. Volberding, chairman of the board of the International A
Neurotrophic Factors
Neurotrophic Factors
S.Q. Jing, D.Z. Wen, Y.B. Yu, P.L. Hoist, Y. Luo, M. Fang, R. Tamir, L. Antonio, Z. Hu, R. Cupples, J. Louis, S. Hu, B.W. Altrock, G.M. Fox, "GDNF-induced activation of the Ret protein tyrosine kinase is mediated by GDNFR-alpha, a novel receptor for GDNF," Cell, 85:1113-24, 1996. (Cited more than 170 times since publication) Comments made by Gary M. Fox, Department of Molecular Genomics, Amgen Inc., Thousand Oaks, Calif. Gary M. Fox, left, and Shuqian Jing Below the spatula and to the left i

Profession

Visa Shortage Highlights Low Pay for Postdocs
Visa Shortage Highlights Low Pay for Postdocs
LIMBO: A postdoc in Deborah Andrew's lab at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine faces an uncertain future because H-1B visas ran out before she could obtain one. During a three-year stay on a training visa, a Portuguese postdoc in Deborah Andrew's lab at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine began characterizing titin --a gene that codes for a key muscle protein. She may not get to finish. The reason? Her training visa's extension ran out last month. And her efforts to apply for the five-year H-1B

Technology

Hey, Easy On Those Cells!
Hey, Easy On Those Cells!
Cells transfected using FuGENE 6 reagent and protocol supplied by Roche Molecular Biochemicals. MCF-10A cells transfected with a GFP construct (pGreenLanternn-1; Gibco/BRL) and fixed with formaldehyde and counter-stained with DAPI to reveal nuclei. GFP expression (green) was detected by fluorescence microscopy using a standard FITC filter set. DAPI staining (various shades of blue) was detected by fluorescence microscopy using a DAPI filter set. Transfected cells have a light blue (almost whit
Illuminating Cellular Organelles: Packard's CytoGem(TM) Fusion and Organelle Targeting System for Intracellular Localization
Illuminating Cellular Organelles: Packard's CytoGem(TM) Fusion and Organelle Targeting System for Intracellular Localization
Packard CytoGem localization of cellular peroxisomes and nuclei. Green fluorescent protein (GFP) has been busy in the 1990s, having been removed from the jellyfish Aequora victoria and transfected into just about every type of cell possible. Since the first such application of GFP was reported (M. Chalfie et al., Science, 263:802-5, 1994), new uses for this workhorse have arisen on a regular basis. One of the latest developments of GFP technology is found in Packard Instrument Company's coll

Technology Profile

Prepare to Cast Off: A Profile of Precast Acrylamide Gels
Prepare to Cast Off: A Profile of Precast Acrylamide Gels
Date: July 20, 1998Precast Gels Warning: Neurotoxin. Cancer suspect agent. This product contains a compound known to cause cancer. Wear gloves, eye protection, and dust mask and use in a fume hood. Wash thoroughly after handling. Skin contact, inhalation, or ingestion may cause nervous system disorders. In case of contact, flush with water for 15 minutes. Yuck. The label on your bottle of acrylamide makes itself clear: weighing out acrylamide and pouring your own polyacrylamide gels is a poten
Deep Wells and Dark Currents: CCD Cameras Offer Microscopists an Immediate, Distortion-free, Quantifiable Image
Deep Wells and Dark Currents: CCD Cameras Offer Microscopists an Immediate, Distortion-free, Quantifiable Image
Date: July 20, 1998CCD Cameras, Image Processing Software For the biologist interested in cell structure-function relationships or cell and tissue dynamics, the quest has long been for a magnifying detector that is stable, quantitative, and sufficiently sensitive to eliminate phototoxicity or photobleaching and, in the limit, allow continuous observation without perturbation. If the data from one's detector can be immediately analyzed and displayed in a favorite software application, so much th