News

Frontlines
Frontlines
Six of Europe's Nobel laureates chastised the European Union's policies on research funding with a letter to all 12 EU leaders demanding action. The six--three winners of the medicine prize in the 1970s and 1980s, two physicists, and a chemist--want funds doubled to stem the flow of talented young scientists from Europe to the United States. "Brain drain--young talented scientists leaving their countries--is making itself felt in most EU countries," the letter warns. The EU has pledged to raise
Science and Homeland Security
Science and Homeland Security
Image: Anthony Canamucio Even as a furor arose recently in the US Congress over failures to communicate between intelligence agencies that contributed to America's unreadiness for the terrorist attacks last September, President George W. Bush's proposal to create a Department of Homeland Security was being concocted in extreme secrecy. This left many government officials in an awkward position: having staunchly defended the administration's opposition to the idea of a new department, they were
EU Database Directive Draws Fire
EU Database Directive Draws Fire
A list of the EU's intellectual property directives, including the Database Protection Directive, 96/9/EC, is available online at: www.europa.eu.int/comm/internal_market/en/intprop/docs/index.htm The blessings of an increasingly advanced digital world are many: faster data processing, massive data storage. But with these newfound capabilities come new questions about ownership. Who owns the mountains of data contained in databases--whether stock prices, real estate values, or countless genom
Mendel and More
Mendel and More
Photo: Courtesy of M. Matsuoka, Reprinted with permission from Nature ©2001 A COMPARISON: The effect of a mutant gibberellin-biosynthesis gene is shown in rice plants; on the left, wild type; on the right, IR8 (sd1). During the summer of 1997, two research groups succeeded in bringing closure to a classic tale in genetics. After 131 years, they identified one of Mendel's pea genes at the molecular level. The gene, called Le, controls stem length--plants with defective copies are sho
Feldbaum to Biotech Leaders: Cooperate and Share
Feldbaum to Biotech Leaders: Cooperate and Share
Photo: Courtesy of Carl Feldbaum Carl Feldbaum Financiers and biotechnology business leaders suspended their networking for a few minutes at the BIO 2002 annual convention in Toronto as Carl Feldbaum, chairman of the powerful US Biotechnology Industry Organization, urged them to cooperate with their competitors and assist the poor. Feldbaum's 10-point Biotechnology Foreign Policy,1 introduced over a sumptuous lunch, would provide appropriate and affordable vaccines and drugs for developi
Impossible Vaccine Tames Staphylococcus aureus
Impossible Vaccine Tames Staphylococcus aureus
Image: Courtesy of Ali Fattom THE END IS NEAR: S. aureus attached to tissue If Scottish surgeon Alexander Ogsten ever daydreamed that discovering Staphylococcus aureus would win acclamation, it was before he crossed paths with the British Medical Journal and came away the worse for it, squashed like a cockroach caught scurrying across a tray of tea and crumpets. Upbraiding the upstart for daring to step beyond his place, the editor dismissed Ogsten's 1881 paper on the bacterium, jotting
Smallpox Vaccination: On Hold, But Lessons Learned
Smallpox Vaccination: On Hold, But Lessons Learned
Image: Courtesy of the CDC THE FACE OF SMALLPOX US citizens will not be lining up for smallpox vaccinations anytime soon, despite months of news reports on the stockpiling of enough vaccine for every man, woman, and child. On June 20, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), after evaluating information provided at public forums in New York City, San Francisco, St. Louis, and San Antonio, recommended to Tommy Thompson, secret

Commentary

Intelligent Design and Memes
Intelligent Design and Memes
The holy war against evolution has escalated again, with attempts by creationists to construe an explanatory statement accompanying a federal law on education as evidence that the US government approves the teaching of intelligent design theory alongside Darwinian evolution.1 Obviously, intelligent design should not be taught as a science, anymore than, say, phrenology should be. But this raises a public relations issue: The desperate fruits of prohibition are too well known; look what happens

Opinion

Pew on Biotech? Pugh!
Pew on Biotech? Pugh!
Image: Anthony Canamucio Controversies--or perhaps pseudocontroversies would be more apt--continue to engulf recombinant DNA technology, the "new biotechnology," applied to agriculture and food production. One theoretical concern is that consumers might experience allergic reactions to foods made from recombinant organisms. In a June 2002 report, the Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology concluded that regulatory agencies might have difficulty evaluating the potential for allergic reactions

Letter

Stephen Jay Gould... and Baseball... and Advice
Stephen Jay Gould... and Baseball... and Advice
Stephen Jay Gould... and Baseball... and Advice Having read your Commentary on The Man,1 alas, there is yet another tear in the corner of my eye. Above my office bulletin board, encased in plastic is the SJG baseball card passed out at the AAAS meeting where he was roasted on the occasion of his presidential address. I approached Steve afterward and asked if he would autograph the card for me. "I can't do it here, Joe," he responded, "or everybody will want me to. Send it to me at home." I

Research

Antiterror Agenda Promotes Ebola Vaccine and Immunotherapy
Antiterror Agenda Promotes Ebola Vaccine and Immunotherapy
Photo © Alfred Pasieka, SPL, Photo Researchers Inc. RNA RAIDERS: Computer artwork depicts Ebola viruses releasing their RNA inside an infected human cell. RNA strands are in the upper right. Tightly packed segments of released RNA float through the cell. Though smallpox and anthrax loom as the likeliest boogeymen in a bioterrorism nightmare, the rare Ebola virus still evokes particular dread. This untreatable virus rapidly kills 80% to 90% of the humans it infects, and no one knows w
Extremophiles: They Love Living on the Edge
Extremophiles: They Love Living on the Edge
Image: Courtesy of NASA/Marshall Space Flight CenterImage: Courtesy of John Reeve FROZEN FLUFF: Using electron beams to drill holes, scientists recovered these extremophiles from Antarctic ice. Brent Christner (above, middle), a graduate student in John Reeve's lab at Ohio State University, collecting ice core samples in Antarctica. They thrive, not just survive. The microbes live in places such as the Antarctic, where temperatures reach -45°C in the summer; on the ocean floor, in c

Hot Paper

New Gene Finding Creates Controversy
New Gene Finding Creates Controversy
Data derived from the Science Watch/Hot Papers database and 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. In October 2000, a collaboration of American, Japanese, German, and Swedish researchers accomplished a major first: They positionally cloned the gene associated with a common polygenic disorder, namely, type 2 diabetes or non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM).1 Despite this Hot Pap
Debating the Relevance of Resistin
Debating the Relevance of Resistin
Data derived from the Science Watch/Hot Papers database and 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. Diabetes researchers have long known about the connection between obesity and insulin resistance, but they have yet to identify the hormonal machinery responsible for that connection. In this Hot Paper, published 18 months ago, investigators appeared to have uncovered a major part of that ma

Wed, 01 Jan 1000 00:00:00 GMT

Hypoxic Response Takes Shape
Hypoxic Response Takes Shape
The Faculty of 1000 is aWeb-based literature awareness tool published by BioMed Central. For more information visit www.facultyof1000.com. Cells control their responses to the presence or absence of oxygen by an elegant system of checks and balances. Recent structural studies clarify some high-impact findings in hypoxia research, lending insight into the dynamic nature of HIF-1a , the hypoxia-induced transcription factor. This infamous molecule, when unchecked, turns on genes that enhance tumo
Notable
Notable
The Faculty of 1000 is aWeb-based literature awareness tool published by BioMed Central. For more information visit www.facultyof1000.com. TASTE TRANSDUCTION J.I. Glendinning et al., "A high-throughput screening procedure for identifying mice with aberrant taste and oromotor function," Chemical Senses, 27[5]:461-74, June 2002. "Screening for taste transduction is particularly problematic because of the low throughput--lengthy duration and indirect nature--of the traditional 'two-bottle prefer

Technology Profile

Microarrayers on the Spot
Microarrayers on the Spot
Photo: Courtesy of Gene Machines SEEING SPOTS: Microarraying devices automate the task of arraying the hundreds or thousands of samples typically found on biochips. Shown here is Gene Machine's OmniGrid Accent, a contact-based printer with 48 pins that is capable of placing over 100,000 75-µm features on a standard microscope. Today's "big science" is all about high throughput, a concept elegantly epitomized by the DNA microarray. Biochips let researchers analyze the expression of t
Got Proteasomes?
Got Proteasomes?
Photo: Courtesy of Boston Biochem PURITY CHECK: Boston Biochem CEO Francesco Melandri (right) and research associate Nick Crawford assess the purity of a protein using SDS-PAGE. Researchers expend a lot of energy studying gene and protein expression. But what happens when the proteins are no longer needed? In the late 1980s Alfred L. Goldberg, professor of cell biology at Harvard Medical School, and Martin C. Rechsteiner, professor of biochemistry at the University of Utah, addressed thi

Technology

Taking Cell-Free Translation to the Next Level
Taking Cell-Free Translation to the Next Level
Image: Courtesy of Ambion Coupled transcription and translation systems transcribe RNA from a DNA template, and then translate that RNA directly, without intervening purification steps. Cell-free, in vitro protein expression is a welcome alternative to time-consuming cell-based systems and appeals to scientists interested in toxic, insoluble, or rapidly degraded proteins incompatible with in vivo systems.1 Until recently though, inadequate protein yields from in vitro translation systems
Watch Your Transfections ... Literally
Watch Your Transfections ... Literally
There is always room for improvement, even for products that were good from the start. Take cationic liposome-based reagents, for example. Researchers have widely used such compounds to efficiently introduce nucleic acids into cells for over a decade. Qbiogene of Carlsbad, Calif., recently improved on this technology with the introduction of in vivo and in vitro FluoroFectin™ reagents, developed in the laboratory of Yechezkel Barenholz of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. FluoroFectin

Bench Buys

Bench Buys
Bench Buys
Image: Courtesy of Brinkmann Bacterial Economy Westbury, NY-based Brinkmann introduces the Eppendorf® LidBac, a membrane-lid tube that enables cultivation of bacterial cultures at the miniprep scale. An economical, fast alternative to conventional large-scale bacterial cultivation, the LidBac consists of a standard microcentrifuge tube with a polypropylene membrane lid and an integrated hydrophobic membrane. The culture itself grows in the tube; it can then be used for downstream applic

Profession

The Space to Launch 1000 Biotechs
The Space to Launch 1000 Biotechs
© Ned Shaw, nedshaw.com Like hopeful young mothers, state and local governments in partnership with universities, foundations, and local industry are hovering over new life science incubators where they expect to nurture biotech startups. Business incubators have been around for more than 20 years, mainly to stimulate struggling urban and rural economies. In the 1990s information technology incubators became trendy with the rise of the Internet, but they quickly fell from favor during the
Biotech-Big Pharma Betrothals Declining
Biotech-Big Pharma Betrothals Declining
You've just started your job with a small biotech startup that has some promising drug candidates and a freewheeling culture. You enjoy the shorts and T-shirt dress code and the midnight pizza parties for late workers, as well as the generous stock options. But then it's announced that your company has sold a large equity stake to a mega-pharmaceutical company. Now you're expected to wear a suit when meeting with your partners. To make matters worse, the large equity stake the pharma company
Earning from Incubating
Earning from Incubating
Photo: Courtesy of MMI INCUBATING SCIENCE: The Albe Centre in Livingston, Scottish scion of MMI. At the Bioscience Innovation Centre in Cambridge, researchers not only experiment with groundbreaking drug-discovery technologies, they also participate in a business experiment that investors hope will change the way scientists commercialize their products. For the most part, government or nonprofit groups subsidize biotech incubators in the hope that the incubator will jump-start companies
Funding Opportunites in the Life Sciences
Funding Opportunites in the Life Sciences
Click to view our current database of Funding Opportunites in the Life Sciences.

Fine Tuning

Encouraging Everyday Lab Ethics
Encouraging Everyday Lab Ethics
Photo: Courtesy of Debra Mathews Egregious cases of misconduct erode public trust, waste valuable resources, damage reputations, and destroy careers. Less obvious, however, are the myriad subtle ways in which members of our community harm the scientific enterprise when they fail to live up to their responsibilities as stewards and role models. Everyone knows of a university with a reputation for cutthroat competition, a department where the labs avoid collaboration, or a lab where the profess

Frontlines

Frontlines
Frontlines
Frontlines Image: Erica P. Johnson Stop brain drain now Six of Europe's Nobel laureates chastised the European Union's policies on research funding with a letter to all 12 EU leaders demanding action. The six--three winners of the medicine prize in the 1970s and 1980s, two physicists, and a chemist--want funds doubled to stem the flow of talented young scientists from Europe to the United States. "Brain drain--young talented scientists leaving their countries--is making itself felt in most

News Profile

Elias A. Zerhouni
Elias A. Zerhouni
In the mid-1980s, cardiologists faced a particularly vexing problem: how to measure, accurately and noninvasively, the thickness of heart tissue as it changed over time. Elias A. Zerhouni, a young radiology professor at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, struggled over the issue with a small team of physicists. "One day, he walked into the room with this incredible smile on his face, like you would have if you made a great molecular discovery," recalls Myron Weisfeldt, director of Hopkins' Depart