Features

Exosome Explosion
Exosome Explosion
Clotilde Théry | Jul 1, 2011
These small membrane vesicles do much more than clean up a cell’s trash—they also carry signals to distant parts of the body, where they can impact multiple dimensions of cellular life.
The Birth of Optogenetics
Edward S. Boyden | Jul 1, 2011
An account of the path to realizing tools for controlling brain circuits with light.
Best Places to Work Academia, 2011
The Scientist Staff | Jul 1, 2011
Whether it’s attending a Scottish dance party or asking physics buffs to custom build your tools, researchers at this year’s top institutions are getting creative at work.

The Literature

Probiotic Protection
Probiotic Protection
Editor’s choice in microbiology
The Ninefold Ring
The Ninefold Ring
Editor’s Choice in Structural Biology
Thymus Finder
Thymus Finder
Editor’s Choice in Immunology

Videos

Learning Addiction
Learning Addiction
Eleanor Simpson, a neuroscientist at Columbia University Medical Center, discusses a recent Nature paper that probes dopamine's role in helping animals make positive associations to stimuli that herald pleasurable outcomes (such as the handing out of food).
Meet the Crystal Smasher
Meet the Crystal Smasher
Take a tour of the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS), whose ultra-powerful X-ray beam is being used to solve the structures of proteins that are notoriously hard to crystallize.
Optogenetics: A Light Switch for Neurons
Optogenetics: A Light Switch for Neurons
This animation illustrates optogenetics—a radical new technology for controlling brain activity with light. 

Careers

Balancing Biases
Balancing Biases
How cognitive prejudices can influence research decisions, and how the pitfalls of human nature can be avoided.

Editorial

New New Things
New New Things
Why we love our jobs—there’s never a dull moment.

Infographics

OPSINS: Tools of the trade
OPSINS: Tools of the trade
OPSINS: Tools of the trade
The optogenetic toolset is composed of genetically encoded molecules that, when targeted to specific neurons in the brain, enable the electrical activity of those neurons to be driven or silenced by light. 
Exosome Basics
Exosome Basics
Exosome Basics
Exosomes are small membrane vesicles secreted by most cell types. Internal vesicles form by the inward budding of cellular compartments known as multivesicular endosomes (MVE). 

Notebook

For Whom the Bell Tolls
For Whom the Bell Tolls
Eleanor Simpson on how dopamine helps rats learn and may lead humans to addiction.
C-ing with the Lights Out
C-ing with the Lights Out
I the dark Arctic shallows one research finds heterotrophic marine bacteria doing a surprising amount of carbon fixing.
Trading Pelts for Pestilence
Trading Pelts for Pestilence
When European explorers and fishermen began to frequent Canada’s shores in the 16th century, they brought with them a plethora of tools and trinkets, including knives, axes, kettles, and blankets. 
Scientist to Watch
Scientist to Watch
“This is my trophy,” says biologist Michael Edidin, walking across his office at Johns Hopkins University to pick up two oversized clock hands, once part of the stately clock tower that still stands on the Baltimore campus. 

Capsule Reviews

Capsule Reviews
Capsule Reviews
Solar, The Dark X, The Sky's Dark Labyrinth, Spiral

Reading Frames

A Scar Nobly Got
A Scar Nobly Got
The story of the US government’s efforts to stamp out smallpox in the early 20th century offers insights into the science and practice of mass vaccination.

Lab Tools

Critic at Large

Desperately Seeking Radioisotopes
Desperately Seeking Radioisotopes
New strategies are needed to address the current and future shortages of radioisotopes that threaten medical research and treatment.

Scientist to Watch

Harmit Malik: Viral Historian
Harmit Malik: Viral Historian
Member, Division of Basic Sciences, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington. Age: 38

Foundations

The First X-ray, 1895
The First X-ray, 1895
The First X-ray, 1895
The discovery of a new and mysterious form of radiation in the late 19th century led to a revolution in medical imaging.

Modus Operandi

Smashing Crystals
Smashing Crystals
Smashing Crystals
A powerful new X-ray–generating laser is imaging smaller crystals than ever before.

Slideshows

Best in Academia, 2011
Best in Academia, 2011
Meet some of the finalists of this year's Best Places to Work in Academia survey. 

Contributors

Contributors
Contributors
Meet some of the people featured in the July 2011 issue of The Scientist.

Thought Experiment

The Scientist’s Amanuensis
The Scientist’s Amanuensis
A virtual lab—where all sorts of parameters are monitored and recorded—promises researchers a higher degree of reproducibility.

Speaking of Science

Speaking of Science
Speaking of Science
July 2011's selection of notable quotes

Profile

Foresight
Foresight
Studying the earliest events in visual development, Carla Shatz has learned the importance of looking at one’s data with open eyes—and an open mind.