News

U.S. Funding Shortfall Undermines Investment In Training Scientists
U.S. Funding Shortfall Undermines Investment In Training Scientists
After spending $200,000 in assistance for each Ph.D., the government offers long odds to researchers setting up on their own WASHINGTON - In her youth, Patricia McGraw studied music and as a teenager was a concert pianist. These past nine years, though, she has studied science and now is an assistant professor of biological sciences at the University of Maryland Baltimore County Campus. As a pianist she worried about improving her musical prowess. As a scientist, she sometimes wonders whether
Biotech Firm Learns Hard Lessons As Its Founder Seeks To Halt Slide
Biotech Firm Learns Hard Lessons As Its Founder Seeks To Halt Slide
Applied Biosystems finds that as a start-up's glamour fades, it must stress a return to basics FOSTER CITY, CALIF. - The engineer who cofounded Applied Biosystems and made it into a superstar of the biotech instruments industry, only to step back and see it stumble, is back at the helm. And Andre Marion believes that what once worked for the company is also the surest route to its future success. "Success lies in the ability to take chances," says Marion, who returned to hands-on management o
Ruling Could Inhibit Peer Review Candor
Ruling Could Inhibit Peer Review Candor
Reviewers will have to think twice, now that tenure evaluation letters can be used as evidence in bias cases Academic scientists who are denied tenure and then sue universities on the basis of discrimination will find little, if any, information to support their case in written evaluations submitted by their peers. In fact, tenure candidates and the universities considering them will now have difficulty even recruiting researchers to honestly evaluate colleagues' work. These, scientists and s
Scientists, Backing Fang Lizhi, Boycott Chinese Meetings
Scientists, Backing Fang Lizhi, Boycott Chinese Meetings
Petition intended to stop attendance at meetings until Fang is released; but some say the tactic is wrong or worthless WASHINGTON - The firm, clear voice belies his frail appearance at the podium. But that shouldn't have surprised anyone at last month's press conference. Former Soviet dissident Yuri Orlov is talking about a subject that he knows all-too-painfully well: a boycott by scientists of meetings sponsored by a Communist government until that government relinquishes its control over a
Unpublished Study Pegs Cost Of New Drug At $231 Million
Unpublished Study Pegs Cost Of New Drug At $231 Million
BOSTON - An unpublished study that examines the cost of bringing a new drug to market has revived debate over whether data should be released to the public prior to peer review. The study, which cites a figure that is nearly twice as high as previous estimates, is already being used in ongoing discussions over federal policies on drug pricing and the investment in research by the pharmaceutical industry. The just-completed analysis by the Tufts University Center for the Study of Drug Developme
Washington Agency Aims To Meet The Needs Of Drug Researchers
Washington Agency Aims To Meet The Needs Of Drug Researchers
Federal office helps scientists get controlled substances, but the price is paperwork and secrecy WASHINGTON - Pharmacologist Louis Harris keeps his drugs in a massive safe bolted securely to the floor of his lab at Virginia Commonwealth University. Barbara Slifer, a behavioral pharmacologist at the University of New Orleans, refuses to tell her lab partners where she's stashed the chemicals for their next experiment. They and thousands of their colleagues around the country can wait weeks and
EPA Offers Funding For Four Centers
EPA Offers Funding For Four Centers
With the new decade well under way, the United States Environmental Protection Agency is beginning to implement its plan for the 1990s. One goal outlined is the establishment of four new academic environmental centers to carry out fundamental research into burgeoning environmental problems. Eight university centers have already been established since the program's inception in 1979, when the Office of Exploratory Research was also put in force to administer research grants and centers. Applic

Briefs

Government Briefs
Government Briefs
A Stealth Technology Policy? Critics of the Bush administration's approach to what is nowadays called technology policy - that is, government actions meant to strengthen certain industries deemed essential for the health of the U.S. economy - had a field day during a hearing last month on the subject before the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. The chairman, Sen. Ernest Hollings (D-S.C.), wondered whether a range of such key technologies "will receive government backing or
Laboratory Briefs
Laboratory Briefs
Bill TAPs Labs For Industry A New York congressman has introduced a bill that is meant to do for industry what the Department of Agriculture's extension service has long done for farming. The bill (H.R. 4659), entitled the Technology Access Program, would provide easy access to federally funded research for businesses nationwide, says Rep. John LaFalce (D-N.Y.). Modeled on both the federal extension service and a state-level technology access service in Minnesota, TAP would authorize the Nation
Association Briefs
Association Briefs
Jobs In Space For those scientists desiring a celestial career, the Princeton Planetary Society has the publication for you. PPS, a nonprofit, student-run education group at Princeton University in New Jersey, has recently published its premier edition of Space Jobs. The publication offers a listing of full-time job opportunities, most of which are entry-level openings, with consulting and engineering firms, NASA, and nonprofit organizations as well as summer employment opportunities and a spec
Funding Briefs
Funding Briefs
Awards Honor Epilepsy Research Now in its second year, the American Epilepsy Society Awards Program recognizes young and senior investigators who are trying to understand and prevent childhood-onset epilepsy. The society seeks nominations for five awards to be made during its annual meeting in November. Two awards of $150,000 apiece go to senior investigators - one to a clinical researcher and the other to a basic scientist -whose research into the pediatric aspects of epilepsy has a long track
People Briefs
People Briefs
Henry I. Smith, a professor in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's department of electrical engineering and computer science, has been named MIT's Joseph F. and Nancy P. Keithley Professor in Electrical Engineering. The chair is named after the founder and chairman of the Cleveland-based Keithley Instruments Inc., a company that produces very-high-input impedance electronic instruments and semiconductor fabrication test equipment, and his wife. Smith is known as the originator of X-ray

Opinion

. . . But The Figures Can Exaggerate Our Anxiety
. . . But The Figures Can Exaggerate Our Anxiety
Although Richard Atkinson makes an eloquent appeal for increasing the flow of individuals into science and engineering, his basic argument is flawed. He states that "a fortuitous coincidence between an available college-age population and an expanding financial base for science and technology" combined to fuel the three major surges in college enrollments, and in turn, the production of scientists and engineers during this century. Isn't it interesting that this growth and interest in science i
Ominous Statistics Foretell Drastic Shortage Of Scientists. . .
Ominous Statistics Foretell Drastic Shortage Of Scientists. . .
[Editor's note: The National Science Foundation predicts that if American college and university students continue to spurn science as their primary field of study, demand for scientists will outstrip supply by almost 400,000 in the year 2000. This estimate may even be somewhat conservative, according to Richard Atkinson, president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), who is recommending a broad range of actions - including a government-sponsored program for 3,000

Commentary

Nature's Response To Man-Made Pollution Needs More Man-Made Funding Support
Nature's Response To Man-Made Pollution Needs More Man-Made Funding Support
The celebration of Earth Day in April reminded us of the importance of a healthful environment and focused attention on natural biological processes that prevent or minimize environmental contamination. Bioremediation is just such a process. It offers promise great enough to have spawned a growing industry. The industry's representatives met recently in Washington, D.C., with officials of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to confer on bioremediation and its future applications. Bi

Letter

Letter: Biotech Training
Letter: Biotech Training
This letter is to correct any misleading impressions that we believe readers might have received from the recent article entitled "Academy Panel Urges Companies To Help Train Young Bioscientists" (The Scientist, March 19, 1990, page 6). The article, which was based on the 1989 National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine report, Biomedical and Behavioral Research Scientists: Their Training and Supply, states that there was disagreement between the National Institutes of Health and th
Letter: NIH Research Grants
Letter: NIH Research Grants
I was amused, but also offended, by comments of those opposed to the National Institute of General Medical Sciences plan to protect small laboratories in "NIH Institute's Plan Will Favor Researchers Dependent On Single Grants" (The Scientist, April 16, 1990, page 1). Particularly objectionable was B.R. Brinkley's assertion that science is driven by the "entrepreneurial spirit." Funny, I always thought it was intellectual curiosity. Is Brinkley urging scientists to emulate the values of Drexel B
Letter: Bush's Speech
Letter: Bush's Speech
As one of your avid readers, I wish to differ with you on the item "Talking Big," which appeared in "Government Briefs" (The Scientist, May 14, 1990, page 2). It states that "Last month George Bush made the first presidential appearance in nearly 30 years before the annual meeting of the National Academy of Sciences." Wrong. President Carter made a similar speech to the academy in April of 1980. The trouble with Bush's speech was that it was long on rhetoric but very short on execution. I was
Letter: Misnomer
Letter: Misnomer
In the article "Data Banks, Buyers' Guides Compete" (The Scientist, April 16, 1990, page 15), the publication Biomedical Products was mistakenly referred to as a "buyers' guide." The publication is, in fact, a product news tabloid magazine for life science researchers. The distinction is important. JAY LEECH Associate Publisher Biomedical Products Gordon Publications, Inc. Morris Plains, N.J.

Research

Research: Citation Superstars Of NIH: Most-Cited Scientists, 1981-88
Research: Citation Superstars Of NIH: Most-Cited Scientists, 1981-88
During its centenary year in 1987, scientists and policymakers alike hailed the National Institutes of Health as the "crown jewel" of the U.S. government's biomedical research enterprise. And today, despite administrative problems, such as complaints of noncompetitive pay for senior investigators and occasional public embarrassments, such as undisclosed conflicts of interest (see Science 248:676, 1990), NIH is still home to some of the world's most distinguished biomedical scientists. The Scie
Articles Alert
Articles Alert
The Scientist has asked a group of experts to comment periodically upon recent articles that they have found noteworthy. Their selections, presented herein every issue, are neither endorsements of content nor the result of systematic searching. Rather, the list represents personal choices of articles the columnists believe the scientific community as a whole may also find interesting. Reprints of any articles cited here may be ordered through The Genuine Article, 3501 Market St., Philadelphia,
Common Cold Research: A Cross-Continental Collaboration
Common Cold Research: A Cross-Continental Collaboration
Immunologist Steven D. Marlin sits in a plush office at Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals in Ridgefield, Conn., joking with two of his collaborators, Vincent J. Merluzzi and Donald E. Staunton. The three are recalling the serendipitous events that linked independent research projects and spurred the development of a genetically engineered human protein that prevents major cold viruses from infecting cells in vitro. Marlin and Merluzzi, working in collaboration with investigators at the Erns

Hot Paper

Hot Papers
Hot Papers
M. Schuermann, M. Neuberg, J.B. Hunter, T. Jenuwein, et al., "The leucine repeat motif in Fos protein mediates complex formation with Jun/AP-1 and is required for transformation," Cell, 56, 507-16, 10 February 1989. M. Neuberg, M. Schuermann, J.B. Hunter, R. Müller, "Two functionally different regions in Fos are required for the sequence-specific DNA interaction of the Fos/Jun protein complex," Nature, 338, 589-90, 13 April 1989. Manfred Neuberg (Institut für Molekularbiologie und T

Profession

Foreign-Born Scientists Face Special Challenges In The U.S.
Foreign-Born Scientists Face Special Challenges In The U.S.
When Indira Rajagopal, a molecular biology postdoc, was called away from a job in San Diego to attend to a family emergency back home in India, she figured she would be back at the lab bench within a few weeks. But visa trouble intervened. While she was in India, her temporary visa to work in the United States expired, so she applied for a new one. She was ready to return to the U.S. within three weeks. Her visa wasn't ready for her, though. "It took several months" to get the new visa, she r
International Group Brings Inequities Of Health Research To World's Attention
International Group Brings Inequities Of Health Research To World's Attention
At first glance the mandate set before the Commission on Health Research for Development when it was formed in 1987 may have read like an assignment from Mission Impossible: "to survey current health research worldwide, identify strengths and weaknesses, and propose improvements." But the independent international commission, headquartered in Cambridge, Mass., completed its task (the first of its kind) and recently published its findings in a 136-page report entitled "Health Research: Essential
People: NIH Neurobiologist Is Named As First Craigie Scholar by University Of Toronto
People: NIH Neurobiologist Is Named As First Craigie Scholar by University Of Toronto
Milton W. Brightman, section chief on brain structural plasticity in the Laboratory of Neurobiology at the National Institutes of Health, has been appointed the first Edward Horne Craigie Scholar. The honor is named for the noted biomedical scientist who conducted pioneering research on brain capillaries. Craigie, who died last year at the age of 94, was associated with the University of Toronto's departments of biology and zoology for more than 70 years. To honor Craigie, present and former f
People: Biologist Fink Follows David Baltimore As Director Of MIT's Whitehead Institute
People: Biologist Fink Follows David Baltimore As Director Of MIT's Whitehead Institute
Gerald R. Fink, American Cancer Society Professor of Genetics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, has been named the new director of the institute. Fink will assume the post July 1, succeeding David Baltimore, who has accepted the presidency of Rockefeller University. Fink was nominated by an eight-member search committee composed of MIT and Whitehead Institute faculty members, with the final selection being made by Whitehead's board of d
People: Physicist Kerry Vahala Is First Recipient Of Caltech's Feynman-Hughes Fellowship
People: Physicist Kerry Vahala Is First Recipient Of Caltech's Feynman-Hughes Fellowship
Kerry J. Vahala, assistant professor of applied physics and a specialist in quantum electronics and lasers at the California Institute of Technology, has been chosen as the first recipient of the Richard P. Feynman-Hughes Fellowship. Sponsored by the Los Angeles-based Hughes Aircraft Co., the fellowship is named after the late Richard P. Feynman, who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965 for his theory of quantum electrodynamics and was also a Caltech faculty member and consultant to Hughes.

Technology

Environmentalists Toast New Liquid Scintillation Cocktails
Environmentalists Toast New Liquid Scintillation Cocktails
Many biochemical studies routinely performed by researchers, such as protein assays and DNA studies, require the detection of extremely minute quantities of material. However, such small quantities are usually undetectable by the Lowry assay, UV spectroscopy, and other conventional methods of chemical analysis. This problem was solved with the development in the 1940s of chemical tests that use radioisotopes to label the material in question before it is assayed. This technology has allowed sci