News

Biotech Industry Gearing Up For More Science, Less Hype
Biotech Industry Gearing Up For More Science, Less Hype
But it's still unclear which new approaches in human therapeutics will pay off big; cancer and neuroscience are among the contenders Despite the enormous amount of money invested in research and development of biotechnology-derived human therapeutics in the past two decades or so, biotech industry participants and observers say the future is still unclear. Only 21 biotech drugs have been released so far, and many of those are bioengineered versions of substances that have been known and used
Seed Money Blossoming Again For Entrepreneurs
Seed Money Blossoming Again For Entrepreneurs
Although investors are more cautious than they were in the go-go 1980s, sources of early-round backing flourish anew After a four-year slump, venture capital funds that provide early-round financial support, including seed money, to start-up biotechnology companies and other high-tech enterprises are reportedly starting to flourish again. "On the order of 100 venture capital funds are currently raising money," says Robert Mast, vice president of Venture Economics, Newark, N.J., a unit of Sec
A New Symbiosis For MD's And Scientists
A New Symbiosis For MD's And Scientists
Advances in molecular biology foster greater interdependency among physicians, researchers The province of the scientist traditionally has been one of theory and experiment, exploration and discovery--contrasting sharply with the practical concerns of the physician. But times have changed. Today, physicians find themselves in need of knowledge in such esoteric matters as the polymerase chain reaction and restriction fragment-length polymorphism maps. Meanwhile, scientists are having to acqua
Jackson Lab Gears Up To Meet Demands Of “Mouse Decade”
Jackson Lab Gears Up To Meet Demands Of “Mouse Decade”
The world's foremost supplier of genetically engineered mice, the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine, is scurrying to hire as many as 20 geneticists over the next three to four years. 
NSF Hopes New Education Grants Will Promote Change
NSF Hopes New Education Grants Will Promote Change
Now that the National Science Foundation's Strategic Systemic Initiative (SSI) is in its second year, with the second round of grants awarded on May 1, science educators have had a chance to assess the program's progress. And some of them are not pleased. Some critics contend that the initiative--an effort to foster widespread, comprehensive change in the way mathematics and science are taught in United States elementary and secondary public schools--is being hampered. The problem, they say,

Letter

Fostering Research
Fostering Research
Jussi J. Saukkonen's commentary (The Scientist, April 13, 1992, page 12) suggests that M.D.-Ph.D. programs "should be regarded as an `insurance premium' paid to protect our substantial research investment," and that such programs can make "the student's commitment to long-term training financially feasible." I believe that this approach begs the question of how to encourage bright students to make biomedical research their career, especially given the statement in the same commentary that such

Commentary

Robert Gallo And The Human Element
Robert Gallo And The Human Element
There is a nasty little sideshow to the war against AIDS that has wasted precious talent, time, and lives. And it ought to stop. Its target is the National Cancer Institute's Robert Gallo, two-time winner of the Albert Lasker Medical Research Award and America's preeminent retrovirologist. For years, this sideshow has been produced mainly by Chicago Tribune reporter John Crewdson. Recently ABC-TV's Sam Donaldson got into the act on "PrimeTime Live," making his strident contribution to the tast

Hot Paper

Chemical Physics
Chemical Physics
D.M. Cox, B.M. Disko, S.M. Gorun, M. Greaney, et al., "Characterization of C60 and C70 clusters," Journal of the American Chemical Society, 113:2940-44, 1991. David Cox (Exxon Research and Engineering Co., Annandale, N.J.): "Upon learning of the Kratschmer and Huffman technique (Nature, 347:354, 1990) for producing fullerenes in September 1990, we quickly were able to produce sufficient quantities (several milligrams at that time was a lot) to allow us to study the molecular properties of thes
Chemical Physics
Chemical Physics
P.L. Gammel, L.F. Schnee-meyer, D.J. Bishop, "SQUID picovoltometry of YBa2Cu3O7 single crystals: Evidence for a finite-temperature phase transition in the high-field vortex state," Physical Review Letters, 66:953-56, 1991. David Bishop (AT&T Bell Laboratories, Murray Hill, N.J.): "The discovery of high-temperature superconductivity has brought us a number of surprises. Before the discovery, condensed-matter physicists would have felt that our understanding of both microscopic mechanisms and th
Cell Biology
Cell Biology
M.W. Radomski, F.M.J. Palmer, S. Moncada, "Glucocorticoids inhibit the expression of an inducible, but not the constitutive, nitric oxide synthase in vascular endothelial cells," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 87:10043-47, 1990. Marek Radomski (The Wellcome Research Laboratories, Beckenham, Kent, United Kingdom): "This work is part of a developing project that started in our laboratory in 1987-88 with the finding that nitric oxide (NO) is formed from L-arginine by a constitut
Neuroscience
Neuroscience
A. Rodriguez-T‚bar, G. De-chant, Y.-A. Barde, "Binding of brain-derived neurotrophic factor to the nerve growth factor receptor," Neuron, 4:487-92, 1990. Yves-Alain Barde (Max-Planck Institute for Psychiatry, Marrinsreid, Germany): "This paper has received attention because it demonstrates that two related neurotrophic molecules--nerve growth factor (NGF) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF)--bind with similar affinities to the same receptor. At the time the paper was published,
Neuroscience
Neuroscience
D.S. Bredt, P.M. Hwang, S.H. Snyder, "Localization of nitric oxide synthase indicating a neural role for nitric oxide," Nature, 347:768-70, 1990. Solomon Snyder (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore): "Nitric oxide appears to be responsible for the ability of macrophages to kill tumor cells and bacteria and makes it possible for substances such as acetylcholine to cause blood vessels to dilate. Acetylcholine, acting at receptors on endothelial cells, triggers the formation of

Technology

Simple Maintenance Can Extend Your Lab Computer's Life
Simple Maintenance Can Extend Your Lab Computer's Life
Chemist Jim Bostick, an assistant fellow at Sandoz Research Institute in East Hanover, N.J., recalls a colleague who made a fundamental error in taking care of the personal computer in his lab--he placed his PC next to a machine that generated a high electromagnetic field. "His PC actually got used to the field that had been generated, and as soon as we moved the machine away to put in a bigger one, my colleague's monitor didn't work right anymore, because it had adjusted to that high field,"

Profession

Researchers Embark On Effort To Improve Image Of Scientists
Researchers Embark On Effort To Improve Image Of Scientists
Stereotyped images of scientists in popular culture can have a profound effect on the way the public perceives science. Such images, familiar to virtually all moviegoers, range from the arrogant, amoral researcher who wants to rule the world to the benign genius who is out of touch with reality. The implications can be far-reaching. Young people, who are heavily swayed by what they see on TV and in the movies, for example, may choose not to pursue careers in science because of these recurring
AIDS Foundation Initiates Funding For TB Research
AIDS Foundation Initiates Funding For TB Research
Since its founding in 1985, the American Foundation for AIDS Research (AmFAR) has become well known among biomedical scientists as a funding agency dedicated to seeding research relevant to HIV/AIDS. In recent months the foundation--which has major divisions in New York and Los Angeles and a public policy office in Washington, D.C.--has launched an initiative to fund research and education related to tuberculosis, as well. TB, again becoming a major threat to public health, is "one more opport
Renowned Microorganism Researcher Receives 117-Year-Old Dutch Award
Renowned Microorganism Researcher Receives 117-Year-Old Dutch Award
When Antonie van Leeuwenhoek first peered into the realm of microorganisms in 1675, he launched a field of study that grew steadily over the years. Today, of course, the field is virtually exploding as new discoveries occur. Carl Woese, a professor of microbiology at the University of Illinois' Urbana campus, has added significantly to this growing body of knowledge, and for this he recently was awarded the prestigious Leeuwenhoek Medal. Given once a decade by the Science Division of the Ro

Notebook

Notebook
Notebook
Cursing The Lightness Grand Prize: New Equipment The Emperor's New Fish Fast Fax Hold The Ground Beef The International Dark-Sky Association wants to dim urban sky glow and light pollution of all kinds to restore the spectacular view of the night sky our ancestors once enjoyed. "The night sky is part of our environment, too, but everyone forgets that," says astronomer David L. Crawford, executive director of the nonprofit association, which held its fourth annual meeting last month i