News

Agricultural Antibiotics Scrutinized
Agricultural Antibiotics Scrutinized
Recent studies have shown that isolates of Campylobacter jejuni bacteria, major culprits in food poisoning, are gaining resistance to fluoroquinolone antibiotics, currently the drugs of choice in treating the disorder. Therefore, makers of agricultural antibiotics will soon need to take antibiotic resistance into account as part of the approval process, says Sharon Thompson, associate director for veterinary medical and international affairs at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A requireme
Chromosome 21 Reveals Sparse Gene Content
Chromosome 21 Reveals Sparse Gene Content
The unveiling of the DNA sequences of human chromosomes represents a new chapter in the unfolding story of genomics, but one with roots in the half-century-old field of cytogenetics. Chromosome-level looks can reveal the specific genes behind certain traits and disorders while providing information on genome organization. The diminutive chromosome 21--the smallest of the human contingent, despite its number as next to last--is the fourth to be described. Its debut in mid-May attracted attentio
Stalking Infectious Disease
Stalking Infectious Disease
Graphic: Cathleen Heard Law enforcement officials routinely use DNA fingerprinting as a tool to get the guilty punished. Defense lawyers often rely on the same tool to free the innocent. Though their labs may be less dramatic settings than criminal courtrooms, life science researchers also use DNA fingerprinting, but rather than capturing criminals, their goal is to keep tabs on a different sort of culprit: infectious disease. The technology has revolutionized the way diseases are tracked and th
Organismal Biologists Get Organized
Organismal Biologists Get Organized
Organismal-level biologists from the more than 70 professional societies involved in the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) have recently come together to set common goals in such areas as policy and education. The process started last November when 57 leaders from the member societies gathered for the inaugural Presidents' Summit, the first event of its kind in AIBS's 53-year history. After an extended weekend of prioritizing and synthesizing ideas, the leaders identified 11 initi
Penn Restructures Gene Therapy Institute
Penn Restructures Gene Therapy Institute
The death of University of Pennsylvania gene therapy patient Jesse Gelsinger continues to have implications for Penn's Institute for Human Gene Therapy (IHGT) and for Health and Human Services (HHS) policy in general. Based on recommendations of a six-member independent panel led by William H. Danforth, chancellor emeritus of Washington University in St. Louis, Penn recently announced a restructuring of the IHGT. A day earlier, HHS Secretary Donna E. Shalala had announced new protections for hum
Laureates Meet at Lindau
Laureates Meet at Lindau
In 1951, a wealthy Swedish count named Leonard Bernadotte organized a meeting of Nobel laureates in the scenic town of Lindau, Germany. His goal was to attract foreign scientists to a country whose own scientists had become isolated as a result of World War II. In the 50 years since, the purpose of the annual meetings, which alternate their focus among the Nobel categories of chemistry, physics, and physiology or medicine, has changed significantly. No longer just a mechanism for attracting fore
Working Toward Disarmament
Working Toward Disarmament
Photo: Jeff MillerBruce Christensen As public health officials on the East Coast keep an eye out for anything that hints of West Nile virus this year, researchers at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, are hoping their ongoing basic research will help put a monkey wrench into the genetic machinery that lets mosquitoes transmit deadly and debilitating illnesses. Bruce Christensen, professor of animal health and biomedical sciences, and his team of 15 researchers, technicians, and undergraduates
News Notes
News Notes
Biomedical scientists from 16 countries who are supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's (HHMI) International Research Scholars program will meet as a group for the first time this month in Maryland. The meeting provides a forum for both technical presentations and discussions about how researchers in different parts of the world might work together more effectively. Since 1991 HHMI has awarded more than $53 million in five-year grants to 177 research scientists working at their home i

Letter

Researchers in the Clinic
Researchers in the Clinic
In the past several years I have been reading about the lack of physicians who do research.1 Most of these articles have focused on promoting physicians and/or helping medical students to go into research. However, I have never heard (or read) of promoting graduate students who already do research to go into a medical field. I find this somewhat disturbing. Why doesn't the government, the associations, and others not try to do the same sort of "advertisement" for graduate students? It appears t
Biotech Hot Spots
Biotech Hot Spots
As I read the article on life science "hot spots" for job seekers,1 I was struck by the fact that the strength and vitality of the bioscience industry in Maryland continues to be largely overlooked. Perhaps being in the shadow of the National Institutes of Health has caused many observers to fail to recognize that employment in Maryland's private sector bioscience companies might very well surpass that of federal bioscience laboratories in the near future. I will provide a few statistics here, b

Commentary

Taking Advantage of the Talent Pool
Taking Advantage of the Talent Pool
Several recent news articles have discussed the supersaturated status of the life sciences' postdoctoral trainee pool in the United States, but very few solutions to this inconceivable "problem" of too much talent have been proposed. Current postdoctoral scientists are often encouraged to abandon their professional desires to pursue "alternative careers" while undergraduate students are discouraged from pursuing research careers that require postgraduate training. These propositions not

Cartoon

Cartoon
Cartoon
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Research

A New Place in Human Immunology
A New Place in Human Immunology
Four class 1 molecules are constructed around a fragment of protein from a virus to make a tetramer Which of the following comments are immunologists making about the tetramer assay these days? A) "It's changed our life." B) "It's just an assay." If you answered "both," you're up on your immunology. The tetramer is just an assay, but it's been making immunologists giddy in the last few years. Peter Doherty of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital made the first statement (wh
Research Notes
Research Notes
Microcolumns Collapse in Alzheimer's Brain Tangles and plaques are hallmarks of the Alzheimer's brain. Thanks to a technique borrowed from statistical physics, researchers from Boston University, the University of Minnesota, and Bar-Ilan University in Israel have quantified another sign: microcolumns of 11 neurons that are noticeably diminished in the Alzheimer's brain, and less so in the related condition Lewy body dementia. Using brains from a brain bank, the researchers probed a part of the

Hot Paper

Escape from Mitochondria
Escape from Mitochondria
For this article, Steve Bunk interviewed John C. Reed, scientific director, The Burnham Institute, La Jolla, Calif. Data from 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. J.M. Jürgensmeier, Z. Xie, Q. Deveraux, L. Ellerby, D. Bredesen, J.C. Reed, "Bax directly induces release of cytochrome c from isolated mitochondria," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 95:4997-5002, April 19
Caspase Cascade
Caspase Cascade
For this article, Steve Bunk interviewed Tak W. Mak, medical biophysics professor, Ontario Cancer Institute, University of Toronto. Data from 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. R. Hakem, A. Hakem, G.S. Duncan, J.T. Henderson, M. Woo, M.S. Soengas, A. Elia, J.L. de la Pompa, D. Kagi, W. Khoo, J. Potter, R. Yoshida, S.A. Kaufman, S.W. Lowe, J.M. Penninger, T.W. Mak, "Differential require

Bench Buys

Bench Buys
Bench Buys
RT Party Until July 31, 2000, CLONTECH is offering a free PowerScript™ Reverse Transcriptase 30 reaction kit with the order of any Premium RNA™ Total RNA Panels. Powerscript Reverse Transcriptase lacks RNase H activity but retains wild-type polymerase activity, making it ideal for synthesizing long cDNA fragments. PowerScript Reverse Transcriptase is guaranteed to be RNase-free. To receive this promotional offer, cite code #Q12870. CLONTECH, (800) 662-2566, www.clontech.com Scan It

Technology

A Solid Solution
A Solid Solution
Performing phenol extraction of nucleic acid samples is rarely the high point in a molecular biologist's day. This technique for removing contaminating proteins from a sample has endured despite the challenge of avoiding the goopy interface during transfer of the desired, upper aqueous phase. Who hasn't gone for that last little bit of nucleic acid sample and accidentally sucked up some of the interface? To ensure purity, many researchers keep a safe distance from the interface and settle for r
Golden Retriever
Golden Retriever
Seminiferous vessels stained for cytokeratin 18 without (upper) and with (lower) antigen retrieval Chemically fixing tissue sections may lock in a good result for the world to see, but it can complicate subsequent immunohistochemical staining by masking relevant antigens. A process known as antigen retrieval can restore the antigenicity of proteins altered by fixation and improve immunohistochemical detection. It can also reduce background staining, which makes it an important step in developing

Technology Profile

Microarrays at Work
Microarrays at Work
Photo: Jeff MillerTomas A Prolla Editor's Note: To keep up with topical research trends, LabConsumer continues to address various aspects of microarray technology in 2000. "Array of Options" (May 29, 2000) described the features of commercially available systems for arraying, scanning, and analyzing microarrays, and an upcoming issue (Sept. 4, 2000) will profile the growing variety of premade arrays for various applications. To gain further access to this burgeoning field, LabConsumer entered th
Pursuing Proteomes
Pursuing Proteomes
Bio-Rad's PROTEAN® IEF System provides 2-D electrophoretic separation as part of the ProteomeWorks System Australian postdoctoral fellow Marc Wilkins coined the term "proteome" in the mid-'90s, referring to the total set of proteins expressed in a given cell at a given time. The term took hold, and a new scientific discipline was born. In proteomic studies, all the proteins from a given cell, organelle, or tissue are analyzed simultaneously with respect to properties such as expression leve

Profession

The 'Where' Factor, Part III
The 'Where' Factor, Part III
Jobs in Mid-America: Just a Sampling Graphic: Cathleen Heard Editor's Note: Continuing our five-part series on geographic issues that affect job hunting for life scientists, we now turn to Mid-America. Our boundaries may not be a true geographer's boundaries, but for our purposes, this area includes Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan; goes south to Arkansas and Oklahoma; moves as far west as Colorado, Nebraska, the Dakotas, and Montana; and covers the states in between. In the next issue we'

Opinion

A Summing Up, and a Look Ahead, in Biology
A Summing Up, and a Look Ahead, in Biology
Illustration: A. Canamucio Biology today, though uncovering more and more knowledge at an amazingly rapid rate, is more specialized, fragmented, and incomprehensible to the layperson than ever. Part of this is inevitable, due to the rapid expansion of knowledge brought about by the great advances of molecular techniques. However, disciplinary boundaries are also part of the problem. Could we not try to overcome such obstacles and integrate some of the many strands of knowledge, to see what we mi