Snapshot

Instrumentally Inclined
Instrumentally Inclined
 Click for larger version (51K) Many of our readers have a musical bent. More than half of the 392 people who responded to our latest survey play a musical instrument. One-third play the piano, and another third play the guitar. Twenty-six other instruments round out the band, which includes bagpipes, didgeridoo, glockenspiel, and bouzouki. The vast majority, 74%, play alone; 17% perform in informal groups; and 9% play in a band or orchestra. They consider themselves so-so musicians, rat

Frontlines

A Peek Inside a Medieval Medicine Cabinet
A Peek Inside a Medieval Medicine Cabinet
Frontlines | A Peek Inside a Medieval Medicine Cabinet Courtesy of Wolfgang Eckart For centuries, the University of Heidelberg, Germany, has housed hundreds of medieval medical texts, but their contents--the conditions that were described, the prescriptions that were advised--have remained largely unknown. Until now. Historians have begun cataloging 298 handwritten manuscripts from the 14th to 16th centuries, says medical historian Wolfgang Eckart, who heads the project. Written by doctors
Adaptation vs. Inheritance
Adaptation vs. Inheritance
Frontlines | Adaptation vs. Inheritance Courtesy of Anna Gislén Most people see a blur when they dive underwater, but a group of youngsters in Southeast Asia, who belong to a seminomadic, seafaring tribe called the Moken, can discern small objects on the sea floor. Swedish scientists, who have studied these children, reckon this heightened ability highlights human adaptability to diverse environments. "The ... Moken of Southeast Asia are a shy people," explains Anna Gislén

Foundations

The Genesis of Prozac
The Genesis of Prozac
Foundations | The Genesis of Prozac  Click for larger version (71K) Fifty-plus years ago, Julius Axelrod and his colleagues discovered the phenomenona of neurotransmitter inactivation by reuptake into the nerve terminal, a finding that led to the development of antidepressant drugs. By increasing the neurotransmitter amount in the synaptic cleft, this allowed greater amounts of the neurotransmitter to act on postsynaptic receptors more intensely. "This is an example of basic important

First Person

Claire Fraser
Claire Fraser
First Person | Claire Fraser Courtesy of Howard Hughes Medical Institute So there's Claire Fraser, love-struck, dining with fiancé J. Craig Venter at a Marriott Hotel in the couple's then-hometown of Buffalo, NY. "We were totally in love, we only had eyes for each other," says Fraser, president of The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) since 1998. "Midway, I look past Craig, and sitting behind [him] was Mick Jagger" in town for a concert. When Jagger left, the waitstaff descended

5-Prime

Phylogenetics: Even the Terminology Evolves
Phylogenetics: Even the Terminology Evolves
5-Prime | Phylogenetics: Even the Terminology Evolves From computational biologists to forensic scientists, researchers from a range of disciplines are increasingly relying on phylogenetics--the classification of organisms and DNA sequences based on evolutionary relationships (see Hot Papers | Modern Phylogeneticists Branch Out). But the terminology used to describe this relatedness can be confusing even for evolutionists. Here are five primary definitions. Clade: A monophyletic group of t

Science Seen

Sneak Preview
Sneak Preview
Science Seen | Sneak Preview Specimen courtesy of Andrew Koff, Anxo Vidal Image courtesy of Tim Bromage, Nancy Yeh  SNEAK PREVIEW: Using a technique called AutoMontage, which combines multiple, partially focused digital images, researchers captured skeletal development in a 16 1/2-day-old knockout mouse embryo, in which a gene coding for an enzyme responsible for cell division was inactivated. The embryo was stained to reveal cartilage (blue) and mineralized bone (red). function sen

So They Say

So They Say
So They Say
So They Say "The iceberg is beginning to break up, but there's still a lot of ice [out] there. It's very important that people not get the idea, OK, everything's fixed now, because it's not." Susan Lindquist, director of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, on equal opportunities for female scientists. From The New York Times "After years of drug development, it seems that the fortunes of the newest products in the erectile dysfunction market may be affected not only by advert

Data Points

Killer Diseases Through Time
Killer Diseases Through Time
Datapoints | Killer Diseases Through Time Historic Pandemics Cases Deaths Justinian Plague, 6th Century China Plague (Bubonic) *142 million -100 million "Third Pandemic" 1896-1930 30 million 12 million Spanish Flu Pandemic 1918-1919 1 billion 21 million Sources: WHO, CDC *Based on estimated historic mortality rate of 70%   Pandemics Today       Per Year Per Year Malaria 300-500 million 1 million Tuberculosis 8 million 2 million AIDS 6
US Salaries -- Highs and Lows
US Salaries -- Highs and Lows
Datapoints | US Salaries -- Highs and Lows States with the Highest Median Life Sciences Salaries District of Columbia $80,000 New Jersey $75,000 Massachusetts $70,000 Delaware $68,230 California $67,960   States with the Lowest Median Life Sciences Salaries Montana $40,000 Wyoming $40,380 Kentucky $45,000 Hawaii $45,500 Rhode Island $46,000 Source: Abbott, Langer & Associates Note: These statistics are provided as an overview and not a definitive stud

Tue, 01 May 2001 00:00:00 GMT

The Bellen Selection
The Bellen Selection
1. I was first exposed to the awesome power of Drosophila genetics as a graduate student in the laboratory of John Kiger at the University of California, Davis. A 1972 paper inspired my respect for fruit fly genetics. This landmark paper exemplifies how flies can be engineered to carry chromosomes that allow the generation of segmental deficiencies and duplications throughout the genome.1 This, in turn, permitted mapping of genes by using deficiencies. 2. While at UC Davis, I was introduced

Editorial

Archive That!
Archive That!
Some topics are best depicted through example, so here goes: The Jeremy Norman Molecular Biology Archive, which includes papers from Aaron Klug, Max Perutz, Rosalind Franklin, Francis Crick, and James Watson, was on the auction block at Christie's.1 Its value? Between $2.2 and $3.3 million. Now, as a responsible scientist you surely keep detailed notebooks and retain raw data from your experiments. But in addition to these, do you preserve letters (professional and personal), diaries, and s

Opinion

Getting in Tune With the Enemy--Microbes
Getting in Tune With the Enemy--Microbes
Ned Shaw After a lapse of some decades, germs and disease have again been very much on our minds, largely because of the dreadful effect of AIDS throughout the world. We also have had a reawakened consciousness that globally prevalent diseases like tuberculosis and malaria remain historical scourges. Now the daily news tells us of new outbreaks such as severe acute pulmonary syndrome, or SARS, spreading from China, with an outcome that cannot be confidently predicted at this time. Throughout

Letter

The Fur (Mostly) Flies
The Fur (Mostly) Flies
The Fur (Mostly) Flies I am writing to congratulate you on an excellent editorial on "Animal Research is for Human Welfare."1 I was born and bred in the countryside but have lived and worked in an around several major cities, including London, since 1965. Over the years I have seen the disconnection between city and countryside that you mention grow and grow. Fewer and fewer of our students, for example, have any sort of rural background, and there is no easy answer to their ignorance. My
Wishing to be Tall and Blonde
Wishing to be Tall and Blonde
Wishing to be Tall and Blonde We are very happy to see our article1 presented. We have spotted a small error or misprint, of no scientific importance whatsoever. Indeed, we are presented as scientists from Sweden, although we are actually from Switzerland. We do not mind at all (I wish I could be tall with blond hairs instead of short with ... few hairs left), but we thought we should mention it for the sake of the Swiss National Funds, which supports the cost of our research. With our re

Feature

Temples of Science
Temples of Science
Image courtesy of Magnus Stark The Broad Center for the Biological Sciences, at the California Institute of Technology, designed by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners James Spudich, a Stanford University biochemist, likens the cell to a city. It incorporates roads and pathways, he says, and houses large structures, akin to buildings, such as the mitochondria and nucleus. But unlike the city, the cell can completely transform its own structure according to its needs. The right signals can convert t

Research Front Page

A Cro-Magnon Capulet?; HIV Subverts Cell Interactions; Interdisciplinary Research
A Cro-Magnon Capulet?; HIV Subverts Cell Interactions; Interdisciplinary Research
A Cro-Magnon Capulet? ©2003 The National Academy of Sciences Long ago, in what is now northwestern Europe, a Neanderthal Romeo and Cro-Magnon Juliet may have met, fallen in love, and had children--or not. Debate rages as to whether human ancestors migrating out of Africa displaced archaic humans like Neanderthals, or mixed with them. A new report lends credence to the displacement camp. Geneticist Giorgio Bertorelle, University of Ferrara, Italy, purified and sequenced segments of mit

Research

Studying SIV to Understand HIV
Studying SIV to Understand HIV
Courtesy of Frank Kiernan  PICTURE OF HEALTH? This 15-year-old mangabey at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center in Atlanta has been SIV-infected for at least 10 years. In the past, physicians who treated AIDS patients understood that this deadly disease was one of immune deficiency. Their patients were immunosuppressed, subject to opportunistic infections, and had odd cancers. Today, because of continuing research on the human and primate immune systems and their responses to retr
The Bitter Truth About PTC Tasting
The Bitter Truth About PTC Tasting
Asking students to taste PTC-soaked paper is a classic classroom exercise to demonstrate a simple inherited trait. Some grimace, others look puzzled. "PTC perception is arguably one of the most studied human traits," says Sun-Wei Guo, a professor of pediatrics and biostatistics at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. A new investigation reveals more to chew on: Rare individuals who are not quite sure whether they taste phenylthiocarbamide (PTC) have provided a hint that the inherit
With Metals in Mind
With Metals in Mind
Courtesy of John Hart Filamentous arrays of FALS SOD1 Ten years ago, researchers linked familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (FALS) to mutations in SOD1 (superoxide dismutase 1), which encodes a copper-containing superoxide dismutase enzyme known as CuZnSOD. Because this enzyme needs copper and zinc to function, the association between SOD1 and FALS led researchers to wonder if copper has an etiological role in the onset or progression of this fatal neurodegenerative disease, also call
Steeling for a Possible Iron-Parkinson Connection
Steeling for a Possible Iron-Parkinson Connection
Courtesy of Kurt Jellinger  IF IT ONLY WERE ELEMENTARY: Element distribution found by energy dispersive x-ray analysis in neuromelanin from nigral neuron in a PD patient. Adv Neurol, 60:267-71, 1993. Patients with Parkinson disease endure a progressive loss of neurons, especially dopaminergic, in the substantia nigra and other subcortical nuclei. Hallmarks of PD also include intracytoplasmic Lewy bodies and abnormal neurites, especially in the subcortical nuclei and hippocampus of affect

Hot Paper

Modern Phylogeneticists Branch Out
Modern Phylogeneticists Branch Out
Courtesy of Andrew Syred, Science Photo Library  COGS IN THE DATABASE: Duke University's Mitchell Levesque knocked out flagellar function in Bacillus subtilis, like those shown above, to show that novel COGs [clusters of orthologous groups of proteins] can be identified using a single trait-to-COG approach. For nearly a century, biologists relied on fossil records and morphological comparisons to reveal the evolutionary histories of organisms. But most phylogenetic trees need more than p

Technology Front Page

/i> Optimization; Microarray Analysis: It's a GAAS!
/i> Optimization; Microarray Analysis: It's a GAAS!
GADGET WATCH | Ultrafast Gel Loading Courtesy of Andre Marziali Technicians at the British Columbia Genome Sequence Centre in Vancouver spend hours loading agarose gels for high-throughput, bacterial artificial chromosome fingerprinting. Such repetition cries out for automation, and Andre Marziali, platform director for technology development at GenomeBC, was asked to design a fix. His solution--a "capillary comb loader"--can apply an entire microplate-worth of samples in one shot, reducing

Technology Profile

Macro Opportunities in Microfluidics
Macro Opportunities in Microfluidics
Courtesy of Advalytix When it comes to technology, great things really do come in small packages. "Smaller" is usually not only faster, but often better, and more economical. Microfluidic technology, the underlying principle for "lab-on-a-chip" devices, promises reduced sample and reagent consumption, decreased waste, and speedier processing.1,2 The resulting gadgets generally are amenable to the time- and labor-saving fantastic four: automation, integration, modularization, and parallelizatio
Whole-Genome SNP Genotyping
Whole-Genome SNP Genotyping
Clockwise from top left: images courtesy of Affymetrix, Illumina, Sequenom and Illumina Take any two individuals, sequence and compare their genomic DNA, and you'll find that the vast majority (about 99.9%) of the sequences are identical. In the remaining 0.1% lie differences in disease susceptibility, environmental response, and drug metabolism. Researchers are understandably keen to dissect these variations, most of which take the form of single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). A SNP (pron

Technology

Cytoskeletal Pharmacopeia
Cytoskeletal Pharmacopeia
Courtesy of Cytokinetics  Ovarian cancer cell line OVCAR3 fixed and stained with fluorescent markers against nuclei, Golgi apparatus, microtubules, and actin. The panels represent the same image color combined in different combinations to highlight different organizational patterns. Founded in 1998, Cytokinetics of South San Francisco, Calif., specializes in discovering, developing, and commercializing small-molecule therapeutic agents that target cytoskeletal proteins. Although the subs
Speeding Up SARS Research
Speeding Up SARS Research
Speeding Up SARS Research CombiMatrix develops a series of microarrays for severe acute respiratory syndrome Courtesy of CombiMatrix Following closely on the heels of the publication of the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) coronavirus genome, Mukilteo, Wash.-based CombiMatrix recently announced the release of the first SARS microarray. The array will be made available at no cost to a limited number of government and academic research centers, says Ali Arjomand, senior scientist at

Profession Front Page

Envisioning Proteins; Market Yourself for Management Positions; Biotech Capital Crawls Forward
Envisioning Proteins; Market Yourself for Management Positions; Biotech Capital Crawls Forward
TRAINING @ Envisioning Proteins WHAT: X-ray Methods in Structural Biology WHERE: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor, NY WHY: Designed for scientists with working knowledge of protein structure but new to macromolecular crystallography ADVANTAGES: Hands-on experiments will reinforce lectures WHEN: October 15-30, 2003 DEADLINE: June 15, 2003 COST: $2600 (US) URL: meetings.cshl.org/2003/2003c-crys.htm   TIP TROVE | Market Yourself for Management Positions Co

Profession

Of Ivy and Industry: Harvard's Quest to Do Business
Of Ivy and Industry: Harvard's Quest to Do Business
Erica P. Johnson The marble Harvard Medical School quadrangle sits up on a slight plateau, like an ancient temple, rising above Boston's busy Longwood section. Inside, glass windows soar above well-worn staircases. Persian carpets cover the floors. Slim, antique lockers line the halls of the lower floors. The quad is like an island of antiquity, surrounded by bustling medical complexes specializing in futuristic high-tech medicine. Here in the temple, there is little bustle. Decisions evolve s
Don't Just Meet and Greet ... Compete!
Don't Just Meet and Greet ... Compete!
Diana Lynn Boyle Win or lose, life scientists can profit from entering business plan competitions, according to participants in the events that are spring rites on many campuses. Some competitors find money to get businesses off the ground, others find investors for the future, some find jobs, and still others find that they are not cut out to be entrepreneurs. Each year at least 25 contests in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom offer an education in commercial survival that no
Senior Scientists Quit Europe
Senior Scientists Quit Europe
©Paul Barton, Corbis Rigid retirement policies are prompting scientists to flee Europe at the height of their professional lives to start second careers in the United States. Many of these researchers are still conducting experiments and are in no mood to slow down. But because nearly all European universities are government run, professors are left little choice when they reach mandatory retirement age, which in most countries is 65 years or even younger. Some scientists leaving for the

Turning Points

One Scientist Survives Reorganization
One Scientist Survives Reorganization
File Photo Breaking into an industry research job may seem like breaking through the blood-brain barrier: You can't find out about every job on the company's web site, and when the job is listed in the classified ads, the firm gets flooded with applicants. It can be tough even if you already work in industry. For a time, it seemed to Dalai Yan, a microbiologist and antibiotic researcher with Cumbre, a small biotech in Dallas, that fate would keep him from doing the research he cared about. Be

Postdoc Talk

Share Your Stories with Kids
Share Your Stories with Kids
Courtesy of Michael Manion Recently on my way back from a well-deserved surfing trip to Baja, I had quite an interesting experience. My traveling buddy and I were staying with Geoff, a friend in Los Angeles who couldn't join our expedition. Although a passionate globetrotting surfer himself, Geoff is more dedicated to his students than to the call of the ocean. While we spent a few days recovering from Baja-belly and from sampling the local surf, he invited us to school to talk with his stude

How I Got This Job

Linking Scientists with Business People
Linking Scientists with Business People
Courtesy of Jane Chin  Jane Chin,independent medical science liaison Early indications: I was a microbiology major as an undergraduate and doing research in a lab. While isolating plasmids and hobnobbing with Pseudomonas putida, I found the research environment to be exciting, and decided to study mammalian cell biology in graduate school. How I got here: As my research was concluding, I knew that I had no desire to continue with a postdoc, but in graduate school I had no idea medical s

Closing Bell

They Could Have Been Contenders
They Could Have Been Contenders
In April, the Department of Energy announced that it will give a $9 million (US) grant to a private, nonprofit institute in Maryland to decode the genome of every organism found in the Sargasso Sea, a body of water covering two million square miles in the North Atlantic. Covered by algae, encased by numerous currents that keep it relatively immobile, the Sargasso is essentially a sea unto itself. It's a good thing that the DOE is awarding this project. As proteomics and systems biology nudge