Editorial

Basic Research: It's Worth It
Basic Research: It's Worth It
As a society we are making huge investments, both intellectual and financial, in the life sciences.

About Us

Meet This Issue's Contributors
Meet This Issue's Contributors
, associate director of the Center for Statistical Consulting at the University of California, Irvine, met genomics researcher Paul Silverman after a January 2004 lecture.

Letter

Consulting by NIH scientists
Consulting by NIH scientists
The Scientist recently published a proposal for a new rule on consulting by National Institutes of Health scientists.1 Under this rule, consulting would be "prohibited when it involves drug, device or product related to [the scientist's] research; permitted when company products are unrelated to [the scientist's] research." But this rule, proposed by the Executive Committee of the NIH Assembly of Scientists, is remarkably similar to the rules that were in existence during the 8-year period that
More on Mars
More on Mars
I appreciate S. Fred Singer's comments1 on my article, "Next Stop, Mars."2 He is correct that a focus on improved propulsion could reduce travel time to Mars and therefore radiation exposure. Also, his suggestion to use low atomic weight materials within shields is a time-honored and reasonable approach – although these shields would need to be quite thick to reduce radiation to terrestrial levels. I disagree, however, that magnetic shielding would not be effective.The effectiveness of Ear

Opinion

Scientific Knowledge as a Public Good
Scientific Knowledge as a Public Good
Life scientists are accustomed to thinking about quantifying the products of their knowledge in terms of such things as papers published, discoveries made, or, in the case of applied science, diseases treated.

Notebook

What (some) scientists say
What (some) scientists say
FameLab's approach focuses on entertainment, new faces, and diversity, but another recent science communication effort takes a different approach.
Lights... camera... science
Lights... camera... science
A science career can sometimes bear more than a passing resemblance to leading a life on the stage.
Full-time science advisor wanted down under
Full-time science advisor wanted down under
During the six years that Robin Batterham served as Chief Scientist of Australia, from 1999 until last month, he weathered repeated accusations that his independence was sullied by conflicts of interest.

Research

MicroRNA Target Practice
MicroRNA Target Practice
About a month before a New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS) meeting last February, six of the scheduled speakers received an unusual homework assignment.

Vision

The Uncertain Future for Central Dogma
The Uncertain Future for Central Dogma
Nearly two decades ago, Paul H. Silverman testified before Congress to advocate the Human Genome Project.

Hot Paper

RNAi's Minor Setback
RNAi's Minor Setback
RNA interference seemed poised to transform functional genomics and therapeutics with the 2001 publication of a paper by Tom Tuschl and colleagues showing that 21-base-pair (bp) RNA duplexes silence mammalian genes in a sequence-dependent manner.1 Though prior research demonstrated the effectiveness of double-stranded (ds)RNA as a posttranscriptional gene-silencing tool in plants and nematodes, its use in mammals was limited by the fact that dsRNAs larger than 30 bp can activate the interferon r

Briefs

Interdisciplinary Research
Interdisciplinary Research
These papers were selected from multiple disciplines from the Faculty of 1000, a Web-based literature awareness tool http://www.facultyof1000.com.J. Roos et al., "STIM1, an essential and conserved component of store-operated Ca2+ channel function," J Cell Biol, 169:435–45, May 9, 2005.This paper reports that STIM1, an integral membrane protein expressed in endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and the plasma membrane, is required for store-operated Ca2+ entry in diverse cell types. An RNAi-based scre
Alternate cell-death program identified
Alternate cell-death program identified
Harvard University's Junying Yuan and colleagues identified a chemical that blocks a programmed cell-death pathway that is non-apoptotic.
A moonlighting protein repairman
A moonlighting protein repairman
Displaying an unprecedented dual role for a transcription factor, activating transcription factor 2 (ATF2) also responds to DNA damage, according to Ze'ev Ronai and colleagues at the Burnham Institute in La Jolla, Calif.

Technology

Building a Better Optical Trap
Building a Better Optical Trap
Building a Better Optical Trap
Shortly after the invention of the laser, Bell Labs physicist Arthur Ashkin began exploring the range of the new devices.
Biology by the Numbers
Biology by the Numbers
When the graduate students and postdocs in Martin Wilson's lab at the University of California, Davis, need to do image processing, they look to an unlikely source.

Tools and Technology

Rosy Outlook for Blue Roses
Rosy Outlook for Blue Roses
More than $27 billion worth of cut flowers are sold in the global marketplace every year.
A New Microarray Star is Born
A New Microarray Star is Born
With the April 2005 release of its Little Dipper Microarray Processing System, Sunnyvale, Calif.-based SciGene has now completed its benchtop system for automated microarray processing from hybridization through slide drying, bringing a higher degree of standardization and simplicity to what can be a complicated process.
Pump Up the Protein Volume
Pump Up the Protein Volume
exogenous proteins are often fatal to the cells, and endogenous proteins can interfere with purification of the target protein.

BioBusiness

Generic Drugs: A Big Business Getting Bigger
Generic Drugs: A Big Business Getting Bigger
When Novartis International announced in February that it was making a play for two generic drug companies, it was viewed as an acknowledgment that generics could play an increasingly important role in the pharmaceutical business.
I'll See You In Court
I'll See You In Court
The University of Rochester thought it had struck pay dirt on April 11, 2000, when it was awarded a broad patent covering inhibitors of the enzyme cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) based on the work of researchers Donald Young, Michael K. O'Banion, and Virginia D. Winn.1 That same day the university filed a lawsuit against pharmaceutical giants G.D. Searle & Co. (subsequently Pharmacia and Pfizer), and later Monsanto, alleging that the blockbuster drugs Celebrex and Bextra infringed on its pioneering
Testing Fetal DNA
Testing Fetal DNA
When Charles Cantor and Dennis Lo flew to Pattaya, Thailand in late 2002 to attend a conference, neither man knew they would end up collaborating on a blood test that could one day reduce reliance on invasive prenatal diagnostic methods such as amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling (CVS)

Update

French reorganization for funding worries researchers
French reorganization for funding worries researchers
The French government's long-awaited blueprint for reforming the country's research system, recently unveiled, has sparked fears that it will result in less money being available for basic research.
Concern over renaming at Hong Kong University
Concern over renaming at Hong Kong University
The University of Hong Kong announced that it was going to rename its Faculty of Medicine, which conducts groundbreaking research into severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and avian influenza, in honor of a local tycoon who recently donated $128 million (US).
UK prepares for animal protests
UK prepares for animal protests
has created a position of senior project manager to coordinate how universities deal with animal rights activists.

Atlas

Madison, Wisconsin: The Midwest's Low-Key Hotspot
Madison, Wisconsin: The Midwest's Low-Key Hotspot
In the middle of dairy country, nestled by four glacial lakes, Madison, Wisconsin is quietly emerging as a biotechnology and life science powerhouse.

Closing Bell

Please Stop, You're Interfering With My Research
Please Stop, You're Interfering With My Research
Thank you, members of Congress, for the opportunity to address you at this hearing today.