Uncategorized

Contributors
Contributors
Contributors Michele Pagano wasn't even out of high school when he began his research career, growing bacteria or observing paramecia before the first bell rang. In an effort to appease his father, Pagano then headed to medical school and earned his MD in 1989, but he couldn't kick the research bug he caught back in that high school laboratory. So he received an additional specialty degree (a sort of Italian equivalen
For Shame, Merck and Elsevier
For Shame, Merck and Elsevier
For Shame, Merck and Elsevier Everyone makes mistakes—it's how you handle them that matters. By Richard Gallagher It was a stealth marketing campaign to Australian doctors under the guise of a regular journal. Merck and Elsevier, two life sciences giants, are taking different tacks in responding to a crisis that arose from an ill-judged publishing collaboration. Will
Mail
Mail
Mail Sleeping on it It seems that central to the hypothesis of Chiara Cirelli and Giulio Tononi (specifically, that we need sleep to prune synapses)1 that all synapses grow during the day, whether they're stimulated by specific activities or not. I didn't see anything in the article that specifically supports the idea that all synapses increase in
High life
High life
By Bob Grant High life Socompa towers in the background of this photo taken on a National Geographic Society-funded expedition to the volcano in 2009. Courtesy of Preston Sowell The windswept peak of Socompa Volcano, on the border of Argentina and Chile, is not a nice place to visit. Parching winds scour the mountain's gravelly slopes, temperatures can swing from below freezing at night to more than 38 degrees Celsius during the day,
Do not disturb
Do not disturb
By Elie Dolgin Do not disturb As a graduate student in evolutionary genetics at the University of Edinburgh, I experienced a fundamental shift in the way science is done. In my first year, we had a radio softly humming along in the corner of lab, tuned to talk radio when I could help it, and top 40 music when I couldn't. Either way, however, my lab mates and I were always conversing—sometimes about what was on the radio, sometimes about life
A doyen steps down
A doyen steps down
By Kerry Grens A doyen steps down Audrey Evans In the beginning of Audrey Evans's career spent researching neuroblastoma, the most common cancer in babies, almost every child diagnosed with the disease would die. By the time she retired last winter after 60 years, however, that had all changed. Early in her career in Boston, Evans recalls a pleasant surprise she received from a child who had been sent home to die. "Six months later the
Led by the nose
Led by the nose
By Tia Ghose Led by the nose An early version of the nose-on-a-chip In a lab overflowing with circuit boards and bits of wire, electrical engineer Pamela Abshire holds a 5-centimeter-long, rectangle-shaped device between her thumb and index finger. From the bottom of the device, dozens of tiny copper-colored teeth jut out, while up top, a tiny round, clear plastic container covers a bright yellow square with a tick-sized silicon chip at it
Is Murray hyopallergenic?
Is Murray hyopallergenic?
By Alison McCook Is Murray hypoallergenic? Murray the cat Courtesy of Eve Yohalem It was pouring rain the night that Eve Yohalem went to pick up her $6,000 kitten at the airport. She and her husband had been told to wait at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City, where the cat would be arriving on a cross-country flight from Los Angeles. Finally, late that Friday night in October 2007, a cat carrier came into sight. Inside was the ti
Experiments in Epidemiology
Experiments in Epidemiology
By Philip T. Starks and Noah Wilson-Rich Experiments in Epidemiology How honey bees could have helped control swine flu. Sometime during the end of March or early April 2009, a 5-year-old Mexican boy living down the road from a pig farm got sick. By mid-April, news reports blasted throughout the world press of a new type of influenza outbreak in Mexico City—where half the population of the boy's town commutes to work. Within weeks, over
Stimulus Application? Not Me
Stimulus Application? Not Me
By Steven Wiley Stimulus Application? Not Me Just because there's extra money, doesn't mean it's easier to get. If you are a biologist in the United States, you are likely to be acutely aware of the new funding for biology from the economic stimulus program of President Barack Obama's administration. The extra funds going into both the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation are likely to have a very positive effect on g
Tagged for Cleansing
Tagged for Cleansing
Tagged for Cleansing Not just the cell's trash and recycling center, the ubiquitin system controls complex cellular pathways with elegant simplicity and precision. By Michele Pagano have always gravitated toward order. I may even take it a bit too far according to friends who liken my office to a museum. However, I like to think it not a compulsion, but a Feng Shui approach to life. With this need for order, I may have been better suited to
A Fading Field
A Fading Field
A Fading Field Traditional taxonomists are an endangered species. Could their unique brand of knowledge disappear, too? By Bob Grant nthony Cognato, an entomologist at Michigan State University, is a bark beetle expert. He's made a career out of collecting, identifying, and classifying the insects—members of the subfamily Scolytinae—that make a living by cultivating fungal gardens in tunnels they bore in dead trees. Even though
Survey Methodology
Survey Methodology
li { font-family: "Trebuchet MS", arial, helvetica; font-size: 10.5pt; } Survey Methodology Survey Form: A web-based survey was posted on The Scientist web site from January 6 to March 6, 2009. Results were collected and collated automatically. Invitations: E-mail invitations were sent to readers of The Scientist and registrants on The Scientist web site who identified themselves as working in commercial or industrial companies. Responses: 2911 useable and qualifie
Best Places to Work in Industry
Best Places to Work in Industry
Best Places to Work Industry: 2009 Companies atop this year's survey provide their employees with a sense of security in a risky economic climate By Tia Ghose Muthusamy Jayaraman, Principal Scientist, Drug Discovery, Alnylam Courtesy of John Earle Photography Biotech firms have taken a beating in the last year, but some companies are finding ways to survive— and thrive—despite the downturn. In this year's Best Places to Work i
Cross-Pollination
Cross-Pollination
Cross-Pollination Pioneer Hi-Bred — #1 (Large) By Tia Ghose Courtesy of Pioneer Hi-Bred Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont Company, was ranked the best large place to work this year, after taking the top spot last year and placing tenth in 2007. The agricultural company, founded in 1926 and now home to over 8500 employees worldwide, engineers products like drought-tolerant corn and rice, high oleic content corn, and improved weed and
Running (RNA) Interference
Running (RNA) Interference
Running (RNA) Interference Alnylam — #6 (Small) By Tia Ghose Courtesy of Alnylam Pharmaceuticals For the first time since we started our surveys in 2003, sixth-ranked Alnylam Pharmaceuticals placed among the top ten small companies. The Cambridge, Mass.-based company develops medicines that rely on RNA interference to increase or decrease gene activity. Research in RNA interference is booming, with over 25 companies entering the field
Sitting Pretty in Tough Times
Sitting Pretty in Tough Times
Sitting pretty in tough times Infinity Pharmaceuticals — #1 (Small) By Tia Ghose Courtesy of Infinity Pharma Infinity Pharmaceuticals, an 8-year-old pharmaceutical company in Cambridge, Mass., jumped from fifth place in 2008 to the top spot on our list of best small companies. With an anticancer drug that targets the heat shock promoter 90 (HSP90) in several Phase II clinical trials, and a seven-month-old marriage to Purdue Pharmaceuti
Back on Top
Back on Top
Back on top GeneDx — #2 (Small) By Tia Ghose GeneDx rocketed to second place among small companies this year after not making the rankings in 2008 or 2007, and placing tenth in 2006. The company develops genetic tests that help clinicians identify over 200 rare heritable disorders. In 2006, GeneDx was acquired by Bioreference Laboratories, a diagnostic company located in New Jersey. Although the two have "completely separate" day-to-day operations, the a
Best Places to Work Industry 2009 Questions
Best Places to Work Industry 2009 Questions
table { font-size: 11px; } Best Places to Work Industry 2009 Questions Factors Categories My company fully funds my research. Research Environment My company's research mission is logical and practical, and I understand my role in it. Research Environment My supervisor helps me understand the reasons behind company research plans. Research Environment Open collaboration with other company scientists h
Best Places to Work 2009: IndustryTop Institutions PDF
Best Places to Work 2009: IndustryTop Institutions PDF
Best Places to Work 2009: Industry PDF Related Articles Best Places to Work : Industry 2009 Cross-Pollination Running (RNA) Interference Sitting pretty in tough times Back on Top Survey Methodology Ranking Tables Top 30 Institutions Top Small Companies Top Large Companies BPTW Industry Charts In our June issue, read about the companies that ranked at the top of our Best Places to Work in Industry survey. Click here to download the 200
On the MAP
On the MAP
By Karen Hopkin On the MAP By charting the unknown territory of cellular signaling—including the M.O. of the oncogene Ras—Chris Marshall has transformed the landscape of cancer research. © Charlotte Steeples In an exhibit on modern science at the London Science Museum sits a replica of Chris Marshall's inner sanctum. "They took photos of three different scientists' offices and recreated them there in the museum,
Over the Brainbow
Over the Brainbow
By Tia Ghose Over the Brainbow Two years after the colorful project made a splash, most researchers are still relying on older techniques to map neural linkages. Courtesy of Jean Livet Neurons in young brains form a riot of interconnections that fan out in all directions, with multiple nerve cells often converging on a single target cell. As brains mature, some of these overlapping connections are pruned. Being able to visualize t
I heard it through the genome
I heard it through the genome
By Bob Grant I heard it through the genome Flagstaffotos The paper: O. Jaillon et al., "The grapevine genome sequence suggests ancestral hexaploidization in major angiosperm phyla," Nature, 449:463–68, 2007. (Cited in 133 papers) The finding: A team of researchers in France and Italy sequenced the genome of the common grapevine, Vitis vinifera, and found evidence of a whole genome tripling event prior to the divergence of mono
Quantum clearance
Quantum clearance
By Tia Ghose Quantum clearance Courtesy of Dr. Mingyong Han and Dr. Shuming Nie, Indiana University / Photo: Douglas A. Stuart The paper: H.S. Choi et al., "Renal clearance of quantum dots," Nat Biotech, 25:1165–70. (Cited in 74 papers) The finding: Hak Soo Choi and John Frangioni of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Mass., wanted to maximize the safety profile of quantum dots—nanoscale semiconductor parti
Lac on, Lac off
Lac on, Lac off
By Alla Katsnelson Lac on, lac off © Phantatomix / Photo Researchers, Inc. The paper: J. Elf et al., "Probing transcription factor dynamics at the single-molecule level in a living cell," Science, 316:1191–94, 2007. (Cited in 65 papers) The finding: Using fluorescence imaging, a Harvard team led by Sunney Xie quantified the kinetics of the lac operon repressor protein in Escherichia coli in real time. They showed that t
Qi-Jing Li: The hallway immunologist
Qi-Jing Li: The hallway immunologist
By Megan Scudellari Qi-Jing Li: The hallway immunologist © Bryan Regan Photography Entering the lab on his first day as a PhD student, Qi-Jing Li "looked like a kid in a candy store," recalls Manuela Martins-Green, Li's doctoral advisor at the University of California, Riverside. Twelve years later, his expression hasn't changed much. Li strolls into his brand-new lab at Duke University Medical Center and shows off his new microscope,
Benching Bases
Benching Bases
By Kelly Rae Chi Benching Bases How to do heavy computational lifting in genomes and transcriptomes You've unpacked your next-generation sequencing system and popped in some DNA or RNA. Five days later, you've sequenced 50 million tiny strings of nucleotides. Then what? Based on their sequences, you have to align all the fragments, called "reads," with the help of a reference genome—a fully assembled sequence from the same species. In the abse
Year of the Compound
Year of the Compound
By Elie Dolgin Year of the Compound Will a novel codevelopment model open up China's drug discovery platform? Mireille Gingras Five years ago, Mireille Gingras was struggling to find early-stage drug compounds for a San Diego–based licensing consultancy company she founded called Sitara. She turned to the "usual pool" of companies and research institutions in Europe and Japan, but they'd all been picked dry, she says. Then G
Friending Pharma
Friending Pharma
By Tia Ghose Friending Pharma With academic/pharma partnerships on the rise, how do academic scientists make the most of the deal? Here are tips from three kinds of collaborations with industry. © James Steinberg As pharma's pipeline dries out, companies are increasingly reaching out to university researchers—and not just for out-of-the-box licensing deals. Over the past three years, Washington University in St. Louis ha
Atomic Force Microscope, circa 1985
Atomic Force Microscope, circa 1985
Gerd Binnig of the IBM Zurich Research Laboratory, Christoph Gerber of the University of Basel, and Calvin Quate of Stanford University puzzled over how they could accurately visualize biological material without destroying it.