News

Targeting HIV Therapy with Intelligence
Targeting HIV Therapy with Intelligence
With an arsenal of 17 approved drugs and intricate rules for deploying each one, a physician's battle to shut down HIV replication is like chess against an opponent too strong to be driven from the board, so keeping the game going is the only alternative to losing. Today's best strategy for suppressing HIV calls for using three or four inhibitors in combination. As with a chessboard siege defense, conserving pieces while sealing off each new attack, doctors try to pick drug combinations that pre
Big, Bigger, Biggest
Big, Bigger, Biggest
Image courtesy of Eyewire ©2001, Graphic: Cathleen Heard The economy may be chasing the bear rather than the bull, but short-term economic downturns are not affecting pharmaceutical firms' expansion--at least, not yet. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that AstraZeneca PLC's profits were up,1 and those who know the industry see the human lifestyle as more of a factor in drug company growth than the economy. "Although you may see peaks and valleys in bioscience growth and development
Behind the Sequence
Behind the Sequence
At the recent American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting held in San Francisco, Celera Genomics CEO J. Craig Venter and National Human Genome Research Institute director Francis S. Collins spent considerable time appeasing autograph seekers at their respective plenary lectures--the former, signing dozens of copies of the February 16 issue of AAAS's journal Science, the latter, copies of the February 15 issue of Nature. They were the sorts of receptions usually experienced by roc
The Regulation Atmosphere
The Regulation Atmosphere
The pharmaceutical industry is cautiously optimistic that the new Bush administration and Congress will continue efforts to streamline the drug discovery and approval process. But the federal regulatory and licensing landscape will also be shaped this year by patent reform and gene therapy issues. In addition, two major pieces of legislation--one affecting drug approval times and the other market exclusivity--will either be phased out or reauthorized in the coming 18 months. "We really c
'Deep Gene' and 'Deep Time'
'Deep Gene' and 'Deep Time'
Amid last month's hoopla over the human genome sequence and what it says about humans, plant biologists announced two new efforts aimed at a firmer understanding of plant evolution--who is related to whom and how--a discipline better known as systematics. Constructing evolutionary family trees is harder than investigating personal genealogies--biologists don't have the equivalent of birth registrations or family bibles to consult. Fossils tell them what ancient plants use to look like, but placi
News Notes
News Notes
The Scientist 15[5]:18, Mar. 5, 2001 NEWS News Notes D2 Receptors Fight Addiction By Harvey Black Mice, which have been experimentally addicted to alcohol show a decrease in alcohol consumption when the population of D2 receptors in their brains is increased, Nora D. Volkow, associate director of Brookhaven National Laboratory reported at a symposium on addiction and the brain. In imaging studies, Volkow found that cocaine addicts had lower numbers of these receptors fo

Cartoon

Cartoon
Cartoon
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Commentary

Resolutions for a More Livable Planet
Resolutions for a More Livable Planet
One of the most pressing challenges that the United States--and indeed, the world--will face in the next few decades is how to alleviate the growing stress that human activities are placing on the environment. The consequences are just too great to ignore. Wildlife habitats are being degraded or disappearing altogether as new developments take up more land. Plant and animal species are becoming extinct at a greater rate now than at any time in Earth's history. As many as 30 percent of the world'

Letter

More on Communicating Science
More on Communicating Science
This note is in response to Saul Green,1 who was responding to Mary Woolley's call for scientists to reach out to nonscientists.2 Green says he and his colleagues have been trying to do this for many years but without apparent success. I believe I can see why. It is not, as he implies, the "closedness" of those who, for example, believe in homeopathy and are therefore unresponsive to scientific refutation of that belief system. Rather it appears to be the mutual "closedness" of two distinct beli
Postdoc Plight
Postdoc Plight
Thank you for the update on the status and plight of postdocs.1 I personally spent 11 years on the postdoc/research associate circuit, and found that expectations for performance relative to the salary, benefits, and opportunities for advancement were totally unrealistic. I became less competitive in the grant "game" each year that passed, not because of my proposals, but because I was seen as "not productive." Catch-22! Many of my colleagues dropped out and pursued non-life science careers in

Research

Coley Toxin's Hidden Message
Coley Toxin's Hidden Message
Few drug discovery stories have offered researchers as many chances for dismissive disbelief as the one William B. Coley launched with his bacterial lysate treatments for cancer. If, perhaps, he looks down from above, he's probably watching the development of immunostimulatory oligonucleotides with a keen sense of excitement and anticipation. "For who would have thought," marvels Robert L. Bratzler, CEO of Coley Pharmaceuticals Group, "that DNA, which was not supposed to have immune stimulation
Research Notes
Research Notes
An Herbal Cure for PMS? Approaches to treating premenstrual syndrome (PMS) include taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors such as Prozac, rubbing in progesterone creams, and eating more essential fatty acids, all of which are of questionable efficacy. An Internet search turns up the usual "food supplement" remedies. "Herbal solace," for example, offers as a main ingredient phenylalinine, an "element" that is found naturally in some plants and animals. This makes some sense, for phenyla

Hot Paper

Ribosomal Database Relocated
Ribosomal Database Relocated
For this article, Steve Bunk interviewed Carl R. Woese, Stanley O. Ikenberry Professor Microbiology, University of Illinois, and Gary J. Olsen, associate professor of microbiology, University of Illinois. 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.   B.L. Maidak, J.R. Cole, C.T. Parker, Jr., G.M. Garrity, N. Larsen, B. Li, T.G. Lilburn, M.J. McCaughey, G.J. Olsen, R. Overbeek, S
HIV Vaccine as a Weapon
HIV Vaccine as a Weapon
For this article, Steve Bunk interviewed Jörn E. Schmitz, instructor in medicine, and Keith A. Reimann, associate professor of medicine, both of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard University Medical School. 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.E. Schmitz, M.J. Kuroda, S. Santra, V.G. Sasseville, M.A. Simon, M.A. Lifton, P. Racz, K. Tenner-Racz, M. Dale

Technology

Glow Power
Glow Power
Stratagene's Vitality™ hrGFP (green fluorescent protein) mammalian expression vectors allow protein expression and subcellular localization studies similar to those using jellyfish (Aequorea victoria) GFP, with one important difference: Stratagene's hrGFP exhibits less toxicity in many mammalian cells. Renilla reniformis, an Anthazoan sea pansy related to the jellyfish, produces a 238 amino-acid protein that has broader pH stability, more resistance to solvents, detergents, and proteases,
'My' Online Notebook
'My' Online Notebook
The days of the paper lab notebook might be numbered. As data acquisition and analysis move further into the electronic world, researchers will most likely rely more heavily on electronic media to manage their data. Enter the free Internet-based research management systems software specifically designed for scientists by Metazoa Systems of San Francisco. With only the click of a button, scientists can upload and retrieve images and other electronic files and archive notes or protocols in an org
Paradigm Gel Shift
Paradigm Gel Shift
Researchers interested in evaluating the interaction of transcription factors with their target sequences commonly employ the electrophoretic mobility shift assay, more commonly known as the "gel-shift." Gel-shift assays can provide crucial information on the binding of transcription factors to their consensus sequences, but because the technique relies on the use of radiolabeled nucleotides, it can be cumbersome and time-consuming. A single gel-shift assay can take days to complete, and in the

Technology Profile

Molecular Modeling in the Genomics Era
Molecular Modeling in the Genomics Era
Molecular Modeling, Visualization, and Structure Prediction Software (Additional material not included in the print edition) Courtesy of Theoretical Biophysics GroupBeckman InstituteUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignThe photosynthetic reaction center of the purple bacterium, Rhodopseudomonas viridis (rendered using VMD) The aim of some life science researchers is to understand human physiology and the various diseases and mutations that can cause the body to go haywire. Accomplishing th
Death Watch I: Cytotoxicity Detection
Death Watch I: Cytotoxicity Detection
Suppliers of Cytotoxicity Reagents (Part 1) Suppliers of Cytotoxicity Reagents (Part 2) Editor's note: This is the first in a two-part series on cell death. A second article on apoptosis will be published June 25. Courtesy of Loats AssociatesA comet assay showing degradation of 45 percent of the genomic DNA A few years ago the ultimate fate of dead cells was the laboratory trashcan. But cell necrobiology (the study of mechanisms of cell death) is now one of the hot fields of science.1 Cells c

Profession

Working in Drug Discovery Research
Working in Drug Discovery Research
Courtesy Eli Lilly and Co.Kevin Tichenor (left) and Chahrzad Montrose (right) dissolve compounds and place them in various plate formats required for biological screeing. Life science researchers may think that the most viable career opportunities lie in academia or other nonprofit settings. For scientists who are drawn to an intensive research environment, however, the pharmaceutical industry offers another option. While focused on high-quality research just like academia, the drug discovery i
Developing Intellectual Entrepreneurship
Developing Intellectual Entrepreneurship
Doctoral programs do not adequately prepare students for the future. So says the recent study funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts, "At Cross Purposes: What the Experiences of Today's Doctoral Students Reveal about Doctoral Education."1 To solve this problem the University of Texas, which produces the largest number of Ph.D.s annually, established a professional development program (www.utexas.edu/ogs/development.html). Initiated in 1997, the mission of the University of Texas at Austin Intellect
Foreign-Born Researchers in Big Pharma
Foreign-Born Researchers in Big Pharma
The face of pharmaceutical researchers is changing. An increase in the diversity and number of foreign-born researchers working at private firms mirrors the increase in foreign graduate students and postdocs currently in the proverbial pipeline of scientists. According to a National Academy of Sciences report,1 nearly half of the approximately 52,000 postdocs in the United States are foreign-born, with half remaining in this country for work, including research and management positions at pharma
Profession Notes
Profession Notes
With an increasing focus on bioterrorism preparedness (E. Russo, "Bioterrorism Preparedness," The Scientist, 15[1]:1, Jan. 8, 2001), researchers at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School are investigating new therapies to protect against a bioterrorist smallpox outbreak. Stuart N. Isaacs, assistant professor of medicine in the Penn Division of Infectious Diseases and John D. Lambert, professor in the Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine have received $1.1 million from the Nat
Funding Opportunities in the Life Sciences
Funding Opportunities in the Life Sciences
Organizations are welcome to submit information for consideration for future listings by contacting kdevine@the-scientist.com Click to view the PDF file: Funding Opportunities in the Life Sciences

Opinion

Integrating Drug Discovery and Development
Integrating Drug Discovery and Development
Illustration: Anthony Canamucio In response to increased economic pressures, research-based pharmaceutical companies are attempting to streamline and accelerate their drug discovery and development processes. With the advent of genomics, proteomics, and bioinformatics, these companies now have access to an unprecedented abundance of potential therapeutic targets. With the emergence of combinatorial chemistry and innovative robotic-based technologies for conducting high throughput screening, thes