Features

Proteomic Players Pick Plasma
Steve Bunk | Mar 9, 2003
Courtesy of Stephen Naylor, Beyond Genomics Inc. Like any good board game, proteomics requires a blend of strategy and serendipity. But while the former is about winning, the latter is about achievement, and its rules are still being made. Without such rules, it's hard to measure success, which is why nobody at a recent proteomics conference in San Diego could gauge exactly how far the field has advanced since the human genome was sequenced almost two years ago. Nevertheless, several speakers
Technologies Vie for Dominance
Jeffrey Perkel | Mar 9, 2003
Courtesy of Bio-Rad Laboratories  AUTOMATING DISCOVERY: Two-dimensional gel-based proteomics is traditionally derided for its technical difficulty, low-throughput, and lack of reproducibility. Instrument manufacturers have fired back with a range of automated and integrated options. Shown here is the ProteomeWorks product line. Thierry Rabilloud has been doing proteomics since long before the word proteome was even coined. For years Rabilloud, currently at the Atomic Energy Commission Re
Automating 2-D Gel Electrophoresis
The Scientist Staff | Mar 9, 2003
Automating 2-D Gel Electrophoresis Courtesy of Amersham Biosciences Amersham Biosciences www.amershambiosciences.com The Ettan™ proteomics product line includes the Ettan IPGphor™ IEF system and Ettan DALT™ SDS-PAGE system, plus the standalone Ettan Spot Picker, Ettan Digester, and Ettan Spotter. Alternatively, the integrated Ettan Spot Handling Workstation performs spot picking, digestion, and MALDI spotting in an integrated unit. Applied Biosystems www.appliedbiosyst

Frontlines

Fleeing Monkey Fuels Simmering Fire
Fleeing Monkey Fuels Simmering Fire
Frontlines | Fleeing Monkey Fuels Simmering Fire A monkey that split from the California National Primate Research Center at University of California, Davis, caused one group of protestors to go bananas last month. On Feb. 13, a rhesus macaque escaped from its cage during a cage change; researchers believed that the female animal had slipped down a drain. After a scan of the center's entire drainage system and a search of the local area, her whereabouts were still unknown in late February,
Botulism from Blubber
Botulism from Blubber
Frontlines | Botulism from Blubber Corbis Botulism, usually associated with eating improperly canned foods, get its name from the Latin botulus for sausage, a source when the illness was first described in Europe in the late 19th century. A recent report chronicles another source and route: consuming raw beached marine mammals (J. Middaugh et al., "Outbreak of botulism type E associated with eating a beached whale - Western Alaska, July 2002," Morbid Mortal Wkly Rep, 52:24-6, Jan. 17, 2003)
RNA Interference Maintained in Stem Cells
RNA Interference Maintained in Stem Cells
Frontlines | RNA Interference Maintained in Stem Cells Short hairpin RNAs (shRNAs) offer a new way to silence genes, courtesy of RNA interference (RNAi). A study from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, home of the discovery of the RNAi enzyme dicer, indicates that these RNAs can be more than "off" switches. Different RNA hairpins corresponding to the same gene can squelch expression to different degrees, modulating a phenotype in a controlled way by tagging messenger RNAs for destruction. Gre

Snapshot

Why Do Scientists Join Societies?
Why Do Scientists Join Societies?
 Click to view larger version (11K) We surveyed 340 readers to find out if they are members of professional scientific societies, and why they join. A majority of readers, 82.4%, belong to at least one society, and a remarkable 21.4% belong to four or more societies. Important reasons that a majority of scientists join professional societies include: participation in meetings and conferences (67.4%), association with fellow scientists (65.6%), and subscriptions to research journals (60.1

First Person

Rita Colwell
Rita Colwell
First Person | Rita Colwell Courtesy of the National Science Foundation Ambivalence doesn't fit the mien of Rita Colwell. Director of the National Science Foundation since 1998, Colwell, 68, says that she always wanted to be a scientist, wouldn't stand for anyone stopping her advancement, and decided the day that she met her physicist husband Jack that he was the one for her. They married in 1956. "I guess I know how to make decisions," says the marine molecular biologist, dedicated jogger

Foundations

Carl Linnaeus, 1707-1778
Carl Linnaeus, 1707-1778
Foundations | Carl Linnaeus, 1707-1778  Click to view larger version (127K) His parents wanted him to be a priest, but he rejected the collar to study natural order. Swede Carl Linnaeus, a medical doctor who treated syphilis, tried to organize the world's flora and fauna. Starting with Systema Naturae in 1735, he began providing a concise survey of the 12,200 known species at the time. These works helped to standardize the consistent binomial nomenclature for species. His plant taxonom

Off The Cuff

What's the most creative way you've seen of cutting lab costs?
What's the most creative way you've seen of cutting lab costs?
Off The Cuff | What's the most creative way you've seen of cutting lab costs? "Opening the lab doors to high school volunteers. It provides inspiration for them and cheap labor for us. --Louis R. Ptak, North Wales, Pa. "Some researchers at our facility have purchased slightly used lab equipment on eBay." --Judith Ochrietor, Gainesville, Fla. "Spitting in tubes in order to conserve lysozyme." --Tom Walter, Oxford, UK "Make it clear to both worker and spouse, that all project costs

5-Prime

NMR: Spin Doctoring
NMR: Spin Doctoring
5-Prime | NMR: Spin Doctoring WHO? Stanford's Felix Bloch and Harvard's Edward Mills Purcell shared the 1952 Nobel Prize in physics "for their development of new methods for nuclear magnetic precision measurements and discoveries in connections therewith." WHAT? Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) concerns atomic nuclei, which carry positive charges. Many nuclei spin on their axes and generate magnetic fields, like billions of tiny bar magnets. Slightly more than half of these nuclear magne

So They Say

So They Say
So They Say
So They Say "Your statement that we don't need stem cell research because we're doing other stuff is crap." --James Watson, in response to a bioethicist's comment that stem cell research is just another line of research, as quoted in the San Francisco Chronicle. "Bioinformatics is nothing but good, sound, regular biology appropriately dressed so that it can fit into a computer." --From a new book, Bioinformatics for Dummies, by Jean-Michel Claverie and Cedric Notredame, published by Wil

Data Points

Life Science Sojourners
Life Science Sojourners
Data Points | Life Science Sojourners Biology and Agriculture PhD graduates in the US; selected countries of origin (1996) Taiwan -- 223 India -- 191 Korea -- 159 Mexico -- 51 Germany -- 42 United Kingdom -- 27 France -- 25 Greece -- 13 Italy -- 11

Tue, 01 May 2001 00:00:00 GMT

The Joseph McPartlin Selection
The Joseph McPartlin Selection
Courtesy of Joseph McPartlin 1. In the age of nanofluidics, the 24-hour urine collection may seem a curiosity, though much depends in metabolic studies on the accuracy of collecting these specimens. In an account worthy of Italian satirist Dario Fo, the authors Turner and Merlis1 recount the sources of errors during collections. They also compare working with human subjects to an enormous game of chess, and quote George Eliot's Felix Holt: Fancy what a game of chess would be if all the chess

Editorial

Will Walls Come Tumbling Down?
Will Walls Come Tumbling Down?
The Public Library of Science, whose editorial board reads like a Who's Who of the biology community,1 is slated to start publishing later on this year. PLoS will practice what it has preached: open-access publication, joining BioMed Central (a sister company of The Scientist), which has been publishing open-access journals for the last two years. If successful, this approach will trigger a seismic change in academic publishing. What is open-access publishing all about and who will it benefit

Opinion

Letters
Letters
If you teach introductory biology, you've probably heard this refrain at least once: 'I had to learn it, but I don't believe it.' The 'it,' of course, is evolution. The admission usually comes at the end of the semester, when grades are safely in. Invariably, when you ask why, the student cites religious belief. Somebody once said, if you're not prepared to have your basic ideas challenged, you don't belong in college. I don't expect students to accept everything they learn, but in this case

Letter

Foundations and Research Decisions
Foundations and Research Decisions
Foundations and Research Decisions Regarding Susan M. Fitzpatrick's opinion article,1 we agree that many other private foundations have made, and continue to make, important contributions to research on the diseases of the developing world. In fact, we have consulted extensively with several of these foundations during the process of designing the Grand Challenges initiative. We take issue, however, with Dr. Fitzpatrick's claim that the initiative relies "on [National Institutes of Health
Just Politics
Just Politics
Just Politics Regarding Daniel S. Greenberg's Closing Bell column,1 his article certainly is about "politics" and not about science. It's obviously just a liberal journalist's biased attempt to enlist scientists in his cause of removing right-wing ideological purity from Washington and returning the left-wing ideological purists to power. David Bump 501 Coutant Flushing, Mich. 48433 1. D.S. Greenberg, "A no-show in politics," The Scientist, 17[3]:64, Feb. 10, 2003.
Frequent Flyer Bugs
Frequent Flyer Bugs
Frequent Flyer Bugs Regarding the hypothesis that rootworms (Diabrotica virgifera) that destroy cornfields have spread to Europe by airplane,1 a quick look into the compartment for the landing gears for a jumbo jet shows that there are several insects in this huge space. There might as well be other pests such as whitefly (Bemisia tabaci), which has over 500 different plant hosts worldwide; it can transmit at least 20 different geminiviruses that affect commercial and basic food crops, such

Research Front Page

Science Seen; Models and Targets; Interdisciplinary Research
Science Seen; Models and Targets; Interdisciplinary Research
Front Page | Science Seen; Models and Targets; Interdisciplinary Research SCIENCE SEEN Courtesy of Science Photo Library ROCKETTES MATERIAL? This diatom, belonging to the Bacillariophyceae class of minute planktonic unicellular or colonial algae, could be called the daddy longlegs of the unicellular marine world. Found in plankton, this Bacteriastrum delicatulum has very ornate cell walls made of silica; its legs may aid flotation. Plankton forms the basis for the entire marine food ch

Research

Microbes Rule
Microbes Rule
Courtesy of Gordon Vrdoljak, UC, Berkeley  Pseudomonas syringae (left) and Pediococcus pentosaceus (right) Over the past year, major English-language newspapers worldwide have printed six stories about microbial genomes, as compared with 485 stories on the Human Genome Project.1 Yet, scientists have sequenced and published nearly 100 complete microbial genomes. Dozens more have been draft-sequenced, providing unpublished data that have gaps but are still usable. The public and press may
Exploring the Microbial World
Exploring the Microbial World
Mono Lake, Courtesy of Jonathan P. Zehr, University of California, Santa Cruz They are the oldest forms of life, and by sheer quantity, they dominate the planet. But how bacteria and archaea interact with each other and their environment is essentially unknown. "It's really difficult to understand how the natural world functions if we don't know its most abundant and diverse component," says Matthew Kane, who runs the National Science Foundation's microbial program. Ninety-nine percent of the
Some Viruses Elicit Immune Response Before Entering Cell; Suburban Sprawl Could Increase Lyme Disease Infections; Human Pediatric Anesthetics Damage Murine Model Brains
Some Viruses Elicit Immune Response Before Entering Cell; Suburban Sprawl Could Increase Lyme Disease Infections; Human Pediatric Anesthetics Damage Murine Model Brains
In Brief Courtesy of The Bradford Laboratory, University of Helsinki, Finland Some Viruses Elicit Immune Response Before Entering Cell Human cytomegalovirus triggers an immune response before it actually enters the cell, according to a report from researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Massachusetts (T. Compton et al., "Human cytomegalovirus activates inflammatory cytokine responses via CD14 and toll-like receptor 2," J Virol, in press). The immune syste

Hot Paper

AID and Its Impact on Antibody Genetic Alteration
AID and Its Impact on Antibody Genetic Alteration
Data derived from the Science Watch/Hot Papers database and 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. M. Muramatsu et al., "Class switch recombination and hypermutation require activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID), a potential RNA editing enzyme," Cell, 102:553-63, Sept.1, 2000. (Cited in 134 papers) P. Revy et al., "Activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID) deficiency causes the aut

Technology Front Page

An Eternal Fluorescent Protein?; Model Behavior; Compacting DNA Shrinks Gene Therapy Barriers
An Eternal Fluorescent Protein?; Model Behavior; Compacting DNA Shrinks Gene Therapy Barriers
Front Page | An Eternal Fluorescent Protein; Model Behavior; Compacting DNA Shrinks Gene Therapy Barriers Reprinted with permission J Biol Chem, 275:25879-82, 2000. GADGET WATCH | An Eternal Fluorescent Protein? Researchers at Shemyakin and Ovchinnikov Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry in Moscow who developed the fluorescent protein DsRed are tinkering with a new chromoprotein with some unique properties.1 Discovered in the sea anemone, Anemonia sulcata (at left), this GFP-like protein, ca

Technology Profile

Long-suffering Lipids Gain Respect
Long-suffering Lipids Gain Respect
Courtesy of Paul Bertone, Arno Grbac, Heng Zhu, and Michael Snyder Scientists who add detergents to their cell preps, take heed: You might be consigning the most interesting stuff to the trash bin. Not proteins, surely, or nucleic acids, but lipids. A class of molecules united by their common solubility in organic solvents, lipids are like the poor relations among wealthier biological macromolecules. "Researchers are familiar with nucleic acids, RNA, proteins, and maybe even carbohydrates, b

Technology

The Proteomics Toolbox
The Proteomics Toolbox
Courtesy of Beckman Coulter  Beckman Coulter's ProteomeLab PF 2D Protein Fractionation System Fullerton, Calif.-based Beckman Coulter recently announced a new program to tackle the development of tools for proteomics research from a systems biology standpoint. Called ProteomeLab™, the initiative integrates existing technology with new instrumentation and software to "simplify, automate, and standardize the multiple processes involved in protein research," says Jeff Chapman, strateg
Save the Mice
Save the Mice
"Save the mice" may sound like an animal rights slogan, but it is smart science to researchers in the Comparative Mouse Genomics Center at the University of Washington in Seattle. A major drawback of working with laboratory mice is having to kill the animals to measure endpoints such as tumor development and bone loss. Director Warren Ladiges, a veterinarian, and his colleagues are trying to save mice--and the cost of replacing them--by developing noninvasive techniques for whole-body imaging

Profession Front Page

Education for Would-Be Entrepreneurs; Ethics for Academics; Dancing to DNA
Education for Would-Be Entrepreneurs; Ethics for Academics; Dancing to DNA
Front Page | Education for Would-Be Enterpeneurs; Ethics for Academics; Dancing to DNA Courtesy of Burrill & Co. TIP TROVE | Education for Would-Be Entrepreneurs 1. Not every scientific discovery "deserves" a company. The product must meet a market need rather than be in search of a market. 2. It may be better to license a discovery rather than build a company around it. 3. It's critical to understand that the agenda of those funding a company will drive its strategic direction.

Profession

America's Towers of Exclusion
America's Towers of Exclusion
M.C. Escher's Tower of Babel ©2003 Cordon Art, Baarn, Holland Shortly before Christmas 2002, Xuguang Jiang took a break from his doctoral program at Iowa University and returned to his Beijing home with two goals: to see the family he missed so much, and renew his student visa. As of late January, the 27-year-old engineering student was still waiting for US embassy officials to finish the extensive background checks now required for some foreigners studying in America. Last he heard, it
Patent Rights Wrangle Puts Law In Question
Patent Rights Wrangle Puts Law In Question
Courtesy of Neil Brake, Vanderbilt University  MARK III TANGO: Duke is dancing in court with former professor to control use of a free-electron laser like this one at Vanderbilt University. John M.J. Madey, long known as the father of the free-electron laser, has made his career in academic research, not business or law. So Madey did not craft the legal weapon that may close the patent law loophole allowing academic researchers to use patented technology without risking infringement suit
No Pardon For Poor English in Science
No Pardon For Poor English in Science
Kiyokazu Agata decided to stay in Japan for his postdoctoral fellowship, and that decision haunts him today. Not because he hasn't been able to do great science in Japan--he's now a group director of evolutionary regeneration at the prestigious Center for Developmental Biology in Kobe. But his decision to forgo study overseas means that he never got a chance to excel in English. "English is essential for scientists. Going abroad is the best way to learn it," Agata says. "In my case, I missed t

Fine Tuning

Basic Science in US Universities Can Infringe Patents
Basic Science in US Universities Can Infringe Patents
Courtesy of Ed Ergenzinger (left). Courtesy of Murray Spruill (right)  Madey may open the eyes of some university officials and researchers. Much of the research conducted in US universities falls into the category of basic science. Usually this simply means research that is not applied toward developing a product, but instead focuses on explaining underlying scientific principles. Many US university officials and researchers have operated under the mistaken belief that basic science is

Postdoc Talk

On Choosing Children
On Choosing Children
Courtesy of Stephanie Mohr It's happened again: One of my colleagues in the lab has announced she's pregnant. As a postdoc, I've based most of my life decisions on what's best for my education and career. So far, starting a family has not factored into the equation. Most of the time this seems right: I worked very hard to become a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology at Harvard University. I am proud of the accomplishment. Why not continue on that path? And

How I Got This Job

Fate, Flack and Flair
Fate, Flack and Flair
I hadn't necessarily intended to become a scientist. I went to a liberal arts college (Smith College, Northampton, Mass.) without any clear idea of what I would eventually do and just became captivated by cell biology. 

Closing Bell

Adding Style to Scientific Papers
Adding Style to Scientific Papers
It's a shame that most nonscientists probably would be bored silly by the fundamental unit of scientific communication: the paper describing original research. The content of such work is often anything but dull; yet even scientists have to admit that the quality of presentation can vary. That's why the standard format prevails of abstract, introduction, materials, methods, results, and discussion. This structure aims to ensure that the information will be organized in a rational and comprehe