May 1990

News

The Ties That Break: University, Company Part Ways After Transomic Mouse Success
The Ties That Break: University, Company Part Ways After Transomic Mouse Success
Research stalls as a commercial agreement on the technology's future eludes Cytogen and the University of Pennsylvania Last year, two University of Pennsylvania biologists crossed the species barrier in a big way. Little did they know that their feat would lead to crossfire between their institution and the company that sponsored the work. Nor did they anticipate that continued scientific progress would be a casualty of this skirmish. Last July, Jean Richa and Cecilia Lo announced in Science (
Getting More For Science Education
Getting More For Science Education
NSF's Bassam Shakhashiri finds new support in his once-lonely campaign for funds to train the next generation of researchers WASHINGTON - After nearly six years of stoking the boiler at the National Science Foundation, Bassam Shakhashiri believes that the train with increased funding for science education is finally leaving the station. And his message to the scientific community is simple: Either climb aboard and lend a hand or be left back at the gate. As NSF assistant director for science a
Government Briefs
Government Briefs
Differing Views On AIDS Funding Scientists who don't receive federal funds to do AIDS research think that the government's AIDS program has drained away research dollars from other fields. But scientists who receive such funds think those other disciplines have not been affected. These findings are part of a survey by the congressional Office of Technology Assessment, sent to 400 members of the Institute of Medicine. The survey was actually conducted to measure the impact of AIDS research on ot
Japanese Researchers Take Spotlight In International Biomedical Program
Japanese Researchers Take Spotlight In International Biomedical Program
Tokyo proposed the Human Frontier Program; now its scientists are among the first to take advantage of it STRASBOURG, FRANCE -- Biomedical researchers from around the world will have a second chance next month to participate in Japan's Human Frontier Science Program now that Tokyo has led the way in the first round of funding. The program was first proposed in 1986 by former Japanese Prime Minister Yosuhiro Nakasone at a summit conference of the seven leading democratic industrial nations -
Laboratory Briefs
Laboratory Briefs
Radon Researchers To Share Results The boom in research on indoor levels of radon has spawned a new government-funded publication. Radon Research Notes will be published three times a year at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, under the auspices of DOE's Office of Health and Environmental Research and its radon research program. "The journal is intended to foster an exchange of information within the research community and provide scientific input into the development of radon policy," says Gloria
Corporate Patent Lawyer Marries Scientific Process To Profits
Corporate Patent Lawyer Marries Scientific Process To Profits
Patent counsels and scientists work together to further understanding of science and increase corporate financial gain WASHINGTON - Corporate patent lawyers just don't see science the way researchers do. "Scientists spend their entire careers creating intellectual property," says Auzville Jackson, Jr., a partner in the Washington firm of Staas and Halsey, which specializes in intellectual property law. "Yet they never think about property values and how to protect their property, which is ofte
Formation Of Biotech Panel Reflects PCAST's Fresh Look
Formation Of Biotech Panel Reflects PCAST's Fresh Look
WASHINGTON - Life scientists on the President's Council of Advisers for Science and Technology won their first skirmish last month in an ongoing campaign to prod PCAST into the 1990s. The issue that arose during the council's second public meeting was the question of whether PCAST should create its own advisory group on biotechnology. Presidential science adviser Allan Bromley, who also is director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, asked the council whether it wanted
Three Companies Bet Their Futures On Catalytic Antibodies' Potential
Three Companies Bet Their Futures On Catalytic Antibodies' Potential
Scientists inside and outside the industry debate the commercial possibility of using antibodies as enzymes WASHINGTON - Catalytic antibodies are the stuff of Steven Benkovic's dreams. He hopes these immune system molecules, when put to work speeding up chemical reactions, will function as magic bullets to fight disease and infection. Benkovic, a physical organic chemist at Pennsylvania State University, is not alone in his reverie. More and more scientists and their corporate cohorts are env
Industry Briefs
Industry Briefs
Information And Mobility During a single month a few years ago, one newsweekly referred to the U.S. as "the Information Society," and another called it "the Mobile Society" - and that gave Al Becker an idea. The 41-year-old Becker is an inventor who, since dropping out of MIT in the late 1960s, has started three firms specializing in computer-related products. After selling the second company in 1986, he began looking around for a new invention. Seeing the two newsweeklies together, he realized
Battle Heats Up Over Who Owns Research Data
Battle Heats Up Over Who Owns Research Data
WASHINGTON -- University of Utah administrator Jean Nash began to wonder two years ago whether her institution or the individual scientist owns research data generated in the laboratory. As the director of the Utah Resource for Genetic and Epidemiological Research, Nash was trying to develop management guidelines for the burgeoning amounts of information flowing out of her center and its affiliated medical school. But she discovered that, in her words, "there were no university guidelines. And
New Series Of Federal Programs Aims At Attracting Minorities
New Series Of Federal Programs Aims At Attracting Minorities
As the U.S. approaches a shortage of trained personnel, the government seeks to broaden the ranks of scientists WASHINGTON -- The federal government is stepping up its efforts to draw more minority students into science. But administrators both inside and outside the government say it's too early to know whether the new programs will be any more effective than previous programs, which were built on a desire to eliminate discrimination and improve opportunities for minorities. The new measures
University Briefs
University Briefs
Taxing Grants . . . And Patience You've got to give Pittsburgh city officials points for creativity. In their zest to find new sources of tax revenue, they recently targeted the research grants of scientists at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh as long-overlooked cash cows. In an article in the Pittsburgh Press (Feb. 25, 1990), director of finance Ben Hayllar was quoted as saying the city intended to investigate whether research grants from private corporations were su
Japanese Deal With U.S. School Promises To Boost Science
Japanese Deal With U.S. School Promises To Boost Science
Salem-Teikyo University in West Virginia awaits an influx of Asian students as it links up with a Florida biotech institute Wayne England, a fungus physiologist and chairman of natural sciences at Salem-Teikyo University, has had a longtime interest in shiitake mushrooms. But it was only last year that he thought about learning Japanese. That's when Teikyo University bought Salem (W.Va.) College and announced that some 500 Japanese students would be arriving over the next three years beginning
Alerts
Alerts
Author: PETER J. SMITH Department of Earth Sciences Open University Milton Keynes, U.K. The Cleopatra structure on Venus, 100 kilometers in diameter, has the morphology of an impact crater but the distinctly different depth-diameter ratio of a volcanic crater. It is not yet possible to decide whether it is a very strange impact crater or a very strange volcanic crater. A.T. Basilevsky, B.A. Ivanov, "Cleopatra crater on Venus: Venera 15/16 data and impact/volcanic origin controversy," Geophys
People: Marjory Stoneman Douglas: A Lifelong Passion For Preserving The Environment
People: Marjory Stoneman Douglas: A Lifelong Passion For Preserving The Environment
Marjory Stoneman Douglas, an environmentalist who recently celebrated her 100th birthday, was an honored guest at a ceremony last month to dedicate a bronze sculpture by Philadelphia artist Eric Berg at the entrance to the Everglades National Park Royal Palm Visitor's Center in Florida. The life-size statue, which depicts a Florida panther, also honors landscape architect Ernest F. Coe (1886-1951), who conceived the idea of an Everglades national park in 1928. It is estimated that fewer than 5
People: Virginia Tech Chemical Engineer Receives NSF's Alan T. Waterman Award For 1990
People: Virginia Tech Chemical Engineer Receives NSF's Alan T. Waterman Award For 1990
Although many of the research community's major awards honor investigators' lifetime achievements, there are only a few that recognize researchers early on in their careers. One of the most prestigious of these honors, the National Science Foundation's Alan T. Waterman Award, was recently presented to Mark E. Davis, professor of chemical engineering at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. The prize, first awarded in 1976 and named after the first director of NSF, is given for o

Opinion

The Peace Dividend: Let's Invest It In Education
The Peace Dividend: Let's Invest It In Education
Earlier this year the president of the United States and the governors of the 50 states adopted a set of six national education goals. These goals call for ensuring that all children enter school ready to learn, improving student learning in all academic disciplines, making students first in the world in science and math achievement, increasing the high school graduation rate, making adult literacy universal, and freeing schools from drugs and violence - all by the year 2000. It's no accident
An Educator's Plan For Reforming The Way We Teach Science
An Educator's Plan For Reforming The Way We Teach Science
Secondary school science courses in the United States have become major filters to careers in science or science-related fields. With the recent imposition by almost all states of increases in science requirements for graduation from high school, secondary school science courses unfortunately have gained the ad- ditional reputation of contributing to the already high dropout rates that occur between grades 9 and 12. (Recent announcements by the Department of Education reveal that these rates ar

Letter

Letter: Who Doesn't Understand?
Letter: Who Doesn't Understand?
This time, though, there is a twist. All this fuss about the environment, she complains, is the product of so much bad journalism. Americans are being duped, she argues, and they will continue to be "until the media stop quoting charlatans and quacks, and until respected scientists speak up." "There was a time when experts were believed," she laments. "It was a time of optimism and progress." But alas, she says, the media today tend to quote the misfits of our profession, scientists who "have
Letter; Who Doesn't Understand
Letter; Who Doesn't Understand
Dixy Lee Ray wants to know who's to blame when the public misunderstands science. I think people who write misleading articles such as hers are in part to blame. She contrasts "doomsay-ers" and "alarmists" on one hand with "scientists" on the other, without acknowledging that many scientists are very worried about the health of the planet. She pooh-poohs concerns about the buildup of greenhouse gases without mentioning the fact that most scientists who have studied the problem agree that it is

Commentary

Commentary: Scientists Must Take Lead In Battle For Lower Journal Prices
Commentary: Scientists Must Take Lead In Battle For Lower Journal Prices
As stated at the recent American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting, rapidly escalating costs of published materials and the exponential growth of information have plunged science libraries into an information crisis (The Scientist, April 30, page 17). It is a rare treat for a librarian to have the opportunity to publicly suggest what a scholar, let alone a scientist, ought to do about anything, so I am pleased to offer the following suggestions: Support first-rate scientific

Research

Immunex Team Finds Success By Shifting Its Key Players
Immunex Team Finds Success By Shifting Its Key Players
The staff at Immunex Corp. likes to joke that no wall in the biotechnology firm's Seattle headquarters has ever stayed in one place for more than a year. Instead, the walls keep getting moved around at this nine-year-old company to make room for more scientists and more labs. Although the staffers are talking about the tangible plaster and wood walls, they might as well be talking about the invisible divisions that normally define scientific teams. At Immunex, those sorts of walls get moved ar

Hot Paper

Hot Papers
Hot Papers
J. Minshull, J.J Blow, T. Hunt, "Translation of cyclin mRNA is necessary for extracts of activated Xenopus eggs to enter mitosis," Cell, 56, 947-56, 24 March 1989. Jeremy Minshull (University of Cambridge, England): "The last two years have seen dramatic progress in understanding the control of the cell cycle, in particular the control of mitosis. The discovery of cyclins played an important part in bringing together various threads of evidence from studies of frog oocyte maturation and yeast
Hot Papers
Hot Papers
M.H. Siegelman, M. van de Rijn, I.L. Weissman, "Mouse lymph node homing receptors cDNA clone encodes a glycoprotein revealing tandem interaction domains," Science, 243, 1165-72, 3 March 1989. Mark Siegelman (Stanford University Medical Center, Calif.): "Our characterization of the lymph node-specific homing receptor protein showed it to be composed of a core protein with complex and novel posttrans- lational modifications. Our cloning of the cDNA encoding the core polypeptide revealed an entir

Profession

Scientists Take To The Classroom To Inspire Youngsters
Scientists Take To The Classroom To Inspire Youngsters
Distressed at the prevalence of science illiteracy among young people in the United States, some scientists are bringing their skills to where they can perhaps help the most - the classroom. All over the country, individual scientist-parents are leading grade-schoolers on walks in the woods or fossil digs, chemists are conducting "road shows" in junior high school auditoriums, and high school groups are touring national labs. As more and more scientists bring their work to the young, the media
New York Foundation Strives To Call Attention To Diseases Of The Third World
New York Foundation Strives To Call Attention To Diseases Of The Third World
As different as the developed world is from the developing world, so, too, are the diseases that plague their people. In industrialized countries, AIDS, cancer, and heart disease are prevalent; while in Africa, Asia, and South America, more than 700 million people suffer from one of three widespread tropical diseases: schistosomiasis, onchocerciasis, and trachoma. For the last 16 years, the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, based in New York City, has done its part to help eradicate these deadl

Briefs

Funding Briefs
Funding Briefs
Volume 4, #11The Scientist May 28, 1990 FUNDING BRIEFS Date: May 28, 1990 DOD Help For Small Businesses The Department of Defense's Small Business Innovation Research Program is preparing to fund about 1,300 Phase I awards for fiscal year 1990, covering a wide variety of research projects. Awards up to $50,000 each are available as seed capital for U.S. research firms that qualify as small businesses. There are three phases of the SBIR awards. During the six months allotted for Phase I, awardee
Funding Briefs
Funding Briefs
Volume 4, #11The Scientist May 28, 1990 FUNDING BRIEFS Date: May 28, 1990 DOD Help For Small Businesses The Department of Defense's Small Business Innovation Research Program is preparing to fund about 1,300 Phase I awards for fiscal year 1990, covering a wide variety of research projects. Awards up to $50,000 each are available as seed capital for U.S. research firms that qualify as small businesses. There are three phases of the SBIR awards. During the six months allotted for P

Technology

Molecular Size Detector Increases Protein Purification
Molecular Size Detector Increases Protein Purification
Most life scientists, at some point in their careers, are faced with the problem of purifying a specific protein from a biological solution. For example, they may need to purify an antibody from a serum, or a single E. coli protein from an extract. The separation of a single protein from a mixture of thousands is a considerable task - it takes a long time to collect enough raw materials to make purification worthwhile. Purification is necessary, however, to provide valuable information about th