News

Immigration Pitfalls Plague Researchers
Immigration Pitfalls Plague Researchers
They're in your labs, classes, and journal clubs. You may advise them, or they may advise you. You may even be one of them. "They" are foreign-born life scientists, whose numbers and prominence have increased greatly over the past 20 years. But far from exulting in their undeniable achievements,1 many researchers who have come to the United States from abroad are in a state of quiet desperation. They're caught up in the increasingly clogged and dysfunctional immigration system run by the
Cox Fighting
Cox Fighting
Graphic: Cathleen Heard The pharmaceutical industry instantly took note when the federal government granted U.S. patent number 6,048,850 to the University of Rochester on April 11, 2000. The patent for "Method of inhibiting prostaglandin synthesis in a human host," described as "broad," "dominant," and "blocking" in the lexicon of the patent attorney, had a distinct everything-but-the-kitchen sink flavor about it. The patent covers inhibitors of the enzyme cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) that include n
Caucus Marks Anniversary
Caucus Marks Anniversary
How can members of Congress find out what they're getting for all the money they appropriate for biomedical research? Ten years ago, former Democratic Maine representative Peter Kyros and his associate Belle Cummins, along with Rep. George W. Gekas (R-Pa.), came up with an inspired answer: a command performance biomedical seminar program featuring a who's who list of scientists as invited speakers. On March 29, invited speaker Harold Varmus, former director of the National Institutes of Health,
Tumor Metastasis by Hybridization
Tumor Metastasis by Hybridization
Courtesy of Media Services, Yale School of Medicine Left, a stained section of spontaneous lung metastasis showing normal lung tissue adjacent to melanoma tissue. Arrows delineate melanoma composed predominantly of melanin-containing cells. Right, cultured cells from spontaneous lung metastasis. Metastasis, the spread of cancer cells from primary tumor to new sites, often prevents successful cancer treatment. But how or why certain cells detach from a tumor, travel to distant locations in the bo
Varmus Discusses the Three Gs
Varmus Discusses the Three Gs
Harold Varmus Harold Varmus left the directorship of the National Institutes of Health last January to head Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. But he didn't leave his strong opinions behind in Bethesda, Md. At a media forum sponsored by Syracuse University in New York on May 1, he discussed some volatile issues in biomedical research: On genome sequencing: Though the finishing line is arbitrary, "There is a point in the minds of most scientists when they say, 'OK, I think I kno
News Notes
News Notes
HGP Enters Final Phase: Even as the Human Genome Project (HGP) enters its final phase, which officially began May 9, perhaps the most fundamental bit of genomic trivia persists: Exactly how many human genes are there? At the 13th annual Cold Spring Harbor Meeting on Genome Sequencing and Biology held May 10, scientists marveled at the astounding acceleration of sequencing efforts in the last year. Participants, including all 16 leaders of the HGP sequencing centers, enjoyed the most recent seque

Letter

The Sources of Public Mistrust
The Sources of Public Mistrust
In Walter Brown's recent essay on reasons people fear genetically modified (GM) food,1 he attributed that fear to some type of "reverence for nature and natural order." Dr. Brown missed the three major players contributing to public mistrust of GM food: economics, politics, and advertisement. Much of the Europeans' fear of GM food stems from the fact that they are being told by the public media that the foods may not be safe. Reports on the potential banes greatly outnumber the reports on the be
Reinventing Previous Work
Reinventing Previous Work
Regarding your comments on scientists renaming their rediscoveries1: While scientists may be among the most guilty, they're certainly not the only ones doing this. In fact, this rediscovery behavior is currently being encouraged throughout the entire educational system, where the latest pedagogical fashion is constructivist learning. In science education, from preschool through college, it is now considered more correct to emphasize student-led "inquiry" than factual instruction on what's "alrea

Commentary

What's a Human Life Worth?
What's a Human Life Worth?
The numbers are astounding: $57 trillion, $31 trillion. The first figure represents the estimated dollar value of the increases in life expectancy of Americans during the 1970s and 1980s. The second represents the estimated dollar value of advances made just in prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease. These and other assessments appear in a new report, "Exceptional Returns: The Economic Value of America's Investment in Medical Research," released May 9 by Funding First, an initiative

Cartoon

Cartoon
Cartoon
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Research

Cancer in Cats and Dogs
Cancer in Cats and Dogs
Gregory Ogilvie works with both animal and human cancers. Not too long ago, when a dog or cat owner learned that a pet had cancer, it meant a death sentence for the animal. But things have changed. There is a "very sophisticated population of animal owners," notes Donald Thrall, professor of radiology and radiation oncology at North Carolina State University (NCSU) College of Veterinary Medicine. These people are "very informed and sometimes almost demand state-of-the-art cancer treatment" for
Research Notes
Research Notes
Common Denominator in Breast Cancer While breast cancer devastates all those affected, researchers have had a tough time finding a common denominator at the molecular level. Now Saraswati Sukumar, associate professor of oncology and pathology, and colleagues at the Johns Hopkins Oncology Center have identified a molecular alteration affecting the vast majority of primary breast cancers. Hypermethylation of the 14-3-3 s gene (s) and subsequent loss of expression are the most consistent molecular

Hot Paper

Macrophage Regulation
Macrophage Regulation
For this article, Nadia S. Halim interviewed Christopher K. Glass, professor of cellular and molecular medicine at the University of California, San Diego. 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. M. Ricote, A.C. Li, T.M. Willson, C.J. Kelly, and C.K. Glass, "The peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-g is a negative regulator of macrophage activation," Nature, 391:79-82, Jan.
Converging Pathways
Converging Pathways
For this article, Nadia S. Halim interviewed Kenneth W. Kinzler, professor of oncology at Johns Hopkins Oncology Center. 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. T.C. He, A.B. Sparks, C. Rago, H. Hermeking, L. Zawel, L.T. da Costa, P.J. Morin, B. Vogelstein, K.W. Kinzler, "Identification of c-MYC as a target of the APC pathway," Science, 281:1509-12, Sept. 4, 1998. (Cited in more t

Technology

Branching Out
Branching Out
Bayer's QuantiGene technology Advances in cell-based assay design are inspiring new approaches for screening compounds during drug discovery. Bayer Corp.'s QuantiGene assay system is a cell-based assay for the direct quantitation of mRNA from lysed cells or whole tissue. The system uses branched DNA (bDNA) technology for signal amplification and is designed for a 96-well microplate format. In addition, Bayer provides ProbeDesigner™ software for designing oligonucleotide probes used in th
Pocket Fluorometry
Pocket Fluorometry
Turner Designs' Picofluor portable fluorometer The "smaller is better" technology revolution that has spawned fields such as microfluidics and products such as 1,564-well microplates has also inspired development of convenient, pocket-size lab instruments. Turner Designs Inc. of Sunnyvale, Calif., has introduced two handheld fluorometers: the Picofluor™ for life science measurements and the Aquafluor™ for on-the-spot environmental determinations. The Picofluor is a lightweight, h
Unbiased
Unbiased
Four different archaeal genes expressed in (1) BL21-Gold (DE3) or (2) BL21-CodonPlus (DE3)-RIL Cells To clone or not to clone is seldom the question in today's fast-paced genetics research laboratory--cloning inevitably wins out. Past obstacles faced by the early recombinant DNA research community, such as finding acceptable hosts and vectors and isolating the desired genetic material, have since been worked out and replaced with the struggle to get optimal expression of those clones. Escheric

Technology Profile

Inner Sanctum
Inner Sanctum
Reagents for Nuclear Hormone Receptor Research Courtesy of Karo Bio ABEffect of an agonist (red spheres) or agonist/antagonist (green spheres) on the C terminal helix of the ligand binding domain of the estrogen receptor The survival of a living system depends on its ability to communicate with and respond to its surroundings. Even the simplest unicellular organism has surface molecules for assessing the external environment. Evolution of complex life forms required intricate methods for respo
Array of Options
Array of Options
Instrumentation for Microarray Production and Analysis - Part 1 Instrumentation for Microarray Production and Analysis - Part 2 Nanogen's NanoChip™ Cartridge Today's molecular biology era can be defined by the dictum, "So many genes, so little time," and technologies for gathering genetic information are gaining speed. DNA microarrays are one of the most promising answers to that cry. DNA microarrays are glass microslides or nylon membranes containing DNA samples (genomic DNA, cDNA,

Profession

The 'Where' Factor, Part II
The 'Where' Factor, Part II
Jobs in the Southeast: Just a Sampling Graphic: Cathleen Heard Editor's Note: Continuing our five-part series on geographic issues that affect job hunting for life scientists, we now turn to the Southeast. Our boundaries may not be a true geographer's boundaries, but for our purposes, this area includes the eastern seaboard from Virginia to Florida, the Gulf states and Texas, Tennessee, and Kentucky. In the next issue we will cover Mid-America. In many ways the qualities of life touted in the S

Opinion

A Career Outcome Study
A Career Outcome Study
The number of students who have graduated with Ph.D.s in the biomedical sciences has grown substantially over the last 15 years. According to the Survey of Earned Doctorates: Summary Report 1997, the number of Ph.D. graduates in the biological sciences increased from 2,360 in 1967 to 5,717 in 1997, and an upward trend is indicated for future years. These data have made some of us in academia consider whether the market (academic or private) can bear an increased production of Ph.D.s in t