May 2001

News

Biodiversity Lovers, Unite

Biodiversity Lovers, Unite

Several months into the International Biodiversity Observation Year (IBOY), American mass media coverage of this worldwide initiative is virtually nonexistent. Major publications for general audiences and high-impact scientific journals have not run news or feature articles about a collaboration that involves 45 major projects embracing numerous countries, habitats, and species. Why the silence? Comments by prominent biologists suggest that the answer lies, at least in part, in the very nature o

Computing for Cancer Research

Computing for Cancer Research

How do you "rapidly" screen 250 million small molecules--eventually 1 billion small molecules--for their cancer-fighting potential? Enlist, literally, a "world" of computers to perform the computational chemistry. That's the goal of Graham Richards, chairman of the chemistry department at Oxford University and director of the National Foundation for Cancer Research Center for Computational Drug Design, a virtual collaboration set up last August with a $750,000 NFCR grant. Richards recently got

Detecting Tumors from Shed DNA

Detecting Tumors from Shed DNA

Medical institutions across the United States will begin recruiting volunteers next month for a study that its investigators and outside observers describe as groundbreaking. They say it is the first large-scale trial to test the feasibility of using DNA shed by tumors to find early-stage cancer. During the three-year government-funded project, researchers will analyze DNA from stool samples to detect patterns characteristic of colorectal cancer (CRC). The study will have two other notable fe

Leaving Tumors No Way Out

Leaving Tumors No Way Out

Time after time, Steven A. Rosenberg, chief of the surgery branch in the National Cancer Institute's (NCI) Clinical Oncology Program, has seen cancer immunotherapy destroy melanomas that conventional therapies leave unmolested. When immunotherapy works, even bulky metastatic tumors are destroyed. The frustration and tragedy, he says, speaking recently to a Grand Rounds audience at the National Institutes of Health, "is that it happens in only a small percentage of patients." For nearly 20 year

Science and Technology Pioneers Honored

Science and Technology Pioneers Honored

Marshalling a healthy dose of pomp and circumstance, the Franklin Institute Science Museum (FI) in Philadelphia honored seven distinguished scientists and engineers on April 27 as part of its annually awarded Benjamin Franklin Medals and Bower Awards. A red carpet lined with uniformed swordsmen led awardees and distinguished guests and FI contributors into the institute's grand domed entrance hall for the medals presentation and a black tie dinner. ABC News anchor Cokie Roberts hosted the ceremo

News Notes

News Notes

Since news that researchers had restored sight in dogs with Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA) broke two weeks ago, Jean Bennett's phones at the F.M. Kirby Center for Molecular Ophthalmology at University of Pennsylvania's Scheie Eye Institute haven't stopped ringing. Anxious parents, whose infants suffer from this and other retinal degenerative diseases, want help. But they have to wait a few years; much more needs to be done. Researchers at Penn, Cornell University, and the University of Florida

Letter

Reply to Revolution

Reply to Revolution

The political movement led by Harold Varmus as described in "A Science Publishing Revolution,"1 displays an unfortunate disregard for the study of dissemination, information science. The PubMed Central advocacy is storming about, armed with rhetoric and anecdotes rather than carefully gathered evidence. Moreover, they have carefully avoided admitting that the institutions with libraries could easily pay more than they do to support access to the most esoteric reports. Research universities are v

Industry vs. Academia

Industry vs. Academia

Your survey in the April 16 issue1 is an invaluable resource in the current research environment, both for personal considerations and for recruitment and retention of faculty. I was surprised by the comment that the longer a person is in academia, the better off he/she is in landing an industry position. That has not been my experience. Perhaps there is a point of diminishing returns? John S. Torday, Ph.D. Professor, Department of Pediatrics and Obstetrics and Gynecology Director, The Guenthe

Cartoon

Cartoon

Cartoon

The Scientist 15[10]:6, May 14, 2001 CARTOON By Sidney Harris www.ScienceCartoonsPlus.com

Commentary

What About the Mozarts of Science?

What About the Mozarts of Science?

A decade ago, Bernadine Healy, then director of the National Institutes of Health, spoke of the "need to discover the new medical Mozarts among the many Salieris in biomedicine."1 For Healy, the popular play and movie Amadeus, which depicted the rivalry between Antonio Salieri and Wolfgang Mozart, makes an important statement about talent. Salieri, Healy recalled, was talented in a "workmanlike sort of way. He could compose and get the job done with competence. By contrast, Mozart was a mercuri

Hot Paper

CD4+ T Cell Mechanism Allows HIV-1 Persistence

CD4+ T Cell Mechanism Allows HIV-1 Persistence

For this article, Jim Kling interviewed Robert Siliciano, associate professor of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. 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. D. Finzi, J. Blankson, J.D. Siliciano, J.B. Margolick, K. Chadwick, T. Pierson, K. Smith, J. Lisziewicz, F. Lori, C. Flexner, T.C. Quinn, R.E. Chaisson, E. Rosenberg, B. Walker, S. Gange, J. Gallant, R.F.

Disputing a Theory About AIDS Progression

Disputing a Theory About AIDS Progression

For this article, Jim Kling interviewed Louis J. Picker, associate director of the Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute at the Oregon Health Sciences University. 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. C.J. Pitcher, C. Quittner, D.M. Peterson, M. Connors, R.A. Koup, V.C. Maino, L.J. Picker, "HIV-1-specific CD4(+) T cells are detectable in most individuals with active HIV-1 infection

Research

Seeking a Cellular Oxygen Sensor

Seeking a Cellular Oxygen Sensor

The fundamental question of how cells sense oxygen has implications for embryogenesis, cancer, stroke, diabetes, and other ischemic diseases. Clearly, this is important work, and many researchers have taken up the task. Yet, despite the publication of hundreds of papers on this subject, no clear consensus exists regarding what the cellular oxygen sensor is, or even the number of sensing mechanisms there might be. The literature presents several possibilities. One theory holds that a heme-conta

Autism on the Rise

Autism on the Rise

The rate of autism is rising. The number of reported cases has increased 10-fold in the last few decades, from 1 in 2,500 in the 1970s to 1 in 250 in the 1990s. Researchers are looking everywhere for the reason--from drinking water to the womb--with no clear-cut answer to date. In part, the increased incidence can be attributed to a broader definition of autism, which now includes milder forms of the disorder,1 as well as to better diagnostics and greater public awareness.2 But scientists don't

Research Notes

Research Notes

In 1998 and in 2000, researchers at Johns Hopkins University reported that colorectal cancer cell lines and primary tumors from the bladder, head, neck, and lung harbor mutations, deletions, and insertions in the 16.6-kilobase mitochondrial genome. Add prostate and breast cancers to that list, according to posters at the AACR meeting presented by groups from Emory University and Johns Hopkins. At one poster, John A. Petros, an associate professor of urology at Emory, described a study that he sa

Technology

Cytometry Gets Personal

Cytometry Gets Personal

Does the likelihood of buying a flow cytometer for use in the lab rank right up there with the likelihood of winning the lottery? The high cost of flow cytometers and the dedicated personnel required to operate them usually limit their placement to core facilities. But what if someone were to design a cytometer that was easier to use, didn't need frequent internal adjustment and maintenance, was considerably smaller than a conventional flow cytometer, and carried a bargain price tag? Guava Techn

Going Green

Going Green

Researchers routinely prepare proteins in test tubes using the in vitro translation (IVT) reaction.1 These reactions are fast, efficient, and reasonably cost-effective. They are also highly flexible. Proteins can be synthesized either from RNA transcribed in vitro (uncoupled), or from plasmid DNA via a coupled transcription/translation system. In addition, the proteins are easily labeled with [35S]-methionine or biotinylated lysine simply by addition of the labeling reagent to the reaction. Unfo

Bench Buys

Bench Buys

Bench Buys

Madison, Wis.-based Novagen's ColiRoller™ plating beads replace the "hockey stick" method of bacterial plating. Bacteria are commonly spread on agar plates with a bent glass rod that must be immersed in ethanol and placed briefly in an open flame before use; this method can result in uneven spreading and is tedious when preparing multiple plates. ColiRoller beads are a more efficient alternative--simply pipette cells onto a plate, add 10-20 beads, and tilt the plate back and forth to sprea

Technology Profile

A Feast of Fluorescence

A Feast of Fluorescence

Labeled Nucleotides Complete Labeling Kits Courtesy of BioCrystal Ltd.Cancerous human colon tissue (tumor margins) showing non-transformed cells, which are stained with specifically prepared BioPixels. Not long ago, the options available to scientists for labeling nucleic acids were severely limited. Not only were researchers restricted to working with radioisotopes, but they also had to be satisfied with being able to address only the most basic questions about gene expression and localiz

Distinguishing Th1 and Th2 Cells

Distinguishing Th1 and Th2 Cells

Reagents That Distinguish Th1 and Th2 cells Courtesy of R&D SystemsSchematic representation of cytokines influencing the development of antigen-activated naive CD4+ T cells into Th1 and Th2 cells. Editor's note: Although individual techniques are associated with specific researchers in this article, it should be noted that these investigators commonly use several different techniques to analyze T lymphocyte populations. The human body is constantly under siege. It must defend itself fr

Profession

Regional Hot Spots, Part 2

Regional Hot Spots, Part 2

Editor's Note: This is the second installment of a four-part series on regional hot spots for life sciences employment. Additional installments will appear in the July 9 and October 29 issues. San Francisco Bay Area boosters like to claim the title "Birthplace of Biotech" as their own. After all, the initial developments in recombinant DNA research took place through a collaboration by the labs of Herbert W. Boyer at University of California at San Francisco and Stanley Cohen at Stanford Univers

Working with Recruiters

Working with Recruiters

The use of recruiters, headhunters, or staffing firms is not the first job-hunting strategy that comes to mind for a scientist. Although the occasional postdoc keen on an industry job uses a headhunter,1 and executive search firms regularly find suitable candidates for academic positions like department chairs and deans,2 "there's this whole world of contacts" that many research scientists haven't explored yet, says David Jensen, founder and principal consultant of Search Masters International I

Profession Notes

Profession Notes

The National Institutes of Health awarded Northwestern University $17 million for a five-year project examining functional mouse genomics, one of the largest grants the institution has ever received. Through a technique honed by Joseph S. Takahashi, professor of neurobiology and physiology at Northwestern and director of the newly established NIH Neurogenomics Center, random point mutations are introduced using the chemical ENU (N-ethyl-N-nitrosourea), and the mice are screened for specific beha

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 bmaher@the-scientist.com Click to view the PDF file: Funding Opportunities in the Life Sciences

Society Launches DeLill Nasser Award

Society Launches DeLill Nasser Award

When scientists announced the genomic sequence of the small mustard plant Arabidopsis last December, they also recognized the role played by federal agencies in supporting the project, particularly the role played by the National Science Foundation.1 Among NSF staffers, researchers chose DeLill Nasser, head of NSF's eukoryotic genetics program, for special mention.2,3 Nasser was too ill with cancer to accept an award from the group in person at a special Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory meeting Dec

Opinion

The Mires of Research Evaluation

The Mires of Research Evaluation

All organizations who fund and conduct scientific research are increasingly "under the gun" to better evaluate the performance of their programs. Scientific research is supported by two major sponsors; the federal government funds most basic research and industry supports the more applied research. These sponsors have organizational goals and obligations to their stakeholders. They must account for their expenditures and must justify these investment decisions. How to do so in a viable yet accep