News

Coriell Extends Its Scope
Coriell Extends Its Scope
When New Jersey gave the Coriell Institute for Medical Research $5 million last year, it was the first time any state had funded an umbilical cord blood bank. But no other state has a research institute like Coriell, in Camden, across the Delaware River from Philadelphia. The nonprofit has, for nearly five decades, collected, stored, and cultured cells, providing them to almost every major research center worldwide. Courtesy of Coriell InstituteAn umbilical cord blood cassette used in storing t
On the Brink
On the Brink
Click to view the PDF file: Important Events in Stem Cell Research Graphic: Leza Berardone As the Bush administration stood on the verge this month of announcing a decision on whether the federal government will fund embryonic stem cell (ESC) research, the scientists involved braced themselves for the worst and continued planning for ways to move ahead. An issue that is politically, ethically, and religiously loaded, this tempest, like the issues of RU-486 and abortion before it, has galvani
Cultivating Policy from Cell Types
Cultivating Policy from Cell Types
For better or worse, stem cell science has become inextricably married to stem cell politics. Policymakers who oppose public financing of embryonic stem cells have used recent adult stem cell findings to argue for a dismissal of the NIH stem cell guidelines (see "On the Brink," page 1). The guidelines, finalized last summer during the Clinton administration, call for funding the use, but not derivation, of human embryonic stem cells (ESCs); the pro-life Bush administration appears ready to ban t
New Zealanders Await GMO Report
New Zealanders Await GMO Report
When you fill out a customs declaration form for entering New Zealand, you are asked if you are carrying any of a long list of animal and plant products. Are you carrying camping gear and boots, riding equipment, and clothing that may have been in contact with farm animals? Have you been on a farm or in a forest in the last 30 days? In a world increasingly worried about alien species and imported livestock diseases, perhaps no other country has been as traditionally concerned about introducing
Exposing Epitopes Without Exposing People
Exposing Epitopes Without Exposing People
The flaws that mar proteins as drugs would be a lot easier to eliminate, or at least reduce, were it not for the one thing that gives protein engineers fits: allergic reactions. The protein engineer's doctoring arts are balm for many a malady, but not allergic reactions. A protein too unstable, too toxic, maybe too costly to manufacture, or burdened by some other problem, changes for the better when the appropriate amino acid residues are altered. The catch is that protein engineers never know w
News Notes
News Notes
As the study of biology and medicine continues to take place beyond the confines of Earth's atmosphere, so too does the study of important, sometimes unique, bioethics issues. Recognizing the need for a cogent bioethics policy, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration recently hired its first chief of bioethics and human subject protection, Paul Root Wolpe, a fellow at the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania. NASA's individual centers already convene bioethics committ

Research

Stem Cell Researchers Take on Parkinson's
Stem Cell Researchers Take on Parkinson's
Parkinson's disease could be the perfect target for stem cell therapy. The etiology of this progressively debilitating disease is clear: scientists know what cells are affected, where those cells reside, when those cells are created during development, and what their target is. This information is reported in scores of articles on cell transplantation that use fetal cells to treat Parkinson's in animal models and people. The good news continues. New research shows that by using stem cells, sci
Why Can't the Brain Shake Cocaine?
Why Can't the Brain Shake Cocaine?
While celebrities and U.S. entanglement in the Colombian drug war keep cocaine in the headlines, a larger tragedy hides in the unseen lives of both addicts and former addicts. In 1999, 1.5 million Americans took cocaine at least once a month, according to the federal government's National Household Survey on Drug Abuse. The problem's vast size is aggravated by two stubborn realities: many addicts just can't quit, and those who do might relapse when stressed or tempted. Both groups suffer because
Running Boosts Brain Cells in A-T Mutated Mice
Running Boosts Brain Cells in A-T Mutated Mice
Researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, Calif., have shown that running can boost brain-cell survival in mice with the neurodegenerative disorder Ataxia-telangiectasia (A-T).1 Surprisingly, during the course of the study, they also discovered that the Atm gene--which is absent in those with the disease--appears to play a critical role in neural stem cell development. A-T is a rare disease characterized by the death of brain cells, which results in a progressive lo
Research Notes
Research Notes
Male rhesus monkeys with destroyed amygdala will abandon their normally slow and cautious familiarization process and immediately approach other monkeys with whom they are unfamiliar, according to David Amaral, professor of psychiatry and neuroscience at the University of California, Davis. His study on these animals is slated to appear in an upcoming issue of Behavioral Neuroscience. The study involved six lesioned monkeys, each meeting for many 20-minute sessions with a "stranger" monkey. The

Letter

The Mozarts of Science: Two Views
The Mozarts of Science: Two Views
Regarding Walter A. Brown's Commentary,1 there is already a system in place to find the Mozarts of science; we just aren't doing a good job of cultivating them. Across the country there are numerous federally funded summer research programs for undergraduate science students. I was associated with one of these programs for six summers and in my experience this one competitive program attracted many bright, enthusiastic, and imaginative science students--and yes, I think some of them were Mozart

Commentary

Genes Change, and So Do the Words that Describe Them
Genes Change, and So Do the Words that Describe Them
Biologists, like cyberwonks, are always inventing new words and acronyms to confuse us--just try dipping into the cell cycle literature now and then. As new discoveries are made, dictionaries don't seem to hold enough words to describe them. Remember 'analogous' and 'homologous'? Many a college student memorized the difference as applied to the evolution of structures like limbs and wings. Insect wings and bird wings are analogous; bird wings and human arms are homologous. But in modern evolut

Cartoon

Cartoon
Cartoon
The Scientist 15[11]:4, May. 28, 2001 CARTOON By Sidney Harris www.ScienceCartoonsPlus.com

Hot Paper

When Brain Becomes Blood
When Brain Becomes Blood
For this article, Eugene Russo interviewed Christopher R.R. Bjornson, a graduate student in the department of biochemistry at the University of Washington in Seattle. 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.R.R. Bjornson, R.L. Rietze, B.A. Reynolds, M.C. Magli, A.L. Vescovi, "Turning brain into blood: A hematopoietic fate adopted by adult neural stem cells in vivo,"Science, 283
The Potential of Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells
The Potential of Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells
For this article, Eugene Russo interviewed Mark F. Pittenger, director of discovery research at Osiris Therapeutics. 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.F. Pittenger, A.M. Mackay, S.C. Beck, R.K. Jaiswal, R. Douglas, J.D. Mosca, M.A. Moorman, D.W. Simonetti, S. Craig, D.R. Marshak, "Multilineage potential of adult human mesenchymal stem cells," Science, 284:143-7, April 2,

Technology

A Beacon in the Night
A Beacon in the Night
The precise molecular recognition event of nucleic acid hybridization is fundamental to molecular biology. Traditionally, probes are tagged with fluorescent or radioactive labels and hybridized to a sample. Unbound probe is removed via a dilution or digestion step. This allows the investigator to quantify the amount of bound probe but simultaneously disrupts the equilibrium state of the hybridization, preventing the use of this technique in real-time or in vivo. Molecular beacons, single-stran
Code Blue
Code Blue
Speed and sensitivity are the key features of GelCode® staining kits from Pierce Chemical Co. of Rockford, Ill. Designed to detect proteins in polyacrylamide gels, the kits include straightforward protocols and standardized reagents to speed up acquisition of data and increase reproducibility of results. "The common feature of the GelCode kits is that they are extremely user-friendly," says Linda Alger, a technical assistance manager with Pierce. In addition, the kits employ optimized chemis
SAGE Advice
SAGE Advice
Make way for the Age of SAGE. Introduced in 1995 by Kenneth Kinzler and Bert Vogelstein of the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md., SAGE™, or Serial Analysis of Gene Expression, is a quantitative method of gene expression analysis based on the idea that an mRNA transcript can be identified by just a short (9-14 base pair) subfragment.1 In the technique, mRNA is isolated, copied into cDNA, tagged at the 3' end with biotin, and then cut with a restriction enzyme. The tagged fragmen

Technology Profile

LIMS Unlimited
LIMS Unlimited
Click to view the PDF file: Suppliers of LIMS Courtesy of Thermo LabSystemsLaboratory information management systems (LIMS) can enhance lab efficiency while reducing data transcription errors. Commercial laboratories are ultimately in the information management business. A laboratory's ability to track samples, tests, and results, archive data, and then produce timely and accurate reports can make or break that lab's success. Reducing internal bottlenecks streamlines work and lowers costs whil
Assays by the Score
Assays by the Score
Click to view the PDF file: Bead-based Fluorescent Multiplex Protein Analysis Systems Courtesy of LINCO ResearchLabMAP-based systems use internally dyed fluorescent microspheres to analyze as many as 100 different analytes concurrently. Today's competitive, high-paced research environment has stimulated the development of a host of approaches for rapid, cost-efficient analyses of large numbers of samples. In keeping with this trend, methods for simultaneously analyzing multiple species in a g

Profession

When Corporations Pay for Research
When Corporations Pay for Research
When a data safety monitoring board found the AIDS drug Remune provided little benefit to patients involved in clinical trials, the principal investigator, James O. Kahn, put an end to the project. But when he and his colleagues at the University of California, San Francisco and Harvard University decided to publish the results, they ran into an obstacle: their project's corporate sponsor. Immune Response Corp. (IRC), the drug's manufacturer, filed legal documents alleging that the UCSF team h
An End to Grant Writing Nightmares?
An End to Grant Writing Nightmares?
Federal grant proposal writing may be an art, but for many busy researchers it can quickly turn to a grind: Compiling biographical sketches, doing the project write-up. Figuring the budget. Refiguring the budget. Calculating that budget yet again. Before the application ends up in the National Institutes of Health mailroom, it can undergo more incarnations than psychic Edgar Cayce. Cayuse Inc., a small company based in Portland, Ore., (www.cayuse.com), created a software program called GrantSl
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
Profession Notes
Profession Notes
To improve the application of basic research to clinical treatment, the National Institute of Mental Health has established a $2.75 million translational research program. The program evolved in response to NIMH concerns that findings in basic research were not being put into practice, explains Bruce Cuthbert, chief of the Adult Psychopathology and Prevention Research Program at NIMH. An example of such translational research, Cuthbert says, would be to apply basic findings in motivational psych

Opinion

Cynical Science and Stem Cells
Cynical Science and Stem Cells
So powerful has the language of science become that it has in effect been hijacked by those who seek to discredit or even derail it. Two cases in point: Creationists are repackaging their message as the pseudo-science of "intelligent design theory." And pro-life groups are misusing real science, remarkable advances with adult stem cells, to argue that there is no need for embryonic stem cell research--research that carries with it virtually limitless potential for the alleviation of human suffer