News

Going Micro: Imaging Devices to Benefit Both Mouse and Biologist
Going Micro: Imaging Devices to Benefit Both Mouse and Biologist
Mice everywhere are breathing a collective sigh of relief. Soon, far fewer small laboratory animals will be routinely sacrificed to allow researchers to observe the after-effects of gene mutations or other experimental manipulations. Instead, investigators will be able to track the implications of those changes in living specimens in exquisite detail and for extended periods of time, thus painting a fuller, more accurate picture of what's going on and why. At least, that's the likely scenario i
Physicists Take on Challenge Of Showing How Proteins Fold
Physicists Take on Challenge Of Showing How Proteins Fold
How proteins fold is a central mystery of the life process that for decades has eluded explanation. But biologists are getting help on the problem nowadays from physicists, who bring quantitative theorems and new technologies to the task of showing how one-dimensional amino acid sequences determine the three-dimensional shapes of proteins. Such knowledge could guide structure-based design of drugs to treat a range of diseases now thought to be caused by misshapen proteins. "We're just beginnin
Lobbyists Urge Scientists To Get Involved on the Hill
Lobbyists Urge Scientists To Get Involved on the Hill
The lobbyist credited his client. The client credited his lobbyist. Both praised scientists and legislators on the brink of an historic vote that would put the National Institutes of Health on the path to doubling its budget in five years. Congress, as of press time for The Scientist, was poised to pass a $500 billion legislative package that includes a $2 billion increase for the National Institutes of Health. The agency received $13.648 billion for 1998. Prior to the vote on the "omnibus" spe
The IPO Road Show ... from NO
The IPO Road Show ... from NO
Editor's Note: In the previous issue of The Scientist (12[20]:7, 14, Oct. 12, 1998), we published the first part of an excerpt from NO by Carl Djerassi. We met the chief protagonist of the book, an Indian scientist named Renu Krishnan, who has developed a drug called NONO-2 and a delivery system called MUSA. Guided by Martin Gestler, a hard-charging expert on biotechnology start-up companies, Krishnan has left academic research to found a company called SURYA. The previous extract described t

Cartoon

Cartoon
Cartoon
"We've found this to be quite lethal in our mouse model. Now we're wondering what effect it'll have on humans."

Letter

Homeopathy and Alternative Medicine
Homeopathy and Alternative Medicine
Several recent articles and commentaries on homeopathy and alternative medicine have been very interesting (S. Bunk, The Scientist, 12[18]:1,Sept. 14, 1998 and D.Viza, The Scientist, 12[18]:8, Sept. 14, 1998). I spent most of my professional life studying the biochemistry of domestic mammals. I suggest that studies of homeopathy and other alternative treatments be studied on noncompanion domestic mammals. This choice of subjects would largely avoid psychosomatic effects. If these treatments a
Homeopathy and Alternative Medicine
Homeopathy and Alternative Medicine
Table. Successful outcome contingent on treatment and belief  Patient's Belief in Treatment Received  Real treatmentSham treatment Specific treatment*AB Sham treatment**CD *Accepted-site acupuncture, TENS,etc. **Off-site acupuncture, drug placebo, sham TENS, etc. The cells: A, B, C, and D represent the four possible objective and subjective treatment conditions. The placebo effect is real and so are the effects of medication. The next step is to sort out the relative contributions o

Commentary

Cancer Risk Analysis: Major Policy Changes on the Way?
Cancer Risk Analysis: Major Policy Changes on the Way?
The U.S. government's environmental regulatory apparatus is about to be challenged in a fundamental way by a novel technology that can--for the first time--measure whether there is cancer risk from minute quantities of chemicals and nuclear radiation. A newly developed supersensitive method--up to 100,000 times more sensitive than any now available--can establish whether genetic material in human cells has been damaged, an initial step that can lead to cancer. Scientific advances inevitably ca

Opinion

The Anatomy of a Press Release
The Anatomy of a Press Release
I write 1,000-page biology textbooks. Tomes. So when in early June a nice public information officer (PIO in media lingo) from Columbia University called to ask if I'd like to write a press release--a mere page or two--I jumped at the chance. Pay was minimal (and yet to arrive) and a byline nonexistent, but I would have a shot at actually making the news, to distill the essence of some exciting new research result in a way that might make it into the mouth of NBC's Tom Brokaw or the pen of The

Research

How Well Do Mice Model Humans?
How Well Do Mice Model Humans?
STRIKING RESEMBLANCE: James Croom, who studies Down syndrome mice at North Carolina State University, says the animals are providing valuable information useful to humans. When a page-one article in the May 3, 1998, Sunday New York Times portrayed angiogenesis inhibitors that fight cancer in mice as being possible just around the corner for humans, criticism for raising false hopes erupted. Merely 10 weeks later, however, when researchers from the University of Hawaii reported cloning the fi

Hot Paper

Signal Transduction
Signal Transduction
M. Trupp, E. Arenas, M. Fainzilber, A.S. Nilsson, B.A. Sieber, M. Grigoriou, C. Kilkenny, E. Salazar-Grueso, V. Pachnis, U. Arumäe, H. Sariola, M. Saarma, C.F. Ibáñez, "Functional receptor for GDNF encoded by the c-ret proto-oncogene," Nature, 381:785-9, 1996. (Cited in more than 180 papers since publication) Comments by Miles Trupp, a postdoctoral associate at the University of California at San Francisco For many years, researchers had been searching for a factor that cou
Genetics
Genetics
K. Nakayama, N. Ishida, M. Shirane, A. Inomata, T. Inoue, N. Shishido, I Hori, D.Y. Loh, K. Nakayama, "Mice lacking p27 display increased body size, multiple organ hyperplasia, retinal dysplasia, and pituitary tumors," Cell, 85:707-20, 1996. (Cited in more than 155 papers since publication) Comments by Kei-ichi Nakayama, a professor of molecular and cellular biology at Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan Cells proliferate. Cells differentiate. Cells also occasionally stop and take a break from

Profession

Teaching to Teach
Teaching to Teach
Research universities are stepping up their efforts to prepare future faculty Learning to teach is becoming part of the graduate school curriculum at a number of major research universities. Teaching's importance has often gotten a good deal of lip service at such institutions, but now graduate students can formally get instruction in teaching from mentors, attend seminars on pedagogy, and teach at small colleges that have partner relationships with research- oriented universities. Some of th

Technology

Biomolecular Interactions in Real Time with no Labeling
Biomolecular Interactions in Real Time with no Labeling
Biacore offers instruments that identify biomolecular interactions and measure binding characteristics in real time. Schematic of biomolecular interaction analysis by Biacore's affinity based biosensors. Identifying and characterizing molecular interactions is becoming increasingly important in a number of areas of life science research. Membrane interactions between cells, ligand-receptor interactions involved with cell signaling, protein-protein interactions in signal transduction pathways,
Ciphergen's ProteinChip Arrays
Ciphergen's ProteinChip Arrays
The Concept: Billions of molecules can be placed or captured on a 2 mm diameter microchip in predetermined places. While the molecules are on the chip, scientists can map and compare protein compositions (Retentate Mapping™) and evaluate numerous types of protein-protein interactions. Proteins on the ProteinChip™ arrays are read at the rate of 10 times per second. Subsequently, when subjected to short bursts of laser light, the retained molecules are uncoupled from the chip surface
Maximize In Vitro Culture Possibilities
Maximize In Vitro Culture Possibilities
From Redmond, et al., "Perfused transcapillary smooth muscle and endothelial cell co-culture--a novel in vitro model," In Vitro Cellular & Developmental Biology--Animal, Volume 31:601-609. Copyright 1995 by the Society for In Vitro Biology. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. The Cellmax™ culture system uses hollow fiber bioreactor technology in applications as diverse as secreted protein production, lymphocyte expansion, and cellular co-cultivation. The concept of
The Next New Wave In Genome Analysis
The Next New Wave In Genome Analysis
Sequencing may arguably be the premier technology of the eighties and nineties, but it has its shortcomings. For projects requiring frequent sampling or high sensitivity, conventional sequencing can be too labor intensive and expensive for laboratories outside the dedicated, high throughput sequencing centers. But a new technology is on the horizon--actually well over the horizon--that can provide genetic information simply and quickly. The discovery of a unique class of structure-specific end

Technology Profile

Trigger Happy: Sleek New Pipette Fillers Duel For Honors As Top Gun
Trigger Happy: Sleek New Pipette Fillers Duel For Honors As Top Gun
Date: October 26, 1998Comparison of Pipette Fillers In the golden age of chemistry, it was said that a good chemist could identify specific compounds by the mere taste and touch of a substance against the tongue, lips, and fingers. It has also been said of this same period that there was no such thing as an old chemist. Although chemists today may not have the same adventurous, if foolhardy approach, they have perhaps traded unbridled enthusiasm for caution. The horrible death from radium pois
More Than Just A Pretty Picture
More Than Just A Pretty Picture
to keep up with ever expanding applications. Date: October 26, 1998Comparison of Products Ten years ago, a "gel documentation" system meant an instant camera on a pole over a transilluminator. As charged-couple device (CCD) cameras became less expensive, electronic hardware to create digital images became available, and sophisticated image enhancement and analysis software was developed, electronic gel documentation systems were introduced and have become an essential laboratory instrument for

Notebook

Notebook
Notebook
BIOREMEDIATION TO THE PIGPEN It was a stinky summer at the EnviroPork hog facility near Larimore, N.D., with penalties pending for violating state odor regulations, and neighbors complaining loudly about the foul fragrance. Making matters worse, the manure lagoon associated with the facility threatened groundwater supplies. Happily, researchers from the University of North Dakota Energy and Environmental Research Center (EERC) had a low-tech solution: barley straw. Using a cannon, they shot a