News

Assessing Risk
Assessing Risk
As researchers use ever more sophisticated technology to create a growing list of drugs, vaccines, foods, and devices, potential risks stalk the process. With print and electronic media prodding them along, scientists, policymakers, business people, and the public have to consider the downside of inventions as well as the benefits. Headlines continually trumpet health risks--fluoridation caught the public's eye in the 1950s with stories that the procedure could rot teeth and cause cancer. Today
New Weapons Against HIV
New Weapons Against HIV
As the AIDS pandemic enters its third decade, viral resistance is beginning to counter the success of "highly active antiretroviral treatment" (HAART), the multidrug cocktails introduced in 1996. "Viral resistance is a significant problem, particularly for patients who began therapy in the pre-protease inhibitor era and who developed resistance to multiple reverse transcriptase inhibitors," says Robert Schooley, a professor of infectious diseases at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Cen
NAS Report Likely Will Stir Debate
NAS Report Likely Will Stir Debate
If research involving human embryonic stem cells (ESCs) is to achieve its potential for creating breakthrough medical therapies, additional new cell lines should be created, and therapeutic cloning--or somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT)--should be employed, according to an expert panel of the National Academy of Sciences. Both of these views are strongly opposed by the Bush administration, and the US House of Representatives has voted to outlaw human SCNT techniques by public and private resea
Informing Congress: A Return of the OTA?
Informing Congress: A Return of the OTA?
In the midst of this summer's rancorous US House of Representatives debate over the legality of cloning, an exasperated Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) complained, "Mr. Speaker, we really should not be debating this at all. None of us is equipped to do so. We simply do not know enough." Rep. Peter Deutsch (D-Fla.) agreed. "In my nine years in this chamber, this is the least informed collectively that the 435 members of this body have ever been on any issue." In the end, the July 31, 265-162 vote
Promoting 'Useful Knowledge' in the 21st Century
Promoting 'Useful Knowledge' in the 21st Century
A few hundred feet from the Philadelphia birthplace of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, an anonymous brick building houses the nation's first learned society and think tank. Little known outside of academic circles, the American Philosophical Society (APS) came to be in the mid-18th century with the daunting charge of "promoting useful knowledge." A treasure trove of rare books and manuscripts, the organizer of sophisticated cross-disciplinary meetings, the supplier of vario
News Notes
News Notes
Connecticut will introduce elementary, middle, and high school students to a state-of-the-art molecular biology learning experience aboard a specially outfitted bus (M. E. Watanabe, "Filling the pipeline: training people to work in bioscience gets new emphasis," The Scientist, 14[10]:1, May 15, 2000). On Sept. 5, Connecticut United for Research Excellence Inc. (CURE), the not-for-profit membership organization promoting bioscience in the state, unveiled Connecticut's BioBus. The bus will travel
Lasker Foundation Honors Five
Lasker Foundation Honors Five
The Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation announced its awardees for its Basic Medical Research Award, Clinical Medical Research Award, and Public Service Award to four ground-breaking visionaries in biomedical science and one who changed the landscape of global public health. The Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research went to three individuals who pioneered the use of mouse embryonic stem cells to create animal models for human disease. The winners, credited as creators of the knockout mo

Letter

Cloning Ban
Cloning Ban
The article "Cloning Capsized?"1 was informative as usual. It clearly revealed the irrationality and insensitivity of the politicians involved in the ban on human cloning. Motivated largely by ethnocentric religious bias, politicians are grandstanding for votes rather than taking the lives of generations of present and future patients into account. Technophobia has now reached the nation's capital with a vengeance. Millions of Americans will ultimately pay the price for a lack of treatments. Ar
Gathering All Species
Gathering All Species
The All-Species effort1 is certainly audacious. It also can't be but a multidisciplinary effort. Besides taxonomists, ecologists, and software engineers, it will also need the skills of librarians and information scientists. These professionals belong to a field that has more than a hundred years of experience with the classification, storage, and retrieval of huge amounts of data. Many librarians, moreover, excel in communicating with clients (and team members). Ronald Rousseau KHBO, 8400 Oost

Commentary

Choose Beauty
Choose Beauty
As someone who haphazardly participates in local sprint triathlons with "finishing" as my goal, I am awed and inspired by athletic feats accomplished through magnificent displays of endurance, heart, and grace. This year's Tour de France, won for the third time in a row by the American Lance Armstrong, had moments so powerful and so moving that I recall the images over and over--convinced they carry a message about human endeavors far beyond the esoteric world of elite road cycling. There were

Cartoon

Cartoon
Cartoon
The Scientist 15[19]:6, Oct. 1, 2001 CARTOON  E-mailarticle Sidney Harris www.ScienceCartoonsPlus.com

Research

Hair Cell Regeneration Continues to Elude Scientists
Hair Cell Regeneration Continues to Elude Scientists
In a University of Maryland lab, psychologist Robert Dooling trains hundreds of small, colorful parakeets, zebra finches, and canaries to chirp on command. In about three weeks, the birds learn to mimic computer-produced sounds. Once the birds' vocalizations match the template, Dooling, who heads the university's comparative psychoacoustics laboratory, rewards them with seed. Dooling isn't interested in producing sweet songs, but rather in understanding what happens when these little creatures
Gene Therapists Aim for Parkinson's Disease
Gene Therapists Aim for Parkinson's Disease
At first blush, gene therapy seems ill-suited to treating Parkinson's disease (PD). Scientists have linked few cases to missing or mutated genes and are generally clueless about the disease's cause. But the need for some relief from its debilitating symptoms is so great that gene therapy researchers have labored over the past decade to develop counter-strategies. These studies have had promising results. When the brains of rat and monkey PD models express certain transgenes, the animals show les
Amygdala's Inner Workings
Amygdala's Inner Workings
The amygdala, an almond-sized and -shaped brain structure, has long been linked with a person's mental and emotional state. But thanks to scientific advances, researchers have recently grasped how important this 1-inch-long structure really is. Associated with a range of mental conditions from normalcy to depression to even autism, the amygdala has become the focal point of numerous research projects. Derived from the Greek for almond, the amygdala sits in the brain's medial temporal lobe, a fe
Research Notes
Research Notes
Aided by the brilliant X-rays produced by synchrotron radiation at the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois, a group of scientists from Northwestern University have determined the complete molecular structure of the copper chaperone for superoxide dismutase (CCS) ("Heterodimeric structure of superoxide dismutase in complex with its metallochaperone," Nature Structural Biology, 8[9]:51-5, Sept. 2001). The metallochaperone's structure was known except for the third domain. Now, researchers susp

Hot Paper

The Race to Find the Tangier Disease Gene
The Race to Find the Tangier Disease Gene
For this article, Brendan A. Maher interviewed Michael R. Hayden, director and senior scientist, Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics, University of British Columbia, Canada; Stephan Rust, cholesterol metabolism group leader at the Institut für Arterioskleroseforschung an der Westfälischen Wilhelms-Universistät; and Gerd Schmitz, a physician and director of the Institut for Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine, University Hospital, Regensburg. Data from the Web of

Technology

Chips in Space
Chips in Space
The recent microarray explosion has been a benefit to gene expression researchers, but scientists who require custom arrays may find currently available technologies too expensive and time-consuming for their needs. To address these difficulties, Mukilteo, Wash.-based CombiMatrix Corp. has developed a flexible biological array processor system that can produce cost-effective, custom biochip oligonucleotide arrays more quickly than conventional arraying technologies. Chief technology officer Don
Chromosome 21 Pan-acea?
Chromosome 21 Pan-acea?
The sequencing of the human genome has great potential to yield insights into the genetic basis of human diseases. Now, a tool has been developed that can unleash this potential on a disease that affects one out of 700 live births: Down syndrome.1 This tool is the Pan® Chromosome 21 Array, a DNA chip for human chromosome 21 that was developed by Ebersberg, Germany-based MWG-Biotech AG in collaboration with the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics. By using this array to compare the ex

Technology Profile

Peptides, Made to Order
Peptides, Made to Order
The use of synthetic peptides in life science research is growing as researchers in a wide variety of disciplines find applications for these reagents. Many of these peptides are easily produced by automated peptide synthesis, which enables the economic and relatively easy production of peptides in large quantities. As a result, many widely used, biologically active peptides are commercially available as pre-made catalog reagents.1 But when experimental approaches call for peptides that are not
Exposing Gel Documentation Systems
Exposing Gel Documentation Systems
Remarkable advances in gel documentation technology in the last 15 years have made the quantification and identification of protein and DNA faster, easier, and more readily available for a broad range of analyses. Fuzzy bands, precious single-copy pictures, and eyeballed judgments are quickly becoming things of the past, replaced by digital imaging and fast computer analysis. The latest imaging systems can accommodate a variety of gels and staining techniques while accurately and precisely reco
Quantifying Intermolecular Interactions
Quantifying Intermolecular Interactions
Atomic force microscopes can generate a highly detailed topological map of a specimen by moving a stylus coupled to a cantilever over the sample surface, using a laser to measure deflection of the cantilever.1 Now, researchers at the University of California at Berkeley have adopted this principle to create a system capable of quantifying intermolecular interactions, with potential applications for both clinicians and high-throughput proteomics researchers.2 In a research article published in

Profession

Managing the Scientific Multitudes
Managing the Scientific Multitudes
Go directly to the Multinational Lab Survey results Courtesy of Robert NakamotoRobert Nakamoto (front and center), assistant professor of molecular biology at the University of Virginia Medical School, celebrates the cultural differences of his multinational lab members. A US university postdoc loses track of a cuvette and spews invectives at a Chinese coworker. That night the Chinese colleague, quaking in an apartment, tearfully telephones the principal investigator. Would the postdoc attack w
Strangers in a Strange Land
Strangers in a Strange Land
Underpaid, under appreciated--going nowhere: The buzz about the plight of postdocs in the United States flatters neither the scholars nor the institutions that employ them.1,2 In response, many research institutions are building postdoc offices and associations to give postdocs a stronger voice, but they have perhaps progressed too slowly for these workers, who have increasingly become the lifeblood of scientific discovery. Foreign nationals represent about half the postdocs in the United States
Journey Upstream Spawns New Research Models
Journey Upstream Spawns New Research Models
Think outside the cage." That's all it takes to understand why some researchers are moving away from mouse models and diving into transgenic fish research, according to biologist Richard N. Winn of the University of Georgia. Investigators bucking the mammalian tide come from all sectors of biological research, and, in addition to Winn, include National Academy of Sciences (NAS) member Richard B. Setlow, senior biophysicist at Brookhaven National Laboratory; Elwood A. Linney, professor of microbi
Profession Notes
Profession Notes
Quark Biotech Inc. has moved its company headquarters and some research activities--lock, stock and barrel--onto the Cleveland Clinic campus, and the two are pursuing a multiyear collaboration. While industry and academia have collaborated for years, companies usually locate their headquarters off campus. This stance may be changing. Company headquarters on campuses "is not very usual, but it's becoming more and more common," says Andrei Gudkov, the newly named head of the department of molecula
Funding Opportunities in the Life Sciences
Funding Opportunities in the Life Sciences
Click to view our current database of Funding Opportunites in the Life Sciences.

Opinion

Bad Blood Between the FDA and Europe
Bad Blood Between the FDA and Europe
A US proposal to ban the import of blood products from all European sources will further tax the already overburdened blood banks of the United States. These draconian measures are being suggested to prevent new variant Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease (nvCJD), a progressive, incurable, neurodegenerative disease, being transmitted to otherwise healthy individuals by contaminated blood. However, this plan to restrict the donor population is based not on hard, scientific evidence but on two unsupported f