Ari Helenius is intrigued by the deceptive simplicity of a virus: "You can understand it on a molecular level, know every component of it, but its interaction with host cells turns on extremely complicated biology." This veteran virologist at ETH Zurich has spent a career tracking the complex interactions of pathogen and host (see "Foundations: Viral Cell Entry"). In "The Orange and the Circus Tent"
Biology:Big or little? Big science, with very few exceptions (one being the Human Genome Project), is a waste of money.1 Big science is grossly inefficient, and is designed to impress non-scientists (including university administrators). Anyone who has experienced the difference between forced collaborations (big science) and real collaborations (spontaneous, as-needed interactions) knows this is tru
When a new antibiotic isolated from Rhodococcus fascians is dripped onto a paper disc (white) in the middle of a plate full of other bacteria (orange), all the bacteria near the filter disc die. Credit: ® Kazuhiko Kurosawa" />When a new antibiotic isolated from Rhodococcus fascians is dripped onto a paper disc (white) in the middle of a plate full of other bacteria (orange), all the bacteria near the filter
A poster illustrating anatomy and photosynthesis in corn, by Michael Franklin, Rochester Institute of Technology, on Purrington's Flickr page. Credit: COURTESY OF Michael Franklin / Rochester Institute of Technology" />A poster illustrating anatomy and photosynthesis in corn, by Michael Franklin, Rochester Institute of Technology, on Purrington's Flickr page. Credit: COURTESY OF Michael Franklin / Rochester Institute of Technology
Two years ago, whenever members of Jon Lundberg's team at Karolinska University wanted to get near their lab mice, they donned sterile gloves and reached into a steel isolator box. Not typical research rodents, these creatures had been bred to be completely germ-free. The technicians in the animal lab delivered the baby mice by cesarean section and kept them in complete isolation to eliminate the
A little brown bat is inspected for signs of white nose syndrome. Credit: Courtesy of Kathryn Campbell" />A little brown bat is inspected for signs of white nose syndrome. Credit: Courtesy of Kathryn Campbell Wearing a mining helmet, Greg Turner scales a wobbly 30 foot ladder and squeezes his 6' 2" frame into the window of an abandoned white clapboard church. On
A member of the Augochlorine bee family pollinates a tomato flower. Credit: Courtesy of USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service" />A member of the Augochlorine bee family pollinates a tomato flower. Credit: Courtesy of USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service On an organic farm in central New Jersey, the plants are vibrating with bees. With a swift twist of her insect net, Rachael Winfree captures a wild bee s
Credit: Courtesy of Public Library of Science" /> Credit: Courtesy of Public Library of Science GOT VIRUS, NO VACCINE » If you've got viruses on the brain - thanks to Ari Hellenius's research using viruses ("The Orange and the Circus Tent") and the Hot Paper on HIV (Impeding PD-1) - tune in to the AIDS Vaccine 2008 meeting in Cape Town, South Africa, Oct. 13-16. If you can't go there yourself,
Slideshow: Pimp my poster Images that illustrate expert Colin Purrington's tips for jazzing up scientific posters Slideshow: Pimp my poster var so = new SWFObject("http://images.the-scientist.com/content/images/slideshows/pimp_poster/slideshow.swf", "gallery", "500", "400", "6", "#ffffff"); so.addVariable("file", "http://images.the-scientist.com/content/images/slideshows/pimp_poster/slideshow.xml"); so.addParam("wmode", "transparent"); so.write("flashcontent");
Slideshow: Hunting for wild bees Join Rachael Winfree, an entomologist at Rutgers University, as she tracks what wild bees bring to ecosystems. Slideshow: Hunting for wild bees Join Rachael Winfree, an entomologist at Rutgers University, as she tracks what wild bees bring to ecosystems. var so = new SWFObject("http://images.the-scientist.com/content/images/slideshows/pollinators/slideshow.swf", "gallery", "425", "325", "6", "#ffffff"); so.addVariable("file"
Biotech's Hidden Stepsister The medical device industry, which grew as quickly as a teenager, now has some serious growing pains. By Alla Katsnelson Related Articles Financial Growing Pains of a Biotech Confronting Risk For the Hottest Jobs, Go Regulatory hen Amir Belson, an Israeli pediatric surgeon, came to Stanford University in 1998 for a fellowship in pediatric nephrology, in his pocket he carried a creased piece of paper on which w
When Cancer is Just the Beginning Mary Slattery at her home in New Jersey. Dustin Fenstermacher / wonderful machine Rarely, the body reacts to cancer by generating immune cells that chew their way into the brain. Could research with this handful of patients create a new therapeutic cancer vaccine? By Julia C. Mead • Photography by Dustin Fenstermacher Article Extras 1 But the antibody in Slattery's spinal fluid signified something more sinister: An immune re
The Orange and the Circus Tent Illustrations by Grady McFerrin What viruses teach us about the workings of mammalian cells. By Ari Helenius Article Extras 1 In those days, my interest was largely biochemical, particularly in the properties of membrane proteins, although I did also spend a lot of time trying to take the virus apart to its individual components, in an attempt to recreate the infectious particle from scratch. Needless to sa
Credit: Thomas Splettstoesser / wikimedia.org" /> Credit: Thomas Splettstoesser / wikimedia.org The paper: C.-L. Wei et al., "A global map of p53 transcription-factor binding sites in the human genome," Cell, 124:207-19, 2006. (Cited in 184 papers) The technique: Yijun Ruan, of the Genome Institute of Singapore, and colleagues wanted a better way to study where transcription factors (TFs) bind to DNA. They deve
Credit: ® CAMR/A. Barry Dowsett / Photo Researchers, Inc." /> Credit: ® CAMR/A. Barry Dowsett / Photo Researchers, Inc. The paper: T. Tobe et al., "An extensive repertoire of type III secretion effectors in Escherichia coli O157 and the role of lambdoid phages in their dissemination," Proc Nat Acad Sci, 103:14941-6, 2006. (Cited in 38 papers.) The study: Some virulent bacteria infec
Credit: Proc Natl Acad Sci, 103:13682-7, 2006 / ® 2006 National Academy of Sciences, U.S.A" /> Credit: Proc Natl Acad Sci, 103:13682-7, 2006 / ® 2006 National Academy of Sciences, U.S.A The paper: M. Ekroos and T. Sjögren, "Structural basis for ligand promiscuity in cytochrome P450 3A4," Proc Natl Acad Sci, 103:13682-7, 2006. (Cited in 78 papers)
Credit: ® Roy Ritchie" /> Credit: ® Roy Ritchie By the end of high school, Patricia Wittkopp was so over fruit flies. They had sparked her passion for genetics, but as she shopped around for an undergraduate research project at the University of Michigan, Wittkopp wanted more. "I remember thinking to myself, 'We already did a fruit fly lab in high school, and I want to do something else'," she says.
In the late 1970s, scientists were divided on how viruses enter and infect host cells. Some investigators thought viruses were directly penetrating the cell membrane into the cytoplasm, while others argued the pathogens were first engulfed into clathrin-coated pits. As evidence, both sides used static electron microscopy images, which told different stories "depending on how you took the pictu