Frontlines

Frontlines
Frontlines
Frontlines Photo: University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Opportunities in Allison's wake Since Hurricane Allison struck last June, researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston, have been rebuilding and improving their facilities. "We said, 'Let's not just build back what we had, let's aim to do it better,'" says George Stencel, interim vice president for research. He estimates the project's cost in the "several hundred million dollar" range (H. Black,

Commentary

Questions on Stem Cells
Questions on Stem Cells
Self-renewal and the capacity to differentiate into a multitude of mature cell types have made stem cells the hottest ticket in biomedicine. But there are questions aplenty, scientific and otherwise. Do we need more stem cell lines? President Bush may believe that the available lines are sufficient, but these are derived fro1m blastocysts produced in fertility clinics. Maximizing the impact of stem cells in medicine calls for new lines derived from specific diseases, like cancers. Must thera

Opinion

Contamination of the Arctic
Contamination of the Arctic
Image: Anthony Canamucio It has come as a surprise that many chemicals of anthropogenic origin such as pesticides are detectable at significant concentrations throughout the Arctic ecosystem, despite the fact that they have never been used there. Apparently these substances are readily transported there in atmospheric and oceanic currents. The Chernobyl accident provided ample evidence that no corner of our planet is protected from substances discharged in the industrialized middle latitudes.

Letter

More Citation Vigilance
More Citation Vigilance
More Citation Vigilance We find the recent dialogue regarding citation vigilance and the disregard syndrome1 both stimulating and invaluable, and could not agree with you more. In fact, we found the topic so compelling, we have written an education/research case study to assist graduate students in developing good literature reviews, which is based in part on articles in The Scientist. Further, we believe Ginsburg's opinion piece will serve as an excellent case study in and of itself. In rev
More Doctors Available
More Doctors Available
More Doctors Available Although William Levis did some fine work throughout his career,1 after 30 years he must retire as a member of the Commissioned Corps of the Public Health Service. There are two full-time physicians at the Baton Rouge, La., headquarters of the National Hansen's Disease Programs and 11 physicians working at grant-funded Hansen's disease clinics located throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. Levis is just one of those physicians and is responsible for approximatel
A Leprosy Research Model
A Leprosy Research Model
A Leprosy Research Model William R. Levis expressed the concept that leprosy is a slow-motion example of the human immune responses controlled by T-helper cells, and he proposed that the disease may be a model for investigating infectious diseases.1 Based on the historical observation that leprosy patients seem to improve clinically following blood transfusions, S.D. Lim and colleagues theorized that the clinical improvement observed was not due to the effect of increased mass of red blood c

News

Pollutants without Borders
Pollutants without Borders
Image: Corbis ENDANGERED BELUGAS: One challenge for researchers is to find out how chemicals are getting into the lipids and tissues of animals such as the beluga whales who reside in the St. Lawrence Seaway. During the last 50 years, millions of pounds of chemicals have dispersed into the environment in a multitude of forms: industrial wastes, abandoned chemical weapons, fertilizers, pesticides, cleaners, furniture treatments, and the list goes on. Now, a small cadre of environmental re
Classifying Breast Cancer Models
Classifying Breast Cancer Models
Image: Anne MacNamara The exciting use of cDNA microarrays to reveal molecular subclasses of human tumors has spread to the study of animal models that mimic human tumors. With unsuspected subclasses of human lymphomas, melanomas, colon carcinomas, and breast carcinomas uncovered, researchers naturally have been inspired to apply microarray analysis to animal tumor models that in some instances have been studied for decades. How closely, they wonder, will experimental tumors resemble human tum
Plastic in My French Fries?
Plastic in My French Fries?
Image: Getty Images Every research scientist knows that discovery often depends as much on happenstance--serendipity--as it does on methodical searching. If a group of researchers from Stockholm didn't know it earlier, they certainly learned the lesson over the last five years. The presence of acrylamide bound to hemoglobin in laboratory workers who perform polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis--a commonly used method to separate and analyze proteins-- wasn't necessarily surprising, but when Emma
Science and Politics in the United Kingdom
Science and Politics in the United Kingdom
Science and politics in the United Kingdom have enjoyed a summer of love, but now the holidays draw to a close. Universities, policymakers, and politicians prepare to return to the fray, and the detailed decision making due during the coming months about allocation of new funds announced in the summer will test just how strong the new relationship is. Hopes are high. "We're seeing a renaissance of British science," enthused Ian Gibson (Labour, Norwich North), chair of the House of Commons Sel

Research

Human Pluripotent Cells Pass Safety Test
Human Pluripotent Cells Pass Safety Test
Image: ©2001 MacMillan Publishers Ltd.  PLURIPOTENT-CELL PIPELINE: To obtain embryonic germ cells, researchers culture primordial germ cells (PGCs) dissected from the genital ridge. If left in situ, a PGC develops into spermatozoa or ova after its imprints have been erased and reestablished. Embryonic stem cells come from the blastocyst's inner cell mass. (Reprinted with permission, Nature 414:122-8, 2001) Because the science is hard and the politics mean, progress in understanding
Yet Another Reason to Hit that Snooze Button
Yet Another Reason to Hit that Snooze Button
Image: Courtesy of Matthew Wilson, ©2002 Cell Press NOT A CREATURE WAS STIRRING, NOT EVEN A ... RAT that sleeps while the activity of hippocampal neurons, measured before its nap when the animal ran in a maze are behind it. Red depicts maze locations where the neuron was highly active; blue indicates where the neuron was not. Most people require sleep to face tomorrow with a clear head. But clarity of mind may be just one reason why slumber is needed; a growing body of research sugg

Hot Paper

Researchers Are Getting Specific About Protein Kinase Inhibitors
Researchers Are Getting Specific About Protein Kinase Inhibitors
Data derived from the Science Watch/Hot Papers database and 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. S.P. Davies et al., "Specificity and mechanism of action of some commonly used protein kinase inhibitors," Biochemical Journal, 351:95-105, Oct. 1, 2000. (Cited in 191 papers) In signal transduction research, protein kinase inhibitors help scientists tease out the vagaries of complex signa

Wed, 01 Jan 1000 00:00:00 GMT

Researchers Find Chink in HIV-1's Armor
Researchers Find Chink in HIV-1's Armor
The Faculty of 1000 is aWeb-based literature awareness tool published by BioMed Central. For more information visit www.facultyof1000.com. Viruses are evolutionary wiseguys; they have devised elaborate weapons that allow them to sneak past immune system defenses. But a team at King's College, London, has shown that in the case of HIV-1 infection, some human T cells are not completely vulnerable to an HIV-1 viral attack. Michael Malim and colleagues have found a human gene, CEM15, whose product

Technology Profile

Supercomputing in the Life Sciences
Supercomputing in the Life Sciences
Photo: Courtesy of Hewlett-Packard/Compaq The world's fastest supercomputer--Japan's Earth Simulator--occupies an area equivalent to four tennis courts on three floors. It contains 5,120 processors, 10 terabytes of memory, 700 terabytes of hard disk space, and it can perform 40 trillion floating point operations every second. The computer's performance exceeds that of the world's 18 next-fastest computers. It also cost an estimated $350 million (US). Japanese scientists use this supercomputer
Stem Cell Know-How
Stem Cell Know-How
Image: Courtesy of Gwenn-AEL Dnaet ©2002 National Academy of Sciences STEM CELL XENOGRAFT: Identification of human hepatocytes in livers from immune-deficient mice transplanted with human adult hematopoietic stem cells. Photomicrographs of NOD/SCID mouse liver sections from mice transplanted with purified human Lin-CD38-CD34-C1qRp+ cells isolated from umbilical cord blood, harvested 8-10 weeks post-transplant. Tissue sections were stained for HSA (hepatocyte-specific antigen) or c-met
Stem Cell Potential Grows
Stem Cell Potential Grows
A number of recent publications have added to scientists' understanding of embryonic stem cell (ESC) differentiation and adult stem cell plasticity. For example, Ron McKay and coworkers at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, demonstrated that they can direct murine ESCs to differentiate into a particular type of dopamine-producing neuron, which could aid in the treatment of Parkinson disease.1 Transplantation of stem cell precursors derived from the fetal midbrain lead

Technology

Fluorescence Microscopy on a Microbudget
Fluorescence Microscopy on a Microbudget
At the Society for Amateur Scientists meeting in Philadelphia, June 28-30, amateur microscopist Ely Silk demonstrated a low-cost solution that could bring fluorescence microscopy to laboratories and classrooms that could never have afforded the technology before. Capable of being used with virtually any microscope, the basic apparatus can be assembled from inexpensive components by anyone able to use a soldering iron. Fluorescence microscopy exposes a specimen to a specific wavelength of ligh
The Proof is in the Spell-Checker
The Proof is in the Spell-Checker
Scientific terms such as "hematopoietic" and "chemokine" are not found in the native spell-check program included with standard word processing software; as a result, red squiggly lines appear throughout scientific documents, drawing the writer's attention away from the task of writing and toward words that were spelled correctly in the first place. While it's certainly possible to add each term individually to the dictionary, to do so would be time-consuming and tedious. To solve this problem
SNP and Gene Expression Assays as You Like It
SNP and Gene Expression Assays as You Like It
More often than not, when a researcher needs to genotype samples for a particular single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), or to measure the expression of a specific gene, they end up having to design the reagents for themselves. This involves identifying and validating optimal sequences, designing probes, and getting an assay system set up and running. Foster City, Calif.-based Applied Biosystems (ABI) aims to let scientists focus on their research, instead of on experimental design, with its ne

Profession

Teaching to Learn
Teaching to Learn
Image: Erica P. Johnson They come from disparate parts of the world and study disciplines as diverse as diabetes research, protein chemistry, and mammalian development. Yet David Lynn, Martin H. Johnson, and Peter Stralfors share a common bond: For each, teachers inspired his life's work. As a child, Lynn used his chemistry set to concoct explosive potions. But when it came to choosing a career path in college, Lynn admits he was as bewildered as the next student until a chemistry professor g
Bioinformatics Knowledge Vital to Careers
Bioinformatics Knowledge Vital to Careers
Image: Erica P. Johnson Bioinformatics is growing up. Science's hottest information tool is coming into adolescence and has transformed the way research is conducted. For life scientists, this transformation means that those who lack skills to integrate informatics in their work are in danger of not staying competitive and also of not staying employed. "There is no doubt in my mind that the life sciences have already turned very informational, and once the train is on the track you can't reve
Hogging Biotech Jobs
Hogging Biotech Jobs
Photo: Keith Weller Advances in plant and animal genomics promise to open thousands of new life science jobs in agriculture when the industry clears regulatory and cultural obstacles. With the potential to generate billions of dollars in economic activity, these advances are expected to trigger an increased demand for life scientists and researchers not only trained in classical laboratory techniques, but also skilled in bioinformatics and sequencing. "Bioinformatics will be a major career ar
The International Stem Cell Highway
The International Stem Cell Highway
Japan's Institute of Physical and Chemical Research (RIKEN) is aggressively recruiting researchers for its new Center for Developmental Biology, including scientists who want to work with human embryonic stem cells. The Japanese government has pledged to provide a budget of $48 million (US) per year to the center, which aims to recruit 30 research teams staffed with 250 scientists. Currently the center has 25 research teams, including a laboratory for stem cell biology, and a stem cell organog
Summer Help or Summer HELP!
Summer Help or Summer HELP!
Not many doctors can speak of their affiliation with a street gang and with the American Medical Association. But most people don't have the grit required to transform themselves from teenage toughs to MDs. After running with a gang while growing up on the hardscrabble streets of Gary, Ind., Ryan Gholson is now preparing for medical studies as an undergrad at Indiana State University, Terre Haute. Gholson went to Houston this summer with both aspirations and reservations about the Summer Medi

Fine Tuning

Mentors are Made, not Born
Mentors are Made, not Born
Photo: Courtesy of R. Julian Preston R. Julian Preston Principal investigators should ideally help equip postdoctoral fellows for careers, but this advisory role often receives few resources and little attention. Nevertheless, the changing nature and stringency of today's job market has made the mentor's task more difficult. One tool that may help is an Individual Development Plan (IDP), such as the one recently developed by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (

News Profile

Russel E. Kaufman
Russel E. Kaufman
Photo: Courtesy of the Wistar Institute What takes a man from checking midnight inventories at grocery stores in Ohio to directing one of the oldest private biomedical research institutes in the United States? Says the man who did it: strong values, great mentors, and a penchant for late nights. "All you have to do is look at a person's bookshelf and you'll see what they value," explains Russel E. Kaufman, the recently appointed director and CEO of Philadelphia's Wistar Institute. In taking c