Frontlines

Frontlines
Frontlines
Frontlines Image: Anne MacNamara Math is life Mathematicians and biologists now have a few more reasons to pool resources and expertise. New grants cosponsored by the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) are available to scientists who apply innovative mathematical approaches to biological problems (www.nsf.gov/pubs/2002/nsf02125/nsf02125.htm). The two agencies have awarded 20 grantees roughly $24 million over the next five years and wil

Commentary

Rhetoric is Nice, but Show 'em the Money
Rhetoric is Nice, but Show 'em the Money
The UK government is currently espousing a passion for science. Prime Minister Tony Blair said recently: "The strength and creativity of our science base is a key national asset as we move into the 21st century." And the minister for science and technology, David Sainsbury, recently remarked: "It (science) can improve the quality of our lives by enabling us to live more healthily, and longer". Exactly so. Demonstrating this new attitude, Blair's government has significantly boosted the United

Opinion

The Queen Bee Syndrome
The Queen Bee Syndrome
Image: Anthony Canamucio I serve on the senior appointments and promotions committee (SAPC) of a medical school. Over the years, I've realized that male basic scientists, as a group, sail through the SAPC effortlessly. Many of these men work in fields that include probably 10 other individuals in the whole world, half of whom are their mentors, or former fellow graduate students or postdoctoral fellows. These are their peers, and we can readily obtain laudatory letters of recommendation from t

Letter

Primary Prevention of Cancer
Primary Prevention of Cancer
Primary Prevention of Cancer Your stories on cancer present well-rounded perspectives on cancer treatment.1,2 However, for targeting cancer incidence and mortalities, increased attention must be directed toward primary prevention of cancer, rather than most resources being centered on molecular and mechanistic biology, diagnoses, and treatment regimens. These issues are vitally important, but primary prevention has been too long proportionately neglected. Except for tobacco, and even there g
Impact Factors and Publishing Research
Impact Factors and Publishing Research
Impact Factors and Publishing Research We all know, at least in the abstract, that citation impact factors have become important to journals, as well as to authors. I suppose, therefore, that I should not have been surprised (though I was) when an associate editor asked me to modify one of my manuscripts by adding citations to papers in his journal--apparently only because they were in his journal. I was puzzled by this request, because no papers from his journal had provided intellectual or

News

More than Money
More than Money
With a population of just 143,000, the city of Dundee may not seem the kind of glitzy destination that competes with knowledge centers such as San Francisco and Boston: Golf and mountain climbing qualify as top entertainments, and it takes less time to fly from New York to London than to drive there from Dundee. If fresh air fails to lure prospective lecturers to Dundee University's life science division, the median annual salary of researchers in the region--$37,757 (US)--probably won't start
All Things Unequal, In Pay
All Things Unequal, In Pay
Women still earn slightly less than men do in the life sciences, though the difference narrows as both advance in their fields, according to a salary survey conducted by Abbott, Langer & Associates and sponsored by The Scientist and the American Institute of Biological Sciences. Midcareer female scientists in the United States, who have worked for five to nine years since obtaining their PhDs, earn a median income of $55,000 (US), roughly 92% of the $60,000 their male colleagues earn. Wom
Race and Ethnicity Matters
Race and Ethnicity Matters
Richard Tapia often tells disadvantaged children about his own humble upbringing in the barrios of Los Angeles. Then he tells them that he earns six figures as a mathematician. "People are shocked when they find out how much money I make," says Tapia, now Noah Harding Professor in the Department of Computational and Applied Mathematics and director of the Center for Excellence and Equity in Education at Rice University. "[Counselors] told me I should be a trash worker or a mechanic, and not b
No Longer at Equity
No Longer at Equity
Image: Marlene J. Viola Look for big changes in the stock options that lure many scientists out of academia and into the biotechnology industry, life sciences compensation analysts say. The stock market decline has stripped options of their value, just as regulators have begun to eye them suspiciously. Seemingly obscure accounting issues are critical to scientists in biotech firms, who may have gambled half their pay package on options or on rights to buy shares in a company at a set price. "
The Ethical Biotech
The Ethical Biotech
With ImClone Systems' chief executive Sam Waksal under indictment for insider trading and fraud, the black cloud over corporate business ethics that first rose over Enron now hovers above the biotech industry. While Waksal may be an outlier, the problems at ImClone have prompted the industry to once again examine ethical standards. Perhaps more than any other industry, biotech is experienced in dealing with ethical issues, with managers constantly embroiled in hot-button debates over stem cell
A Question of Clotting
A Question of Clotting
Image: Courtesy of Barry R. Lentz  LOVING WATER AND OIL: The illustration shows a full length phosphatidylserine molecule of the sort that would occur in a platelet membrane. The molecule has a water-loving "head" end (left end with several red balls in the figure) and an oil-loving "tail" end that holds it in the membrane. The researchers used a molecule with the tail end shortened to about a third of its physiological length so that the whole molecule remains in solution instead of formi

Research

Can a Side of the Brain Determine Sick or Sane?
Can a Side of the Brain Determine Sick or Sane?
Image: Courtesy of Alvaro Pascual-Leone DEPRESSION AND CEREBRAL ACTIVITY: Cerebral blood flow determined by single-photon emission tomography was correlated with changes in clinical depression after patients received transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to the left prefrontal cortex. In red areas, blood flow--signifying brain activity--was positively correlated with TMS's antidepressant effect; in green areas, blood flow was negatively correlated. (Reprinted with permission, Psychiatry
Uprooting the Tree of Life
Uprooting the Tree of Life
Image: Ned Shaw The cell--the irreducible unit of life on Earth--has an estimated history nigh on 3.5 billion years. Scientists since Charles Darwin have attempted to trace that history to a so-called last common ancestor. Comparative physiology and fossil records can take one only so far, so many researchers are trying to reach the tree of life's roots with tools of a genetic nature. Yet, the more they dig, the more convoluted those roots appear to be. Lateral gene transfer, the square peg in

Hot Paper

Scientists Combine Two Approaches to Thwart the Spread of HIV
Scientists Combine Two Approaches to Thwart the Spread of HIV
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. D.H. Barouch et al., "Control of viremia and prevention of clinical AIDS in rhesus monkeys by cytokine-augmented DNA vaccination," Science, 290:486-92, Oct. 20, 2000. (Cited in 130 papers) J.R. Mascola et al., "Protection of macaques against vaginal transmission of a pathogenic HIV-1/SIV chi

Wed, 01 Jan 1000 00:00:00 GMT

Researchers Further Define Sources of Adult Blood Stem Cells
Researchers Further Define Sources of Adult Blood Stem Cells
The Faculty of 1000 is aWeb-based literature awareness tool published by BioMed Central. For more information visit www.facultyof1000.com. Although controversial fetal stem cells hog the limelight, hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), which give rise to the entire adult blood system, quietly facilitate high-dose chemotherapy on a regular basis in hospitals worldwide. But HSCs have not been without intrigue--whence they come and how they arise in early development remains mysterious. Now, two colla

Technology Profile

Ribozymes: Hearkening Back to an RNA World
Ribozymes: Hearkening Back to an RNA World
Illustration: Ned Shaw LIKE MOLECULAR TOY-MAKERS, ribozyme researchers create tools with evolutionary, diagnostic, and therapeutic applications. Nearly 20 years ago, Tom Cech and Sidney Altman discovered that some naturally occurring RNAs could perform enzymatic reactions, earning these researchers the 1989 Nobel Prize in chemistry. Scientists have now identified several examples of RNA enzymes, or ribozymes. Most make or break the phosphodiester bonds in nucleic acid backbones, but some
The Fine Art of Peptide Synthesis
The Fine Art of Peptide Synthesis
Image: Marlene Viola Synthetic peptides, generally less than 20 amino acids in length, are essential reagents for a wide range of studies and one of the fundamental tools of proteomics researchers. Applications include generating antibodies against specific epitopes, eluting specific proteins from affinity columns, testing the biological functions of enzymes, and screening for potential drug targets. Synthetic peptides are the protein equivalent of synthetic oligonucleotides, and to some exten
No More Dancing in The Dark
No More Dancing in The Dark
Photos: Ian Parker & Mark Miller SHALL WE DANCE? Key immune players cut a rug in a lymph node. Shown are T cells (green), B cells (red), and dendritic cells (blue). Inset: T cells and reticular fibers (red). Both pictures were acquired using TPLSM. Using a technique called two-photon laser- scanning microscopy (TPLSM) researchers can visualize, in three dimensions, the cellular waltzes by which the mammalian immune system develops and reacts to infection. The technique enables two low-en

Technology

2D's New Wave
2D's New Wave
Image: Courtesy of Amersham Biosciences  THE ESSENCE OF DIGE The most widely used proteomic method, two-dimensional gel electrophoresis (2DE), has a number of drawbacks, including low reproducibility and difficulties in quantitatively comparing multiple gels.1 Fluorescence two-dimensional difference gel electro- phoresis (2D DIGE) circumvents the latter problem by combining conventional 2DE with fluorescent labeling, sample multiplexing, and image analysis. Jonathan Minden, professor of
Invitrogen's Lentiviral Power
Invitrogen's Lentiviral Power
Viral vectors offer an efficient way to transduce a variety of mammalian cell types, but most can deliver genes only to proliferating cells. Lentiviral vectors, on the other hand, can deliver nucleic acids to both dividing and nondividing cells, thus making them useful for a wide range of cell lines, including those that are difficult to transfect, such as hematopoietic stem cells, lymphocytes, and neural and dendritic cells.1 While other retroviruses can enter a cell only when the nucleus i
4D Arrays in 1/4 Time
4D Arrays in 1/4 Time
Image: Courtesy of Metrigenix Using patented Flow-thru Chip™ (FTC) technology in a one-square-centimeter biochip, Gaithersburg, Md.-based MetriGenix automates microarray processing from spotting to analysis of final data, but does so in about one-quarter of the time of conventional flatbed microarray systems. According to product manager, Mridula Iyer, the MetriGenix 4D™ system costs about $60,000 (US), including the microfluidic biochips and cartridges, an automated hybridization

Profession

The Protean Job Market
The Protean Job Market
Image: Erica Johnson Life scientists looking for work can take heart in the fertile job market despite worldwide economic doldrums: Jobs exist in plenty and should remain abundant for some time. Nevertheless, some market trends make it trickier now to snag a high-paying position than in recent years. Venture capitalists reluctant to risk investments in biotechnology have pressured small and midsize companies to reduce expenses and bring products to market more quickly. Also, mergers and consol
Toward a Silver-Tongued Scientist
Toward a Silver-Tongued Scientist
During his career in the pharmaceutical industry, Jim Richman often recruited scientists. Job openings always attracted a bounty of talented people. But finding applicants with the complete package of scientific excellence and social savvy could prove challenging. "I did see a lot of green folks come in with PhDs and postdocs who had no sense of what corporate life was all about," says Richman, now an executive coach and trainer. "If I gave them advice it was that you can never do enough train
To Get Work You Gotta Network
To Get Work You Gotta Network
Network or not work: That's the message from career recruiters and experts who help scientists get well-paying jobs. "Networking is an art, not a science," says Stephen Rosen, a New York City-based career consultant who specializes in prodding heavily credentialed people to network. "Scientists as a whole tend to be more comfortable with ideas and theories than they are with people." The Basics Can Be Learned Start close to home. Practice on friends and family to overcome awkwardness. Pitts
Seven Tips for Job-Search Survival
Seven Tips for Job-Search Survival
Job Hunting? Start with a workout. Run, work out, and sweat. A high-stress job search keeps emotions racing between panic and despair. Exercise keeps emotions level and energy high for what is likely to be a marathon event, says Cynthia Robbins-Roth, who runs BioVenture Consultants in San Mateo, Calif. It can take six months to more than a year to find the right position," she says. "When people feel depressed about how things are going, they stop taking care of themselves and it shows." More
Shake Those Job-Hunting Blues
Shake Those Job-Hunting Blues
Image: Erica P. Johnson When he landed in Chicago after dark for an interview with a large pharmaceutical company, Robert "Duffy" Dufresne received the sobering news that his luggage had been lost. In anticipation of such a mishap, Dufresne had packed a gray suit in his carry-on bag, but he says he overlooked a single detail. "When I arrived, the only shoes I had were the ones I was wearing: my blue suede tennis sneakers." With no shoe stores open at the late hour (let alone any accustomed to

Fine Tuning

The Skill Challenge
The Skill Challenge
Photo: Courtesy of Steve Koehler Who's hot and who's not? The job market runs hot and cold depending on location, experience, and education. In hot biotechnology markets where the demand is strong, such as Rockville, Md., San Diego, and Boston, salaries remain stable. In the Midwest hiring managers are looking for detailed skill sets, even though they pay as much as 10% less than employers on either coast. Despite regional shortfalls, however, the demand and salaries for scientists remain stro

News Profile

Mike West
Mike West
Photo: Courtesy of Advanced Cell Technology In these days of rampant science phobia, a researcher associated with human cloning risks being linked to the few renegade scientists claiming to already have done the deed. Mike West's quest as president and CEO of Advanced Cell Technology (ACT) in Worcester, Mass., is not to clone dinosaurs or replace children, but to customize cells to rebuild degenerating or injured human tissue. The company's late 2001 announcement1 that it had created a human