News Profile

John Gearhart
Ricki Lewis | Dec 8, 2002 | 4 min read
File photo It is a sobering time for US stem cell researchers. Just days after a national election set the stage for the possible criminalization of embryonic stem cell research, a popular television program portrayed such cells incubating in patients in coma, ready to be used to treat a wealthy man's Parkinson disease. A video presented at the American Society for Human Genetics annual meeting in Baltimore a month earlier, however, told a very different story--this one real. The video showed
David Karp
Hal Cohen | Nov 24, 2002 | 4 min read
Photo: Hal Cohen Upon meeting David Karp, fruit detective, his mild-mannered appearance initially brings to mind the image of an accountant, not a private eye; then he reveals the weapon he's been concealing. Fortunately, the fruit knife that ubiquitously occupies his holster is there to provide a readily available means to carve up fruit, not innocent streetwalkers. As Karp starts to slice up a few recently purchased seckles, he laments how the pears' dwarfish appearance has hindered their p
Anna Johnson-Winegar
Peg Brickley | Nov 10, 2002 | 4 min read
Photo: Courtesy of Anna Johnson-Winegar Two days after anthrax was discovered in a letter addressed to US Sen. Tom Daschle (D-SD), Anna Johnson-Winegar was testifying on the state of the nation's readiness to counter bioterrorism before the Senate Committee on Government Affairs. Her office is the Department of Defense's (DoD) focal point for chemical and biological defense. In the hot seat before the Senate that bright October day, the Pentagon scientist wasted no time trying to convince them
Robin Weiss
Arlene Judith Klotzko | Oct 27, 2002 | 3 min read
Photo: Courtesy of Robin Weiss Robin Weiss characterizes himself as a "one-track scientist." He researches "retroviruses, retroviruses, retroviruses." His colleagues, however, say he's a scientist's scientist who combines his prodigious knowledge with a propensity to ask questions others might not for fear of rocking the boat. Take, for example, the day in March 2001 when Weiss gave the Leeuwenhoek lecture at the London School of Tropical Medicine. According to Robert May, president of The Ro
Benjamin Lewin
Paula Park | Oct 13, 2002 | 4 min read
Benjamin Lewin founded Cell in 1972 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and with unprecedented speed, built a collection of science journals that rival—and many say outperform—heavyweights Nature and Science.
Judith Vaitukaitis
Myrna Watanabe | Sep 29, 2002 | 4 min read
Photo: Courtesy of Judith Vaitukaitis Were it not for the National Institutes of Health's former policy that did not allow NIH researchers to patent their discoveries, "Vaitukaitis" would have been a household name, like Pasteur or Steinway. That's because reproductive endocrinologist Judith Vaitukaitis, now director of NIH's National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), discovered what became the first simple pregnancy test--the immunoassay for the presence of human chorionic gonadotrophin (
Mike West
Ricki Lewis | Sep 15, 2002 | 4 min read
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
Russel E. Kaufman
Brendan Maher | Sep 1, 2002 | 4 min read
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
Ruth Bishop
Bob Beale | Aug 18, 2002 | 4 min read
Photo: Courtesy of Murdoch Childrens Research Institute If fate had been kinder to Ruth Bishop, she might have enjoyed the rare satisfaction of discovering what causes one of the world's deadliest infectious diseases, and the means to prevent it. She helped accomplish the first feat with remarkable ease almost 30 years ago, but as she nears the end of a distinguished medical research career, its sequel remains maddeningly elusive. Now 69, Bishop is self-effacing about the headway she and her
Karen Vousden
Paula Park | Jul 21, 2002 | 4 min read
Photo: Courtesy of Karen Vousden Karen H. Vousden, head of the Cell Growth Regulation Laboratory at the National Cancer Institute, Frederick, Md., and her friend Xin Lu, a professor at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in London, found a way to get instant recognition at the many p53 meetings they attend: They wear similar blue sweaters. Twins from separate nations, the chums may have started a trend. At the 11th International p53 Workshop in Barcelona this past May, the pals teased two
Elias A. Zerhouni
Ted Agres | Jul 7, 2002 | 4 min read
In the mid-1980s, cardiologists faced a particularly vexing problem: how to measure, accurately and noninvasively, the thickness of heart tissue as it changed over time. Elias A. Zerhouni, a young radiology professor at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, struggled over the issue with a small team of physicists. "One day, he walked into the room with this incredible smile on his face, like you would have if you made a great molecular discovery," recalls Myron Weisfeldt, director of Hopkins' Depart
Mariano Barbacid
Paula Park | Jun 9, 2002 | 4 min read
A classical sculpture depicts the Greek Titan Atlas bent awkwardly under the weight of an immense globe. The same sculptor might depict Mariano Barbacid, director of Spain's National Center for Cancer Research (CNIO), carrying an additional weight: Time. Like other Spanish scientists who have returned from the United States and Europe to build their country's biomedical research system, Barbacid must push time forward to an age when Spain attracts legions of Titans in the life sciences. In the
Rudolf Raff
Ricki Lewis | May 12, 2002 | 4 min read
If a visitor to Earth were to try to assess life's diversity by touring terrestrial biology laboratories, he, she, or it might conclude that the planet is overrun with fruit flies, mice, small plants, tiny transparent worms, and a few types of single-celled inhabitants. That skewed view might be why it's taken more than a century for the field called evo-devo today to have taken off. It's also why Indiana University distinguished professor Rudolf (Rudy) Raff collects sea urchins from the Austral
Mary-Dell Chilton
Paula Park | Apr 28, 2002 | 4 min read
Mary-Dell Chilton had journeyed from the West Coast to New York City in September 1977 to demonstrate her discovery to one of the most important plant scientists in the world, Armin Braun, a professor at Rockefeller University. Braun theorized that Agrobacterium somehow triggered a developmental change in plants, resulting in the tumors associated with crown gall disease. Subsequently, at the University of Washington in Seattle, microbiologist Gene Nester, plant viral RNA biochemist Milt Gordon,
Colin Blakemore
Arlene Judith Klotzko | Apr 14, 2002 | 4 min read
Colin Blakemore's boundless energy—physical and intellectual—is quite fitting in a man who has run 18 marathons. His preference to be addressed as Colin (no honorifics please!) is in keeping with his quiet and unassuming manner, which is all the more impressive in a man who has created the equivalent of two parallel careers—one in neuroscience and the other in science communication. Blakemore got off to an exceptionally early and impressive start in both vocations—he comp
Andrew C. von Eschenbach
Laura Newman | Apr 1, 2002 | 4 min read
Just one month after Andrew von Eschenbach was sworn in as National Cancer Institute director, he was called to a US Senate hearing as the government's lead witness that day. The topic was one that he had grappled with before during his tenure at the American Cancer Society—and one that his predecessor and other physicians had not endured well: the pitched debate over the effectiveness of mammography screening for women in their 40s. The hearing was triggered by a systematic review1 that c
Matthew Meselson
Peg Brickley | Mar 17, 2002 | 4 min read
Matthew S. Meselson waited quietly in the car while female associates handled the delicate work of questioning families of people who had died of anthrax. The scientist had charmed, wrangled, and nagged politicians on two continents from 1979 to 1992 for permission to probe a strange outbreak of the disease in the Soviet city of Sverdlovsk 1979. But just days before Meselson boarded a plane for Moscow to conduct the interviews, former President Boris Yeltsin, a Sverdlovsk official during the out
Tracey McNamara
Myrna Watanabe | Mar 3, 2002 | 4 min read
It may still be winter, but the United States is already girding for a resurgence of human West Nile virus infections. This year, the sentinels for the advent of West Nile season will be not only dead crows on city streets or in suburban backyards, but animals at zoos nationwide, thanks to a program that is the brainchild of veterinary pathologist Tracey McNamara of the Wildlife Conservation Society, Bronx, NY. McNamara, who, in 1999, first realized that the dead birds found on the grounds of th
John H. Marburger III
Brendan Maher | Feb 17, 2002 | 4 min read
During the height of the national ruckus over anthrax mailings and feared terrorist attacks this past October, the US Senate quietly confirmed John H. Marburger III as scientific adviser to President George W. Bush, and director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). Bush broke records for heel dragging in nominating a candidate and then demoted the position from assistant to the president, granting less face time with the chief of staff.1 Add to this the fact that the OSTP was r
J. Leslie Glick
E. P. | Jan 20, 1991 | 2 min read
CLOSE-UP -- J. Leslie Glick (The Scientist, Vol:5, #2, pg. 8, January 21, 1991) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- J. Leslie Glick, president and chief executive officer of Bionix Inc. of Potomac, Md., insists that he never really intended to start a neurospecialty company. "I essentially had decided to retire," recalls the 68-year-old biologist and biotech executive. "But there are only so many museums in Washington, and I wanted to do something that would benefit the