Monday round-up

-A newly released linkurl:government report;http://www.hhs.gov/aspr/omsph/biosecurity/biosecurity-report.pdf calls for changing the rules for conducting research on certain biological materials that could potentially be used as bioterror agents. Though the current list of "select agents" includes 82 pathogens and toxins, the report says, they don't all pose the same level of threat; the panel recommended stratifying the list based on the level of risk. The report also calls for beefing up securi

Alla Katsnelson
Jan 10, 2010
-A newly released linkurl:government report;http://www.hhs.gov/aspr/omsph/biosecurity/biosecurity-report.pdf calls for changing the rules for conducting research on certain biological materials that could potentially be used as bioterror agents. Though the current list of "select agents" includes 82 pathogens and toxins, the report says, they don't all pose the same level of threat; the panel recommended stratifying the list based on the level of risk. The report also calls for beefing up security -- enhancing personnel screening and establishing a minimum standard for security measures at buildings housing pathogen labs. Meanwhile, in linkurl:an article;http://www.nature.com/nrmicro/journal/vaop/ncurrent/abs/nrmicro2299.html in __Nature Reviews Microbiology__ published online today, scientists argue that the select agent list is hobbling research and thereby making society more rather than less vulnerable to both biological attacks and naturally-occurring epidemics. -With the 2010 budget in place, the National Institutes of Health has announced linkurl:some changes;http://writedit.wordpress.com/2010/01/08/nih-fy10-fiscal-policies/ to its grants policy, aimed towards funding at least 1650 new investigators...
ng research on certain biological materials that could potentially be used as bioterror agents. Though the current list of "select agents" includes 82 pathogens and toxins, the report says, they don't all pose the same level of threat; the panel recommended stratifying the list based on the level of risk. The report also calls for beefing up security -- enhancing personnel screening and establishing a minimum standard for security measures at buildings housing pathogen labs. Meanwhile, in linkurl:an article;http://www.nature.com/nrmicro/journal/vaop/ncurrent/abs/nrmicro2299.html in __Nature Reviews Microbiology__ published online today, scientists argue that the select agent list is hobbling research and thereby making society more rather than less vulnerable to both biological attacks and naturally-occurring epidemics. -With the 2010 budget in place, the National Institutes of Health has announced linkurl:some changes;http://writedit.wordpress.com/2010/01/08/nih-fy10-fiscal-policies/ to its grants policy, aimed towards funding at least 1650 new investigators this year, notes the ever-helpful blog Medical Writing, Editing & Grantsmanship. See the NIH's posting linkurl:here.;http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-10-039.html - Despite continuing hesitation from venture capital, the biotech industry raked in $55.8 billion in 2009, mainly through partnerships with big pharma, Steve Burrill, head of the San Francisco life science investment and analysis shop Burrill and Co., linkurl:told the San Francisco Chronicle.;http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/01/10/BUQ61BF0UT.DTL&type=business That 's an 85% increase from 2008. The data might signal an upswing for the industry; 6500 biotech execs, researchers and investors will be discussing such trends at the linkurl:JP Morgan Healthcare Conference;http://www.jpmorgan.com/pages/jpmorgan/investbk/global/na/usconferences/hc in San Francisco this week. -Spending cuts proposed in the UK may mean funding for entire areas of Medical Research Council-funded research will be eliminated, linkurl:warns MRC head Sir Leszek Borysiewicz.;http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/health/article6982918.ece He told The Times that if tough choices had to be made, he prefers focusing on priority areas and cutting others completely rather than "cheese-paring" across the board. - Stanford University received a grant to develop continuing medical education courses free of drug company influence. That $3 million grant, ironically, linkurl:comes from Pfizer.;http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/11/business/11drug.html?ref=health - The National Human Genome Research Institute is casting a wide net to find its next scientific director. NHGRI sent out a message on its listserv probing subscribers to suggest "an experienced M.D., Ph.D., or M.D./Ph.D. research leader with a broad knowledge of contemporary genetics and genomics," to serve as its next science czar. Applications are due by March 1st. - Finally, the man who slipped through security at Newark Airport on January 3rd and caused hours of chaos as the terminal was closed for six hours and numerous flights were delayed linkurl:is apparently;http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100109/ap_on_bi_ge/us_newark_airport_evacuation a graduate student in molecular biology at Rutgers. He was arrested for trespassing on Friday; it seems the whole debacle happened because he wanted to kiss his girlfriend good-bye.
**__Related stories:__***linkurl:Biosecurity rules under review;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/55821/
[9th July 2009]*linkurl:One biotech gasps for breath;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/55882/
[10th August 2009]*linkurl:NIH's New Year's Resolution?;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/56229/
[22nd December 2009]

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