TS Picks: November 7, 2014

Trouble obtaining Ebola samples; Republicans take over Congressional science committees; postdoc participation

Nov 7, 2014
Jef Akst


Selected stories from The Scientist’s reading list:

  • To better understand and treat Ebola, researchers need access to the virus. Unfortunately, many seem to be having trouble getting their hands on live samples, Reuters reported, most likely due to concerns about the safe transport of the deadly virus. “All the companies working on vaccines, diagnostics, and treatments are complaining about lack of access to [Ebola] samples,” Laurie Garrett, the senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, told Reuters.
  • In the wake of Tuesday’s US election, the new Republican majority in the US Senate will appoint new chairs for committee that oversee research in the country, ScienceInsider reported. Expected appointments include Senator Thad Cochran (R–MS) for the Appropriations Committee, with either him or Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) expected to head up the subcommittee that oversees the National Science Foundation, NASA, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Senator Jerry Moran (R–KS) could take over as chair of the subcommittee that funds the National Institutes of Health. Senator Lamar Alexander (R–TN) to chair the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions panel, which oversees federal education and biomedical research policy.
  • Last month, a symposium called the Future of Research (FOR) picked up an ongoing discussion about what some have a called a “hypercompetitive” and “unsustainable” research environment, Science reported. Speakers at the meeting touched on key issues in regarding the structure of the biomedical research enterprise, the growing length of postdoctoral positions and general short supply of jobs, and various solutions to some of these problems. The gathering, organized by a committee of Boston-area postdocs, also pointed to the role of early-career scientists in guiding such reform.