THE SCIENTIST VOLUME 7, No:16 August 23, 1993 (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) Articles pu

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THE SCIENTIST VOLUME 7, No:16 August 23, 1993 (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) =============================================================== Articles published in THE SCIENTIST reflect the views of their authors and not the official views of the publication, its editorial staff, or its ownership. ================================================================ *** THE NEXT ISSUE OF THE SCIENTIST WILL APPEAR ON *** *** SEPTEMBER 6, 1993 *** *** *** ******************************************************* THE SCIENTIST (Page numbers correspond to printed edition of THE SCIENTIST) FOR SEARCHING PURPOSES: AU = author TI = title of article TY = type PG = page NEXT = next article TI : CONTENTS PG : 3 ===================================================================== NEWS SSC SHOWDOWN: Scientists building the superconducting supercollider are once again holding their collective breath as Congress decides the fate of the megaproject. Funding has already been cut off by the House of Representatives, and the SSC workers--and, to some extent, the entire particle physics community--are looking to the Senate to protect their scientific and professional futures Page : 1 CHEMICAL INTERACTION: Despite a recent survey indicating that chemists are suffering through the worst job market in two decades, many of them believe that an increasing demand for chemists in physics, as well as biomedical- and biotechnology- related research and development, will increase employment in the long run Page 1 BOMBING FALLOUT: This summer's letter-bomb attacks on two university scientists has sent a chill through researchers at academic institutions; but rather than shutting down their activities, the incidents have mobilized academia toward taking greater precautions against such assaults Page 1 VACCINE OVERSEERS: The Institute of Medicine, in a recent report, is calling for the establishment of a National Vaccine Authority to oversee vaccine research and act as a liaison between government and industry to facilitate vaccine research and production Page 3 GOOD LUCK, HE'LL NEED IT: Friends and colleagues speak of NIH director nominee Neal F. Lane's personal and professional qualifications for the job in glowing terms, but warn that the Rice University theoretical physicist will need to use all his skills to overcome the challenges currently facing the science agency Page 4 OPINION A MATTER OF TIMING: With smallpox eradicated from the Earth, the World Health Organization has recommended that all remaining smallpox virus stocks held in U.S. and Russian laboratories be destroyed by the end of this year. But Russian biologist Lev S. Sandakhchiev pleads for an extension of that deadline, citing the abundance of important genetic research yet to be done on smallpox viruses--work that could take many years more to complete Page 11 COMMENTARY: The problem of a waning job market for science graduates is further aggravated by the strict specialization and divisional structure of many academic science departments. Without a redirection toward more interdisciplinary training, few graduates will be prepared for the jobs that are available, says Kenneth Heitner, a Ph.D. alumnus of the California Institute of Technology Page 12 RESEARCH CHEMISTRY'S TOP 25: Harvard University leads the list of U.S. research institutions and corporations producing the world's highest-impact chemistry papers, according to the newsletter Science Watch Page 14 HOT PAPERS: A physical chemist discusses his article on the discovery, isolation, and characterization of a buckyball derivative Page 17 TOOLS & TECHNOLOGY DESIGNING CHEMISTRY: Versatile, full-featured molecular-modeling packages and graphical user interfaces are allowing bench-level experimental chemists and molecular biologists to design sophisticated molecules and academic chemists to use the technology to teach their students as well as advance their research Page 18 PROFESSION TREADING SALARY WATERS: Faculty in the physical and life sciences at state universities and land grant colleges received raises in the 1992-93 school year that barely kept pace with inflation-- and, in some cases, didn't--according to a survey. Page 20 SHEILA E. WIDNALL, associate provost and a professor of aeronautics and mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has been nominated for the post of secretary of the Air Force Page 21 SHORT TAKES NOTEBOOK Page 4 CARTOON Page 4 LETTERS Page 12 CROSSWORD Page 13 OBITUARY Page 21 SCIENTIFIC SOFTWARE DIRECTORY Page 30 (The Scientist, Vol:7, #16, August 23, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: August 23, 1993 TI : Biomedical Opportunities Seen As Rare Bright Spot On Chemistry Job Horizon Especially for inorganic chemists, the employment picture for the discipline is said to be the grimmest it has been in decades AU : MARCIA CLEMMITT TY : NEWS PG : 1 A recent survey reveals that chemists currently face one of the worst job markets in the past 20 years in their discipline. Yet many of them believe that their field's growing importance to other research areas, especially biomedicine, will put chemists in a better position than many other science professionals to benefit from any future economic upturn. "The Ph.D.'s we produce are getting jobs, in part because the pharmaceutical industry has remained healthy," says Craig Hill, a professor of chemistry at Emory University in Atlanta. Emory's chemistry program is largely oriented toward biology and medicine, Hill says, and he attributes much of his graduates' success in the job market to that fact. "But there's no question the employment market is tough," he says, "especially in areas of chemistry less relevant to medical applications. Jobs for formal inorganic chemists, for example, are clearly limited." The most recent annual employment survey conducted by the American Chemical Society (ACS), revealed that, as of March 1, 1993, 2 percent of chemists surveyed described themselves as unemployed and looking for work. While that number may seem insignificant compared with unemployment figures for the population as a whole, ACS statisticians report that it reflects the highest percentage of unemployment among chemists since 1983. (United States Department of Labor statistics for March showed overall unemployment at 7.3 percent, unemployment in the chemical and allied products industry at 5.6 percent, and unemployment among managerial and professional workers at 3 percent.) The survey results are likely to be a significant topic of discussion at ACS's annual meeting, being held August 22-27 in Chicago. According to Joan Burrelli, ACS senior research analyst, who directed the survey, and Michael Heylin, editor of ACS's Chemical and Engineering News, who reported on the data in the publication's July 12 edition (71[28]:7-12, 1993), additional survey data show chemists' job prospects to be even dimmer, compared to the employment prosperity they have traditionally enjoyed. According to the survey, 7.2 percent of chemists currently work in what Heylin calls "unsatisfactory employment situations," including part-time jobs and postdoctoral and fellowship positions. That number is up from 6.5 percent a year ago and is the highest percentage in the last 20 years. Demand Vs. Supply Both ACS and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) sponsor job banks and other employment services for their members. Both groups say employer participation in job clearinghouses and job-listing services has generally declined over the past few years, while the number of individuals seeking positions has risen. According to Anjalika Silva, a staff associate in ACS's office of employment services, both the number of "employer organizations attending ACS National Employment Clearing Houses, and interviews generated [at those meetings] have declined." But Silva says the downturn in attendance and interviewing is not a direct gauge of decline in the job market. Instead, Silva says, it's a measure of employers' more cautious and carefully targeted hiring practices. "A larger number of positions available are not publicly advertised to job seekers," Silva says. More employers are now specifically targeting job candidates to interview instead of making general job announcements. In the past, established chemists and chemical engineers have been hired in large numbers by the major chemical, fuel, and consumer products industries. But employment service professionals and scientific recruiters say that picture has now changed, with smaller companies making up a higher percentage of the job market, more interviews targeted to specific skills and specific candidates, and significantly better job prospects for younger scientists, who can be paid less and may be more flexible. For example, a spokesman for AIChE reports that while large companies still employ the greatest percentage of that organization's membership, the past few years have seen big increases in chemical engineers hired by environmental engineering firms and the materials, biotechnology, and electronics industries, all sectors largely dominated by smaller, younger companies. The reason for this, industry experts say, is that the larger companies have curtailed hiring, while other industries are discovering an enhanced need for more chemists. Jeffrey Weiss, assistant general manager of the Los Angeles-based scientific recruiting firm Search West, says most of the biotech and biomedical firms he deals with are targeting chemists with specific skills, such as protein purification and polymer chemistry. These chemists are being incorporated into small, focused research teams working on particular projects or products, as opposed to the practice of maintaining a large, more generalized scientific work force. In addition, Weiss says, such firms often "seem to be looking for people two or three years out of the postdoc, perhaps because they're seen as young enough to change with the times," and pursue avenues outside of their established research interests. ACS's most recent employment clearinghouse found chemists with six to 10 years of experience receiving the greatest number of interviews, with the next largest number going to those with zero to five years of experience, according to ACS employment specialist Silva. Meanwhile, chemists with 16 to 30 years' experience fared worst, with only half of that group receiving interviews. According to ACS data and many scientific recruiters and individual chemists, several fields, notably analytical chemistry, synthetic organic chemistry, and polymer chemistry, head the list of subspecialties currently most in demand by industry. At ACS's March 1993 employment clearinghouse, for example, job seekers registered as polymer chemists and organic chemists received the highest percentage of interviews, with analytical chemists receiving only slightly fewer. Inorganic chemists garnered few interviews, while physical chemists fared worst among the major chemical subfields, with only a little more than one half the candidates receiving interviews. Of available job openings posted by employers before the clearinghouse, the largest number were for analytical chemists, the second largest number for organic chemists. Cross-Fertilization Chemists say their discipline is rapidly becoming of central importance to research in biology and physics because of the increasing significance of molecular expertise in both disciplines--imaging in biology and condensed-matter research in physics, for example. Pharmaceutical companies--long an employer of chemists--are finding even more uses for some chemical specialties as they try to design drugs based on new understandings of very large molecules. Biotechnology companies and companies trying to develop medical diagnostic tools have also begun to hire chemists. "Today much of biochemistry has been handed over to chemists," says University of Chicago chemistry department chairman Jeremy Burdett. "Chemists used to regard large [biological molecules] as blobs. But new imaging techniques [such as spectroscopy, X-ray crystallography, and multidimensional nuclear magnetic resonance imaging] have allowed us to see them as simply molecules. Chemists know how to deal with molecules." That training in understanding molecules means "chemists can move easily into the biosciences, in a way that biologists simply can't move into chemistry," says Koji Nakanishi, Centennial Professor of Chemistry at Columbia University. Nakanishi says some students from his organic chemistry lab now work as biochemists "and even immunologists." Young chemists who hone the time-honored skills of isolation and purification of compounds, molecular structure determination, and molecular synthesis, and also become familiar with the language of the biosciences, should find increasing opportunities in biomedicine, Nakanishi and others say. In particular, "a lot of biotech companies are realizing they can't operate without organic chemists," says Rice University chemistry professor Marco Ciufolini. Further evidence of a growing chemistry/ biotech connection can be seen in data from ACS's most recent employment clearinghouse, in which biotechnology jobs made up the third-highest category of available positions posted before the event. Clinical chemists, who develop methods of monitoring enzymes, drugs, and other chemicals in human patients and supervise the application of those methods, represent another biomedicine- related chemistry specialty that may be of growing interest to employers. Medical centers, medical testing laboratories, and pharmaceutical companies have been the largest employers of clinical chemists. But as more firms try to develop instruments for diagnosis and patient monitoring, "a lot of clinical chemists are now going into industry," says Barbara Goldsmith, director of clinical chemistry at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children in Philadelphia. Chemical engineers also seem increasingly able to transfer their skills into some newly expanding areas, notably environmental engineering, according to human resources experts and AIChE. "Chemical engineering is an excellent intellectual base for dealing with environmental contaminants, and there's certain to be more demand for that," says Fred Schulz, a chemical engineer and principal officer of ESOF Co., a technical marketing and human resources firm in Cincinnati. Much current chemistry research involves chemistry's interface with physics, particularly in the creation of new materials with novel physical properties. But while such studies form a large part of the academic research agenda, some chemists caution that real industrial development of such materials--and concomitant job creation for chemists--may be many years and scientific discoveries down the line. "The materials science area is wide open. There are opportunities for dramatic discoveries from inorganic and organic chemists," says the Chicago's Burdett. "But you can't just cook something up, dump wide open. There are opportunities for dramatic discoveries from inorganic and organic chemists," says Chicago's Burdett. "But you can't just cook something up, dump it on a cold surface, and call it a new material. The challenge is: Given the elements, predict the structure, then predict the material's properties." Without being able to make such predictions, creation of new materials is essentially random, Burdett says. Even the tiniest changes in chemical composition or in the process by which a compound is made can make an enormous difference in a material's properties, and so far scientists have only the barest understanding of the rules that govern such changes. While most industrial chemistry labs focus on more traditional applications than do the academic labs where young chemists train, university chemists say that this shouldn't prevent young scientists from obtaining jobs. "Industry cries out for polymer chemists, but there's damn little polymer research going on in academia," whose chemists tend to opt for more cutting-edge studies, says Emory's Hill. However, say Hill and others, organic chemists can remake themselves as polymer chemists in industry. Robert Curl, a physical chemist who is chairman of the chemistry department at Rice, says that "the job situation is tight. But people do get jobs eventually. Physical chemists tend to become analytical chemists, where their skills in instrumentation [such as spectroscopy] are highly valued." Despite the current slump, chemists seem optimistic that the versatility of their science means their long-term job prospects are good. "Our civilization puts a high value on the ability to make molecules, so my feeling is the future is very bright," says Rice's Ciufolini. "The chemical industry is in a state of change now, the way the textile industry was in the 19th century. But in the future, chemists--especially synthetic organic chemists--should still be in the forefront, making high-value-added compounds, such as pharmaceuticals and compounds that are environmentally friendly." Marcia Clemmitt is a freelance science writer based in Washington, D.C. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #16, August 23, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: August 23, 1993 TI : Erosion Of Congressional Support For Supercollider Frustrates, Angers Nation's High-Energy Physicists Many of them argue that, without the SSC, thefield of particle physics may lose its vitality--maybe even its future AU : FRANKLIN HOKE TY : NEWS PG : 1 The struggle in Congress over funding for the superconducting supercollider (SSC)--now something of an annual event--is disrupting work at the laboratory and raising frustrations throughout the high-energy physics community, say physicists. Many of them also worry not only about the future of the multibillion-dollar Waxahachie, Texas, project, but also about that of particle physics in the United States. Already, failing support for the SSC in Washington, D.C., threatens recruitment to the project, they say, from student through professional levels. Some top particle physicists in the early to middle stages of their careers, disturbed by the prospect of waiting until the next century to begin experiments, are considering moves to accelerator laboratories outside the U.S., such as CERN in Geneva. "What may be the most disturbing thing of all," says Steven Weinberg, a professor of physics at the University of Texas, Austin, and a 1979 Nobel Prize winner in physics, "is that there's been a kind of bargain between science and society: Scientists pursue their inner-directed goals, and society supports this because, in the long run, it will reap benefits. And Congress seems to be losing interest in keeping up society's end of that bargain." On June 24, the House of Representatives voted by a decisive 280- 150 margin to cut the SSC's $620 million fiscal 1994 funding from a Department of Energy appropriations bill. Now, supporters of the SSC hope that the Senate will back the collider, as it did last year, in a vote likely to take place in mid- to late September. Then, a conference committee may be able to effect a compromise that will fund the project. This would be similar to the sequence of events leading to funding of the project last year. In fiscal 1993, the House voted, 323-181, to cut $450 million in funds from the proposed total of $483.7 million earmarked for the collider, leaving just enough for an orderly shut-down of the project. The Senate then voted, 62-32, to support the project, and a conference committee worked out a compromise that continued funding. The several-months-long battle is distracting to many of the the 2,000 or so SSC employees in Texas, as well as to physicists at universities around the U.S. whose work is tied to the SSC. "If the end result is that we get funded, complete the project, and do the science that we want to do, that would be fantastic," says Benjamin Grinstein, a physicist in the theory group at the SSC. "But, in the meantime, there are two months a year that are incredibly disruptive to the people at the laboratory and, to a lesser extent, to the high-energy physics community." He adds: "It's really wrong that if this country seems to commit itself to do something of this magnitude, it would then put thousands of people through this kind of psychological terror campaign every summer. Unfortunately, this is the way our law works. We have a yearly appropriations process, and we have to put up with it." Some younger physicists are reviewing their career strategies in light of the escalating uncertainty of congressional support for the SSC. "When people choose a career, they balance their degree of dedication and interest in it against the financial rewards and against the riskiness," says Alan Fry, an SSC physicist. "That triangle that we're trying to balance is changing now in high- energy physics. Certainly, at SSC, it's no longer obvious to me I'll have a job next year." The wrangling in Washington also has direct effects on the pace and progress of work at the laboratory, SSC scientists say. "Every year, there's a point where there's a hiring freeze, you can't buy things, and you have to just stop," says Patty McBride, a particle physicist at the lab. "We're continuing what we can, but it's difficult. You just lose a little bit of momentum." Delays associated with the funding struggle, including the suggestion that lower near-term costs might be achieved by pushing the SSC's completion date from the current 1999 projection into the next century, are not generally well-received by younger physicists. "People my age all want to be working on a current experiment, something that's running and taking data in the next few years," says McBride. "We don't want to sit here and let the rest of the field pass us by. People here are worried that with the funding fight every year, things will be delayed even more." Makoto Takashima, another physicist working on-site in Waxahachie, agrees. After nine years in Europe, doing his graduate work at DESY, the accelerator lab in Hamburg, Germany, and then postdoctoral work at CERN, he is anxious to move forward scientifically. "The reason I went to Europe was because I felt they were doing better science in high-energy physics," Takashima says. "It's as simple as that. But with the SSC, I really felt that this country had a big chance of getting back to the top. The scientists in this country, I think, are the best--and I've seen that by direct comparison to the Europeans. But the way the funding is here, it's difficult to get these projects off the ground. And that's unfortunate, because the scientific heritage is here. "There is some sentiment around here that the Congress may say, `We'll keep you limping along, and we'll build this thing in the year 2015,' or something," Takashima adds. "If it comes to that, I would rather just leave. I want to do something within my active lifetime." Many physicists note that backing for the collider laboratories in Europe and Japan is more reliable than in the U.S. This stability, and the resulting continuity in work, is cited by many as one reason the next generation of American physicists may expatriate. S. Peter Rosen, dean of science at the University of Texas, Arlington, is concerned that this may happen. "Europe is much better than us in that, once they make a commitment to a project, they're committed," Rosen says. "There's never, anymore, any question about its future." Prospects for recruitment to the SSC specifically, but also into the field generally, may be damaged by the lack of congressional support for the Texas collider, according to some physicists. Larry Gladney, a professor of physics at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, is developing high-speed parallel computing applications for data acquisition at the SSC. He also has been part of a collaborative arrangement to encourage students at Lincoln University, a historically African-American undergraduate school about 35 miles west of that city, to consider Ph.D.-level science career options. In June, he traveled with some of these students to visit the SSC. "The idea was to introduce the fact that there are science and engineering careers that are going to be built up by having this large project in the country," Gladney says. "And, certainly, it's very undermining, right afterwards, to have the House turn it down and make it look like the rug is going to be pulled out from under it, after getting people enthusiastic about it. It does a lot of damage to say that there's that much uncertainty associated with being a scientist." He adds: "Here is something I have planned to spend a great deal of my future efforts on. Now, it looks as though, if the SSC goes, then you'll have to go out of the country to do high-energy physics research. That's really the end point of this--if the SSC goes, it's very unlikely that we'll get much funding for any of the high-energy physics projects." Concern that particle physics might become a "sterile" field without the SSC has led some professors to counsel graduate students to be wary in their career choices. "In physics, we're interested in mathematical theories that describe nature," says Edward Farhi, a professor of physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, "and those theories must be compared with experiment to see whether, in fact, they accurately describe nature. In roughly 10 or 15 years [without the SSC], there would be little or no experimental data that would help us understand the way nature works beyond what we already know. So, [for young people] to go into a field in which the data flow is going to terminate would just be a mistake." Leon Lederman, director emeritus of Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Ill., and a 1988 Nobel Prize winner in physics, also worries about the future of high-energy physics without the "big machine," the SSC. "The big machine was really designed to answer certain questions that we know can't be answered by the current inventory," he says. "For people working in these fields, no matter how fascinated they are in what they're doing, if they know that the big questions are not going to be answered, some starch must go out of the whole system." (The Scientist, Vol:7, #16, August 23, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: August 23, 1993 TI : TAKING THE LEAD: TY : NEWS PG : 1 Research scientists throughout the United States are expressing enthusiastic approval of President Bill Clinton's recent nominations of Harold E. Varmus as director of the National Institutes of Health and Neal F. Lane as head of the National Science Foundation. If approved, the 53-year-old Varmus--a Nobel Prize-winning geneticist--would be the first non-clinician to head NIH. Currently a professor of microbiology, biochemistry, and biophysics at the University of California, San Francisco, he shared the 1989 Nobel in physiology or medicine with J. Michael Bishop for work on oncogenes. Varmus would take over from Ruth Kirschstein, who has been acting director since cardiologist Bernadine Healy stepped down on June 30 (F. Hoke, The Scientist, July 12, 1993, page 1). "He's a reasonable, gentle soul," Philip Needleman told The Scientist last month, "certainly quite a different personality from the [just-departed] occupant of that position." Needleman is chief scientist of the MCR division of Monsanto Co., St. Louis, and serves on the National Academy of Sciences' Board on Biology, which Varmus chairs. Meanwhile, Lane, a 54-year-old physicist and the provost of Rice University in Houston, was nominated by the president last month to head NSF. The choice of Lane to replace Walter Massey at the agency's helm has also been well received in the research community. For more on Lane, see story on page 4. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #16, August 23, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: August 23, 1993 TI : TAKING THE LEAD: TY : NEWS PG : 1 Research scientists throughout the United States are expressing enthusiastic approval of President Bill Clinton's recent nominations of Harold E. Varmus as director of the National Institutes of Health and Neal F. Lane as head of the National Science Foundation. If approved, the 53-year-old Varmus--a Nobel Prize-winning geneticist--would be the first non-clinician to head NIH. Currently a professor of microbiology, biochemistry, and biophysics at the University of California, San Francisco, he shared the 1989 Nobel in physiology or medicine with J. Michael Bishop for work on oncogenes. Varmus would take over from Ruth Kirschstein, who has been acting director since cardiologist Bernadine Healy stepped down on June 30 (F. Hoke, The Scientist, July 12, 1993, page 1). "He's a reasonable, gentle soul," Philip Needleman told The Scientist last month, "certainly quite a different personality from the [just-departed] occupant of that position." Needleman is chief scientist of the MCR division of Monsanto Co., St. Louis, and serves on the National Academy of Sciences' Board on Biology, which Varmus chairs. Meanwhile, Lane, a 54-year-old physicist and the provost of Rice University in Houston, was nominated by the president last month to head NSF. The choice of Lane to replace Walter Massey at the agency's helm has also been well received in the research community. For more on Lane, see story on page 4. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #16, August 23, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: August 23, 1993 TI : Clinton's Choice For Top NSF Post: Can He Make The Agency `Sing'? AU : RON KAUFMAN TY : NEWS PG : 4 Colleagues and other scientists familiar with him describe theoretical physicist Neal F. Lane, President Bill Clinton's nominee for the directorship of the National Science Foundation, as "open-minded," "straightforward," and a "consensus-builder." They also say that these and other attributes of the Rice University provost will be necessary to defend and advance basic research as budgetary constraints tighten around the science agency. If confirmed, Lane, 54, will replace Walter E. Massey, who left the foundation last March after a two-year stint to become senior vice president for academic affairs and provost for the University of California system. NSF, with an annual budget of nearly $3 billion, is one of the major sources for individual- investigator grants in the basic sciences. Presidential science adviser John Gibbons, who assisted the White House personnel office in its search to replace Massey, says Lane's academic background as well as the year he spent as director of NSF's physics division (1979-80) give him the well- rounded experience needed to head the agency. "I admire him and am delighted he's willing to come to Washington and help turn the commitments of this administration toward the continued strong support of basic science," says Gibbons. "And I hope he will provide the kind of leadership and energy within the NSF to make it sing." "By providing financial support to our nation's scientists and engineers, the National Science Foundation fuels the engine of creativity that helps us to increase our economic potential and our base of knowledge," said Clinton at last month's announcement of Lane's nomination. "Neal Lane, with his considerable experience as a scientist and administrator, will provide the leadership necessary to foster the great talent, ingenuity, and potential of the American research community." Lane has been provost at Houston-based Rice since 1986, after serving as chancellor at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs for two years. Upon receiving a Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma in 1964, Lane joined the faculty of Rice in 1966 as an assistant professor of physics. He became a full professor in 1972 and served as chairman of the physics department at Rice from 1977 to 1982. Lane has published numerous papers. His most cited work appeared in Reviews of Modern Physics in 1980 ("Theory of electron- molecule collisions," 52:29); it has been cited in more than 300 subsequent papers. At press time, a date for Lane's Senate confirmation hearing had not been announced. Lane declined to be interviewed for this story. `Consensus-Builder' While at Rice, Lane was the thesis adviser to Lee Collins, a graduate student in atomic molecular theory. Collins, now a staff scientist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, characterizes his former mentor as "a very effective leader," whose management style is one of reasoning and persuasion. "He's very sensitive to people. His style is not confrontational, but he has an agenda and strongly held beliefs," says Collins, who studied under Lane from 1973 to 1975. "Yet, he listens well and can usually bring a consensus about from a large number of divergent opinions. I've always been amazed at how skillful he is at managing situations within an academic community--that he can bring together such a diversity of opinion and exert leadership without commanding or trying to force his opinions on others." Atomic theorist Peter Milonni, also a staff member at Los Alamos, is a member of the National Academy of Sciences Panel on the Future of Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Sciences. Lane was a cochairman of the panel until recently resigning after the NSF nomination. Milonni says Lane is "conscientious, knowledgeable, and evenhanded; there's absolutely nothing negative I can say about him. "One reason I'm happy about Neal's appointment is I think he'll be objective and listen to people," Milonni says. "He doesn't have an axe to grind. I don't think he's got one opinion he's going to stick to and not listen to anyone else. He's the kind of person whose mind can be changed by evidence." Another member of the NAS panel, F. Fleming Crim, a chemistry professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, calls Lane "a true consensus-builder." On a panel of physicists, chemists, astronomers, and electrical engineers, Crim says Lane "seemed to be good at hearing what people were saying. This was a group of people primarily concerned with small science. Neal seemed to understand the issue of individual-investigator science and be responsive to it." Future Considerations Crim says that in the coming years, NSF may have to fight to maintain its current funding levels as money from Congress becomes harder to secure. "The NSF is going to face some challenging and interesting times as it competes for part of the research budget," Crim says. He says NSF's mission to further basic science may also be challenged. "I think the whole issue of `Are we going to fund basic science in this country?' is one that will be actively questioned over the next few years," Crim predicts. "And the head of the NSF is going to be right in the middle of it." Presidential science adviser Gibbons agrees: "As budgets get tighter, Congress and the [Clinton] administration are going to have to wrestle harder with the issue of distribution of resources for basic science." Echoing those sentiments, former NSF director Edward A. Knapp also warns that NSF could be ruined if it is forced to focus on applied science. "If NSF becomes an applied science agency, they will not make it," says Knapp, who headed the agency from 1983 to 1984, during President Ronald Reagan's administration. Knapp is now director of Los Alamos' Meson Physics Facility. "The things that DARPA [the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which recently dropped Defense from its name] does so well, NSF just can't do. NSF has always supported basic science and doesn't have the staff for applied programs. "I would counsel Neal Lane," says Knapp, "to be very careful not to upset what NSF does so well." Gibbons notes that, important as it is, basic science is "just one of a number of things on poor Neal Lane's plate." He says that other issues, such as maintaining a "fresh flow of ideas" through NSF and explaining the rationale for basic science in a world "no longer overshadowed by the U.S.-Russia standoff," will also be of importance to the next foundation head. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #16, August 23, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: August 23, 1993 TI : Universities Mobilizing Against Letter Bomb Threat Science departments and individual researchers take protective measures, in case the mailing of deadly missives resumes AU : CONNIE O'KANE TY : NEWS PG : 1 As faculty, administrators, and students start arriving back on campuses throughout the United States for the new semester, the intense, frightening publicity generated by separate letter bombs that seriously injured two science professors this past June has eased off. However, while the colleges and universities once again become heavily populated, reverberations from the bombings continue to resound throughout the academic research community. Federal investigators apparently are making little progress in identifying the perpetrator. They currently believe the culprit to be a lone serial bomber responsible for the death of one person and injury to 22 others over the past 15 years. Given the assailant's sporadic pattern of violence, law enforcement agents, campus security officials, and individual scientists do not discount the possibility that more such attacks will occur. As a result, individuals, departments, and institutions around the U.S. are taking extra precautions--such as tightening procedures, sponsoring safety seminars, and issuing guidelines for identifying suspicious mail--to guard against any repeats of the tragic events. Yet, with as much concern as the bombings have caused, scientists and academic officials contacted by The Scientist say that panic has not set in; safety procedures, so far, have created no chaos on campus. The reaction of chemistry professor John Bercaw of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena typifies the feelings of many researchers contacted by The Scientist. Bercaw says he was somewhat alarmed at the news of the bombings and instructed his secretary not to open any boxes. (Only one box has come in since then--containing chemical samples and bearing a return address that he recognized.) Despite his initial jitters, however, Bercaw says that he is no longer concerned about the bombings and that, although the events were a topic of conversation among his colleagues, none of them have expressed fear of continuing their work. "I'm afraid scientists are too much in love with what they do to let this keep them out," Bercaw says. The `Unabom' Case The mail bomb incidents, the latest in a series of bombings dubbed the "Unabom" case by the FBI, occurred this summer (see story on page 10). On June 22, Charles J. Epstein, a specialist in the study of genetic disorders at the University of California, San Francisco, was badly injured when he opened a package mailed to his home. Two days later, David Gelernter, a computer scientist at Yale University, was severely wounded when he opened a package that was mailed to his office. Gelernter was still hospitalized late last month at Yale-New Haven Hospital with injuries to his right hand and right eye, according to Cynthia Atwood, a Yale spokeswoman. Epstein lost three fingers, suffered a broken arm, and had abdominal injuries, according to news reports. Although academic scientists and law enforcement authorities have expressed fears that either the bomber will strike again or the incidents will lead to copy-cat attacks, more immediate causes for concern in universities have, thus far, been pranks and scares. In Montgomery County, Md., for example, four residents who work in the field of animal research, whose practitioners have been the target of violent attacks in the past, each found a shoebox-size package wrapped in brown paper left on their front doorsteps on July 6. A bomb-sniffing dog was brought to each location to check the packages, none of which contained a bomb. Once opened, investigators found such things as a brick, a rubber rat, and "fuzzy bear" slippers, says Harry Geehreng, a county police sergeant. In other places, suspicious packages have caused confusion. Four days after the Yale bombing, the Bluemle Life Sciences Building of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia was evacuated, and police closed a downtown street for two hours before determining that a suspicious package contained only harmless research specimens, according to Carole Gan, a spokeswoman for the school. Yale has had several dozen calls about suspicious bombs since the attack on Gelernter, according to Harry DeBenedet, a bomb technician with the Yale police. The incidents have also led some institutions to adopt preventive measures. Yale has held eight sessions on bomb safety and four others are planned. So far, 400 teachers, administrators, and other university employees have attended. Counseling sessions were also offered by the university, Atwood says. "Judging from the attendance at the [security] sessions, there's a lot of heightened awareness out there," she says. Back To Normal Yet, day-to-day activities at academic laboratories have not been significantly affected, many researchers report. "I think the media tends to worry more about these things than the individuals do," says Herbert Srebnik, former chairman of the biology department and an emeritus professor of anatomy at the University of California, Berkeley. "Some people are more upset by things like this than others. We are busy doing the things we are paid to do and like to do." Srebnik says that he recognizes most of the mail he gets. It's from a person, a pharmaceutical company, or a publishing house-- and normally the individuals sending it are well known to him. "I think most people think they are not going to be a target," Srebnik says. "Speaking for myself, I feel the same way." Harold Kinder, manager of security for Caltech, finds that alarm about a terrorist incident is usually cyclical. "Right after you get publicity, you get a lot of calls and then things taper off," Kinder says. "It [the threat of letter bombs] doesn't seem to be causing any problems at all. There is just a little more concern." Other than some extra training for mail-room staff, it's been business as usual at John Hopkins University in Baltimore, says Dennis O'Shea, director of news and information at the school. "It hasn't been anything that dramatic," he says. "I think it's really bad for morale," says Susan Paris, president of Americans for Medical Progress, a nonprofit group that supports animal research. But, she says, with the amount of tension that has come from environmentalists, animal rights activists, and anti-abortion forces, the bombings shouldn't come as a surprise to scientists. "It can't shock them anymore," she says. University officials say they are coping with the threat of a repeat bombing. "Universities are complicated places," says David Cohen, provost and former vice president for research of Northwestern University. "Stuff goes on all the time." Northwestern, once a target of the "Unabom" bomber, has received other bomb threats and has experienced protests from animal activists, Cohen says, so it is used to dealing with adversity. "I don't sense an extreme level of concern or anxiety," he says. Even at Yale, things have been getting back to normal. "People have really taken it in stride," Atwood says. Safety Advice Despite the calm being reported on campus, as well as the infrequency of the bombing attacks, university administrators and security officers as well as law enforcement officials observe that certain aspects of the bombings provide lessons to all institutions and urge safety precautions and awareness that can reduce the danger. Although bombing experts are reluctant to talk in absolutes, there is agreement that a simple envelope is not a threat. If the recipient can lay the envelope flat and feel only paper inside, there should be nothing to fear. "When you say `letter bomb,' sometimes that's misleading," De-Benedet says. "It has to have weight to it." That weight comes from a detonating device and the explosives, items that are necessary if a letter bomb is going to cause injury to the person opening it. But knowing that a portion of a scientist's mail can be eliminated as a threat shouldn't provide too much relief for a worried scientist. The National Association for Biomedical Research--in an alert sent to its members, most of whom use animals in their work--warns that a piece of mail large enough to contain a book of matches is sufficient cause for concern. According to guidelines issued by the U.S. Postal Service, recipients should be on the alert if packages have the wrong name or title; have no return address; have markings that say "personal" or "fragile"; have misspelled words or bad typing; have a postmark that differs from the return address; are bulky or lopsided; have strange odors, oil stains, or protruding wires; or make a ticking sound. Unfortunately, outside of the more obvious signs--a ticking sound, for example--these warnings probably cover a good deal of innocent mail that investigators receive. It is, for example, highly impractical for a university professor to call campus police every time he or she receives a parcel without a return address. "That would be a victory for the bombers themselves," De-Benedet says, "because their terroristic act has had all the reaction." Moreover, as time passes after a frightening incident, people are likely to let down their guard, officials say. Thus, it's better for a scientist to embark on a long-term program of prudence, they say. The first step of this program would entail paying attention to unexpected mail. "They usually know the type of mail they are receiving and who they are receiving it from," DeBenedet says. With unexpected mail, the scientist can alleviate his or her concerns with a phone call to the sender identified by the return address. De-Benedet estimates that, 98 percent of the time, a call is enough to verify that a package is safe. The problem of unexpected mail, however, is somewhat complicated by the actions of someone like the "Unabom" bomber, who has come up with plausible return addresses and in several cases has sent a fabricated letter to set up the arrival of the parcel bomb. In the two recent bombings, for example, the packages bore the return addresses of two different scientists at California State University in Sacramento. Earlier, the bomber had sent a letter to an airline executive telling him a book would be sent. Another note, to University of Michigan psychology professor James McConnell, asked him to read a manuscript. In both cases, the targets were injured in subsequent bombings. There is, however, some logic to the intentions of a bomber. Generally bombers want to hit a specific individual, and they don't want to get caught. Targeting a particular person, they are liable to include a notation on the package saying "personal and confidential" or "private." Because they want to avoid detection, the addresses bombers put down are likely to be flawed. Their handwriting might be distorted in order to be disguised, for example. Or, not wanting to risk a phone call to verify information, the bomber might make a mistake with a title or a department. The address might be in cut-and-paste lettering or be written on a homemade label. In addition, because bombs require such unusual elements, there can be telltale signs on the package. One such clue is a wire sticking out of the packaging. With the rough handling that mail sometimes gets, it is possible that a wire could poke through. Aluminum foil is another indication of a suspicious package, since foil is a common electrical switching device. Explosives can leave distinctive signals, as well. Some explosives leak, so an oil stain could be an indication of a bomb. Black powder has a rotten-egg smell, and other explosive materials have peculiar odors. Odor and stains are the more obvious warnings. Sometimes, other clues can be found in the packaging. Since bombs require several elements--detonating devices, explosives, and so forth--wrapping is often irregular. The package might appear sloppily wrapped with several combinations of tape. It might have soft spots or bulges. There also might be a sloshing sound--an indication that gasoline or another flammable liquid is present. Bombers want to make sure their packages don't get sent back, so they often put extra postage and notations like "Fragile--Handle With Care" and "Rush--Do Not Delay." Since mail bombs are designed to be triggered when opened, pressure or resistance when attempting to remove contents can be another sign of trouble. One advantage the recipient of a suspicious parcel has is time, De-Benedet says. As package bombs are designed to be tossed and dropped without exploding, there's a chance the parcel might have already had some rough treatment in the mail before it arrived at a suspicious recipient's desk. If a package has aroused suspicions and the recipient cannot allay his or her fears, it's time to call the police. Postal officials recommend that the recipient isolate the parcel and evacuate the immediate area. A suspicious package should not be put in a desk drawer or dropped in water. If possible, though, a window should be opened to allow venting of gases. Err On The Side Of Caution Postal authorities and university law enforcement officials caution that individual scientists must be responsible for inspecting and opening the mail. The post office--and even university mail rooms--simply handle too much traffic to inspect for bombs. (Technically, there are some precautions that post offices could take. Equipment that measures the dielectric constant of a package would probably discover a bomb because explosives would have a detectable reading, according to Anthony Fainberg, an analyst of counter-terrorism. This equipment could be set up in the same area as the scanners that read zip codes. Though this would be enormously expensive, it would be practical for some post offices in university towns if the threat were great enough, Fainberg says.) But these same officials stress that someone who finds a suspicious package should not be too embarrassed to call the police. "Personally, I'd rather look silly than be in a hospital," says Richard Koehn, vice president for research at the University of Utah. "I'd hope the staff and faculty would feel the same." Calls to check suspicious packages have not taxed their personnel excessively, security officials at several universities say. At Yale, De-Benedet says that anyone who is suspicious should call every time he or she suspects something wrong. If police inspect an innocent package, DeBenedet tells the person who requests the search to call again if necessary. "If they receive another package the next day and they feel suspicious, they should call us back," he says. A staff member at the National Academy of Sciences, who asks to remain anonymous, sums up the feelings expressed by several scientists: "If a terrorist sends me a post card, I'm not going to worry about it. If he sends me a two-pound package, I'd be worried. I come from the standpoint that more paranoia is better than less paranoia." Connie O'Kane is a freelance writer based in Philadelphia. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #16, August 23, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: August 23, 1993 TI : PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL BOMBER AU : Connie O'Kane TY : NEWS PG : 10 >From news accounts and statements from investigating agencies, a picture emerges of a crafty and patient serial bomber who has terrorized the airline industry, universities, and scientists, and so far has not made a major mistake. The most recent bombings were the boldest of all because, for the first time, the bomber--who federal authorities believe is a white male--issued a public statement. The New York Times received a letter on June 24, the day of the second bombing (S. Labaton, New York Times, July 12, 1993, page 1). The letter identified the bomber as "FC." Investigators have since told the paper that the initials "FC" were found engraved on a number of the bombs in a way that was meant to survive the blast. The letter to the Times said the bombs came from "an anarchist group calling ourselves FC." The letter said the group would "give information about our goals at some future time," the Times reported. The letter included a nine-digit number that would identify the sender in future letters. The number resembled a Social Security number, and the first three numbers were identical to those of Social Security numbers issued to California residents. The Times article raised the issue of the bomber's focus on that paper. Some investigators, the paper reported, have speculated that the bomber has selected some victims out of news stories in the paper. Both Charles J. Epstein, a specialist in the study of genetic disorders at the University of California, San Francisco, and David Gelernter, a Yale University computer scientist, had been featured in Times articles that described major contributions to their fields. Another researcher, University of Michigan psychology professor James McConnell, had been the subject of a Times article and was the target of a 1985 bomb that instead injured a research assistant. The "Unabom" case is characterized by the length of time the bomber has been working, the selection of targets among university and airline professionals, and the long gaps between some attacks. The first bombing was May 25, 1978, when a security guard at Northwestern University was injured opening a package that had been found in a parking lot. Since then, the bomber has struck twice in 1979, once in 1980, once in 1981, twice in 1982, four times in 1985, and once in 1987, before striking twice this year. The blasts have killed one person, Hugh Campbell Scrutton, who was killed in 1985 when he came across a bomb that had been placed behind his computer rental store in Sacramento, Calif. --C.O. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #16, August 23, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: August 23, 1993 TI : Vaccine Program Could Spawn Opportunities For Researchers AU : RON KAUFMAN TY : NEWS PG : 3 A report released last month by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) proposes the creation of a National Vaccine Authority (NVA) to oversee the entire process of vaccine research and development in the United States. The authority will also act as a liaison between the federal government and private industry for vaccine production. The report discusses, among other topics, the role of applied research in the development of new or improved vaccines against such diseases as tetanus and cholera both in the United States and internationally. Though the report does not directly address expanded vaccine research opportunities under the proposed authority, Violaine Mitchell, the study director at IOM, says investigators may be attracted to a more directed approach. "In terms of funding streams it might help direct attention to areas of top priority and attract new researchers there," she says. "On the other hand, so much of what science does well is allowing investigator-initiated research to explore new opportunities." The report, entitled The Children's Vaccine Initiative: Achieving The Vision (Washington, D.C., National Academy Press, 1993), was produced by an 18-person committee whose members represent academia, industry, government, and nonprofit groups. The committee met on a regular basis between February 1992 and February 1993 to produce the report. "The National Vaccine Authority is essentially a mechanism for taking the risk out of vaccine development by the public sector accepting that risk," says IOM committee member Jerald Sadoff. Sadoff contends that through investment-tax credits; guaranteed purchase of vaccines produced; financial and technical assistance with clinical trials; and provisions for limiting liability, NVA could ensure the production of targeted vaccines by both large and small manufacturers. "Making a new cholera vaccine for Bangladesh, a better malaria vaccine, or making a long-acting tetanus vaccine that can be given as a single dose are all perceived as high-risk and low- profit ventures," explains Sadoff, the director of the division of communicable disease and immunology at the Walter Reed Army Institute for Research in Washington, D.C. "When you couple high risk with low profit, companies are just not interested." He says NVA would essentially subsidize the development of vaccines with a low profit margin. "This would also increase the number of scientists involved in vaccine research," Sadoff says. "It would open an opportunity for people to work in this field and know the vaccines they work on would not be strictly limited to only those that are immediately commercially viable." Coordinating Development A body like NVA, according to the report, is important for coordinating vaccine development between federal agencies as well as between the public and private sectors. On an international level, it is a way for the U.S. government to respond to the Children's Vaccine Initiative (CVI), an organization created at the World Summit for Children in New York City in September 1990. "In the committee's view," states the report, "the success of U.S. participation in the CVI will depend ultimately on effective cooperation and collaboration among government, universities, and most critically, the private sector, including both biotechnology firms and established vaccine manufacturers." The global CVI--headquartered at the World Health Organization in Geneva--organizes task forces and product development groups to find ways to promote and facilitate the development of new and better vaccines. Two current projects include a single-dose tetanus toxoid vaccine and a heat-stable oral polio vaccine. According to the report, 20 percent of the world's children, mostly in poor and underdeveloped nations, are unvaccinated. Lack of good vaccination programs, states the report, results in more than 2 million deaths and 5 million cases of disability annually as a result of preventable diseases such as measles and Haemophilus influenzae. The report also states that only half of U.S. children under the age of two have received the complete set of recommended immunizations. Domestic Concerns "The problem is there is no organized system within the U.S. government right now charged with developing new and improved vaccines," claims Richard Mahoney, also a member of IOM panel. "What you have is a variety of different agencies--the National Institutes of Health, the Agency for International Development [AID], the Centers for Disease Control [CDC], and the U.S. Army-- all doing their own thing when developing vaccines. "Then there is the National Vaccine Program Office, which was supposed to have coordinated vaccine-related issues, but never succeeded," says Mahoney, director of the Seattle-based Program for Appropriate Technology in Health, an international nonprofit group focused on promoting technology in developing countries. Established by Congress in 1986, the National Vaccine Program Office was intended to coordinate the vaccine R&D programs of AID, NIH, CDC, the Department of Defense, and the Food and Drug Administration by producing a plan of specific goals by January 1987. That plan was never created. Mahoney and others complain that the office never received the money or personnel needed to carry out its given task. "The National Vaccine Program has no operational component," says Jay Sanford, professor of internal medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas and the chairman of the IOM committee. "It's an organization which is supposed to determine policy, but it has never been adequately staffed or funded and is not at a high enough level to ever be heard." The program is to be located within the office of the assistant secretary for health; its proposed appropriation for fiscal year 1994 is more than $8 million. By contrast, the IOM report states, if NVA were to be formed, funding levels would need to be around $75 million. The large amount of money required to run NVA is perhaps the biggest stumbling block in its creation, says Philip Russell, a immunologist at Johns Hopkins Uni- versity and a consultant to the CVI. "The money for NVA would have to come from the budgets of other government agencies," he says. "So it's not going to receive enthusiastic endorsement from them. But there's a kind of powerful logic in the IOM recommendation. "It's tough to get new ideas like this through Congress and the bureaucracy unless there's some powerful champions. So we'll have to see whether the powerful champions arise." (The Scientist, Vol:7, #16, August 23, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: August 23, 1993 TI : NOTEBOOK TY : NEWS PG : 4 Going For Gold (Part I) A group of highly skilled United States competitors went head-to- head against the world's best in Perugia, Italy, last month and brought home two gold and two silver medals, finishing in the top three against 37 other national teams. But they didn't have to run faster, jump higher, or throw anything farther to do it. The U.S. team of four high schoolers competed in the 25th International Chemistry Olympiad. Theirs was the highest finish ever for an American team in the competition. Christopher Herzog of Highland Park High School in New Jersey and Daniel Katz of Torrey Pines High School in San Diego won gold medals. Herzog placed fifth among the 149 students participating, while Katz tied for 14th. The foursome, which included silver-medalists David Hutz of Chapel High School in Pittsburgh and Robert West of Oak Park High in Kansas City, Mo., was chosen to represent the U.S. from an original group of approximately 10,000 competitors nationwide. The U.S. team was joined in the top three by China and Taiwan. Going For Gold (Part II) Meanwhile, in Istanbul, Turkey, another U.S. team of students was making an impressive showing, finishing seventh in the 34th International Mathematical Olympiad. The six-member team garnered two gold, two silver, and two bronze medals in the 11-day competition held last month. Andrew Dittmer of Vienna, Va., and Leonard Ng of Chapel Hill, N.C., won gold medals. Ng was also a gold-medalist in last year's competition. A total of 72 nations participated in the olympiad, with the U.S. finishing behind China, Germany, Bulgaria, Russia, Taiwan, and Iran. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #16, August 23, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ Holy Smoke Over the years, Penn State University materials scientist Rustum Roy has gained a reputation for his thorny outspokenness on controversial scientific matters. Recently, according to a group of Roman Catholic scientists, he went a bit too far. The July 1993 issue of a newsletter called the Bulletin of the Catholic Association of Scientists and Engineers took Roy to task for a letter he wrote that appeared in the November 1992 issue of Physics Today. The newsletter article castigated Roy for using the term "Immaculate Assumption" to criticize the funding process for high-energy research. The bulletin also took issue with Roy's negative comparison of the Catholic College of Cardinals to the hierarchy running high-energy physics programs. "Such comments are blatantly anti-Catholic, anti-cleric, bigoted, and small- minded, and impugns the honor of Our Lady," the newsletter said. "The a priori assumption behind such positions is that all logic- minded scientists agree that religious beliefs are superstition based on ignorance, and have no place in scientific matters." (The Scientist, Vol:7, #16, August 23, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: Turn On, Tune In Scientists whose insights and discoveries may eventually change the world are the focus of "The Next Generation: An Innovation," a three-part miniseries produced by Public Broadcasting System station WNET in New York. The series, which will air nationally over many PBS stations September 7, 14, and 21 (check local listings), profiles the lives and work of emerging scientists, collaborative teams, and remarkable young people in the U.S. and abroad. Part one, "1% Inspiration," looks at rising investigators, such as geneticist Mary-Claire King, whose diverse studies include researching breast cancer and identifying the bodies of MIAs through DNA analysis of their teeth. The second episode, "A Matter of Teamwork," examines interdisciplinary teams, including a University of Michigan group that has developed a cellular treatment for cancer and includes molecular biologists, immunologists, oncologists, surgeons, psychologists, and medical ethicists. Another team, perfecting the imaging system for NASA's Cassini robot probe of Saturn, scheduled for launch in 1997, is scattered across North America and Europe, but tightly linked through computer networks. The last installment looks to the future--more specifically, youngsters who will become the scientists of the future. The series examines the social and psychological factors molding such young investigators as 14-year-old Tariq Hook of Philadelphia, whose passion is aeronautical engineering. Hook, pictured here, has designed a hydraulic arm that has won prizes at regional science fairs. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #16, August 23, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ Fuel For Thought The United States Department of Energy has announced its 1994 National Awards Program for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy to recognize individuals, institutions, and companies who have "implemented energy-related measures that benefit the nation's environment, economy, and security." Applications may be submitted to a state energy office by any individual, or non- federal organization, who has implemented an outstanding energy- efficiency or renewable-resource technology since 1989. A state energy office may nominate one project in each of five categories: building technology, industrial technology, transportation technology, utility technology, and energy technology and education. Deadline for submissions, which must be made to the Pennsylvania Energy Office, is Sept. 30, 1993. For more information, contact the program coordinators--Rosemary Mape of the Pennsylvania Energy Office at (717) 783-9983, or Frank Bishop of the National Association of State Energy Officials at (202) 546-2200. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #16, August 23, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ Bridging The Gap In an attempt to narrow the gap between experimental and theoretical physics, two researchers at the State University of New York at Stony Brook are editing a 200-page handbook to help physicists in both camps communicate. George Sterman and Jack Smith, both professors of physics at SUNY-Stony Brook and members of the university's Institute for Theoretical Physics, say that although the two groups are engaged in the same discipline, they often speak in two different languages. "One of the big problems in high-energy physics is the fact that theorists--people who work on the blackboard--and experimentalists--people who build an apparatus and actually conduct an experiment--need better communication," Sterman says. "The handbook tries to bring together a set of basic results and make them accessible to experimentalists and to theorists not actively working in the field. People need to know how to sift through these results to find out what's important in their own work." The handbook, which is scheduled to be distributed within the next several months, was written by 17 physicists from a 10-institution consortium headed by Michigan State University. Sterman says the group plans to distribute the handbook electronically and in hard copy. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #16, August 23, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: August 23, 1993 OPINION TI : We'd Better Think Twice Before Eradicating All Smallpox Virus Stocks SIDEBAR: The global eradication of smallpox as a threat to human health is one of the milestone achievements of modern medical science. It was accomplished through a unique international collaboration sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and directed by virologist Donald A. Henderson, who now serves as deputy assistant secretary in the United States Department of Health and Human Services. The principal research centers supporting the eradication program were in Moscow and in Atlanta. While this collaboration was proceeding, the Cold War also nourished a high degree of mutual suspicion between the U.S. and the then-USSR about the possible abuse of such research for potential application in biological weaponry. While there are many technical reasons for giving smallpox very low priority as a weapon threat, there was great pressure to conclude an agreement to destroy all research stocks of the smallpox (variola) virus, as part of confidence-building between the superpowers. Meanwhile, the world has experienced enormous changes. Russia is no longer a military threat, and it is clear that its civilian research establishment shares the same medical and scientific values as the rest of the world's scientific community. Any lingering questions about secret military work would not be resolved by the proposed destruction of research stocks in civilian hands. We have also become sensitized to the fate of many other species, and now dedicate considerable political and economic resources to the conservation of natural biodiversity. Thus, a reexamination of the policies about smallpox is very much in order. The following appeal to reexamine the proposed destruction of smallpox virus stocks is made by Russian biologist Lev Sandakhchiev, who has played a notable part in the scientific study of the smallpox and other viruses. Joshua Lederberg University Professor Rockefeller University New York AU : LEV S. SANDAKHCHIEV TY : OPINION PG : 11 In 1980, the World Health Assembly announced the complete eradication of smallpox disease throughout the world--an achievement brought about by an international program overseen by the World Health Organization (WHO) for more than 20 years. Since 1984, the only collections of the variola virus (VAR)--the cause of smallpox--have been stored at two WHO Collaborating Centers on Smallpox and Related Infections: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta and the Institute for Viral Preparations in Moscow. In March 1986, an ad hoc WHO panel--the Committee on Orthopoxvirus Infections--recommended that, since smallpox had been officially eradicated, all remaining collections of variola virus be destroyed. And in May 1990, Louis W. Sullivan, then the United States Health and Human Services secretary, asked WHO to see that the VAR collections were indeed eradicated as soon as the complete sequencing of the VAR genome had been achieved. Later that same year, in December 1990, the ad hoc WHO committee- -the same panel that in 1986 recommended the destruction of all remaining variola virus collections--approved projects by American and Russian scientists aimed at sequencing the genomes of various VAR strains. To accommodate this process, the committee recommended the destruction of all existing VAR stocks and recombinant plasmids containing VAR DNA fragments by Dec. 31, 1993, given that sufficient sequence information was ascertained by that time. However, Russian investigators (working under the aegis of the National Program on Conservation of Genetic Material of the Russian Collection of Variola Virus Strains) believe that the recommended eradication of VAR stocks by the end of this year is not justified from the scientific point of view and is not supported by the available data concerning the structural and functional organization of the variola virus genome. Progress So Far So far, we have accomplished the sequencing of the complete coding region of variola major virus strain India-1967, excluding the non-coding short inverted terminal DNA fragments. Currently, the Russian researchers, together with American scientists based at CDC, are performing the DNA sequencing of the variola minor virus strain Garcia-1966. The CDC scientists are also carrying out the sequencing of the complete genome of the variola major virus strain Bangladesh-1975. Moreover, genomic fragments of several other VAR strains are being sequenced simultaneously by British scientists at Oxford University. To date, the following information concerning VAR genomic structure has been revealed: * The organization of VAR terminal inverted sequences is unique. It is not yet understood, however, whether and how it affects the manifestation of biological features of this virus. Evidently, there is no possibility of re-creating the terminal structures of the VAR genome through recombination of VAR DNA fragments cloned in the molecular vectors, and the genomes of some other orthopoxviruses. * A major part of VAR genes is highly conserved with respect to vaccinia virus. A number of VAR genes have revealed code for the truncated versions of the analogous vaccinia proteins. Several VAR long coding sequences have the truncated analogs in the genome of vaccinia virus. We suggest that VAR and vaccinia virus originated from a common ancestor and that cowpox virus (CPV), persisting now, is likely to be the analog of the ancestor. The ultimate conclusion on the origin of VAR and vaccinia viruses demands the genome sequencing of at least one CPV strain. * A variety of genes were revealed in the genome of VAR code for the proteins analogous to TNF-receptor, gamma-IFN-receptor, and complement-binding proteins, as well as the sets of proteins belonging to the family of serine protease inhibitors, ankyrin- like proteins, proteins of the T6/8/9 family of tumorigenic Shope fibroma virus, and others. Several revealed VAR genes encode the proteins of unique structure, which have no analogs among the other poxviruses. However, to affirm the unique character of these VAR genes and their genomic structure on the whole, it is necessary to sequence the genomes of monkeypox (MPV) and cowpox viruses, both being pathogenic for humans. Much Remains To Be Done Basing our opinion on the above results and on our understanding of the ecology and evolution of orthopoxviruses, we consider the following conclusions essential: * There is no sense in the destruction of collections of recombinant plasmids containing VAR genome fragments. These plasmids can be handled in complete safety. There is no way to reconstruct any variola-like virus with the help of these plasmids. On the contrary, they can be quite useful. Using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), one can amplify the chosen coding sequences without viral promoters and transcription terminators, insert these sequences into the expression plasmids, and synthesize the VAR proteins with subsequent study of their characteristics and comparison with analogous proteins of the other poxviruses. To our minds, a number of VAR proteins, especially those possessing pronounced immunomodulating features, can initiate the development of unique medical preparations. * There is no sense in the eradication of VAR stocks until the sequencing of genomes of human pathogenic monkeypox and cowpox viruses is completed. MPV and CPV are zoonotic and persisting at present in nature. The present level of knowledge does not allow one to predict with validity the possibility (or impossibility) of the formation of a variola-like virus in nature through recombinational and evolutionary changes of monkeypox and/or cowpox viruses. Thus, along with studying VAR, it is essential to pay more attention to investigating the structural and functional organization of MPV and CPV. * The WHO Technical Committee has recommended carrying out the complete genome sequencing of the variola minor virus strain Garcia-1966, along with the complete sequencing of the variola major virus strains India-1967 and Bangladesh-1975. This work is not likely to be completed before 1994, if we consider the previous experience within the frames of the variola genome sequencing program. * Authenticity of the determined structure of the viral genome-- that is, its correspondence to the native structure of original natural isolate--presents a real problem. All viral strains under sequencing by now have undergone several passages on chorioallantoic membranes of developing chick embryos and/or cell cultures. Nobody knows what changes in VAR genome can possibly have arisen as a result of these passages. On the other hand, the process of cloning via plaques involves the selection of accidental variants, which can differ considerably from the dominant structure of the genome to the complete loss of a number of genes. Only the comparative study of several isolates that have not undergone the laboratory passages and a strain that has been cultivated for a long time (such as Harvey-44) can clarify the situation. After the comparison of the genomic sequences of various VAR strains, it obviously will be necessary to PCR-amplify and subsequently sequence at least some of the essential VAR DNA regions from stored unpassaged human material. It is evident that such work could not be completed by the end of 1993. * No information is available now concerning the rate of mutation accumulation in the VAR genome on the level of both amino acid substitutions in proteins and "silent" nucleotide changes. The molecular mechanism of this process on the population level is also unknown. It should be noted that comparison of constant genomic regions rather than the variable ones would give the most important results as well as the comparison of silent substitutions in the coding regions that are not subjected to the direct selection pressure of antibodies and tissue-specificity changes. * Data concerning the inner microheterogeneity of natural populations of this virus are almost completely lacking at this point. Clarification of this question requires the sequencing of a considerable number of clones of the same genomic regions obtained from several viruses that have not been adapted to laboratory cultivation. * Destruction of VAR collections at the WHO Collaborating Centers on Smallpox and Related Infections does not ensure the complete eradication of VAR samples from the Earth. The possibility of VAR stocks being preserved in some laboratory not under WHO's control cannot be ruled out; nor can preservation of the virus in the tissues of patients who have died of smallpox. If the world community considers that the existing WHO Collaborating Centers do not provide a guarantee against the use of VAR as a potential biological weapon, we suggest the organization of an International Laboratory on Smallpox. This laboratory would house scientists from different countries; would have codirectors from, for example, the U.S. and Russia; would work under constant control of WHO (or the United Nations); and would provide both the preservation of VAR strains and the advanced studies of genomic organization and evolutionary changes of VAR and other orthopoxviruses. * In the permafrost region of Russia, there are burial grounds of smallpox victims. It is not impossible that viable viruses are still stored in such places, which is of great danger to mankind. During summer periods since 1991, such a possibility has been tested. Study of the tissue samples taken from corpses with skin lesions characteristic of smallpox revealed the orthopoxviral antigens but failed to reveal the viable virus. However, these studies have not yet been completed--and there is no point in eradication of VAR collections before the completion of this work. To sum up, the modern level of knowledge and laboratory methodology about viruses is limited. The complete sequence of the viral genome does not make available the complete knowledge of viral features. It is not possible to predict what methods will be developed in the future and in what way they could be used to characterize VAR stocks. The untimely destruction of viral collections could lead to the irrevocable loss of information concerning the pathways and mechanisms of variola virus evolution, especially its population aspects, and would as well eliminate the possibility of understanding the molecular epidemiological regularities of population interactions of virus and host. Lev S. Sandakhchiev is director of the Vector Laboratories of the All Union Molecular Biology Research Institute Koltsovo, Novosibirsk, Russia. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #16, August 23, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: August 23, 1993 TI : For The Sake Of Today's Graduates, Science Education Must Discover The Real World TY : OPINION (COMMENTARY) AU : Kenneth L. Heitner PG : 12 A page 1 article in the June 6, 1993, edition of the New York Times ("Top Graduates in Science Also Put Their Dreams on Hold") reported that only a handful of this year's graduates from the prestigious California Institute of Technology had found jobs as of commencement day. The article also reported that half the class members had decided to delay their entry into the job market by going to graduate school. Their decisions should be viewed with concern, since additional specialized education may not necessarily serve to make them more marketable in the future. The overall economic situation may worsen by the time they enter the job market, and the demand for science graduates, already waning, may grow even weaker. As a graduate of Caltech, I share the pain of the capable young men and women who find their futures clouded by today's uncertainty in science and engineering careers. This uncertainty springs mainly from two factors. One has to do with the declining need for highly specialized researchers; the other with the curricular narrowness at Caltech and similar science- and engineering-oriented institutions. >From the end of World War II until relatively recently, the Department of Defense, the national laboratories, and the defense and space industries consistently absorbed, directly or indirectly, more than half of the scientists and engineers produced by the research universities. People were needed to develop weapons systems, atomic power, and aerospace technology. Now these government programs are largely curtailed. Meanwhile, large industrial research laboratories have also dried up as a market for science graduates. Many large corporations have lost the ability to translate their technical skills into marketable products. Without product sales, they have had to cut back on research and hiring. With these job markets weakened, new science graduates are the first to feel the pain. While the demand was high, meeting the specialized needs of government and industry also affected research and teaching, leading to strict specialization within the universities and a correspondingly strict divisional structure. (Caltech has, for the most part, maintained this divisional structure since its beginnings, seven decades ago.) This structure emphasizes the basic sciences<197>physics, chemistry, and biology<197>with engineering and social sciences as separate divisions; and, while providing strong basic science training for undergraduates, it allows the faculty and graduate students to do world-class basic research. But in the absence of demand for science graduates, it may no longer be appropriate. Today's undergraduate training needs to be complemented by interdisciplinary programs that address broad societal problems. But Caltech has not allowed enough of its programs to be driven by societal needs and the changing job market. Scientific and engineering skills are still needed; however, they must now address a myriad of emerging problems. These include preserving the environment, providing a sustainable economy, and ensuring human health and well-being. Professional progress in the university establishment remains a tenuous career path. In the current environment of stagnation, an academic career involves a long series of temporary postdoctoral research positions. Shifts in program direction or the departure of a faculty member can upset large and stable research activities. A science or engineering graduate is likely to be employed by a small or medium-sized company. These companies are still viable in the current business environment, but they view scientific and technical breadth as more valuable than specialization and require practical business training in finance and management. The university has to become more involved in real-world problems to provide the experience that the graduates need. It is up to each university to recognize these needs and reorganize or redirect itself before its graduates are no longer marketable. New direction involves considerable risk, especially in areas in which funding may not be easy to obtain. At the same time, federal funding policy in science and applied technology has to share the risk-taking with the universities. Without flexibility and vision by the federal establishment, initiative for change from the universities will not be successful. Kenneth L. Heitner, who was granted a Ph.D. in applied mechanics from Caltech in 1969, lives in Vienna, Va. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #16, August 23, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: August 23, 1993 LETTERS TI : Polygamous Snakes TY : OPINION (LETTERS) PG : 12 I am writing in reference to a citation champion entitled "Why do female adders copulate so frequently?" (T. Madsen, R. Shine, J. Loman, T. Hakansson, Nature, 355:440-1, 1992), as reported in The Scientist (Hot Papers, March 8, 1993, page 15). Difficult as it is to get scientifically sound but new ideas into print, one's professional sensitivities are perturbed to read about such a preposterous idea printed in Nature and heavily cited by other scientists within one year. Polygamy among certain species is "an enduring puzzle of sociobiology" (according to Richard Shine, a coauthor of the paper), whereas monogamy among snakes would have been a puzzling observation to everyone. Polygamy in snake populations with an eye on reproductive success through internal mixing of poor and good sperm is just giving adders too much credit. In the absence of mate selection, the outcome in terms of stillbirth and live birth is only a function of the proportion of handicapped and normal males in that population. Once an egg is penetrated by a sperm, it usually becomes refractory to other sperm, regardless of quality. This humble thought, which is by no means the only objection to the scenario described in the celebrated paper, fell victim to the wish to fit an essentially neutral piece of information into an awkward paradigm. The term "secular scholasticism" comes to mind. If all successful species were polygamous, one would have some support for the proposed ideas, but this is certainly not true. If it were possible for snake females to preselect their partners according to sperm quality, stillbirth would probably no longer be a significant problem among snakes. Human societies in which promiscuity is not a cultural taboo appear not to be significantly further advanced than ours. Why would other scientists quote such a paper with serious intent? Perhaps our science education has become so specialized, so technically oriented, that even a minimal philosophical basis that keeps us from building perpetual motion machines has been sacrificed to "progress." Cold fusion, permanent imprints in water, polywater, and snake family planning are all part of the same alarming symptom, that is, scientific illiteracy. CHRISTIAN SCHWABE Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Medical University of South Carolina Charleston (The Scientist, Vol:7, #16, August 23, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: TI : Risk Assessment TY : OPINION (LETTERS) PG : 12 The subject of cancer risk assessment (S. Brudnoy, The Scientist, March 8, 1993, page 14) is of continuing interest to academic scientists, but even more important to regulatory agencies. This topic is not as controversial scientifically as some may make it. All human carcinogens are genotoxic; that is, they can react under suitable conditions with DNA and genes, a fact leading to analytical detection. An exception as a nongenotoxic human carcinogen is high levels of the hormone diethylstilbestrol-- DES. Two excellent rapid tests, the Ames test and the DNA repair test of Gary M. Williams, director of medical sciences at the American Health Foundation, provide key information on genotoxicity. Agents that are not genotoxic can play a role in cancer causation, but for such agents there is a sharp dose- response relationship, with a threshold. Thus, exposures at levels that sensitive analytical chemistry can detect in the environment are not likely human cancer risks. Another element that needs consideration, as described by Brudnoy, is the question of cell duplication rates. In any case, however, there are sound methods to evaluate human cancer risks. It is intriguing that there is so much intellectual discussion on cancer risks when the removal or modification of the documented known cancer risks--namely, tobacco use and nutritional excesses (especially in regard to fat intake)--that overall account for about 90 percent of the current cancer burden in the Western world, receives so little attention and readily implemented control measures. JOHN H. WEISBURGER Director Emeritus American Health Foundation Valhalla, N.Y. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #16, August 23, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: August 23, 1993 TI : Harvard University Chemistry Papers Have Highest Impact Worldwide TY : RESEARCH PG : 14 Editor's Note: From 1988 to 1992, research papers by chemists at the University of California, Berkeley, were cited well over 11,000 times in subsequent articles. This total, according to data from the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) in Philadelphia, exceeds that of any other of the world's research centers--academic, corporate, or otherwise. However, in terms of the impact of its published chemistry articles--the average number of citations the papers received in subsequent articles-- Harvard University was the clear leader during that period. A recent article in the ISI newsletter Science Watch reports that during those five years, a chemistry paper published by Harvard researchers was subsequently referred to, on average, more than nine times, while the average Berkeley paper received fewer than seven citations. Nevertheless, the impact of the Berkeley chemistry papers was still higher than that of any institution from outside the United States; although the margin was narrow, Berkeley ranked just ahead of the leading foreign institution-- Tel Aviv University--in citations per chemistry paper. Following is a report on Science Watch's analysis, published in the newsletter's June 1993 issue (4[6]:1-2) and used here with the permission of ISI. A year and a half ago, Science Watch drew up a list of 50 universities from around the globe that scored best in terms of citations per paper for chemistry articles published in 1984-1990 (Science Watch, 3[2]:1-2, February/March 1992). The results of this survey excited much interest and not a little controversy in the United States and abroad, since in some instances peer judgment and citation statistics contrasted sharply. In particular, certain historically strong universities found themselves bested by younger up-and-comers. Naturally, the Young Turks hailed these findings, while the Old Guard grumbled about the method used. Different methods produce different results, as all scientists know. So, with this report, Science Watch returns to ask the same question but in a different way. This time, chemistry articles indexed by ISI between 1988 and 1992 were surveyed. Included in the current analysis were all types of journal articles, whereas previously only discovery accounts, reviews, and notes were counted. But the most significant difference in methodology this time out was the identification and inclusion of chemistry papers published in the high-impact journals Science, Nature, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA. In the previous study, papers published in multidisciplinary journals were not considered because there was no way to select chemistry articles from among those on other subjects that also appeared within these titles. Now ISI's research department uses an algorithm that scans the reference lists of papers published in multidisciplinary journals to find those that frequently cite a specific field. Such papers can then be categorized, or tagged, according to the subject area most cited. About 60 percent to 70 percent of these papers can be categorized in this way. Although the omission of papers published in high-impact multidisciplinary journals was uniform for all institutions, the previous report nonetheless provoked criticism in that some of the best papers from the various institutions had not been taken into account (see, for example, Science, 260[5110]:885, May 14, 1993). Science Watch, thus, sought to address this criticism and to look for any large differences in the results. For the new ranking, as well as for the old one, only those institutions that published 250 or more papers were ranked. U.S. and non-U.S. institutions are presented separately here, since-- owing to the large number of U.S. publications in the ISI database and the tendency for U.S. researchers to cite the work of colleagues in the U.S.--the citation scores for U.S. institutions are typically higher than those for non-U.S. institutions. Harvard University tops the table among U.S. institutions, having placed second in the last survey. The California Institute of Technology, which previously capped the chemistry chart, ranks second this time and is runner-up to Harvard. The University of Chicago, the University of California at Santa Barbara, Yale University, and Stanford University, which turn up in the new top 10, also ranked in the top 10 in the previous analysis. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology dropped considerably from last time to this time, while Rice University rose sharply in rank. All in all, however, the same cast of characters tends to appear in both lists. Notable in the new list are three corporations (AT&T Bell Labs, IBM Corp., and E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co. Inc.) and three government-sponsored laboratories (Lawrence Berkeley, Argonne, and Sandia). These rank side by side with the top-ranked U.S. universities. Among non-U.S. institutions, Tel Aviv University, the Max Planck Society's Fritz Haber Institute in Berlin, and the Weizmann Institute rank first, second, and third. Israel's strong showing is apparent in the national rankings for chemistry, 1988-92, in which it ranks second only to the U.S. in terms of citation impact (see Science, 260[5115]: 1738, June 18, 1993). The United Kingdom's top-ranked university in chemistry turns out to be Cambridge, followed by Southampton, Bristol, Oxford, and Sussex. Three of Germany's six institutions listed in the chart are affiliated with the Max Planck organization. Switzerland is represented by the ETH and the Universities of Basel, Lausanne, and Zurich. Philips Labs and the State University of Groningen show the colors for the Netherlands, while the CEN and the University of Strasbourg 1 stand tall for France. Australia, Canada, Italy, and Japan each field one. The new study surveyed a total of 393,898 chemistry papers published in 1988-92, which were cited a total of 1,007,624 times by the end of 1992, for a world citations-per-paper average of 2.56. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #16, August 23, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: August 23, 1993 TI : TOP 25 U.S. INSTITUTIONS IN CHEMISTRY RANKED BY CITATION IMPACT, 1988-92 TY : RESEARCH PG : 14 RANK INSTITUTION PAPERS CITATIONS CITES/PAPER 1 HARVARD UNIV. 937 8,465 9.03 2 CALTECH 821 6,817 8.30 3 YALE UNIV. 749 5,953 7.95 4 UNIV. OF CHICAGO713 5,606 7.86 5 RICE UNIV. 404 3,014 7.46 6 AT&T BELL LABS 1,091 8,088 7.41 7 NORTHEASTERN UNIV.256 1,840 7.19 8 UNIV. OF CALIFORNIA SANTA BARBARA 808 5,776 7.15 9 UNIV. OF CALIFORNIA LOS ANGELES 894 6,165 6.90 10 STANFORD UNIV. 1,105 7,578 6.86 11 UNIV. OF COLORADO, BOULDER 737 5,008 6.80 12 MIT 1,486 10,076 6.78 13 LAWRENCE BERKELEY LABORATORY 890 6,021 6.77 14 UNIV. OF CALIFORNIA BERKELEY 1,680 11,310 6.73 15 ARGONNE NATIONAL LABORATORY 885 5,818 6.57 16 INDIANA UNIV. 848 5,545 6.54 17 NORTHWESTERN UNIV.928 6,063 6.53 18 UNIV. OF NO. CAROLINA, CHAPEL HILL 690 4,487 6.50 19 SANDIA NATIONAL LABORATORY 540 3,509 6.50 20 UNIV. OF CALIFORNIA SAN DIEGO 625 4,053 6.48 21 UNIV. OF CALIFORNIA IRVINE 489 3,105 6.35 22 IBM 1,603 9,922 6.19 23 UNIV. OF UTAH 1.069 6,593 6.17 24 UNIV. OF PITTSBURGH974 5,934 6.09 25 DUPONT 1,177 7,123 6.05 Source: Science Watch / Institute for Scientific Information August 23, 1993 HOT PAPERS TI : MOLECULAR BIOLOGY TY : RESEARCH (HOT PAPERS) PG : 17 M. Leid, P. Kastner, R. Lyons, et al., "Purification, cloning and RXR identity of the HeLa cell factor with which RAR or TR heterodimerizes to bind target sequences efficiently," Cell, 68:377-95, 1992. Mark Leid (Oregon State University, Corvallis): "The diverse effects of retinoic acid (RA) on development, cellular growth and differentiation, and homeostasis are mediated by two families of RA receptors that arose independently during evolution and belong to the steroid/thyroid hormone superfamily of nuclear receptors. Retinoic acid receptors (RAR) and retinoid X receptors (RXR) are ligand-inducible trans-regulators that control transcription initiated from the promoters of RA target genes by interacting with cis-acting DNA response elements. "The two families of nuclear RA receptors, which are differentially activated by configurational isomers of retinoic acid, were initially thought to represent divergent pathways of RA signaling. However, several groups working independently and using different experimental strategies arrived at the same conclusion: RAR and RXR bind cooperatively to a variety of natural and artificial response elements as a heterodimeric complex, suggesting that the signals conveyed by the two classes of RA receptors are, in fact, convergent (for references, see M. Leid, et al., Trends in Biochemical Sciences, 17:427-33, 1992). "In addition, RXR was shown to heterodimerize with several other nuclear receptors, including thyroid hormone receptors (TR) and vitamin D receptors (VDR) (for a review, see V. Laudet, D. Stehelin, Current Biology, 2:293-5, 1992); peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (S.A. Kliewer, et al., Nature, 355:446-9, 1992); members of the COUP family of orphan receptors<197>COUP-TF, ear2, and ARP-1 (S.A. Kliewer, et al., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 89:1448-52, 1992; R.L. Widom, et al., Molecular and Cellular Biology, 12:3380-9, 1992); and the oncogenic derivative of TR, v-erbA (D. Barettino, et al., EMBO Journal, 12:1343-54, 1993). The implications of these findings are significant because of the enormous combinatorial diversity that may be generated by heterotypic interactions among this subset of nuclear receptors. "While RXR appears to be a focal point of regulation for several signaling pathways, and heterodimeric complexes containing RXR are clearly implicated in signal transduction (for example, see D. Heery, et al., PNAS, 90:4281-5, 1993, and references therein), the possibility that RXR and all of the heterodimerization partners of RXR also function in the context of homodimeric complexes cannot be excluded. Indeed, X.-K. Zhang and coworkers (Nature, 358:587-91, 1992) have demonstrated the relevance of ligand-induced RXR homodimers in the transcriptional regulation of some target genes, and RXR-dependent and -independent transcriptional regulation mediated by TR (P.L. Hallenbeck, et al., Journal of Biological Chemistry, 268:3825-8, 1993) and VDR (C. Carlberg, et al., Nature, 361:657-60, 1993) have been described. "Clearly, transcriptional regulation of target gene expression by RXR and the heterodimerization partners of RXR is a complex matter and likely reflects the capacity of a cell to integrate several parameters simultaneously, such as the intracellular concentrations of the various receptors, ligands, and receptor- specific transcriptional intermediary factors. This paper and the other important papers mentioned previously provided a basic insight into the mechanism by which these receptors function and another avenue to address the complexity of signal transduction mediated by nuclear receptors." (The Scientist, Vol:7, #16, August 23, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: TI : PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY TY : RESEARCH (HOT PAPERS) PG : 17 K. M. Creegan, J. L. Robbins, W.K. Robbins, et al., "Synthesis and characterization of C60O, the first fullerene epoxide," Journal of the American Chemical Society, 114:1103-5, 1992. Donald M. Cox (Exxon Research and Engineering Co., Annandale, N.J.): "Fullerenes and C60 in particular are now available in useful quantities, thanks to the discovery of the arc synthesis method by W. Kratschmer and colleagues (Nature, 347:354, 1990). This ready availability of C60--or buckyball, as it is more colloquially known--has stimulated an upsurge in chemistry devoted to producing new derivatives from this unique molecular building block. The discovery, isolation, and characterization of one of the simplest of these, the mono-epoxide of buckyball, C60O, are the subjects of this paper. "Amos Smith III of the University of Pennsylvania and I led a team of researchers that found that C60O can be synthesized in good yield by photo-oxidation of buckyball benzene solutions. We also showed that it is present in small amounts in the soot produced directly via the arc synthesis technique. Using liquid chromatographic techniques, we isolated sufficient quantities of purified C60O and obtained its mass spectrum, UV-visible and infrared absorption spectra, and 13C nuclear magnetic resonance spectrum. "The mass spectrum confirmed 736 daltons as its mass and strongly suggested that it was indeed a mono-oxide of C60. The UV-vis and infrared spectra, although similar to those of C60 in some aspects, contained several unique features showing that this new molecule was indeed different from C60. But the key question became: How was the oxygen atom bonded to buckyball? The answer was provided by 13C nuclear magnetic resonance, which nailed down the structure as an epoxide and not the isomeric oxidoannulene structure. "One of the more interesting features was the behavior of C60O on different chromatographic columns. The initial separations were carried out using silica gel columns. When we tried the separation on neutral alumina, a chromatographic material widely used for fullerene separations, we found that C60O efficiently converted back to C60, an effect that we feel likely explains why C60O had not been isolated previously. "Availability of C60O has already resulted in several additional studies of its solid-state properties and potential use in forming self-assembled monolayer films. Large-scale production of C60O, C60 with a chemical handle, is anticipated to be a valuable fullerene chemical reagent that will open up new (and, perhaps, easier) opportunities in chemical synthesis." (The Scientist, Vol:7, #16, August 23, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: August 23, 1993 TI : Molecular Modeling Aids Chemistry Research And Teaching AU : FRANKLIN HOKE TY : TOOLS & TECHNOLOGY PG : 18 Since full-featured molecular-modeling packages began appearing on the chemist's desktop a few years ago, they have grown dramatically in sophistication and capability. Following in part on the availability of ever-more-powerful personal computer hardware, new software modules have been added regularly, often ported from workstation environments. At the same time, intuitive graphical user interfaces have helped make computer-aided chemistry increasingly accessible to scientists who are not primarily programmers. The result is that bench-level experimental chemists and molecular biologists now are designing molecules with the aplomb of computational chemists, and academic chemists are as likely to use the programs for teaching their students as for advancing their research. Many scientists are also using these packages to create information-dense images for textbooks and papers. "The computational chemist--or theoretical chemist--works primarily with computers, the algorithms and so on, and with the theories of chemistry," explains Joanne Hart, a chemist and product marketing specialist with CAChe Scientific Inc., Beaverton, Ore., producers of a suite of Macintosh-based computer-aided chemistry packages. "These are the people writing a lot of the programs that we use now. And then there's the experimental chemist. He's the fellow who's in the lab trying to come up with a new paint, a new fragrance, or a way to make his dye bluer. Our customer is the experimental chemist." In terms of functionality, these modeling systems are situated between personal computer molecular-drawing packages, which are generally less sophisticated, and the full-scale molecular simulation systems designed to run on workstations. In some cases, there is overlap. For example, some drawing packages offer a degree of analytical capability and may have software bridges written into the program to allow them to communicate with more powerful systems. Similarly, some of the personal computer molecular-modeling systems also provide software links to the more powerful workstation packages or are part of a family of software running on the full range of computer platforms. Among the personal computer molecular-modeling systems are Alchemy III (Macintosh, DOS, and Windows) from Tripos Associates Inc., St. Louis; Personal CAChe (Macintosh) from CAChe Scientific; CSC Chem3D (Macintosh) from Cambridge Scientific Computing Inc., Cambridge, Mass.; and HyperChem (Windows) from Autodesk Inc., Sausalito, Calif. All four have software links to workstation capability. Alchemy III is produced by Tripos Associates, which also markets SYBYL, one of the three most widely used workstation molecular-modeling systems. (The other two are Insight II from BIOSYM Technologies Inc. of San Diego, and QUANTA CHARMm from Molecular Simulations Inc., Burlington, Mass.) Personal CAChe, for desktop Macintosh computers, is the first product on an upgrade path that includes CAChe Worksystem, CAChe Groupserver, and CAChe Project Leader. CSC Chem3D exchanges files in a wide range of formats, including those of several workstation modeling packages and a number of important databases, such as the Brookhaven Protein Database and the Cambridge Crystal Database. HyperChem, too, can read and write files back and forth with high-end modeling packages through industry-standard formats, and a version of the program runs under the Motif graphical user interface on RISC-based workstations from Silicon Graphics Inc., Mountain View, Calif. Drawing packages include chemDIAGRAM (Win- dows) from Molecular Arts Corp., Anaheim, Calif.; CSC ChemDraw (Macintosh and Windows) from Cam- bridge Scientific Computing; ChemIntosh (Macintosh) and ChemWindow (Windows) from SoftShell International Ltd., Grand Junction, Colo.; ISIS/ Draw (Macintosh and Windows) from Molecular Design Ltd., San Leandro, Calif.; and ChemPrint (Windows) from Tripos Associates. The drawing packages also demonstrate the bridges software developers have created between the different types of software. Structures drawn in CSC ChemDraw, for example, can be transferred into CSC Chem3D for molecular modeling. Another program in the Cambridge Scientific group, CSC ChemFinder, provides database searching tools--of both structure and information databases -- that integrate with either the drawing or the modeling package. And Molecular Design's ISIS/Draw structures are fully compatible with the company's three-dimensional chemical-structure database search software. Overall, personal computer molecular-modeling tools are opening new research approaches and encouraging interactions between the computer-oriented theoretical chemists and their bench-level counterparts. "Products like HyperChem are positioned to let people do sophisticated molecular modeling without being a dedicated molecular modeler," says Susan Spencer, a marketing representative for Autodesk Inc. "They have to know chemistry, but they don't have to know molecular modeling." Kate M. Holloway is a computational chemist at Merck Research Laboratories, West Point, Pa., and one of the organizers of an upcoming American Chemical Society meeting session (to be held in March 1994, in San Diego) titled "Applications of Computer-Aided Molecular Design to Chemicals, Materials, and Pharmaceuticals." She agrees that academic scientists and bench-level chemists are the most likely users of the personal computer molecular-modeling programs. "These systems have all the functionality that you'd want for simple molecular modeling," Holloway says. "The [workstation] packages from Molecular Simulations and BIOSYM and Tripos are intended for people who are going to be looking at fairly large systems or are interested in specific [capabilities] like solvation calculations, molecular dynamics, Monte Carlo, 3-D pharmacophore building, and database searching. Some of those pieces are present in the smaller packages, but you just don't have the quite the same sophistication or power." New Research Uses In the context of specific investigations, a wide range of analytical tasks can be performed by the personal computer molecular-modeling programs, including geometry minimizations, assessments of electrostatic interactions, and calculations of infrared-, ultraviolet-, and visible-wavelength spectra. What limitations there are--generally in the maximum size of the molecules that can be studied and the speed with which analytical functions on those molecules can be performed--seem to be related more to the hardware than to the software. Stefan Loren, a postdoctoral organic chemist working in the lab of Joel Hawkins at the University of California, Berkeley, is designing a variety of catalysts for asymmetric synthesis of chiral, or racemic, drug molecules with the aid of the CAChe system. These molecules exist in two structural forms that are mirror images of each other, although they conform to the same chemical formula. The right-handed and left-handed versions of such molecules often have very different properties, so that the ability to make one rather than the other is important to drug developers, Loren says. One of the common uses of the program, he says, is to minimize the geometry of a given molecule, looking for different conformations in which the molecule is likely to reside. "From there, one can make predictions about where it might be attacked and what the selectivity might be," Loren says. In addition to the work with chiral molecules, Loren and colleagues have used the workstation version of CAChe to model carbon 60 molecules, or buckminsterfullerenes. Sharon Bryant, a biologist with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences' Laboratory of Integrative Biology in Research Triangle Park, N.C., uses Hyper-Chem to visualize opioid peptides in binding situations, investigating receptor sites. Among the analyses she performs are electrostatic calculations, energy minimizations, and infrared-, ultraviolet-, and visible- wavelength spectroscopic studies. Working with molecules as large as 132 atoms, Bryant has tested the limits of her desktop system. For one set of especially demanding semi-empirical calculations she asked the program to do, she ran out of computer memory after five days. The program itself, however, was not the limiting factor. "Also, I could have selected a couple of residues, calculated those, and then gone back to select others," she says. "I could then have combined the data to overcome the memory problem." One point Bryant makes is that her lab added molecular modeling to its set of tools, not to take the place of other techniques, but to do something not easily done otherwise. "We wanted to visualize the peptides," she says, "to understand the molecules." Teaching With Modeling One of the fastest-growing areas of use for personal computer molecular modeling is in teaching. The immediacy of being able to see images of the molecules, combined with the scientific rigor underlying the programming, makes the programs strong interactive learning tools. "I teach a laboratory course where the students spend half their time working in the lab and half their time in front of the computer," says John Kotz, Distinguished Teaching Professor of chemistry at the State University of New York, Oneonta, and a CAChe user. He notes that this time budget is similar to what the students would experience if they were working in an industrial laboratory today. "On the computer, they build the compounds they're going to work on in the lab," Kotz says. "After working in the lab, they follow up by coming back to the computer, to see if the computer matches up with their real experience." He adds: "CAChe allows you to probe the reactivity of the molecule by studying its electronic structure, so you can get some idea of where the electron density is the greatest or the least, and therefore where the molecule is most likely to be attacked." In a chemistry theory course that Kotz also teaches, the computer screen has virtually replaced the blackboard. "We actually teach the class in front of the computer," he says. "Every time we sit down at the computer--and this includes myself--we find things we never thought of before." Kotz is currently at work on the third edition of a freshman chemistry textbook (Kotz and Keith F. Purcell, Chemistry and Chemical Reactivity, 2d ed., Philadelphia, Saunders College Publishing, 1991) and plans to include a compact disk "hyper- book" containing CAChe-generated chemical structures to augment the book. "You simply browse around inside it," he says. "You can connect from place to place electronically, rather than by turning pages. It's not meant to be page-turned." (The Scientist, Vol:7, #16, August 23, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: August 23, 1993 TI : MOLECULAR DRAWING AND MODELING SOFTWARE FOR THE PERSONAL COMPUTER TY : TOOLS & TECHNOLOGY PG : 19 The following companies are among those providing molecular drawing and modeling software for personal computer operating systems. Because options and modules vary in some cases, call for specific pricing information. Autodesk Inc. Scientific Modeling Division 2320 Marinship Way Sausalito, Calif. 94965 (800) 424-9737 Fax: (415) 331-8093 PC Product: HyperChem (Windows) CAChe Scientific Inc. P.O. Box 500, M/S 13-400 Beaverton, Ore. 97077 (800) 547-8949 Fax: (503) 526-2901 PC Product: Personal CAChe (Macintosh) Cambridge Scientific Computing Inc. 875 Mass. Ave., Sixth Fl. Cambridge, Mass. 02139 (617) 491-6862 Fax: (617) 491-8208 PC Products: CSC ChemDraw, CSC Chem3D, and SC ChemFinder (Macintosh) Molecular Arts Corp. 1532 E. Katella Ave. Anaheim, Calif. 92805 (714) 634-8100 Fax: (714) 634-1999 PC Product: chemDIAGRAM (Windows) Molecular Design Ltd. 14600 Catalina St. San Leandro, Calif. 94577 (510) 895-1313 Fax: (510) 352-2870 PC Product: ISIS/Draw (Macintosh, Windows) SoftShell International Ltd. 715 Horizon Dr., Suite 390 Grand Junction, Colo. 81506 (303) 242-7502 Fax: (303) 242-6469 PC Products: ChemIntosh (Macintosh), ChemWindow (Windows) Tripos Associates Inc. 1699 S. Hanley Rd., Suite 303 St. Louis, Mo. 63144 (800) 323-2960 Fax: (314) 647-9241 PC Products: Alchemy III (Macintosh, DOS, Windows), ChemPrint (Windows) Workstation systems: BIOSYM Technologies Inc. 9685 Scranton Rd. San Diego, Calif. 92121 (619) 458-9990 Fax: (619) 458-0136 Product: Insight II Molecular Simulations Inc. 16 New England Exec. Pk. Burlington, Mass. 01803-5297 (617) 229-9800 Fax: (617) 229-9899 Product: QUANTA CHARMm Tripos Associates Inc. (address above) Product: SYBYL (The Scientist, Vol:7, #16, August 23, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: August 23, 1993 TI : Budget Pressures Limit Faculty Pay Raises At State, Land Grant Schools AU : EDWARD R. SILVERMAN TY : PROFESSION PG : 20 The average salary paid to science faculty at institutions belonging to the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges rose only slightly in 1992-93 compared with the previous academic year, according to a recently released survey. Faculty in life and physical sciences departments at state universities and land grant colleges (institutions originally set up by United States government grants to teach agriculture) received salary increases averaging between 1.5 percent and 3.5 percent, according to the study. For instance, the average salary paid in the 1992-93 year to botany professors was $61,539, up 1 percent from 1991 to 1992. Chemistry professors received an average salary of $67,173, a 3.3 percent increase. And geology professors were paid an average salary of $60,606, a 3.9 percent gain. Professors in some departments, though, received virtually no increases. Among them were the zoology, entomology, and pharma- cology departments. The survey, which university administrators say is a closely watched indicator of academic pay scales nationwide, was conducted by the Office of Institutional Research at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater. Responses were received early this year from administrators at 75 state universities and land grant colleges, who reported salary data on faculty in science as well as nonscience departments. `Economic Malaise' The modest pay hikes revealed by the survey roughly matched last year's annual inflation rate, generally considered to be between 2 percent and 3 percent. Academic administrators say the small increases reflect continued budgetary pressure on state governments, which provide a great deal of state-school funding. "It's just a reflection of the general economic malaise," says Tom Field, associate director of planning and policy studies at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. "Relying on state support is a losing cause. Universities are going to have to find other sources of funding in order to prosper. The pie isn't getting any bigger." Says Lee Tarrant, Oklahoma State's assistant director for institutional research: "They [the schools] are just keeping up with inflation. So many state-supported schools feel strapped for cash and can't give the raises they'd like to give. Most of the people that I talk to are worried about faculty, particularly the stars, leaving. I don't know where a lot of people would go, but I'm sure there'd be a flight to industry." Bucking The Trend That may explain why the survey found that some faculty got steep increases, bucking the general trend of modest raises. It found, for example, that professors in such hot fields as pathology and genetics received average salaries that were 15.7 percent and 6.7 percent higher, respectively, than the comparable figures for 1991-92, reflecting the need to compete with industry for scientists in these areas. But with slow economic growth, these opportunities seem to have been available to only a small percentage of faculty in many schools, resulting in a lack of turnover and diminished salary increases, administrators say. "At many colleges, there just isn't the level of hiring going on that there used to be," says Jim Olomon, director of institutional research at the University of Montana in Missoula. "In recent years, that's probably been a bigger factor than anything else" in depressing salaries, he says. "We're totally dependent on government funding," says John Kalb, director of institutional research at Florida State University in Tallahassee. "There's little leeway in allocation. And the situation is pretty bleak," he says, noting that some schools have gone more than a couple of years without any increases, suggesting that any future raises will amount to catch-up pay. Some relief may be provided by new hiring among assistant professors. These beginning faculty members don't have a salary track record, sometimes offering schools more leeway in formulating salaries, and that can translate into higher percentage increases than previous pay scales, administrators say. "The new assistant professor is entry-level in academe," Olomon says. "And to get them, you have to compete with all these other universities and institutions. That's where you hire the majority of your faculty, at that rank." There are other bright spots. Here and there, a school may be home to a major research project that, with considerable government backing, creates jobs and offers the pros-pect of higher pay to attract top faculty. In fact, Kalb's Florida State is an example. The school is home to a magnet lab, which enhanced its reputation by hiring J. Robert Schrieffer, winner of the 1972 Nobel Prize in physics. The lab has attracted extra dollars that probably wouldn't go to the university's hiring budget otherwise (J. Mervis, The Scientist, Oct. 1, 1990, page 3). The benefits included extra physics faculty, including some new assistant professors in both physics and chemistry. But, as Kalb notes, "without something like that lab, there's nothing dramatic happening in faculty salaries, including the sciences." Edward R. Silverman is a freelance writer based in Millburn, N.J. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #16, August 23, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: August 23, 1993 TI : Administrator Is Nominated As Secretary Of Air Force AU : Ron Kaufman TY : PROFESSION (PEOPLE) PG : 21 Sheila E. Widnall, associate provost and a professor of aeronautics and mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was nominated last month by President Clinton to become secretary of the Air Force. Pending Senate confirmation, Widnall would become the first woman to head one of the military services. At press time, a Senate confirmation hearing had not been scheduled. In a statement issued on July 2, Clinton praised Widnall as "a woman of high achievement, a respected scientist, a skilled administrator, and a dedicated citizen." He added, "I am confident she will do an outstanding job of guiding the Air Force through this period of post-Cold War change." Though she has never been in military service, Widnall says her experience as a scientist and an administrator gives her the knowledge and background needed for success. "I'm a card-carrying member of the scientific community," says Widnall, 54, who was president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1987-88. "Certainly, I'm very active in science and science policy circles in Washington, D.C., so I suppose in some sense that's a bit of an unusual background for a secretary of the Air Force. But I think it's something we ought to celebrate. "I'm an aeronautical engineer, so in a sense, my career has been devoted to flight." Widnall's research has explored the fluid dynamics of aircraft turbulence. She says, "My broader background of science policy issues, along with my specific background in aeronautics and space technologies and the ability to understand and work with those ideas, is, I believe, absolutely critical." A member of the MIT faculty for 28 years, Widnall predicts a smooth transition from her current academic surroundings to government service. "I actually believe it's going to work out very well," she says. "What will be valuable to me is the ability to build consensus on really important issues, the ability to get people to work together, and the ability to frame issues with a high technical content." Widnall worked in the government once before, as director of university research for the Department of Transportation in 1974-75. Widnall received her B.S. in 1960 and her Sc.D. in 1964 from MIT. She joined the MIT faculty as an assistant professor in 1964, becoming an associate professor in 1970 and a professor in 1974. If confirmed, she would become the second Air Force secretary from MIT, the first being Robert C. Seamans, Jr., a professor of aeronautics and astronautics, who served in the post from 1969 to 1973. Widnall has also been a member of the Board of Visitors for the U.S. Air Force Academy from 1978 to 1984 and was the board's chairman from 1980 to 1982. --Ron Kaufman (The Scientist, Vol:7, #16, August 23, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: August 23, 1993 TI : Departing Healy Appoints Immunologist As Director Of National Institute On Aging AU : Ron Kaufman TY : PROFESSION (PEOPLE) PG : 21 Richard J. Hodes has assumed the position of director of the National Institute on Aging (NIA), becoming one of the last appointments by outgoing National Institutes of Health director Bernadine Healy. Hodes, who began at NIA in June, comes to the institute after 20 years as an immunology researcher at the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Most recently, he served as chief of the Immune Regulation Section of NCI's Experimental Immunology Branch. Created by Congress in 1974 as one of NIH's 13 institutes, NIA conducts and supports biomedical, social, and behavioral research on the aging process. Its fiscal year 1994 budget of about $400 million includes funding for studies on Alzheimer's disease, osteoporosis, and other medical conditions associated with the elderly. Approximately 10 percent of the NIA budget supports in- house researchers, while the majority supports thousands of individual-investigator grants across the United States. "The strength of the institute is the diversity of approaches it takes in its aging-related research," says Hodes, 49. "I have an appreciation for the quality and potential applicability for research in the basic sciences, behavioral sciences, and clinical geriatric gerontology, as well. "Part of the excitement of this job is looking for the best investments that one can make in each of these areas as unique opportunities arise." For example, Hodes explains that in the study of geriatric frailty, using different research approaches strengthens the institute's entire scientific effort. He says explorations in the behavioral and clinical disciplines, such as finding ways to improve balance and strength by dietary manipulation, are just as important as molecular studies, which may uncover the biological basis for decreases in muscle function. "What I'm suggesting," he says, "is that we use the behavioral and clinical disciplines so we do the best job we can at treating and minimizing the disease in the current aging generation--while at the same time looking at the underlying molecular processes so we can do an even better job at prevention in the decades to come." Hodes received his bachelor's degree from Yale University in 1965 and his M.D. from Harvard University Medical School in 1971. He started as an immunology researcher at NCI in 1973. "My career at the cancer institute has mostly been focused on basic science in the area of molecular and cellular immunology," he says. "I hope this provides me with a critical appreciation for excellence in basic science, which is a necessary part of NIA's program. In addition, I've had training in internal medicine and clinical oncology, so I am also appreciative of the need to treat the current clinical problems of the elderly." Hodes's most cited paper, with nearly 190 citations, is "In vitro generation of suppressor cell activity--suppression of in vitro induction of cell-related cytotoxicity," Journal of Immunology, 116:167, 1976. --Ron Kaufman (The Scientist, Vol:7, #16, August 23, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: August 23, 1993 OBITUARY TI : OBITUARY TY : PROFESSION (PEOPLE) PG : 21 Clarence M. Zener, a professor of physics at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, died July 2. He was 87 years old. Zener was a pioneer in the field of internal friction, a heat-to-energy conversion process initiated by vibrating metal. Zener received his Ph.D. in physics from Harvard University in 1929. Throughout his career, he taught at many schools, including Washington University in St. Louis (1935-37) and the City College of New York (1937-40). He was dean at Texas A&M University before joining Carnegie Mellon in 1968. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #16, August 23, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================


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