THE SCIENTIST VOLUME 7, No:19 October 4, 1993 (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) Articles pu

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THE SCIENTIST VOLUME 7, No:19 October 4, 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 *** *** OCTOBER 18, 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 ===================================================================== October 4, 1993 NEWS GENE THERAPY HORIZONS: Although its protocols are only three years old in the clinic, the young field of gene therapy already is showing great promise. With many universities now starting departments and divisions devoted to genetic medicine and at least two gene therapy research institutions launched in the last year, the multidisciplinary research career opportunities linked to the field are burgeoning PG: 1 SAGE COUNCIL: Throughout its 20-year history, the Council of Scientific Society Presidents has always been available to voice its opinions and issue position papers when asked. Now, officials of the organization say, the time has come for the council to play a far more proactive role in shaping the future course of the United States science community. PG: 1 SPREADING THE WORD: Philosophers at Iowa State University are taking a popular faculty tutorial program on ethics in biological research on the road to the campus of the University of Illinois, where it will be introduced initially among agriculture school faculty PG: 3 WHAT'S NEW IN THE LAB: The Analytical Laboratory Exposition and Conference differs from similar lab equipment and technology shows in that a major component of the expo is a program of sessions, presentations, and lectures on a wide range of research issues and methods geared especially to an audience of lab managers PG: 9 OPINION RUSSIAN SCIENTISTS: The historical contributions of Russian science and the need for that nation's researchers to get back on their feet must not be overlooked by the global community; thus, the current disenfranchisement of Russian scientists becomes a problem that researchers throughout the world must address and, where possible, move toward relieving, says Rutgers University geography professor James K. Mitchell PG : 11 COMMENTARY: The toppling of the Soviet Union has led to an influx of highly skilled scientists into the United States; but these researchers face many obstacles as they try to continue their work in their new home. The U.S. science community should help their orientation into its fold because, in doing so, they will be facilitating the substantial contributions they can make to U.S. science, says Peyrets Goldmacher, president of the Association of Engineers and Scientists for New Americans PG : 12 RESEARCH TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE? The five-year moratorium on federally funded research utilizing fetal tissue from elective abortions-- recently lifted by the Clinton administration--has already severely hampered research on such diseases as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, say scientists working with the tissue PG : 1 HOT PAPERS: A molecular geneticist discusses his paper on the significance of the trinucleotide repeat in myotonic dystrophy PG : 16 TOOLS & TECHNOLOGY FOR THE RECORD: Documentation of the results of separating proteins or sequencing DNA by electrophoresis used to involve little more than taking a photograph. But today, gel- documentation systems using still video images, computers, and printers can safely record and manipulate fragile gels--at a fraction of the cost PG : 18 PROFESSION REWARDING YOUNG INGENUITY: The National Invention Center's Collegiate Inventors Program generates enthusiasm for science among students, offers an incentive for aspiring inventors to refine their work, and provides a career boost, both as a resume enhancer and as an aid to gaining patents on inventions PG : 20 F. IVY CARROLL, a chemist at the Research Triangle Institute in North Carolina, has received the 1993 Pacesetter Award from the National Institute on Drug Abuse PG : 21 SHORT TAKES NOTEBOOK PG : 4 CARTOON PG : 4 LETTERS PG : 12 CROSSWORD PG : 13 OBITUARIES PG : 22 SCIENTIFIC SOFTWARE DIRECTORY PG : 30 (The Scientist, Vol:7, #19, October 4, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : With Five-Year Ban On Fetal Tissue Studies Lifted, Scientists Are Striving To Make Up For Lost Time New grant proposals are geared toward proceeding with studies, delayed by the moratorium, that may relieve human suffering AU : MYRNA E. WATANABE TY : NEWS PG : 1 Sometime this month, the National Institutes of Health will announce the recipients of the first federal grants since 1988 for research on human fetal tissue transplants using material derived from elective abortions--the main source of live and healthy fetal tissue that can be maintained in culture and used for therapeutic transplants. Proposals for the projects were submitted in early 1993, only a few days after newly inaugurated President Bill Clinton lifted a five-year- old moratorium on federal funding for such research. Throughout the ban's duration, it was vociferously challenged by scientists who regarded it as a serious roadblock in the pursuit of cures for many human diseases; the ire of these scientists was heightened by the widespread assumption that the moratorium resulted from pressure applied on the White House by anti- abortion groups. The moratorium prevailed until this year, however, despite the recommendations by a blue-ribbon panel of scientists that human fetal tissue research continue, with strict controls to ensure that women would not be encouraged to abort in order to donate or sell their fetuses. When the ban was reversed on January 22, scientists who had had to abandon or cut back on their fetal-tissue-related studies naturally breathed a collective sigh of relief and went about completing grant proposals they had begun after last November's election in the hope that Clinton would indeed lift the ban. In doing so, however, many of them wondered how they could possibly make up for what they considered five lost years of work--work that, they note, might have made a contribution toward easing the suffering caused by such devastating afflictions as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, conditions that are among a host of targets for fetal tissue research (see story on page 14). "As soon as Clinton was elected in November, on the assumption that the ban would be lifted, we began writing a grant," explains Curt Freed, a clinical pharmacologist at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver. Freed, who specializes in movement disorders, is the author or coauthor of numerous papers on the use of human fetal tissue transplants for Parkinson's disease. On February 1--a mere 10 days after Clinton's lifting of the moratorium--he, his colleagues, and others submitted proposals to NIH. The successful proposals that are to be announced this month are from the batch submitted immediately after the ban was lifted. Freed describes the ban as "very peculiar" and "narrowly cut politically." Another vocal opponent of the moratorium is researcher Leonard Hayflick, who, 30 years ago, isolated and cultured human fetal tissue lines that are still used today for the production of human virus vaccines. Hayflick, a cell biologist and gerontologist at the University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine, doesn't mince words. "It's just the height of hypocrisy," he asserts, pointing out that throughout the time of the ban, NIH continued to take advantage of human fetal tissue cultures. During the period of the moratorium, NIH--except for studies involving fetal material obtained from elective abortions-- continued to support human fetal tissue research. In 1992, this support totaled some $12.4 million, more than 90 percent of which went toward extramural projects. And the agency apparently wants to make its position on the matter very clear. The introduction to an April 1993 report on its funding efforts in this area states: "The use of human fetal tissue in basic biomedical research has been well-established and important since the 1950s, and [NIH] has supported this area of research for many years." The report goes on to point out that human fetal tissue transplantation therapy has been used successfully in certain diseases, including Parkinsonism. But, according to the report, in the past five years, this research had to be funded privately or was done abroad. Despite the NIH record, in 1988, the Reagan administration dismissed recommendations by the Human Fetal Tissue Transplantation Research Panel--an ad hoc scientific advisory group assembled by NIH--and rejected guidelines that the panel had devised for the conduct of therapeutic human fetal tissue transplantation research, guidelines that, with strict constraints, allowed for the use of tissue from induced abortions. Indeed, the experts' recommendations were "just thrown out the window," according to Nancy Wexler, a professor of clinical neuropsychology at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York, a strong advocate of continuing fetal tissue transplant research who is working with researchers to devise protocols for treatment of Huntington's disease using these transplants. Ironically, one member of the panel who voted with the majority in favor of the guidelines and of lifting the ban was Bernadine Healy, who went on to become director of NIH and the enforcer of the ban. Search For Funds A researcher whose efforts have been hampered for the past several years by the scarcity of human fetal tissue is neuropathologist William D. Lyman of Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, N.Y. In 1992, Lyman received nearly $1.5 million from NIH--the largest NIH grant for human fetal tissue studies that year--for work on fetal tissue and HIV-1 exposure relating to neurological damage seen in children with AIDS. To make sure he and other scientists had sufficient material of good quality to work with, however, Lyman obtained private funding to establish a tissue bank for transplantation purposes containing material originally obtained from induced abortions. Previously, he had begun cooperating with scientists in Tel Aviv--where tissue from elective abortions is available--and was contemplating the prospect of continuing his work with his Israeli colleagues if the ban was not lifted. Following implementation of the ban, scientists such as Yale University School of Medicine's D. Eugene Redmond, one of the pivotal investigators in the transplantation of human fetal tissue into the brains of Parkinson's disease patients, had to rely on foundation and other private funding for continuation of their research (M. Clemmitt, The Scientist, July 20, 1992, page 1). To make matters worse, in Redmond's case, Yale's development office--typical of policies at most universities--not only refrains from raising money for individual faculty members' research, but also discourages university researchers from contacting foundations that, according to Redmond, the school has been pursuing for major donations, scientific or otherwise, or that had received proposals from other departments in the university. While Redmond does not specify the foundations he could not approach, he does say that his research group obtained funding from Hammond, Conn.-based Axion Research Foundation, the Communities Foundation of Texas in Dallas, an unnamed Texas foundation, and private individuals, many with family members suffering from Parkinsonism. With the ban, therefore, the task of scrambling for financial support became a worrisome, burdensome, and distracting challenge for many individual investigators. "Besides doing the research," Redmond says, "we had to work on funding." While previously he would be funded on a three-year NIH grant, he instead found himself relying on private backing, he explains, which generally means relatively short-term funding. Thus, he and his colleagues found themselves in the position of constantly scrounging for dollars to support very expensive work. Worries included not only how to pay for the research itself, but also a host of mundane administrative problems, such as meeting payrolls and dealing with human resource concerns involved with hiring and firing. "It's a very unsettling way to fund research activities," Redmond says. Animals No Substitute Compounding the funding problem for Redmond and others were the impediments to rogress in their research caused by the lack of human fetal tissue. For example, during the period of the ban, Redmond still received NIH funds for experimental transplantation of monkey fetal tissue into the brains of nonhuman primates. But furthering his work clearly entailed the use of human material. Pointing out this requirement is John R. Sladek, Jr., a professor and chairman of the department of neuroscience at Chicago Medical School in North Chicago, Ill., who has been working with Redmond's group transplanting primate fetal neuronal tissue into brains of primates with Parkinsonism induced by MPTP (N-methyl-4 phenyl-1,2,3,6 tetrahydropy- ridine). MPTP, according to Sladek, is a protoxin that can cause neuronal degeneration closely resembling that which occurs in Parkinson's. The work has been very promising, he says, but ongoing progress depends to a great extent on the use of human fetal tissue transplants into the primates. "With fetal cell transplants, those animals improve," states Sladek. "In many cases, they improve greatly." The studies have shown that brain dopamine levels are significantly elevated after the implant and that numbers of synapses increase. But the research moratorium prevented Sladek and colleagues from "studying the human cell." And, as Sladek explains, what one sees in a rat brain or monkey brain is likely to be different from what occurs when human fetal tissue is transplanted into a human brain. The scarcity of human fetal tissue has several profoundly negative effects, says Colorado's Freed. One is pressure put on the pocketbooks of patients, and the other is that research subjects are limited to those patients who can afford the transplant procedure, thus greatly skewing the experimental group. During the ban, Freed was able to continue his work on human neural fetal tissue transplants to ameliorate the effects of Parkinson's disease. But an average transplant procedure costs $30,000-$40,000, he says, and nine of his first 13 patients "paid cash." Only four of the procedures were covered by the laboratory's grants and, after publications began coming out on the success of the technique, three patients reportedly were reimbursed by their insurance companies. Nevertheless, Freed complains that because of the high cost and the likelihood that the cost had to be borne by the patient, "only people with a lot of money could afford to participate, and that distorts the research base." Immediate Impact According to Sladek and Redmond, the lifting of the moratorium has served to remove the moral stigma on their research that the presence of the ban produced. Sladek says that the ban "gave an impression that the work was so unimportant, or unacceptable, or controversial that it shouldn't have been done." But, he adds, "when the moratorium got lifted, that general stigma and a skewing of scientific perception was lifted." However, although individual researchers once again are submitting their proposals to NIH, scientists remain concerned that money will not be available in the NIH budget to support human clinical work. According to an NIH spokesperson, this is, indeed, possible. Colorado's Freed points out that even with federal funding available, the surgery is so expensive that only a relatively small number of procedures could be carried out. And Redmond cautions that the lifting of the moratorium without sufficient money to fund all of the research that scientists have been waiting to launch during the past five years is a double- edged sword. Although researchers are happy for the opportunity to apply for the funding, he reasons, the private sector may be under the misapprehension that federal money is available and that it no longer needs to fund the research. This, he points out, could put a further squeeze on proj-ects that have yielded promising results but have been hindered by the unavailability of federal funding. An Interim Stage Although Colorado's Freed has "concluded that only transplants are likely to cure Parkinson's disease ...or make a difference," Columbia's Wexler sees the use of fetal tissue as an interim stage in development of disease treatment. Wexler is president of the Santa Monica, Calif.-based Hereditary Disease Foundation, which currently is developing protocols for fetal tissue implants in patients with Huntington's disease, a genetic disorder that leads to long-term neurological degeneration. By using fetal tissue, Wexler explains, researchers will learn exactly what factors are involved in these diseases, and, eventually, gene transplants or pharmaceuticals will be developed to counter the diseases'effects. Meanwhile, Wexler sees an "opportunity to provide therapy" for patients suffering from what she calls "horribly devastating diseases." Chicago Medical School's Sladek notes that for now, as long as abortion is legal, "we'll see the opportunity to help truly sick people." Einstein's Lyman, however, wonders whether the current legality of abortion and the availability of human fetal tissue will prevail. "I think the political winds can always shift," he says. Myrna E. Watanabe is a biotechnology consultant based in Yonkers, N.Y. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #19, October 4, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : FETAL TISSUE RESEARCH AREAS AU : MYRNA E. WATANABE TY : RESEARCH PG : 14 Fetal tissue is used extensively in research, from basic studies of cellular processes and development to investigations of abnormal development of cells, such as occurs in cancer and as a result of genetic and infectious diseases and environmental insult. Numerous cancer treatments and diagnostics for cancer and infectious diseases have resulted from studies using human fetal tissue. Human fetal tissue transplants, which are in the experimental stage now, have been used successfully in individuals with Parkinson's disease; diabetes; severe combined immunodeficiency disease (SCID); thalassemia (a hereditary hemoglobin abnormality); and complete DiGeorge's syndrome, a congenital lack of the thymus, an organ necessary for the integrity and function of the immune system. Animal studies indicate that fetal tissue transplantation may be useful in patients with Huntington's disease, various forms of blindness, skin diseases, and trauma, such as spinal cord injury and burns. The five-year moratorium on federally funded research using fetal tissue from elective abortions prevented the government from financing all of this work, forcing researchers to revamp their studies and use only animal models or tissue from spontaneously aborted fetuses or ectopic pregnancies--a limited source of healthy, viable tissue--or look for funding elsewhere. --M.E.W. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #19, October 4, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ----------------------------------------------------------------- SUGGESTED READING PG : 15 C.R. Freed, et al., Advances in Neurology, 60:721-8, 1992 C.R. Freed, et al., Neurochemistry International, 20:S321-7, 1992 C.R. Freed, et al., New England Journal of Medicine, 327:1549-55, 1992 W.C. Hatch, et al., FASEB Journal, 6:1328, 1992 (Abstract) L. Hayflick, Bio/Technology, 10:824, 1992 J.R. Sladek, Jr., et al., Experimental Neurology, 122:16-27, 1993 D.D. Spencer, et al., New England Journal of Medicine, 327:1541-8, 1992 (The Scientist, Vol:7, #19, October 4, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : Gene Therapy: Clinical Gains Yield A Wealth Of Research Opportunities As genetic medicine progresses, the demand rises for biological investigation that will carry advances forward AU : FRANKLIN HOKE TY : NEWS PG : 1 The transfer of genetic materials into humans to correct diseases--gene therapy--is a new medical enterprise, barely three years old in the clinic. But in the short time since a research team at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., first treated a young girl's genetically compromised immune system with a transfusion of her own DNA-corrected white blood cells on Sept. 14, 1990, gene therapy has grown to command considerable public and scientific attention. While the public focuses on the small but growing number of clinical successes, scientists also predict an exponential growth in multi- disciplinary research opportunities linked to the young field. Disciplines that will be called on to contribute, these researchers say, include virology, immunology, cell biology, pathology, genetics, biochemistry, and molecular biology. "The fun thing about gene therapy is that it requires a wide variety of skills,"says Richard C. Boucher, director of the division of pulmonary diseases at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Planned trials there to treat cystic fibrosis received approval from NIH's Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee (RAC) in March. "It spans a lot of disciplines, and the groups that move fast are the ones able to make those disciplines interact." Two research institutes devoted exclusively to gene therapy studies were launched just this year--the first under James M. Wilson at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and the other under Kenneth W. Culver at the Iowa Methodist Medical Center, Des Moines. Increasingly, academic institutions are organizing research efforts around the concepts of gene therapy. "Most universities now are setting up their genetic medicine or gene therapy divisions," says Culver, executive director of the Iowa center's Human Gene Therapy Research Institute and a member of the NIH team that designed the first gene therapy protocol. "And many of them are in the process of trying to recruit." The number of biotechnology companies specifically targeting related technologies, though still small, also is growing. One of the first entrepreneurial entries in this field was Genetic Therapy Inc., Gaithersburg, Md. This 1986 startup has been involved in developing the viral vectors used to deliver selected genes to brain tumor cells in several RAC-approved protocols proposed by NIH researchers. "The biotechnology infrastructure certainly is growing to support gene therapy, and this whole area won't move forward without that," says Gary Nabel, an associate professor of internal medicine and biological chemistry and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at the University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor. Nabel's research team has developed protocols for treating melanoma tumors and AIDS that have been approved by RAC and NIH. But Nabel also emphasizes that basic researchers in academic settings will have critical roles to play in the development of gene therapy. For example, he says, most early gene therapy protocols developed in nonprofit settings have tended to treat orphan diseases with little market potential. These rare-disease efforts, however, will be crucial in developing the fundamental tools that will lead to broader success. "These are diseases that may not be commercially attractive to pursue," Nabel says, "but that provide very important paradigms for what's to come." The early studies, in many cases, have been designed to demonstrate the basic principle of gene therapy, that it is possible to successfully infect specific cells or tissues with genes that will then express therapeutic proteins. They are what Boucher calls "proof-of-concept studies." This aspect of these proj-ects--that the early studies have implications beyond immediate efficacy--is one reason, he adds, that they've attracted such widespread attention. Still, there are important basic science hurdles to jump, researchers agree, before gene therapy can realize its full therapeutic potential. These include the development of improved vectors for delivery of genetic materials to target cells and tissues, better understanding and control of gene regulation, and more detailed knowledge about the immune system and its responses to the introduced genes and their products. Optimizing Viral Vectors For now, most gene therapy protocols have taken advantage of the ability of viruses to introduce and integrate their DNA into cells. "What we're really trying to do in gene therapy is to learn how to deliver genes, regulate their expression, and maintain them at specific sites in patients," says Nabel. "And that's something viruses learned to do long ago." The two types of viruses used most often in experiments are adenoviruses, which are often accompanied by cold symptoms in humans, and retroviruses, especially murine retroviruses. They each have advantages and disadvantages, and it is in this area-- development of vectors--that scientists say the most research needs to be done for the field to move forward. "There's a tremendous amount of vector development going on," says Edward Oldfield, chief of the surgical neurology branch of NIH's National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Oldfield, along with Zvi Ram, Michael Blaese, and Culver, helped develop an experimental brain tumor protocol in the NIH clinics. "The biggest problem with gene therapy right now is one of targeted delivery, successful delivery to specific tissues," Oldfield says. Oldfield and colleagues take advantage of the fact that retroviruses target only dividing cells, such as tumor cells, while healthy brain cells are nondividing. The virus is engineered to carry the gene for producing thymidine kinase, a herpes simplex product, and is injected un- der general anesthesia directly into the tumor region. Tumor cells that accept the virus and its genetic payload become susceptible to the antiviral drug ganciclovir. So far, the procedure has produced encouraging results. For now, the characteristic of retroviruses that Oldfield's group is putting to use, the fact that they enter only dividing cells, is also a limitation in other areas. Researchers would like to be able to introduce genes into stem cells, the relatively quiescent marrow cells that give rise to blood cells. This is an area in which basic research in cell biology and other disciplines will be very important. "If we can genetically alter the hematopoietic stem cell sufficiently well to get good expression in peripheral cells in the blood," says Culver, "then that will accelerate the pace of gene therapy unbelievably. Theoretically, we could treat a variety of infectious diseases--HIV being one--and it would allow us a good vehicle for attacking autoimmune disease and for treatment of malignancy." A. Dusty Miller, associate member in the program in molecular medicine at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Institute in Seattle, and a member of RAC, sees this area as crucial, also. Researchers there are working on genetic therapies for Gaucher's disease, HIV, and other diseases with genetic components. "If you could isolate a liver stem cell, let's say," Miller says, "you could then repopulate large portions of the liver [with genetically corrected cells]. So, understanding the basic biology of organs and developmental biology will be important." A number of research groups have chosen to work with cystic fibrosis, including Boucher at UNC and the University of Pennsylvania's Wilson. One reason this disease has attracted research attention is that direct delivery to the affected cells lining the lung or nasal passages is relatively straightforward. In the protocols for cystic fibrosis, an adenovirus is engineered so that it cannot cause illness and so that it carries the normal, functioning cystic fibrosis gene missing in the disease victims. Under Wilson's protocol, performed on a 32-year-old New Jersey woman September 3, the virus is introduced to the lungs using a bronchoscope. The virus infects the lung epithelial cells with the normal gene, after which the infected cells should begin producing the lacking protein. `Pluses And Minuses' Although the virus has been altered so that the patient will not contract a cold, per se, there are safety concerns associated with the procedure that Wilson intends to monitor. Such worries, specifically fears of an inflammation response in the lung, are among the reasons Boucher plans to treat only the nasal passages of patients in his procedure treating cystic fibrosis. He says adenoviruses, while efficient delivery vehicles for genes, have, "pluses and minuses"--they are not necessarily ideal vectors. "We're not comfortable that the safety aspects are well enough worked out in the lung yet," says Boucher. "So, the strategy is [to treat] the cells that line the nasal mucosa, which are virtually precisely like the ones in the lower lung, and they express the same defect. If there's inflammation, we can see it, and it's easier to treat." Worry over the safety of some current viral vectors is one reason investigators say that continued research in this area is critical to moving gene therapy forward. Penn's Wilson has also developed an ex vivo protocol to treat familial hypercholesterolemia, a genetic deficiency in which the liver lacks the receptor for low-density lipoprotein, leading to extremely high cholesterol levels and severe heart and circulatory problems. While at the University of Michigan, Wilson treated a 29-year-old Canadian woman for the deficiency by removing approximately a tenth of her liver cells, infecting those cells in the laboratory with a retrovirus carrying the missing gene, and then returning the cells to the woman's body through the portal vein leading back to the liver. The cells, it was hoped, would lodge in the liver and produce the necessary receptor. Since the operation, the woman's cholesterol levels have indeed dropped significantly. Wilson traces his interest in gene therapy to the case of Stormie Jones, a Texas girl who died at the age of 13 after surgeon Thomas Starzl at the University of Pittsburgh attempted a heart- and-liver transplant to correct her familial hypercholesterolemia. "I thought that there had to be a more elegant approach to treating this disease," Wilson says. "Her own liver cells functioned normally. They were only dysfunctional with respect to one gene. So, I kept thinking about how to utilize a gene- transfer technology." Getting genes to the sites in the body where they are needed will continue to be the biggest challenge for gene therapy, say researchers. Epithelial cells, those that line cavities and vessels in the body, will be relatively accessible, they say, but reaching other tissues, including many tumors, will be more difficult. "The difficulty is going to be delivery to solid tissues," says Oldfield. "If that can be overcome, the field will successfully develop new therapies, and it may occur relatively rapidly." Another limitation that will have to be confronted is the relatively small carrying capacity of current viral vectors, says Jeffrey Chamberlain, an assistant professor of human genetics at the University of Michigan. Chamberlain's team announced in August that they had cured Duchenne muscular dystrophy in transgenic mice through insertion of the correct dystrophin gene into embryos. But the embryos were sometimes damaged in the procedure. To treat people, a way of introducing the healthy gene to muscle cells will have to be found--and the gene involved is the largest gene yet known, Chamberlain says. Adenoviruses and retroviruses can accept genetic inserts of about 7,000 to 8,000 base pairs, after some viral removal. The dystrophin gene, by contrast, is about 2.5 million base pairs. Even the cDNA, although shorter, is about 14,000 base pairs, still double the capacity of current vectors. The difficulties of working with the dystrophin gene illustrate why basic research in gene regulation and other areas of basic biology must be part of progress in gene therapy, says Chamberlain. His lab is working to trim the gene down for insertion, while trying to identify and retain all sections of code necessary for functionality. The medical and scientific payoff, he says, could be dramatic and not only in terms of muscular dystrophy. "People have already shown that there are probably a lot of genes that, if you get them into the muscle, will secrete their protein products directly into the bloodstream," says Chamberlain. "So, finding ways to efficiently deliver genes to muscle could go well beyond the muscular dystrophies and be applicable to a lot of systemic diseases as well." As research continues in gene therapy and in understanding the immune system, scientists anticipate that recombinant vaccines for cancer, infectious diseases, and autoimmune disorders may eventually be added to the tool kit of genetic medicine. Already, the pace of progress in gene therapy has been encouraging--even astounding--to its advocates, and it shows few signs of slowing. "In 1987, I went to NIH to work there on gene therapy until it could be done outside the NIH, and then I was going to leave," says Culver. "Then, between 1987 and 1993, in that six-year period, that all happened. Not only did we start [therapies] in 1990, but it was just a couple of years later when it was reasonable to do it just about anywhere. That's quite remarkable." (The Scientist, Vol:7, #19, October 4, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : Society Presidents' Council Mobilizes For Dynamic Role In Reshaping Science Washington group pursues financial independence along with ways to deepen the influence of its prestigious membership AU : RON KAUFMAN TY : NEWS PG : 1 In the very near future, if things go according to plan, the traditionally low-profile Washington, D.C.-based Council of Scientific Society Presidents (CSSP) will be exerting influence in the science community far greater than it has ever exerted before in its 20-year history. According to its new executive director, Martin Apple, the organization--whose membership comprises past, present, and future leaders of some 60 scientific societies--will serve as the hub of an electronic mail-based communications network linking the members not only with one another, but also with a variety of other important science community participants and observers. Establishment of the E-mail network, says Apple, symbolizes the steps the council intends to take in fulfilling the assertive role in guiding the course of scientific enterprise in the United States that organization members believe it can, and must, now perform. "We're concerned about the future of science in this country," says Apple, a20former University of California biochemist who assumed his CSSP position this past summer following six years as head of long-range planning for the science society Sigma Xi. Stating that the "shape of U.S. research in the post-Cold War world is not always working to our advantage," Apple believes that his organization is equipped to play a positive, needed part in "redeveloping the science community." If the nation's science leaders are "not more proactive," he says, "we'll find ourselves reacting to things that may be ineffective in doing what the U.S. deserves science to do." More Dynamic Apple is quick to point out that, since its creation in 1973, CSSP has consistently addressed issues of consequence to the research community-- ethics, education, government affairs, public understanding of science, environmental matters, research priorities, and so forth. "This is not new," he says. However, while the society has always been available to issue its recommendations and position papers--and has, indeed, been at the forefront in addressing some of these issues--it now intends its participation to be far more dynamic. He envisions, for example, the E-mail system's functioning as a combination bulletin board and conferencing forum for CSSP members, a tool that will encourage immediate response to events of consequence to science and then to "articulate and disseminate our visions" concerning them. Inspiration for becoming more proactive, he says, has sprung from within CSSP, but motivation has also come from the outside. For example, he says, "Congress believes we [CSSP] are uniquely qualified and is asking us to help play a role as they go about setting priorities." Association With ACS Accompanying its assumption of a more aggressive posture is a move by the society to be financially independent. Since its inception, the society has relied heavily for its sustenance on the American Chemical Society. In addition to a significant financial subsidy, the 145,000-member ACS has provided free office space and staff support to the council. But now, both groups acknowledge, CSSP has grown to the point where ACS should no longer shoulder the burden of support. While Apple declines to reveal financial details at this point, he is confident that alternative sources of support will be obtained shortly. Commenting on the separation from ACS, another CSSP official, secretary Christopher D'Elia, says, "Right now, I guess we're like a teenager leaving home." D'Elia, who is director of the Sea Grant Program in the University of Maryland system, says CSSP currently is pursuing external funding sources to support its annual budget needs. For the time being, membership and institutional affiliate dues guarantee some revenue; D'Elia, like Apple, declines to release details on other means the council is using to obtain additional funding. D'Elia is in favor of the separation, offering the notion that CSSP, during its two-decade dependence on ACS, may have been "overincubated." "It's time for us to go out on our own," he says. "It's part of the maturation process." "ACS has been very instrumental and helpful in doing far more than its fair share in providing space, staff assistance, and other expense assistance through the years," says Gordon Nelson, last year's CSSP chairman and a former president of ACS. "The reason ACS is very much interested in CSSP is because we feel that if the scientific community speaks as a common voice, we can achieve much more than if just the individual disciplines gave their opinions," says Ernest Eliel, ACS president in 1992 and a chemistry professor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. "I think this change will be good for CSSP because all the organizations that belong to it need to feel that they have an equal input in the group's decisions. With the ACS, it's more a matter of principle. While we helped the organization when it started out, in the long run, it should stand on its own feet. Both organizations realize that." Eliel says that ACS will now be treated like any other CSSP member society, and he predicts that total financial independence for the organization should be established in about a year. Organizational Structure CSSP was launched in 1973 by Alan Nixon, a University of California, Berkeley, scientist who was, at the time, president of ACS. It was formed to provide an organization in which presidents representing different scientific societies could get together and talk over common interests and concerns. Today, the council is a consortium of presidents, past presidents, and presidents-elect of both large and small U.S. societies ranging in size from the mammoth ACS to the 2,500-member Estuarine Research Federation, which focuses on wetlands and ecosystems. Also represented are several societies that are not officially identified with basic scientific research, such as the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and the Association for Computing, which is now working to facilitate CSSP's E-mail system. At present, the council's member societies represent well over a million members. It has a 12-member board, which appoints the executive director and other working officers, and a chairperson, who is elected for a one- year term. The current chairperson is Bonnie Brunkhorst, a science educator from California State College, San Bernardino, and immediate past president of NSTA. The excutive director's term is unspecified; in assuming that position recently, Apple became the third executive director in CSSP's history. The council creates and coordinates seminars, symposia, and invited conferences for its membership on topics--such as funding and education-- which are of concern across most scientific disciplines. It has three standing committees--government and public affairs; ethics and science; and mathematics and science education--as well as task forces on strategic planning and priorities in science. The group, and its committees, meet twice a year in Washington, in May and December, with each meeting usually carrying a given theme of interdisciplinary importance; for example, the May 1993 meeting topic was the public understanding of science. Enrichment While attendees bring their individual concerns to these meetings, they also are exposed to discussions with representatives of other societies and of guest speakers. Ivo Lindauer, president of the 7,000-member National Association of Biology Teachers, says that, over time, the meetings have "often brought to our attention additional topics we've shared with our membership." E. Gerald Meyer, president of the 5,000-member American Institute of Chemists, says that CSSP, when voicing the concerns of the scientific community, shows there is strength in numbers. "Probably the principal advantage to our organization and others is the consensus resolutions regarding various items dealing with science and engineering that are arrived at during the meetings," he says. "These can then be transmitted to Capitol Hill as representing a major segment, probably 85 percent, of all the science and engineering societies in the country. "While separate organizations could voice opinions which reinforce one another, the fact that one voice comes out lends a great deal of credibility to the positions that we all have." CSSP also presents two annual awards to outstanding scientists and administrators. One is the Support of Science Award, which was introduced in 1983 and usually goes to individuals in government. For example, the 1986 winner was Erich Bloch, then-director of NSF; the 1991 winner was Rep. George Brown, Jr. (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology; and last year's winner was D. Allan Bromley, science adviser to President Bush. The other award was initiated last year and is called the Public Understanding of Science Award. The award's first recipient was Carl Sagan, director of the Laboratory for Planetary Studies at Cornell University. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #19, October 4, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------------------------- TI : Weighty Endeavor TY : NOTEBOOK PG : 4 Last month, the U.S. Senate approved funding for a modified version of space station Freedom, and a group of volunteers, many of whom are scientists and others involved in the aerospace industry, would like to believe that the weight of their arguments played no small role in saving the project. In at least one respect they are right. Over the summer, the group, calling itself the Space Station Freedom Fighters, collected more than 30,000 signatures on petitions calling for renewal of the station; the combined weight of the petitions was more than 15 pounds. The grass- roots organization says that signatures were obtained in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. According to the group, it was the largest demonstration of public support for a spacecraft since "Star Trek" fans named the first space shuttle after the Enterprise. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #19, October 4, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ----------------------------------------------------------------------- TI : Chemical Interactions TY : NOTEBOOK PG : 4 The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation has established two new parallel programs to provide discretionary funding to academic leaders in chemical science research and education. The Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award focuses primarily on individual research attainment and promise, along with evidence of excellence in teaching. The Henry Dreyfus Teacher- Scholar Award "stresses teaching, mentorship, and the nominees' accomplishments as role models for undergraduates embarking on careers in the chemical sciences." Grants of $60,000 are awarded in both programs to the awardee's academic department, with $5,000 going to the department itself and the rest to a scholar's professional activities, with the exception of salary. Nominations must be received by November 15. For information, contact the Henry and Camille Dreyfus Foundation Inc., 555 Madison Ave., New York, N.Y. 10022-3301; (212) 753-1760. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #19, October 4, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ----------------------------------------------------------------------- TI : Tourette Syndrome Funding TY : NOTEBOOK PG : 4 The Tourette Syndrome Association (TSA) is soliciting applications for grants in three categories: proposals in basic neuroscience specifically relevant to Tourette syndrome ($5,000-$25,000); clinical studies related to the etiology, pathophysiology, and treatment of the disease ($5,000- $25,000); and one- or two-year training postdoctoral fellowships ($15,000-$20,000, depending on the applicant's experience level). Applicants' letters of intent are due by October 15, after which they will be notified whether to deliver a final proposal, which is due December 22. Application materials can be obtained by calling (718) 224-2999 or by fax request at (718) 279-9596. Letters of intent are to be sent to: Anne B. Young, M.D., Ph.D., Chairperson, TSA Scientific Advisory Board, 42-40 Bell Blvd., Bayside, N.Y. 11361. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #19, October 4, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------------------------ TI : Coming To Fruition TY : NOTEBOOK PG : 4 The first two volumes of Flora of North America, published by Oxford University Press in New York, were released on September 27. The mammoth project, being produced by 30 botanical institutions and hundreds of botanists and coordinated by the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, is the first comprehensive description of all the plants growing spontaneously in the U.S., Canada, and Greenland. In all, 14 volumes will be published over the next 12 years. Descriptions of each species are written and reviewed by experts from the worldwide botanical community, with each volume containing identification keys, distributions, and other biological information for particular groups of plants. Volume 1 contains introductory essays that discuss climate, geology, the history of vegetation and its current status, expeditions and research, overall classification, and how to use the book. Volume 2 contains taxonomic treatments of ferns and gymnosperms. For information, call Oxford University Press at (800) 451-7556. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #19, October 4, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------------------------ TI : Fowl Play TY : NOTEBOOK PG : 4 While allusions to the rarity of chickens' lips and hens' teeth may persist through eternity, Iowa State University animal scientists are determined to settle at least one matter pertaining to the biophysical makeup of these birds. Researchers at the institution currently are in the process of identifying the DNA fingerprints of chickens--part of an effort to develop rapid, low-cost, accurate methods of determining desirable genes for disease resistance, feed efficiency, and reproductive performance. With a minor blood test, DNA samples are obtained, then cut and sorted by size through electrophoresis. By studying the resultant fingerprints, called bands, scientists can determine the presence and location of genetic markers linked to the trait they want, and breed accordingly. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #19, October 4, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------------------------ TI : Channel Hopping TY : NOTEBOOK PG : 4 A Boston University scientist's approach to the search for extraterrestrial intelligence is unlikely to be made into a major motion picture any time soon. But it may have cleared a radio wave hurdle that has stymied much of the effort in this area. Nathan Cohen, an assistant professor of science and engineering at BU, along with Yale University colleague David Charlton, claims to have found a new way to solve the problem of "multipath," an effect that makes shortwave signals fade and bounce up and down in intensity. It is known that phenomena in interstellar space can cause the multipath effect on radio signals; and scientists searching for signals from space have assumed that the best way for extraterrestrial beings to transmit these signals was to use a very narrow frequency channel. Over the years, researchers have sent out similar narrow-channel signals to search for the incoming transmissions, but Cohen and Charlton have conducted simulations using as many as five channels, spread out in frequency like teeth on a comb, which they hope will increase the probability of providing one channel that does not fade. The pair acknowledge that the search has a long way to go before they can say for sure that they have discovered intelligent signals from space. At least, however, they figure that their method makes sure that they won't miss a broadcast that is heading this way. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #19, October 4, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------------------------ TI : CRADA Kudos TY : NOTEBOOK PG : 4 The Department of Energy has announced the execution of its 500th cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) since 1991. A CRADA is a contractual agreement in which a DOE facility with one or more partners, generally from industry, shares the costs of, and pools the results from, a particular research and development program. To date, 26 percent of the agreements have been in information and communications, 24 percent in advanced materials and instrumentation, and 22 percent in manufacturing. Others have been in such areas as pollution minimization and remediation, biotechnology and life scien-ces, energy, and aerospace and transportation technologies. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #19, October 4, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ----------------------------------------------------------------------- TI : 1993 ALEX Show: A Meeting Place For Lab Managers AU : RON KAUFMAN TY : NEWS PG : 9 Like other shows of its kind, the third annual Analytical Laboratory Exposition and Conference (ALEX)--which runs this week, Oct. 5-7, at the San Francisco Fashion Center--will offer its anticipated 4,000 attendees access to a wide array of exhibits by manufacturers of laboratory equipment. What distinguishes this event from otherwise similar trade fairs, according to ALEX director Lance Jacobson, is its function not only as a showcase for state-of-the-art lab technology, but also as a gathering place for hands-on scientists and the people who run their labs. Jacobson notes that the ALEX show features an extensive schedule of lectures and tutorials on issues and methods of lab management, in addition to more than 180 exhibits displaying the latest advances in research equipment. "Rather than being strictly a technical program, we brought in independent consultants, academics, and other lab personnel to talk about their successes in running a lab," Jacobson says. ALEX's Productivity Conference Program, which runs all three days simultaneously with the industry exhibits, consists of 37 sessions divided into several tracks: * Analytical Lab Management discusses team-building, operational efficiencies, and total-quality management. * Analytical Lab Regulations and Procedures covers the disposal of hazardous waste, guidelines for good laboratory practice, and regulatory compliance. * Automation and Information Technology deals with molecular modeling, virtual reality, and data standardization. * Advances in Instrumentation and Techniques consists of sessions on such subjects as high-speed/high-resolution separations, on-line monitoring systems, and chromato- graphy-mass spectrometry. * Systems Approach to Sample Analysis includes presentations on DNA analysis, polymer characterization, and trace contaminant detection. Scheduled sessions include such topics as Regulatory Trends and Compliance, Data Management, the Lab as a Cost Center, Waste Management and Disposal, and Environmental Criminal Law. Laboratory automation specialist W. Jeffrey Hurst, senior staff scientist at Hershey Foods Corp. in Hershey, Pa., says that unless a scientist seeks out groups like the Analytical Laboratory Managers Association (ALMA), very few conferences offer any organized sessions at which individuals who run labs can gather or exchange ideas. For example, on Wednesday, Robert J. Kadunce, a manager of analytical science at Akron, Ohio-based BFGoodrich Co., will speak about maintaining operational efficiency; and on Tuesday, Sid Topiol, a fellow at the Sandoz Research Institute in East Hanover, N.J., will discuss molecular modeling. "The ALEX meeting provides a different perspective than many of the meetings I go to," says Hurst, who is on the conference's advisory board. "The laboratory is not immune to things that also face industry, such as improving lab productivity, teamwork, waste disposal, and legal obligations--so getting a management perspective can be very helpful." Nonetheless, according to Jacobson, the conference's chief concentration is on the many exhibits, including dozens of new product introductions by both large and small equipment manufacturers, such as Brookhaven Instruments Corp., Ronkonkoma, N.Y.; Hewlett-Packard Co. of Palo Alto, Calif.; Zymark Corp., Hopkinton, Mass.; and Beckman Instruments Inc. of Fullerton, Calif. Examples of new product releases are Waltham, Mass.-based Groton Technology Inc.'s SoloNet diode array detector for Windows and West-bury, N.Y.-based Brinkmann Instruments Inc.'s new Metrohm pH meter model 713. "The exhibit part is a necessary evil for a society meeting," says Jacobson, "but in our case, looking at the marketing and connection between the buyer and the seller is the primary focus for the event." The conference organizers say the attendees are mostly scientists, lab managers, and technologists from the West Coast and Rocky Mountain states. ALEX was created by The Interface Group, a company based in Needham, Mass., that specializes in trade shows, transportation, and tourism. Since 1979, Interface has produced COMDEX, the largest computer industry trade show in the United States with more than 2,000 exhibitors and an attendance of more than 145,000 at each of its annual presentations. The firm also owns the Sands Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas and a travel company in New England, and rents out four private jet liners. Next year's ALEX West conference in San Francisco is scheduled for October 25-27. A newly developed ALEX East show will premiere in Philadelphia Oct. 11-13, 1994. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #19, October 4, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------------------------ TI : Let's Give Russian Scientists The Chance To Succeed--And Contribute--In The U.S. AU : PEYRETS GOLDMACHER TY : OPINION (COMMENTARY) PG : 12 Never in the history of emigration from Eastern Europe and Russia have so many highly qualified science and technology professionals come to the United States as have arrived in the last few years. According to New York City government statistics, between 18,000 and 22,000 Eastern Europeans a year are settling in the New York area alone. Of these, more then 12,000 a year are employable adults. Sixty percent of them have university degrees; of this 60 percent, 9 percent are scientists and research engineers. These emigre scientists face many challenges as they try to become productive members of American society. Insufficient knowledge of English is one of their major obstacles; compounding this is their unfamiliarity with such essential steps in the job-hunting process as resume writing, interviewing, and salary negotiating. Because of such difficulties, these scientists are often forced to take unskilled, poorly paid jobs; many end up turning to welfare. Because the Soviet Union was a closed society, American scientists are largely unaware of the qualifications of these potential colleagues. Many Russian immigrants have earned not only the "candidat nauk" degree--roughly the equivalent of the U.S. Ph.D.--but also a "doctorat nauk," generally granted after prolific post-Ph.D. research output. One way in which the U.S. scientific community could absorb the new immigrants would be to take advantage of their considerable pedagogical experience. As the products of European academic institutions, imbued with centuries of scientific tradition, the newcomers may help to encourage the younger generation of Americans to become scientists. Some recent Russian emigres are already working at prestigious U.S. academic institutions such as Harvard University, Columbia University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the City University of New York. Occasional success stories notwithstanding, many newcomers need assistance. The Association of Engineers and Scientists for New Americans (AES)--a nonprofit mutual assistance association--exists to help these people help themselves and each other. AES was founded in 1981 by refugee professionals from the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Originally a branch of the Jewish Union of Russian Immigrants, it became an independent organization in 1986. Any technical professional who has immigrated legitimately to the U.S., regardless of ethnic background or country of origin, can become a member of the association. Advising AES are scientists from universities and research centers, some of whom are emigres themselves. AES has established a Refugee and Immigrant Scientists Program aimed at helping newcomers find jobs through which they can be most beneficial to their new country. Among other activities, the program is involved in: * organizing English courses to acquaint the new arrivals with technical language and scientific terminology; * seeking out American counterparts who can introduce refugees to the job market on a one-to-one basis; * identifying positions and helping the refugees to apply for them; * arranging for continual contacts with various academies of science; and * helping the refugees to prepare technical reports and arranging for their participation in conferences to expose them to the professional milieu. AES is continually trying to make new contacts with government agencies and private foundations in an effort to finance its programs. But these activities need some support from the U.S. scientific community, as well. We welcome volunteers to serve on our Advisory Committee and Reference Team or to participate in our mentoring program or any other AES activities. Helping to accelerate the integration of talented Russian researchers into the U.S. scientific community and to facilitate their involvement in the professional, economic, and cultural activity of their new homeland is a most noble and useful task. Peyrets Goldmacher is president of the New York-based Association of Engineers and Scientists for New Americans. This text is excerpted from an address he gave at the 38th annual meeting of the New Jersey Academy of Science, held in May at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, N.J. For information, contact AES, 45 E. 33rd St., Third Floor, New York, N.Y. 10016; (212) 447-5040. Fax: (212) 889-9366. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #19, October 4, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------------------------ TI : Undergraduate Research TY : OPINION (LETTRS) PG : 12 Regarding the commentary by Eugene Garfield entitled "Top-Flight Research At Small Colleges Merits More Recognition, More Support" (The Scientist, May 31, 1993, page 12): I agree wholeheartedly that undergraduate hands-on research is an extremely effective means of exciting students about science. In 1978, as an undergraduate at Drexel University in Philadelphia, I participated in research under the tutelage of R.O. Hutchins, who is currently head of the chemistry department. This experience, without a doubt, led me to pursue graduate work in chemistry, which eventually resulted in my founding Biomol Research Laboratories Inc. of Plymouth Meeting, Pa. Funding organizations such as the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and even the American Chemical Society should certainly recognize the value of undergraduate research and fund these programs generously. AU : ROBERT ZIPKIN President Biomol Research Laboratories Inc. Plymouth Meeting, Pa. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #19, October 4, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ----------------------------------------------------------------------- TI : Predicting Adult Success TY : OPINION (LETTERS) PG : 12 E.G. Sherburne's commentary ("What Is The Best Way To Determine A Student's Aptitude For The Science Profession?" The Scientist, June 14, 1993, page 12) contains a non sequitur with dangerous implications. He rightly points out that "different selection criteria tend to select different students," but does not acknowledge the equally valid point that different selection criteria also tend to select different adults. The validity of the conclusion that one student selection criterion (such as success at a research project) is better than another (such as written examination) at predicting subsequent adult research success depends entirely on the criterion used to define adult success. A correlation between one form of student success and one form of adult success may prove very little. In these times, success at research is largely determined by a researcher's ability to get funded. To do this, he or she must succeed at peer review. It is easy to take the view that the peer review system is perfect and that we should disregard other selection criteria (see D.R. Forsdyke, "Bicameral grant review: an alternative to conventional peer review," FASEB Journal, 5:2312, 1991). However, the peer review process is highly error-prone, and many gifted scientists who do not happen to have the personal characteristics required to succeed in peer review are being lost to the system (see D.R. Forsdyke, "On giraffes and peer review," FASEB Journal, 7:619, 1993). Failure to recognize this has dangerous implications for progress in the biomedical sciences, particularly if we use success at peer review as an end-point in evaluating different types of student achievement, and then use this as a policy guide. AU : D.R. FORSDYKE Department of Biochemistry Queen's University Kingston, Ontario, Canada (The Scientist, Vol:7, #19, October 4, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------------------------- TI : Stop Knocking Mendel TY : OPINION (LETTERS) PG : 12 I notice that Lewis Wolpert in his recent book, The Unnatural Nature of Science (Harvard University Press, 1993), excerpted in The Scientist (June 14, 1993, page 11), is one of many people who like to suggest that Gregor Mendel's "results that established his ideas on inheritance were...just too good to be believable." We clearly now know that Mendel's laws of genetics were incredibly insightful and accurate for nearly all species. Mendel did only what the majority of all scientists do: We "select" projects or subjects for study or publication that we are capable of understanding, that advance our understanding of science, or present new or modified technology. Indeed, human geneticists have "selected" to study Mendelian gene disorders for most of this century, and it is only recently that non-Mendelian genetics (such as X-linked inheritance, mitochondrial disorders, genomic imprinting, or multigenic traits) has been recognized. It is incredibly discourteous to equate Mendel with the small number of fraudulent scientists who give our profession a bad name in the press. Rather, Mendel should be recognized for his unique role in our history, as the "father" of genetics. AU : ROBERT D. NICOLLS Cleveland (The Scientist, Vol:7, #19, October 4, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------------------------- TI : CELL BIOLOGY TY : RESEARCH (HOT PAPERS) PG : 16 --- NOTE: The articles listed here (Hot Papers) are less than two years old, have received a substantially greater number of citations than others of the same type and vintage, according to data from the Science Citation Index~ of the Institute for Scientific Information, Philadelphia. Why have these research reports become such standouts? A comment following each reference, supplied to The Scientist by one of the authors, attempts to provide an answer. --- J.S. Pollock, U. Furstermann, J.A. Mitchell, et al., "Purification and characterization of particulate endothelium-derived relaxing factor synthase from cultured and native bovine aortic endothelial cells," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 88:10480-84, 1991. Jennifer S. Pollock (Abbott Laboratories, Abbott Park, Ill.): "In 1980, R.F. Furchgott and J.V. Zawadzki reported that several receptor agonists relax vascular smooth muscle preparations only if the endothelium is intact (Nature, 288:373-6). This was the first clear evidence for the existence of an `endothelium-derived relaxing factor,' or EDRF. The search for EDRF (now generally agreed to be nitric oxide) and the elucidation of its role in cardiovascular physiology and pathophysiology has generated a tremendous amount of interest. In particular, a number of labs participated in the effort to identify the enzyme responsible for the generation of nitric oxide (NO), referred to as EDRF synthase, or better known as NO synthase. "In our paper, we describe how we isolated the endothelial isoform of NO synthase to homogeneity. We found that it was located in the particulate fraction of cultured and native endothelial cells and that it is a myristoylated protein. Thus, we have provided support for the idea that this enzyme is co-translationally modified and possibly regulated in a different manner from the other constitutive isoform of NO synthase found in nonendothelial cells of the brain, kidney, pancreas, and other organs. "Current knowledge of how endothelial-derived NO may play an important physiological role is more advanced compared to NO produced by the other isoforms. Research in this area, including our study, has been used to fill a void in our understanding of endothelial-mediated events. The purification of the endothelial isoform of NO synthase has allowed us to generate specific monoclonal antibodies to the whole protein, which has enabled us to characterize the regulation of endothelial NO synthase in situ through a variety of methods." (The Scientist, Vol:7, #19, October 4, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ----------------------------------------------------------------------- TI : MOLECULAR GENETICS TY : RESEARCH (HOT PAPERS) PG : 16 Y.-H. Fu, D.P.A. Kuhl, A. Pizzuti, et al. "Variation of the CGG repeat at the fragile X site results in genetic instability: Resolution of the Sherman paradox," Cell, 67:1047-58, 1991. Y.-H. Fu, A. Pizzuti, R.G. Fenwick, Jr., et al., "An unstable triplet repeat in a gene related to myotonic muscular dystrophy," Science, 255:1256-8, 1992. C. Thomas Caskey (Institute for Molecular Genetics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston): "My beagle used her nose to find a rare rabbit in the vast woods. We frequently use our scientifically trained noses to hunt for new biology. The significance of trinucleotide repeat was realized from such a hunt in my laboratory. The highly polymorphic [AGC]n repeat in the androgen receptor gene interested us because of our focus on this new class of polymorphism. "It was Kurt Fischbeck (A.R. la Spada, et al., Nature, 352:77-9, 1991) who associated expansion of this repeat with spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy (SBMA). The [CCG]n trinucleotide repeat in the fragile X gene (FMR-l) was discovered as a consequence of much hard work and collaboration with excellent colleagues (A.J.M.H. Verkerk, Cell, 65:905-14, 1991). We used a positional cloning strategy to identify FMR-1. "Following the SBMA and fragile X discoveries, the data suggested that triplet repeat expansion could be the molecular basis of clinical `anticipation' (that is, increasing severity and earlier onset over generations) in heritable diseases. Anticipation was well-known in myotonic dystrophy. We therefore elected to use GC-rich triplet repeat oligonucleotides to scan for such a trinucleotide repeat region in the myotonic dystrophy locus. This simple strategy rapidly identified the [AGC]n repeat responsible for the myotonic dystrophy mutation. We speculated in that report that diseases with anticipation, such as Huntington's disease (R.M. Ridley, et al., Journal of Medical Genetics, 28:224-31, 1991) and spinocerebellar ataxia (H.Y. Zoghbi, et al., Annals of Neurology, 23:580-4, 1988) may also be caused by trinucleotide repeat expansions. This was indeed the case (Huntingdon's Disease Collaborative Research Group, Cell, 72:971-83, 1993; H.T. Orr, et al., Nature Genetics, 4:221-6, 1993). "Since some trinucleotide repeats display somatic instability, it was logical to suspect their involvement in cancer and aging. The instability of dinucleotide repeats in colorectal cancer reported by Bert Vogelstein (L.A. Aaltonen, et al., Science, 260:812-6, 1993; P. Peltomki, et al., Science, 260:810-12, 1993) and age-dependent [AGC]n amplification in myotonic dystrophy suggest progressive somatic changes in DNA sequence and perhaps associated genes. "There is much more to be understood of the pathogenesis, mechanism of amplification, and association with other diseases of unstable triplet sequences. Perhaps there is even an association with diseases thought to be multifactorial that result in dramatic newborn developmental defects." (The Scientist, Vol:7, #19, October 4, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------------------------ TI : Video Gel Documentation Improves On Photography AU : CAREN D. POTTER TY : TOOLS & TECHNOLOGY PG : 18 As laboratory investigators in molecular genetics, biochemistry, and related fields know all too well, the end product of electrophoresis--whether the process is used to separate proteins or to sequence DNA--is a fragile gel displaying narrow and sometimes difficult-to-read dark bands. Gels break easily if bent and can deteriorate under the light required to interpret them clearly. So, to preserve a record of an electrophoresis run, researchers traditionally have taken a photograph of the gel using an instant or 35 mm camera. Unfortunately, this documentation method has drawbacks: It is relatively expensive (about $1 per print for instant prints); the researcher's control over the photograph's quality is limited; and there isn't much he or she can do with the image besides tape it into a log book. Over the past half-dozen years, lab equipment suppliers have developed a series of new gel-documentation systems based on still video technology to overcome these limitations. These systems use a video camera instead of a conventional one to take a picture of a gel, and then transmit the image to a computer or printer. (Still video cameras differ from those used to record motion in that the only way to capture an image from a still video camera is to transfer it to another device, such as a printer; the image is not recorded on videotape.) These gel-documentation systems provide for additional uses of a gel image because they digitize it, making it compatible with a variety of computer software packages--image-analysis software, for instance--and output devices. But their main use is for documentation, not analysis, and their strength is greater control over the resulting gel image at a more affordable cost. Researchers in the labs of the pathology department at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, for example, are hoping these features will help pay for the still video system they recently purchased while also improving the quality of their gel documentation. Their Stratagene Eagle Eye system from Stratagene Cloning Systems, La Jolla, Calif., cost them about $14,000. "Right now, it's costing us about $1 per [photograph], and it often takes two or three shots to get the right exposure," says Lora Hedrick, assistant professor of pathology at Johns Hopkins. "Often your gels aren't stained well enough, so you have to restain or destain and take more photographs. The cost of thermal prints from the still video system is lots cheaper, and, over time, especially since more than one lab will be using the system, everybody will save money." Some labs, however, may need to balance some hidden costs with the gel-documentation systems against their advantages. "If you decide to store the image, you have to consider how you will store it and how much that will cost," says Joe Runde, news manager of Eastman Kodak Co.'s Professional Printing and Publishing Imaging division in Rochester, N.Y. Several gel-documentation systems incorporate Kodak still video cameras. "An image of a single gel can take up to one megabyte of space on a computer," Runde adds. "That much computer storage--on a hard disk or floppies-- doesn't come cheap." Many labs will not need to store gel images on a computer; a thermal print will be sufficient, and these cost about 10 cents each--a significant savings over conventional photography. But in cases in which a computer file of a gel is necessary, the enormous amount of disk space required may pose a barrier to the cost-effectiveness of video-based gel-documentation systems. However, these systems offer important advantages over photo- graphic documentation, especially for labs that generate a large number of gels. And, in time, as advances in computer storage technology make the affordability of file storage capacity less of an issue, video-based documentation may begin to replace conventional gel photography. System Configuration To create video-based gel-documentation systems, suppliers have taken several pieces of disparate equipment and gone through the headache of making them communicate--no small task when the components include a video camera (an analog device) and a computer (a digital device). A video-based gel-documentation system includes the following parts: a still video camera; a stand or cabinet that holds the camera above and the gel below it; a computer or monitor; a thermal printer; and lighting equipment, such as a white light or UV transilluminator, situated below the gel. Documentation systems differ from analysis systems designed to analyze and quantify images of electrophoresis gels, although there is quite a bit of overlap in components. Gel-analysis systems are much more expensive, however, selling in a range from $30,000 to $60,000. By contrast, prices for gel- documentation systems range from approximately $7,000 to $15,000. The vendor usually provides a number of configuration options which affect the price. For example, Fotodyne, in Hartland, Wis., offers a system called the Foto/Analyst II that incorporates a Macintosh Centris 650 computer from Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple Computer Corp. and some image-enhancement and basic analysis software, and sells for $14,675. The company also sells a system called the Foto/Analyst Visionary for around $8,000 that does not include a computer. A 9-inch black-and-white video monitor is used for viewing gel images before printing. The latter system is strictly for documentation; output is hard copy from the system's thermal printer. With the former system, the user has the option of manipulating the image on the computer. Also, the Foto/Analyst Visionary system can send output to DOS, Macintosh, or UNIX computers configured with off-the-shelf frame grabbers--add-in boards that allow a computer to accept video images. This represents a kind of do-it-yourself system configuration, but for labs with the necessary expertise on hand and some underused computers available, this may be a good option. Video-based gel-documentation systems using still video cameras differ from other types of systems using video cameras to record motion. The image on the monitor appears similar, but the result, whether stored in a computer or output to a thermal printer, is different. "With a still video camera, you get a continuous video image," explains Paul Kubiak, product manager at Stratagene Cloning Systems. "If you wave your hand under the camera you see it waving on the computer screen or monitor. But once you're ready to take a picture--after adjusting light levels and making sure you have what you want--you freeze the image and take a picture of it. Then you store it on a hard disk or floppy or print it on a thermal printer." The still video camera used in gel-documentation systems comes equipped with a zoom lens and is sensitive to low levels of light. Most can detect less than one nanogram of DNA on an ethidium bromide-stained gel-- Stratagene claims its Eagle Eye can detect as little as 0.25 ng of DNA on a gel. Vendors also supply the necessary interference filters for use with ethidium bromide-stained DNA gels. Advantages Over Photography The ability to take a look at the image on a screen and make sure the photograph will be acceptable before it is taken is one significant advantage that video documentation systems have over conventional photography. With gel-documentation systems based on traditional film cameras, this is not the case. "You hope the aperture setting is right, you hope you've got the region you want, but you don't see the image until you shoot," Kubiak says, explaining some problems with photographic documentation. "You may have to take more than one photo to get it right. But in a still video system, you're manipulating everything in real time." Still video gel-documentation systems offer other advantages over conventional photography. One of the most important is that once the video image is stored on a computer, it can be incorporated into other computer applications, such as those for producing manuscripts and slides. This is possible because video documentation systems store gel images in a computer industry standard image format known as TIFF. Having the image in a widely supported format gives a researcher the ability to copy the image file from the documentation system onto a floppy and transfer it to his or her own computer for use in a variety of other applications. There is one further benefit to computer-based gel-documentation systems. Computers can be linked to other computers by means of a network, making it possible to transmit gel image files to colleagues around the world. To date, this has not been a widely used feature, but these systems are new. In the Tuberculosis Center at the Public Health Research Institute in New York City, plans are under way to link the center's Millipore gel- analysis system with similar systems at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif., and a research facility in the Netherlands. Each of these labs uses an expensive, full-featured gel-analysis system as an epidemiology tool to perform DNA fingerprinting of various strains of tuberculosis. Their aim is to develop techniques to more quickly and accurately identify cases of drug-resistant tuberculosis. But similar linking could also be done with gel-documentation systems. Even though gel-documentation systems are designed primarily to replace conventional gel-photography methods, each supplier offers something to differentiate its product from those of its competitors. Stratagene, for instance, includes annotation software with its system. Annotation software lets users add text and graphic elements such as arrows to gel images. The company also has plans to sell densitometry software that works with its documentation system. With Fotodyne's complete Analyst II system comes software called Collage which handles quantification and statistical analysis of gels. While extras such as these don't bring documentation systems up to the level of full-fledged gel-analysis systems, they do offer additional functionality at a lower price than that of the analysis systems. Not all DNA labs need full image-analysis capabilities, and video documentation systems need not be thought of as their poor cousins. "In the ideal world, every P.I. [principal investigator] would have a high- powered analysis system," says Kubiak of Stratagene. "In the real world, people are saying, `All I want is a picture of my gel that costs less than a Polaroid. I want to store some of them and use them in manuscripts and as slides.'" The current crop of video-based gel-documentation systems is for these people. Caren D. Potter is a freelance science writer based in McKinleyville, Calif. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #19, October 4, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------------------------- TI : STILL VIDEO-BASED GEL-DOCUMENTATION AND GEL-ANALYSIS SYSTEMS TY : TOOLS & TECHNOLOGY PG : 19 The following suppliers are among those offering still video-based gel-documentation systems and gel-analysis systems. Biomed Instruments Inc. 1020 S. Raymond Ave., Suite B Fullerton, Calif. 92631 (714) 870-0290 Fax: (714) 870-6385 Video Densitometer II gel- analysis system. Fotodyne Inc. 950 Walnut Ridge Dr. Hartland, Wis. 53029-9388 (800) 362-3686 Fax: (414) 369-7013 Foto/Analyst I and II; Foto/Analyst Visionary gel-documentation systems. Millipore Corp. 80 Ashby Rd. P.O. Box 9125 Bedford, Mass. 01730-9125 (617) 275-9200 Fax: (617) 275-5550 Bio-Image 60S Series and 110S Series gel-analysis systems. Stratagene Cloning Systems 11099 N. Torrey Pines Rd. La Jolla, Calif. 92037 (800) 424-5444 Fax: (619) 535-0045 Eagle Eye and Eagle Eye II gel-documentation systems. U.V. Products Inc. 5100 Walnut Grove Ave. San Gabriel, Calif. 91776 (800) 452-6788 (518) 285-2940 GDS 5000 gel-documentation system (analysis software optional). (The Scientist, Vol:7, #19, October 4, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------------------------- TI : Contest Demonstrates To Students That Inventing Has Its Rewards AU : EDWARD R. SILVERMAN TY : PROFESSION PG : 20 Three years ago, the staff at the National Invention Center (NIC)--a nonprofit organization based in Akron, Ohio, dedicated to fostering scientific creativity--faced what they thought was a serious problem. So, as any good inventor would do, they dreamed up a solution. NIC, which administers the National Inventors Hall of Fame, feared that young United States students were losing interest in the sciences and engineering. To fire up their enthusiasm, the center established the Collegiate Inventors Program, an annual contest for college and university students, with backing from the BFGoodrich Co., a leading manufacturer of chemicals and aircraft systems, also based in Akron. The goal was to encourage and recognize scientific problem-solving and to promote collaborative relationships between students-- whether undergraduates or doctoral candidates--and their advisers. "We want to keep these kids in the field," says Rose Heintz, director of NIC's BFGoodrich program. "Many students get little, if any, recognition, particularly those working on campuses, where the money isn't great," she says, referring to paltry student stipends. "A secondary bonus is that it [the contest] can enhance careers. And [the winners] become role models for others." Indeed, former winners say that the program offers a tremendous opportunity for aspiring inventors to refine their laboratory experiments and field work in the hopes of bringing home an award that may very well also provide a career boost. "In grad programs, you rarely get validation of the work you're doing, except the degree itself," says Jonathan Spindel, a doctoral student in biomedical engineering at the University of Virginia. Spindel picked up a prize in the 1993 BFGoodrich contest for inventing an implantable, electromagnetic hearing aid that transmits vibrations directly to the inner ear, eliminating acoustic feedback problems. "Moments of recognition are few and far between, so it's validation," he says. "And it's a big resume tag. I think it was instrumental in getting me a job offer to remain here as an assistant professor once I graduate." Spindel, who expects to graduate next year, is currently considering the offer. Encouraging Creativity The competition is open to graduate and postgraduate students, as well as undergraduates. While undergrads have always been able to compete in the all-collegiate category, beginning with the 1994 competition there will be a separate judging category for them, as well. Undergraduate entries will be automatically submitted in both the all-collegiate and the undergraduate category. "We're doing this to encourage more participation," says Heintz. "They [undergraduates] don't have the same resources to do these projects. There's no backing from a lab to sponsor their research." In addition to the prestige it confers, the annual contest, now in its third year, enables the students to obtain a cash award. In the all-collegiate category, up to three students or student teams each receive a cash prize of $5,000, with another $2,500 going to their advisers. In the undergraduate category, up to three winners or teams of winners each garner a $1,000 prize, with their advisers getting $500. This year, the contest sponsors expect to receive more than 100 applications. A preliminary judging panel will select the semifinalists; a national panel of eight scientists, physicians, environmentalists, and patent attorneys will pick the finalists and the winners. "We all look for the same thing: originality, uniqueness, creativity, and usefulness in the world," says research physicist and engineer James Hillier, a retired executive at RCA Corp. who holds 41 patents and was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 1980. "I don't think there's anything comparable to this," says Heintz. "About 75 percent of the entrants, of which more than half are graduate or doctoral students, are usually in the process of applying for a patent, anyway. This gives them even more encouragement. And that's the whole purpose." "[Winning the contest] certainly did give me a lot of recognition in the school," says James Versalovic, an M.D.-Ph.D. student at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. Versalovic took a prize in the 1992 competition for his efforts in developing new techniques in DNA fingerprinting, which he is using to identify outbreaks of infectious diseases. "And it helps the patent application," he adds. "The U.S. Patent Office was impressed by the award. It was also a real support tool, because money is pretty thin here in academia." Another perk is being invited to the annual Hall of Fame ceremony in Akron, where the newly minted inventors get to meet some of the most prestigious names to ever hold a patent, such as Robert Ledley, a dentist who invented the whole-body computerized tomographic (CT) scanner and is now a BFGoodrich contest judge, and Baruch Blumberg, master of Balliol College, Oxford University, and Fox Chase Distinguished Scientist at Philadelphia's Fox Chase Cancer Center, a member of a team that developed the vaccine for hepatitis B, and a winner of the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine in 1976. "It's pretty awe-inspiring to be around those Hall of Famers," says Roger Ruth, who was Spindel's adviser and is director of the communicative disorder division in the otolaryngology department at the University of Virginia. "This made clear that inventors have status and that the act of inventing is an important thing, not just people tinkering in garages," says Spindel. "Inventors, oftentimes, have very little reward but struggle to make headway. And that's a spirit the U.S. needs to foster." The deadline to submit applications for next year's contest is February 15. For more information, call Rose Heintz of the National Invention Center at (800)968-4332. Edward R. Silverman is a freelance writer based in Millburn, N.J. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #19, October 4, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------------------------- TI : San Antonio Research Unit Appoints Science Director AU : RON KAUFMAN TY : PROFESSION (PEOPLE) PG : 21 John L. VandeBerg has been appointed scientific director of the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research (SFBR). VandeBerg, 46, has headed SFBR's department of genetics since 1982. He began his new position October 1. The nonprofit foundation is located in San Antonio. Its 2,700 primates are used in a variety of studies on human diseases. The foundation studies atherosclerosis, hypertension, cancer, diabetes, and osteoporosis, as well as infectious diseases, such as HIV, hepatitis, and herpes. In the coming year, VandeBerg will oversee a move to larger facilities at the Texas Research Park in San Antonio. He is also involved in plans to form new research partnerships with private biotech companies. A collaboration is currently under way between SFBR and Se-quana Therapeutics in La Jolla, Calif. Using the baboon model, the combined research team will explore treatments or preventative measures for the debilitating bone condition osteoporosis. They will do this by identifying nearly 300 gene markers in the baboon and then using those markers to find the location of the comparable genes that control bone mass in humans. "This is really a combination of Sequana's expertise in molecular biology and positional cloning and our expertise in genetics and osteoporosis," VandeBerg says. The project is being funded by the National Institutes of Health's Human Genome Project and is the only grant from that project supporting the gene mapping of a nonhuman primate. "Baboons are very closely related to human beings," says VandeBerg. "Their genetics, physiology, and pathology of disease are very similar to those in humans. Because we can completely control their diet and environment, we can dissect out the genetic contributions to common diseases in ways that are not possible with human subjects." VandeBerg received his Ph.D. in genetics from Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, in 1975. From 1975 until he joined SFBR in 1982, VandeBerg was a researcher in genetics at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. --Ron Kaufman (The Scientist, Vol:7, #19, October 4, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------------------------ TI : National Institute On Drug Abuse Honors North Carolina Chemist AU : RON KAUFMAN TY : PROFESSION (PEOPLE) PG : 21 F. Ivy Carroll, a chemist at the Research Triangle Institute (RTI) in Research Triangle Park, N.C., received the 1993 Pacesetter Award last month from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The award, first presented in 1976, acknowledges individuals or organizations for their accomplishments in drug abuse research, prevention, and treatment. Carroll, the director of RTI's Center for Organic and Medicinal Chemistry, was honored for his discoveries associated with biochemical mechanisms of action of cocaine and the synthesis of cocaine analogs with potential as medications. "The mechanism of action for cocaine is believed to be involved in the inhibition of dopamine uptake," he says. "We've been studying the protein that does that, called the dopamine transporter....Our research has identified what's happening. "We're doing this with the hope that we can find ways of treatment for drug abuse in people, but also as basic information, so if we can't find a treatment, maybe someone else can find ways to make use of the [data]." A summary of Carroll's work can be found in "Cocaine receptor: biochemical characterization and structure activity relationships of cocaine analogs at the dopamine transporter," Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 35:969, 1992. "The next step in this research is identifying two things," Carroll says. "First, can you block the effect? And, to my knowledge, nobody has found a way to do that," he says. "The other is a maintenance type of chemical that may not block the effect, but you can provide people with something that would stop them from having the cravings and rushes you get with cocaine." Carroll received his bachelor's degree in chemistry from Auburn University in 1957 and his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1961. He has worked at RTI since 1960. RTI is a nonprofit, independent research institute founded in 1958. It performs research in the social, chemical, statistical, biological, environmental, and engineering sciences. --Ron Kaufman (The Scientist, Vol:7, #19, October 4, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------------------------- TI : OBITUARIES TY : PROFESSION PG : 22 Mildred Gordon, a cell biologist at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, died August 23 of cancer. She was 73 years old. Gordon's work centered on basic research on the human sperm and the endometrium, the inner lining of the uterus. She received her bachelor's degree from Brooklyn College in 1941 and her Ph.D. in anatomy from Yale University in 1966. Between 1956 and 1978, Gordon was on the faculty of five different universities. Her last position was as a professorial lecturer in the departments of cell biology and anatomy at Mount Sinai, a job she obtained in 1981 and held until her death. ---- Donald William Kerst, a physicist and inventor of the betatron atomic accelerator, died August 19 of a brain tumor. He was 81 years old. Kerst, a physics professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, from 1962 until his retirement in 1980, developed the device during World War II. The betatron, a transformer that could produce 300 million electron volts, allowed physicists to accelerate electron beams and inspect subatomic particles. Kerst received his bachelor's degree in 1934 and his Ph.D. in 1937 from the University of Wisconsin. ---- Francis Merlin Bumpus, a medical researcher who performed studies on high blood pressure at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, died August 8 of coronary artery disease. He was 70 years old. Bumpus, who performed research until his death, explored the use of inhibitors and blockers to treat many coronary ailments, including high blood pressure and arteriosclerosis. He received his B.S. from Purdue University in 1944 and his Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin in 1949. He joined the Cleveland Clinic in 1949 as a chemist. ---- Arie Nicolaas Habermann, a computer scientist and an assistant director at the National Science Foundation, died August 8 of a heart attack. He was 62 years old. Habermann had been assistant director for NSF's Computer and Information Science and Engineering department since October 1991. Prior to that he was head of the computer science department at Carnegie Mellon University. Born in Groningen, the Netherlands, he received his B.S. from the Free University of Amsterdam in 1953 and his Ph.D. in computer science from Eindhoven University of Technology in 1967. Habermann joined the faculty of Carnegie Mellon in 1968 and became head of the school's computer science department in 1979. ---- (The Scientist, Vol:7, #19, October 4, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================

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