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THE SCIENTIST VOLUME 7, No:20 October 18, 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 *** *** NOVEMBER 1, 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 18, 1993 NEWS INTEGRATED BUT UNEQUAL: Recent efforts by National Institutes of Health administrators to confront long-standing inequities in the status of women scientists may meet with resistance within specific institutes, officials and women researchers say PAGE : 1 LASKER AWARDS: The winners of this year's Lasker Foundation awards in biomedical science were researchers whose studies have current or future clinical applications, a reflection of the foundation's concern that the importance of basic research be part of the agenda in national health care reform PAGE : 1 ANIMAL RIGHTS DAMAGE REPORT: A congressionally mandated report, recently produced and released by the Justice Department, on the extent of acts of property damage committed by animal rights groups documents 313 such incidents, with university research facilities being the most frequent targets PAGE : 1 AFTER RIO, REAL PROGRESS: A year and a half after the summit, progress is being made on agreements and treaties reached at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janeiro, according to a report by an environmental watchdog group, with several countries ratifying the documents and the United States playing a substantial role PAGE : 3 OPINION UNHEARD VOICES: With all of the hand-wringing, initiatives, and discussions aimed at improving science education in the United States, rarely have the subjects of this national attention--the students--been consulted on their views of the situation. There are several fundamental ways, many of them costing little or no money at all, to instill skills and enthusiasm in science classes--if administrators and policymakers are willing to take some advice--say six University of Miami science undergraduates PAGE : 11 COMMENTARY: During his long career as a biochemist, author, and teacher, J. Murray Luck made an enormous impact on the science community, the most enduring among his achievements being the launch of Annual Reviews, says William Kaufmann, the series' current editor-in-chief PAGE : 12 AIDS INVESTIGATIONS: Rapidly working its way up the list of highly cited AIDS papers are ones produced by biotech and pharmaceutical firms, according to the newsletter Science Watch PAGE : 14 HOT PAPERS: A molecular biologist discusses T cell longevity PAGE : 15 PERFUSION PROFUSION: For years, neuroscientists have relied on homemade perfusion systems in their studies of cell membranes and the substances passing in and out of cells across them. Now, several research-scale perfusion systems are commercially available PAGE : 18 JOB QUEST: In the current economy, the job search is apt to be anxiety-ridden; but some techniques make the quest more productive. PAGE : 20 FRANCE CORDOVA, head of the department of astronomy and astrophysics at Penn State University, has been appointed chief scientist for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration PAGE : 22 NOTEBOOK PAGE : 4 CARTOON PAGE : 4 LETTERS PAGE : 12 CROSSWORD PAGE : 13 SCIENTIFIC SOFTWARE DIRECTORY PAGE : 30 (The Scientist, Vol:7, #20, October 18, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : Lasker Awards Celebrate Biomedical Scientists For Their Advances In Health-Related Research As U.S. health care system is undergoing review, this year's prestigious prizes emphasize the inherent value of basic investigations AU : BARBARA SPECTOR TY : NEWS PG : 1 In selecting the recipients of its 1993 medical research awards, the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation has singled out three scientists whose basic investigations have current or future clinical applications. A foundation official says he hopes that honoring these individuals at a time when the United States health care system is undergoing revision will convey a message to President Bill Clinton and the public about the importance of basic research. Gunter Blobel, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Professor at Rockefeller University in New York and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, received the Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award for his studies of protein sorting and targeting. Donald Metcalf, a research professor of cancer biology at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Melbourne, Australia, won the Albert Lasker Clinical Medical Research Award for discovering colony stimulating factors (CSFs), hormones that control white blood cell formation and resistance to infections. Nancy S. Wexler, a professor of clinical neuropsychol-ogy at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York, was selected to share the Albert Lasker Public Service Award for her work on Huntington's disease. Her co-recipient is Paul G. Rogers, a former Democratic Florida congressman (1955-79) who chaired the House subcommittee on health and the environment. The 1993 awards were presented at an October 1 luncheon in New York. First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, architect of U.S. health care reform, was the keynote speaker. "These winners join a remarkable group . . . men and women whose work has found cures for disease, who have aided the kind of breakthroughs that we've only been able to dream about in the past but now take for granted," Clinton said. "This is a time when the past and the present in medical research join together to point us to a new future. And it is one that I think all of us have a responsibility and an obligation to help shape." Jordan U. Gutterman, director of the Lasker awards program and chairman of clinical immunology and biological therapy at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, says Metcalf and Blobel's work proves that basic research is not as far removed from patient care as the layperson might believe. CSFs, the subject of Metcalf's research, Gutterman points out, are now being used to promote blood cell formation and resistance to infection in cancer patients. "He--along with others--started a whole field and developed it over the past several decades to the point of clinical application now," Gutterman says. Likewise, says Gutterman, Blobel's studies of protein transport across cellular membranes have "incredible applications in basic biology, but also practical applications," including treatment of diseases involving localization of proteins, such as cystic fibrosis. Wexler is a key member of the Huntington's Disease Collaborative Research Group, which last March pinpointed the gene causing the disease (Cell, 72:971-83, 1993). Beyond her research activity, she has devoted herself to fostering a greater public understanding of the importance of basic science, Gutterman says. "She is an individual who has tried to balance science and public service," he says. A Nobel In The Future? Each Lasker winner receives or shares a $25,000 prize--increased this year from $15,000. Winners also receive a statuette of the Winged Victory of Samothrace, the Lasker Foundation's symbol of "victory over disability, disease, and death." And, if tradition holds, there may be another award in the cards for Blobel or Metcalf. In the 46 years that the Laskers have been presented, 50 recipients of the basic or clinical research award have gone on to win the Nobel Prize. Given Blobel and Metcalf's impressive citation records, this may indeed be a possibility. In 1981, both men's names appeared on a list of the 1,000 most cited contemporary scientists for the period 1965-78 compiled by the Philadelphia-based Institute for Scientific Information (E. Garfield, Current Contents-Life Sciences, Oct. 12, 1981, pages 5- 14). The New York-based Lasker Foundation was established in 1944 by Albert Lasker, the late owner of the Lord & Thomas advertising agency, and his wife, Mary, who has long been an advocate of biomedical research. "She has understood better than most of us ever do that the work that takes place in our laboratories...[and] the work that takes place in the halls of Congress are all devoted to enhancing life," said Clinton at the awards ceremony. The awards, once presented annually, have been given every other year since 1991 to honor those making significant contributions in basic and clinical research. Protein `Zip Codes' In 1975, Blobel developed the "signal hypothesis," postulating that translocation of proteins across intracellular membranes is accomplished via "signal sequences"-- series of 15 amino acids, on average. The signal sequences, he explains, are targeted to one specific cellular membrane; thus, they function as a "zip code addressed to the proper membrane." Blobel, now 57, published this hypothesis in a landmark paper (G. Blobel, B. Dobberstein, "Transfer of proteins across membranes. I. Presence of proteolytically processed and unprocessed nascent immunoglobulin light chains on membrane-bound ribosomes of murine myeloma," Journal of Cell Biology, 67:835-51, 1975), which has been cited more than 2,300 times. Its companion paper (G. Blobel, B. Dobberstein, "Transfer of proteins across membranes. II. Reconstitution of functional rough microsomes from heterologous components," J. Cell Biol., 67:852-62, 1975) has been cited nearly 850 times. The signal hypothesis, Blobel says, "was conceived without much evidence, but most of the predictions turned out to be correct." It wasn't until more than 15 years after publication of these papers, however, that "the last facet" of the hypothesis was confirmed, Blobel says. A pair of papers (S.M. Simon, G. Blobel, Cell, 65:371-80, 1991; S.M. Simon, G. Blobel, Cell, 69:677-84, 1992) reported the existence of a "protein-conducting channel," the mechanism of trans- location. "The protein-conducting channel proved very difficult; it had to be tricked to reveal itself," Blobel says. "That was the most fun of my entire career." Joshua Lederberg, University Professor at Rockefeller and a former president of that institution, says the signal hypothesis has important implications for genetics: "Genetic defects may be [malfunctioning] signal peptides." Lederberg says that at Rockefeller, Blobel is respected for his amiability as well as for his work: "He's very popular on campus, and engaged with the life of the campus." In addition, Blobel is known for his "high moral principle," Lederberg says; "he gets exercised when he sees something that violates" his ethical standards. Blobel received his M.D. from the University of Tbingen in his native Germany in 1960. In 1963, he came to the United States as a Ph.D. candidate in oncology in the lab of Van Rensselaer Potter at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, concentrating on ribosome-membrane interaction. At Wisconsin, he wrote his second-most-cited paper (G. Blobel, V.R. Potter, "Nuclei from rat liver: Isolation method that combines purity with high yield," Science, 154:1662-5, 1966), which has been referenced in more than 1,400 publications to date. "He was always enthusiastic and full of ideas about his research," Potter recalls. After earning his Ph.D. in 1967, Blobel came to Rockefeller-- where he has been ever since--as a postdoc in the lab of George Palade, studying the mechanisms of membrane-bound ribosomes in the synthesis of secretory proteins. This work later led to development of the signal hypothesis. He received the Gairdner Award, another Nobel "predictor," in 1982. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences. Blood Cell Formation In the mid-1960s, while Blobel was finishing up at Wisconsin and moving to Rockefeller, Metcalf was developing a breakthrough cloning technique, enabling researchers to study the cellular basis of blood cell formation in vitro using large numbers of cells. His paper describing this technique (T.R. Bradley, D. Metcalf, Australian Journal of Experimental Biology and Medical Science, 44:287-300, 1966) has been cited in more than 1,800 papers. "His studies of hematopoiesis [formation and development of blood cells] in the mouse set the stage for everything we know about hematopoiesis in man," says David Nathan, physician in chief at Children's Hospital in Boston and Robert A. Stranahan Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School. "Those experiments of the '60s have stood the test of time." A result of the development of these cultures was Metcalf's discovery--followed by purification and, years later, mass production--of CSFs, which now result in shorter hospital stays for patients and more intensive chemotherapy. About 25 such blood hormones have now been identified. Purification of CSFs proved a tricky business because of the low concentration of the hormones in the body. Metcalf and colleagues tried to purify them from human urine but found that they were only a minor urinary component. Coauthor E. Richard Stanley (E.R. Stanley, D. Metcalf, Aust. J. Exp. Biol. Med. Sci., 47:467-83, 1969) recalled in a Current Contents-Clinical Medicine classic commentary (May 18, 1981, page 20): "It became clear . . . that considerable volumes of urine would be required. The resources of the entire male staff of the Institute were mobilized and urine was collected in white buckets placed by the urinals. These buckets, with their accompanying poster requesting contributions (and subsequent graffiti), became an Institute conversation piece." Like Blobel, Metcalf had to wait many years before seeing the full realization of his theory--in his case, animal studies with CSFs, leading ultimately to their use in clinical practice. "The direct test wasn't till the mid-'80s," Metcalf says. "The proof had to wait 20 years, because it was impossible either to synthesize these molecules--they're too big--or to purify enough material from the tissues to inject in an animal. The breakthrough that was needed was the entry of molecular biology." It thus became possible to isolate the genes that code for CSF production and express recombinant CSFs in bacteria or yeast. Metcalf's paper "The molecular biology and functions of the granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimul- ating factors" (Blood, 67:257, 1986) had received 685 citations as of June 1993, remarkable for a paper only six years old. Metcalf, 64, is referred to by several of his colleagues as "a role model," not only for his research but also for the interest he takes in the work of others. "He tackles problems in a simple and straightforward way," says Nathan. "His experiments are beautifully designed, and have revealed an enor- mous amount of information." "I can't think of one aspect of experimental hematology that his observation isn't in some way connected to," says David Williams, Kipp Investigator of Pediatrics at Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, and an associate investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. "He's very, very keen to learn new things, to continue to try to contribute to the field, to help young people just coming into the field," Williams says. Metcalf received his M.D. from the University of Sydney in 1953. He has been at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute since 1966, except for several intervals as a visiting scientist at institutions in the U.S. and Europe. An NAS foreign associate, Metcalf has received the Royal Society of London's Wellcome Prize (1988), among other honors. Fighting Hereditary Disease Wexler "has devoted at least most of her waking hours, and possibly her REM hours, too," to conquering Huntington's disease, says Huntington's researcher P. Michael Conneally, Distinguished Professor of Medical and Molecular Genetics and Neurology, Indiana University Medical Center, Indianapolis. Her activity in this area dates from 1968, when she found out her mother had the disorder and that she herself was at risk. She did her Ph.D. dissertation on the neuropsychological and emotional consequences of being at risk for the disease, earning her doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Michigan in 1974. Wexler, 48, is president of the Santa Monica, Calif.-based Hereditary Disease Foundation, founded by her father, Milton Wexler, 25 years ago. The foundation sponsors workshops bringing together scientists working on similar biological questions in hereditary disease. Wexler notes that the majority of researchers invited to the workshops do not work on Huntington's; the foundation selects investigators focusing on related areas to foster productive exchanges with Hunting- ton's researchers and "make a much wider mark," she says. Wexler believes it's important to have researchers understand the clinical implications of disease. "We always start workshops by having someone with Hunting-ton's speak to the scientists," she says. "At the lab bench, [scientists] may see the DNA repeats" characteristic of Huntington's, she says, but meeting a person who has it enables them to grasp the "massive rippling effect within the whole family." A genetic marker for Huntington's disease gene was found in 1983 and was reported in a paper coauthored by Wexler (J.F. Gusella, et al., Nature, 306:234, 1983), which has been cited in more than 900 publications to date. Despite this early success, it took 10 years to isolate the gene itself, and much more work remains to be done before gene therapy is possible. The Hereditary Disease Foundation's grants for research on Hunting-ton's and allied disorders are essential to sustain labs during these long years of work, according to Marie-Fran~oise Chesselet, a professor of pharmacology at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. The grants, says Chesselet, "allowed [researchers] to have part of their lab continually working on Hunting-ton's during the years when it was so easy to be discouraged." Wexler and her foundation have fostered several collaborations of Huntington's researchers. One, the Huntington's Disease Collaborative Research Group--an alliance of six labs in the U.S., England, and Wales--discovered the gene last March. Another collaboration, known as "centers without walls," involves two interdisciplinary, interinstitutional research centers based in Boston and Baltimore. "The ethos in Huntington's all along has been not to be bounded by artificial borders," Wexler says. Scientists say Wexler kept the collaborations running smoothly. "She was the driving force behind keeping people working together," says Chesselet. "She provided fund-raising efforts and also psychological drive." Wexler acknowledges her role in motivating the scientists: "If they see me, they know that I'm at risk. I represent all the families they got to know and to like." Wexler's 1979 expedition to Venezuela to collect genetic data from the largest known extended family with Huntington's disease- -more than 13,000 people--was a key contribution to locating the gene and developing a test for it. After seeing a presentation by Venezuelan physician Americo Negrette at a 1972 conference, Wexler recalls, "I thought that Venezuela was the answer, but we just had to figure out the question." "The Venezuela family was pretty important for determining the [genetic] linkage," says Margaret Wallace, an assistant professor of genetics at the University of Florida, Gainesville. Wallace speculates that location of the gene might have taken another year without the Venezuelan blood samples. "When you've got a family to study of that size, you've got the best chance possible." Wexler's other activities include chairing the Ethical, Legal, and Social Issues Working Group of the Human Genome Project, which involves discussing the genome project with the public. While nonscientists "don't understand [the work] on a scientific level," Wexler says, "they understand on an emotional and practical level--and that's what counts. People know that diseases run in families; there's a gut appreciation of heredity." Thus, she says, when the project is explained to them, people understand the rationale behind "finding all of their genes and [discovering] what they do. I hope that as people understand, they will push for more resources put in." Gutterman says the fact that a Huntington's disease researcher has received the Lasker Public Service Award "does not rule out eventually a research award" given for work on the disease if research in the area progresses. One of the criteria assessed during the judging, he says, is the "maturing" of the field under consideration: "Is it ready for this particular field? Are there more experiments that need to be done?" Gutterman says that when nominations are reviewed "it's astonishing to see the rate of knowledge that's occurring. The deliberations are a detailed, soul-searching, mind-searching experience. It's quite exciting--no, that's too mild a term--it's exhilarating." (The Scientist, Vol:7, #20, October 18, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : Sex Discrimination Controversies Continue To Plague Health Agency Some NIH insiders fear an entrenched culture could thwart efforts to improve conditions for women scientists AU : FRANKLIN HOKE TY : NEWS PG : 1 Recent efforts by National Institutes of Health administrators to address agencywide inequities in the status of women scientists may be frustrated by resistance within specific institutes, agency officials and women researchers say. A number of these remedial actions are in direct response to a June 1993 report produced by an internal Task Force on the Status of NIH Intramural Women Scientists. Using newly assembled data, the task force found that "disparities and inequities exist for NIH intramural women scientists with regard to pay, tenure, promotion, and visibility," and suggested avenues to remedies (see story on page 17). Hynda Kleinman, a research chemist and section chief at the National Institute of Dental Research, chaired the task force. "The [NIH] administration has been very responsive," Kleinman says, citing Lance A. Liotta, the deputy director for intramural research, as particularly so. "But I would say that when you get down to the scientific directors, there's been less accountability." Changes in place as of late last month that are intended to improve the professional prospects of NIH's women scientists include a new tenure policy--NIH tenures scientists much as academia does--designed to ease conflicts between family obligations and the tenure-track schedule; the appointment of a woman scientist adviser to the scientific director of each institute to confer on gender issues; and a sharp rise in the representation of women as speakers at NIH-sponsored scientific meetings. At this point, the administration "has implemented or is in the process of implementing every single recommendation" of the task force report, according to NIH spokes- woman Anne Thomas. To be sure, however, a number of high-profile, unresolved cases of sex discrimination at NIH cloud this view. Women scientists who say they have been victimized speak of a deeply entrenched hierarchical, sexist culture at the institutes. And they say the sexism tends to target the best and the brightest of young women, effectively pushing them out of research. The loss to science--as well as to the individual women--is substantial, they say. Kleinman herself, although encouraged by the response from the NIH administrators, acknowledges that the problems run deep. She concurs with a widely held view that the culture of science is generally discriminatory against women, but she says that NIH does not differ greatly from many universities in that respect. She does, however, see unique organizational differences between universities and NIH that serve to exacerbate difficulties for women at the health agency. "At NIH, the system doesn't depend on grants," Kleinman says. "It depends on your relationship with your boss. At a university, women have the basis of their grants to help them hold their positions and to help them move up. The more grants they get, the more promotions they're going to get. And you can't take lab space away from someone who's got a grant." Administrators, too, acknowledge that the hierarchical structure of NIH labs may serve to stymie improvement in the status of women scientists there. But they insist that, even so, the situation is no worse at the institutes than in university-based biomedical research settings. And they say they are committed to improving conditions for women. "Something like 40 to 50 percent of the graduate students in biological sciences are women these days," says Ruth Kirschstein, acting director of NIH, speaking of the universities. "And in medical schools, something in the order of 30 to 40 percent are women. So the issue is not getting them interested and having them go through their programs to get advanced degrees." The issue, she suggests, is that women scientists in university settings have difficulty being promoted to senior positions, with ever-declining representation at higher rungs on the career ladder. "And it's sort of the same thing here," Kirschstein says. "They go through postdoctoral training, and then the question is, what happens to them as they move into independent careers, as they move into tenure track and being tenured? And that's where the entire system, for women, falls apart. There are far fewer women in tenure track at NIH--and at universities and medical schools. There are far fewer women in tenured positions, and there are very few women who are in high-level administrative positions." The New Numbers One of Kleinman's contributions to the debate over sexism at the institutes was to enlist the help of Michael Fordis, director of the NIH's three-year-old Office of Education, in assembling hard new data to inform discussions about pay, tenure, promotion, and visibility. One of Fordis's primary responsibilities is recruitment of young scientists into the intramural program. "You can't recruit the best and the brightest if there are perceived barriers," Fordis says. "And we felt that we should make certain that we had numbers to see where the problems are, because there are very different solutions [possible]." For example, to assess the pay levels of men and women scientists, Fordis matched pairs of scientists on the basis of their educational degrees, the number of years since graduation, and other factors. From the overall pool of about 1,200 individuals, he identified 77 matched pairs--although in some cases in which three individuals could be matched, the information for all three was included in the "pair." In 77 pairings, men earned $3,300 more than women, on average. The new view provided by Fordis's number-crunching had an important impact on the NIH community. "People are very angry about the pay issue, very angry," says Kleinman. "You just look at the pay data, and you get ill." The problem now facing the agency administration is how to respond to this information. Because of the difficulties he had in matching pairs, Fordis suggests that assessing comparable pay levels will be problematic. It will involve looking closely at each institute and, ultimately, each individual and making judgments. "There's not an across-the-board formula that can be applied," Fordis says, "but surely people can look and rectify any areas in which there are inequities." The numbers assembled by Fordis, largely a statistical portrait of women scientists' problems at the institutes, also show a few encouraging signs. For example, although tenured women represent only about 18 percent of the total tenured scientists at NIH, 45 percent of scientists granted tenure in 1992 were women, a figure much closer to--even a bit above--their representation in the pool of candidates. The 1992 number was a sharp jump up from rates over the previous decade, which had hovered between 15 and 25 percent. Of course, the potential long- term significance of a one-year improvement remains to be seen. On the visibility issue, too, Kleinman notes that historically women were rarely invited to deliver the important sponsored lectures on campus. The prestigious Dyer Lecture, for example, was given by a woman only once in the 37 times it was delivered between 1951 and 1990. This year, however, women received nearly all of the lectureships, Kleinman says, in response to complaints from her group. The Best And Brightest The importance of confronting sexism in the laboratories of the nation's top biomedical research organization, in order to keep talented women scientists in science, is emphasized by all parties--administration officials, women scientists, and critics of NIH. Those most critical of the environment confronting women at NIH charge that, in fact, it is precisely the most talented women who are most victimized at NIH, the ones whose research is most likely to be appropriated, for example, without proper credit. "If you are not an efficient or inspired [female] researcher, they leave you alone, and you can work for years undisturbed," says one congressional committee staffer, on condition of anonymity. Her committee has been investigating scientific misconduct at NIH, including possible links to sexism, racism, and other discriminatory behavior. "It's only the ones who really accomplish something who have anything to fear." Viola Young-Horvath, executive director of the Federation of Organizations for Professional Women in Washington, D.C., agrees. "It's often the best and the brightest of the women who are discriminated against," she says. "I think there is more of it at NIH simply because you have a concentration of some of the most brilliant, competitive people in the world of science at NIH." Young-Horvath points to the case of Margaret Jensvold as a prime example. With especially strong academic credentials--she was selected by the Association for Academic Psychiatry as one of the six most promising residents in the country--Jensvold came to the National Institute of Mental Health in 1987 to study premenstrual syndrome. There, she says, as the only woman researcher in her area, she was denied important professional opportunities made available to male fellows. On Feb. 28, 1994, Jensvold's case will go to trial in U.S. District Court in Baltimore. Jensvold, now director of the Institute for Research on Women's Health in Washington, says that, as a result of the problems, she was forced to abandon her research. "My career was taken from me, my research was taken from me, and promising work wasn't done, because of the way they viewed me as a woman," Jensvold says. Jensvold is one of several women with sex discrimination complaints against NIH who believe that the problems are linked to the hierarchical power structure of the labs there. "There is a gender problem here," says Jensvold. "But, once you scratch beneath the surface, we're really talking about much bigger stuff having to do with the whole misuse of power in the workplace." Young-Horvath concurs, suggesting that the predation of more powerful, usually senior, male scientists on the creativity of other scientists viewed as less powerful is not unusual. "And who would you choose to do it to?" she asks. "You'd choose the scientists that, in your mind, you conceived of as being weakest or most vulnerable, and that's frequently women." "That's the way it is at NIH," says Maureen Polsby, a neurologist with a sex discrimination and research fraud case against NIH that has gone from U.S. District Court in Baltimore to the Supreme Court and back over the past five years. "If you are a woman, you are perceived as easy to take advantage of and someone who can be exploited." Billie Mackey, president of SelfHelp for Equal Rights, an informal employment rights group at NIH, calls appropriation of research one of the most devastating aspects of sex discrimination at NIH for women scientists. "These young, bright women bring a lot of their creative ideas into the laboratory, and many times these ideas are stolen," Mackey says. "Many of them are so discouraged that they leave NIH and they leave research." Saru Devi is a former NIH researcher from India who is struggling not to be pushed out of science. This year, she filed complaints with the NIH's Office of Equal Opportunity for discrimination on the bases of sex and ethnicity and the Department of Health and Human Service's Office of Research Integrity for theft of research. She says that, despite the skepticism and resistance of her supervisors at NIH, she successfully developed a vaccine for cryptococcal meningitis, a fungal disease that kills approximately 10 percent of people with AIDS. After the vac- cine's success was demonstrated, she says--a patent application has been submitted by NIH for the discovery--she was pushed out of the lab and the work turned over to others. In May, at the American Society for Microbiology meeting in Atlanta, she says she watched from the audience as another researcher presented her data as his own--including showing a graph she herself had prepared. She was given only an acknowledgment, she says, for work on which she feels she should be first author. Since then, she has fought to receive the credit she feels she should have, but she says the experience has been traumatic. "Coming from a foreign country, looking at NIH as the best place and NIH scientists as the role models and then working so hard, being a mother of a small child, working over the weekends and 10 hours a day to achieve something, and then to undergo all these things is something very terrible," Devi says. "If they take my patent away and make money out of it, it doesn't bother me at all. But my work--it's my whole life." (The Scientist, Vol:7, #20, October 18, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : TASK FORCE RECOMMENDATIONS TY : NEWS PG : 17 In June, the internal Task Force on the Status of NIH Intramural Women Scientists made the following recommendations to agency officials: * A woman scientist adviser to the scientific director of each institute, center, or division should be appointed to increase and enhance effective communication between women scientists and the administration. * Compensation should be equalized throughout NIH, where appropriate. * A uniform tenure plan should be established at NIH. * A uniform NIH promotion plan should be established, implemented, monitored, and evaluated. * The visibility of intramural women scientists of all racial and ethnic groups should be increased by including them in greater numbers at NIH forums and at NIH-supported meetings. * A family-leave flextime plan for NIH should be established, uniformly implemented, monitored, and evaluated. * The position of NIH woman scientist coordinator should be established in the office of the deputy director for intramural research to implement the recommendations of this task force and to communicate the concerns of intramural women scientists, including those of minority women scientists, to NIH's deputy director for intramural research and its director. Source: The NIH Catalyst, June 1993. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #20, October 18, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : Unprecedented Justice Department Report Documents Extent Of Animal Activist Attacks On Research Labs Academic facilities are the most frequent targets of assault by animal rights advocates, congressionally mandated study reveals AU : RON KAUFMAN TY : NEWS PG : 1 A report released last month by the United States Department of Justice states that, since 1977, at least 313 acts of what it categorizes as animal enterprise terrorism have occurred. Such attacks, the report says, peaked in frequency several years ago. However, according to the report's authors, the violent nature of attacks has not diminished, with the majority of incidents being perpetrated at university research centers. The study, called "Report to Congress on the Extent and Effects of Domestic and International Terrorism on Animal Enterprises," is the first time such incidents have been specifically documented by the federal government. The report, mandated by Congress, was compiled after months of investigations by staff in the Criminal Division of the Justice Department, along with some assistance from the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the Department of Agriculture. The document, released last month, was required by Congress as part of last year's passage of the Animal Enterprise Protection Act of 1992 (P.L. 102-346). That legislation, signed into law by President Bush in August 1992, makes an act causing physical disruption to the functioning of an animal-use enterprise, resulting in property damage exceeding $10,000, a federal offense--punishable by fine and/or imprisonment for up to one year. Although the law's potential effectiveness was questioned at the time of its passage (R. Kaufman, The Scientist, Oct. 26, 1992, page 1), thus far it has not been tested. Frankie Trull, president of the Foundation for Biomedical Research, a nonprofit group based in Washington, D.C., says she is pleased that the federal government is finally paying attention to animal rights terrorism. "The reason we were anxious to have [the Animal Enterprise Protection Act] passed in the first place was that we felt, historically, the federal government had not given illegal activities by animal rightists a high priority," Trull says, "mainly because they didn't recognize that a lot of the incidents that took place could indeed be related to other incidents. "We were pleased with this report because it confirmed what we had been saying all along. Now, when a break-in occurs, the federal government can have its intelligence network in motion, working alongside state and local police." The Justice Department study tracks and describes the extent of animal rights terrorism from 1977, the earliest animal rights- related incident that the department could document, through June 30, 1993. Starting in March, Justice staffers conducted an extensive round of interviewing, fact checking, and data compilation that turned up 313 separate acts of property damage against animal enterprises across the U.S. An animal enterprise is identified by the law as any commercial or academic undertaking that uses animals for food or fiber production, agriculture, research, or testing. "What we found was that the biomedical research community, the fur industry, and the meat industry are the three principal target areas for animal rights groups," says Scott Hendley, a policy analyst in the Justice Department's Office of Policy and Management Analysis, who, along with attorney Steve Weglian of the Terrorism and Violent Crime Section, were the principal investigators and authors of the report. The Findings Among the report's findings are: * The most frequently victimized animal enterprises were university facilities (20.1 percent of the 313 incidents) and fur retailers (15.3 percent). * Of the 313 total incidents, the most frequent type of destructive animal rights activities were minor vandalism (160 acts), theft or animal release (77 acts), and personal threats (29 acts). * The most frequent locale for these attacks was California (143 incidents or 46 percent of the total), followed by Maryland (20 incidents), and Pennsylvania, Florida, and New York (each with 16 incidents). * A time line of attacks in the report shows these activities peaking from 1987 through 1989, with 142 incidents. Between 1990 and 1993, 84 incidents are documented. Law Doesn't Apply Hendley says that the most unusual fact he uncovered throughout his investigation was the large number of relatively minor incidents that would not be covered by federal law. "We were expecting a much greater problem at the national level as it impacted on federal interests," he says. "In fact, the vast majority of the incidents would not be covered by federal law." >From the total number of attacks, the study found only 21 exceeded the Animal Enterprise Protection Act's $10,000 damage threshold; the largest was a 1987 fire at a University of California, Davis, research lab that caused an estimated damage of $4.5 million. In recent years, Hendley says, property damage by animal rights groups against research labs "has been persistent, but it seems to have been decreasing in frequency; however, I would not say in severity." Perpetrators The report identifies one group as the main instigator and perpetrator of animal rights vandalism: the Animal Liberation Front (ALF). "In all, 23 different entities were documented as having claimed responsibility for violent or disruptive acts against animal enterprises in the United States since 1977," the report states. "Approximately 60 percent of the total incidents documented were claimed by ALF." ALF is an underground animal rights group whose headquarters is unknown and its members unidentified. From 1988 through 1990, the FBI investigated ALF as a domestic terrorist organization. Yet, to date, only one individual identified as a suspected ALF member has been officially charged; a five-count indictment was handed down against Rodney Coronado by a federal grand jury in Grand Rapids, Mich., in relation to a February 1992 break-in and arson at Michigan State University in East Lansing. Coronado's whereabouts, however, currently are unknown. "The FBI ceased investigating ALF as a domestic terrorist group in 1990 as the frequency and severity of the vandalism appeared to be declining," says Hendley. "And our report concluded that the frequency seemed to peak in the late 1980s. Right now, it seems to be waning somewhat, and, hopefully, it will continue to do so." (The Scientist, Vol:7, #20, October 18, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) NEXT: ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : Report Cites Significant Progress Made In Wake Of Rio Earth Summit AU : RON KAUFMAN TY : NEWS PG : 3 Nations around the world are making good on agreements hammered out at last year's United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro, according to an encouraging report issued earlier this month by the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a Washington, D.C.-based environmental watchdog group. The report, titled "One Year After Rio: Keeping the Promises," points out, for example, significant progress being made in relation to the three main documents produced at the June 1992 Rio conference, popularly known as the "Earth Summit": the Framework Convention on Climate Change; the Convention on Biological Diversity; and Agenda 21. "We're really heartened by the level of activity we've seen," says S. Jacob Scherr, survey coordinator for the NRDC document. "With regard to the climate change and biodiversity conventions, the process of ratification to make the treaties legally binding has moved forward extremely quickly." According to the report, a total of 162 nations so far have signed the Framework Convention on Climate Change, which commits industrialized countries to the "return of emissions by the end of the decade to . . . 1990 levels." The study notes that 35 signatories have ratified it; an additional 43 are expected to ratify it by the end of this year. Similarly successful has been the international response to the Convention on Biological Diversity, whose ratifying countries agree to be committed to "the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources." To date, 27 signatories have ratified the treaty, and 38 are expected to follow suit by the end of this year. Furthermore, Agenda 21, an 800-page blueprint for "sustainable development" that was created through discussions at Rio, has been made part of national policy in 71 countries. "The Summit was an extraordinary undertaking representing an investment of what we estimate to be hundreds of millions of dollars," the report says. "It also raised people's hopes around the world. The real question is whether the promises made at the Earth Summit will in fact be turned into actions." The report, on the strength of detailed, country-by-country analysis, concludes that "the Earth Summit represented in itself a broader, deeper awareness of the serious environmental and development challenges facing the global community." Regarding the scientific com-munity's participation in the progress shown during the past year and a half, Scherr says it has "played an extraordinarily important role in alerting people of the threats to the global environment. The scientific community was in the forefront of efforts to make people aware of what we were doing to the global atmosphere, the ozone layer, and effects to the basic composition of the atmosphere. "Without the scientific community, we wouldn't have been alerted to the problems of desertification, deforestation, and the degradation of the planet's biotic riches. And in the future, scientists will play an important role in providing people with both technological and sociological ways of dealing with these problems." Although public and scientific response to President Bill Clinton's environmental policies have been mixed (R. Kaufman, The Scientist, July 26, 1993, page 3), the NRDC report shows the United States as one of the nations in the forefront of responding to the needs identified at Rio. The report cites the Clinton administration's commitments to reducing greenhouse gases, establishing an energy tax, creating the National Biological Survey, and forming the Office of Environmental Policy and Council on Sustainable Development as important steps to making the environmental care an important issue. "The impact of the Earth Summit on the government seems positive," states the report. "The concept of sustainable development is embraced by the highest levels of government, and by local authorities as well." On the international front, four post-Rio world conferences have been scheduled: * The Global Conference on Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States is scheduled to be held in Barbados from April 25 to May 6. Based on recommendations found in Agenda 21, the small islands conference will focus on drafting a plan to help islands, with their unique size and geographic isolation, deal with oceanographic and atmospheric problems. * A U.N. Conference on Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks is slated for March and August. As was discussed at Rio, negotiations will take place regarding disputes over high seas fishing and efforts to promote sustainable management of fish and marine resources worldwide. * A U.N. Conference on Population and Development in Cairo is scheduled for Sept. 5-13, 1994. At this meeting, discussions will commence on ways to deal with overpopulation at a global level. In addition, next June in Paris, negotiations will take place among many countries affected by the problems of desertification and land degradation. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #20, October 18, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : Bakelite In The Limelight TY : NEWS (NOTEBOOK) PG : 4 Though possibly an event of dubious distinction to environmentalists and others, the American Chemical Society will commemorate the invention of "bakelite," the world's first plastic, with ACS's first National Historic Chemical Landmark designation on November 9. Bakelite was the invention of Leo H. Baekeland, a Belgian-born chemist who developed the material in Yonkers, N.Y., 90 years ago. ACS will mark the occasion at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., where the first "bakelizer," the landmark device used to form bakelite and nicknamed "Old Faithful," is housed. Bakelite and plastic gained in popularity in the 1930s, when colors were introduced. Bakelite radios and even plastic jewelry designed by such artists as Jean Schlumberger and Salvador Dali had a heyday from the 1920s to 1940s. Today, bakelite items may be even more popular; one collector recently paid $10,000 for an old bakelite radio. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #20, October 18, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : Teaching Technology TY : NEWS (NOTEBOOK) PG : 4 The National Science Board--the National Science Foundation's policy-making arm--will begin accepting proposals next month for NSF's Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program. The ATE effort aims to fund model projects for undergraduate and secondary school curriculum development, "including the design and implementation of new curricula, courses, laboratories, and instructional materials, as well as teacher and faculty enhancement," according to an NSF statement. As part of the program, NSF will help establish up to five "centers of excellence" to serve as national and regional models of technological education and clearinghouses for model curricula, instructional materials, and methods. The agency will award planning grants to establish the centers in the first year of the program. Two-year and four-year colleges and universities, as well as secondary schools and industry, will be involved in the program, says Robert Watson, director of NSF's division of undergraduate education, who will also oversee the ATE program. NSF expects to begin granting the ATE awards next spring. Information on the ATE program is available on the agency's Science and Technology Information System (STIS). For information on STIS, contact the NSF Publications System at (202) 357-7861 or send an E-mail message to (on internet) or stisinfo@nsf (on bitnet). (The Scientist, Vol:7, #20, October 18, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : Space University TY : NEWS (NOTEBOOK) PG : 4 Applications to attend the International Space University's 1994 summer session, to be hosted by the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona in Spain, are now available. The 10-week ISU summer program is designed for graduate-level students and young professionals in space-related fields. The deadline for applications is January 1. For information, contact the ISU Executive Office, 955 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, Mass. 02139; (617) 354-1987. Fax: (617) 354-7666. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #20, October 18, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : High-Tech Farming TY : NEWS (NOTEBOOK) PG : 4 According to Purdue University agricultural scientists, farmers a decade from now will be pushing the outer limits of modern technology in pursuing a new type of agriculture known as site- specific farming. In site-specific farming, conditions are measured for growing areas as small as a few feet or even inches square, and pesticides and fertilizers are applied accordingly--a technique that, its pro- ponents predict, will dramatically reduce chemical use and increase yields. To facilitate the pinpoint accuracy needed to tend crops this way, farmers will rely on satellites for positioning, lasers and microphones to measure characteristics of the soil, and computers to make sense of the enormous amount of data this technique will require. At present, the costs to conduct this sort of farming are prohibitive, the Purdue scientists acknowledge, but they predict that cost-efficient technology will catch up to the methodology in about 10 years. Despite its space-age accoutrements, the concept is not all that new, says Purdue associate professor of agricultural economics Howard Doster: "We're going back to what Squanto taught John Smith about putting a seed in a fish in a small hill of dirt." (The Scientist, Vol:7, #20, October 18, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : Recognizing Cognitive Neuroscience TY : NEWS (NOTEBOOK) PG : 4 The McDonnell-Pew Program in Cognitive Neuroscience, a joint effort of the James S. McDonnell Foundation and the Pew Charitable Trusts, is offering two sets of grants to promote the development of cognitive neuroscience. Research grants are intended to support collaborative, interdisciplinary investigations by cognitive neuroscientists, such as combining experimental data from cognitive psychology and neuroscience or exploring the implications of neurobiological methods for the study of higher cognitive processes. The goal of the training grant awards is "to encourage broad participation in the development of the field and to facilitate participation of investigators outside the major centers of cognitive neuroscience." Both awards are two-year, nonrenewable grants of $30,000 per year. The application deadline for both grants is February 1. For information, contact McDonnell-Pew Program in Cognitive Neuroscience, Green Hall 1-N-6, Princeton University, Princeton, N.J. 08544-1010; (609) 258-5014. Fax: (609) 258-3031. E-mail: (The Scientist, Vol:7, #20, October 18, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : The Wonders Of Glycerine TY : NEWS (NOTEBOOK) PG : 4 The Soap and Detergent Association (SDA) is calling for papers for the 1994 Recognition Award for Innovative Uses of Glycerine-- a substance already having more than 1,500 known uses, including major applications in cosmetics and toiletries, food and beverages, over-the-counter drugs, surface coating resins, and polymers. The competition is sponsored by SDA's glycerine and oleochemical division to recognize innovative research, development, and commercial use of glycerine. The winner will receive a $1,000 honorarium and a commemorative plaque. Submission deadline is next June 1. For information, contact the Soap and Detergent Association, Glycerine and Oleochemical Division, 475 Park Ave. South, New York, N.Y. 10016; (212) 725- 1262. Fax: (212) 213-0685. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #20, October 18, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) NEXT: ---------------------------------------------------------------- TI : We, The Students, Also Have A Lot To Say About U.S. Science Education Editor's Note: The Opinion section of the April 5, 1993, edition of The Scientist (page 11) carried an essay on the state of science education by Bill G. Aldridge, executive director of the National Science Teachers Association. In the essay, Aldridge expressed his impatience with the slow progress being made in improving science and math education in the United States; focusing primarily on secondary education, he urged scientists to lend their names, their expertise, and their time to the goal of reforming a system that, in his view, is deficient in several respects. When Cesare Emiliani, a geology professor at the University of Miami, read Aldridge's essay, he decided to find out what his students--recent high school graduates--felt about the situation. He distributed copies of the piece, and asked whether any members of his honors class in geology would care to respond to The Scientist's article. Six of them--ranging from first-year college students to seniors, representing the spectrum of socioeconomic classes, and products of secondary schools both public and private, rural as well as urban--volunteered. "They went to work," says Emiliani. "I did not provide guidance or suggestions. It is the students' work." AU : ROBERT ANDREASEN, GREG FISK, DAVID FREILICH, JOY HOLTVLUWER, GRACE KESSLER, AND TAO SEMKO TY : OPINION PG : 11 The National Science Foundation, the journals dedicated to education, and the public press have discussed over and over the problems afflicting science education and have advanced a variety of so-called solutions. Although innumerable articles, essays, and position papers have been written by the experts, the problems remain--and the students know it. We feel that it is high time that we, the objects of debate, should be heard. We are a group of six students enrolled in the marine science program at the University of Miami. We come from a diverse group of high schools, and we wish to reflect on our secondary school experience from the vantage point of recent high school graduates. In our opinion, secondary education is where the problem lies, whether the symptoms manifest themselves in a lack of preparedness for advanced science and math education or in the humanities. No matter what field is being considered, the problem rests in verbal skills. And this simple fact is overlooked by even the most sensitive and well-meaning authorities in the broad field of education. The ideas and opinions expressed here are not only ours, but also were drawn from undergraduate honors students at the University of Miami--from freshmen to seniors--who represent a wide range of geographical distribution and social types. We felt that the most important aspect in proposing new ideas was to assemble many different viewpoints so that the entire range of schools could benefit, from religious, private, urban schools to rural public schools. Our purpose is to suggest ways to upgrade the preparedness of all students and ready them for the competitive college environment. We also hope, of course, that our first-hand experience through the American educational system can provide science and math instructors and school administrations with new ideas that will benefit not only the students but also the nation at large. While our main concern is with secondary education, it is necessary to point out our dismay concerning the many problems remaining at the primary-school level, because they have been addressed so enthusiastically by education experts. Unfortunately, the applied behavioral innovations meant to increase the awareness of primary students have proved to be ineffective. Many college students today still find themselves having to sing their ABCs in order to alphabetize titles; while having been taught "new math," they nevertheless find themselves having to confess to their inability to simply multiply or divide large numbers. Grammar and syntax have been deemphasized at the primary level, resulting in a generation of young, bright minds unable to express themselves effectively, in either words or numbers. Today, the ever-changing cultural aspects of society, the politically emphasized breakdown of "family values," and the general fear among people--young and old alike--of intellectualism have all contributed to the notion that "students aren't what they used to be." And the notion is valid; it is most prominently manifested in high school, where the intensity of academic, social, and biological factors all come into play at once. The politicians of the educational system have consistently agreed with this claim; but they have suggested no effective ways that will lead to correcting the problems. Of course, local situations and funding levels of schools in different cities, counties, and states may be widely different; we understand that. Our aim is more general: We want to change established philosophies pertaining to high school structure and content, rather than to suggest ways to improve funding levels, grants, and budgets. The most important question concerns the ways in which secondary school administrations and faculties can get students interested and enthusiastic about education and academics. Virtually all students that we have talked to on our University of Miami campus about secondary education agreed that the major problem stems from the fact that the lecture format of most secondary school classes almost entirely lacks integration with the content of subjects covered in different classes. This tends to quell potential interest or excitement that students may have felt when they entered secondary school. The study of English and, for example, the study of mathematics are never connected. In our opinion, this is why almost all students that we interviewed felt that they had graduated from high school with fundamental weaknesses in both English and math. One obvious solution is to downplay the lecturing in specific subjects and to allow more group discussion and other forms of close involvement among students and teachers. Of course, before group discussion can be really productive, the students must have an essential grasp of subject matter. Can textbooks help? Yes, but not as they are currently published. They are both too concise and too complex; at the same time, they are filled with unnecessary details at the expense of the fundamental ideas a student needs to prepare himself or herself for classroom discussion. A new generation of expanded texts, focusing on fundamentals and explaining key concepts in a number of different ways and from different points of view, is needed. Group discussions, an effective way to focus on a given subject, can then follow naturally. In the group discussion context, the teacher should be viewed more as a general leading his or her troops in a concerted effort toward victory--the victory being an understanding of the subject matter. No longer would the teacher have to be a boring lecturer droning on in front of a half-asleep class. If class sizes are too large for open discussion, the students should be divided into groups of five or six, each group with its own leader. Each leader would then present the views of his or her group in open classroom discussion, with the instructor moving among the groups as a coordinator. In this way, all students--not just the most outgoing--would be required to contribute. We believe that this approach would lead not only to better learning but also, incidentally, to a lessening of the discipline problems that now beset nearly all secondary classes. The "focus group" approach has worked very well in American business; it could be applied even more effectively in our high schools, where the diversity of the par-ticipants' backgrounds, ideas, and knowledge is probably much greater than in the business world. We feel that through group discussion, leading to greater communication and coordination among students and teachers, the fundamentals of science--physics, chemistry, geology, and biology--could form a core to be learned by all. But they should be learned along with the fundamentals of the humanities and social sciences--history, geography, literature, and the arts. Today, too many students study many subjects in many different classes, but they have no idea how to fit them together. They learn things, but they don't get an integrated education. And isn't this the real aim of liberal education? With our approach to "core" education, the students would acquire a basic understanding of general principles in a wide variety of subjects; and they would acquire an understanding of how the general principles all link together. And this would prepare them for more advanced and specialized studies better than the way they are being prepared today. Here are some of our other ideas: * Math as well as English should be required in every single year of high school. Both subjects are the two basic components upon which the humanities and sciences rest. Also required should be one foreign language, computer courses, and some basic courses in economics or business. * A number of electives should be available to the student, according to personal inclination, that will enhance his or her interest in the learning process. Electives may include specialized humanities, such as English poetry; specialized social sciences, such as psychology; specialized science studies, such as human anatomy; or others. We believe that one class per week should be dedicated to current events, using as a basis for group discussion pieces from the mass media, especially newspapers, instead of textbooks. * We also need better teachers, in particular teachers who are expert in their disciplines and who have a broad educational background. These teachers should be able to lead group discussions cutting across the various disciplines and integrating what students learn in different classes. A teacher should not be hired solely on the basis of a teaching certificate and should not be promoted solely on the basis of seniority. * The expanded textbooks that we recommend for the students should be accompanied by expanded manuals for the teachers. Many rural high schools have poor or nonexistent libraries. The student texts and the teacher manuals should contain everything that might be needed to impart a truly first-class education to all students, including those confined to the poorest school districts. * We believe that self-confidence has much to do with enthusiasm for secondary school academics. The core approach, personal selection of classes beyond the cores, and group discussions, all will contribute to this building of self-confidence. Self- confidence among the students might be enhanced if the better students were not segregated into gifted or honors programs but remained part of the general student population. These suggestions are from the students' perspective, rather than from that of educators who have long since lost contact with the classroom. The coauthors of this essay are enrolled in science programs at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #20, October 18, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ---------------------------------------------------------------- TI : Legacies Of Luck: Reflections On A Scientist's Scientist AU : William Kaufmann TY : OPINION (COMMENTARY) PG : 12 When the news came this past August 26 that my friend and mentor J. Murray Luck--an emeritus professor at Stanford University and the founder of Annual Reviews--had died early that morning, some words from a short essay, "On Libraries," by the American novelist Wallace Stegner, came to mind. "They say that in Africa," Stegner wrote, "when an old man dies, it is as if a great library had burned... because in non-literate societies the whole cultural tradition must be carried in human memories. Literate cultures are luckier...." Thanks to Murray Luck, we are luckier, indeed. For the enriching impact he had on scientific literacy during his long career as biochemist, teacher, author, and editor is bound to reverberate in laboratories, science libraries, and classrooms around the world for a long time to come. Among the luckiest, of course, are the individual researchers, teachers, and students who will continue to be the chief beneficiaries of the concept of authoritative, critical reviews in the sciences, which he nurtured during the past 60 years into an immensely valuable intellectual tool in the research process. I think the widespread and growing use of such reviews will be the most enduring legacy of this versatile, widely accomplished, and very wise man. In a life spanning nearly the entire 20th century, Murray Luck-- as a student of Sir Gowland Hopkins and a contemporary at Cambridge University of distinguished researchers such as J.B.S. Haldane and Joseph Needham--represented a direct link with the beginnings of modern biochemistry. Born in Paris, Ontario, on Oct. 23, 1899, he attended the University of Toronto on a scholarship, graduating in 1922. Another scholarship provided for postgraduate study in England, where he was awarded his Ph.D. in biochemistry at Cambridge in 1925. From 1926 to 1965 he was a member of Stanford's chemistry department, where, in addition to his research activities, he taught and inspired more than 2,500 students. He was the author of more than 200 publications, including several books on a wide range of topics, including malnutrition, poverty, and the history of Switzerland. His published papers focused primarily on biochemistry, but they also included works on consumer cooperatives, population and environmental issues, and numerous other education and science-related public policy subjects. His greatest achievement took form in 1932, when he successfully launched the Annual Review of Biochemistry, which led to his founding of Annual Reviews Inc., a nonprofit enterprise devoted to the advancement of the sciences through regular publication of critical reviews and analyses of the rapidly expanding scientific research literature worldwide. The organization he founded now publishes highly cited Annual Reviews in 26 fields in the physical, biological, behavioral, and biomedical sciences. The company's eminence today is a living tribute to Murray Luck's unique combination of talents as scholar, teacher, and entrepreneur, as well as to his unswerving commitment to the highest ideals of intellectual quality and service. In 1977, recognizing the growing importance of reviews to the progress of science, the National Academy of Sciences established, in Murray Luck's honor, the NAS Award for Scientific Reviewing. Sponsored jointly by Annual Reviews Inc. and the Institute for Scientific Information, the award pays tribute to authors who have performed significant service to science and their fellow research scientists in the writing of outstanding scientific reviews--a daunting task of selection, analysis, and synthesis of the research literature. Nominations for the NAS award are invited from scientists, editors of scientific publications, and others broadly acquainted with the scientific literature. Murray Luck himself certainly appreciated the scientist's problems in dealing with the growing breadth and volume of scholarly publications, and he took well-earned satisfaction in knowing he had played a major role in helping to distill it and make it accessible to others around the world. On the final page of his "Confessions of a Biochemist," written as a prefatory chapter for the 50th volume of the Annual Review of Biochemistry (1981), he commented on his full and rewarding life as biochemist, professor, and publisher. "I have greatly enjoyed almost everything in which I have engaged," he concluded, "and have had the lasting pleasure of association with many students and others in teaching, research, and other activities. Should one ask for more?" William Kaufmann is editor-in-chief of Annual Reviews Inc., Palo Alto, Calif. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #20, October 18, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) NEXT: ---------------------------------------------------------------- TI : Variola Virus Sequencing TY : OPINION (LETTERS) PG : 12 The article on the war on AIDS in the June 28, 1993, issue of The Scientist (R. Lewis, page 1) contains a minor, but still significant, error. In describing AIDS vaccine strategies, the author incorrectly states that HIV genes are being cloned into the smallpox virus. The smallpox virus, variola virus, is not the poxvirus currently under study as a vaccine vector. The genomes of several strains of variola virus are being sequenced at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Moscow Research Institute for Viral Preparations, the only two labs in the world that retain stocks of that deadly virus. The sequencing is preparatory to the deliberate destruction of all remaining stocks of smallpox virus in December of this year. According to proponents of the destruction of the smallpox virus, knowledge of the complete genetic code of variola virus will answer any future scientific questions that might be raised about variola-like viruses. Smallpox itself was eradicated from the world in 1977. The poxvirus under study as an AIDS vaccine vector is vaccinia virus, a largely avirulent poxvirus of obscure origins. Vaccinia virus is the live vaccine that provides immunity against smallpox. CAROL SHEPHERD MCCLAIN Medical Anthropology Program Epidemiology and Biostatistics University of California San Francisco (The Scientist, Vol:7, #20, October 18, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) NEXT: --------------------------------------------------------------------------- TI : Bioreactor Manufacturer TY : OPINION (LETTERS) PG : 12 Although your article on advanced lab bioreactors (F. Hoke, The Scientist, July 12, 1993, page 17) was excellent, our company was rather conspicuous by its absence. You recognized other commercial bioreactor manufacturers, and you very prominently featured the NASA rotary wall vessel (RWV), but you failed to mention that Synthecon Inc. manufactures and markets the commercial version of the RWV. R.P. Schwarz invented this equipment in 1986 while he was a contractor employee of the NASA Johnson Space Center Biotechnology Program. His innovations have, as you correctly noted, been used very successfully to establish a whole new concept in cell culture. In recognition of his inventions, Schwarz was selected for the 1991 NASA-wide Inventor of the Year Award. Schwarz is now the chief engineer and a principal owner of Synthecon Inc. Synthecon Inc. was incorporated three years ago. NASA granted Synthecon exclusive license to the government patents covering Schwarz's inventions more than two years ago. We have manufactured and sold more than 40 complete rotary cell culture systems during the last year. C.D. ANDERSON President Synthecon Inc. Friendswood, Texas (The Scientist, Vol:7, #20, October 18, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : Animals In Research TY : OPINION (LETTERS) PG : 12 Charles S. Nicoll inaccurately claims that the Medical Research Modernization Committee (MRMC) is an "antivivisection/animal rights organization" (Letters, The Scientist, July 12, 1993, page 12). MRMC has, on many occasions, stated unequivocally that it is not categorically against all animal experimentation and that it has no stance on the moral status of animals. MRMC's objections to animal research have been based on historical, scientific, and epistemological analyses. Unfortunately, MRMC's views, held by a large and growing number of scientists and clinicians, are rarely represented in the mainstream scientific literature. This permits misrepresentation. Interested readers may contact MRMC at P.O. Box 2751, New York, N.Y. 10163. STEPHEN R. KAUFMAN Medical Research Modernization Committee New York WHERE TO WRITE: Letters to the Editor The Scientist 3501 Market Street Philadelphia, PA 19104 Fax:(215)387-7542 E-mail: Bitnet: ===================================== NEXT: ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : AIDS Research: Which Institutions Are Most Productive And Influential? --------- Editor's Note: Until the late 1980s, significant production of research papers on AIDS--in terms of both volume and impact--was achieved almost exclusively by public-sector research institutions, such as the National Institutes of Health, and various universities and private institutes around the world. During the past five years, however, corporate laboratories in the United States and elsewhere have emerged dramatically in this field of investigation, as well. In fact, according to the newsletter Science Watch, publication and citation data covering the years 1988-92 places several commercial firms within the top 25 for AIDS-related publications, either in the total number of papers they produced during that period or in the number of times their papers were subsequently cited in reports by other researchers. Data from the Philadelphia-based Institute for Scientific Information (ISI), which publishes Science Watch, reveal, for example, that only 14 institutions produced more AIDS papers during those years than did the British pharmaceutical giant Wellcome Plc; and in terms of citation impact, the California biotech firm Genentech Inc. actually placed No. 1. Following is Science Watch's report on its analysis of 1988-92 AIDS papers. Originally published in the newsletter's May 1993 issue (4[5]:1-2), it is presented here with the permission of Science Watch and ISI. ------- TY : RESEARCH PG : 14 Science Watch focuses here on relatively recent AIDS-related research papers. Early on in the epidemic, during the years 1981- 85, the field was dominated by a handful of investigators and institutions and a cluster of discovery accounts. Naturally, the past shapes current perceptions strongly, so Science Watch eliminated the past, as it were, and looked at only those papers published from 1988 through 1992, as well as how often they were cited by the end of 1992. As much as possible, Science Watch wanted to see AIDS research as it now is, instead of what it once was. To identify AIDS-related papers, a profile of 30 specific terms and eight dedicated AIDS journals was constructed and run against the Institute for Scientific Information's Science Indicators Database. In all, some 24,515 papers were identified, which collected a total of 161,961 citations by the end of 1992, for a citations-per-paper average of 6.61. These papers were then distributed by institutional origins, as listed in the author addresses on the papers. The accompanying table lists the top 25 institutions in AIDS research, 1988-92, according to total citations (a measure of gross influence to some degree reflecting output) and by citations per paper (a weighted measure known as citation impact). Only institutions that published at least 50 papers indexed by ISI over these five years were ranked. All the institutions listed on the impact side of the ledger achieved at least twice the average citations-per-paper score of the entire AIDS paper set. Seventeen institutions appear in both columns, with the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, headed by Anthony S. Fauci, perhaps exhibiting the most impressive performance--fourth in total citations and fifth in citation impact. Also notable in the ranking of institutions investigating AIDS research during the 1988-92 period is the presence of several industrial entities: Genentech Inc. (South San Francisco, Calif.); Abbott Laboratories (North Chicago, Ill.): Merck, Sharp & Dohme (West Point, Pa.); and Wellcome Plc (London). In a similar ranking for the years 1981-92, no biotechnology or pharmaceutical firm appears in rankings of the top 25, by papers, by citations, or by citations per paper. The private sector has, in recent years, been taking a greater and greater leadership role in AIDS research. Genentech, which has appeared highly ranked in other Science Watch surveys, tops the citations-per-paper ranking. During this brief period, Genentech fielded seven AIDS-related papers, most on CD4 cell depletion and the HIV envelope gene and protein, which collected 100 citations or more by the end of 1992. Only 0.5 percent of all papers tracked by ISI ever achieve that level of recognition--and that is over their entire lifetime, not just in the space of a few years! The four most cited Genentech papers appear on page 14. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #20, October 18, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: -- ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : AIDS RESEARCH TY : RESEARCH PG : 14 INSTITUTION NUMBER OF RANK INSTITUTION CITATIONS CITATIONS PER PAPER National Cancer Institut 15,384 1 Genentech 28.62 University of California, San Francisco Cancer Center 11,789 2 Dana Farber 22.90 Cancer Center Harvard University 11,785 3 Georgetown 22.63 University National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases 11,288 4 Duke University 22.54 Centers for Disease Control 8,124 5 National Institute 21.54 for Allergy and Infectious Diseases University of California, Los Angeles 6,218 6 Institute for Cancer Research (London) 20.48 Duke University 5,386 7 Massachusetts General 20.13 Hospital Veterans Administration 4,665 8 Abbott Labs 19.42 Johns Hopkins University 4,176 9 Merck, Sharp & Dohme 18.53 Dana Farber Cancer Center 4,167 10 National Institute 18.42 of Dental Research Institut Pasteur 3,230 11 National Institute of 17.63 Neurological Disorders and Stroke University of California, 3,112 12 Montefiore Medical Center 17.59 San Diego San Francisco General 3,111 13 Harvard University 17.13 Hospital New York University 2,961 14 Centers for Disease 17.00 Control Wellcome 2,913 15 Wellcome 16.46 Columbia University 2,854 16 San Francisco 16.29 General Hospital University of Miami 2,801 17 National Cancer 15.51 Institute University of Amsterdam 2,660 18 University of Ca., 14.89 San Francisco University of Ca.,Davis 2,585 19 Univ. of Ca., 14.84 Los Angeles Massachusetts General 2,556 20 Scripps Clinic 14.78 Hospital & Research Foundation University of Washington 2,442 21 George Washington 14.51 University Karolinska Institute 2,240 22 University of Ca. 13.82 Davis Genentech 2,232 23 University of Miami 13.53 Georgetown University 2,218 24 University of Ca., San Diego 13.41 Abbott Labs 2,156 25 University of 12.97 Rochester (The Scientist, Vol:7, #20, October 18, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ TI : GENENTECH'S MOST CITED AIDS PAPERS, 1988-92 TY : RESEARCH PG : 14 RANK PAPER CITATIONS 1 R.F. Siliciano, T. Lawson, C. Knall, 205 R.W. Karr, P. Berman, T. Gregory, E.L. Reinberz, "Analysis of host virus interactions in AIDS with anti-gp120 T-cell clones: Effect of HIV sequence variation and a mechanism for CD4+ cell depletion," Cell, 54:561-75, 1988. 2 R.L. Willey, D.H. Smith, L.A. Lasky, T.S. Theodore, 201 P.L. Earl, B. Moss,D.J. Capon, M.A. Martin, "In vitro mutagenesis identifies a region within the envelope gene of the human immunodeficiency virus that is critical for infectivity," Journal of Virology, 62:139-47, 1988. 3 D.J. Capon, S.M. Chamow, J. Mordenti, T. Gregory, H. Mitsuya, R.A. Byrn, C. Lucas, F.M. Furm, J.E. 190 Groopman, S. Broder, D.H. Smith, "Designing CD4 immunoadhesions for AIDS therapy," Nature, 357: 525-31, 1989. 4 P.W. Berman, T.J. Gregory, L. Riddle, 154 G.R. Nakamura, M.A. Champe, J.P. Porter, F.M. Furm, R.D. Hershberg, E.K. Cobb, J.W. Eichberg, "Protection of chimpanzees from infection by HIV-1 after vaccination with recombinant glycoprotein gp120 but not gp150," Nature, 345:622-5, 1990. Source: Science Watch / Institute for Scientific Information (The Scientist, Vol:7, #20, October 18, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : MOLECULAR BIOLOGY TY : RESEARCH (HOT PAPERS) PG : 15 A. Strasser, A.W. Harris, S. Cory, "bcl-2 transgene expression inhibits T cell death and perturbs thymic self-censorship," Cell, 67:889-99, 1991. Andreas Strasser (Molecular Biology Unit, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Melbourne, Australia): "Physiological cell death plays a crucial role in the generation and function of an effective immune system. The vast majority (more than 95 percent) of immature T lymphocytes developing in the thymus are short-lived and die in situ, whereas most mature peripheral T cells have a long life span. "There are three reasons for this. Developing T cells rearrange their antigen receptor genes by a random recombination mechanism, express the protein products on the surface, and are then selected on the basis of their binding specificity. Only those thymocytes expressing a T cell receptor (TCR) that binds to self- major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecules are positively selected for survival and further differentiation. Thymocytes with nonpro- ductive TCR gene rearrangements and those bearing a TCR that cannot bind to self-MHC molecules die because they failed to receive a positive signal. On the other hand, thymocytes expressing TCRs that bind with high affinity to self- antigens presented by self-MHC molecules are actively deleted to prevent the development of autoimmunity. "In these three circumstances, thymocytes are thought to undergo apoptosis. This death process can also be induced in thymocytes by a variety of experimentally applied stress stimuli, which are believed to mimic signals involved in physiological cell death. "The protein encoded by the oncogene bcl-2 is the only known inhibitor of apoptosis in mammalian cells (D.L. Vaux, et al., Nature, 335:440-2, 1988). Work in our laboratory and Stanley Korsmeyer's group (published in the same issue of Cell: C.L. Sentman, et al., Cell, 67:879-88, 1991) and in Mark Greene's group (R.M. Siegel, et al., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 89:7003-7, 1992) has now demonstrated that constitutive bcl-2 transgene expression in T lymphoid cells markedly inhibits cell death induced by cytokine deprivation or by a variety of cytotoxic agents (for example, corticosteroids, g-irradiation, calcium ionophores, and phorbol ester). Interestingly, however, deletion of autoreactive thymocytes is only delayed, but not abrogated, in bcl-2 transgenic mice. "We believe that these data provoked interest for two reasons. First, the finding that bcl-2 inhibits g-irradiation and corticosteroid-induced death implicates this oncogene in a novel mechanism of cancer therapy resistance and offers a plausible explanation why hemopoietic tumors with high levels of Bcl-2 cannot be completely eradicated. This also suggests that the predominant role of the oncogene bcl-2 in neoplastic transformation is to promote extended cell survival, even during anti-cancer therapy, thereby facilitating the accumulation of further genetic alterations. "Bcl-2 protein is normally undetectable in immature cortical thymocytes, which are subject to immunological selection but strongly expressed in mature T cells (F. Pezzella, et al., American Journal of Pathology, 137:225-32, 1990; D.M. Hockenbery, et al., PNAS, 88:6961-5, 1991). Thus, the second implication of these bcl-2 transgenic mouse studies is that bcl-2 synthesis might normally be induced as a result of antigen receptor engagement during positive selection. "The finding that bcl-2 transgene expression does not abrogate the deletion of autoreactive thymocytes demonstrates that at least two separate apoptosis-inducing pathways must operate during T cell development. We believe that similar mechanisms of selection operate during B lymphopoiesis and probably also during the development of cells of other lineages. "We believe that the genetic approach, combining bcl-2 transgenes with antigen receptor transgenes or mutant alleles that affect lymphocyte survival, will soon uncover the regulatory networks of cell death and survival." (The Scientist, Vol:7, #20, October 18, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : CELL BIOLOGY TY : RESEARCH (HOT PAPERS) PG : 15 W. J. Tang, A.G. Gilman, "Type-specific regulation of adenylyl cyclase by G protein bg subunits," Science, 254:1500-3, 1991. Alfred G. Gilman (Department of Pharmacology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas): "The GTP-induced dissociation of the subunits of heterotrimeric G proteins releases two potential downstream regulators--a and bg. However, early studies of activation of adenylyl cyclase and retinal cyclic GMP phosphodiesterase by G proteins indicated that the a subunits were responsible. Thus, it was not surprising when J. Codina and associates (Science, 236:442, 1987) demonstrated activation of K+ channels by the a subunit of Gi, but it was considered heretical by some when D.E. Logothetis and colleagues (Nature, 325:321, 1987) described a similar effect of bg. The role of bg was highlighted again when genetic experiments in yeast indicated that bg, rather than a, mediated downstream signaling initiated by activation of the mating factor receptor. But it was not smooth sailing for bg. The significance of the effect of bg on K+ channels was denied by some, and the measurement is too specialized to be made by many. The biochemistry of the response to mating factor in yeast has yet to be clarified, and for some, seeing is believing. "Cloning of cDNAs encoding adenylyl cyclases led to appreciation of multiple forms of the enzyme and reassessment of the role of bg. Our work demonstrated that two (largely brain-specific) forms of adenylyl cyclase are in fact regulated by bg. The type-I enzyme is inhibited, while, most surprisingly, the type-II enzyme is activated dramatically by bg, but only when the conventional activator, Gsa, is also present. The characteristics of the response suggest that the two regulators, Gsa and bg, arise from different receptor-activated pathways. This model provides an attractive mechanism for crosstalk between pathways, with adenylyl cyclase as the sensor of their simultaneous activation. "The particular significance of the paper is thus twofold. It demonstrates novel and unsuspected regulation of adenylyl cyclase, and it seems to have squashed some of the bg controversy. The effect is obvious and easily reproducible. Effects of bg are now being found in many systems, including activation of isoforms of phospholipase C and regulation of receptor kinases. There are surely more to come." (The Scientist, Vol:7, #20, October 18, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : Research-Scale Perfusion Systems Aid Neuroscience Studies AU : FRANKLIN HOKE TY : TOOLS & TECHNOLOGY PG : 18 For many neuroscientists, the ability to accurately monitor the substances passing into and out of a cell is central to their studies. Investigators in such areas as ion channel function and neurotransmitter release, for example, depend on being able to perfuse the cell--specifically, the cell membrane--with selected substances in measured concentrations and then to record precisely the cell's biochemical or electrical responses. Often, simultaneous adjustment of other aspects of the cell's environment--of the temperature, pH, and oxygen levels, for example--is also required. Just a few years ago, in order to control these parameters, researchers were forced to build customized devices with pumps, tubing, controllers, and sensors from different manufacturers. Many laboratories still do this, as their experimental needs dictate. But now, a number of commercial systems also are available to help manage this task. Each supports certain types of research protocols, and yet provides enough flexibility to be useful in many different neuroscience laboratories. In many ways, what these systems share is an emphasis on membrane biology and its broad importance in understanding cell signaling, cell secretions, and other cellular actions. And the success of therapeutic interventions--with pharmaceuticals, for example-- when cellular mechanisms go wrong may be tied to this understanding. "If you want to control what goes in and out of a building, you don't go searching through the building," explains Robert S. Eisenberg, an electrophysiologist and chairman of the department of physiology at Rush Medical College in Chicago. "What you do is you sit at the entrance. And cells are just like that. Cells have a membrane, and everything's got to cross it, so it's a natural place to control what goes on in cells." Commonly, data from cell or tissue perfusion studies are collected through scintillation counts of radioactively tagged molecules released by the cells or through electrical recordings of ion channel activity in the cell membrane. Ion channels are protein structures in cell membranes that form passages to release neurotransmitters, for example, when opened by biochemical triggers. Traditionally, microelectrodes are used in electrical recording of this activity. Today, however, a technique called patch clamp recording is widely preferred because of its great precision. Patch clamp recording was developed by two German scientists, Erwin Neher and Bert Sakmann, and it led to their sharing the 1991 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for their discoveries concerning the function of single ion channels in cells. Unlike previous methods, patch clamping allows researchers to completely isolate ion channels for study. "These channels are very important clinically and biologically," says Eisenberg. "They are responsible for all signaling in the nervous system. They're responsible for the coordination of all muscle contraction, for example, including cardiac." Like all good ideas, Eisenberg says, the technique is simple enough in concept. "Patch clamp consists of taking a glass pipette, filling it with salt solution so it carries electricity, pushing it up against the cell, and creating suction in the pipette so that the membrane sticks to the pipette," he says. "Anything that crosses the membrane then has to go into the pipette--there's nowhere else it can go--and it can then get picked up electronically or chemically in the lumen of the pipette." What the commercially available perfusion systems offer researchers, overall, is the ability to effectively control the parameters of their investigations without having to design and construct their own experimental apparatus. The systems often also have greater reagent capacity than the prototype systems that might be developed by researchers in-house. "It would be very difficult to do these types of experiments without this setup," says Dave Snyder, a pharmacology instructor at the Medical College of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Snyder is studying neurotransmission in the heart using a BRANDEL Superfusion 1200 System from BRANDEL Inc. of Gaithersburg, Md. "A number of laboratories use their own homemade systems, but it's tough then to get the proper regulation and to get more than just a couple of [sample] chambers made." Collecting Fractions Snyder's studies involve measuring the release of radioactive norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter, from cardiac synaptosomes, or nerve terminals, taken from rats. "We're interested in the quality of life as you age," says Snyder. "Part of that is maintaining good cardiac function, and norepinephrine release controls the contraction of the heart, the force of contraction, and your ability to respond to stress." To assess release rates of the neurotransmitter, the researchers first prepare a pellet of purified nerve terminals tagged with radioactive norepinephrine. They then place small amounts of the tagged protein in the 12 chambers of the BRANDEL system. (The company also makes systems with six, 18, and 20 chambers.) The system washes the sample to remove any of the norepinephrine not bound by the terminals and then adds measured potassium pulses to the media from multiple reagent reservoirs to stimulate the nerve terminals to release the tagged neurotransmitter. Vials then collect five-minute effluent fractions for scintillation counts. "We use young rats and senescent rats," Snyder says, "and we've found a reduction in norepinephrine release in the older rats. Now, we're exploring the mechanisms behind that difference." Snyder says the multichannel, multichamber system allows him to run, in essence, 12 different experiments at the same time, because each parameter can be controlled independently. "One of the things we can do with the system is perfuse the synaptosomes with different drugs," he says, "things that should stimulate or inhibit release. And then we can measure the response of the young and the old nerve terminals to those drugs." As a result of the system's flexibility and reliable control, it is relatively easy to replicate experimental conditions. This, too, is an important feature of the system, Snyder says. "We have it all timed and regulated so that the drugs that we're perfusing arrive in each chamber at the same time," he says. "Each chamber is nearly identical in terms of the stimulation. Also, from experiment to experiment, and day to day, variation isn't quite as large as it might be." Sure control also means that the chances are greater that an experiment will run correctly the first time it is tried. In some labs, this can mean substantial savings in both time and money. "Some of the samples researchers put in the chambers are worth thousands of dollars," says Brian Diaz, a BRANDEL representative. "Brain tissue, especially, is very expensive. That's why it has to be right the first time--if it's not, thousands of dollars can be lost." C. William Balke is a physiologist doing controlled perfusion of isolated cardiac cells for patch clamp experiments and fluorescent recordings. Balke, who has joint appointments at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, and Johns Hopkins University in the same city, uses the Open Perfusion Micro-Incubation System marketed by Medical Systems Corp. of Greenvale, N.Y. (The company also markets two other related systems, the Brain Slice Chamber System and the Leiden Closed Perfusion Chamber.) The microincubator is open at the top, Balke says, allowing access to the perfused cells with microelectrodes. It also has extremely precise temperature control, he says, and is capable of heating and cooling, where most systems are capable only of heating. But, because of the extreme electrical sensitivity of the patch clamp technique he uses, Balke also stresses the value of another feature of the system. "The electrical control of the system does not interject noise," Balke says, "which is very, very important, because we measure currents on the picoampere scale. Excessive noise would make the system unusable." As useful as the system has been, Balke does hope for a particular improvement in the next generation of the microincubator. "We would like to see some attention paid to laminar flow in the bath," he says. "We have fluid coming in at one point and then exiting at the rear. There's a great deal of turbulence, and when we're perfusing cells or groups of cells with different chemicals, we don't know precisely when the cells see the new conditions. And if we had laminar flow, we would know exactly." Patch Clamp Advances Rush Medical's Eisenberg, with colleagues, has developed a variation on the patch clamp technique that involves highly controlled perfusion of the cell membrane through the pipette itself. The commercial version of the system is called the DAD-12 Superfusion System by its manufacturer, Adams & List Associates Ltd. of Westbury, N.Y. Company vice president Andrew Pomerantz says the firm expects to be shipping the new product before the Society for Neuroscience meets in Washington, D.C., in early November. (Another perfusion-studies system also sold by the company is the 2PK+ Pipette and Whole-Cell Perfusion Kit.) The DAD-12 system provides a method for changing the chemical contents of a pipette without breaking the electrically insulated seal at the cell. This specialized perfusion tactic involves introducing small capillaries into a positioned pipette. Capable of computer-controlled delivery of up to 12 substances to a cell through the capillaries, the DAD-12 system also provides a 13th capillary to remove substances from the pipette to prevent contamination. The system allows very precise application of substances to the cell membrane, Eisenberg says. And such precision is crucial to the outcome of patch clamp experiments. "Control over the material inside the pipette is a first-order issue," Eisenberg says. "It is essential. Unless you can control the stuff in the pipette, you don't have control over the protein, making it very hard to study. And, of course, the name of the game is to study the molecule and not the apparatus." (The Scientist, Vol:7, #20, October 18, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : SUPPLIERS OF SYSTEMS AND EQUIPMENT FOR PERFUSION STUDIES TY : TOOLS & TECHNOLOGY PG : 19 The following companies are among those manufacturing and distributing research-scale systems or equipment used in neurotransmitter release and other perfusion studies. Adams & List Associates 1100 Shames Dr. Westbury, N.Y. 11590 (516) 997-5780 Fax: (516) 997-0528 Products: DAD-12 Superfusion System, 2PK+ Pipette and Whole-Cell Perfusion Kit BRANDEL Inc. 8561 Atlas Dr. Gaithersburg, Md. 20877 (301) 948-6506 Fax: (301) 869-5570 Products: BRANDEL Superfusion 600, 1200, 1800, and 2000 Systems Medical Systems Corp. One Plaza Rd. Greenvale, N.Y. 11548 (516) 621-9190 Fax: (516) 621-8503 Products: Open Perfusion Micro-Incubation System, Brain Slice Chamber System, Leiden Closed Perfusion Chamber (The Scientist, Vol:7, #20, October 18, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ---------------------------------------------------------------- TI : Experts Advise Job-Seekers: Try A Variety Of Techniques AU : ROBERT FINN TY : PROFESSION PG : 20 Continuing economic problems throughout the United States have severely curtailed job openings for scientists. These days it's not at all unusual for an open faculty position to attract 600 resume, or for a young researcher to apply for 100 jobs. Unless you're a highly sought-after superstar, looking for a permanent position in science--whether in academia, industry, or government--is apt to be a painful, anxiety-provoking process. But there's no shortage of good advice on how to make your job search more productive. Unfortunately, however, the consensus of experts is that there's no magic system likely to work for everyone. Sally Asmundsen, director of the California Institute of Technology's Career Development Center, asked 23 graduating Caltech Ph.D.'s about their job searches in 1991 (E.R. Silverman, The Scientist, June 8, 1992, page 22). "We were hoping to come up with some fairly concrete guidelines for future Ph.D.'s, [but] what worked for each person ended up slightly different," says Asmundsen. "The message is that--particularly for people looking for academic positions--people need to do a variety of things. They need to find out about jobs from every possible resource." According to Asmundsen, there are few differences between a job search in science and one in other professions--except, perhaps, "that the scientific community is more conservative about one's approach." Because the similarities outweigh the differences, Asmundsen recommends that a scientist beginning a job search consult some of the same resource materials as anyone else. Prime among these is the popular job-hunter's guide What Color Is Your Parachute? by Richard Bolles, published annually by Berkeley, Calif.-based Ten Speed Press and available in most bookstores. A main message of the book is that you have to have a clear idea of what you're looking for before you start looking. This message is echoed by Edward Aboufadel, who was a young mathematician finishing a Ph.D. at Rutgers University when he chronicled his own job hunt in a recent series of articles in Focus, the newsletter of the Mathematics Association of America (12:14-16, October 1992; 12:18-21, December 1992; 13:13-16, April 1993; 13:18-20, June 1993). "Before you even start the process," he advises, "you have to ask yourself, `Where do I want to end up, really? Do I want to be a researcher at a place like Rutgers? How important is teaching to me?' And once you decide that, that'll help you decide which places to apply for." The Mentor Most scientists begin their job searches by looking for ads in the most popular trade newspapers and journals. Above and beyond this, however, the active support of one's mentor often proves critical in opening doors. Marvin Miller, an organic chemist at the University of Notre Dame, has helped dozens of his students find jobs in industry, academia, and government. "Anyone who has students who are working hard for them should work hard for the students in return," says Miller. "Over the years I've generated a master list--I call it my `jobs list'--of contacts I've made. I encourage my students to write to select people on that list. I may or may not know that there's an opening, but I ask them to write, anyway. Sometimes you get in before the job is advertised, so you're on the top of the pile." That's what worked for Bill Gawne, who was in the graduate astronomy program at the University of Oklahoma (OU) when he decided he'd have to find a permanent position to support his family. It was the fall of 1990, and there were indications that the Baltimore-based Space Telescope Science Institute (STSI) was going to need to hire a number of science operations specialists very quickly. "We did kind of an end run," said Gawne. "We faxed a rsum, and some of the profs at OU made some phone calls to some of the people they knew. Some of the people at STSI had been at OU and knew the program there. And they also personally knew the people who were recommending me. After that, things moved quite quickly. In a matter of slightly over a month, I was able to start working." The Application Package It is unusual for a job search to proceed so informally and with such speed. More often, job hunters will find themselves putting together many formal application packages. Says Caltech's Asmundsen: "We recommend that, in addition to a cover letter and a resume, the application package include a complete bibliography; a statement that includes both a summary of current research and future research ideas targeted to the position; a complete list of references, including name, title, phone number, and address; and then, depending on the institution, a one-page document on teaching interests." According to Notre Dame's Miller, the research summary is key. "It should be very short and to the point," he says. "It's supposed to be an eye-catcher." He recommends that his students base their summaries on structural diagrams of the chemical problems they're investigating. "If a chemist is reading it, that's something that catches his eye, because we all really love chemistry. The more they can get from one glance, the better-- they're going to be screening many applications." Miller's activism as a mentor doesn't end with keeping up his contacts and helping his students craft their application packages. Several days after these have been sent out, he follows up with letters to the people doing the hiring. "It's sort of a double-whammy effect," he says. "At least their files have to come to the top of the pile twice within a week or so, and maybe catch someone's eye. I try to write pretty honest letters. Not everybody is the best thing since sliced bread, so we try to emphasize strengths, but talk about weaknesses and how they may be overcome." Once the applications have been submitted, the most difficult part of the process--the waiting--begins. Aboufadel began sending out the first of several dozen applications in October 1991. "Around January or so I started getting anxious, because I just hadn't heard anything, or everything I heard was bad, so I just started sending more out," he says. He ended up applying for 90 different positions. "The job I did get [at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven] was one of the early applications I sent out. It just took them a long time to go through them." The Interview During this period, Aboufadel went to Baltimore to attend the Joint Mathematics Meeting, a combined gathering of the American Mathematical Society, the Mathematical Association of America, and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics. Like many scientific conventions, the joint meeting has an employment registry that matches recruiters with job candidates for brief interviews. "When I first left Baltimore I was very excited," he recalls. "I thought the interviews went well. But, as nothing came of them, it began to sink in that this isn't going to be as easy as I would like it to be." Aboufadel says that, for him, the meeting's job fair was not an ideal way to seek employment: "The way it's set up doesn't match people up well enough. Another big problem is that most of the schools that interview there tend to be the smaller, teaching- oriented schools." Of the bigger research universities, he says, "people tell me they don't need to go to the registry because they get enough applications." But those who run scientific society placement clearinghouses say that many candidates do find jobs through such services. Jacquelyn Roberts, who manages the American Association for the Advancement of Science's four-year-old Employment Exchange, maintains that the program is so successful that AAAS plans to expand it to a year-round service that's not restricted to the annual meetings. Roberts says that for the Employment Exchange to be productive, candidates need to be very specific about the kinds of jobs they want, and they must prepare themselves for being interviewed. To enhance candidates' job-hunting skills, AAAS has begun offering career-development seminars at meetings in addition to the traditional interview matchups. According to Roberts, "At the meeting in San Francisco [Feb. 18-23, 1994], we'll offer a series of seminars under two different topics: `Alternative Career Paths: Science as the Basis for Non-Scientific Careers' and `Capitalizing on One's Abilities: Moving Up the Scientific Ladder.' " A unique aspect of interviewing for a scientific position is that most candidates are expected to deliver a seminar. Steven Barwick, a particle astrophysicist at the University of California, Irvine, recalls that when he was applying for positions in the summer of 1989, he prepared his seminar by starting with the short talk he'd been giving at conferences and expanding it to include more historical and background material. "I think what they're looking for is to find out if you can speak well: Can you defend your arguments in front of an audience of your peers?" he says. "I think they're trying to see if you can bring in research contracts, and part of that skill is being able to argue effectively that your research is interesting and important enough to support." On the other hand, when Aboufadel interviewed at Southern Connecticut State, he got the impression that he was being evaluated more for his teaching ability than for his research interests. During his formal interview by the hiring committee, he recalls, almost all the questions focused on his teaching style: How did he distribute grades? Was he willing to fail students who deserved it? The interview is also the candidate's opportunity to ask questions. Says Aboufadel: "I think it's really helpful for you as an applicant to have questions about the institution. For instance, you want to know whether or not computers are being introduced into teaching. You want to know what kind of computing facilities you're going to have. You want to know something about the library. "The people interviewing you are very interested in telling you about themselves, which surprised me at first. And I think it's helpful to have these questions ready, because it demonstrates your interest. When I came here for the interview I had two pages of questions." Employment Sectors Of course, not all scientific positions are in research universities or teaching institutions. Many scientists work in private industry or for government agencies, and looking for a job in these sectors requires some adjustments. Employers in industry and government tend to be much less interested in a candidate's teaching experience, and applicants may want to de- emphasize their teaching abilities in resumes and cover letters. Notre Dame's Miller says that when employers from industry call him to inquire about his students, they routinely ask the same questions: "First, are they real good scientists? Are they going to be able to do science but also do it in an interactive way? The second question is, what are their communications skills? The third question is always, can I see them as a potential manager in X number of years?" Many government agencies have highly bureaucratic hiring procedures, and failure to cross every t and dot every i can easily doom an application. And many government jobs require elaborate qualifying examinations. Ted Smith, a senior geologist at the California Division of Mines and Geology, notes that in that state agency there are no fewer than 25 different job classifications for geologists (such as "associate geologist," "senior oil and gas engineer," and "land and water use analyst"), each of which has a separate qualifying exam. Some of these exams are given only once every four years, but the exact dates are announced only 30 days in advance, and the burden is on the candidate to keep up with the exam schedule. Although the test's schedule is very rigid, preparing for such an exam is fairly straightforward. "The No. 1 thing is to look at the exam announcement," which lists the requirements for the position, says Smith. "Become familiar with anything that's on there. If it's a supervisory-level position, it'll say things like `knowledge of our department's affirmative action program.' There the applicant needs to contact the department and get a copy of that plan. A lot of them don't bother to do that." But whether you're looking for a job in industry, government, or academia, you should be prepared for a prolonged search. Says UC- Irvine's Barwick, "I quickly scanned through the number of pages devoted to jobs in Physics Today, and it's down by half over what it was when I was looking four years ago." Robert Finn is a freelance science writer based in Pasadena, Calif. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #20, October 18, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : RESOURCES FOR JOB-SEEKERS TY : PROFESSION PG : 21 Edward Aboufadel, "Job Search Diary," Focus: The Newsletter of the Mathematics Association of America, 12:14-16, October 1992; 12:18-21, December 1992; 13:13-16, April 1993; 13:18-20, June 1993. Richard Bolles, What Color is Your Parachute? A Manual for Job Hunters and Career Changers (Berkeley, Calif., Ten Speed Press, published annually). A. Leigh Deneef, Craufurd D. Goodwin, and Ellen Sterm Mc-Crate, The Academic's Handbook (Durham, N.C., Duke University Press, 1988). Directory of American Research and Technology, 25th ed. (New York, R.R. Bowker Co., 1993). (The Scientist, Vol:7, #20, October 18, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : Penn State Astronomer Is Named Chief Scientist At NASA AU : RON KAUFMAN TY : PROFESSION (PEOPLE) PG : 22 National Aeronautics and Space Administration administrator Daniel Goldin has appointed Pennylvania State University astrophysicist France Cordova to become the agency's chief scientist, effective sometime this month. According to NASA, Cordova will be the administrator's senior scientific adviser and will serve as the principal liaison between the agency and the national and international science community and the general public. Cordova, 46, who has been the head of Penn State's department of astronomy and astrophysics since 1989, will take a temporary leave from the school to work at NASA's Washington, D.C., offices. "NASA is a civil space agency whose purpose is to explore science and technology in space for the benefit of the whole nation," says Cordova. "A couple of decades ago, getting to the moon was a mission people could easily understand. In the view of this administrator [Goldin], many of today's NASA programs look too exclusive and are only understood by the handful of communities that are directly involved with them. "He would like me to find a way to overcome that and bring what NASA is doing to the public," she says. "Now the public is not only the National Academy [of Sciences], AAAS [the American Association for the Advancement of Science], or AIP [the American Institute of Physics], but also the kids who want to become astronauts and the people paying their taxes." Cordova says implementing space station Freedom and creating an overall mission for the agency are two long-term goals that her office will work hard to achieve. "I see one of my efforts as facilitating the development of a science plan that is fully integrated into the overall NASA plan," she says, "and one that helps set the tone for the development of interagency goals in science." C"rdova received her bachelor's degree from Stanford University in 1969 and her Ph.D. in physics from the California Institute of Technology in 1979. From 1979 until she joined Penn State in 1989, she was deputy group leader of the Space Astronomy and Astrophysics Group at Los Alamos National Laboratory. --Ron Kaufman (The Scientist, Vol:7, #20, October 18, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : University Of Virginia Appoints Biologist To Vice Provost For Research Position AU : RON KAUFMAN TY : PROFESSION (PEOPLE) PG : 22 Gene D. Block, a professor of biology, has been appointed to the post of vice provost for research at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Block, a researcher in biological rhythms, began his new job September 1. Block will continue as director of the Center for Biological Timing at Virginia, a $10.6 million science and technology center funded by the National Science Foundation. Researchers at the center study the oscillating electrical signals that certain cells produce, such as the high-frequency oscillations of the nervous system. "As vice provost," Block says, "the two things I will be concentrating on are improving the information transfer to our faculty about obtaining grants and helping them become more successful, as well as working to develop an intelligent policy for industrial technology transfer." He says he hopes to develop a computerized system of disseminating information about grant opportunities, to bolster the efforts of Virginia investigators in obtaining funding from external sources. Block says he will model a technology-transfer policy after the successful methods in place at the Center for Biological Timing. Currently, the center is working with Promega Corp., a molecular biology firm in Madison, Wis. Together, faculty at the center and employees of the company are researching basic gene marking techniques to assist in biorhythm research. "The center really represents a new way of doing science," Block says. "This is a case where the industrial component and educational component work very nicely together. We have sort of a model for how basic research, education, and industrial outreach all work together in the same context." Block, 45, received his bachelor's degree in 1970 and his Ph.D. in 1975 from Stanford University. He was on the faculty of Stanford from 1975 until moving to Virginia in 1983. --Ron Kaufman (The Scientist, Vol:7, #20, October 18, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================


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