THE SCIENTIST VOLUME 7, No:22 November 15, 1993 (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) Articles

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THE SCIENTIST VOLUME 7, No:22 November 15, 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 29, 1993 *** *** *** ******************************************************* Subscription rates for the printed edition are: In the United States: one year $58, two years $94 Canada : one year $82, two years $142 All other foreign : one year/air cargo $79, one year/ airmail $133 THE SCIENTIST (Page numbers correspond to printed edition of THE SCIENTIST) FOR SEARCHING PURPOSES: AU = author TI = title of article TY = type PG = page NEXT = next article ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : CONTENTS PG : 3 ===================================================================== NEWS 1994 CAREER PROSPECTS: The United States' slow economic recovery makes the employment outlook for scientists in 1994 much the same as this year's--gloomy, with most academic and industrial hiring in a state of stagnation. One consolation, say experts, is that things should not get worse, and, with a little creativity, there are jobs to be had. Page 1 LESSONS OF THE PAST: The value in studying the history of science extends far beyond the inherently interesting nature of the pursuit; indeed, increasing numbers of individuals and groups of researchers are turning their attention to it and forming societies dedicated to it in the belief that present scientific endeavors can be enriched and possibly even improved by an enhanced awareness of the past Page 1 HELPING HAND FOR WOMEN: Women scientists and their advocates who have criticized the National Science Foundation's efforts to promote and advance women within and outside the agency are being supported by another group of women--from the United States Congress Page 1 NYNEX GOES TO SCHOOL: The NYNEX Science and Technology Awards competition adds a new twist to high school science contests: The winners are awarded not only scholarships, but also R&D funding to help implement their ideas, aimed at solving community problems Page 3 TRAIL BLAZERS: Many of this year's National Medal of Science recipients can boast of high citation counts as well as such prestigious awards as the Nobel Prize. In many cases, their work has created or formed the basis for the fields of investigation they and other scientists have pursued Page 7 OPINION A THREAT TO PROGRESS: The actions of the animal rights movement are more than misguided; the effects are being felt at and threaten the progress of all levels of medical research requiring the use of animals. Compounding the problem is the indifference and even resistance by those in the medical profession to help advance the image of this research, which directly benefits their patients, says Harvard Medical School neurobiology professor and Nobel laureate David Hubel Page 11 COMMENTARY: It is up to scientists and others whose research is dependent on, or who otherwise benefit from, National Institutes of Health funding to make Congress and the public aware of that fact, say Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology president Frank W. Fitch and vice president Samuel S. Silverstein, along with Columbia University physiologist John D. Loike Page 12 RESEARCH GENE RESEARCH: In the field of molecular biology and genetics, U.S. researchers and institutions hold a commanding lead, as judged by citation data compiled by the Institute for Scientific Information and reported in the newsletter Science Watch Page 14 HOT PAPERS: An analytical chemist discusses his review paper on matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry Page 17 TOOLS & TECHNOLOGY KNOCKOUT PUNCH: Genetically engineered mice--both transgenic and "knockout" varieties--offer researchers ways to detect the influences of single genes and also provide close models of human disease Page 18 PROFESSION SEED MONEY: Through a variety of awards, scholarships, and grant programs, the Glenn Foundation for Medical Research acts as a seed funder and advocate for investigations into the biology of aging Page 20 CHARLES M. RICK, a emeritus professor of vegetable crops at the University of California, Davis, has received the Alexander von Humboldt Award Page 21 SHORT TAKES NOTEBOOK 4 CARTOON 4 LETTERS 12 CROSSWORD 13 OBITUARY 21 SCIENTIFIC SOFTWARE DIRECTORY 30 (The Scientist, Vol:7, #22, November 15, 1993) (copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : Congresswomen Take NIH And NSB To Task Over Gender Bias Representatives charge that the science agency and its policy-making board falter in support of women scientists AU : RENEE TWOMBLY TY : NEWS PG : 1 For years, many women scientists and their advocates have complained that the National Science Foundation has not done enough to address the concerns and support the advancement of women in the profession and the agency itself. They have pointed to the mostly all-male composition of NSF hierarchy and the National Science Board (NSB)--NSF's policy-making arm--as well as that of influential scientific advisory panels as a root cause of this neglect. Lately, their position has been bolstered by the voices of a few more women with a lot more clout--members of the United States House of Representatives. For their part, officials at NSF maintain that much has been done, in terms of programs and personnel, to boost the support of women both within and outside of the agency. They acknowledge, however, that considerably more remains to be done. In early October, Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) sent a letter to President Bill Clinton asking that more women be nominated to NSB. The gender makeup of the board is "distressingly" skewed--22 men to only one woman--she wrote. Although gender parity is lacking in most sciences, the gender imbalance of NSB is far greater than in the scientific fields represented by it, Eshoo says. The message in this, she says, is not only that science is dominated by men, but also that the men who dominate may inadvertently influence policy-making that protects the status quo. "The National Science Board is the model at the top that sends a message all the way down the line," says Eshoo. Late this summer, another congresswoman, Rep. Marilyn Lloyd (D-Tenn.), issued a statement outlining her concerns about the status of women's programs at NSF. She said in the statement that it appeared that some of the agency's long- standing programs to support the careers of women scientists either were being discontinued or were being lumped into larger programs for minorities and the disabled--thereby, perhaps, diffusing the energy of the programs. This would adversely affect the slight advances women have made in scientific professions, she said. The situation at NSF and NSB may become the target of an emerging activism by congresswomen serving on the 53-member House Science, Space, and Technology Committee. This year alone, four women representatives--Eshoo, Jane Harman (D- Calif.), Eddie-Bernice Johnson (D-Texas), and Jennifer Dunn (R-Wash.)--have been seated on the committee, joining two other women members, Lloyd and Connie Morella (R-Md.). The new string of questions prompted by several of these members seems to have NSF on the defensive. Frederick M. Bernthal, the foundation's acting director, said in a letter to Lloyd that "while there are clear signs of progress in including women in our programs, the shortcomings are also obvious. . . . Fairness and equity demand a greater effort to increase the participation of women and minorities at all levels of science, engineering, and technology." A staff member of the Congressional Caucus for Women's Issues, speaking on condition of anonymity, says that caucus codirectors Reps. Pat Schroeder (D-Colo.) and Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) are supporting the issues brought up by women on the science committee and are waiting to see what the congresswomen on the committee will do next. The caucus has, however, introduced a bill that calls for, among other things, the National Institutes of Health to withdraw support for scientific conferences in which women are underrepresented on the conference board or in panels. NSF already has such a policy for conferences supported by its biological sciences directorate. The caucus group includes 43 of the 48 congresswomen, as well as 110 congressmen. Eshoo, for one, says she lobbied to get on the committee to explore complaints made to her by women scientists in her Silicon Valley home district: "I was told how hard it is for a woman scientist to make it in a male-dominated profession. I sought a seat on the committee very aggressively." Her interests fall in line with that of Rep. George Brown, Jr. (D-Calif.), who has made it a goal this legislative term to increase the number of women on the committee, says committee spokesman Rick Borchelt. "Brown hated the perception, if not the reality, of the science committee being an all-boys club," Borchelt says. "He felt the committee was not representative of the body of Congress, and, because of that, he felt there were a number of issues not being addressed, such as a lack of female representation in the agencies we oversee." Once Eshoo was seated on the committee, it didn't take her long to see what women scientists back home were telling her, she says. Since she assumed her committee seat shortly after she was sworn in on January 5, no women scientists have come before her to testify, she says. Then, when James Duderstadt, chairman of NSB, appeared before the committee June 15 to testify in hearings on the reauthorization of NSF, she asked what the composition of the board was, and was "taken aback" to learn there was only one woman. Eshoo also notes that gender inequity is found in the top administration of NSF--which has no women heading directorates and only two women directorate assistant directors--and at other U.S. science policy boards, such as the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the National Institute of Medicine, the Independent Council on Competitiveness, and the now-defunct Carnegie Commission on Science, Technology, and Government. While Eshoo says she has not heard from the White House in response to her letter, she also says she feels confident that the administration supports measures to ensure equal representation. "This is the first of many steps I plan," Eshoo says. "It's an exciting time to be on the committee, with the new administration's focus on science and technology." In a letter to Bernthal and another to Duderstadt, Lloyd questioned NSF officials on the status of their women's programs, particularly the loss of the Visiting Professorships for Women and the folding of women's programs such as the Career Advancement Awards and Research Planning Grants into minority programs. NSF's Bernthal and other agency staff members told Lloyd that several existing women's programs, including the 11- year-old Visiting Professorships for Women program, are, in fact, still up and running. Furthermore, they said, that program just awarded about $3 million to 25 tenured women researchers to allow them to spend up to three years as visiting professors at academic institutions. And NSF has boosted funding for its fledgling Model Program for Women and Girls, to provide a variety of programs that serve to expose female students from kindergarten through college to science education. But other NSF programs for women, such as its Career Advancement Awards program, may be folded into a foundation- wide effort that includes other such initiatives for minorities and the disabled, says Catherine Didion, executive director of the Association for Women in Science. Lumping these programs together does a disservice to women, she contends, because "there are different factors and solutions to the issue of representation of minorities and the disabled." Didion is actively questioning NSF's commitment to women scientists, and she acts as a resource to congresswomen such as Eshoo and Lloyd who take up the gauntlet. She has pressed the foundation to provide an analysis of what their funding of women scientists has accomplished, and even recently filed a Freedom of Information Act request for detailed data on all NSF women's programs; she has not yet received an answer. "I suspect the percentage of women in science getting funding is smaller than the percentage of men," Didion says. "And I am arguing that these programs tend to ignore the women striving to make tenure. Many of the programs are designed for, and restricted to, women who hold tenured faculty positions. And the new programs for girls doesn't help out women with low-level positions." Didion also is pushing the issue of women's representation at the top of NSF and on NSB. For the past several years, she has drafted a list of potential nominees, and, in fact, developed a list of 14 women who could serve on the board, in case Clinton responded to Eshoo's request for greater representation of women on NSB. "NSB members bring their own biases, and it is bound to affect the way in which science is done," Didion says. "Women tend to be much more interdisciplinary, and it may be difficult for a male- oriented board to turn the tide of research that way." Jane Stutsman, deputy assistant director of NSF's education and human resources directorate, says, "There are certainly a lot of questions being asked lately, and one of the apparent reasons is because there are women in place [on the House science committee] that were not there before." While Stutsman says that she doesn't understand why these complaints are arising "on a programmatic level"--there are more NSF programs than ever before, she says--she acknowledges that many of the questions about staffing "are perfectly appropriate. It is clear that there is work to be done at the senior-staff level. Women at the top is still a vital issue." Renee Twombly is a freelance writer based in Durham, N.C. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #22, November 15, 1993) (copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : Scientific Career Forecast For 1994 Remains Gloomy, As Funding Constraints And Sluggish Economy Persist Experts cite uncertainty over Clinton health plan among significant factors inhibiting resurgence of the science job market AU : BARBARA SPECTOR TY : NEWS PG : 1 Scientists making New Year's resolutions to find jobs in 1994 will find that they still have to contend with the employment crunch that has stymied seekers of research positions in 1993, say scientific career-placement specialists and observers of the job market. Mitigating this disheartening prediction somewhat is these experts' expectation that the current job outlook will not worsen next year. "There aren't any big trends going in one direction or another," says Joan Burrelli, senior research analyst at the American Chemical Society (ACS). "Things are in a holding pattern." The United States' slow recovery from recessionary times is a major contributor to this stagnation, and industry's uncertainty about the economic effects of the Clinton administration's new health care plan is another big factor, career-placement analysts say. "Everyone is being cautious; they're going to wait and see," says Burrelli. An applicant's ability to adapt to a changing job market may be the key to finding a job, notes Robert Weatherall, director of the Office of Career Services at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "We've come to the end of an era of wonderful research career opportunities for Ph.D.'s," Weatherall says. "It's not going to come back in large measure. But I'm optimistic for the students if they're adaptable." The new health care plan and the U.S.'s economic outlook remain big question marks, but there is one prediction that career placement experts are confident in making: Academic jobs will be scarce in 1994. "The door to academia is very nearly closed," says Weatherall. "It's open a crack if you're brilliant, or if you're willing to teach at a lesser school [that's not among the top institutions in research funding]." While the decreased availability of funds from federal and state budgets has depressed academic hiring, in 1994 another factor stands to make new university jobs even more scarce, says Mary Funke, ACS's manager of professional services. The exemption for university faculty to the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act permitting their mandatory retirement at age 70 is set to expire at the end of 1993, Funke points out, thus making it likely that there will be fewer retirements and, consequently, fewer open academic positions. "No one is sure what's going to happen," Funke says. Fewer academic jobs spells especially bad news for women, since many are in positions dependent on grant money, according to Catherine Didion, executive director of the Washington, D.C.- based Association for Women in Science. "Women in academia are often in soft spots. When [administrators] start cutting, they're the first to go," Didion says, citing a National Research Council study (Women in Science and Engineering: Increasing Their Numbers in the 1990s, Washington, D.C., National Academy Press, 1991) finding that 66 percent of women science, engineering, and mathematics faculty are neither tenured nor tenure-track, compared with 40 percent of their male counterparts. The situation is not much brighter for those applying for postdoctoral fellowships, a process that at one time had a high success rate, says Sally Asmundsen, director of the California Institute of Technology's Career Development Center. "Obtaining a postdoctoral position is now fairly competitive," she says. "Now, people really have to go out and actively look." Nor do such positions ensure fast results in future job-hunting the way they once did, Asmundsen says: "The [postdocs] we deal with are making slower than past progress in getting a tenure-track position or career industrial position." The outlook for the government job market is less clear, sources say, citing President Clinton's pledge to downsize government and the decreased availability of R&D funds as two factors possibly contributing to a decline in opportunities. But government jobs might be an avenue for scientists "willing to work in applications rather than research," says MIT's Weatherall, recalling a recent visit from a Department of Energy recruiter seeking staffers to monitor sites for environmental safety violations. Researchers searching for jobs in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry--considered 18 months ago to be a steady source of employment for life scientists, particularly at entry level--are likely to find hiring on hold until the national health care plan is clarified. "We're finding that with the new administration and questions as to medical side of things, biotech companies and companies in the medical industry [have become] very cautious in their hiring and are vague as to their plans for '94," says Joe DiGeronimo, senior vice president of the Lendman Group, a Virginia Beach, Va., company that organizes biotech job fairs. "It's interesting to talk with them; they say, `Gosh, we don't know; we don't know what's next.' " Drug Company Layoffs Large pharmaceutical companies are not only slowing down hiring but also laying off their current employees. Last month, for example, Pfizer Inc., headquartered in New York, announced that it would eliminate 3,000 jobs; Kalamazoo, Mich.-based Upjohn Co. announced plans to cut 1,500 jobs; and Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly & Co. announced 4,000 planned layoffs. The displaced scientists are "excellent hires for us," says Ed Bocko, Jr., a biotechnology human resource consultant for Protran Resources Inc. of Sharon, Mass., "but the biotech industry is not large enough to absorb the large numbers of people. Large numbers of scientists on the market is not good news" for job seekers. On an optimistic note, Irwin Ruderfer, president of Krow Associates, a recruitment firm in Little Falls, N.J., says that extreme cautiousness on the part of pharmaceutical firms cannot continue indefinitely. "A narrowing down or cutting back of the work force will not be an ongoing philosophy," says Ruderfer, who predicts "increased activity" as the plan becomes "more and more defined." Thinking Small And Narrow While large drug firms are cooling off, at least temporarily, as a source of research employment, smaller biotech companies are heating up, experts say. "Many [small biotechs] are at the research stage," says the Lendman Group's DiGeronimo. "They're looking at research people with higher levels of specialized experience in their particular area. Often they look for experience, but it's not available, so they end up taking [candidates with] less." Ruderfer agrees. "The place to look are the smaller companies as opposed to the giant companies," he says. Ruderfer says that the job seekers having the most luck with these smaller firms are those with master's degrees or Ph.D.'s and one to two years' experience; these researchers are being hired at salaries ranging from $35,000 to $60,000, he says. "Highly skilled and experienced Ph.D.'s are also finding positions with big pharmaceutical and biotech companies," although their success rate is not as high as that of their less-experienced colleagues, Ruderfer says, noting that researchers in this category who are lucky enough to land jobs are commanding salaries of $100,000 or more. Yet, cautions recruiter Erwin Posner, president of the Southfield, Mich.-based Professional Advancement & Placement Institute, "There's not as much room at the top. When I do get a higher-level person, who's at the upper reaches of the salary level--perhaps [such a researcher is job-hunting because] the lab moved out of the country, or the company downsized--I have trouble duplicating that same level of salary." Scientists in middle-management positions--those earning $70,000 to $90,000--aren't faring well, either, Ruderfer says. "They're afraid of leaving their positions; they have a false sense of security." It is researchers in these jobs who are being laid off en masse or being asked to take early retirement, he notes: "Then they come to us [recruiters] in an emergency, and we can't always solve their problems." The declining strength of the large pharmaceutical firms means tough going for newly minted scientists, who used to be absorbed in large numbers by these giants, says the Lendman Group's DiGeronimo: "There's less demand for entry- level [scientists] as the quantity hirers move cautiously." While he agrees that smaller biotechs are now hiring more researchers than larger companies are, Posner notes one factor that is decreasing somewhat the opportunities at the small firms: Some are entering into research partnerships with larger companies. "The smaller biotechs can't afford to go it alone" in many cases, Posner says. In addition, he says, most small companies are confining their hiring to only one or two areas of specialization: "They're concentrating on certain markets rather than being broader in their approach to research," as many of the larger companies traditionally have been. New Needs As a changing biotech industry causes research job opportunities to fade away, the outlook is brightening for B.S.- and M.S.-level scientists with production experience, biotech placement specialists say. "The companies that two years ago were hiring research people are hiring manufacturing people now," says Steve Aeby, director of the Career Connection, a Thousand Oaks, Calif., organizer of biotechnology job fairs. Demand is growing, Aeby says, for "process-development types of people--manufacturing, quality control. They're going to be the hands-on people." The ideal candidates, he says, are those with bachelor's or master's degrees and at least two to three years of experience who "started out doing research, but ended up in a manufacturing role; who have been involved in successful pilot plants and have quality- assurance experience." Because the industry is young, there are not many individuals who have experience working with a firm that has gone into production, Aeby notes, causing the demand to be higher than the supply: "Especially in the Boston area, they're screaming for these people." "The sole emphasis will not be R&D," says human resource consultant Bocko. "All of a sudden there'll be all these other openings people haven't had to think about." Bocko predicts that the hot disciplines for the B.S.- and M.S.- level hires will be peptide chemistry and analytical chemistry, particularly for "industry-experienced people who have done protein purification on a large scale." He also anticipates a demand for biostatisticians and finance officers. Says Bocko: "I can see the companies thinking about sales forces in '95 and '96." Thinking Creatively It is not only the biotech industry that will be heavily focused on products, says MIT's Weatherall, noting that physical scientists and engineers will also be sought by small companies to conduct applied, rather than basic, research. "Opportunities at the big research labs, like IBM [Corp. of Armonk, N.Y.] and [AT&T] Bell Labs [of Murray Hill, N.J.], remain poor," Weatherall says. "Where Ph.D.'s are going to find jobs is in applied situations in small companies. [They will] not be so much asked to do real research as to help come up with products or improve products." As examples of employers looking for physical scientists to work on applied problems, he cites software companies and the biochemical processing industry. Weatherall and other university career-placement officers predict that in 1994, demand for science students will continue to come from an unconventional source: the world of business and finance. "There's a demand for mathematical- minded Ph.D.'s from the financial world," says Weatherall, who notes that 40 percent of the employers that recruited at MIT in 1993 were software, management information systems, management consulting, or financial firms. Caltech's Asmundsen agrees. "We've had a lot of contact from financial concerns, investment banks, and management consulting firms," she says. "They're not just looking at bachelor's and master's people, they're looking at Ph.D. people." But Kevin Aylesworth, a condensed-matter physicist now working as a paralegal in Cambridge, Mass., has not seen a high demand for physicists on Wall Street or elsewhere. "If [those optimistic about the job market] can supply me with a list of people who will hire us, I can supply them with a list of people who are willing to work," says Aylesworth, founder of the Young Scientists Network, an electronic bulletin board (E-mail: where frustrated researchers are invited to share their job- search experiences. "I know people who've been told to keep the Ph.D. off their resume [because of the perception that Ph.D.'s] aren't good for anything except sitting and thinking; they don't contribute to the bottom line. I can't see where the driving force to improve things will come from, especially in physics." Aylesworth says. Temporary Help One source of sustenance for those unable to find permanent employment is temporary scientific work--an area that is expected to grow in 1994. "The market for temporary or contingent workers is increasing because of uncertainty in the economy," says Tom Buelter, CEO of Lab Support, a Canoga Park, Calif., agency for temporary lab workers. Buelter says his firm's earnings increased by 8 percent in the third quarter of 1993 over 1992's third quarter; he cites the biotech, environmental, and food industries as growth areas. Buelter says that typically, scientists sign up to take temporary assignments because "they don't have another job, but would like to stay within their discipline." The prototypical temporary worker, he says, has a bachelor's degree in chemistry, biochemistry, biology, or microbiology and 0 to five years' experience. Employers use temporary workers for assignments that "are temporary by nature," says Buelter. "Maybe a company is going to take a drug to the FDA [Food and Drug Administration, for approval], or they need relabeling on a food product, or they need people in a pilot plant to start up." The typical assignment, he says, is 3 1/2 months. Companies that downsize, says Buelter, "have a number of employees as core employees." During peak periods, when more staffers are required, "they use a contingent work force to meet their needs. That's managing the work force in the '90s." Job-hunting scientists should take comfort in the fact that there are, indeed, scientific jobs out there, analysts say, although not necessarily of the type that existed in previous years. "The level of hiring is about the same, but in different phases with different companies," says the Career Connection's Aeby. "There are companies planning to do hiring, but the requirements are changing." (The Scientist, Vol:7, #22, November 15, 1993) (copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : History Of Science Societies Sprout Up Nationwide, With More Researchers Studying Lessons Of The Past Interest soars among scientists who seek inspiration, enrichment, and practical examples from their predecessors AU : FRANKLIN HOKE TY : NEWS PG : 1 With rare exception, science historians agree that researchers-- concerned as they may be with day-to-day experimentation and the accumulation of hard data--cannot fail to be broadened, enriched, and, perhaps, made professionally more effective by the lessons of the past. As one such historian, Peter Taylor, puts it, for example: "Understanding the unspoken assumptions that scientists held, we can understand why they asked the questions they did, why they accepted certain things without much evidence, and why they weren't interested in asking other questions." Taylor is an assistant professor of science and technology studies at Cornell University. He also is president-elect of the International Society for the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology (ISHPSSB), which held its first biannual meetings in 1983. The young society, with about 500 members, is known affectionately as "ishgabibl" by some because of its "unrememberable name and acronym," one historian explains. The history of science also can play a significant role in guiding science policy decision-makers, historians say, and is changing the way science is being taught to tomorrow's scientists. With science assuming an ever more central role in national and global society, the importance of science history to the present grows proportionately, they say. "When something like half of all the bills in Congress now have scientific or technological implications, people really are beginning to ask questions: How does science grow? What is needed by it?" says Gerald Holton, a professor of physics and the history of science at Harvard University. Holton is also a past president of the nearly 4,000-member History of Science Society, the oldest such organization, formed in 1924 by independent scholar George Sarton. "For understanding the 20th century," he says, "it is a requirement to be able to understand what science is about, how it works, and what influence it has had." Since World War II, the history of science has grown dramatically as a field of study, practitioners say. Almost 70 United States universities now offer graduate degrees in the field, and nearly that many societies focus on science history in one way or another. And, in the past decade or two, as the historians of science have become more numerous and professionalized, they have also diversified, forging links with sister disciplines in the humanities, including philosophy and sociology. Even more recently, in the late 1980s, the field's growth has continued not so much in the numbers of related societies--although new organizations are launched every year--as in centers, sections, forums, and interest groups created within or attached to existing professional groups, including the scientific societies. A proliferation of journals and newsletters also has followed on the formation of these organizations. Science historians say that this sustained upsurge in interest is attributable to a variety of factors. "There are many different converging trends in all of this," says Arnold Thackray, executive director of the Chemical Heritage Foundation, founded as the Beckman Center for the History of Chemistry in 1982. "The United States is steadily increasing its length of life and corresponding sense of perspective, and the sciences and technologies are maturing in America," says Thackray, a professor of the history and sociology of science at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Thackray says, for example, that several of the societies affiliated with the Chemical Heritage Foundation are nearing significant anniversaries and are taking the opportunity to establish historical offices of one kind or another. One affiliate, the American Association for Clinical Chemistry in Washington, D.C., now approaching its 50th anniversary, established a division on the history of clinical chemistry in 1991 and has just launched a quarterly newsletter, History. Other scientific societies with historical sections include, for example, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Chemical Society, and the American Psychological Association, all based in Washington, D.C., and the American Physical Society in College Park, Md. "When a scientific society is new, it's primarily interested in whatever the hot research is," says Bruce V. Lewenstein, an associate professor of communication and science and technology studies at Cornell. "That's probably why it got created: People who were doing research were feeling frustrated by some existing organization, so their initial concern is not history. But then, as time goes on, they begin to ask, where did we come from?" Increasing Specialization Like the Chemical Heritage Foundation, the History of Science Society has seen the development of a number of specialized historical interest groups under its umbrella. In fact, the society has endeavored to remain a unifying instrument for the new groups, rather than see the field become fragmented, says society executive secretary Keith R. Benson. Benson is also a professor of medical history and ethics at the University of Washington, Seattle, and archivist for the history and philosophy of biology division of the American Society of Zoologists. Among the first of these new, virtual subsocieties to form, Benson says, were the Committee on Women and the Forum for the History of Science in America, both in the early 1980s. But in just the past few years, since 1989, he's seen a sharp rise in the number of forums, including new groups on the histories of astronomy, chemistry, and early modern science. One reason suggested for the increasing specialization in the history of science is the rapidly expanding and increasingly complex topography of scientific endeavor today. "History of science used to be a relatively intimate activity," says Ronald L. Numbers, editor of Isis, the History of Science Society's journal and the oldest publication in the field. Numbers is also a professor of the history of science and medicine at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. "The annual meetings were fairly small." Now, he says, the meetings have gotten quite large--there are nearly 4,000 individual members. "You might go to one of these [main] meetings and not see your colleagues working in your area as you bounce around from one session to another," Numbers says. "And I think these interest groups reflect a desire to have a little more intimacy." Lewenstein sees similar factors feeding the diversification of the history of science. "Once any society gets to be large enough that not everybody in it is talking about the same thing," Lewenstein says, "then the problem becomes, what do you do? Do you create new journals? Do you create new societies or new sections within societies?" Benson notes that the last decade or so also has seen increasing links between the historians of science and other humanities scholars of science, stimulating further specialization and growth. Some of the societies now sharing members and ideas with the History of Science Society are the Philosophy of Science Association, founded in 1933; the Society for the History of Technology (SHOT), founded in 1958; and the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S), founded in 1975. Other important related groups are the American Association for the History of Medicine, founded in 1925, and the International Union for the History and Philosophy of Science, the United States branch of which was established in the 1960s, as well as several professional historian groups. A clearer sense of the past can help scientific disciplines see further into the future, too, Thackray says. "It becomes possible to look in two directions, instead of simply having a unifocus," says Thackray, "so that you can see tomorrow in the framework of yesterday. If your vision extends a little farther back, you may have a better sense of what to expect looking farther forward." A Newcomer One new interdisciplinary society arising, perhaps, from the interplay of these forces is Peter Taylor's ISHPSSB. According to Taylor, the fledgling society is trying hard not to become just "another professional society," whose meeting attendees spend most of their time jockeying for professional notice and career advancement. Taylor explains: "We want to make sure that the focus continues to be on having very rich sessions, sessions that are exploratory, where people don't have to feel, `I haven't finished thinking about this, so I dare not present it in public.' [We want] exactly the opposite--`I haven't finished thinking about this, so this is an ideal chance to air in public.' " As a result, Taylor says, the society has been very successful in stimulating discussion and development in the field. "This society has had some part in the process of the last decade of history of science becoming less history of ideas and more social history," Taylor says. "Some of the interesting, very contextualized history has begun to happen at this meeting." Organizations devoted to science history are not always focused on centuries past. The historical perspective can also contribute to thinking about subjects with relatively short histories in the usual sense. Victoria A. Harden is cochairwoman, for example, of the AIDS History Group of the American Association for the History of Medicine, which held its first conference in 1989. She is also director of the National Institutes of Health Historical Office, primarily devoted to documenting 20th century biomedical research. The AIDS group is, perhaps because of the currency of its focus, more eclectic than many other history of science organizations, Har- den says. "We have journalists, physicians, archivists, museum people, sociologists, and private collectors of AIDS posters," she says. "It has turned out to be a combination of historians, providing historical perspective, and players--policy and scientific--stating their own remembrances." Among the speakers at the group's late-October meeting in Bethesda, Md., were C. Everett Koop, former surgeon general, and Anthony S. Fauci, director of the NIH Office of AIDS Research and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Harden also heads the DeWitt Stetten Jr. Museum of Medical Research at NIH, named after the physician-scientist- administrator who died in 1990. "People came to Stetten with a lot of instruments that they couldn't keep in their labs because they'd become obsolete," Harden says. "But they'd say, `This is such a classic instrument and so much work has been done on it, somebody ought to save this.' And that was the beginning of our collection." Harden adds: "If you accept the proposition that biomedical research has changed the way we live in the 20th century, then these kinds of things are certainly worth saving." History's Impact On Science Some historians challenge the notion that an understanding of science history pertains directly to the daily activities of working scientists. Indeed, some go so far as to say that scientists are perhaps better off ignoring certain lessons of the past. "The sort of history of science that appears in textbooks is very edifying," says Ronald Numbers. "It's a very progressive story of one scientist's work leading to the work of another--standing on the shoulders of giants, so to speak. Historians get in there and show that it's not quite as neat and nice as that." Some of the great scientists of the past, despite their accomplishments, also suffered serious ethical and methodological lapses at times, he says. And the prevailing values and views of the day have sometimes powerfully influenced the direction of past science. "I suspect that 99 percent of scientists are untouched by any sensitivity towards historical, philo- sophical, or sociological concerns," Numbers says. "Most of them are still out there discovering `truth.' And that's probably important. If they got too relativistic, they probably wouldn't have the motivation to continue to do science the way they do it." An area in which historians of science do feel that their efforts are having an impact is in the way science is taught in the universities today. "Those scientists who are interested in historical issues and the provisional nature of scientific theory are going to be interested in those issues, anyway," says Karen Johnson, an associate professor of physics at St. Lawrence University, Canton, N.Y. "So, I don't expect to change the way anybody does science. "But there is a trend now to use history of science more in teaching science," Johnson says. "Instead of teaching science as given fact and formulas that just fall out of the sky, you teach students where it came from and why we believe this, the provisional nature of scientific theory, the historical background, and the philosophical implications." Historians of science also say their work has helped shape some science policy decisions. For example, in the debate in Congress this year that led to the cancellation of the superconducting supercollider (SSC), the history of science informed some of the arguments, they say. "People started complaining about the effect of political institutions on science when the SSC was canceled," says Bruce Lewenstein. "But to a historian, this is simply old news." Harvard's Holton notes that some scientists made the point, based on historical examples, that once the SSC was canceled, it would not be an easy matter to reinvigorate the high-energy physics field. "You can't, five years later, turn on the spigot and hope something comes out," he says. "The professions will have disbanded there." One particularly active--and more directly influential-- history of science interest area centers on studies of women in science. Historians have found the feminist perspective particularly useful in exploring the workings of science and women scientists receptive to their work. "History of science in [the United States] has had difficulties connecting to scientists, partly because science has been thought to be value-free or untouched by social influences, so it seemed irrelevant," says Londa Schiebinger, a professor of history and women's studies at Pennsylvania State University, University Park. "But women in science understand the relevance of the history and of the social influences on their positions," says Shiebinger, who is also cochairwoman of the History of Science Society's Committee on Women. Schiebinger says that, as more and more women make careers in scientific fields, changes in the content of science may result from such gender studies. She is the author of two recent books, The Mind Has No Sex? Women in the Origins of Modern Science (Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1989) and Nature's Body: Gender in the Making of Modern Science (Boston, Beacon Press, 1993). As an example of the influence of gender in sci- ence, Schiebinger cites the taxonomic work of Linnaeus. "Why are mammals called mammals?" she asks rhetorically. "Linnaeus had a million choices--mammary glands are not the only unique characteristic of mammals. I'm interested in how human knowledge is only partial knowledge because of gender. "Nature is extremely rich," Schiebinger adds. "We run in one direction, so we know a lot about a few things. But we don't even walk in other directions." (The Scientist, Vol:7, #22, November 15, 1993) (copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : New High School Science Contest Funds R&D For Winners AU : LEE KATTERMAN TY : NEWS PG : 3 Many high school science competitions ask students to demonstrate their science knowledge or apply technology to solve some problem. The latest entry in the field of science contests adds a new twist--it provides R&D funding for the students' winning ideas. The NYNEX Science and Technology Awards competition asks high school students working in teams to put science and technology to work to solve community problems. The winning teams will share $210,000 in scholarships from the contest sponsor, the NYNEX Foundation. In addition, the foundation is prepared to spend $250,000 as seed money to develop the top three teams' proposed solutions to the problems. "This could take the form of building a prototype model, implementing a pilot program in a real-life setting, or testing an idea in a sophisticated laboratory setting," wrote William Ferguson, chairman and chief executive officer of NYNEX (the holding company for telephone companies in New England and New York) in an October letter announcing the contest. NYNEX established the competition out of concern that United States youth are not taking enough interest in science and math, according to NYNEX spokesman Henry Gomez, who was involved in planning the competition. The company hopes that the competition will show students how science is relevant to their communities and will encourage more of them to undertake careers in science and engineering, Gomez says. The NYNEX competition's scholarships, awards, and development grants add up to one of the largest prize packages among student science competitions in the U.S., according to the contest sponsors. The Westinghouse Science Talent Search offers $205,000 in prizes. The International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) is projecting that it will give away $630,000 in "grand awards" in its May 1994 competition--a tenfold increase over the $63,475 offered in the 1993 fair--plus full tuition scholarships to the University of Alabama, Birmingham, and another $190,000 in "special awards" from individual institutions, according to Alfred McLaren, president of Science Service Inc. in Washington, D.C., which administers the Westinghouse and ISEF competitions. Student teams can attack a variety of probems in the NYNEX contest, says competition manager Elisabeth Tobia of the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), which administers the program. "We want to attract kids interested in science, but also those with other interests," she says. Students might propose new ways to improve roads, devise a new recycling technology, or offer ideas for treating substance abuse, to name a few possibilities. Emphasizing Teamwork The competition emphasizes teamwork, adds Tobia, so only groups of two to four students can enter, not individuals. "And we encourage a diversity of expertise among the team members," she says. An entry consists of an essay up to 12 pages long describing a community problem, some history and measures already taken to address it, a detailed description of the science-based solution, and a discussion of possible positive and negative consequences of the proposed fix. Arthur Eisenkraft, a physics teacher and science coordinator at Fox Lane High School in Bedford, N.Y., will supervise the judging. As a teacher, Eisenkraft says, he values science competitions because they challenge and stimulate students. "Also, we need to add some glamour to the pursuit of academic efforts," he says. "A competition like this one is a way to showcase students, to make heroes of them in their schools and in the media for their academic accomplishments, the same way we make heroes of athletes. We need younger students to say, `You mean you can get a scholarship, you get noticed for academics?' " Tobia is assembling a panel of judges with diverse backgrounds. Already two Nobel laureates--physicists Leon Lederman and Sheldon Glashow--have agreed to be judges. Others are University of Massachusetts biologist Lynn Margulis; Alan Sandler, education director for the American Architectural Foundation of Washington, D.C.; and Jeffrey Finkel, executive director of the Washington-based National Council for Urban Economic Development. Entries will be judged in two rounds. In March, judges will meet in New York City to review every entry and select 12 finalists. In April, the finalist teams and their teacher- advisers will travel at the program's expense to Washington, D.C., for a three-day session. Teams will prepare science- fair-style exhibits describing their entry and give an oral presentation to the judges. At an awards banquet, the top three entries will be announced. Each member of the first-place team receives a $15,000 scholarship. Second- and third-place team mem- bers get $10,000 and $5,000 each, respectively. Members of other finalist teams receive $2,500 scholarships, with all team teacher-advisers and the teams' schools also getting small awards. The competition is open to students in grades 9-12. In this first year, the contest is limited to schools in seven states--New York, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. If it is deemed a success, NYNEX and NSTA hope to offer the competition nationwide next year. To improve the chances of a successful launch, Tobia says, NSTA is marketing this competition aggressively. It will mail entry materials to 40,000 teachers in the seven pilot states. NSTA will also advertise in the New York City and Boston subways and air radio ads. The subway and radio ads will announce a toll-free phone number--(800) 9X-TEAMS--that students can call for information about the competition. For applications, write to NYNEX Awards, c/o NSTA, 1840 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, Va. 22201-3000. Entries are due February 11. Lee Katterman, a writer based in Ann Arbor, Mich., is editor of Research News, a publication of the University of Michigan. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #22, November 15, 1993) (copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : An `Orderly' End For The SSC TY : NEWS (NOTEBOOK) PG : 4 Now that the superconducting supercollider has bitten the dust in Texas, United States high-energy physicists, unsure as to how to pursue their ambitious experimental goals at home, are looking to CERN's Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland as the most likely place to successfully undertake the work. Supporters of the SSC were temporarily buoyed early last month when House of Representatives Speaker Thomas Foley (D-Wash.) denied project opponents representation on the conference committee that would, the supporters thought, decide the mega-project's fate. But when, to no one's surprise, the conference committee produced a bill for approval containing full funding for the SSC, the representatives voted to reject it, 282-143. (Earlier this year, the House voted, 280-150, to cancel the SSC; the Senate then voted, 57-42, to fully fund the project with $640 million, which sent the bill to conference.) Late in October, committee members quietly rewrote the appropriations bill to provide the same funding--$640 million--for an "orderly" termination of the Waxahachie project. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #22, November 15, 1993) (copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : If You Can't Bomb 'Em, Join 'Em TY : NEWS (NOTEBOOK) PG : 4 With the end of the Cold War, the U.S. defense industry is intent on turning tanks into peacetime technology; hence, the Defense Industrial Conversion and Technology Conference, to be held this week, November 18 and 19, in Washington, D.C. Sponsored by Defense Week and New Technology Week magazines, the conference will feature seminars, lectures, and panel discussions on defense conversion, and speakers from Congress, the Clinton administration, federal laboratories, and the defense industry. Among the featured speakers are Rep. George Brown, Jr. (D-Calif.); Gordon Adams, associate director for national security and international affairs at the Office of Management and Budget; Kay Adams, director of the Industrial Partnership Center at Los Alamos National Laboratory; and John Deutch, undersecretary of defense for acquisition. For information, contact King Communications Group, 627 National Press Building, Washington, D.C. 20045; (202) 638-4260, Ext. 10. Fax: (202) 662-9719. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #22, November 15, 1993) (copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : New Digs TY : NEWS (NOTEBOOK) PG : 4 After 60 years in New York, the American Institute of Physics (AIP) moved into its new headquarters--the newly constructed American Center for Physics--in College Park, Md., early last month. AIP was joined there by three of its member societies--the American Physical Society, the American Association of Physics Teachers, and the American Association of Physicists in Medicine--along with the editorial staffs of its two magazines, Physics Today and Computers in Physics. The institute's publishing branch will remain on Long Island. AIP's new address is One Physics Ellipse, College Park, Md. 20740-3843. Phone: (301) 209- 3090. Fax: (301) 209-0846. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #22, November 15, 1993) (copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : Sex Education I: Affairs Of The Hart TY : NEWS (NOTEBOOK) PG : 4 Purdue University researchers are studying the usefulness of contraceptives in controlling deer populations. The scientists will test the effectiveness of two contraceptives--one a steroidal contraceptive commonly used for cattle and the other a vaccine that alters a doe's immune system to prevent conception--on a population of 250 deer (with 50 to 60 does) on 1,500 acres of a Northern Indiana Public Service Co. power station near Wheatfield, Ind. The contraceptives will be administered by a biodegradable bullet, shot into the animals' flanks with an air rifle from about 30 yards. The controlled-release drugs should be effective for about six months. The scientists will be looking to see if the deer population will compensate for the reduction in fertile females by increasing their reproductive rates, whether sex ratios of the deer herds change in response to altered fertility, and other effects. Currently, hunting is the prevalent method of deer-population management. Live trapping and relocation is a poor alternative, say the Indiana investigators, as it is expensive and produces dangerous stress in the animals, causing a high mortality rate. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #22, November 15, 1993) (copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : Sex Education II: Where The Buoys Are TY : NEWS (NOTEBOOK) PG : 4 Scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Massachusetts have completed a first round of testing of a prototype system to monitor spawning fish at the coral reefs surrounding Johnston Atoll, where a chemical weapon demilitarization plant is located. The system, called Spawn- O-Meter, has two parts: a floating buoy containing a radio tramsmitter, antenna, and other electronics; and a hydrophone dangling beneath the surface, listening to the fish. The buoy transmits acoustic data to a computer at a base station programmed to listen to sounds associated with spawning. Changes in spawning patterns are often the first signs of water pollution, and spawning data are also vital to fisheries management. Information gathered at the Johnston Atoll indicates that spawning at the coral reefs is proceeding apace, unaffected by the plant. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #22, November 15, 1993) (copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : Spreading The Word TY : NEWS (NOTEBOOK) PG : 4 Agricultural researchers and students in Third World countries soon will have exclusive access to a wealth of scientific literature, thanks to the efforts of librarians at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. The librarians are nearing completion of a project placing about 370 journals and more than 8,000 books--some 2.5 million pages of text-- onto approximately 250 CD-ROMs for distribution only to developing nations. According to Walter C. Olsen, director of the Core Agriculture Literature Program at Cornell, the major problem the program has had in putting together the collection has been obtaining copyright permission from publishers--both commercial and scientific societies--who fear copyright infringement because of the abundance and easy availability of computers and computer networks, from which illegal copies are easily made. Because of that, as well as a desire to contribute to science in developing nations, many publishers were amenable to contributing their publications if the CDs were available only in the Third World, where the risks of copying are considerably less, Olsen says. Once all the publishers are on board, production agreements are in place that should see the project come to fruition as early as the end of next year, he says. For information on the collection, contact Olsen at the Albert R. Mann Library, Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. 14853. Phone: (607) 255-8939. Fax: (607) 255-0850. E-mail: (The Scientist, Vol:7, #22, November 15, 1993) (copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : Medal Of Science Winners: Eight Pioneers Of Research AU : PHIL BECK TY : NEWS PG : 7 President Clinton presented eight of the United States' premier scientists with the National Medal of Science--the nation's highest scientific honor--in a September 30 Rose Garden ceremony at the White House. The event also featured the awarding of the National Medal of Technology to nine scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs. In addition to the qualities shared by many of the science medal recipients--having won the Nobel Prize, high citation counts, membership in the National Academy of Sciences, and activities advancing the cause of their profession--is another distinctive characteristic. Their research has created or formed the basis for the fields of investigation they have pursued and many others have followed. The career of medal winner Vera C. Rubin reflects this quality. Rubin, 65, an astronomer in the Carnegie Institution Department of Terrestrial Magnetism in Washington, D.C., determined in the 1970s, along with Carnegie colleague Kent Ford, the existence of "dark matter." The finding is based on the proposition that visible matter, such as stars and luminous gas, in space represents only a fraction, perhaps as little as 10 percent, of the mass of the galaxies. Through observations of different galaxies, Rubin concluded that bodies visible in those galaxies move too rapidly to conform to Newton's laws of motion. She concluded that the gravitational forces of nonvisible matter, much of it situated beyond visible limits, were affecting the velocity of the visible. "If you want to retain Newton's laws," she says, "then you have to say that there is more matter than you can see." Since acquiring her Ph.D. from Georgetown University in 1954, Rubin has made numerous ground-breaking contributions to cosmology, which support, according to the medal citation, "the realization that the universe is more complex and mysterious than had been imagined." She is currently investigating "multi-spin" galaxies, which she explains are "galaxies having part of their stars and gas going one way and part of their stars and gas going the other." Rubin's most-cited paper is "Rotation velocities of 16 SA galaxies and a comparison of SA, SB, and SC rotation properties" (Astrophysical Journal, 289[1]:81, 1985), which had garnered more than 220 citations through 1992. Another winner was Martin D. Kruskal, David Hilbert Professor of Mathematics at Rutgers University, Piscataway, N.J., who discovered and named the soliton--a localized wave with particle-like properties--together with Norman J. Zabusky, the State of New Jersey Professor of Fluid Dynamics at Rutgers' College of Engineering. Early in his career, Kruskal, 68, began studying the Fermi- Pasta-Ulam problem, which involved a lattice computer model designed to stimulate propagation of heat through a solid. Kruskal and Zabusky's research led to the use of an equation used to describe certain types of water waves in examining the problem. They found that the equation described waves-- which they named solitons--that could pass through one another with neither breaking up. Their discovery has had a major impact on classical physics, theoretical mathematics, and fluid dynamics. Kruskal's most cited paper, "Equilibrium of magnetically confined plasma in toroid" (Physics of Fluids, 1[4]:265-74, 1958), has been explicitly cited in more than 220 articles. The research of Salome Waelsch, Distinguished University Professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University in New York, over a 55-year span helped lay the foundation for modern genetics. Her work in mammalian genetics, specifically the study of T locus in the mouse, made it possible to trace the effects of genes on development from the prenatal embryo to the mature mammal, paving the way for discoveries of how genes are responsible for growth factors that, when abnormal, cause serious developmental defects in organ systems. A refugee from Nazi Germany in 1933, Waelsch, now 86, began her research at Columbia University before moving to Einstein in 1955, where she developed one of the first genetics courses given at any American medical school. "This honor to me shows an appreciation of the enormous importance of the knowledge we have gained about genetics in the past half-century," she says. "I hope we use it only to benefit and never to harm the people of the world." Alfred Y. Cho, director of semiconductor research at AT&T Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, N.J., is the codiscoverer and principal developer of molecular beam epitaxy (MBE), an ultra-high-vacuum process now used worldwide to manufacture electronic and opto-elec- tronic semiconductor chips. Using MBE, precisely controlled layers of materials as thin as a single atom are deposited one atop the other, with practically any composition, to create a sandwich of materials. Cho's most cited work, with well over 500 citations, appeared in Progress in Solid State Chemistry (10:157) in 1975. Nobel Work Several medal winners' trailblazing research was rewarded years later with the Nobel Prize. Donald J. Cram, Saul Winstein Professor of Organic Chemistry at the University of California, Los Angeles, won the 1987 Nobel in chemistry for his research into host-guest chemistry, a field he helped create. Cram, 74, began focusing on host-guest chemistry as his main interest in 1970. The field involves the creation of synthetic host molecules that mimic some of the actions performed by enzymes in cells. The host molecules attract and bind to specific guest molecules, which can be either molecules or inorganic ions. His research has opened many new areas of investigation in organic chemistry, with applications in both basic research and pharmaceutical production and medical testing. Cram's classic paper is "Studies in stereochemistry. 10. The rule of `steric control of asymmetric induction' in the synthesis of acrylic systems," Journal of the American Chemical Society, 74:5825-35, 1952, with more than 700 citations. Val L. Fitch, James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor of Physics at Princeton University in New Jersey, won the 1980 Nobel in physics for his discovery, with colleague James W. Cronin, in 1964 of a rare particle decay process, which represents a violation of CP symmetry. The failure of CP means that time-reversal symmetry is violated. The existence of this "arrow of time" is essential to understanding the imbalance of matter over antimatter in the universe. Earlier in his career, at Columbia University's Nevis cyclotron, Fitch and colleague James Rainwater broke new ground in the spectroscopy of muonic atoms--atoms consisting of negatively charged muons in orbit around selected nucleii. Their work showed that the nucleus was much smaller than previously believed. Muonic atom spectroscopy is now a standard tool in condensed-matter physics. Fitch's most cited work, "Studies of X-rays from mu-mesonic atoms" (Physical Review, 92[3]:789-800, 1953), has been referenced in about 200 articles. Daniel Nathans, University Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics and a senior investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at John Hopkins University School of Medicine, is credited in his medal citation with forming a "foundation for the biotechnology revolution." In the early 1970s, Nathans, now 65, and his students used certain bacterial enzymes--called restriction enzymes--to map and reshape genes in a small DNA virus that causes tumors in animals. Restriction enzymes--chemical "scissors" that bacteria normally use to break up the DNA of invading viruses--were codiscovered by Werner Arber in Geneva and Hamilton Smith at Johns Hopkins. Smith showed that some restriction enzymes cut DNA in specific places. Nathans used this ability to cut the viral DNA he was studying into pieces and, with the pieces, created a map of the virus, eventually displaying the positions of viral genes. This in turn allowed construction of test-tube mutations in each of the viral genes to clarify what they did. For the discovery and application of restriction enzymes, Nathans, Arber, and Smith shared the Nobel in physiology or medicine in 1978. "Restriction enzymes provided a tool for taking a very long, complicated molecule and making it digestible," Nathans says. "The enzymes provided the pieces, somebody else figured out you could put the pieces together in a new way and grow them in bacteria, and that gave us recombinant DNA." Nathans's most cited article is "Amino acid transfer from aminoacyl-ribonucleic acids to protein on ribosomes of Escherichia coli" (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 47[4]:497, 1961), with more than 500 citations. Norman Hackerman, an emeritus professor of chemistry at the University of Texas, Austin, and chairman of the scientific advisory board of the Robert A. Welch Foundation in Houston, was honored for contributions to electrochemistry and his commitment to higher education. Hackerman, 68, is considered an expert on corrosion and has developed several ways to halt or control the process. He has been the editor of the Journal of the Electrochemical Society since 1969. He joined the faculty of the University of Texas, Austin, in 1945, later becoming president of the school. He also served as president of Rice University from 1970 to 1985. Hackerman is currently working on a project to design a nondisciplinary college science course for nonscience majors that focuses on materials, forces, space, and time. Technology Winners The National Medal of Technology winners were: * Walter L. Robb, retired former director of General Electric Corp.'s Research and Development Center in Schenectady, N.Y. Robb directed GE's development of research and medical imaging systems. * Hans W. Liepmann, Theodore von Karman Professor of Aeronautics at California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, who was recognized for his fluid dynamics research and his training of 50 Ph.D.'s. * Amos E. Joel, Jr., now retired from AT&T Bell Labs, who was honored for his ground-breaking contributions to telecommunications. * William H. Joyce, president and chief operating officer of Union Carbide Corp. of Danbury, Conn., for developing the UNIPOL process of producing polyethylene. * George Levitt, a retired agricultural research chemist for E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co., Wilmington, Del., who was honored for discovering environmentally safe herbicides called sulphonylureas. Sharing the award with Levitt was Marinus Los, director of crop science discovery at American Cyana-mid Co. in Princeton, N.J. Los also discovered environmentally safe herbicides. * Kenneth H. Olsen, founder and president emeritus of Digital Equipment Corp. of Maynard, Mass., the world's leading supplier of networked computer systems. * George Kozmetsky, executive associate for economic affairs of the University of Texas system, who received the medal for his "commercialization of various technologies through the establishment of over 100 technology-based companies." * William D. Manly, a metallurgist and retired executive vice president of Cabot Corp., who was honored for his contributions to the development and processing of high-temperature and high- performance materials. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #22, November 15, 1993) (copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: OPINION ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : Animal Rights Movement Threatens Progress Of U.S. Medical Research AU : DAVID HUBEL TY : OPINION PG : 11 When I was a medical student in the late 1940s, we did weekly laboratory exercises in physiology and pharmacology. Each group of four students would anesthetize a cat or dog and do an experiment, investigating blood pressure or respiration or recording electrical activity from the brain. That was where we learned how complicated a live animal is, where we learned to cut and sew up skin, where we learned to control the loss of blood, and where we got over some of our squeamishness at the sight of blood. After the experiment was over, we killed the animal with a lethal dose of the same anesthetic, and from the beginning to the end of the experiment the animal felt nothing but a needle prick. The cats and dogs were strays, picked up by the hundreds from the streets and taken to the pound. If unclaimed after a waiting period, they could be used for research or teaching, but more often the pound would simply kill them with an overdose of the same anesthetic we used. These animals cost the medical school about $5 each. Today, because laws in most states make the use of pound animals for research and teaching purposes illegal, a dog to be used for research in cardiac surgery has to be bred for the purpose and costs about $800. Ultimately, of course, the taxpayer pays the bill. Meanwhile, laboratory exercises like the ones I had in medical school have all but vanished. The Opposition The change has come about largely because of the activities of about 500 groups in the United States that are generally against the use of animals in medical research. They form a wide spectrum, from moderates who wish to promote better animal quarters and are generally against suffering, to extremists who are willing to terrorize research workers, ransack and burn their laboratories, and turn the animals out into a hostile environment--"liberate" is the word they use. The Animal Liberation Front (ALF), an undercover group of terrorists, is representative of this extreme. A little less radical, the group known as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) does not normally engage in terrorism, but often speaks on behalf of ALF. In the gamut of animal welfare and animal rights organizations, takeovers are common. Almost always it is the moderate groups that are swallowed up by the more radical ones. The tactics of these groups include propaganda aimed at teachers and their pupils, campaigns aimed at legislators to increase red tape and costs of research, and harassment of research workers, including threats to their own and their families' lives. Lawsuits are an especially effective weapon: A group that is enormously wealthy (and money to save animals is easily raised) does not care if it wins or loses, as long as it can bankrupt its opponents. The chief contention of these groups is that animals used in medical research suffer. We scientists do not help our cause by denying that occasionally they do: Medical research workers are human, and imperfect, and out of thousands of scientists a few will be deviant. (The same is no doubt true of pet owners.) The use of animals in research is closely regulated by local, state, and federal committees, with rigorous and regular inspection of laboratories and animal quarters and close scrutiny of experimental protocols. Anesthesia and analgesia are mandatory whenever there is a risk of pain or discomfort. Moreover, the many students, technicians, and colleagues around laboratories are the first line of defense against cruelty. We have to be fair, and admit that the very climate that makes cruelty such a rare thing is partly due to the activities of animal welfare groups. But we also need to keep in mind that the main objective of the more radical groups is to eliminate any use of animals by humans, including food, labor, clothing, zoos, and even pets. Ethical Decisions The philosophy underlying the animal rights movement is that humans have no moral right to use animals for their own purposes. They call this use "speciesism" and liken it to racism among humans. In my view, the philosophy fails in its complete disregard for the way nature works. We may not like it that lions prey on zebras or that cats and boas eat mice, but we have to accept it. The alternative--killing or starving the predators to save the prey--involves an obvious logical contradiction. The world is not black-and-white, and the ethical decisions we have to make are not always clear-cut. To get rid of smallpox, we had to eliminate an entire species of virus, and to avoid malaria, you may have to swat the mosquito that lands on you. I find it silly to think of such things as immoral. To buttress their convictions about scientists' having no right to use animals, animal rights advocates put forward a wide variety of arguments. Some of these are superficially plausible-- that medical research using experimental animals has not cured cancer, Alzheimer's disease, or AIDS; that the experiments either are pointless or simply repeat what has been done before; that experimental animals could all be replaced by computer or cell- culture models. The propaganda is easy to refute. A student in a few hours at the library can come up with a long list of medical successes resulting from animal research, including heart surgery, for example, and effective treatment of such diseases as polio, diabetes, and smallpox, and a similar list for diseases of cats and dogs. Computers undeniably are useful in research, just as a pocket calculator is--but you can't train a heart surgeon on a computer, and to study a brain you need a brain; a man-made machine is no substitute. Tissue culture is a marvelous technique, but the tissues come from animals, as does the broth that nourishes them. The repetition of experiments that is so often held up to ridicule is sci-ence's way of exposing fraud and error. To make these counter-arguments, we, fortunately, have a few groups that are strongly devoted to justifying the use of animals in medical research. On a national level we have, for example, the National Association for Biomedical Research (NABR) and the Incurably Ill for Animal Research (iiFAR); most states also have groups like the Massachusetts Society for Medical Research, which advocates the use of laboratory animals. Widespread Impact The results of animal rights pressures are not limited to an inordinate increase in the price of dogs for research. Effects can be felt at all levels and in many ways by everyone whose work requires the use of animals. Two years ago, for example, a major New York hospital opened a new building, and the old building was turned over to research. The hospital's neurosurgical suite, in full use up to that time, was deemed by the inspectors to be unfit for animal surgery, and had to be renovated. In another case, a former graduate student of mine had a new operating room that would have been the envy of any hospital, but was told she would have to renovate it, at a cost of about $1 million, because she did not have an adjoining room devoted to the purpose of washing her hands. This is not for a moment to deny that many of the regulations are reasonable and useful, and fully supported by the research community. I find it sad that those who are involved directly in medical care are doing so little to counter the nonsensical propaganda. Research is what supplies the tools that doctors, dentists, veterinarians, and nurses need to do their work. They, more than anyone, are in a position to help because they are in daily contact with people. A few words to a patient--"You realize, Mrs. Brown, that this treatment wouldn't exist if animals hadn't been used in the research"--would be all that it would take. I have been dismayed at the resistance by hospital administrators even to the idea of putting a few brochures on the waiting-room tables of hospitals, or posters on walls advertising the benefits of medical research. The director of a leading hospital in Boston objected that the brochures would mess up the tables, and that patients or visitors would pull down the posters. Most hospital directors, deans, and chiefs of service I have talked to have been more supportive than this, but even after the expressions of support, nothing seems to happen. In Switzerland over the last few years, two referenda very nearly put an end to all use of animals in medical research. What saved the day was the pharmaceutical industry, which put up a massive door-to-door campaign just in the nick of time. Americans can avoid such near-catastrophes by making the small but necessary effort. Otherwise we stand to lose our preeminence in medical research and, worst of all, our chances of ever solving problems like cancer, Alzheimer's disease, and AIDS. David Hubel is John Franklin Enders University Professor of Neurobiology at Harvard Medical School. He shared the Nobel Prize in medicine or physiology in 1981 with Torsten N. Wiesel for their discoveries concerning information processing in the visual system. This essay appeared previously in On the Brain: The Harvard Mahoney Neuroscience Institute Letter, 2[3]:4-5, Summer 1993. Copyright 1993, Presidents and Fellows of Harvard College. Used by permission. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #22, November 15, 1993) (copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : Scientists Should Make Sure They Give NIH Proper Credit For Funding Their Research AU :Samuel C. Silverstein, Frank W. Fitch, and John D. Loike TY : OPINION PG : 11 At a reception for a member of Congress not long ago, a scientific colleague of ours was describing to the guest of honor the devastating effects that budgetary constraints at the National Institutes of Health are having on biomedical research. "Why is Congress not more supportive of NIH?" our colleague asked. "Do you want me to be honest?" replied the congressman. "The NIH has made a lot of unfulfilled promises, wasting billions of dollars in the war against cancer and trying to prevent heart disease." Our colleague responded, "We have made tremendous strides. For example, today's New York Times describes the discovery by investigators at Johns Hopkins University of a gene that has a major influence on the development of colon cancer. By screening for this gene, we should be able to detect colon cancer at a much earlier stage." The congressman shot back: "That's my point; that's Johns Hopkins research--not NIH research." The congressman did not realize that the extramural grants program of NIH is the major source of funding for basic biomedical research at universities, medical schools, and research institutes throughout the United States. A recent survey conducted by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) of 20 New York Times articles reporting advances in medical research for the period January through June 1993 indicated a reason for his misperception: NIH was mentioned in only two of these articles. Another survey--carried out by R. Anne Thomas, acting associate director for communications at NIH--yielded similar results. In that survey, only 36 of 153 separate articles announcing advances from 45 research projects conducted or supported by NIH credited the health agency for supporting the research. Scientists, university press officers, and science reporters know that NIH support is involved in virtually every aspect of basic biomedical research and training. We have assumed that the general public is equally aware of this fact. Clearly, it is not. In May 1993, Research!America polled the medical research and health care concerns of the citizens of North Carolina. Eighty- four percent of respondents believed it very important for the U.S. to maintain its leadership in research; 68 percent identified medical research as the most valuable type of government-sponsored research and an area for additional government investment; but only 6 percent could identify NIH as the major government agency that funds biomedical research! Thus, although the public is highly supportive of government funding of biomedical investigations, NIH's role is close to invisible to the public and even to some members of Congress. NIH's lack of public visibility endangers future financial support for biomedical research. NIH competes for taxpayer and congressional support with many other excellent federal programs and agencies. In times of constrained resources, it needs public recognition. To ensure that the agency's essential role in the support of research is appreciated, members of Congress and their constituents must be reminded continually by news reports of NIH's sponsorship of scientific advances. FASEB has asked university press officers and administrators to cite NIH support prominently. However, ultimate responsibility for ensuring that NIH receives the public recognition it deserves lies with us, the working scientists. We should insist that press releases describing our research credit NIH support and that such citations be placed in the lead sentence or paragraph of these releases, not in the last. We should emphasize the importance of NIH support when we speak to the press or to the public. We should write to our congressional representatives when we receive an NIH grant to remind them of the agency's essential role in supporting research conducted in the laboratories and institutions in their districts and states, and to urge their continued support for NIH. We must give increased attention to crediting NIH, Congress, and the American taxpayer for their support, and we must continually remind our public "patrons" of NIH's success in training scientists and in supporting the research needed to prevent and treat diseases. If we do these things, Congress and the public will better understand the linkage between NIH and advancements in medical science that improve human health. Samuel C. Silverstein is vice president and Frank W. Fitch is president of FASEB; John D. Loike is a research scientist in physiology at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #22, November 15, 1993) (copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: LETTERS ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : The Search For Truth AU : JAMES W. FLESHER TY : OPINION (LETTERS) PG : 12 I differ somewhat with the views expressed by Alvin M. Weinberg ("How Do We Identify Science's Most Worthwhile Problems?" The Scientist, July 26, 1993, page 11). I believe individual scientists select a problem because they know its solution would be of considerable interest to them and, possibly, to other scientists and the general public. The practice of science is defined as the conduct of research, which includes theory, experimental design, observation, measurement, and interpretation and communication of results. Although there is undoubtedly a very large number of possible questions answerable by scientists, if we include all of scientific inquiry, with respect to the problem at hand the number of questions that can be put in the form of testable hypotheses is rather limited. Sometimes there is only one hypothesis under consideration when it has been accepted by a group of investigators as a satisfactory solution, and it becomes a "ruling theory" even though it is no longer being critically tested. A satisfactory solution may have practical application. I agree with Weinberg that the search for truth must be the objective of scientific practice. Furthermore, the criterion of truth must be applied to all aspects of science. If two scientific propositions seem potentially valid, and they each lend themselves to specific predictions offering a means of testing their validity, they should both be critically tested. Disproving a proposition is of greater scientific value than merely confirming a well-established hypothesis. Judgments must be made about the costs and relative value of competing scientific activities. The problem with "big science" is that the experiments cost too much to repeat, and therefore "big science" consumes a large fraction of the overall budget for science. Specific aims such as "to determine the origin of the universe" are better defined as science fiction than as science. If such "big science" aims are to be pursued, the costs and benefits should be shared internationally. Every administrator, at whatever level, is always deciding which applicant's scientific project to support and which not to support with limited public funding. Unfortunately, they must make judgments before, not after, the science is practiced. If the decision to fund an applicant's project is ultimately political, then an awful lot of bad science will necessarily be funded. It will also require much more good science--and additional money--to clean up the mess than would otherwise be the case. JAMES W. FLESHER Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology University of Kentucky College of Medicine Lexington (The Scientist, Vol:7, #22, November 15, 1993) (copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : `Inexact Substitutes' AU : NEAL D. BARNARD TY : OPINION (LETTERS) PG : 12 Frederick Goodwin and Adrian Morrison misinterpreted my statements regarding animal experimentation in their commentary of Sept. 6, 1993 ("In Animal Rights Debate, The Only Valid Moderates Are Researchers," page 12). The point I made was that medical research is based primarily on studies of human individuals or populations, along with examination of human tissues and cells. Those who use animals as inexact substitutes always encounter problems of extrapolation to humans, often with grave consequences. The deaths of five human subjects following "successful" tests of a hepatitis drug on dogs is the latest example. Overall, of 198 drugs marketed during the decade 1976- 85, more than half (102) were so much more toxic than premarket animal and limited human trials had indicated that they had to be relabeled or withdrawn. Similarly, of 25 drugs that appeared to treat strokes in rodents, not a single one worked in people. Millions of dollars, years of effort, and hundreds of animals were lost for nothing. It is time to stop cheerleading for this expensive and gruesome activity and to start rolling up our sleeves to replace animal experiments with nonanimal models. NEAL D. BARNARD President Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine Washington, D.C. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #22, November 15, 1993) (copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: WHERE TO WRITE: Letters to the Editor The Scientist 3501 Market Street Philadelphia, PA 19104 Fax:(215)387-7542 E-mail: Bitnet: ===================================== RESEARCH ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : U.S. Institutions, Individuals Dominate Worldwide Genetics Research TY : RESEARCH PG : 14 Editor's Note: Although laboratories throughout the world are making steady research advances in the fields of molecular biology and genetics, perhaps no other realm of life sciences investigation is so heavily dominated by United States institutions and individuals. Among papers in these fields published between 1988 and 1992, 19 of the 25 highest-impact organizations--based on the average number of times their papers were cited by subsequent researchers--sprung from U.S. institutes, universities, or corporations; meanwhile, of the top 25 cited scientists for this same period--ranked by citations per paper--21 were American, or associated principally with U.S. labs. The dramatic achievement and obvious influence of U.S. efforts in molecular biology and genetics were revealed by a study presented this past summer in the newsletter Science Watch (4[7]:1-2, July/August 1993), published by the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI), Philadelphia. Following is the newsletter's report, reprinted here with the permission of Science Watch and ISI. When the 17th International Congress of Genetics convened this past August in Birmingham, England, the participants had plenty to ponder as they considered the meeting's official theme: "genetics and the understanding of life." To help them organize their thoughts, Science Watch decided to rank the highest-impact performers in molecular biology and genetics, based on papers published and cited between 1988 and 1992. The top institutions and individuals are listed in the accompanying tables. In this survey, Science Watch considered those papers appearing in 190 dedicated journals of molecular biology and genetics, as well as select papers published in the multidisciplinary journals Science, Nature, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). A previous ranking of institutions in molecular biology and genetics for the years 1981-91 did not include these three high-impact, multidisciplinary journals, nor did it include as many journals (Science Watch, 3[4]:7, May 1992). In all, the current study took into account 163,775 papers of all types and the 1,131,016 citations those papers collected through 1992. The mean citation-per-paper score, or world average, was 6.91, while the average for United States papers was 10.53. The Salk Institute in La Jolla, Calif., Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory on Long Island, N.Y. and the Whitehead Institute, Cambridge, Mass., which top the chart, make for something of a Big Three. All are elite independent research institutes. At fourth and fifth are the only industrial firms in the top 25, both California-based biotech companies: Genentech Inc., of South San Francisco, and Chiron Corp., headquartered in Emeryville. The Chiron totals include papers of another Emeryville firm, Cetus Corp., which Chiron acquired in late 1991. U.S. institutions take 19 of 25 places in one of the tables presented here. This is not a surprise, for two reasons: Many of the strongest research centers in molecular biology and genetics worldwide are located in the U.S.; and the large population of U.S. researchers active in this area is strongly represented in the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) database, upon which Science Watch's survey was based. As a consequence, and because U.S. researchers may look at papers published in U.S. journals more than they look at those in non-U.S. journals, U.S. papers have a leg up in terms of citation accumulation. All the more reason, then, to take note of the non-U.S. institutions listed. In sixth place on the chart is the Institut de Chimie Biologique, in Strasbourg, France. This institution, with Pierre Chambon--who holds 13th place in the other table--its most decorated investigator, is affiliated with the University of Strasbourg 1 and receives major research support from both INSERM and CNRS. Chambon and his team fielded the most cited paper of 1992 (Science Watch, 3[10]:1-2, 8, December 1992), which dealt with the retinoic X receptor. The other non-U.S. institutions listed are the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge (No. 10); the European Molecular Biology Lab in Heidelberg (No. 15); the National Institute for Medical Research in London (No. 18); Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children (No. 20), and, as a group, the U.K. laboratories of the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (No. 25). Not listed, but worth special mention, is the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) and its laboratories worldwide. The Hughes institute supports its researchers at their respective universities and hospitals. Sometimes the Hughes affiliation is presented in the author's address, but sometimes it is not. A complete picture of this organization was therefore impossible to obtain. Science Watch, however, did identify 2,514 papers that explicitly listed the HHMI affiliation. These papers were cited 71,251 times, for a citations-per-paper average of 28.34, which would have placed the institute at No. 7 in the institutional ranking. Other institutes deserving special mention are the Carnegie Institution's Department of Embryology in Baltimore (citations per paper score of 35.79); the Roche Institute, in Nutley, N.J. (34.53); and the La Jolla Cancer Research Foundation in La Jolla, Calif. (32.86). These three research institutes published fewer than 200 papers in molecular biology and genetics during 1988-92, so they were not ranked. The table of individual achievers lists the 25 most cited researchers who published 20 or more papers, ranked by citations per paper. It is noteworthy that nine of these 25 are Hughes investigators. HIGH-IMPACT INSTITUTIONS IN MOLECULAR BIOLOGY AND GENETICS, 1988-92 (among those publishing at least 200 papers) RANK INSTITUTION NUMBER NUMBER OF CITATIONS OF PAPERS CITATIONS PER PAPER 1 Salk Institute 403 16,752 41.6 2 Cold Spring Harbor Lab 359 14,641 40.8 3 Whitehead Institute 392 15,543 39.7 4 Genentech 225 7,452 33.1 5 Chiron 200 6,566 32.8 6 Institut Chimie 261 8,315 31.8 Biologique,Strasbourg 7 Fred Hutchinson Cancer 413 11,177 27.1 Center 8 Massachusetts Institute 1,060 27,296 25.8 of Technology 9 Princeton University 369 8,841 24.0 10 MRC Lab Molecular 430 10,193 23.7 Biology, Cambridge 11 Children's Hospital, 433 9,691 22.4 Boston 12 Rockefeller University 702 15,285 21.8 13 Harvard University 3,020 62,430 20.7 14 University of California,979 19,923 20.4 San Diego 15 European Molecular 652 12,998 19.9 Biology Lab 16 NICHD 238 4,686 19.7 17 University of Ca. 1,621 30,570 18.9 San Francisco 18 Natl. Inst. for 344 6,411 18.6 Med Research,London 19 National Cancer Inst. 1,787 33,165 18.6 20 Hospital for Sick 330 6,084 18.4 Children, Toronto 21 Scripps Clinic 526 9,603 18.3 & Research Foundation 22 Massachusetts General 649 11,762 18.1 Hospital 23 California Institute 426 7,708 18.1 of Technology 24 University of California,1,369 24,282 17.7 Berkeley 25 Imperial Cancer Research 976 16,892 17.4 Fund HIGH-IMPACT RESEARCHERS IN MOLECULAR BIOLOGY AND GENETICS, 1988-92 (ranked by average cites per paper) RANK NAME / INSTITUTION NUMBER NUMBER CITATIONS OF PAPERS OF CITATIONS PER PAPER 1 S. McKnight* / Carnegie Institution 20 3,006 150.3 2 R. Evans* / Salk Institute 32 3,822 119.4 3 B. Franza / Cold Spring Harbor 21 2,455 116.9 Lab. 4 T. Curran / Roche Inst. Molecular 32 3,626 113.3 Biology 5 R. Tjian* / Univ. of California, 52 5,344 102.8 Berkeley 6 E. Harlow / Massachusetts General 27 2,394 88.7 Hospital 7 T. Hunter / Salk Institute 50 4,383 87.7 8 H. Weintraub* / Fred Hutchinson 42 3,487 83.0 Cancer Center 9 D. Baltimore / Rockefeller University 87 6,977 80.2 10 M. Karin / Univ. of California, San Diego 44 3,502 79.6 11 D. Beach* / Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory 40 3,055 76.4 12 M. Rosenfeld* / Univ. California, 38 2,604 68.5 San Diego 13 P. Chambon / Institut de Chimie 66 4,402 66.7 Biologique 14 B. Vogelstein / Johns Hopkins University 43 2,829 65.8 15 P. Nurse / University of Oxford 49 3,178 64.9 16 P. Sharp / Mass. Institute of Technology 64 3,735 58.4 17 L. Tsui* / Hospital for Sick Children 54 3,094 57.3 18 I. Verma / Salk Institute 46 2,613 56.8 19 M. Green / University of Massachusetts 48 2,685 55.9 20 R. Klausner / NICHD 43 2,201 51.2 21 R. Roeder / Rockefeller University 60 2,951 49.2 22 A. Ullrich / Max Planck Inst. Biochemistry 65 3,161 48.6 23 J. Schlessinger / NYU Medical Center 72 3,354 46.6 24 F. Collins* / University of Michigan 70 3,254 46.5 25 R. White* / University of Utah 113 3,495 30.9 * Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator Source: Science Watch / Institute for Scientific Information (The Scientist, Vol:7, #22, November 15, 1993) (copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: HOT PAPERS ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : MOLECULAR BIOLOGY TY : RESEARCH (HOT PAPERS) PG : 17 A.A. Levin, L.J. Sturzenbecker, S. Kazmer, T. Bosakowski, C. Huselton, G. Allenby, J. Speck, C. Kratzeisen, M. Rosenberger, A. Lovey, J.F. Grippo, "9-Cis retinoic acid stereoisomer binds and activates the nuclear receptor RXRa," Nature, 355:359-61, 1992. Arthur A. Levin and Joseph F. Grippo (Department of Toxicology and Pathology, Hoffmann-La Roche Inc., Nutley, N.J.): "The biologic activities of the all-trans (t) isomer of retinoic acid (RA) are mediated through the binding and activation of a family of nuclear RA receptors (RARs) that are members of the steroid/thyroid superfamily of ligand- dependent transcription factors. A second family of nuclear RA receptors, the RXRs, was discovered that were weakly activated by t-RA but did not directly bind this ligand (D.J. Mangelsdorf, et al., Nature, 345:224-9, 1990 and Hot Papers, The Scientist, Nov. 25, 1991, page 16). These results suggested that a t-RA metabolite was the proximate ligand for the RXRs, and we developed a method using ligand-binding properties of nuclear receptors to determine the identity of this compound. "Thus, we reasoned that Cos-1 cell nuclei containing the overexpressed nuclear receptor RXR would trap the proximate ligand for this receptor when these cells were treated with tritiated t-RA. "Isolation of nuclei and subsequent HPLC analysis of nuclear extracts allowed us to identify the retinoic acid isomer, 9-cis RA, as a high-affinity ligand for RXR. These findings have led us and others to exploit the concept that receptors can be used as tools to isolate proximate ligands and has resulted in a new emphasis on understanding RA isomer interactions with receptors. The ERXRs bind only 9-cis RA, but the RARs bind both isomers, t- RA and 9-cis RA (G. Allenby, et al., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 90:30-4, 1993). In light of these differences in isomer specificity, we can now speculate that 9- cis RA and t-RA stimulate different receptor pathways. Although isomerization of retinoids was well known in the signal- transduction process in vision, this was the first indication that there were divergent receptors and gene pathways for different isomers of RA. "Several labs have recently shown that binding of the vitamin D, RA, and thyroid hormone receptors to DNA was enhanced through heterodimeric interactions with RXR (V.C. Yu, et al., Cell, 67:1251-68, 1991; M. Leid, et al., Cell, 68:377-95, 1992 and Hot Papers, The Scientist, Aug. 23, 1993, page 17), providing a link between responses mediated by RA and other hormones. The complexity of ligand-dependent transcription factors now includes the multiplicity of possible liganded states of heterodimers, and we have demonstrated differences in the interaction of these heterodimers with multiple DNA response elements (C. Carl-berg, et al., Nature, 361:657-60, 1993). "Taken together, these recent discoveries in retinoid biology have broad implications. Because of the fundamental processes regulated by retinoic acid, discovery of a novel pathway for its action has an impact on a range of disciplines covering physiology, biochemistry, and developmental biology. Furthermore, new retinoid entities synthesized to mimic 9-cis RA may have therapeutic significance in dermatology, oncology, and other areas of medicine." (The Scientist, Vol:7, #22, November 15, 1993) (copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY TY : RESEARCH (HOT PAPERS) PG : 17 F. Hillenkamp, M. Karas, R.C. Beavis, B.T. Chait, "Matrix- associated laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry of biopolymers," Analytical Chemistry, 63:A1193-A1202, 1991. Franz Hillenkamp (Institut fur Medizinische Physik und Bio-physik, Anster, Germany): "Mass spectrometry is a very accurate, sensitive, and informative technique that has considerable analytical potential in modern molecular biology, biochemistry, and biotechnology. Among the most important molecules of interest to biologists are biopolymers, which have molecular weights of several thousand to several hundred thousand daltons and normally exist only in an aqueous or otherwise condensed-phase environment. "The great challenge, therefore, was to `tickle' these large, complex molecules (a 100,000-dalton protein consists of more than 10,000 atoms!) out of their liquid or solid surrounding into the vacuum as intact, single individuals; add a charge to them; and direct them into a mass spectrometer. (Who, after all, would like to be put in a spaceship, leave all her or his family and friends, and be propelled out into the cold and dark space on a trip with no return?) "Although the ionization techniques of field desorption, fast atom bombardment, and plasma desorption had advanced the mass limits from just a few hundred to a few thousand daltons, most biomole-cules had remained out of reach to mass spectrometry. Around 1988, two very different techniques, electrospray ionization and matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization, were developed that broke this limitation, and mass spectrometry of molecules with masses greater than 100,000 daltons has become almost routine in just five years. "Our article in Analytical Chemistry was the first reasonably comprehensive review summarizing the state of the art in matrix- assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry. It has since become a standard reference for the several hundred groups around the world that use or further develop the method. The fact that this was the first real review in the field is probably the main reason for its frequent citation; the fact that it was written by the inventors and early contributors of essential improvements may have added to its authority. "Even though it is certainly rewarding to see one's paper highly cited, it is even better to find that it is already somewhat outdated only two years later by more than 100 publications documenting improvements to the technique. Polynucleotides, carbohydrates, and synthetic polymers have been added to the originally discussed proteins as new classes of accessible compounds. Improved methods of sample preparation have been described as well as instrumental modifications. It appears that the field will continue to develop at unbroken speed for several years to come. It's about time for a new, up-to-date review article." (The Scientist, Vol:7, #22, November 15, 1993) (copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: TOOLS & TECHNOLOGY ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : Knockout Mice Adding New Punch To Genetic Research AU : RICKI LEWIS TY : TOOLS & TECHNOLOGY PG : 18 In just over a decade, genetically engineered mice have brought dramatic changes to the biomedical sciences, offering basic researchers ways to detect the influences of single genes and more clinically oriented investigators compellingly close models of human disease. "These mice are, quite simply, extraordinary," says Joseph Perpich, vice president for grants and special programs at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) in Chevy Chase, Md., many of whose investigators use the new mice. Unlike the laboratory mice that have long been a staple of biology, genetically engineered mice carry genes specifically selected and imported into their genomes through a complex process involving DNA delivery, embryo manipulation, and classic genetics. And the technological challenges and labor necessary to create each line of mice have led to a problem--how to supply these custom-designed animals to the growing numbers of researchers requesting them, while keeping costs down. When companies began licensing rights to market these mice and then charging scientists stiff fees and imposing difficult restrictions on their use, researchers protested (C. Anderson, Science, 260:23, 1993; J. Travis, Science, 256:1393, 1992). Now, however, a new program at the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine, as well as a breeding center there backed by the National Institutes of Health, should increase the availability and affordability of genetically engineered mice. In addition, researchers can choose among several commercial vendors or develop their own mice. Transgenics And Knockouts There are two kinds of new laboratory mouse models: Transgenic mice bear a foreign gene inserted randomly into their genome; so- called knockout animals carry an inactivated form of a gene that replaces a functional version. Both technologies begin with identifying and isolating a gene of interest. The gene is then delivered, usually by microinjection, into a target cell. In transgenic technology, the target cell, a fertilized ovum, is implanted into a foster mother. The investigator then selects and breeds to each other the heterozygous offspring--those with one copy of the inserted, recessive gene, the transgene--to produce homozygotes that express the recessive trait the gene encodes. Transgenic organisms often are used for what has been called "pharming"--producing a pharmaceutical substance such as human clotting factor in their milk, for example. They also serve as models of human disease. Perhaps the best-known transgenic is the OncoMouse, also known as the Harvard Mouse, developed by Philip Leder at Harvard Medical School in 1988 (E. Sinn, et al., Cell, 49:465, 1987). The breast-cancer-prone rodent was licensed to E.I. Du Pont de Nemours and Co. Inc., Wilmington, Del., and distributed by Charles River Laboratories, Wilmington, Mass. Along with its innovative genetic programming, the mouse was delivered to researchers with problematic restrictions, including a so-called reach-through clause claiming royalties for Du Pont on any products or inventions using the mice. Gene targeting, to create the knockout mice, is a bit trickier than transgenic technology. It relies on a natural process called homologous recombination, in which a DNA sequence seeks its complement on a chromosome, and then switches places with it. The targets are mouse embryonic stem cells, taken from four-day-old mouse embryos. At this stage, the cells will take up foreign DNA, and they can then be introduced into another embryo to continue developing as part of it, still capable of differentiating into any tissue (M.J. Evans, M.H. Kaufman, Nature, 292:154, 1981; G. Martin, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 78:7634, 1981). To engineer a knockout mouse, a researcher transfers an inactivated gene into an embryonic stem cell, cultures that cell, then adds single cells to embryos from mice of a different color. The hybrid embryos complete development in a foster mother. Progeny containing some cells with the targeted gene are easy to spot--after birth, they have splotches of the color of the manipulated mouse in the background color of the recipient embryo. The bi-colored mice are next bred to albino mice. Completely pigmented progeny have the targeted gene in each cell--but only one copy. These pigmented mice must then be bred to each other. According to Mendel's laws, each offspring has a one-in-four chance of being a sought-after homozygote--a mouse with two copies of the targeted gene. Knockout mice model the most severe forms of human inherited disorders because they express a complete lack of gene function (J.N. Snouwaert, et al., Science, 257:1083, 1992). Particularly intriguing are knockout mice that bear inactivated genes thought to be essential for life--and yet survive (K.L. Philpott, et al., Science, 256:1448, 1992). This was the case for the p53 knockout mice developed in the laboratory of Allan Bradley at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston (L.A. Donehower, et al., Nature, 356:215, 1992). Lack of p53, a tumor suppressor gene, can cause a variety of cancers in humans. So, researchers were surprised that mice with a double dose of knocked-out p53 appear quite healthy. The mice do develop malignancies as they age--but not more often than do humans. Now, the possibility that the mice might possess some undiscovered genetic factor able to compensate for lack of p53 function is stimulating a new set of research questions. The Mouse Wars The p53 knockout mouse was the cause of the recent controversy over mouse pricing. Bradley's lab, unable to meet requests from colleagues for the p53 knockouts, licensed the mouse to GenPharm International in Mountain View, Calif. Because of high licensing fees and the considerable cost of maintaining the animals, GenPharm's p53 knockouts sold, in 1992, for $100 per mouse. And at first, researchers were not permitted to breed the mice other than to produce a few offspring to test the mice for birth defects. Anger over GenPharm's pricing and restrictions coalesced at the Mouse Molecular Genetics meeting at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Long Island, N.Y., in August 1992, in an impromptu session attended by more than 300 researchers and chaired by NIH director-designate and Nobel Prize-winning University of California, San Francisco, geneticist Harold Varmus. "The Cold Spring Harbor meeting was critical," says HHMI's Perpich. "There had been ad hoc meetings of scientists all over the country [to protest GenPharm's policies], but nothing had been crystallizing." One alternative to GenPharm brought up at the meeting was to involve the Jackson Laboratory, a nonprofit facility founded in 1929 to supply inbred strains of "Jax" mice for research, in producing supplies of genetically engineered mice. "At Cold Spring Harbor, Harold Varmus spoke to Howard Hughes Medical Institute's president and vice president about making a [financial] contribution" to the Jackson Laboratory to develop the mice, Perpich says. "It would be important for our own investigators and for the broader scientific community." With HHMI willing to provide funding to set up a program to supply the mice and researchers becoming more vocal in their objections to mouse prices, by the spring of this year GenPharm was already bowing to the pressure. Company president David Winter announced that, for a $1,000 annual fee, researchers could freely breed their GenPharm mice. "We no longer limit the number of offspring a researcher can breed, and [scientists] don't have to disclose the nature of the work. We let researchers do what they want with the animals," says Anthony P. Cruz, product manager of the transgenic laboratory at GenPharm, pointing out, too, that the company never had a reach-through clause similar to Du Pont's. Meanwhile, HHMI was rushing through a $1.2 million grant to the Jackson Laboratory to implement a mouse-supply program. "By May, it was all set, and the check, in full, was sent out three weeks later," says Perpich. Unexpectedly, support for the Jackson program from other sources took off. Organizations funding research into specific human disorders, from orphan genetic diseases to major killers, began to recognize the power of these mice as disease models. Dollars poured in, first from the March of Dimes, and soon after from the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, the Multiple Sclerosis Society, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and others. The Maine facility got to work immediately. "The Jackson lab is making a concerted effort to start acquiring these mice, maintain them, and make them available," says Mario R. Capecchi, the HHMI investigator and professor of human genetics at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, who pioneered gene targeting (M.R. Capecchi, Science, 244:1288, 1989; S.L. Mansour, K.R. Thomas, M.R. Capecchi, Nature, 336:348, 1988). "An important function will be to cryopreserve embryos, so that breeding need not be repeated over and over," he adds. "Some mice are available now," says John Sharp, superintendent of the induced mutant resource at the Jackson lab. "A researcher would order them like any Jax mice. We are trying to base prices on the amount of genetic typing that has to be done. Most range from $65 to $75 for a breeding pair of heterozygotes. And, as with all our mice, the researcher can keep the progeny." The "Jaxp53" strain, for example, knocked out for the p53 gene, sells for $60 per breeding pair. It was developed in the laboratory of cancer geneticist Tyler Jacks at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Soon there will be even more support for genetically engineered mice. NIH's National Center for Research Resources awarded a grant to the Jackson Laboratory earlier this fall to create a National Resource for Transgenic Animals. This program will provide transgenic and knockout mice at cost to basic researchers. Customized Mice Researchers seeking genetically altered mice have alternatives to commercial suppliers and the Jackson Laboratory. DNA Biotherapeutics Inc. in Princeton, N.J., offers contract services in developing transgenic mice. "Injecting DNA, screening the progeny, and identifying progeny costs $7,250 to $8,000," says Mark E. Swanson, associate scientific director for transgenic animal development. "But we find that most academic labs can't afford this. So we offer, for $4,000, to inject the gene and send progeny of injected embryos, and the researchers screen to identify the transgenics." DNX, also based in Princeton, offers yet another option--a $2,000 program underwritten by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). Researchers with proposals accepted by NICHD may send DNA to the NICHD Transgenic Mouse Development Facility operated by DNX. Some companies developing strains of transgenic or knockout mice have entered into collaborations with research institutions as they move toward making the mice commercially available. This is the case at Exemplar Corp., Worcester, Mass. Exemplar's proprietary transgenic mice currently are being used in research on AIDS, cancer, and Alzheimer's disease, although they are not yet available for purchase. "We have given them to institutions with whom we've entered into a relationship," says Paul Leibowitz, Exemplar's senior vice president of research and development. "They can't give them to a third party, but they are free to publish on anything." For those laboratories with the combination of expertise and technology necessary to engineer their own mice, that too will get easier, Capecchi says, as people become more adept at the manipulations of creating transgenics and knockouts. "And the price will continue to go down as people become better at it," he adds. The diverse suppliers of genetically engineered mice are likely to complement each other rather than compete, experts in and users of the technologies agree. Sharp of the Jackson Laboratory predicts a stratification of the market, with commercial vendors focusing on mice needed for research on such prevalent disorders as cancer and heart disease, and subsidized sources pursuing the rarer genetic conditions. Ricki Lewis is a freelance science writer based in Scotia, N.Y. (The Scientist, Vol:6, #1, January 6, 1992) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ VENDORS OF GENETICALLY ENGINEERED MICE The following suppliers are among those providing transgenic and knockout mice to researchers. Charles River Laboratories 251 Ballardvale St. Wilmington, Mass. 01887 (508) 658-6000 Products: OncoMice (five strains, transgenes are various oncogenes); apo-A-1 (transgene is human apolipoprotein A-1); ImmortoMouse (transgene is an SV40 gene allowing immortality of cells in culture). Call for details and prices. DNX 303B College Rd. East Princeton Forrestal Ctr. Princeton, N.J. 08540 (609) 520-0300 Fax: (609) 520-9864 Products: Premium mouse service (microinjection) with PCR $7,250; with slot blot analysis $7,500; with southern blot analysis $8,000. Shipping and handling $100. Basic mouse service $4,000 (researcher identifies transgenics). Exemplar Corp. 1 Innovation Dr. Worcester, Mass. 01605 (508) 755-0550 Products: Transgenic mouse models in development for oncogenes, Alzheimer's disease, AIDS, and genetic toxicology. Call for information on expected availability. GenPharm International 297 North Bernardo Ave. Mountain View, Calif. 94043 (415) 964-7024 Fax: (415) 964-3537 Products: Strains include p53, pim-1 oncogene, immunodeficient strains. $100-200 per mouse, plus $1,000 Research Breeding Agreement. The Jackson Laboratory 600 Main St. Bar Harbor, Maine 04609 (207) 288-3371 Products: Transgenic and knockout mice are $65-$75 per breeding pair. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #22, November 15, 1993) (copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: PROFESSION ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : Glenn Foundation Lures Scientists And Funders To Biology Of Aging AU : BRAD WARREN TY : PROFESSION PG : 20 A small California foundation that does not accept grant applications has nonetheless gained ground as an unusually flexible seed funder and advocate for research in the biology of aging. Researchers and officials in this field say the Glenn Foundation for Medical Research, endowed and run by venture capitalist Paul Glenn, is helping to crack the door on a broad area of biological investigation that still commands only a portion of the federal budget for medical research. Glenn "does fill some holes we can't handle," says Huber Warner, deputy associate director of the program on the biology of aging at the National Institute on Aging (NIA). That program had just $44 million for research grants in fiscal 1993, enough to fund only about 15 percent of proposals that cleared its peer-review process, he says. Glenn's Santa Barbara, Calif.-based philanthropy is one of a small cadre of private donors that are known for stepping into the breach, in part by supporting junior investigators, students, and projects that "lay the groundwork for what might become important research," says Stephanie Lederman, executive director of the American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR) in New York. "We feel that aging is an under-recognized field," says the 64- year-old Glenn. He contends that more research could delay and shorten terminal illnesses, which often consume the final decade of life and account for as much as half of the United States' health care bill, according to the Alliance for Aging Research in Washington D.C. Glenn's foundation, which currently has $7 million in assets, is due to mushroom in size upon his death, when Glenn says the rest of his estate will pour into its coffers. In the meantime, he and the foundation's executive vice president, Mark R. Collins, are concentrating on ways of leveraging limited grants to attract more resources and researchers to the field. Glenn says his foundation, which lacks staffers to sift through research proposals in-house, picks grant recipients primarily by relying on three sources: other organizations, such as AFAR, which administers Glenn Foundation award programs; members of the aging-research community, who propose other sci-entists' projects for funding; and a rotating committee of scientists, which recommends investigators for fellowships. Award Programs The Washington, D.C.-based Gerontological Society of America (GSA) and AFAR administer several awards for the Glenn Foundation. On November 21, Earl Stadtman, a biochemist at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, is scheduled to receive the $20,000 Glenn Foundation Award from GSA. The award recognizes outstanding contributions in biological research on aging. Stadtman is the second investigator in two years honored for research focusing on oxidative damage from free radicals, which Glenn regards as potentially "the chief villain in the aging process." Last year the award went to Bruce Ames, a professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of California, Berkeley. Ames's work on new methods of detecting oxidative DNA damage affirmed that simple dietary changes can retard aging and some degenerative diseases. GSA accepts nominations for this annual award until September 1. Through AFAR, the Glenn Foundation now funds two grants of $25,000 to $50,000 per year (but limited to $25,000 per scientist) specifically to help investigators develop data they can use to seek larger grants from the National Institutes of Health. The federation makes 35 to 40 such grants annually. AFAR's deadline for applications is January 15. The two organizations are launching a new Glenn Foundation/AFAR Scholarship in Biomedical Research. This program will provide $8,000 or $10,000 each for research projects that pair a medical student with an established faculty mentor, says Lederman. For the first round of scholarships, intended for the summer of 1994, proposals are due at AFAR's office by February 15. Seed Funding Glenn and Collins also scout for grantworthy projects through an informal network of investigators and colleagues in aging research. This occasionally leads to novel funding arrangements. For example, J. Fred Dice, a physiologist at Tufts University School of Medicine, encountered Glenn and Collins at scientific meetings, an acquaintance that led recently to the foundation's first corporate-style research agreement with a university laboratory. Under the agreement, the foundation is providing one-year "bridge" funding, enabling the lab to prepare enough data on age- related changes in protein degradation to seek major support from NIH, says Dice. In return, he says, the foundation has right of first refusal on any patents that might result, splitting potential commercial returns with the university and Dice. "We really needed this extra year, and the Glenn Foundation came through for us," says Dice. He and his colleague Lois Isenman think they are finding evidence that aging alters the way peptides calve off of proteins and migrate to the surface of cells. If so, the change might reveal a "fundamental" mechanism in the decline of immune recognition with advancing age, says Dice. Dice says he considers this work unlikely to lead to viable drugs to combat the aging process. But Collins, who works with Glenn in the venture capital business as well as at the foundation, says the agreement represents a model for how research foundations could recycle their investments in a time of declining funding from conventional sources. Recently, the foundation's involvement in research on certain anti-oxidant compounds led Glenn and Collins to help launch a biotechnology startup, Centaur Pharmaceuticals. "Paul and I got very deeply involved," says Collins, noting that they helped to form the company, raise venture capital, secure patent licenses, and recruit a chief executive. The Sunnyvale, Calif., firm aims to commercialize patents stemming from research the foundation honored by giving a $50,000 Glenn Fellowship Award to Robert A. Floyd, head of the free radical biology and aging unit at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, Oklahoma City, who shared the prize money with a colleague, John M. Carney, an associate professor of pharmacology and psychiatry at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, says Collins. Fellowship Grants The Glenn Fellowship Award process represents the foundation's third major avenue for grant selection. An annually appointed, rotating committee of leading scientists nominates recipients for the prize. The latest recipient was Dean Ornish, president and director of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute in Sausalito, Calif. Using positron emission technology to scrutinize blood vessel walls, Ornish demonstrated that atherosclerosis can be reversed through diet, exercise, and stress reduction, without the need for costly drugs and surgery. The Mutual of Omaha Companies followed up by announcing a pilot project in six cities to reimburse customers who opt for the "lifestyle-modification program" recommended by Ornish. Glenn has proposed fattening the funding pool for medical research by asking NIH to share its files of grant applications with interested corporations. He also is urging insurance companies, in particular, to support biomedical research, arguing that its fruits could reduce the enormous medical claims of elderly patients. Apart from research grants and awards, the Glenn Foundation cosponsors scientific meetings with NIA, which rarely receives nongovernment support, and with professional scientific organizations such as GSA. For more information, contact the Glenn Foundation for Medical Research, 1250 Coast Village Rd., Suite K, Santa Barbara, Calif. 93108; (805) 565-3363. The American Federation for Aging Research can be contacted at 1414 Avenue of the Americas, New York, N.Y. 10019; (212) 752-2327. The Gerontological Society of America can be contacted at 1275 K St., N.W., Suite 350, Washington, D.C. 20005-4006; (202) 842-1275. Brad Warren is a Seattle-based freelance writer. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #22, November 15, 1993) (copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: PEOPLE ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : UC-Davis Tomato Genetics Researcher Is Honored With The von Humboldt Award AU : PHIL BECK TY : PROFESSION (PEOPLE) PG : 21 Charles M. Rick, a researcher in tomato genetics and an emeritus professor of vegetable crops at the University of California, Davis, received the $10,000 Alexander von Humboldt Award in a ceremony on the Davis campus October 25. The award is given annually by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, which has headquarters in both Germany and the United States. The foundation presents the award to the individual it deems to have made the most significant contribution to American agriculture during the previous five years. Rick, 78, who has won many awards, says that the von Humboldt holds special significance for him: Over the course of the 14 expeditions he's taken through South America in search of wild tomato varieties, he says, he has retraced the route taken by von Humboldt--the German naturalist and geographer after whom the award is named--and French botanist AimBonpland from 1799 to 1804. In addition, Rick notes, one of the wild species of tomatoes he's studied in South America, Lycopersicon hirsutum H and B (for Humboldt and Bonpland), was first collected and named by the pair. The species is one of thousands he's collected in more than 50 years of expeditions and study of tomato genetics, research that has enabled him over the years to map the location of several of the genes on the tomato's 12 chromosomes. Rick's genetic characterization of the tomato is credited by many with making the crop a preferred model system for molecular genetic studies and leading to its being the first genetically engineered food to reach the consumer market. Many of the species he's researched are now extinct in their native habitats but preserved in his collection, housed since 1990 in the Charles M. Rick Tomato Genetics Resource Center on the Davis campus. With more than 2,500 wild and mutant tomato strains, it is one of the largest collections of tomato genetic material in the world. "It just developed as a secondary event," Rick recalls. "In fact, in my first trip to the Andean region, collecting wasn't my main purpose. I was just doing some experiments on pollination. I naturally was interested in the wild species, and we made a few collections on that trip. "It gradually dawned on us as we studied the material, and what was available in collections, that an awful lot needed to be collected to round out the collection--for representation of different geographical areas and different subspecific types and even new species. "At first we only had a few collections and then the second trip, in '56-'57, was intended more as a collecting trip. Then we came back with just a raft of stuff. It was logical that we'd better do something with this stuff and make sure that all these were kept alive. In the meanwhile, we were doing a lot of genetic experimentation, getting different mutations, chromosomal abnormal types, and these were being built up in our collection, too, and we were using all this stuff for our own purposes. It just sort of grew like Topsy, and finally it became a major enterprise." It is a matter of serendipity that the resource center does not house strains of asparagus, rather than tomatoes. After earning his Ph.D. at Harvard University in 1940, Rick joined the UC-Davis faculty and was at first assigned research on asparagus. But a senior professor suggested that he investigate the cause of unfruitfulness in certain tomato plants that, he discovered, suffered from a variety of genetic disorders. His research on the abnormalities that caused the infertility of the plants led to a program that eventually resulted in the construction of a linkage map of the positions of variable genes on the tomato's chromosomes--and he was hooked. "I was never tempted to get off the track," Rick says. "It's been totally fascinating. One area of research would gradually shift into another area, and new developments would take place and we could now develop areas that we had been working on before in a much easier fashion." Rick retired from UC-Davis 12 years ago, but returned recently to collaborate on a successful project to sexually transfer genes from distantly related plant species into the tomato, a breakthrough that will enable researchers to introduce a new range of agronomic traits into cultivated tomatoes. Rick was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1973. In addition to the von Humboldt, he has received the Merit Award from the Botanical Society and the Frank N. Meyer Medal from the American Genetics Association. --Phil Beck (The Scientist, Vol:7, #22, November 15, 1993) (copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ----------------------------------------------------------------- OBITUARY Kenneth G. Hancock, a chemist and director of the National Science Foundation's chemistry division, died September 10 of a heart attack in Budapest, Hungary, where he was attending a workshop on environmental chemistry cosponsored by the agency. He was 51 years old. Hancock joined NSF's chemistry division as program director in 1977, and served as acting and deputy director before heading the division in 1990. While with the agency, Hancock advanced international collaborations among chemists, especially those bringing United States chemists together with colleagues in Eastern Europe and Russia, according to NSF officials. Hancock chaired an interagency group made up of representatives of several federal agencies that fund chemistry research and education, including NSF, the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Education, the Food and Drug Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Defense. He also negotiated agreements with EPA and the National Institutes of Standards and Technology. During Hancock's tenure, the chemistry division agreed with EPA to research environmentally benign methods of chemical synthesis. Under his leadership, the agency also jointly funded electrochemical synthesis research with the Electric Power Research Institute. Hancock received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin in 1968 and worked as assistant and associate professor in the chemistry department at the University of California, Davis, from 1968 to 1979. His research focused on organic and organometallic photochemistry, and he opened a new field of study in organoboron photochemistry, according to NSF officials. He was a member of the National Research Council's Committee on Chemical Industry, Chemical and Engineering News' editorial advisory board, and the American Chemical Society's Committee on Science. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #22, November 15, 1993) (copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================


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