THE SCIENTIST VOLUME 8, No:6 MARCH 21, 1994 (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) Articles publ

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THE SCIENTIST VOLUME 8, No:6 MARCH 21, 1994 (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 *** *** APRIL 4, 1994 *** *** *** ******************************************************* 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 BUDGET PROSPECTS: Science society leaders and science agency officials are cautious in their praise of President Clinton's proposed 1995 research and development budget, recognizing it as the best that can be obtained in a year of federal fiscal belt-tightening. Meanwhile, Congress' No. 1 science expert, Rep. George Brown, Jr. of California, is outspokenly critical of the proposal, warning that the new budget may not fare well among his colleagues on Capitol Hill PG : 1 INTEGRATING MEDICINE: The National Institutes of Health's Office of Alternative Medicine is planning a research methodologies conference this July to help bring scientific rigor to investigations in such areas as bioelectromagnetics, acupuncture, and prayer intervention. Innovative programs funded by several philanthropic foundations and educational efforts at some top medical schools are also helping to integrate conventional and alternative research thinking PG : 1 MARY LASKER'S LEGACY: The cause of biomedical science has lost a friend and champion with the recent death of Mary Lasker, say scientists who have benefited from her efforts on their behalf over the past half-century, including the founding and sponsorship of the prestigious Lasker Awards, and her fund-raising and lobbying for biomedicine PG : 3 EXPERIMENTAL BIOLOGISTS MEET: Researchers from an increasingly wider array of disciplines will be gathering next month for the Experimental Biology 94 conference. To focus on the overlapping areas of investigation, theme topics with applicability to many fields have been chosen for the meeting PG : 4 OPINION PATHWAYS FOR WOMEN IN SCIENCE: An ongoing study that follows women through college and into the early and middle stages of their careers in science provides clear evidence that much more needs to be done--at all stages and by everyone concerned at the academic and career level--to nurture women in this profession, say Wellesley College researchers Paula M. Rayman and Belle Brett PG : 11 COMMENTARY: The interests of scientific researchers, library administrators, and science journal publishers have been in conflict for a long time, notes publisher Eugene Garfield. And recent claims that library acquisitions problems are now approaching the crisis stage--the latest manifestation of these perennially competing interests--could well be a melodramatic overstatement PG : 12 RESEARCH SEX RESEARCH: Much study classified as "sex research" goes unrecognized--and unfunded--because of moral and political stigmas attached to the term. But, as basic scientists in this field emphasize, their work covers a wide variety of biological and biomedical areas, including the structure and function of the reproductive system on other organs and systems in the body PG : 15 HOT PAPERS: A molecular biologist discusses his paper on the molecular and functional distinction of NMDA receptor subtypes PG : 17 TOOLS & TECHNOLOGY ELECTROPHORESIS SUPPORT SYSTEMS: As gel electrophoresis has become a staple of biological laboratories, an array of ever-improving computer hardware and software is helping researchers in their quantification, image-enhancement, and analysis tasks PG : 18 PROFESSION FROM BENCH TO BOOKS: Many investigators looking for a science-related alternative to a career in research have found satisfaction in various areas of science book publishing, which they say challenges both their scientific and literary skills PG : 21 CHEMIST HOWARD E. SIMMONS, a retired vice president of DuPont's central research and development department, has won the 1994 Priestley Medal from the American Chemical Society PG : 23 SHORT TAKES NOTEBOOK PG : 4 CARTOON PG : 4 LETTERS PG : 12 CROSSWORD PG : 13 ELECTROPHORESIS IMAGING AND ANALYSIS PRODUCTS DIRECTORY PG : 19 NEW PRODUCTS PG : 20 (The Scientist, Vol:8, #6, March 21, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: NEWS ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : Alternative Medicine Ideas Widen Horizons In Biomedical Research Scientists are becoming more `integrative' in examining and applying unconventional techniques AU : FRANKLIN HOKE TY : NEWS PG : 1 At the National Institutes of Health on July 11-13, the Office of Alternative Medicine (OAM) will hold its first technology assessment conference. One of the primary goals of the conferees will be to begin development of research methodologies appropriate to the study of such treatment approaches as traditional Chinese herbal medicine, acupuncture, and therapeutic touch, according to OAM officials and others. A follow-up meeting, it is hoped, will address specific issues of research design, measurement, and data analysis. Creating rigorous methodologies to test the efficacy of unconventional medical practices, scientists say, will become increasingly important as findings in some fast- moving biomedical research areas--psychoneuroimmunology and psycho- pharmacology, for example--converge with the integrative ideas of alternative medicine. Several innovative funding initiatives from philanthropic foundations are also expected to help in this task, they say, and newly established alternative medical education courses at a number of top medical schools should serve to further interweave establishment and alternative medical research. Investigators add that health-care reform, as it evolves, may emphasize the preventive and behavioral aspects of biomedicine, aspects considered central to many alternative therapies, also contributing to growth in those areas. "We're going to bring together people from the alternative medicine field with research methodologists, to try to see if there are new kinds of methodologies we can develop that are more appropriate to the kind of work we're doing," says James Gordon, a cochairman of the OAM methodology meeting and a clinical professor of psychiatry and community and family medicine at Georgetown University Medical School and director of the Center for Mind-Body Medicine, both in Washington, D.C. Gordon says some questions arising in alternative medical settings are crucial for health but will be difficult to address scientifically. "For example, what are the best ways of studying the interaction between the person who's giving help and the person who's receiving help?" Gordon asks. "How do we take account of the fact that so many of these modalities, used in an optimal way, are very carefully individualized?" The questions to be confronted in designing new methodologies to assess alternative treatments may challenge researchers' basic biomedical perspectives, according to David Eisenberg, an internist and instructor in medicine at the Beth Israel Hospital and Harvard Medical School, both in Boston. For example, he says, simply testing the effectiveness of a Chinese herbal remedy prescribed for migraine headache on migraine sufferers might be inappropriate, because the underlying diagnostic categories in Chinese medicine could differ dramatically from those in Western medicine. Ten people with a diagnosis of migraine in Western medicine might fall into three or four or more treatment categories using what Eisenberg calls the "pulse-and-tongue" diagnostic techniques of Chinese medicine. The diagnosis might be a liver deficiency, with the corresponding prescription of a certain herb. "It would be senseless and, I think, intellectually arrogant to simply look for an active ingredient without taking into account the diagnostic theory with which that herb has been used for a millennium," Eisenberg says. "We have to keep that in mind before offering the simplistic approach that if we just test all these herbs to see which ones fix migraines, it'll work. That's not the way they're used, so why test them that way?" Still, there are ways to study the diagnostic system of Chinese medicine, Eisenberg says. Researchers in China are now working with sensitive pressure meters, for example, to assess pulse aberrations on the radial artery. "[This work] not only cuts across medical specialties, it cuts across all the basic science disciplines as well," says Gordon. "And once you start thinking in terms of another diagnostic system, it calls into question all the conventional ways that we've looked at illness." Foundation Funders A handful of private foundations are playing leadership roles in supporting research into alternative therapies and into the basic science disciplines seeking to describe the biochemistry of mind-body links. For more than a decade, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in Chicago has sought to address some of these questions and currently invests roughly $3 million annually in such research. "Our goal here is to bring hard-bitten science to bear on issues at the interface of mental and physical health, and of emotional state and physiological state," says Denis J. Prager, director of the health program at the MacArthur Foundation and a former deputy science adviser to Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. "The alternative-medicine, mind-body, faith-and-healing area--whatever all this is called--is littered with anecdotal evidence and intuitions and personal experiences, but has not been characterized by much good science. "But there's enough work now to say that we know mental state has a role in health and in disease processes. We can't say anymore that we don't have enough data--we do. The questions are how can we get more data, how can we understand the mechanisms, and how can we take what we know to be proven and get it into practice?" Psychiatrist Robert M. Rose says that while alternative medical therapies are opening important new research questions, new scientific methods are not needed to answer them. Rose is head of the MacArthur Foundation's research network on mind-body interactions. "There are a lot of indications, mostly epidemiological, that psychological and social phenomena can affect health," says Rose. "But one doesn't have to invoke strategies that are not amenable to the same kinds of scientific rigor that are extant in most biomedical research. Our own network is an attempt to apply evolving new tools in studying how the mind-brain works and its control of peripheral physiological functioning [in a way] that is consonant with what is done in more standard laboratories." Rose's reference to a unified "mind-brain" suggests a view, similar to that of other researchers in this area, of the brain as more than just a physical organ--his concept also includes psychological, emotional, and other aspects of mental state. The Fetzer Institute in Kalamazoo, Mich., has also been a prominent supporter of research into alternative medical approaches, spending about $5 million a year currently. Among other projects, the institute supported journalist Bill Moyers's 1993 public television series "Healing and the Mind," and it is a funder of David Eisenberg's work at Harvard. Like others trying to structure investigations of alternative medicine, Fetzer staff are struggling with how best to address the new categories of questions being raised by their efforts. "I don't know of anyone who disputes the reality of interactions between the nervous and the immune systems," says Ken Klivington, Fetzer vice president for science. "But the real problem currently is [assessing] the clinical significance of psychologically induced changes in the functions of the immune system. And that's proving to be a real bear to wrestle with. There are so many variables involved in these clinical studies. People don't even agree on what aspects of immune function to measure." The institute's founder, John E. Fetzer, who was a pioneer in radio broadcasting--and one-time owner of the Detroit Tigers baseball team--had a special interest in the possible medical applications of electromagnetic waves, according to Kliving-ton. Now receiving funding from the institute is the work of Jan Walleczek at Loma Linda Veterans Administration Medical Center in California. Walleczek is working to develop instrumentation for the new field of bioelectromagnetics. "There are many people who believe," says Harvard's Eisenberg, "that the chemical alterations that we are most comfortable discussing in terms of biology are fundamentally electrical and electromagnetic field-related phenomena, and that it may be that, at the more basic level, it is the field phenomena that are driving the cell membranes and the chemistry, not the other way around. . . . What Jan Walleczek has done is create a new shielded apparatus to explore low-frequency radiation effects on cells." Klivington says Walleczek's experimental model looks at the interaction between weak electro- magnetic fields and biological systems, specifically the calcium uptake of various cells in culture. "Increasingly, hard-nosed scientists are willing to take a look at things that they would have dismissed out of hand not too long ago," Klivington says. The New Schools Several top medical schools have introduced or are in the process of organizing alternative medicine components to their curricula. In these settings, too, researchers are making efforts to meld the scientific viewpoint and elements of alternative medical thinking. Educating tomorrow's biomedical professionals with a broader awareness of the healing arts may serve to inform new research approaches in the future, educators say. "Part of what we hope to do, in addition to conducting research, is also to develop courses for medical students and graduate students on different ways of thinking about research," says Fredi Kronenberg, associate professor of clinical physiology and director of the Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Center for Alternative/Complementary Medicine at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York. "In clinical trials and medical research, the double-blind, placebo-controlled trial is the standard," Kronenberg says. "Well, there are a lot of things for which that is not appropriate. How do you do a double-blind study of acupuncture? How do you do a double-blind study of body-work techniques? People are beginning to talk about other methodologies, other ways of looking at the outcome of a particular treatment in order to determine effectiveness." This year, Kronenberg's center sponsored an elective course in alternative and complementary medicine at Columbia with invited lecturers presenting talks on such topics as nutritional medicine, hypnosis, biofeedback, chiropractic, homeopathy, and therapeutic touch. At a January lecture, Georgetown's James Gordon discussed mind-body medicine. In April, Ted Kaptchuk, associate course director for alternative medicine at Harvard Medical School, will address the "Historical Concept of Vital Energy in Alternative Medicine," and two sessions will review alternative cancer and AIDS therapies. Brian Berman, an assistant professor of anesthesiology and family medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, has been working to design rigorous methodologies for acupuncture and pain studies. Berman is also director of the Laing/University of Maryland Complementary Medicine Program, started in 1991 with funding of $1 million from the Maurice Laing Foundation in London and matching funds from the university. "There are a lot of [acupuncture] studies, but not that many have good methodologies," Berman says. "You've got to have sham points, where one group gets acupuncture and the other gets needles in non-acupuncture points. But when we started to explore that, we realized that by doing that you are eliciting a well-known mechanism called diffuse noxious inhibitory control from the brain. You're actually doing something by just putting needles into what you think are nonacupuncture points. If that's the case, then you're really narrowing the difference between the two groups. So, we've come up with what we think is more of a real placebo, where we're not actually puncturing the skin." Berman adds: "But then--imagine the challenge--how do you do good research on meditation or prayer? And yet people have done it, good scientists. So, there's plenty of room for good researchers." This year, also, OAM is planning to begin funding a number of postdoctoral training fellowships to help attract qualified researchers to the alternative medicine area. The awards will be for periods of up to three years in length, with stipends ranging from $18,000 to $32,300 per year, depending on the recipient's postdoctoral experience. "These fellowships are for people who are trained in Western science and research who now have an interest to learn more and get more experience in alternative medicine," Berman says. "The idea is that they can eventually put in for research grants in this field. I've got [an application] on my desk right now from somebody who's saying, `I've got a Ph.D. in biochemistry and I'm interested in learning more about how that could be applied to research in this field. Do you have a slot for me?'" Holistic Thinking Among the aims of the new medical school programs in alternative medicine is to reintroduce integrative biological thinking, which some see as having been lost in much of current biomedicine. "I think we've lost touch with the whole," says Columbia's Fredi Kronenberg. "There are fewer and fewer biology departments around the country with whole-organism physiology. It's a lot of molecular and cellular physiology, which is fine, but there's a place for systems biology. You can take things apart, but you have to put them back together again to see how they work." Kronenberg sees the new thinking not necessarily as alternative to current biomedicine, but as supplemental to it. The MacArthur Foundation's Robert Rose agrees. "People are so worried about the molecularization of medicine," says Rose, "that they say, `Let's look at alternative treatments.' What I would argue is that we need additional complementary strategies. It's not that we shouldn't do biomedicine as it's evolving now, when we're understanding gene structures for a variety of things. The issue is how to then come back and be much more holistic or integrative. That's the challenge." Many researchers involved in bringing alternative medical thinking into establishment biomedical settings say there are implications for medical practice. As the United States confronts health-care reform and considers new ways to keep its population healthy, they say, behavioral and preventive aspects of medicine are likely to gain prominence. "We have a health-care system that was built on the model of fixing people when they get acutely ill and that responds as though the basic underlying causes of these illnesses are biological pathogens," says Denis Prager, at the MacArthur Foundation. "What we're not dealing with is the whole set of mental, emotional, and environmental influences on health. And that's what's breaking the bank, in a sense." Editor's Note: This second part of a two-part series looks at researchers' efforts to establish rigorous methodologies to investigate alternative medical therapies. There are signs that tomorrow's medicine may be quite changed from today's, with medical schools now adding novel courses to their curricula, private funders helping establish new directions for biomedical investigations, and the United States searching for cost-effective health-care reforms. The first part of this series, which appeared in the March 7 issue, charted the ground shared by basic biomedical research and alternative medicine and the emerging synergy between the two. ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104, U.S.A. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #6, March 21, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : Given Tight U.S. Economy, Science Leaders Consider FY 1995 R&D Budget Satisfactory They say the proposal may be the best they can get, but Rep. George Brown warns that it may not get through Congress intact AU : BARTON REPPERT TY : NEWS PG : 1 Officials at major scientific societies and associations say they are generally satisfied with the Clinton administration's $71 billion budget request for science research and development in the 1995 fiscal year. The proposed funding levels, they contend, are about as favorable for the research community as could be expected-- in view of tight constraints on the overall federal budget. But Rep. George E. Brown, Jr. (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee--and regarded widely as Congress' No. 1 science expert--has expressed serious concern over the proposals and how they are likely to fare at the hands of his colleagues on Capitol Hill. The budget, released early last month, includes a 6 percent increase for the National Science Foundation, up to a level of $3.2 billion next year, and a 4.7 percent increase for the National Institutes of Health, up to $10.994 billion in fiscal 1995, beginning on October 1. Albert H. Teich, director of science and policy programs at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, observes that "the budget is consistent with what the administration has stated its priorities are. They're essentially putting their money where their mouth is." Teich adds that, "considering the overall state of federal finances and the caps on discretionary spending, we could not expect much--and we got a little [increase for R&D]. It's not much to jump up and down about, but on the other hand it could have been worse." And Martin A. Apple, executive director of the Council of Scientific Society Presidents (CSSP), a group headquartered in Washington, D.C., that brings together the heads of about 60 scientific societies, says that CSSP "would like to commend the administration for promising to ensure leadership in fundamental research ... and encourage them to act accordingly as they make decisions." Says Apple: "I'm very pleased to see the proposed increases for the National Science Foundation [and] the continued commitment to the Human Genome Project, the important commitment to energy conservation research." Another association official expressing overall satisfaction with the R&D budget is Clifford J. Gabriel, executive director of the Washington-based American Institute of Biological Sciences. "In the biomedical area it could be better, but at least we didn't go down any," he says. "I guess I was particularly pleased with the NSF budget. Also the USDA [United States Department of Agriculture] competitive grants program got a good budget. I think overall we did real well." Other association and society officials, while voicing general approval for the funding proposals, have some strong reservations. Frank Fitch, president of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), based in Bethesda, Md., comments about the budget: "I think that it is fine as far as it goes, but it doesn't go far enough." He notes that for NIH, FASEB's consensus recommendation calls for a fiscal 1995 budget of $11.934 billion--$940 million more than the Clinton request. Fitch, director of the Ben May Institute at the University of Chicago, contends that strong support for biomedical research is essential for maintaining the U.S. world lead in biotechnology. "Biotechnology is probably the fastest-growing industry in the United States.... It's estimated that this is going to be up to a $50 billion-a-year business by the year 2000. Biotechnology is really fueled by discoveries that are made in the labs that are conducting fundamental research," the FASEB president says. Cornelius J. Pings, president of the Washington-based Association of American Universities, representing major U.S. research-intensive schools, says with regard to Clinton's R&D budget that "generally I think it was a quite favorable outcome, given the circumstances and the context." But Pings calls a proposed clampdown on indirect costs an "unfortunate" step that will tend to hurt younger researchers. The plan, he says, is "counterintuitive and in fact erodes the real impact of the budget increases." The Clinton budget suggests a one-year "pause" on reimbursements to universities for indirect research overhead costs, which currently run more than $3 billion annually. The budget document states that "in a year in which total discretionary spending is being frozen and government administrative costs are being aggressively reduced, it is necessary to ask universities and other nonprofit institutions to participate in this restraint. Instead of a permanent cut or cap on overhead payments, the 1995 budget proposes a one-year pause that instructs grantee institutions not to seek additional payments for overhead above the amounts claimed in 1994." `Grim' Outlook Rep. Brown's concerns about the budget address both the proposals themselves and how his fellow legislators will react to them. "The good news on deficit reduction heralds tough times ahead for the nation's R&D investments," Brown said in a statement. "The stringency of budget caps has seriously squeezed funding for a number of worthwhile science programs, and the long-term outlook for many science and R&D budgets is very grim." An analysis prepared by Brown's committee staff finds that under Clinton's budget, the nation next year would spend less on R&D--as a percentage of gross domestic product--than in any year since 1958. One area of reduced funding that has prompted strong criticism from Brown is the budget for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Brown said in another statement that "the FY95 budget is too low to support the vigorous space program envisioned by the administration and by NASA." The administration's budget calls for a cut of more than $160 million in overall funding for NASA, down to a fiscal 1995 level of $14.301 billion. This marks the first time since cancellation of the Apollo program in 1974 that a president has requested a decrease for NASA. The R&D portion of NASA's activities, however, is to receive a $105 million increase, up to $8.597 billion. The California Democrat noted that projections show NASA increases are expected to remain at about 1 percent for the next several years. In constant dollars, Brown said, "this growth will not even keep pace with inflation and represents an actual decline in NASA's buying power. This will almost certainly mean restructuring and redefining our space goals drastically." Moreover, the analysis cautions, Congress may well make program cuts or increases that are substantially different from the admini-stration's when the House and Senate appropriations committees take up the FY 1995 request. The analysis notes that options available to congressional appropriators are limited because of the budget "caps" or ceilings on discretion- ary spending that Congress and the administration have agreed to impose in order to help reduce the federal deficit. Such caps need to be adhered to without cuts in so-called entitlement programs, for example Social Security. Also, "once appropriations allocations are made to subcommittees, possible trade-offs are narrowed still further. NASA, for example, is pitted against housing and veterans programs; NOAA [the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Admini- stration] is pitted against the Census Bureau and the crime initiative; and general science and energy R&D [at the Department of Energy] are pitted against water projects." The committee analysis warns that "the combination of spending caps and the appropriations process rather arbitrarily circumscribes the arena within which science, space, and technology programs compete for scarce budget resources. As programs whose payoffs, no matter how valuable, tend to be longer-term and intangible in the short run, they are particularly vulnerable to short-sighted budget-cutting efforts." Rosier Views A considerably more upbeat examination of the administration's R&D budget has been issued by the Washington-based Council on Competitiveness, a nonprofit organization of chief executives from business, higher education, and organized labor. Studies by the council contributed to shaping Clinton's science and technology policy during the 1992 campaign and during his first year in office. The council's analysis says the proposed overall federal R&D spending level for fiscal 1995--$71.029 billion, or a 4 percent increase over the 1994 figure--"is highly respectable considering the declining nature of discretionary spending and the proposed terminations and reductions in many other areas." The analysis states: "Critical technology initiatives that target national goals--such as improved information and transportation infrastructure, health, and environmental protection--are a cornerstone of the FY 1995 budget." But the group expresses some concern with regard to the National Science Foundation, noting that "over the longer term ... NSF's budget is only expected to rise another 3 percent between FY 1995 and FY 1997. This slower rate of growth falls short of inflation and does not keep pace with the council's recommended timeframe for significantly increasing NSF funding." At a press briefing on the day the budget was released, White House science and technology adviser John H. Gibbons emphasized that "tough fiscal discipline is clearly the name of the game for us now, in the closing years of this century. And I think the FY '95 budget ... reflects just that. We have cuts throughout the federal government. But taken judiciously, and key presidential priorities are preserved--including a commitment to science and technology." Gibbons emphasized proposed substantial boosts for high- priority areas such as advanced manufacturing technology, particularly programs at the Commerce De- partment's National Institute of Standards and Technology; environmental technology; biomedical research; transportation; the national information infrastructure; and defense industry conversion under the administration's Technology Reinvestment Program. Also, he contended that the administration aims to "ensure continued leadership in fundamental science through continued investments in basic science, math, and engineering research. This fundamental research is what ultimately drives our basic understanding of the world, and is the seed ground for new technologies and new options for the future." At another February budget briefing, NSF director Neal Lane called the proposed $3.2 billion for his agency--including a $180 million, or 8.3 percent, increase (to $2.349 billion) for research and related activities--"a very good budget in a very tough budget year." Asked about how the foundation is responding to the Senate Appropriations Committee's call last fall for increasing its focus on "strategic" research areas, Lane responded that "the largest fraction of the increment is certainly [for] strategic research.... The reason that NSF was given real growth in its budget [for FY 1995] was because of the role NSF has been able to play and the capacity it has to invest additional resources in these strategic areas." NSF budget documents distributed at the briefing indicate that these requested increases include a 46.2 percent boost for global change research, up to $208 million; a 23.1 percent increase for high-performance computing and communications, up to $329 million; a 4 percent increase for science, mathematics, engineering, and technology education, up to $650 million; and a 3.3 percent increase for biotechnology, up to $206 million. At the National Institutes of Health, the administration's proposed 4.7 percent increase for fiscal 1995 is less than the 6.1 percent boost that NIH received for this year--which included $288 million added by Congress to the White House's request. During a February meeting with science writers, NIH director Harold Varmus commented that "NIH fared reasonably well, considering the constraints on discretionary spending." But, he added, in view of the modest spending increments, as well as a continuing need to increase the average size of grants, "an awful lot of excellent [research] proposals are not going to be funded." NIH's recently reconstituted Office of AIDS Research is budgeted at $1.379 billion for FY 1995, up from this year's AIDS research spending totaling $1.301 billion. The Human Genome Project, being conducted by NIH and the Department of Energy (DOE), is slated to receive a 22 percent increase, up to a fiscal-1995 level of $241 million. A number of science society and association officials echo either administration views or Brown's concerns, especially over Congress' treatment of the new proposals. Kathleen Ream, head of the American Chemical Society's department of government relations and science policy, says about the fiscal 1995 budget that "relative to NSF we were quite pleased. We were not expecting the administration request to be as high as it is." However, she says, it is likely that some of the funding increases proposed in the budget will face a tough fight on Capitol Hill, particularly in the Senate Appropriations Committee. "It looks real good on paper, but it's going to be an uphill battle," Ream says. Fred W. Weingarten, executive director of the Computing Research Association, also based in Washington, disagrees. He observes that, "considering the current politics of the day, it's an excellent budget. Probably it's one that even has some chance of succeeding in the Congress.... I'd rather have a modest request with some chance of success than a wild one with everything I'd want, but without a chance in the world." Robert Park, public affairs director for the American Physical Society, College Park, Md., sees merit in both views: "The fact is that the fraction of the gross national product going to science is declining--and that is not a reassuring trend. On the other hand, one has to be impressed that in a year in which there are serious cuts, science is not badly hurt, and many applied programs are up substantially." Under the fiscal 1995 budget, DOE support for high-energy physics is to be held essentially level at $621.9 million, while funding for other nuclear physics research is slated to be cut by 14 percent, down to $300.8 million. The Brown committee's analysis of the budget request notes that, particularly in view of last fall's congressional vote to terminate the superconducting supercollider, "level funding for the programs in FY 1995 will cause major disruptions and job losses within the high-energy physics community, as well as precluding any new research initiatives, such as U.S. collaboration on CERN's Large Hadron Collider." Other DOE programs are slated for substantial increases, including a 14 percent increase for renewable energy R&D, up to $397 million; a 60 percent boost for the electric and magnetic fields program, up to $16 million; an increase of almost 50 percent for energy conservation R&D, up to $645 million; and a 23 percent increase for electric and hybrid vehicles, up to $91.8 million. Park adds about the R&D budget in general: "It could have been a lot worse. These are hard times, and scientists are going to share in that. But I agree with George Brown that the trends are certainly worrisome, and one hopes to see that reversed." Barton Reppert is a freelance science writer based in Gaithersburg, Md. ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104, U.S.A. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #6, March 21, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : PROPOSED SCIENCE R&D BUDGET FOR FY 1995 TY : NEWS PG : 5 Budget authority; in millions of dollars (not including funds for facilities) FY 1993 FY 1994 FY 1995 Actual Enacted Request National Science 1,882 2,026 2,220 Foundation (research and related) National Institutes of 9,891 10,486 10,994 Health Other Department of 445 547 490 Health and Human Services Department of Energy 5,827 6,054 6,052 National Aeronautics 8,090 8,493 8,597 and Space Administration Department of Commerce 667 919 1,204 (including National Institutes of Standards and Technology) Environmental 508 536 582 Protection Agency Department of 1,335 1,393 1,394 Agriculture Department of 578 617 692 Agriculture Department of 38,617 35,538 36,971 Defense Department of 232 252 211 Veterans Affairs Other research 1,678 1,623 1,622 and developments TOTAL--federal R&D 69,750 68,484 71,029 Source: Office of Science and Technology Policy (The Scientist, Vol:8, #5, March 21, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : Biomedical Researchers Mourn The Loss Of An Advocate AU : BARBARA SPECTOR TY : NEWS PG : 3 Mourning the passing of philanthropist and biomedical research advocate Mary Woodard Lasker--who died February 21- -scientists and United States government officials alike are praising her unique commitment to advancing the cause of science. In lamenting her death of heart failure at her home in Greenwich, Conn., at the age of 93, they point out that no layperson is likely to come forward in the near future to take Lasker's place as a spokesperson for the research community. "She was a remarkable woman," says Paul Berg, director of the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center for Molecular and Genetic Medicine at the Stanford University Medical Center. "Had we been wise, we would have cloned her so we could use her today." In addition to convincing U.S. government leaders to step up the budget for medical research, Lasker did her own part to fund this work. She and her husband, the late Albert D. Lasker, owner of the Lord & Thomas advertising agency, created the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation in 1942 and established the Albert Lasker Medical Research Awards, first given in 1944. The Lasker Awards have become known as the United States' premier scientific prizes; 51 recipients have gone on to win the Nobel Prize. At press time, it was expected that the awards would continue after Lasker's death, although plans for the future of the program had not been finalized. Deep Devotion Lasker's success as a lobbyist was attributable to "her devotion, dedication, determination--and her knowledge," says Michael E. De-Bakey, chancellor of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and chairman of the Lasker Awards jury. "She knew what the death rates were; she knew what the trends were. The congressional leaders had great admiration for her. She had the ability to transmit to them the urgency of doing something to control disease and suffering." On February 23, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) paid tribute on the Senate floor to Lasker, saying: "... we will never be able to count the number of strangers' lives that were saved by her rock-solid resolve, and her unwavering courage, and her unflagging commitment to the lives and health of others." The day before, Sen. Ernest Hollings (D-S.C.) had made a statement to the Senate saying: "Her legacy is a living vibrant message that one person can make a difference." "She was unbelievably persistent and immune to any form of rejection," says Samuel Broder, director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI). "Her unwillingness to accept no for an answer was very effective in its time." Lasker hired professonal lobbyists--most notably, the late Mike Gorman--to help further her objective of increasing the federal funds allocated for biomedical research. But, says Terry Lierman of Washington, D.C.-based Capitol Associates, a government-relations firm hired by Lasker, she was not a typical client. "She was the one who inspired; she taught, and she directed the war, so to speak," Lierman says. Moreover, he says, the very fact that Lasker was the client opened doors in Washington: "Just by having Mary either with you or [being] associated with her cause helped." What helped give Lasker's arguments weight, Lierman says, was her lack of self-interest. "Everyone knew that she had nothing to gain," he says. "She wasn't a scientist looking for a research grant; she wasn't a lobbyist getting paid; she wasn't a company making a product; and she wasn't a consumer who had a disease. "She believed that healthy people make a productive society," Lierman says. Even as Lasker aged, she continued to make an impression, says Stanford's Berg, who describes "the awe at watching a woman who was not well, who you knew was suffering, still with the enthusiasm to get up and travel, to go to Washington, to talk to people. She could easily go off to her Connecticut home and relax and forget about it, but she was doing what she knew was right for the country. Today, there is a paucity of leadership--we don't have the people who want to do that." Enlisting Public Support Lasker was instrumental a half-century ago in urging Congress to increase federal support for the National Institutes of Health and was generally recognized as one of those responsible for creating NCI, among other NIH institutes. "When she began to get interested in this in '42 and '43, the amount [of funding for NIH] was small," says Jordan U. Gutterman, chairman of the department of clinical immunology and biological therapy at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and Lasker Foundation executive vice president. "She was appalled at the lack of funds, given the size of the federal treasury," Gutterman says. Lasker devoted considerable energy to obtaining cancer research funds. In the late 1940s, she initiated the American Cancer Society's research program. She worked for passage of the National Cancer Act of 1971, which made the conquest of cancer a national goal and allocated the then- astronomical amount of $100 million for that purpose. Lasker recognized that, in order to get the bill to pass, it was necessary to demonstrate public support--and that, in order to stir up public support, it would be helpful to enlist the help of her friend Eppie Lederer, also known as Ann Landers, a nationally syndicated advice columnist. President Richard Nixon was originally opposed to spending such a large amount on research, Lederer recalls. Lasker "contacted me and said I must do something to make sure this bill gets passed," Lederer says. "I did a whole column on it; the column produced over 1 million pieces of mail. There had never been anything like this in the history of journalism. Richard Nixon could no longer ignore it." In 1985, Lederer received an Albert Lasker Public Service Award, in part to honor her support of the act. "This was the sort of thing that Mary Lasker did--she educated and alerted me so I could educate and alert the public," says Lederer. Another way in which Lasker brought the importance of medical research to the public's attention was through the Lasker Awards. "She had a very insightful and prescient recognition that an award would have value only if it was a judgment of peers--of tough peers--[rather than] the judgment of a benefactor," says NCI's Broder. Lasker's sister, Alice Fordyce, was the director of the awards program until December 1990, when Gutterman took over. Fordyce died in 1992 (B. Spector, The Scientist, Oct. 12, 1992, page 4). Lasker's last public appearance was at the Lasker Awards luncheon in October 1993 in New York City (B. Spector, The Scientist, Oct. 18, 1993, page 1). At the luncheon, keynote speaker Hillary Rodham Clinton called her "a woman who represents the ideal of American citizenship to me, a woman whose vision and intelligence, humanity, selflessness, have really been gifts to the entire nation." A Generous Contributor Lasker generously gave of her personal funds to support the work of biomedical scientists, Gutterman says: "She would give seed money to individual [researchers] in cancer, heart disease, mental health--anything that caught her interest. She did it with me with interferon research in 1977-78. She sold some paintings to support [the interferon studies]." She was also able to rustle up financial support from others, Berg says. "She came to visit me here at Stanford in early 1980," he recalls. "I was in the throes of trying to raise funds to build the Beckman Center. She was so taken with what we were trying to do that she lined up some contributors, one of whom gave us $6 million." Born in Watertown, Wis., Lasker graduated from Radcliffe College in 1923, where she studied art history. She also attended the University of Wisconsin and Washam College, Oxford. During her lifetime, Lasker received numerous awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States' highest honor for a private citizen, from President Lyndon Johnson in 1969 and a Congressional Gold Medal from President George Bush in 1989 (The Scientist, May 29, 1989, page 17). In recognition of her support of numerous public beautification projects, a variety of pink tulip was named for her in 1985. In 1984, NIH's Mary Woodard Lasker Center for Health Research and Education was named in her honor. At the ceremony marking the event, she said, "The reason I am so dedicated to medical research and have lobbied so many congressmen and senators is that when I was very young, I was sick a great deal and had severe infections of the ears, causing the most agonizing pain... . When I was about 10 years old, I resolved that I would try to do something when I grew up for medical research." ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104, U.S.A. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #6, March 21, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : Biomedical Researchers Meet In Anaheim For EB 94 AU : KAREN YOUNG KREEGER TY : NEWS PG : 4 A variety of topics--including, for example, the pathophysiology of asthma, genetic manipulation in pharmacology, and nutritional epidemiology of chronic diseases--will highlight the agenda at the second Experimental Biology 94 (EB 94) conference, which gets under way in Anaheim, Calif., next month. Fifteen thousand researchers are expected to attend the meeting, whose multi- and interdisciplinary thrust will be geared to physiologists, pharmacologists, immunologists, experimental pathologists, nutritionists, and anatomists who study human health and disease. EB 94, a multi-society-sponsored meeting, will be held at four venues in Anaheim from Sunday, April 24 through Thursday, April 28. Six organizing societies--the American Physiological Society, American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, American Society for Investigative Pathology, American Institute of Nutrition/American Society for Clinical Nutrition, American Association of Immunologists, and American Association of Anatomists--along with 10 other "guest" societies, have come together to develop and sponsor the meeting. Guest societies are affiliates of this year's six sponsoring societies--whose mix can change from year to year, depending on whether they hold their annual meetings as part of the larger EB conference. The Experimental Biology conferences replace the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) annual meeting. The EB meetings were created to give FASEB member societies more flexibility to stage their own meetings or choose which years they would participate in the EB conferences. Although EB 94 maintains an affiliation with FASEB--for example, contracting the federation for expertise in setting up a job-placement service and managing marketing schemes-- EB 94 is a separate entity, explain organizers. The six organizing societies are also members of FASEB. To focus on the overlapping disciplines of the participating societies, theme topics--areas of biomedical research pertinent to participants--will again be used to organize many of the presentations, as they were at the 1993 EB meeting. Nine topics have been chosen for this year: cardiovascular biology, cell injury, epithelial cell biology, growth and development, inflammation, metabolic processes, molecular communication and structural biology, neurobiology, and respiratory biology. David Kauffman, EB 94 program chairman and a professor of pathology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, says that one of the purposes of the thematic approach is to create "several smaller meetings within a larger meeting context." In addition, he says, the themes offer a "more coherent organization of topics," as opposed to having talks organized society by society. The purpose of this intersociety organization of programs, the meeting's organizers say, is to accommodate the needs of individual attendees, such as clustering talks by subject matter in the same location or avoiding conflicts in scheduling. Kauffman explains that presentations have four levels of organization: "symposia, made up of invited speakers; mini- symposia; oral sessions; and poster sessions--[all of which are] made up of presentations from invited speakers and submitted abstracts." Nearly 6,000 scientific oral and poster presentations arranged into more than 250 sessions are expected. Many special sessions, discussions, and workshops covering subjects such as mentoring, grant writing, and the use of laboratory animals are also being sponsored by individual societies and their subsections (see story on page 4). Scientific presentations span the biomedical spectrum from those with a very narrow appeal to those with a broad, interdisciplinary interest. For example, "Diet and Chronic Diseases in Countries in Socio-economic Transition," sponsored by the American Institute of Nutrition and the Society for International Nutrition Research, is expected to draw epidemiologists, cardiologists, and cancer experts. Benjamin Caballero, a pediatrician and director of the Center for Human Nutrition at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, who is cochairman of the session, explains that this symposium will highlight "substantial changes in the quality and quantity of the diet [of people in developing countries] . . . and what this means for the health-care systems of these countries." The symposium "What Happens to Cardiovascular and Renal Homeostases During Pregnancy?", sponsored by the American Physiological Society, "aims to bring the study of the physiology of pregnancy more into the limelight," according to Virginia Brooks, an associate professor at the Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, and cochairwoman of the session. Brooks explains that this symposium, under the neurobiology "theme," will present an "integrated view of the many pregnancy-induced changes in the cardio-renal system--some that may not be beneficial to [a mother]." She expects this session to have a broad appeal, bringing together basic scientists such as molecular biologists as well as clinicians. Donald Capra, the American Association of Immunologists (AAI) program chairman and a research physician at the University of Texas Southwest Medical Center, points out that the symposium on "Apoptosis and Necrosis," cosponsored by AAI and the American Society for Investigative Pathology, will feature Luc Montagnier of the Pasteur Institute in Paris, the codiscoverer of the AIDS virus, as one of its speakers. Capra adds that the AAI symposium on "Gene Expression in Lymphocyte Development" has "the top list of speakers around...everyone is a star." These speakers include Fred Alt, a Howard Hughes investigator from Harvard Medical School who is presenting "Analysis of Lymphocyte Development by Rag-2-Deficient Blastocyst Complementation," and Daniel Littman of the University of California, San Francisco, cochairman of the session, who is presenting "Analysis of CD4 Gene Regulation in Transgenic Mice." One of the special sessions thought to be a big draw is "The Use of Animals in Biomedical Research and Teaching: Where Do We Stand?", sponsored by subsections of the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics and the American Physiological Society. Roger Maickel, a professor in the School of Pharmacy at Purdue University in Lafayette, Ind., and chairman of this session, says its purpose is to "stimulate thinking on this subject" in the vein of "where have we been, where are we going, what are we doing, and what are the implications" of using animals in research, teaching, and testing. Maickel expects an attendance of 200 to 300, from "grad students to deans of colleges." Exhibits And Job Placement Organizers expect about 500 groups representing industry, government, publishers, and biomedical associations to be displaying state-of-the-art laboratory equipment, supplies, books, and journals in the EB 94 Exhibit Hall at the Anaheim Convention Center, April 25 through 28, 8:30 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. Government agencies such as the National Institutes of Health Division of Research Grants and the National Library of Medicine will also have staff members on hand to answer questions. Tutorials on various techniques such as the use of reagents, instrumentation, and data analysis will round out the types of exhibits available for attendees. These are expected to run from one to two hours. A computerized program that will let participants tailor their schedule of talks and exhibits will again be available to attendees. This service will be offered at three to five computer stations located in the Exhibit Hall at the Convention Center. At the computers, attendees can use keywords to search for topics or presenters, as well as for exhibit products and demonstrations. New to the service this year is the ability to constantly update the database. For example, if a certain device proves to be particularly popular at the show, exhibitors can add more information about it to the database, thereby making the service more interactive with the interests of participants. Organizers also mention that a computer diskette with the complete EB 94 program can be ordered before the meeting--by April 1--to allow attendees to sift through the program using a personal computer. Another popular highlight of EB 94 is the job-placement service, located at the Anaheim Convention Center Arena at various times April 24 through 27. This service will arrange and manage formal interviews between candidates seeking postdoctoral training or permanent positions in the life sciences and recruiters from academia, government, and industry. On-site registration will be available, although organizers suggest that advance registration, which closes on April 15, is more convenient. EB 94 organizers also stress that there will be no logistical problems because of the January 17 Los Angeles earthquake, but advise attendees to fly into the airport closest to Anaheim--John Wayne (Orange County) Airport--not the Los Angeles International Airport. For more information, contact the FASEB Office of Scientific Meetings and Conferences, 9650 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, Md. 20814-3998; (301) 530-7010. ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104, U.S.A. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #6, March 21, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : AT A GLANCE TY : NEWS PG : 4 Experimental Biology 94 is an interdisciplinary biomedical meeting and exposition to be held April 24-28. More than 6,000 oral and poster presentations are expected. Here is a sampling of special sessions. Preparing for Tenure: Five Perspectives Sunday, April 24, 4:00 P.M. Anaheim Convention Center, Room A2/3 The Use of Animals in Biomedical Research and Teaching: Where Do We Stand? Sunday, April 24, 4:00 P.M. Anaheim Hilton, California A Women in Physiology Mentoring Program Sunday, April 24, 5:00 P.M. Anaheim Marriott, Grand Ballroom Salon J/K Today's Scientist: Mentor, Manager and Role Model Sunday, April 24, 6:00 P.M. Anaheim Hilton, California A Grantsmanship Today: Peer Review at NIH Sunday, April 24, 8:00 P.M. Anaheim Convention Center, Room A1 Workshop for High School Teachers and Biology Students Monday, April 25, 8:30 A.M.-3:30 P.M. Anaheim Convention Center/Anaheim Marriott Experimental Biology Internet Workshop Wednesday, April 27, Noon Anaheim Convention Center, Room A6 Faculty Career Development Wednesday, April 27, 5:00 P.M. Anaheim Marriott, Orange County Salon 3/4 (The Scientist, Vol:8, #6, March 21, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: NOTEBOOK ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : Harassment Hotline TY : NEWS (NOTEBOOK) PG : 4 The widely publicized sex-discrimination case of Margaret Jensvold v. Donna Shalala--in which Jensvold, a former National Institutes of Health investigator, alleges discrimination, harassment, and retaliation against her by various officials of NIH and the Department of Health and Human Services--went to trial on February 28 in the Federal District Court in Baltimore and was expected to last about five weeks. Jensvold and her supporters have organized a "court watch," hoping to pack the courtroom with supporters, members of the press, and the public. A taped telephone message, updated regularly, is operating 24 hours a day at (202) 483-3641, as well, giving information on the trial's status. According to a statement jointly distributed by the Federation of Organizations for Professional Women; the Institute for Research on Women's Health (which Jensvold heads); and Self-Help for Equal Rights (SHER), an informal employment-rights group at NIH, the action is intended not only to support Jensvold but also to "send a very powerful message to NIH and HHS officials that people are watching, and that they care about the crucial issues raised by this trial." Jensvold came to the National Institute of Mental Health in 1987 to study premenstrual syndrome. There, she says, she was denied important professional opportunities made available to male fellows, harassed, and later retaliated against when she complained. ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104, U.S.A. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #6, March 21, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : ACS Trains Chemistry Teachers TY : NEWS (NOTEBOOK) PG : 4 The American Chemical Society (ACS) has been awarded a $2.75 million grant from the National Science Foundation to launch Operation Chemistry, a training program for elementary and middle-school chemistry teachers. According to ACS, 36 four- person teams--consisting of a college faculty member, a high school chemistry teacher, an elementary or middle-school science specialist, and a member of the local chemical industry who has been involved in pre-high school science education--will start working with fourth- through eighth- grade teachers in their home districts beginning in the fall, providing these teachers with a minimum of 72 hours of training in the 1994-95 academic year. For information, contact ACS at (202) 872-6179. ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104, U.S.A. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #6, March 21, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : Healthy Communication TY : NEWS (NOTEBOOK) PG : 4 Tufts University School of Medicine and Emerson College, both in Boston, have joined forces to establish a new graduate degree in health communication. According to the schools, the new program is designed to "meet the increasing demand for professionals skilled in maximizing the power and impact of the media on individual and community health; planning, developing, and managing health policy and delivery; and designing campaigns to effectively disseminate health information." The program will offer courses including marketing and political communication, media, policy, public relations, advertising, global and community health, negotiation, leadership, and professional communication and ethics. For more information, contact the Office of Graduate Admission, Emerson College, 100 Beacon St., Boston, Mass. 02116, (617) 578-8601; or Tufts University School of Medicine, Health Communication Program, 136 Harrison Ave., Boston, Mass. 02111, (617) 636-0935. ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104, U.S.A. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #6, March 21, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : Webs Of Desire TY : NEWS (NOTEBOOK) PG : 3 Biology professor Fred Singer and his students at Radford University in Virginia are discovering that vibrations in spiderwebs are a good indicator of their creators' mating activities. In a collaborative effort with the university's Natural Computing Laboratory, Singer and the students have built a device that attaches an ultrasensitive galvanometric needle to the web, which then registers the changes in vibrational frequencies as the spiders begin to mate. An FM decoder and videotape complete the assemblage, which is designed to allow the researchers to study the spiders in a mating environment that is as close to a natural environment as possible. Singer will be using the device to look at aspects of mating behavior in funnel web spiders, including the dance signatures of males and the selection of mates by females. ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104, U.S.A. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #6, March 21, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : Pediatric AIDS Internships TY : NEWS (NOTEBOOK) PG : 4 The Pediatric AIDS Foundation's Student Intern Awards program provides training and on-the-job work experience to high school, college, graduate, and medical school students to encourage them to enter clinical and research programs related to pediatric AIDS. Program participants intern with sponsoring clinicians or researchers whom the Santa Monica, Calif.-based foundation recognizes for their contributions to pediatric AIDS. Sponsors must apply for the one-year, renewable $2,000 award. Applications must be received by April 5, with awards to be made May 5. For information, contact Trish Devine at the foundation: (310) 395-9051. ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104, U.S.A. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #6, March 21, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : Hard Cash For Software TY : NEWS (NOTEBOOK) PG : 4 Last month the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced its creation of the Software of the Year award to recognize the creators of software or software technology used by NASA. The award, which will include a monetary prize of up to $100,000, will be presented to the winning software author or authors in late November at the NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center's annual Software Engineering Workshop in Greenbelt, Md. Entries will be judged by a NASA Software Award Review Panel. According to a NASA statement, submissions--due June 1--should include copies of the software, sample applications and data, and documentation that demonstrates the software's impact and degree of innovation. Call Paul Curto, a researcher with NASA's Inventions and Contributions Board, at (202) 358-2279 for full award criteria and information on where to send entries. ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104, U.S.A. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #6, March 21, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : Viral-Resistant Vintage TY : NEWS (NOTEBOOK) PG : 4 LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, a New York-based luxury products group, and its subsidiary, Mo t & Chandon, a French champagne house, recently announced the first genetic transformation of chardonnay, the well-known grapevine cultivar, to make it resistant to one of its major diseases- -grapevine fanleaf virus (GFLV). Researchers at the Institute for Plant Molecular Biology in Strasbourg, France, and the National Institute for Agronomy Research in Colmar, France, obtained the GFLV-resistant grape by isolating and cloning the gene that codes for the capsid protein of GFLV. According to LVMH, this is particularly significant, since the only existing chemical treatment for GFLV is being banned in some countries because of its negative impact on the environment. ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104, U.S.A. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #6, March 21, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: OPINION ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : Clearing The Path For Women Scientists AU : PAULA M. RAYMAN AND BELLE BRETT TY : OPINION PG : 11 **** Editor's Note: In 1991, with funding support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation of New York, a sociologist and a chemist at Wellesley College led an interdisciplinary research team- -including social scientists, physical and life scientists, and mathematicians--in the first phase of an extensive study, called "Pathways for Women in the Sciences." The study addressed the issues of why undergraduate women set their sights on careers in scientific fields and what promotes or impedes their success. Subjects of the study were the women enrolled in the Massachusetts college's class of 1995 in addition to several cohorts of former Wellesley math and science majors now in their early career years. Part II of the study, begun in the fall of 1993, focuses on the years after graduation and the factors that influence whether a woman decides to pursue a science career or to abandon it for other professional options. For Part II, the researchers, while continuing to follow the experiences of the class of 1995 through their graduation, will study the work and graduate school experiences of both science and nonscience graduates in their middle career years. In the following essay, two of the key researchers--Paula M. Rayman, director of the project, and Belle Brett, senior research associate--discuss some of their salient Part I findings. **** The history of modern science demonstrates that women, in terms of their professional involvement, have been "weeded out of," rather than "cultivated into," the field. It is abundantly clear that, while females have made certain gains in specific disciplines, they remain woefully underrepresented overall in science, mathematics, and engineering. The situation begs for strong corrective measures. Scientific advancement in today's world depends upon the ability of each society to enlist the talents and skills of all people. And the effort to ensure equity for women in science is essential for excellence in science. In the past, research on women's persistence in pursuing science careers has focused too often on individually formative characteristics, such as the occupation of a young woman's father, that generally are not subject to mitigation by subsequently experienced social forces. Part I of the Pathways for Women in the Sciences project, however, focused on women's persistence in science over a long time--during their undergraduate, graduate, and early- to middle-career years. We found that--in addition to initially formative influences--prevailing factors in the educational environment are highly associated with whether or not a woman chooses a major and/or career in the sciences. This discovery provides a hope and a challenge: a hope that adjustment of academic programs and policies can indeed make a difference in achieving equity, and a challenge to the appropriate institutions to make the necessary changes. In the Pathways project, we studied how students choose majors. Interest in the subject was the No. 1 reason that students chose a particular major, followed by consideration of their future goals and their perceived aptitude for that course of study. Generally, a woman's interest in science was clearly developed before her college years. If a student did not report having enjoyed a science or mathematics course in high school, she was much less likely to choose a science or mathematics major. However, even students who came in with an interest were influenced by their experiences in their introductory and other early courses. A strong predictor of whether a young woman would choose a major in science was if she indicated a preference for subjects in which the material has precise answers, as compared with multiple interpretations. Thus, choice of major is associated with how students think as well as how science is taught. Pathways I was also concerned with the post-graduation retention in science-related professional roles of women who had majored in science and mathematics in college. We found, first, that science majors who participated in undergraduate research opportunities were more likely to continue in science after college. Additionally, we found that graduates who reported receiving a lot of encouragement from their college teachers to pursue science, those who had mentors, and those who received career advice both from their advisers and from other faculty continued on in science in larger numbers than those who did not have these kinds of contact with faculty. Thus, both formal and informal advising systems figure prominently in a young woman's career pathway. Parental encouragement--both mother's and father's--was a more important factor than family background, we discovered. Our findings demonstrated that scientific workplaces are often not "user friendly" for women. Those women who left science careers at some point after graduation were more likely to feel that their new choices were more compatible with family life, suggesting that science was not as hospitable to the dual lives that most women lead as are some other fields. In addition, experiences with sexual harassment and discrimination were common among those in the sciences and medicine, both in graduate school and in the workplace. Although many women showed resilience in the face of these problems, they often had to settle for working in hostile or unsupportive environments. Meeting The Challenge The Pathways findings suggest programs and policies that institutions can adopt to ensure that larger numbers of talented women will opt for science careers: Supporting parental encouragement. Despite their own anxiety about or lack of accomplishment in science and math, parents need to be careful about the messages they transmit to their daughters about these fields. Encouragement seems to be a key factor in future choices. Thus, schools and colleges can help by providing opportunities for parents to learn more about science as a career option and more about how to encourage their daughters. * Providing undergraduate research opportunities. Colleges can provide undergraduate research opportunities that allow students close contact with faculty and hands-on exposure to the work of scientists. Many of these opportunities are now restricted to graduate students. * Enabling support and encouragement from faculty. Colleges need to ensure that students have regular access to support and advice from faculty through informal encounters as well as through more formal mentoring programs. Research on what students remember about their college experiences reveals the importance of dialogue conducted in informal contexts. * Offering solid career advice. Schools and colleges should provide better information about career alternatives in science and engineering and should encourage faculty and teachers to be the links between students and this information through a career center or other kinds of programs. This information should cover career options in industry and government as well as academia. * Valuing different styles. Schools and colleges should be encouraged to explore a variety of ways of teaching to accommodate different ways of learning. Different modes of teaching are especially important as students are forming their interests during their school years. Hands-on experience, cooperative learning, and connections of subject matter to daily life are all key ingredients. * Making science more inclusive. Colleges should shift from the "weeding out" mentality to a more inclusive attitude by encouraging smaller class sizes in introductory courses and promoting in the classroom a greater awareness of cultural diversity. * Fostering supportive work environments. Science workplaces need to institute and enforce strong policies that not only help thwart and punish hostile attitudes and behaviors toward women, but also provide a "family-friendly" environment that does not penalize women and men who have other responsibilities. All of us--educators, bench scientists, policy developers, and members of the industrial sector--need to take up the challenge of how to bring about equity for women within our own schools and workplaces. Let us start by promoting open discussion on what makes a difference in achieving this goal in order to create models for success from which we all could learn and as a result of which the science community stands to gain immeasurably. Paula M. Rayman is director and Belle Brett is senior research associate of the Pathways Project at Wellesley College Center for Research on Women, Wellesley College. For copies of the Pathways I report, contact the Center for Research on Women, Wellesley College, Wellesley, Mass. 02181. ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104, U.S.A. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #6, March 21, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: COMMENTARY ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : Science Will Survive The Recurring Tension Among Researchers, Librarians, And Publishers AU : EUGENE GARFIELD TY : OPINION (COMMENTARY) PG : 12 The relationship between libraries and the scientific journals they carry has its troubles now and then, but has proved to be enduring over time--like any long, if perhaps imperfect, marriage. Most of the problems that spring up periodically--like the proverbial seven-year itch--to threaten the stability of the marriage arise from the sometimes competing needs, demands, and claims of researchers, library administrators, and publishers. Scientists would like libraries to be comprehensively stocked with the specialized journals that support their investigative work. Conscientious library administrators, while sympathetic to their clients' needs, nevertheless complain that rising costs of science publications, along with space constraints and lack of personnel, frustrate their efforts to accommodate all users. Meanwhile, many publishers, while professing the desire to serve the broadest possible audience, are perceived as pricing their products to maximize profits, thereby putting them out of reach of individuals and smaller institutional subscribers. A recent article in The Scientist (F. Hoke, "Scientists Press For Boost In Federal Library Funding," Feb. 21, 1994, page 1) noted the formation of a committee of scientists concerned about this issue. They warn that insufficient financial support for libraries is causing a "declining accessibility" of materials that, in time, may threaten their investigations. The committee seems to suggest that an emergency exists, and that the future of research is in peril unless the government subsidizes libraries to solve the purported acquisitions crisis. The situation is troublesome, to be sure. But in spite of this latest manifestation of frustration about science library budgets, I doubt that the process of scientific research is in peril. More than 30 years ago, science historian Derek de Solla Price forecast consequences of continued exponential growth in the number of people doing scientific research. One of these was the number of published papers and journals by new "invisible colleges"-- his term for emerging scientific specialties. Price's predictions have been borne out in the ensuing years. But the machinery of science has not come to a halt, despite the alarmist warnings sent up every few years by researchers, library administrators, or publishers. One way or another, scientists will find a way to publish and be read. So, in my opinion, the melodramatic lobbying of this committee is excessive. Or, I might say, if there is a crisis, it's nothing new. Libraries should have adequate archives, of course--a core of stable publications that the majority of researchers find useful--but they do not have to subscribe to and keep every issue of everything. I remember when university libraries proudly proclaimed that they subscribed to 25,000 or more scientific serials per year. If that figure were to drop to 5,000, you would still have on hand five times the 1,000 core journals whose articles account for 85 percent of what is cited by subsequent researchers. Greater selectivity by library administrators could ease their burden without compromising the level of service to the user to any significant degree. If, by reducing subscriptions, librarians in effect cause some scientific journals to merge or to fold, others, history tells us, will emerge in response to shifting tastes and trends in scientific investigation. Publishers are, generally speaking, sufficiently resourceful and financially motivated to accommodate such change with new journals. This is especially true today, when new technology has made it economically feasible to produce journals in print runs of fewer than 200 copies. I believe that the cyclical show of discontent centering on research libraries will continue to repeat itself every so often in the future. And I believe that--with or without financial support from the government--the problems will be resolved according to the dictates of prevailing research patterns, library acquisition trends, and publishing economics. In this regard, one can only speculate on what the impact of the burgeoning information highway will have on researchers, librarians, and publishers. ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104, U.S.A. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #6, March 21, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: LETTERS ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : Gallo On Montagnier AU : Robert C. Gallo TY : OPINION (LETTERS) PG : 12 I was pleased with the interview with Luc Montagnier that appeared in The Scientist [Dec. 13, 1993, page 11]. Montagnier's statements, as far as I am concerned, are fair and accurate. Indeed, he has made it abundantly clear that once we knew the viruses from his lab and mine were the same subtype, there was never any doubt that the paper of Montagnier and coworkers was the first (F. Barre-Sinoussi, et al., Science, 220:868-71, 1983) to identify the virus later (M. Popovic, et al., Science, 224:497, 1984; R. Gallo, et al., Science, 224:500, 1984; J. Schutbach, et al., Science, 224:503, 1984; M.G. Sarngadharan, et al., Science, 224:506, 1984) shown to be the AIDS virus. The opening statements in your article highlight the "Acrimonious debate over who discovered the virus...." This was never a debate, nor is it fair to imply "Gallo was claiming all the credit for himself." This is a media phenomenon. What was claimed in the April 1984 press conference by Secretary of Health Margaret Heckler was (1) that we knew the cause of AIDS and had the data to convince the scientific community for the first time (this is more than a virus isolate or a few isolates), and (2) we had a life- saving, sensitive, and accurate blood test, which would, first of all, protect the blood supply and, secondly, allow the epidemic to be properly monitored for the first time. In her press release, Heckler noted the earlier isolation of what would probably turn out to be the same virus type by the French group. I said the same in my statements to the press. Let us not forget that the 1983 paper by Montagnier and coworkers did not claim their isolate caused AIDS, nor were their data available at that time to make the claim. There are many instances in scientific history of an early identification and even isolation of a microbe that later is shown to be the cause of a disease --for example, polio and anthrax. Of course, none of the points I make here is in disagreement with Montagnier's statements in the interview, but they do disagree with some of the implications in Bass's questions and comments-- which are straight out of the legal dispute over the patent for the blood test. It is the blood test patent, not claims of priority, that led to years of problems, fanned the media flames, and distorted reality. ROBERT C. GALLO Laboratory of Tumor Cell Biology National Cancer Institute Bethesda, Md. 20892 ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104, U.S.A. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #6, March 21, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : `Interesting' Juxtaposition AU : SHARON M. RUSSELL TY : OPINION (LETTERS) PG : 12 The juxtaposition in the Nov. 15, 1993, issue of The Scientist--Nobel laureate David Hubel's thoughtful essay regarding the threat to medical progress posed by the animal rights movement ("Animal Rights Movement Threatens Progress Of U.S. Medical Research," page 11) and the letter by antivivisectionist Neal Barnard (page 12)--was interesting, to say the least. In his article, Hubel pointed out the ties between the terrorist Animal Liberation Front and the above-ground People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. A January 1992 publication of the Office of Technology Assessment (Technology Against Terrorism: Structuring Security) links these groups with Barnard's own organization, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, whose views, the OTA report notes, appear "to have little support within the medical community" (page 27). Some of Barnard's comments clearly illustrate why this should be the case. For example, Barnard makes the unsubstantiated claim that more than half the drugs marketed from 1976 through 1985 "were so much more toxic than premarket animal and limited human trials had indicated that they had to be relabeled or withdrawn." I am not certain how serious a problem "relabeling" is, but according to the Office of Planning and Evaluation (OPE) of the United States Food and Drug Administration, only five (3 percent) of the 172 new drugs introduced into the U.S. during that decade were discontinued for safety reasons (A.E. Hass, Jr. and P.L. Coppinger, OPE Study 78, September 1989). Moreover, only two additional drugs (for a total of seven out of 279) were withdrawn because of safety concerns over the period of 1970-88. Thus, contrary to Barnard's allegations, the U.S. has an admirable record of protecting its citizens from unsafe drugs, and animal testing plays a vital role in that process. Other examples of Barnard's misrepresentations of the truth about animal research and its importance for medical progress have been documented previously (for example, C. Nicoll and S.M. Russell, Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience, 3:271-2, 1992; and the segment "Michael Carey, M.D.," on "60 Minutes," broadcast Jan. 26, 1993). SHARON M. RUSSELL Department of Integrative Biology University of California Berkeley, Calif. 94720 ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104, U.S.A. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #6, March 21, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : The Science Of Sex: What Is It And Who's Doing It? AU : NEERAJA SANKARAN TY : NEWS PG : 3 If sexual activity is a prickly issue for discussion in society and our daily lives, it appears no less so as a research topic in some areas of the scientific and medical communities. The very definition of the word sex seems troublesomely elusive for many researchers when it comes to classifying their investigative efforts and obtaining the funding to support them. "When I ask my students to define sex, or sexuality," says physiology and anatomy professor Robert Friar of Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Mich., "their response is usually `male-female.' "But I tell them they are wrong. That is gender, not sex." In his class, Friar describes sexuality as "a diffused sensuality that permeates our whole personality and everything that we do." "Sex research covers everything from A to Z--anthropology to zoology," says Howard Ruppell, executive director of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sex, headquartered in Mount Vernon, Iowa, and an adjunct professor of social work at the University of Iowa. A functional definition, according to him and Friar, would include not only behavioral studies (typically characterized as sex research), but also all research pertaining to the structure and function of the sexual and reproductive systems and related organs, as well as their effects on other organs and systems. Not everyone agrees. For instance, C. Dominique Toran- Allerand, a neuroscientist at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York who studies the effects of estrogen (the female sex hormone) on the brain, emphatically denies that her work could be classified as sex research. "I am studying the effects of a hormone on the development of the brain," she says, adding that the sexual function of estrogen is incidental to her focus. "It would be a great disservice to call this sex research." At least part of the reason for scientists' reluctance to label themselves as "sex" researchers is the stigma that continues to be attached to the term, says Terri Fisher, an associate professor of psychology at Ohio State University in Mansfield. Funding difficulties are often associated with such a stigma, adds James Weinrich, a population biologist in the department of psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego (see accompanying story). Nevertheless, the subject of sex abounds in the research community, spanning a broadening scope of disciplines and ranging in levels from genes and cells to gross structures and behavior. Hormones, Sex, And The Brain A psychologist at Columbia University's department of psychiatry, Heino Meyer-Bahlburg, for example, is interested in the effects of prenatal sex hormones on human behavior. He is studying patients with endocrine disorders like congenital adrenal hyperplasia, in which the patients were exposed to excessive levels of testosterone, the male hormone, while still in the womb. "Genetic females--with two X chromosomes--exposed to testosterone prenatally are very tomboyish as children," he says. "As adults, they show higher rates of bisexuality, and some even go on to change their gender to male." Meyer- Bahlburg adds that with currently available medical technology, behavioral studies are still the best gauge of the effects of prenatal hormones. "It would be interesting to examine the brain structures, particularly nuclei in the limbic system," he says, "but current imaging techniques are just not powerful enough. Biopsies are obviously not an option." Scientists are not confining hormone/behavior studies to humans alone, as is evident from several articles that appeared in the scientific and popular press recently (N. Angier, New York Times, Nov. 12, 1991, page C1, and Aug. 31, 1993, page C1 [articles on cichlid fish]; N. Angier, New York Times, Nov. 2, 1993 [prairie voles]; see reading list on page 16 for magazine/journal articles). Carole Carter-Porges of the University of Maryland, College Park, is one of many biologists who are studying the mating habits of prairie voles, a rare breed of animal that has a monogamous lifestyle, with the male of the species actively helping in rearing pups. Recent data from the laboratories of Carter-Porges and others indicate that such behavior is related to vasopressin, a peptide hormone released in males soon after mating. Furthermore, the synthesis of vasopressin appears to be controlled by testosterone. "Our studies with voles show that there is a definite chemical and biological basis for social bonding and behavior," says Carter-Porges. In an interesting twist, Stanford University neurobiologist Russell D. Fernald has shown that, among cichlid fish at least, socio-sexual behavior induces changes in the brain and hormone levels, rather than the other way around. The size of the hypothalamus of the male--the region of the brain responsible for the fish's breeding abilities--is directly and profoundly affected by the cichlid's social status. As the fish battle one another for breeding territory, the hypothalmic cells of the dominant male become six to eight times larger in size, but will shrink back when challenged by a more aggressive male. These cells produce the gonadotropin-releasing hormone, GnRH, that normally regulates the sex organs; shortly after the brain cells shrink, testes of the fish follow suit. Fernald is currently researching the molecular mechanisms of the transformation, and the role of GnRH in the process. "The GnRH molecule is the same in all animals across evolution and even related to the yeast mating factor [the equivalent of a sex hormone in yeasts, which are not animals]," says Fernald. Thus, while he does not yet know if GnRH-producing cells undergo size changes in humans, his findings could have a great impact on the understanding of human sexual behavior and its control. Sexual Chemistry The relevance of sex research in animals to human situations is exemplified by the discovery of the vomeronasal organ (VNO) in humans. This organ is found in most vertebrate animals, acting as a receptor and detector for certain chemicals (that may have no discernible odor) called pheromones that mediate sexual/mating behaviors. In mammals like the rat, the VNO is a pair of small sacs located by the vomer bone behind the nostrils. Standard anatomy textbooks have stated that this organ disappears in humans during embryonic development, but investigations by two separate groups of researchers during the 1980s refuted this claim. Like the rat VNO, the human organ consists of a pair of sacs that open into two shallow pits on either side of the nasal septum. The sensory cells that line these sacs are different from olfactory cells present in the nose. Currently, various scientists are trying to find out more about structure and function by correlating human studies with animal models. Charles Wysocki, a researcher at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia who studies the effects of male odors on hormone levels in females, speculates that the VNO may play a role in regulating these effects. "In laboratory experiments we have seen that the length and timing of the menstrual cycle are markedly influenced by odors from the underarms of males," he says, suggesting a possible link between such responses and the observation that the menstrual cycle of women living around men is apt to be more regular. It is not clear if the hormones are responding to true odors or to chemical stimuli picked up by the VNO. Wysocki is trying to gauge the physiological effects of destroying this organ in animals and extrapolate this work to human models. Meanwhile, a New York-based company, Erox Corp., has released a new line of perfumes that exploit the possible applications of VNO-binding compounds. In an interview in the Wall Street Journal last year (J. Bishop, April 7, 1993, page B1), David Berliner, a former professor of anatomy who helped found the company, mentioned that the purpose of these compounds, "human pheromones," was to make the wearers feel better about themselves, not to attract the opposite sex, as many would believe. But while Berliner doesn't ascribe any aphrodisiac qualities to his perfumes, Raymond C. Rosen, a psychiatrist at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in Piscataway, states that the search for the perfect aphrodisiac has been a perennial cultural pursuit throughout history. He is updating this search, investigating the effects of certain "prosexual" drugs like dopamine and oxytocins. Such research, says Rosen, has contributed immensely to an understanding of the mechanisms of sexual response, and provides new treatment options for sexual disorders like impotence and erectile dysfunction. Working at the cellular and genetic level, Debra Wolgemuth, a developmental biologist at the Center for Reproductive Sciences of the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, is studying the development of the testes, finding applications for her work that go beyond sexual function. "Some of the genes that control how these cells divide have been implicated as oncogenic [cancer-causing genes] in other systems, like sarcomas and leukemias," says Wolgemuth. At Indiana University, R. Stephen Howard, a graduate student in the laboratory of biologist Curtis Lively, has come up with an explanation of why sex exists at all. This may not be a moot point, as some might think, says Howard, because in terms of the energy needed, asexual reproduction is a more economical way to transmit genes to one's progeny. Previous attempts to explain the evolution of sex considered one of two theories, one being that the recombination and segregation of genes arising from sexual reproduction provided a means of escaping from harmful mutations that would accumulate in the gene if reproduction were asexual. "The second theory we call the `Red Queen' model--after the Alice in Wonderland character--has to do with avoiding infections by parasites," says Howard. "There is a genetic basis to host-parasite interactions, and by reproducing sexually, the host can scramble its genetic makeup [through recombination] so that the parasite no longer recognizes the host genes." Evidence for this lies in the observations by Lively that certain species of snails in New Zealand go from asexual to sexual modes when exposed to trematode parasites. Howard and Lively believe that the combination of both phenomena is actually responsible for the evolution of sex. "Genetic recombination underlies both explanations," says Howard. The two devised a computer program to simulate the effects of mutation accumulation and parasitism, which bears out the strength of their model. ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104, U.S.A. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #6, March 21, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ----------------------------------------------------------- TI : SEX: STILL A BAD WORD FOR SOME PEOPLE AU : NEERAJA SANKARAN TY : RESEARCH PG : 15 Although it is a widespread field of study, sex research-- particularly that dealing with human sexuality--is still subject to stigma, many scientists agree. "It's okay to use sex for advertising--Pepsi, beer, and Calvin Klein jeans--but when it comes to research, sex is still a bad word," says Robert Friar, a professor at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Mich., where he teaches anatomy and physiology and a course on human sexuality. That this stigma comes hand in hand with difficulties in obtaining research funds is a reason that many are reluctant to classify themselves as sex researchers, say scientists like Howard Ruppell, executive director of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sex, headquartered in Mount Vernon, Iowa, and an adjunct professor of social work at the University of Iowa, and James Weinrich of the department of psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego. "There are several issues that need addressing in the field," says Weinrich, who trained as an evolutionary biologist and has been doing research on sexual behavior for several years. "They are important both in terms of human health--behavioral studies relating to the spread of HIV, for instance--and from the standpoint of intellectual interest." But obtaining grants for conducting such studies is often difficult, he says, citing the example of a study by Richard Udry of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, aiming to survey adolescent sexual behavior patterns. This study had received funding from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Disease in May 1991, but was almost immediately canceled by Louis Sullivan, then the Secretary of Health and Human Services, on the grounds that it would undermine the administration's message to teenagers to not engage in sex. In a 1992 address to the Society for the Scientific Study of Sex (later printed as "The politics of sex re- search," Journal of Sex Research, 30[2]: 103-10, May 1993), Udry said that the reasons for the cancellation reflected certain attitudes toward sex research: that it legitimized nontraditional sexual behavior, and promoted the kind of behavior it measured. "I cannot overstate the number of lost lives, pain, and suffering caused by AIDS that could have been avoided had we possessed the kind of information we get from such surveys on sexual behavior," says Weinrich. "I think it is easier to do sex research on animals rather than humans--both technically as well as from funding standpoints," concedes Carole Carter-Porges of the zoology department at the University of Maryland in College Park. Researchers like Debra Wolgemuth and C. Dominique Toran- Allerand at Columbia University's Center for Reproductive Sciences in New York, while working on aspects of the reproductive system, do not see themselves as sex researchers. "The NIH recognizes that my work is not sex research," says Toran-Allerand, who studies the effects of hormones on brain development. "I am primarily a developmental biologist looking at cell lineages in the gonads," says Wolgemuth. "Sex research has more to do with behavioral studies and surveys." "While most of the members [of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sex] are psychiatrists, I would welcome the attendance of more basic researchers, like molecular and cell biologists, at our meetings," says Ruppell. "Sexology was labeled a discipline at the turn of the century, and I've got to think that for many researchers, calling themselves sex researchers or not is just a matter of self- definition." "I think we need to close ranks as sex researchers, no matter what level we are looking at," says Weinrich. "Otherwise any one of us may find ourselves--like Udry-- looking at a cutback merely on the grounds that someone somewhere finds the word `sex' objectionable." --N.S. FOR FURTHER READING Books: * D. de Kretser, ed., Molecular Biology of the Male Reproductive System. San Diego, Academic Press Inc., 1993. * S. LeVay, The Sexual Brain. Cambridge, Mass., MIT Press, 1993. * J. Weinrich, Sexual Landscapes. New York, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1987. Magazine/Journal Articles: * C.S. Carter, L.L. Getz, "Monogamy and the prairie vole," Scientific American, 268(6):100-6, 1993. * R.D. Fernald, "Cichlids in love," The Sciences, 33(4):27- 31, July/August 1993. * T. Fisher, "Confessions of a closet sex researcher," Journal of Sex Research, 26(1):144-7, 1989. * W.A. Henry III, "Born gay?" Time, 142(4):36-9, July 26, 1993. * R. Pool, "Evidence for the homosexuality gene," Science, 261:291-2, 1993. * N. Touchette, "Vole mates: Vasopressin keeps the home fires burning," Journal of NIH Research, 6:41-6, 1994. ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104, U.S.A. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #5, March 21, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: HOT PAPERS ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : CHEMISTRY TY : RESEARCH (HOT PAPERS) PG : 16 D.F. Hunt, R.A. Henderson, J. Shabanowitz, K. Sakaguchi, H. Michel, N. Sevilir, A.L. Cox, E. Appella, V.H. Engelhard, "Characterization of peptides bound to the class I MHC molecule HLA-A2.1 by mass spectrometry," Science, 255:1261- 3, 1992. D.F. Hunt, H. Michel, T.A. Dickinson, J. Sha-banowitz, A.L. Cox, K. Sakaguchi, E. Appella, H.M. Grey, A. Sette, "Peptides presented to the immune system by the murine class II major histocompatibility complex molecule I-Ad," Science, 256:1817-20, 1992. Donald F. Hunt (Departments of Chemistry and Pathology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville): "A complex mixture containing more than 10,000 peptide fragments derived from cellular proteins is displayed on the cell surface in association with molecules of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC), class I glycoproteins. Cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) bind to class I molecules, sample the peptides being presented, and lyse those cells that display unusual fragments derived from viruses or tumors. "In a second stage of the immune response, antibodies secreted by B cells bind to and inactivate viral particles dumped into the extracellular medium as a result of cell lysis. Labeled proteins are ingested or endocytosed by macrophage cells that then degrade the foreign proteins to peptides in endosomal compartments, and present the fragments back on the cell surface in conjunction with class II molecules. T helper cells recognize the peptide fragments of foreign proteins presented on the surface of class II molecules, become activated, multiply, and secrete molecules that stimulate multiplication of B cells, and the synthesis of still more antibody. Memory B cells primed to attack the virus if it is encountered in the future are also created as a result of the aforementioned process. "Characterization of the peptides presented to the immune system is an important goal because it is a necessary first step in the development of vaccines or other immunoregulators against such disease states as AIDS, influenza, melanoma, and various autoimmune disorders. To accomplish the task of sequencing peptide in the aforementioned mixtures at the subpicomole level, new methodology was developed and described in these papers. The approach involves the combination of microcapillary high- performance liquid chromatography and tandem mass spectrometry. Peptides are broken apart in the mass spectrometer to a collection of fragments, each of which differed in length by a single amino acid building block. "Most of the amino acids have unique chemical compositions and therefore unique masses. Subtraction of the masses for two fragments that differ in length by a single residue affords the mass and thus the identity of the extra building block in the longer of the two fragments. The complete amino acid sequence for any peptide is deduced by applying the subtraction procedure mentioned previously to all fragments produced in the mass spectrometer. By coupling microcapillary chromatography to the spectrometer, it is possible to sequence individual peptides present in mixtures that contain as many as several thousand components. The sample quantity required for this analysis is only 10 to 30 femtomoles, less than one millionth of that which can be seen with the naked eye and 100 times less than that needed for the Edman degradation procedure. Sequence information is generated in a matter of seconds on many components of a complex mixture of peptides. "Recently, this methodology has been coupled with an exquisitely sensitive bioassay that makes it possible to identify and sequence disease-specific peptides presented to the immune system in a mixture containing the normal 10,000 self peptides (R.A. Henderson, et al., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 90:10275-9, 1993)." ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104, U.S.A. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #6, March 21, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : MOLECULAR BIOLOGY TY : RESEARCH (HOT PAPERS) PG : 16 MOLECULAR BIOLOGY H. Monyer, R. Sprengle, R. Schoepfer, A. Herb, M. Higuchi, H. Lomeli, N. Burnashev, B. Sakmann, P.H. Seeburg, "Heteromeric NMDA receptors: Molecular and functional distinction of subtypes," Science, 256:1217-21, 1992. Peter H. Seeburg (Center for Molecular Biology, University of Heidelberg): "In our brain, nerve cells communicate by chemical transmission at specialized structures termed synapses. Most excitatory synapses use the neurotransmitter L-glutamate, which activates specific receptor channels in the postsynaptic membrane. Molecularly and functionally different glutamate-activated channels are expressed by the brain, presumably tailored to the requirements of the particular synapses carrying them. The N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor is one of these channels and is a major mediator of excitatory neurotransmission. Its properties are high permeability for Ca2+ and slow gating kinetics. Moreover, this receptor channel is blocked by extracellular Mg2+ ions. "The strength of this block depends on the membrane potential. Around the cell's resting potential the block is in place; upon excitation and, hence, the neuron depolarization of the cell's membrane, the block is released and the channel activated by glutamate can flux Ca2+ ions. Ca2+ ions entering the cell via the NMDA receptor can trigger long-term changes in synaptic efficacy. These changes are thought to underlie phenomena of synaptic plasticity and certain forms of learning and memory. "Glutamate-activated receptor channels are complex membrane proteins assembled from homologous subunits. Our work has focused on unraveling the molecular building blocks of NMDA receptors. Following the discovery of a principal subunit, termed NMDAR1 by S. Nakanishi and his collaborators (K. Moriyoshi, et al., Nature, 354:31-7, 1991), we succeeded in cloning cDNAs encoding a small family of NMDAR2 subunits. These subunits, although showing little similarity in terms of primary structure with NMDAR1, can nevertheless assemble with NMDAR1 to form functional hetero-oligomeric NMDA receptor channels in vitro. Hence, the simplest functional configuration for an NMDA receptor is a binary combination of NMDAR1 and any one of four NMDAR2 subunits. "We found that these configurations differ in channel properties depending on which NMDAR2 subunit participates in channel assembly. Differences in properties include the strength of the Mg2+ block and the gating kinetics of the channel. We also found that the individual NMDAR2 subunits are expressed in different areas of the mammalian brain. Thus, the importance of our findings lies in the characterization of the molecular components of NMDA receptor channels and in the delineation of the biophysical properties of individual NMDA receptor subtypes." ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104, U.S.A. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #6, March 21, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: TOOLS & TECHNOLOGY ---------------------------------------------------------- TI : Computers Make Gains In Enhancing Electrophoresis AU : FRANKLIN HOKE TY : TOOLS & TECHNOLOGY PG : 18 After dramatic jumps in capability through the 1980s, computer tools to pull hard data from the bands, blots, and spots of gel electrophoresis separations have continued to post significant advances in the past few years. Protein biochemists, geneticists, and the many other biological researchers who rely on electrophoresis can now bring to bear a wide array of powerful hardware and software on their image-enhancement, quantification, and analysis tasks. While providing researchers with a growing capability to manipulate digital images, the technology at the same time has the potential to allow creation of erroneous--even, perhaps, fraudulent--images. Thus, several software developers are also contemplating ways to protect the integrity of the original data supporting the images (see accompanying story). The sophistication of the available technology varies largely according to need, especially in terms of data acquisition. Some systems using 8-bit charge-coupled-device (CCD) video cameras for data capture in 256 shades of gray and working in conjunction with basic multi-use image- analysis software can be had for a few thousand dollars. Some full-featured integrated systems can reach toward $100,000. Such a system might, for example, be able to scan and analyze radioactively tagged separations with a storage phosphor technology that is orders of magnitude faster and more sensitive than film. With this technology a growing presence in biological labs-- most now have some kind of electrophoresis unit--interest in being able to read, record, and interpret results with greater specificity has also increased. Accurately measuring the relative amounts of separated proteins present in each gel band--a densitometry task--is an example of the kind of computer-aided analysis now widely available. "If you take densitometry, which is the technique most people are familiar with, the question is, `Do those black spots on the film represent predictable, quantifiable changes in some biological process?'" says James W. Nelson, a protein biochemist and product manager for software development at Molecular Dynamics Inc. of Sunnyvale, Calif. "Our software allows the researcher to measure, within the limits of the precision of the autoradiography that generated the film, what quantifiable changes these represent in the [biological] system they're studying." Molecular Dynamics offers several highly capable gel-reading devices supported by its ImageQuant software. The Windows- operating-system-based package costs $3,000. The supported devices include a version of the Computing Densitometer at $25,400, the FluorImager at $74,900, and a version of the PhosphorImager at $83,500. These are 12- or 16-bit data- acquisition instruments that, with the ImageQuant software, are able to work in 4,096 shades of gray. The Bio Image modular system from Millipore Corp. of Bedford, Mass., is a similarly sophisticated combined hardware-and-software system based on Unix-based workstations from Sun Microsystems Inc. of Mountain View, Calif. Bio-Rad Laboratories of Hercules, Calif., markets the storage-phosphor-based Molecular Imager System, along with Phosphor Analyst software, for $48,500, and the Imaging Densitometer, with software, for $12,500. Once a gel image or data set is captured, the analytical tasks possible include densitometry measurements, molecular weights assessment, subtraction comparisons between lanes and gel runs, and, with many systems, image enhancement for display or publication. The new image-enhancement features of these systems, while adding capabilities, have also raised new questions. Journal editors and scientists are debating what the acceptable limits of image enhancement may be and how the integrity of the data underlying computer-generated images can be guaranteed (C. Anderson, Science, 263:317-8, 1994). For now, no standard procedures have emerged, and education and raised awareness of the issues seems to be the best policy. "For desktop publishing purposes, you sometimes have to modify the contrast of the image in order to get a good print that looks like what you saw," says Darryl Ray, a cell biologist and president of San Leandro, Calif.-based Alpha Innotech Corp. "However, in doing that you change the [underlying] gray level information. That makes the image not useful for quantitation after that point. So, we recommend that people save the images in an original file format, where, if the original pixel value was, say, 105 [out of 256 gray levels], it's saved as 105." Alpha Innotech's IS-1000 Digital Imaging System, at $13,990, is a DOS-based personal computer system that includes a high-performance CCD camera with interference filters, image enhancement and analysis software, and a thermal printer for output. Simplicity's Virtues Not every researcher or laboratory needs the analytical power offered by such middle- to high-end systems. Some may simply be looking for the ability to perform minimal quantification of their gel electrophoresis results. "Every biological laboratory has a gel electrophoresis unit," says Craig Rappaport, a technical support specialist with Jandel Scientific, San Rafael, Calif. "And yet the only way to read these gels has been with these hardware-software turnkey products that can be fairly expensive. Those without the grants money to buy these things have been doing it in a number of ways. They might put it on a lightbox and eyeball it. Or they might just hold it up to the light and eyeball it. And there hasn't really been much in between." Jandel's solution is a general-purpose image-analysis program called SigmaScan/Image, priced at $495. According to Rappaport, the software can be used with a relatively inexpensive 8-bit CCD video camera, for example, thus allowing budget-conscious researchers access to basic densitometry functions. "Our whole idea is that you've got a bunch of people out there driving [luxury cars], and everybody else is riding a horse," Rappaport says. "It doesn't make sense." Images digitized into standard file formats, such as TIFF, by a variety of other devices and systems can be analyzed by a generic image-analysis system such as Sigma-Scan/Image. Among these are gel-documentation images from such systems as the Foto/Analyst Visionary system from Fotodyne Inc. of Hartland, Wis.; the Eagle Eye system from La Jolla, Calif.- based Stratagene Cloning Systems; and the GDS 5000 system from U.V. Products Inc. of San Gabriel, Calif. These are documentation-only systems for which analysis software is either optional or not provided (C.D. Potter, The Scientist, Oct. 4, 1993, page 18). While systems that capture data for both analysis and display as images on computer monitors are becoming more common, some software-analysis systems work only with the data, providing no photograph-like imaging tools. The GS 300 Dual-Speed Scanning Densitometer from San Francisco-based Hoefer Scientific Instruments, for example, works with the company's Densitometry Acquisition and Analysis System software to display densitometry peaks and predict molecular weights. This particular densitometer, at $2,345, is a reliable, well-established laboratory instrument, according to Karen Enz, a technical support specialist with Hoefer. The software responsible for analysis, however, is fully up to date and "quite a few generations ahead of the densitometer," Enz says. It is priced at $1,995. MAINTAINING DIGITAL INTEGRITY With the use of computers for primary data capture, display, and analysis becoming more and more pervasive, it is common now for there to be no photographic negative or laboratory notebook backing up published images and data interpretations of gel electrophoresis experiments. The degree of enhancement exercised with a given image, then, becomes difficult to review for possible misrepresentation, whether intentional or accidental. Scientists say that, while no incidents of deception through digital image alteration have been reported, steps may have to be taken to protect data integrity. The Food and Drug Administration, reliant on electrophoresis studies as an aspect of its pharmaceutical regulatory work, for instance, may be called upon to develop procedures to protect original data from over-enhancement. Software manufacturers, too, may be asked to provide tamper-proof original data files that can later be consulted by reviewers, colleagues, and even the courts. Already, some have begun to incorporate these concerns into their designs. "We provide in our analysis software no tools by which researchers can modify the original raw data image," says Molecular Dynamics' James Nelson. "The only tool we provide them is [the ability to] delete." In this way, the underlying data file remains "sacrosanct" and available for later scrutiny, according to Nelson. He calls that file "the equivalent of the original notebook." Published images, on the other hand, can be manipulated in many ways, he says. "I could take an image and, using an image-processing program, add a band where there was no band," Nelson says. "I guarantee you that you would never, ever be able to figure it out, unless you could get hold of the original data file." These scientists add that the dangers of such potential falsifications, while a legitimate concern, should also not be overemphasized. Although deceptive image modifications are easier with digital imaging, similar changes have always been possible. "If someone wants to deceive, they can, and they can do it with regular pictures, as well," says Alpha Innotech's Darryl Ray. Nelson agrees. "The basic tenets still apply," he says. "Research is only as good and valid as the ethics and morality of the researcher. End of statement." --F.H. ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104, U.S.A. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #6, March 21, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ---------------------------------------------------------- TI : SUPPLIERS OF ELECTROPHORESIS IMAGING AND ANALYSIS PRODUCTS TY : TOOLS & TECHNOLOGY PG : 19 The following companies offer instrumentation and/or software for use in gel electrophoresis imaging and analysis. Please contact the companies directly for more information concerning specific products. Alpha Innotech Corp. 14743 Catalina St. San Leandro, Calif. 94577 (510) 483-9620 Fax: (510) 483-3227 Amersham Corp. 2636 S. Clearbrook Dr. Arlington Heights, Ill. 60005 (708) 593-6300 Fax: (708) 437-1640 Appligene Inc. 1177 E. Quarry Lane Pleasanton, Calif. 94566 (510) 462-2232 Fax: (510) 462-6247 J.T. Baker Inc. 222 Red School Lane Phillipsburg, N.J. 08865 (908) 859-2151 Fax: (908) 859-9318 Becton Dickinson Microbiology 250 Shilling Circle Cockeysville, Md. 21030 (410) 771-0100 Fax: (410) 584-2806 Biomed Instruments Inc. 1020 S. Raymond Ave. Suite B Fullerton, Calif. 92631 (714) 870-0290 Fax: (714) 870-6385 Biophotonics P.O. Box 3756 Ann Arbor, Mich. 48106 (313) 426-8299 Fax: (313) 426-5311 Bio-Rad Laboratories Life Science Group 2000 Alfred Nobel Dr. Hercules, Calif. 94547 (510) 741-1000 Fax: (510) 741-1055 C.B.S. Scientific Company Inc. P.O. Box 856 Del Mar, Calif. 92014 (619) 755-4959 Fax: (619) 755-0733 Cole-Parmer Instruments 7425 North Oak Park Ave. Niles, Ill. 60714 (708) 647-7600 Fax: (708) 647-9660 DuPont Biotechnology Systems Barley Mill Plaza P22-2278 Wilmington, Del. 19880 (302) 992-4785 E-C Apparatus Corp. 3831 Tyrone Blvd. North St. Petersburg, Fla. 33709 (813) 344-1644 Fax: (813) 343-5730 EG&G Chandler Enterprises 2001 N. Indianwood Ave. Broken Arrow, Okla. 74012 (918) 627-1740 Fax: (918) 459-7199 FMC Bioproducts Inc. 191 Thomaston St. Rockland, Maine 04841 (207) 594-3480 Fax: (207) 594-3426 Fisher Scientific 711 Forbes Ave. Pittsburgh, Pa. 15219 (412) 562-8300 Fax: (412) 562-8313 Fotodyne Inc. 950 Walnut Ridge Dr. Hartland, Wis. 53029-9388 (800) 362-3686 Fax: (414) 369-7013 Fuji Medical Systems Inc. 333 Ludlow St. Stamford, Conn. 06902 (203) 353-0300 Fax: (203) 353-0926 Gelman Sciences Inc. 600 S. Wagner Rd. Ann Arbor, Mich. 48106-1448 (313) 665-0651 Fax: (313) 668-7680 Hoefer Scientific Instruments 654 Minnesota St. San Francisco, Calif. 94197 (415) 282-2307 Fax: (415) 821-1081 Idea Scientific Co. P.O. Box 13210 Minneapolis, Minn. 55414 (612) 331-4612 Fax: (612) 331-4217 Interactive Technologies International 5428 First Ave. North St. Petersburg, Fla. 33710 (800) 833-1004 Fax: (813) 327-1144 ISOLAB Inc. Drawer 4350 Akron, Ohio 44321 (216) 825-4525 Fax: (216) 825-8520 ISS ENPROTECH Division Corp. 21 Strathmore Rd. Natick, Mass. 01760 (508) 655-1500 Fax: (508) 655-8501 Jandel Scientific 2591 Kerner Blvd. San Rafael, Calif. 94901 (415) 453-6700 Fax: (415) 453-7769 Labonco Corp. 8811 Prospect Ave. Kansas City, Mo. 64132 (816) 333-8811 Fax: (816) 363-0130 Life Technologies Inc. P.O. Box 6009 8451 Helgerman Court Gaithersburg, Md. 20884-9980 (301) 840-4150 Fax: (301) 670-8539 Marsh Biomedical Products Inc. 565 Blossom Rd. Rochester, N.Y. 14610 (716) 654-4800 Fax: (716) 654-4810 Mettler-Toledo Inc. P.O. Box 71 Hightstown, N.J. 08520 (609) 448-3000 Fax: (609) 490-0917 Millipore Corp. 80 Ashby Rd. P.O. Box 9125 Bedford, Mass. 01730-9125 (617) 275-9200 Fax: (617) 275-5550 Molecular Dynamics 880 East Arques Ave. Sunnyvale, Calif. 94086 (408) 773-1222 Fax: (408) 773-8343 National Diagnostics Inc. 305 Patton Dr. Atlanta, Ga. 30336 (404) 699-2121 Fax: (404) 699-2077 Owl Scientific Inc. 10 Commerce Way Woburn, Mass. 01801 (617) 935-9499 Fax: (617) 935-8499 PDI Inc. 405 Oakwood Rd. Huntington Station, N.Y. 11746 (516) 673-3939 Fax: (516) 673-4502 Pharmacia Biotech Inc. 800 Centennial Ave. Piscataway, N.J. 08855-1327 (800) 526-3593 Fax: (908) 457-0557 Photometrics Ltd. 3440 E. Britannia Dr., #100 Tucson, Ariz. 85706-5006 (602) 889-9933 Fax: (602) 573-1944 Pierce Chemical Co. P.O. Box 117 Rockford, Ill. 61105 (815) 968-0747 Fax: (815) 968-7316 Princeton Separations Inc. P.O. Box 300 Adelphia, N.J. 07710 (908) 431-3338 Fax: (908) 431-3768 Research Organics Inc. 4353 E. 49th St. Cleveland, Ohio 44125 (216) 883-8025 Fax: (216) 883-1576 Scleicher and Schuell 10 Optical Ave. Keene, N.H. 03431 (603) 352-3810 Fax: (603) 357-3627 Stratagene Cloning Systems 11011 N. Torrey Pines Rd. La Jolla, Calif. 92037 (619) 535-5400 Fax: (619) 558-0947 USA Scientific Plastics Inc. P.O. Box 3565 Ocala, Fla. 34478 (904) 237-6288 Fax: (904) 351-2057 U.V. Products Inc. 2066 W. 11th St. Upland, Calif. 91786 (800) 452-6788 Fax: (909) 946-3597 Vanguard International Inc. P.O. Box 308 1111-A Green Grove Rd. Neptune, N.J. 077543-0308 (908) 922-4900 Fax: (908) 922-0557 VWR Scientific Corp. 1310 Goshen Pkwy. West Chester, Pa. 19380 (215) 431-1700 Fax: (215) 436-1769 (The Scientist, Vol:8, #6, March 21, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: NEW PRODUCTS ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : Worthington Offers Heart Cell Isolation Kit TY : NEW PRODUCTS PG : 20 Worthington Biochemical Corp. of Freehold, N.J., offers a cell isolation kit called the Cardiomyocyte Isolation System. The kit contains materials and directions for five separate tissue dissociations of up to 12 hearts each. Individual vials contain Hank's Balanced Salt Solution, Worthington Purified Trypsin, Soybean Trypsin Inhibitor, Purified Collagenase, and Leibovitz L-15 powdered media. Also included with instructions are five Falcon cell strainers and a phenol red color card for checking pH. All kits use purified enzyme preparations, rather than crude; according to the company, this ensures additional consistency and yield of viable cells at the bench. Additionally, all kits have been use-tested on neonatal rat hearts. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #6, March 21, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : Unisyn Releases Cell Culture System TY : NEW PRODUCTS PG : 20 Unisyn Technologies, based in San Diego, has released its Cell-Pharm System 1000 research- to pilot-scale cell culture system for producing biomolecules. Designed with hollow fiber bioreactor technology, the system provides highly concentrated, debris-free supernatants to simplify downstream purification, improve yields, and broaden cell production range, according to the manufacturer. The Cell-Pharm System 1000 is a self-contained, bench-top unit that does not require an incubator, and operates with a dual-head peristaltic pump providing air and medium supply. The system features flow diagrams and LED displays, and comes with an automated pH control that maintains optimal levels for increased cell productivity, according to Unisysn. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #6, March 21, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ----------------------------------------------------------------- TI : Gelman Sciences Introduces Ion Chromatography Syringe Filter TY : NEW PRODUCTS PG : 20 Gelman Sciences of Ann Arbor, Mich., has made available its Ion Chromatography Acrodisc Syringe Filter, specifically designed and certified for ion chromatography sample filtration. Each lot has been sampled and tested by ion chromatography for low-conductivity-detectable extractables to ensure consistent results of ionic species analyses, according to the company. The Acrodisc contains Supor membrane, an inherently hydrophilic polyethersulfone in a polypropylene syringe filter housing. It is available in 0.2 and 0.45 mm pore sizes at 25 and 13 mm diameters. For lower hold-up volume, the 13mm Acrodisc is suitable for sample volumes of 10 mL or less, while the 25 mm Acrodisc is suitable for 2 mL to 100 mL samples. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #6, March 21, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : Two New Products Available From Eppendorf TY : NEW PRODUCTS PG : 20 Eppendorf North America Inc., headquartered in Madison, Wis., has developed a new linker for DNA and RNA solid-phase synthesis. Called the Multi-Hydroxy DNA/RNA Linker, the product gives the researcher the ability to add 2n molecules of a label, where n is the number of times Multi-Hydroxy is added to a synthetic oligonucleotide. Multi-Hydroxy is attached to a spare amidite port on a standard synthesizer after reconstitution. It uses standard coupling and chemistry procedures, and has a coupling efficiency of >>97 percent. The addition of one cycle of Multi-Hydroxy results in the availability of two -OH groups at the 5' terminus of the oligonucleotide. Subsequently, users can add two more - OH groups onto each linker. In this manner, the researcher can also produce a series of branched active -OH sites. Labels such as rhodamine, biotin, and fluorescein have been used successfully, according to Eppendorf. Using standard NH4OH protocols, oligomers are prepared with the new reagent cleaved from solid support. Resultant synthetic oligonucleotides can be purified using traditional methods, such as high-performance liquid chromatography or gel purification. Eppendorf has also introduced the CS-200 Process analyzer, distinguished by its ability to measure H2S and CO2 content in both lean and rich amine streams. Furthermore, the company claims, the CS-200 is able to make viable measurements in most relevant solvents, including MEA, DEA, MDEA, DGA, and DIPA, as well as trademarked solvents such as Flexsorb (Exxon), Selexol and UCarsol (Union Carbide), GasSpec (Dow), Betzamine (Betz), and Sulfinol (Shell). The CS-200's online monitoring of H2S and CO2 content helps to optimize oil refinery and gas plant operating conditions and reduce overall energy costs. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #6, March 21, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : Hach's AccuVac Kits For Colorimetric Testing TY : NEW PRODUCTS PG : 20 AccuVac Test Kits, from Hach Co. of Loveland, Colo., supply the colorimetric analysis researcher with six different models for monitoring chlorine, iron, dissolved oxygen, nitrate, ozone, and phosphate. Each test kit is supplied with 25 vacuum-sealed AccuVac Ampuls. When the ampul tip is broken, it is designed to automatically draw the correct amount of sample into the vial; according to Hatch, this eliminates the need for reagent mixing or measuring and avoids sample cell cleanup and cross-contamination. The AccuVac kits also feature a continuous gradient color disk that replaces color steps and standards found in other tests. Users obtain results by holding the comparator box to a light source and rotating the disk until the color of the reacted sample matches the color density of the disk. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #6, March 21, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ---------------------------------------------------------- TI : Modular Stimulator System From Medical Systems TY : NEW PRODUCTS PG : 20 Medical Systems Corp., located in Greenvale, N.Y., has introduced its Digitimer Multistim multi-channel tissue bath stimulation system. The device is designed to facilitate multiple isolated tissue bath stimulation with flexible control of stimulation voltage and timing for each bath. Applications include isolated smooth muscle preparations for vas deferens and gut arteries, as well as preparation of isolated coronary and skeletal muscles. Isolated tension measurements in muscle are also possible. The Multistim is a flexible modular stimulator; users can choose from among more than 20 components in order to configure the optimum system for each experiment. A 19-inch rack-mounted case accommodating up to 10 stimulation channels and a half-width bench-top case accommodating up to four channels are offered. Several stimulator channel modules are also available with voltage protocols up to 100 volts, and with current capacities up to 2.5 amps per channel. Overload cut- out protection is standard. Also offered is a choice of timing and triggering modules that allow implementation of pulse train and other stimulus delivery protocols. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #6, March 21, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : Spectra-Tech's Microscope Liquid Cell Kit For FT-IR TY : NEW PRODUCTS PG : 20 Microscope Liquid Cell, from Spectra-Tech Inc. of Stamford, Conn., is available for FT-IR microscopes for infrared analysis of biological liquids. The kit features a fixed pathlength and sealed environment for liquid transmission analyses. The cell has a nominal 7 micron path length for analyzing proteins in solution, which also allows it to analyze other biological solutions and liquid samples that are strongly absorbing in the infrared region. Additionally, the Microscope Liquid Cell will work with both the 15x and 32x microscope objectives when used with Spectra-Tech or Nicolet FT-IR microscopes. The kit comes with a Micro Compression Cell, a gold-coated 13 x 1 mm barium fluoride window, and a cell insert. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #6, March 21, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: PROFESSION ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : Book Publishing Jobs Offer Scientists Flexibility, Security AU : RICKI LEWIS TY : PROFESSION PG : 21 Many scientists are finding that a career in publishing can be an exciting and rewarding alternative to the traditional postgraduate professional trajectory of a researcher. Those who have made the move say that helping to mold a rough manuscript on a scientific topic into a polished book not only utilizes skills acquired in their training, but also often solves career problems. A publishing job, for example, can offer flexibility in work sites and schedules, greater job security than many research positions, and a relief from the burnout that can result from focusing too intently on a single scientific question. One editor's chair that's especially well filled by scientists is that of an acquisitions editor, who signs up new books for publication. "About half of the acquisitions editors I know got a Ph.D. in a science, and decided they didn't want to spend [many] years at the bench in one narrow area," says Kirk Jensen, an acquisitions editor at New York- based Oxford University Press. Options And Opportunities Jobs in publishing offer a variety of opportunities for scientists. "It is a very broad, open field, with positions in sales, marketing, development, and production, as well as editorial jobs," says Elizabeth Seavers, a biology editor at William C. Brown Communications in Dubuque, Iowa. Seavers was en route to a Ph.D. in neurobiology when she began thinking seriously about life after graduate school. She faced a very common problem--how would she and her spouse find positions in the same geographical area? "I was in the Ph.D. program at Iowa State University in Ames in 1986, and I was gung-ho," Seavers says. "In my second year, just after I'd gotten married, candidates were interviewing for a faculty position, and we graduate students were encouraged to speak with them. I noted that they all had many postdoctoral positions on their c.v.'s-- two years here, two years there. Could I have a research career like that?" she recalls wondering. Then Seavers's husband found a job in Dubuque, so she decided to leave graduate school with a master's degree and go with him. In her new home she applied for any positions she could find that were remotely related to biology. After arriving in Dubuque, Seavers met an editor from William C. Brown. Upon learning about the different types of editorial positions, she was happy to realize that she could fit rather easily into publishing. Now Seavers is a project editor, with a variety of responsibilities. Like many scientist-turned-editors, she cites "broadening my horizons" as the biggest plus of her publishing job. "Now I work with molecular biologists, biochemists, microbiologists, and geneticists," she says. "I don't gain as much depth of information, but it is exciting to work closely with someone who knows so much about a different area." Editorial Taxonomy Different types of editors guide a book from initial concept, outline, and proposal to a first draft, through the review process, and, finally, through production. A scientist can learn to handle any of these positions, say those who have done so. Many scientist-editors in textbook publishing begin as developmental editors. People in this job work with the author on a chapter-by-chapter basis, soliciting reviews from knowledgeable researchers, then wading through the often-conflicting advice to help the author shape the final manuscript. "I'm the author's link, the liaison to the publishing process," says Robin Steffek, a developmental editor at William C. Brown. Steffek, who came very close to earning a Ph.D. in biochemistry, uses her science background daily. "It helps in communicating with authors on a content level," she says. "I can advise on where to cut, where to add, and why a certain passage just isn't working." A project editor has broader responsibilities than a developmental editor does. He or she manages several books in a single subject area, works with developmental editors to meet deadlines, plans budgets, and sees that books progress to the production stage in a coordinated and timely fashion. A project editor may also begin to evaluate new projects, which is on-the-job-training for what is regarded as a step up in the publishing hierarchy: the job of acquisitions editor. An editor trained as a scientist can be particularly valuable in acquistions. Having gone at least part way through the scientific system, he or she can often spot the promising discoveries and technologies that will make sought-after reference books for researchers, for example. In addition, with a scientific background combined with years of editorial experience, he or she knows how such a book should be marketed. And, because an acquisitions editor is often the first person from a publishing company to contact a scientist, being from the same camp can open doors. Often an acquisitions editor has an impressive mix of scientific background and editorial skills and experience. Phyllis Moses, senior acquisitions editor at San Diego-based Academic Press, for instance, followed the traditional route of Ph.D. (in phage gene regulation) and postdoctoral research, both at Rockefeller University in New York City. But along the way she recognized her growing interest in publishing, and began talking with science writers visiting the university to interview researchers. "As a direct result of one contact, I got a science policy fellowship at the National Research Council," she says. "I held that position for 12 months, then continued working in the same office in a staff position for two years." During that time, Moses wrote and edited policy reports, spending a great deal of time on the phone and in committee meetings. By the time she answered an ad for a position at Academic Press in 1987, she had a special combination of scientific, literary, and "people" skills that make a successful acquisitions editor. Sarah Greene is president and publisher of Greene Publishing Associates Inc. of Brooklyn, N.Y. This small company has a joint venture with New York-based John Wiley & Sons Inc. to produce a series entitled Current Protocols, published in three areas: molecular biology, human genetics, and immunology. The serials, issued several times a year, provide subscribers with specific directions on how to conduct certain procedures and experiments. Like many scientists in publishing, Greene came to her present position somewhat circuitously and serendipitously. "I was working on my Ph.D. in plant pathology and microbiology at Cornell University," she says. A newlywed, she decided to take a semester off and join her husband in New York City. There, she took a job with Plenum Press, working for Kirk Jensen, then the company's biology editor. He taught her copy editing. "When it was time to go back to Cornell, Macmillan Publishing Co. [of New York] announced that they were starting a new program, and wanted someone with a science background for training to do professional books," Greene recalls. Her friends pushed her to apply, and to her great surprise, she got the job. And she excelled at her new position. "After a year with Macmillan, she had developed a distinguished list, focusing on agrieconomics and microbiology," says Jensen. Greene began to think about starting her own company when she was expecting her second child. "As an acquisitions editor, I had to travel up to 30 percent of the time," she says. "Starting my company was partly something I did for myself, so I wouldn't have to travel so much." But she was also frustrated with the publishing process, specifically with the timetable. Unlike books on methodologies, protocols get the information to the reader faster, she says. "It takes so long, through editing and production, that by the time a publication comes out, the methods are too old," Greene says. "So starting the company was a mix of seeing the need as a scientist and being a mother." Greene seeks scientifically trained people to work as editors for the company, then teaches them editing. "Scientist-editors can pay attention to the scientific details, not just see if [the text] is grammatically correct," she says. "A nonscientist copy editor, for example, wouldn't notice the importance of the temperature used to incubate something the way a scientifically trained editor would." Five of her 18 employees have Ph.D.'s, and several others were "very close" to getting a doctorate before deciding to leave graduate school, she says. Echoing the beliefs of many people in publishing, Greene maintains that it is far easier to teach editing skills to a scientist than it is to teach science to an editor. Learning Editing Skills Many editors--coming to publishing from all fields--pick up editing skills on the job. Seavers had her first training at her job interview. "I had to read scientists' reviews of a manuscript, and write a review analysis," which would be a key part of her job, she recalls. Steffek found that juggling several book projects at once wasn't much different from coordinating experiments, but notes that she had a hard time learning the business end of publishing. Classes are another option. "There is a wide variety of programs at different schools offering formal course work in technical and scientific writing and editing," says Gilbert Storms, an associate professor of English at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Storms, who teaches technical and scientific editing and writing at Miami, is a co-editor, along with colleague Jean Lutz, of The Practice of Technical and Scientific Communication: Writing in Professional Contexts, scheduled for publication in 1995 by Ablex Publishing Co. Inc. of Norwood, N.J. Arizona State University's Scholarly Publishing Program trains students who have graduate degrees in any field to enter publishing. "In scholarly publishing--either journals or books--it is important to have training in a discipline beyond the undergraduate major," says Beth Luey, director of the program. "Partly this is a need to know more about a subject, and partly a need to know more about how research is done." In Luey's program, students take courses in basic editing skills, copy editing, and proofreading, then do a research project and earn a certificate. One graduate student in zoology, for example, compared rejection rates of articles among different scientific disciplines as a research project. "I teach how the world of publishing works--the economics and ethics of publishing, how peer review works and its problems, and how scholarly publishing fits into education and scholarship," Luey says. Some publishers value scientists as editors for their knowledge of the subject matter of science books. "Textbook publishing, especially, is a field that desperately needs scientific expertise, both at the high school and college levels," says Luey. Seavers cites problem-solving as such an advantage of scientific training. "I approach a problem in publishing much as I would a scientific investigation. I look at all possible options, and consider why one will work, but one won't," she says. But not any scientist with a knowledge base and carefully honed problem-solving skills would make a good editor. "One thing that holds some scientists back from publishing is that you have to have the personality to work with people," says Seavers. "Some scientists are so involved with their research that they close themselves off to people." Talent is required, too. "A scientist should have good language skills and either formal course work at scientific writing or editing, or experience," says Storms. Other qualities are harder to define. "You have to have a knack for it," says Greene. "Sometimes I can't find out if a scientist has that knack until I've invested time in training the person." Graduate work in a scientific discipline gradually narrows and focuses a person's experiences and outlooks. A first- year student typically takes courses and visits a few research labs. By the time thesis writing rolls around, the student is immersed in a very specific project. Publishing is often the opposite. "One difficulty that a scientist in publishing might have is in overcoming the tendency to focus too deeply on favorite areas," says Jensen. A scientist editing a manuscript in his or her field of expertise may lack the objectivity to evaluate the clarity of writing that a less-experienced reader might have, possibly not noticing incomplete explanations because he or she fills in the blanks subconsciously. "I've even noticed this in myself, when I edit textbooks. When it was the first book [I edited] in a field, I did my best job. But by the second time around, I knew too much," says Luey. Seavers says that when she was hired, her employers at first were wary of her science background. "They had anticipated clashes between me and authors," she says. "They told me I would have to stand back and pay attention to what reviewers say. But it hasn't been a problem." The only downside of her science background, Seavers says, is that authors depend on her in ways that they wouldn't rely on an editor without scientific training. "Once authors find out you know science, they will ask what you think about this or that," she says, adding that she wishes she had more time to spend talking science with authors. Why Enter Publishing? Salaries in publishing vary greatly. Some editors' earnings are comparable to those of academic scientists. Jensen points out that acquisitions editors are paid the highest. Greene says she pays her editors salaries commensurate with their advanced degrees. Job security at an established publishing house is a plus, especially for scientists who left graduate school just shy of earning a doctorate, those in academia without tenure, or nearly anyone in industry in these days of massive layoffs. "It's an advantage not to have to rely on soft money," says Seavers. "For me, with a master's, I knew I was never going to be a principal investigator, that I would always rely on someone else's laboratory to get paid." Scientists who left the bench for the editor's desk look back favorably on their days in research but say their careers in publishing are exciting and fulfilling in a different sense. Says Seavers: "Yes, I miss the thrill of staying in the lab till 2 A.M. because you are so excited when something works the way that you'd hoped. But there is a thrill, too, when a book you've worked on for three years is finally published." Ricki Lewis, a freelance science writer based in Scotia, N.Y., writes college biology texts and has a Ph.D. in genetics. ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104, U.S.A. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #6, March 21, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: PEOPLE ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : DuPont Chemist Receives Priestley Medal AU : KAREN YOUNG KREEGER TY : PROFESSION (PEOPLE) PG : 23 Howard E. Simmons, a physical organic chemist and retired vice president of the central research and development department at DuPont in Wilmington, Del., is the 1994 recipient of the American Chemical Society's (ACS) Priestley Medal, the United States' highest award in chemistry. Simmons, 64, will receive the medal at the national ACS meeting in San Diego this month. Being presented with the award caught Simmons by surprise. "The Priestley Medal hasn't been given very often to industrial people. I wasn't anticipating it," he says. In the award announcement, ACS explains that Simmons "is being recognized for his many years of distinguished service to chemical science, industry, and society." Simmons is primarily known for two areas of research. "The piece of work that I'm best known for is the Simmons-Smith reaction," he says. This synthetic reaction, which bears Simmons's name as well as that of Ronald Smith, a research chemist at DuPont in the late 1950s, was the first addition of the hydrocarbon fragment, methylene, to a double bond, thus converting simple olefins (also known as alkenes) to cyclopropanes (Journal of the American Chemical Society, 80:5323, 1958 and 81:4245, 1959). "At the time that it was done [1959 to 1960], it was very difficult to make a three- membered ring compound," explains Simmons. The reaction eventually became a widely used technique by many synthetic and physical organic chemists. Simmons is also known for his work on the isomerism of macro-bicyclic amines (J. Amer. Chem. Soc., 90:2428, 1968), much larger-membered rings than those created by the Simmons-Smith reaction. In addition, he has contributed to theoretical chemistry, co-authoring Topological Methods in Chemistry (New York, John Wiley & Sons, 1989) with Richard E. Merrifield. According to Simmons, work in all of these areas advanced basic chemistry, as well as applied fields, such as pharmacology. He joined DuPont as a research chemist in 1954 and supervised research at DuPont's Central Research Laboratory- -which is known for advances in such areas as chlorofluoro- carbons, polymer technology, and biotechnology--in various capacities from 1959 until his retirement in 1992. He was named vice president in 1983. Although now retired, Simmons remains active on many fronts. He is still busy with research at DuPont and has been an adjunct professor at the University of Delaware since 1970, where he was also awarded an honorary doctorate in 1993. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the National Science Board of the National Science Foundation. In addition, he sits on several issue-oriented committees, including those dealing with such areas as misconduct and laboratory safety. In the future, he hopes to become involved in science education initiatives at NAS. Other honors awarded Simmons for his contributions to chemistry include the Chandler Medal from Columbia University (1991) and the National Medal of Science (1992). He was named a Sloan Professor at Harvard University in 1968 and a Kharasch Professor at the University of Chicago in 1978, a rare honor for an industrial chemist. Simmons received his bachelor's (1951) and doctoral (1954) degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The Priestley Medal, first awarded in 1922, commemorates the research of Joseph Priestley, the 18th-century discoverer of oxygen. --Karen Young Kreeger ----------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104, U.S.A. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #6, March 21, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================


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