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Phone :(215)243-2205 // Fax: (215)387-1266 E-mail:garfield@aurora.cis.upenn.edu ================= THE SCIENTIST VOLUME 8, No:11 MAY 30, 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 *** *** JUNE 13, 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 REPORT ON NIH INTRAMURAL SCIENCE: The National Institutes of Health intramural research program, while still strong, has been declining in quality and is due for rejuvenation, according to critics within the program and in the extramural community. A recent citation-impact study also supports this view of NIH research as fading. Now, scientists and NIH administrators are hopeful that a new external report suggesting specific changes will prove effective in strengthening the program PG : 1 BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH STATEMENT: Supporters of a "consensus statement" presented to Congress, advocating increased biomedical research funding and endorsed by 156 institutions, associations, and companies, say the document carries added impact because of the diverse sectors of the research community represented. Some critics, however, contend its influence will be mitigated by the individual interests represented in the text, while others feel the statement's recommendations are not in the public interest PG : 1 ANIMAL REPORT REACTION: A Tufts University report that examines the controversy over the use of animals in research and attempts to find a "middle ground" and promote dialogue between animal-research advocates and the animal-protection community is evoking mixed reactions from various constituencies within both camps PG : 3 HHMI's EXPANDING INFLUENCE: The recently released list of new Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigators--more than double the usual number of annual appointments--reflects both an expansion of the institute's cadre of research institutions and greater commitment to involving more women and minorities in science PG : 6 OPINION CAMPAIGN CREDO: The full text of the statement on biomedical research support, "Medical Research: Progress and Promise for the Patient," is presented. The document was endorsed by, and prepared with input from, 156 academic, institutional, and corporate entities PG : 12 COMMENTARY: Leon E. Rosenberg, president of the Bristol- Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical Research Institute in Princeton, N.J., urges his colleagues in the United States biomedical research community to put full energy into distributing, publicizing, and promoting the Research!America-sponsored consensus statement that is presented on page 12 of this issue PG : 13 RESEARCH HEAT-LOVING MICROBES: Scientists are warming up to Archaea, thermophilic microbes they feel may hold the answer to numerous basic research questions--including clues to Earth's origins--and may have substantial environmental and commercial applications PG : 14 HOT PAPERS: Medical researcher Kenneth W. Culver expands on his lab's gene-transfer method; chemist Thomas W. Ebbesen discusses his paper on large-scale synthesis of carbon nanotubes; physicist Robert J. Cava comments on his paper's role in the understanding of the cause of high-Tc superconductivity PG : 16 TOOLS & TRAINING GRANT SOFTWARE: New computer software and electronic aids are making the task of finding, applying for, and managing grants easier for researchers and administrators PG : 17 PROFESSION PEER REVIEW CRITIQUE: The time-honored practice of peer review of articles submitted for publication is coming under fire from authors--and even journal editors--who claim many reviewers are either ignorant of the work they critique or competitors in the same field; some are calling for an examination of the process PG : 1 PETER S. KIM, an associate biology professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute associate investigator, has received awards from two national professional societies PG : 22 SHORT TAKES NOTEBOOK PG : 4 LETTERS PG : 13 DIRECTORY OF COMPUTER AIDS FOR FINDING, PREPARING, AND MANAGING GRANTS PG : 19 NEW PRODUCTS PG : 20 OBITUARY PG : 22 CROSSWORD PG : 22 (The Scientist, Vol:8, #11, pg.3, May 30, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: garfield@aurora.cis.upenn.edu 71764.2561@compuserve.com The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A. -------- NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : Landmark `Consensus Statement' On Biomedical Research Support Is Greeted By Mixed Reactions Some observers regard the plea to Congress, signed by 156 organizations, as an urgently needed document, but others see flaws in it AU : BARBARA SPECTOR TY : NEWS PG : 1 A "consensus statement" advocating increased medical research funding by the United States government--endorsed by 156 institutions, associations, and companies and presented to Congress earlier this month --will be a significant addition to the national health-care-reform debate, say those who have signed the document. The signatories say its message will be particularly effective because such declarations are rarely made jointly by diverse sectors of the research community. Some health-policy specialists agree with this assessment of the statement's importance, predicting that its language will likely appeal to President Clinton. But as the declaration was being delivered to members of Congress, objections to it were coming from several quarters. A number of long-time health-policy watchers, for example, believe that the individual concerns of the signatories are too blatantly heralded in the statement and foresee a backlash from politicians inundated with pleas from special- interest groups. Others say the document does not make its case in a novel way and thus is likely to be ignored. Yet some critics disagree with these predictions, saying that the statement is liable to be welcomed by government officials--but they contend that lawmakers would be misguided in heeding its recommendations, which they say are not in the public interest. The declaration grew out of a March 9 forum held at the Carnegie Institution in Washington, D.C., and attended by officials from scientific societies; voluntary health associations; biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies; medical, dental, and nursing schools; and hospitals. The meeting was organized by Research!America, an Alexandria, Va.-based research-advocacy organization, and chaired by Leon Rosenberg, president of the Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical Research Institute in Princeton, N.J. (see Commentary, page 13). The statement was hand-delivered to every member of Congress on May 3; subsequently, it was given to staffers in the Clinton administration and various federal agencies. The Message Asserting that "too many Americans are suffering and dying needlessly because, as a nation, we don't invest enough in medical research," the statement notes that such research "provides high-quality, long-term employment for more than a million people." The document cites a poll conducted for Research!America by New York-based Louis Harris & Associates that found "a majority of Americans want the nation to invest more heavily in medical research." It concludes with recommendations, including calls to "incorporate the promotion of medical research as an integral element of health-care reform" and "encourage, do not obstruct, the discovery and develop- ment of innovative and effective pharmaceuticals, devices and reagents, by private industry." (For the full text, see Opinion, page 12.) Research!America president Mary Woolley says the message of the statement is twofold: to explain effectively "how health research can help the public interest"; and to counter "a perception out there that the research community fights within itself and doesn't agree on a whole range of issues." The document, she says, will aid advocates of research as they make their individual cases to Congress, the Clinton administration, and others working on health-care reform policy: "They now have words to use that they know are shared by members of the diverse research community." The signatories' ultimate objective, Woolley says, is "getting past the year-to-year, crisis mentality" that she says has characterized research funding over the past decade. "If we are successful, bench scientists will be allowed to pursue science based on scientific opportunities, secure that what they're doing is supported by the public, and everybody will win," she says. Robert C. Young, president of the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, which endorsed the statement, points out that the need for basic scientific investigation is "not self- evident to many people in this country, and it's nave to expect that it is." It's no longer realistic for scientists to "expect that they can qui-etly work and people will respect the importance [of research]," Young says. "Basically, we are not joiners, but we will do anything to support research," says Constance Lieber, president of Great Neck, N.Y.-based NARSAD, or the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression, of her group, another signatory. "I think it's a great achievement to have one organization--Research!America--get these organizations together. They all have their own private agendas but can agree on one central issue." An Interest Group? But some observers worry that the statement may subvert its own objective. "I'm in general agreement with the goals of this action--to raise awareness of the need for greater public investment in research," says Denis J. Prager, director of health programs at the Chicago-based John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. "But I'm skeptical about the effectiveness of this particular document, in which the recommendations are transparent reflections of the concerns and fears of the signatories. "I'm concerned that, because of the transparency of the interests which it represents, it may actually have the opposite effect from what is intended." However, Carl Feldbaum, president of the Washington, D.C.- based Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), which endorsed the statement, does not fear being viewed as representing a special interest. "We're all interest groups in the eyes of the administration and Congress," he says. It was no easy task to produce a document to which 156 organizations were willing to add their imprimatur, say those involved in the effort. Woolley says it took about four weeks to revise the statement according to the signatories' comments on a series of drafts--a process she originally expected to take 10 days. "I wouldn't say it was easy," says Feldbaum. "It got down to the single-word level of wordsmithing." One issue that is not mentioned specifically in the document is the use of animals in research, although, according to Gregory Maas, chief executive officer of Incurably Ill for Animal Research (iiFAR) in Lansing, Mich., general support for it is alluded to in references to "... the need to comply with state and federal regulations" (including animal-care regulations) and "persistent lack of understanding among the general public ... of the interconnectedness of medical research and quality health care" (which refers in part to public support for animal- rights causes). "It would have been more to our liking to have something a little stronger in the statement, but it's [just] one issue," says Maas. "When you're trying to come up with a consensus statement that diverse groups can agree on, there's some give and take that has to occur." Maas says that although he does not believe the public is sufficiently informed about the benefits of animal research, iiFAR is "trying to bridge that gap. We need to show the connection between biomedical research and health care. For the public to be more involved, they need to have a better understanding of the research-funding process." Alternative Views Not all of Research!America's member organizations are happy with the text of the statement--with the nature of the criticisms reflecting the umbrella group's diverse constituency. Richard De-Schutter, president of Chicago- based Searle & Co., says that although his company considers itself a signatory because it is a member of the Washington, D.C.- based Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association, which endorsed the document, "I told Mary [Woolley] I was disappointed that the statement doesn't go further in underlining the importance of free-market pricing as a mechanism of innovation in the development of drugs." Also critical of the statement, but taking an opposing view to DeSchutter's premise, is Abbey Meyers, president of the New Fairfield, Conn.-based National Organization for Rare Disorders, which declined to sign the statement. "The wording in the draft seemed to be so against health reform altogether; it wasn't simply addressing medical research," says Meyers. "Our interest is to protect patients, and it's not in patients' best interest to come out with a statement that's anti-reform and pro-industry. No matter what miracles [researchers] come up with, it won't do the patients any good if they can't afford them. "It's important to keep scientists in biomedical research, but there are other ways of doing it than to come out with a document that essentially complains about change," Meyers says. Woolley says that the document's drafters "came down, we believe, in the middle" of the viewpoints expressed by DeSchutter and Meyers. Drafters of the document made a concerted effort to "avoid polarizing statements," which is why the statement does not take a position on issues such as the role of market forces in drug pricing, she says. The Research!America president says she believes that the fact that objections to the statement have come from a drug company executive as well as a patient advocate is a tribute to the integrity of the consensus-building process. "As it was going on, it was suggested that Research!America was being manipulated by one segment or the other," Woolley says. "I think we did achieve a balance." However, some observers outside of the Research!America fold do not see such a balance in the statement. Sidney Wolfe, a physician and director of the Washington, D.C.-based Public Citizen Health Research Group, which advocates controls on the delivery of health care, says the document reflects unhealthy ties between pharmaceutical firms and the public sector. "[The National Institutes of Health] is doing some clinical trials that either shouldn't be done or should be done by drug companies; medical schools have become closer and closer to industry," says Wolfe. The statement is "evidence of this close relationship," he says. "I'd be happy if funding for academia were increased so they weren't as dependent as they are now on industry," he says. "This is not the agenda that [drug companies] have in mind." Robert Bell, a professor of economics at Brooklyn College, City University of New York, and author of Impure Science: Fraud, Compromise, and Political Influence in Scientific Research (New York, John Wiley & Sons Inc., 1992), is fearful of the statement's recommendations. "What it comes down to is more subsidy and less regulation for medical research--like the deregulation of the savings and loans," he says. "We should be moving in the direction of much greater checks and balances. To my mind, it's a scam to get American taxpayers to support the multinational activities of drug companies. "If all of these recommendations were implemented, it would turn what's left of peer-review science into an enormous pork feeding ground," Bell says. He adds that even the goal of more funding for medical research may not be a desirable one: "More money doesn't necessarily make for better research. More money means huge organizations, big construction, big contractors. Who are the big contractors going to be? The drug companies. They'll be the Pentagon contractors of medical research." Despite the dangers inherent in the recommendations, Bell predicts, "What's discussed in this consensus statement is going to get a lot of support from the White House; I would be surprised if it didn't." Yet some observers who strongly agree with the statement's call for more funding for medical research have doubts about the way its message is expressed. "There's absolutely nothing new here," says one experienced Washington lobbyist, speaking on condition of anonymity. "This has been the medical-research agenda for a couple of decades. It's the same old way of doing business--and the straits medical research is in speaks for itself about how effective it's been." Counters BIO's Feldbaum: "The message is not as new as the spectrum of messengers who are delivering it. If we continue working together, we will have political impact. Coalitions are the best way to take action." Peter Feinstein--a founder and a member of the board of directors of the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council and president of Feinstein Partners, a consulting firm for the biotech industry based in Cambridge, Mass.--although not a part of the consensus statement coalition, agrees with Feldbaum that the diverse alliance is significant. "A parallel may be the War on Cancer put together during the Nixon administration," Feinstein says. "They managed to get $100 million put into the NIH budget. The key thing is the combination of the academic and clinical Ph.D. and M.D. community. This is not a coalition that [ordinarily joins] together. The fact that it is together has some significance." Feinstein also predicts that the signatories' message will not fall on deaf ears in Washington: "This is the kind of thing that Clinton is liable to like. This is a nice thing to add to [the health-care] debate, and this is a good time to bring it up." The Next Step One longtime advocate for medical research says the key to the effort's success will be what happens next. "This is a laudable effort by a lot of groups, but, as usual, the proof is in the follow-up," says Terry Lierman of Washington-based Capitol Associates, a government-relations firm. "I would hope that these groups would spend an equal amount of time getting their members and colleagues outside [Washington] involved with decision-makers-- that's where the impact will really be felt. A lot more steps have to be taken with consumers before they're ready to get involved with Congress and policymakers to support innovation in health-care reform." Feldbaum, himself an old Washington hand--he was formerly an aide to Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.)--agrees. "These arguments have to be made in a very strenuous and calculated way," he says. "Human beings afflicted with certain diseases have to testify. Members of Congress are human--they respond to human approaches, not to dry, abstract approaches." The effectiveness of the statement, he says, "depends on who delivers it and how the statement is delivered." Whether the statement ends up making waves or being a washout on Capitol Hill (at press time, none of the senators or representatives contacted by The Scientist had had a chance to review the document), it is bound to be quoted repeatedly in a variety of contexts; only time will tell whether the effort is ultimately viewed as a success. In politics, "change is inevitable; this is one way of dealing with it," says Daryl Chubin, division director for research, evaluation, and dissemination at the National Science Foundation's education and human resources directorate. "You inject this into the political arena, and it kind of swishes around in there--people bring it to their representatives, use it in testimony. By being out there, it creates an opportunity for a kind of experiment." (The Scientist, Vol:8, #11, pg.1, May 30, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: garfield@aurora.cis.upenn.edu 71764.2561@compuserve.com The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A. -------- NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : NIH Insiders Hopeful That New Measures Will Improve Intramural Research Efforts Influence of the agency's scientific directors will ebb if NIH adopts revised methods of reviewing quality, approving tenure AU : FRANKLIN HOKE TY : NEWS PG : 1 Scientists and administrators at the National Institutes of Health are optimistic that changes suggested by an external advisory committee in a recent report will prove effective in strengthening the agency's intramural research program. The program, seen by various observers to be slipping in quality in recent years, involves some 6,000 NIH scientists and postdoctoral trainees, with support of their efforts accounting for about 11 percent of NIH's $11 billion budget. By contrast, about 80 percent of the agency's money goes to its extramural program, in which tens of thousands of scientists in university laboratories and other research settings across the United States compete for comparatively scarce support. Increasingly, extramural research proposals judged by peer review to be "very good" or even "excellent" have failed to receive grant support, bringing the intramural program-- perceived by many extramural scientists as being less competitive --under closer scrutiny. Critics in and outside NIH say that the intramural research program, while still strong, has been declining compared to the extramural investigations and that the program is due for rejuvenation. Support for the report's recommendations is visible at the highest levels at the institutes. At least one prominent former extramural scientist--Nobelist Harold E. Varmus, the current NIH director--is enthusiastic about the suggestions. Even some NIH officials implicitly criticized in the report- -for example, the scientific directors--are supportive of its aims, although they disagree with aspects of the reasoning underlying the critique. A recent study produced by the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) in Philadelphia tends to confirm that the intramural program needs shoring up. The study, which compared the actual number of citations to papers by NIH scientists against the expected number for all papers of the same vintage and in the same journals, supports the view that NIH intramural research has been fading during the past several years (see chart on page 8). Meanwhile, the external advisory committee's report makes a number of specific recommendations aimed at confronting concerns about quality and accountability in the intramural program. The report, for example, seeks to secure the independence of the external boards of scientific counselors that review each institute's intramural research program. The document also suggests the creation of a committee composed of the chairpersons of these boards to encourage more uniformity across NIH in the review process. Another recommendation is to create a new NIH-wide tenure committee of senior scientists to approve tenure decisions, introducing a new emphasis on peer evaluation into that process. Overall, the report's suggestions would help to reward the most productive scientists and to make room at the institutes for younger investigators, NIH officials and the report's authors say. The proposals would also reduce the powers of the scientific directors of each institute and make them more accountable for the scientific performance of their programs. Some NIH scientists say the report's recommendations target central problems at the institutes and, if implemented, could significantly recharge the intramural program. "There's too much power in the scientific directors," says Hynda K. Kleinman, a research chemist and section chief at the National Institute of Dental Research (NIDR). "And there is no uniformity among the institutes in the way they hire, fire, promote, or distribute lab funds and space." Kleinman says the changes could help to more closely tie an individual's career trajectory to the quality of his or her science. "Too much of it now is based on your relationship with your boss, rather than your scientific merit," Kleinman says. Despite the potential reduction in their influence, a number of the directors, most of whom are also senior NIH scientists with ongoing research projects, are cautiously supportive of the report's goals, if not all of its recommendations. Senior NIH administrators, often accomplished intramural scientists themselves, are backing the plan. "The bottom line is, we need to improve the quality of the review of the research at NIH," said Michael M. Gottesman at a news conference earlier this month at which the report was released. Gottesman is acting deputy director for intramural research and a laboratory chief at the National Cancer Institute. "We wish to revitalize this program. We want to begin to bring in young people who can establish their own research programs and be the future generation of NIH scientists. That's a strong commitment." One set of recommendations in the report calls for ensuring the independence of the external boards of scientific counselors who review each institute's intramural research program, assessing, for example, which projects and investigators deserve greater resources and which less. Currently, the scientific directors select the members of the boards of scientific counselors that review their programs. The report suggests that, instead, new members of each board of scientific counselors be recommended by a vote of the current members, although nominations might come from the scientific director, the deputy director for intramural research, and others. The actual invitation to join the board would come jointly from the deputy director and the chairperson of the board and no longer from the scientific director. In addition to reviewing the science program at a given institute, the more-independent board of scientific counselors would also review the performance of the scientific director every four years and vote on whether to recommend that person for a new four-year term. A major criterion for evaluation of the scientific director, the report states, would be the extent to which he or she considered or implemented the recommendations of the board of scientific counselors with regard to resource allocation to individual scientists. The review results would be sent to the deputy director for intramural research, who would then make a recommendation to the institute director overseeing the scientific director. "One of the criticisms that we've had over the past several years," NIH director Varmus said at the news conference, "is that the boards of scientific counselors may be too closely wedded to the very groups they're being asked to review. And, while this advisory function has worked well in many cases, there is the general belief that it may not be as stringent as the extramural peer-review process in which there is, perhaps, less fraternalism." Consolidating Oversight The report also suggests the creation of a new committee, composed of the chairpersons of these strengthened boards and chaired by the deputy director for intramural research. The aim of the committee would be to encourage more uniformity across NIH in the scientific-review process. According to the report, the intramural program has a fragmented federated structure with inadequate processes for oversight. While one result of this structure has been diversity and vitality, it has also led to unevenness in quality, quality control, and productivity. "One of the things that the [external advisory] committee was concerned about is that the NIH has become overly Balkanized," said committee cochairman Paul A. Marks, also president of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York. "In that sense, it's lost the ability to have quality as a primary basis for decision-making with regard to appointments, promotions, and program support." Another recommendation is to create a new NIH-wide tenure committee of 12 to 16 senior scientists to approve tenure appointments, introducing a new emphasis on peer evaluation into that process. The present procedure is for a board of the scientific directors to approve tenure decisions. Other suggestions in the report include: encouraging intramural program trainees to leave NIH after their two- to four-year programs to continuously provide space for new trainees; limiting the overall intramural budget in the future to its current level of about 11.3 percent of the total NIH budget; and reducing the NIH clinical center hospital from 450 beds to 250. Administrative response to the report's suggestions has been positive. On June 2, the standing advisory committee to NIH director Varmus, of which the external advisory committee was a subcommittee, will meet and, likely, formally approve the report. Already, Varmus said, he and Gottesman were meeting with institute directors and scientific directors to lay the groundwork for putting the recommendations into effect. The changes in the tenure system, for example, have already been approved by the necessary NIH officials, Gottesman said, although approval from NIH's parent organization, the Public Health Service (PHS), required for personnel policy changes, is pending. "We have a certain sense of optimism," said Marks, "that these recommendations--some of which have been on the books for a number of years--may be implemented this time around." The committee's feeling, Marks said, stemmed from the "explicit support" voiced not only by Varmus, Gottesman, and other top NIH administrators, but also by Department of Health and Human Services assistant secretary Philip R. Lee, who oversees PHS, and department secretary Donna E. Shalala. Reading The Signs "There has been, at least in some quarters, the perception that perhaps there's been some slippage in quality of the intramural program," Varmus told reporters when the report was released, acknowledging widespread concerns about the program (see, for example, J. Cohen, Science, 261:1120-7, 1993). Indeed, while a recent study of citations to scientific papers published by NIH researchers shows the intramural program commanding about 30 percent more citations than expected for comparable papers, it also shows a gradual overall decline in citation impact beginning in the late 1980s. Significant drops can be seen at specific institutes, such as the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the National Eye Institute. A few institutes appear to be growing stronger in recent years, such as the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. The study, produced by ISI (ScienceWatch, 5[3]:1, March 1994), compared actual citations to NIH papers against the expected number for papers of the same type (such as article, review, or note) published in the same journal and year. Scientific directors say there are different ways to interpret these data trends, although most accept that they are not artifacts and that there are problems that need to be addressed. Arthur S. Levine, scientific director at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, for example, says the problems at NIH are "structural" in nature. "The NIH and its intramural program are no longer experiencing the geometric, if not exponential, growth that they had in their previous history," Levine says. "At the same time, because senior scientists at the NIH, essentially, have lifetime positions, the work force is beginning to gray. So, the resources are now saturated. We are not adding new buildings by the day, and we are not adding new positions by the day. The money is staying flat. We have a closed box, and the people in it are not experiencing a great deal of turnover at the senior level. That is a situation that, structurally, invites the possibility of slippage." One remedy, Levine says, is to help NIH to grow again, but this does not seem likely in the current economic climate. "The second remedy is to make sure that our senior scientists are very rigorously peer-reviewed and that we don't hesitate to move resources from less productive to more productive scientists," Levine says, agreeing with the aims of the report. "That's a way of bringing in a continual supply of young investigators and of giving them a chance to grow and realize their full potentials." Levine cautions against overreacting to indicators such as the citation study. "The intramural program continues to be quite vital now, but it won't be quite vital 10 years from now if these structural remedies are not developed," he says. "I don't think the intramural program is in deep trouble at the moment, but we see the early warning signs." Starting New Projects George R. Martin is scientific director at NIA, a post he took in late 1988 after a number of years as a lab chief at NIDR. NIA is one of the institutes whose citations have declined most noticeably since the mid-1980s. Martin says that significant, long-term improvements in NIA's scientific programs have been put in place since then and that these will take time to develop to the point at which they attract notice and citations, reversing the apparent downward trend. This is especially true, he says, for a number of talented young investigators recruited to NIA in recent years to study the basic biology of aging. New areas of research include studies of DNA repair in individual genes and work on mitochondrial DNA deletion, as well as fundamental research on the vascular system, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer's disease. These researchers have their most productive years still ahead of them, he says. "We've developed 10 or 12 major new projects of this sort over the last half-dozen years, where we think the work is very important to the area of aging," Martin says. "The downside of this, when you bring in these younger people, is that those programs take three, five, seven years to mature, until they start to produce the types of results--and citations--that you expect. I can tell you, as a manager, I'm happy with the state of things and not so concerned about the citations index, because those will come along." Echoing Levine, Martin says that some of the intramural program's current problems have specific historical underpinnings. For example, he says, many of the best scientists now at NIH came to the institutes as young medical researchers during the Vietnam War era, because they could legally avoid war duties by doing so. "They could do research instead of being stuck in some hell hole where they'd be doing physical exams," Martin says. "The NIH could compete better for people who had clinical training and were also interested in research careers. Nowadays, they don't have access to those types of people, because the NIH underpays, as does the government generally." Gail H. Cassell, chairwoman of the department of microbiology at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, and cochairwoman with Marks of the external committee that produced the advisory committee report, says it is important to remember that the overall intramural program remains quite strong. "Yes, there has been a decline with some few institutes, [and] ones that have declined markedly," she acknowledges. "But the thing that is phenomenal is that many of them are still way above the average in what one might expect." (The Scientist, Vol:8, #11, pg.1, May 30, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: garfield@aurora.cis.upenn.edu 71764.2561@compuserve.com The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A. -------- NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : Critics Sharpen Assault On Peer Review Some even recommend abolishing the traditional process used by science journal editors to evaluate submitted manuscripts AU : PAUL MCCARTHY TY : NEWS PG : 1 During the past several years, the practice of peer review of article submissions--accepted unquestioningly by some authors--has come under increasingly harsh scrutiny by others. Many of these authors--joined, in some cases, by the editors of the very publications they are criticizing--are demanding change: Some are suggesting that reviewers' identities be revealed to the author; some, indeed, want to see the traditional peer-review system abolished altogether. Advocates of such changes fear that reviewers either are competitors of the authors whose research they are critiquing--and thus may have a vested interest in delaying the publication of their rivals' work--or are immersed in a subdiscipline at such a distance from the papers they are ostensibly reviewing that they may know nothing about the subject. Some also worry that, because publishing is essentially a buyers' market, there is no accountability on the part of editors. Editors themselves have their share of complaints about the system and reviewers, including their own. Among them: reviewers are not prompt, may be biased, or do not address the major arguments of the papers they are critiquing (see story on page 21). One of the most visible manifestations of concern is a call by some biomedical scientists for research into the peer- review process, which they say is central to all scientific communication, and yet poorly understood. Encouragement has come from the American Medical Association (AMA), which has provided staff support and funding for the First and Second International Congresses on Peer Review in Biomedical Publication, held in Chicago in 1989 and 1993. The first attracted 50 abstracts and the second more than 100, giving impetus to a third congress, planned for 1997. The increasing interest in the subject is hardly surprising, since it seems that almost every scientist can recall a horror story stemming from an experience with a reviewer. The abundance of such tales notwithstanding, it is difficult to get a spurned author to name the journal in question; for fear of harming their future publication prospects, most prefer to keep their experiences off the record. Take Loren Pankratz. His run-in with reviewers happened more than 15 years ago, but for Pankratz, a professor in the department of medical psychology and psychiatry at Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, it seems like yesterday. Pankratz was a coauthor of a study that described the successful--and surreptitious--reduction of a narcotic administered to a chronic pain patient. He says that when his paper came out--in a journal he declines to name--to his surprise, it was accompanied by four critical commentaries, "some of which were horrified by what we had done [adjusting the dosage without the patient's consent]." The journal subsequently changed its editorial policy, and Pankratz was never allowed to pen a response. "So we thought we had used these wonderful strategies to help this guy cut down his narcotic abuse," says Pankratz, "but instead we got reamed out and we were left looking like manipulative guys." How often do situations like this occur? No one knows, because few studies of the peer-review process have been conducted. To confuse things further, peer review means different things at different publications. Some journals give reviewers explicit instructions, for example, and some don't. Others have statistical consultants, while most don't. And some hide the authors' identities from their reviewers, while others don't make the effort. So it's little wonder that anecdotal complaints abound from both editors and authors. But only in the past five years has biomedicine been encouraged to apply the scientific method to an examination of peer review. Such self-examination is a good thing, according to Drummond Rennie, West Coast editor of JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association). Rennie, who has presided over the congresses, says he is pleased that AMA has recognized the importance of peer review to the quality of basic science and ultimately to patient care. "Scientific work doesn't exist," he says, "until it is peer reviewed and published." Need For Study Given his recent experiences and interest in the subject, Rennie probably knows more about peer review than anyone else in biomedicine. But, emphasizing his concern, he says that in a scientific sense he doesn't know much at all, because there hasn't been enough research into the peer- review process. Rennie, who is a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, Institute for Health Policy Studies, has heard all the anecdotes about peer-review abuse. Yet, absent systematic studies to confirm them, he says he would no more place stock in such tales than he would in unsupported claims made in any other area of science. How reliable is peer review? Do the oft-mentioned problems with the system affect the quality of papers that are published? "We don't really know," says Erica Frank, a professor of family and preventive medicine at Emory University and associate editor of Preventive Medicine, "because we haven't done the research." Stephen Lock, editor emeritus of the British Medical Journal, feels that part of the reason is that people were more frightened of editors in the past and didn't want to get on their bad side by criticizing their choice of reviewers. "Perhaps, too," he says, "there wasn't this culture of challenging things." He explains that particularly in the United States, as the competition for funding has increased and the emphasis in tenure and promotion decisions has shifted to the sheer weight of published articles, scientists have recognized that they have a larger stake in questioning the process when it doesn't go their way. In more relaxed times, argues Lock, since most papers eventually got published somewhere, "it was a bit of a lottery. A delay didn't matter too much, so you shrugged your shoulders; it was part of the fun." Frank has seen the problems as a researcher and editor. She thinks it's ironic and a bit embarrassing "that editors hold scientists to all sorts of stringent criteria, and yet we as editors have not held ourselves to any sort of criteria at all." She still steams over an instance in which she feels uninformed reviewers and an arrogant editor--of a journal she prefers not to name--rejected an article that she eventually published elsewhere. Her work was torpedoed, she says, by reviewers who didn't know the subject. Later, she says, when she spoke to the editor, he said, "I don't think we've ever made much of a mistake. I've never regretted having rejected a paper." One of the problems, says Frank, is that editors are usually chosen for their research and not their editorial decision- making skills. Another is that, generally, journal publishers have the upper hand in the author-journal relationship, and if something does go wrong, researchers "don't want to risk offending the editors, because they have to submit to that journal in the future." If It Ain't Broke... Taking the opposite view is Marcia Angell, executive editor of the New England Journal of Medicine. She thinks peer review works well as it currently exists. She says that it's the responsibility of good editors to keep the process running smoothly: The editor must choose reviewers who know what they are doing and ride herd on them to ensure that they don't subvert the process--for example, by sitting on papers. Angell says editors also have to read reviewers' comments closely to ensure they are not too subjective. And in the final analysis, the editor has to make the decision on whether to publish and not be totally influenced by reviewers' comments. Angell believes the journal marketplace already works well. The quality demands made by editors serve to direct papers to the publications where they belong. If a journal uses statistical consultants, for example, it will reject papers that contain statistical flaws and they will be published in less-selective journals, says Angell. She likes the fact that the process doesn't favor much innovation, too, because she thinks medicine should be conservative. But, she acknowledges, "there is nothing that an editor likes more than a breakthrough manuscript." David Horrobin, editor of Medical Hypotheses, has provided just such a home for a lot of ideas that he says would otherwise not have found one. The journal, which is peer reviewed, "will publish ideas or criticisms of ideas from any person, irrespective of whether any experimental testing of the ideas is then performed by the writer," it notes on its inside front cover. Horrobin thinks most peer review is concerned too much with quality control and not enough with nurturing innovative ideas. Says Horrobin, who heads the Efamol Research Institute in Kentville, Nova Scotia, Canada: "I think we're killing a lot of interesting ideas at birth." The scientific community is also making a mistake, says Horrobin, by fostering the illusion that scientists all review each other's work fairly. "Scientists are just the same as everybody else," he says, "particularly in today's competitive environment." For this reason, he doesn't think much of anonymous reviews. "In any situation other than science," he says, "anonymous communications are regarded as worthless." A number of solutions have been proposed to the perceived difficulties with peer review, but as far as Rennie is concerned the only solution is research. He says he'd be willing to shuck peer review completely if research showed that there was a better way of doing science. "Just because it has been done before," he says, "doesn't mean it should continue to be done." That is not self-evident to Angell, who fears that research on peer review may lead to regimentation. She says each journal uses peer review differently and that is the way it should be. Angell thinks that in an attempt to study peer review--which is a subjective, qualitative process-- researchers will use trivial, quantitative measures. "This will tell you almost nothing about the quality of the peer- review process," she says, "but it's the kind of busy work that makes you feel that you are looking at something." Once this research is done, she suspects, the findings will be used to regiment journals--to get them all to do things the same way. She fears that research could lead to a leveling, in which poor journals become better as good ones become worse. Rennie is particularly puzzled by Angell's concern about regimentation. He says all that peer-review researchers want to do is find out what works best. If shielding reviewers' identities from authors, for example, is shown to produce better reviews, maybe more journals will adopt it, says Rennie, but there won't be any rules that require such blinding. "Journals can do what they damn well please," he says. Lock is hopeful. He says that many editors are dissatisfied with the present system and are enthusiastic about improving it. "I think we will get somewhere," says Lock, "but it will take time." At the moment there are a lot of strong feelings, with scientists taking positions for and against such things as anonymous reviewing and grievance mechanisms for authors. "Still, editors are an inherently opinionated lot," says Frank, "but opinion doesn't cut it on this. What we really need is more data." Paul McCarthy is a freelance science writer based in Honolulu. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #11, pg.1, May 30, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: garfield@aurora.cis.upenn.edu 71764.2561@compuserve.com The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A. -------- NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : Both Sides Criticize Aspects Of New Report On Animal Research Debate AU : NEERAJA SANKARAN TY : NEWS PG : 3 A preliminary report on the results of an extensive exploration of issues involving animal research, conducted by Tufts University's Center for Animals & Public Policy, is drawing both favorable and unfavorable reactions from various constituencies within the animal-research and animal-protection communities. Andrew Rowan, the director of the Tufts center and the principal author of the report, entitled "The Animal Research Controversy," released a limited number of copies to members of the press and several interested groups two months ago. Coauthored by Franklin Loew, the dean of the North Grafton, Mass., based-Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine, and Joan Weer, program coordinator at the center, the 186-page report, plus a few additional chapters, is due to be published as a book later this year. The major aims of the study, according to Rowan, were to explore the middle ground between animal-research advocates and animal-protection groups, and to stimulate constructive dialogue to address the issues separating the two camps. "The two [sides] are actually after the same thing--neither wants animals to suffer needlessly," Rowan says. "Where they differ is in their timetable and in deciding how much effort to put into searching for ways to limit animal use." "Our values are not mutually exclusive," agrees Michael W. Fox, vice president for the Farm Animals and Bioethics section of the Humane Society of the United States, one of the largest national animal welfare organizations, headquartered in Washington, D.C. "I don't believe that all experimenters like making animals suffer, or that animal rights people put animals above people." The Tufts center report is the result of what Rowan describes as "detailed, long-term journalism," drawing on almost 20 years of his own and Loew's experience, as well as other studies in the field of laboratory animal research and care. In addition, the report includes discussion from two recent workshops on issues of animal use in education and the value of animal-based biomedical research, sponsored by the Philadelphia-based Pew Charitable Trusts, which also funded the preparation of the report. Following an analysis of key points of the research-vs.-rights controversy, the authors have made some suggestions for developing public policy. Their recommendations include: * the formation of "an officially sanctioned forum," consisting of representatives from both groups as well as independent analysts, which would discuss issues and make policy suggestions; * more extensive recording by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) of animal use; * more studies into animal suffering; * the increased development and use of alternative methods such as cell- and tissue-based experiments, human-centered clinical studies for testing drugs, and computer modeling, so as to accomplish the "three Rs" of animal research-- replacing and reducing animal use in experiments and refining existing methods to minimize pain; * laying the foundation for a consensus between the two groups, whereby protection advocates formally accept the value of animal research and researchers recognize and start establishing programs to minimize animal death and distress. "We've just attempted to identify certain reasonable, practical goals," says Rowan. But, while various individuals from both sides of the fence laud the Tufts group's efforts to present a fair picture and emphasize the common ground, they are not ready to accept all the report's recommendations, many citing their own specific concerns. "We represent the middle ground already," says J.R. Haywood, a professor of pharmacology at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center at San Antonio and chairman of the animal care and experimentation committee of the American Physiological Society. "As scientists, we know that the quality of our data is directly proportional to animal health and happiness," says Haywood, who uses animals in his research. "In looking at animal pain, psychological suffering has to be considered," says John McArdle, scientific adviser to the American Anti-Vivisection Society, headquartered in Jenkintown, Pa., who trained in anatomy and now does research in the field of paleobiology. "How can you assess that?" counters Roger Maickel, the chairman of the Committee on the Care and Use of Research Animals of the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, and the head of the Laboratory Animal Program at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind. "It may sound trite, but the only way to do that would be to `talk to the animals' like Doctor Doolittle." Opinions are also divided on the issue of record keeping. Animal protection groups see more extensive reporting of animal use by research laboratories to USDA as an important means to monitoring animal research and feel that the current paperwork filed by laboratories is not detailed enough. "There is a major need to adopt a system like the British system that tracks laboratory animals from the point they enter the lab to their exit," says McArdle. "In the past two years there have been fairly accurate records for regulated animals, though we still don't know what precisely is happening to them." "More bureaucracy will not help ensure animal welfare," says Adrian R. Morrison, an anatomy professor at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Veterinary Medicine in Philadelphia and the director of the Washington, D.C.-based Program for Animal Research Issues of the National Institute of Mental Health. In an unpublished commentary on the Tufts Center's report, Morrison echoed the opinion of many concerned researchers that increased record-keeping would put a further burden on their already strained budgets: "It will improve laboratory animal welfare no more than my now paying $200 for a cat rather than the $50 I paid five years ago, or spending $20,000 to install a ventilating system in one of my sleep recording rooms so that I can meet USDA standards for providing the requisite number of hourly air changes to house animals outside the regular quarters for more than 12 hours. (Meanwhile, my lazy pet cat, who won't go outdoors in the winter, endures, with us, few air changes.)" Alternatives--methods that try to address the same questions as animal-based experiments using non-animal methods--while recognized by all sides as useful and important, have different implications for the two camps. "They are very viable means of achieving the three Rs," says Purdue researcher Maickel, "but using them does not mean zero animal use." "The ultimate goal is to replace animals with other methods, since we believe it is immoral and unethical to use animals," says McArdle. "Alternatives will drive clinical/medical research to being more human-centered and promote the use of in vitro techniques and computer modeling in basic research." "It's important to realize that these [alternative] methods, too, are developed by scientists," Haywood points out. "In dealing with the animal rights issue, we should not focus exclusively on ethics, but also on the scientific validity of the experiments," says Fox. "I think we need a committee at the federal level to address all the issues," he adds, advocating the report's recommendation for a government-sanctioned forum for that purpose. Some, however, harbor mixed feelings about this suggestion, as well. "[The report] is kind of hazy on what [the forum's] function precisely is," says McArdle. "Also a major concern to [animal protection groups] is who the parent body would be. We do not trust NIH [the National Institutes of Health]." "[The forum] would be just another government agency," says Maickel. "Organizations like NIH, the USDA, and ILAR [the Institute of Laboratory Animal Resources in Washington, D.C.] already have these [policy-influencing] capabilities." "When reasonable people sit down to discuss issues there is always something to be gained," says Haywood. "I am a very, very strong advocate of animal research but am willing to discuss issues such as alternatives so long as the other side is willing to accept that biomedical research promotes both animal and human health." For more information on the report or planned book, contact the Center for Animals & Public Policy, Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine, 200 Westboro Rd., North Grafton, Mass. 01536; (508) 839-7991. Fax: (508) 839-2953. E-mail: dpease@opal.tufts.edu. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #11, pg.3, May 30, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: garfield@aurora.cis.upenn.edu 71764.2561@compuserve.com The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A. -------- NEXT: NOTEBOOK ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : Risky Business TY : NEWS (NOTEBOOK) PG : 4 A new Department of Energy (DOE) database available over the Internet catalogs about 175 current research studies involving human subjects either funded by the agency or conducted at its facilities. In at least 41 of the projects, people are exposed to radiation, most for imaging, diagnostic, or therapeutic purposes. In a statement, the agency reports that "DOE does not support any projects in which the effect of radiation upon humans per se is the object of the study." The database fulfills a promise made by DOE Secretary Hazel O'Leary to Sen. John Glenn (D-Ohio) in January, in connection with hearings into several past DOE human-subject experiments perceived by some to involve unethical levels of risk to inadequately informed participants. Federal regulations, applicable to all agencies, now require informed consent of human research subjects. The new DOE database provides a title, a brief abstract, the funding level, the name of the research institution conducting the work, and the name of the funding agency for each project. There are several ways to access the database residing at the Johns Hopkins University Welch Laboratory of Applied Bioinformatics in Baltimore. One is by using the gopher command to reach the gopher.gdb.org server and then selecting the following sequence of menu items: "NIH, NSF, DOE, and Other Funding Agencies"; "DOE--Department of Energy"; and then "The DOE Human Subjects Database." (The Scientist, Vol:8, #11, pg.4, May 30, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : Biotech Futures TY : NEWS (NOTEBOOK) PG : 4 The Biotechnology Industry Organizaion (BIO) Washington, DC has announced eight winners of college scholarships in its 1994 Biotechnology High School Essay Contest. The winning 500 word essays - on the theme of "How will biotechnology affect the lives of individuals in the 21st century?"--were chosen from among 130 submissions from students at 29 high schools in 17 states. The eight winners, all seniors, of the $1,500 scholarships were: Marshall Camp and Minming Wu of Douglas Freeman High School in Richmond, Va.; Shayne Campbell of Monterey High School and Antonio Gonzalez of Coronado High School, both in Lubbock, Texas; Tracy Kinsey, Evans High School, Evans, Ga.; Miriam Rosenberg of Winston Churchill High School in Potomac, Md.; Daniel Ryklin, Adlai E. Stevenson High School, Lincolnshire, Ill.; and Melinda Shaw of Lake Braddock High School in Burke, Va. Copies of the winning essays are available through BIO, 1625 K St., N.W., Suite 1100, Washington, D.C. 20006; (202) 857-0244. Fax: (202) 857-0237. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #11, pg.4, May 30, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : Oncology Fellowships TY : NEWS (NOTEBOOK) PG : 4 The American Cancer Society is accepting applications for its 1995 Clinical Oncology Fellowships, intended to "support a multidisciplinary training experience for physicians and dentists preparing for a leadership career in academic oncology," according to the society. The program may include training in cancer research, control, prevention, detection, diagnosis, therapy, and rehabilitation. Applications for the one-year, $10,000 stipend are due July 1. For information, contact Virginia Krawiec, Clinical Awards Program, American Cancer Society Inc., 1599 Clifton Rd., Atlanta, Ga. 30329-4251; (404) 329-5734. Fax: (404) 325-2548. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #11, pg.4, May 30, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : Micro Manipulation TY : NEWS (NOTEBOOK) PG : 4 Physicists at Stanford University are gaining physical properties of polymers by using a recently developed tool called "optical tweezers," which allows researchers to directly manipulate individual molecules. Developed from low-temperature laser technology, the optical tweezers are capable of moving strands of viral DNA attached to tiny plastic spheres one-25,000th of an inch in diameter. "It's like a video game. We move the beam around with a joystick," says Thomas T. Perkins, a graduate student in the physics lab of Steven Chu at Stanford. The spheres and their attached polymers are visible through an optical microscope. Using the tweezers, the researchers move the spheres along complicated paths while the DNA strand unravels behind. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #11, pg.4, May 30, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : Environmental Achievement TY : NEWS (NOTEBOOK) PG : 4 Nominations are being accepted for the 1995 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, funded by the Alice C. Tyler Trust through the University of Southern California. The $150,000 prize is awarded for "the protection, maintenance, improvement, or understanding of ecological and environmental conditions anywhere in the world; or the discovery, further development, improvement, or understanding of known or new sources of energy." Nominations should include a description of the nominee, which may be an individual or individuals or an institution, corporation, or organization; a summary of accomplishment; a detailed description of contributions; and references. The deadline for nominations is October 1. For information, contact Jerome B. Walker, Executive Director, The Tyler Prize, Office of the Provost, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, Calif. 90089-4019; (213) 740-6559. Fax: (213) 740-1313. E-mail: walker@adm-1.usc.edu. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #11, pg.4, May 30, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : Exercises In Ethics TY : NEWS (NOTEBOOK) PG : 4 The Research Triangle Park Club of Sigma Xi in North Carolina recently announced that it has produced a video of its November 1991 forum, "Ethical Issues in Scientific Research." The one-hour video--with the same title as the forum--shows scientists and profess and wrong, but to present several views. The issues covered are authorship, peer review, data handling, social responsibility in research, scientific fraud, and reporting research to the public. The club suggests that the video may be useful for courses in scientific ethics. For information, call Harvey Krasney at (919) 967-4517. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #11, pg.4, May 30, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : Report Card TY : NEWS (NOTEBOOK) PG : 4 The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the National Center for Improving Science Education (NCISE) in Washington, D.C., have joined forces to prepare a report, entitled "What College Students Abroad Are Expected to Know About Biology," to make general audiences in the United States aware of the difference in educational standards in biology between the U.S. and other developed countries, such as Germany, Japan, and France. The report is the first volume in a series by AFT called "Defining World Class Standards," designed to aid educators developing internationally competitive education standards, the centerpiece of the federal government's Goal 2000: Educate America Act. Independently, NCISE is preparing similar reports on the subjects of physics, chemistry, and math. For information, contact Matthew Gandal, AFT, Educational Issues Department, 555 New Jersey Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20001; (202) 879-4458. Fax: (202) 879-4556. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #11, pg.4, May 30, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : New Hughes Appointees Considered A Boon By Biomedical Community AU : KAREN YOUNG KREEGER TY : NEWS PG : 6 As Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) officials had indicated several months ago, the final list of United States researchers selected as HHMI investigators reflects both an expansion of the institute's cadre of research institutions and its commitment to elevating the role of women and minorities in science. HHMI, which traditionally appoints fewer than 20 new investigators annually, named 44 of them this year. Scientists both inside and outside HHMI agree that this unusually large expansion portends a major boost for the field of biomedicine. The Chevy Chase, Md.-based institute--the U.S.'s largest private philanthropy--announced in February that this round of nominations was evidence of a concerted effort to recruit more women and minorities (K.Y. Kreeger, The Scientist, April 4, 1994, page 3). The 44 new researchers and the 10 new institutions represented among them are being added to the existing Hughes network, currently consisting of 225 investigators at 53 U.S. universities and medical centers. HHMI appointed 16 researchers at the assistant level, 16 at the associate rank, and 12 full investigators (see list on page 7). The 10 new research facilities will have Hughes laboratories associated with them, accompanied by benefits such as HHMI-supported overhead and administrative staff. "A lot of great scientists are going to be supported with the ever-growing Hughes endowment," says Phillip A. Sharp, head of the biology department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, referring to an increase of $780 million in HHMI's endowment during 1993. Sharp adds that HHMI is making a difference in biomedicine by selecting strong leaders in the field and by providing them with additional resources, independence, and connections they may not have had had they not been appointed. Ann M. Stock, an assistant professor at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in Piscataway, echoes the opinions expressed by many of the new investigators in saying that becoming a Hughes appointee will give her more leeway to pursue new research paths. Stock is among the 20 women nominees named by HHMI, which nearly doubles the current total of 25 female Hughes investigators. The six minority scientists appointed will triple the current number from three to nine. Noting the institute's philosophy of advancing the free- thinking aspects of scientific inquiry, Purnell Choppin, president of HHMI, says, "We tend to support individual careers rather than individual projects, so we are constantly moving into new areas of research." Hughes investigators perform basic research in five broad fields: cell biology and regulation, genetics, immunology, neuroscience, and structural biology. When accepting a position to become a Hughes investigator, scientists become employees of HHMI and receive full funding for salary, staff, and equipment in renewable terms of three, five, or seven years. While retaining their institutional appointments, investigators spend 75 percent of their time doing research and 25 percent devoted to activities such as teaching. Researchers also participate in HHMI-sponsored meetings that attract, the scientists say, leaders in biomedicine. Investigators' Reactions A greater degree of autonomy is the primary benefit to being named a Hughes investigator, researchers say, but they also cite many other advantages. For example, M. Celeste Simon, an assistant professor at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, says her Hughes appointment will make a "huge impact" on her career for two main reasons. First, it will give her "enormous freedom" to perform innovative experiments that she has occasionally been reluctant to do because of budget constraints. Simon is a geneticist who works on the mechanisms of normal development in an effort to understand abnormal development, such as in cancer-causing genes. She explains that in the past she has had to prioritize her "very expensive" research based on affordability. However, now she will be able to do research with "a potentially higher benefit-to-cost payoff," in terms of furthering basic biomedical knowledge and developing possible cures for human health problems. Stock, too, says that now she "will not be obligated to pursue any one research direction." She studies protein- protein interactions in signal transduction of bacterial chemotaxis and finds this independence beneficial because for her "the real thrill of science is stumbling on the unknown." Simon says that another benefit of HHMI affiliation of almost equal importance for her is the more frequent interaction she will get with leading colleagues in her field at Hughes-sponsored meetings and workshops. Carlos J. Bustamante, a biophysicist and member of the University of Oregon's Institute of Molecular Biology in Eugene, says that the appointment is "wonderful" in the sense of "pushing [his] research methods to new frontiers." His work entails using atomic-force microscopy, also called scanning-force microscopy, to visualize the structural aspects of cellular growth and differentiation, specifically with transcription complexes. Bustamante describes the approaches he uses as "somewhat off the mainstream," and therefore a risky investment for traditional funding agencies. He says that becoming a Hughes investigator "could not have come at a better time for my lab," because although he is reasonably well funded, "there were a number of routes that were the appropriate ones for us to take, but we had to let them pass because it was outside our financial capabilities." In addition to expanding into research areas that are perhaps a bit of a gamble, Juanita Merchant, an assistant professor in the department of internal medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, says she will be able to take on longer-term projects and upgrade her research program. Merchant--who studies the regulation of gastrointestinal-tract cell growth and differentiation and its implications for gastric and colon cancers--says that, although she does have other funding, the appointment will allow her to hire more technical assistance, purchase state- of-the-art equipment, and attend more than one professional meeting a year. Appointed at the assistant level, Stephen Mayo, a structural biologist at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, is in the midst of setting up a cutting-edge protein-design lab. At Caltech for less than two years, his group intends to develop computer programs to understand the relationship between protein structure and function. Mayo's team aims to get a better grasp of the relationship between the amino acid sequence of proteins and how they fold into complex, three-dimensional structures. The supplies and equipment he needs are "exceedingly expensive," according to Mayo. So, one of the major benefits for him is "the willingness of HHMI to fund labs that do this kind of work." With this, Mayo says, "We should be able to focus on actually trying to get things done as opposed to spending significant amounts of time writing grants." Selection Process Sharp applauds HHMI's nomination process, noting that it has widened its scope to include more institutions than in previous solicitations. HHMI invited input from more than 200 major medical centers in this go-around. As a result of the expanded process, N. Maxwell Cowan, vice president and chief scientific officer at HHMI, says: "The overwhelming majority of those nominated are among the best scientists in their respective fields around the country." According to Cowan, the procedure was "scrupulously fair." The new investigators were chosen by a panel of eminent researchers in biomedicine, including three Nobel laureates and more than 20 members of the National Academy of Sciences. Each nominee was judged by someone in his or her field of expertise, and each was critically evaluated by three reviewers at two different stages. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #11, pg.6, May 30, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: garfield@aurora.cis.upenn.edu 71764.2561@compuserve.com The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A. -------- NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : THE NEW HUGHES INVESTIGATORS AU : KAREN YOUNG KREEGER TY : NEWS PG : 7 Full Investigators * Carlos J. Bustamante, professor of chemistry, University of Oregon, Eugene * Michael R. Green, professor of molecular medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical Center, Worcester * Wimhelmus G.J. Hol, professor of biological structure, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle * Judith Kimble, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, University of Wisconsin, Madison * Sharon R. Long, professor of biological sciences, Stanford University, Calif. * Douglas A. Melton, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. * Paul L. Modrich, professor of biochemistry, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, N.C. * John J. Monaco, Jr., professor of molecular genetics, biochemistry, and microbiology, University of Cincinnati Medical Center * Danny F. Reinburg, professor of biochemistry, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Piscataway * Stuart L. Schreiber, professor of chemistry, Harvard University * Peter G. Schultz, professor of chemistry, University of California, Berkeley * Carla J. Shatz, professor of neurobiology, University of California, Berkeley Associate Investigators * Susan G. Amara, neuroscientist, Vollum Institute for Advanced Biomedical Research, Portland, Ore. * Mark F. Bear, associate professor of neuroscience, Brown University School of Medicine, Providence, R.I. * Robert E. Boswell, associate professor of molecular, cellular, and developmental biology, University of Colorado, Boulder * Constance Cepko, associate professor of genetics, Harvard Medical School, Boston * Susan Ferro-Novick, associate professor of cellular biology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn. * Paula J. Grabowski, associate professor of biological sciences, University of Pittsburgh * Iva S. Greenwald, associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics, Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons, New York * F. Ulrich Hartl, member, cellular biochemistry and biophysics program, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Institute, New York * Nouria Hernandez, senior staff scientist in genetics, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, N.Y. * James R. Priess, associate member, department of basic sciences, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle * Tamar Schlick, associate professor of chemistry, New York University, N.Y. * Gertrud M. Schupbach, associate professor of molecular biology, Princeton University, N.J. * Thomas W. Sturgill, associate professor of internal medicine, University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville * Michael F. Summers, associate professor of biochemistry, University of Maryland, Baltimore County * Ronald D. Vale, associate professor of pharmacology, University of California, San Francisco * Wayne M. Yokoyama, associate professor of medicine, Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York Assistant Investigators * Natalie G. Ahn, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry, University of Colorado * Tania A. Baker, assistant professor of biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge * Brenda L. Bass, assistant professor of biochemistry, University of Utah Medical Center, Salt Lake City * Linda Buck, assistant professor of neurobiology, Harvard Medical School * Chris Q. Doe, assistant professor of cell and structural biology, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign * William G. Dunphy, assistant professor of biology, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena * Daniel E. Goldberg, assistant professor of molecular microbiology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis. * Kathleen L. Gould, assistant professor of cell biology, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tenn. * Tyler Jacks, assistant professor of biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology * Stephen L. Mayo, assistant professor of biology, California Institute of Technology * Juanita L. Merchant, assistant professor of internal medicine and physiology, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor * Roy Parker, assistant professor of molecular and cellular biology, University of Arizona, Tucson * M. Celeste Simon, assistant professor of medicine, and molecular genetics and cell biology, University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine * Ann M. Stock, assistant professor of biochemistry, UMDNJ- Robert Wood Johnson Medical School * Marc Tessier-Lavigne, assistant professor of anatomy, University of California, San Francisco * Cynthia Wolberger, assistant professor of biophysics and biophysical chemistry, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore (The Scientist, Vol:8, #11, pg.7, May 30, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: garfield@aurora.cis.upenn.edu 71764.2561@compuserve.com The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A. -------- NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : CLARIFICATION PG : 7 The caption on a photograph accompanying the article "Scientists Predict Internet Will Revolutionize Research" (F. Hoke, The Scientist, May 2, 1994, page 1) misstated the pictured researcher's views. The caption, on page 9, should have read, "Cornell's Bruce Lewenstein studied the messages exchanged by a cold fusion electronic newsgroup and found a very low `signal-to-noise ratio.'" Also, several readers contacted The Scientist to request further information about accessing "A Biologist's Guide to Internet Resources," written by Una Smith at Yale University. The guide may be retrieved via the Internet in several ways, including by following these instructions: Using gopher, go to sunsite.unc.edu and choose this sequence of menu items: "Worlds of SunSITE--by Subject," then "Ecology and Evolution." The guide is stored there in two ways: as a file for easy retrieval of the entire guide, and as a menu for browsing and retrieving key sections. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #11, pg.7, May 30, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- NEXT: OPINION ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : Research!America Leads Campaign For Biomedical Research Funding TY : OPINION PG : 12 ----- Editor's Note: Following is the text of Research!America's consensus statement on biomedical research support (see story on page 1). The document, signed by 156 academic, scientific, and corporate supporters, was delivered to members of Congress on May 3. ------ MEDICAL RESEARCH: PROGRESS AND PROMISE FOR THE PATIENT Research!America Forum Consensus Statement Too many Americans are suffering and dying needlessly because, as a nation, we don't invest enough in [basic and all other forms of] medical research. Just one discovery can save millions of lives and billions of dollars. As the United States endeavors to reform its health-care delivery system by seeking to improve quality, increase availability, emphasize prevention, and control costs, we must rededicate ourselves to the principle that better health and cost- effective health care require a larger societal investment in medical research. World Leadership The United States has a medical research enterprise that is the unquestioned world leader--envied by many nations but equaled by none. This enterprise, comprising a unique collaboration among government, academia, industry, voluntary health agencies, and private philanthropy, is preeminent in: * the leadership that American scientists have provided in such frontier fields as cell and molecular biology, genetics, immunology, and neuroscience; * the application of knowledge gained in these and other fields to the development of vaccines, pharmaceuticals, and technologies for the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, or cure of scores of diseases including AIDS, Alzheimer's dementia, birth defects, cancer, dental caries, coronary artery disease, diabetes, meningitis, mental illness, polio, stroke, and tuberculosis; * the training of the next generation of medical researchers. Economic Value Remarkably, all of this achievement has come at a relatively low cost. In 1993, the United States spent less than 3 percent of its total health-care bill on research. Put another way, we spent less on medical research in the entire year than we did on health care in 10 days. Beyond the value that medical research contributes to the health of the public, the enterprise is also a major contributor to the economy through research and development dollars spent by both the private industry and the taxpayer-supported public sector. Medical research provides high-quality, long-term employment for more than a million people--administrators, behavioral scientists, doctoral-level scientists, epidemiologists, maintenance personnel, nurses, technicians, and other employees in universities, small and large businesses, hospitals, government laboratories, and independent research institutions. In the period 1985 to 1992, private-sector investment in the pharmaceutical/biotechnology industry alone created more than 200,000 new jobs. Promise Of Research But our treasured medical research enterprise is much more than a source of quality care, national pride, and economic strength. Its promise for the future vastly exceeds its progress to date. We are: * within reach of decoding the entire human genome and, by so doing, identifying thousands of genes that, when defective, cause or contribute to diseases; * poised to use biotechnology products and pharmaceutical therapies to address a host of unmet medical needs; * moving closer to promoting health and preventing illness by employing more widely the knowledge generated by fields such as nutrition, environmental sciences, and epidemiology; * understanding more about the importance of psychological and social factors in preventing or modulating the course of disease and the effectiveness of treatment; * expanding the horizons of research to consider the cost- effectiveness and impact on quality of life of pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and technologies hitherto tested only for safety and efficacy; * committed to the principle that participation in, and reward from, medical research must be shared equally by people of all ages, races, and ethnicities. Research And Health-Care Reform Despite all this progress and promise, the research partnership and citizens throughout the U.S. share deep concerns for the insufficient attention that has been paid to the central importance of medical research in improving health and lowering health-care costs. Research, the driving force behind the unmatched quality of America's health care, has been largely ignored as the nation grapples with formidable issues--economic, social, and political--raised by the debate over how to reform the health-care system. Reform proposals that threaten any research entity--be it academic, industrial, governmental, or voluntary--in turn threaten the future value and quality of health care available to all Americans. Challenges The most formidable challenges to medical research are economic, and they include: * constrained federal support for the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Veterans Administration (VA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR)--the major sponsors of medical research in academia; * inadequate public and private support for renovation of aging research facilities; * decelerating investment in medical research and development in the pharmaceutical/biotechnology industry due to a shrinking capital base, reduced earnings prospects resulting from increasing competition, managed care-driven business climate, and fear of more intrusive governmental regulatory policies; * downward pressures on revenues from clinical services in academic health centers because of the shift from fee-for- service medicine to managed care--clinical revenues currently contribute substantially to the support of medical research and its infrastructure in these institutions; * the inherent complexity of modern technology and the need to comply with state and federal regulations, both of which have increased the costs of conducting medical research. Other challenges concern the work force needed to conduct quality medical research as well as communication among that work force, the general public, and policymakers. They include: * reduced incentives for the best and brightest people of all races and ethnicities to enter careers in medical research--including the increased cost of research training, uncertainty about prospects for employment, and inadequate stipends for predoctoral and postdoctoral fellows; * inadequate incentives for physicians to pursue training for clinical research and insufficient support of physician and nurse trainees to conduct health-services research; * persistent lack of understanding among the general public, health-care providers, and policymakers of the interconnectedness of medical research and quality health care; * insufficient attention to complex ethical issues and anti- science biases. Public Opinion Public opinion polls clearly indicate that a majority of Americans want the nation to invest more heavily in medical research. Over 90 percent believe this country should spend more on medical research to better diagnose, prevent, and treat disease and disability. Over 70 percent are even willing to pay more for an increased investment. To fulfill this public mandate, health-care reform must promote an environment conducive to medical research. Recommendations Now, more than ever, the medical research enterprise must be encouraged to realize its humane promise in the public interest. To accomplish this goal, the organizations [signing this document] make the following recommendations to our nation's public policymakers: * Incorporate the promotion of medical research as an integral element of health-care reform. * Increase the capacity of NIH, NSF, VA, CDC, and AHCPR to support medical research. * Ensure that our health-delivery system makes the fruits of medical research available and accessible to all patients in need. * Promote the integration of patients, their families, and their caregivers more meaningfully into the medical-research process to focus on quality-of-life considerations. * Include support for the education of medical scientists as a vital part of health-care reform. * Encourage, do not obstruct, the discovery and development of innovative and effective pharmaceuticals, devices, and reagents by private industry. * Provide adequate resources and mechanisms to accelerate the translation of fundamental research from the laboratory to clinical care via development in the private sector. * Ensure stable revenue streams to academic health centers for medical research and education of medical scientists. Provide these centers with incentives for heightened interaction with industry, voluntary health agencies, and other private-sector sources of medical-research support. * Strengthen the medical-research work force by provision of increased support for the recruitment, training, and retention of medical scientists as well as provision of special incentives to attract underrepresented populations such as women and minorities to careers in medical research. The [signers of this document]--academic institutions, health-delivery organizations, private companies, professional societies, philanthropic organizations, and voluntary health organizations--which represent a combined work force and membership of more than 1.5 million Americans, plus a volunteer base of more than 5 million, assert that medical research can help our nation's people live longer, healthier, and more productive lives while reducing the costs of doing so. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #11, pg.12, May 30, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: garfield@aurora.cis.upenn.edu 71764.2561@compuserve.com The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A. -------- NEXT: COMMENTARY ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : Sustaining Medical Research: Consensus Is Just The Beginning AU : Leon E. Rosenberg TY : OPINION (COMMENTARY) PG : 13 Throughout my 35-year career, I have joyfully observed the dramatic growth of medical research and biotechnology. I've had the good fortune, over time, to witness this evolution as a participant in each of the medical-research enterprise's three sponsoring environments: government, academia, and industry. More than anything else, this diverse experience has instilled in me a powerful belief that any improvement in the health and well-being of people, any progress toward humankind's fundamental desire to live longer, healthier lives, depends on the contributions of medical research-- whether basic or applied, whether centered in the laboratory or clinic, whether nurtured by government, academia, or industry. This experience also has shaped my perspective that science has only begun to realize its vast potential to prevent, diagnose, treat, and cure disease. Today, we are on the brink of uncovering the basic mechanisms responsible for such diseases as cancer, Alzheimer's, and diabetes. We're tracking down human genes at a rate of more than one a day. In the past year, we've located the genes for Huntington's and Lou Gehrig's diseases, a major form of ataxia, and common forms of colon and breast cancer. And the extraordinary promise of biotechnology may yet revolutionize health care by unlocking the deepest molecular secrets of human disease. Yet, at a time when all of us involved in this dynamic enterprise should be confidently and optimistically preparing for our most productive period ever, I am decidedly anxious. I am concerned that the current debate about reforming the health-care delivery system is paying insufficient attention to the central importance of medical research in improving the quality of health care. And I am alarmed that some of the reforms proposed will affect adversely the medical-research enterprise precisely when it has the most to offer the public. My concerns are shared by members of the medical community throughout the United States. Recently I had the honor of serving as chairman of a forum sponsored by the medical- research advocacy organization Research!America--an event attended by individuals representing more than 100 organizations of the medical-research community. Despite the remarkable diversity of the organizations represented, attendees concurred that medical research and health-care reform are not only totally compatible but also absolutely interdependent, and that this message must be delivered loudly and clearly to the American public and its policymakers. In the weeks following the forum, input from the full range of these groups was incorporated into a consensus statement, "Medical Research: Progress and Promise for the Patient" [see page 12]. The statement emphasizes that research has been largely ignored as the nation grapples with formidable economic, social, and political issues raised by the debate over reforming the health-care system. The statement--signed by an unprecedented breadth of sponsors from academia, industry, and voluntary health agencies--offers policymakers nine recommendations to promote an environment conducive to medical research. None of us, acting alone, can convert these recommendations into action; but everyone can and should do something about them. We can communicate with public officials about the recommendations. We can remind the Clinton administration and Congress that the best way to improve the quality of care and reduce costs is to encourage more medical research. We can talk to our families, friends, colleagues, and patients about medical research and what it offers the public. We can go still further in our efforts. We can take the statement to our local newspapers and TV stations, distribute it in our local medical communities, give speeches to civic groups, write letters to editors--even request editorial board meetings to make sure the message gets around. The actions we choose to take must reflect our individual beliefs, but we are each obligated to take a role in shaping the future of medical research. The outcome of health-care reform will affect everyone--from the bench scientist to the patient. All scientists must join in communicating this message. As the consensus statement makes clear, the research community can ill afford to stay silent while issues vital to saving lives--and vital to our life's work--are debated in the halls of government. --- Leon Rosenberg is president of Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical Research Institute, Princeton, N.J., and a member of Research!America's board of directors. For more information on the consensus statement, contact Research!America at (703) 739-2577 or, via E-mail, at resamer@cap.gwu.edu. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #11, pg.13, May 30, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: garfield@aurora.cis.upenn.edu 71764.2561@compuserve.com The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A. -------- NEXT: LETTERS ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : Strategic Basic Research AU : ADRIAN L. MELOTT TY : OPINION (LETTERS) PG : 13 National Science Foundation director Neal Lane's pursuit of "strategic basic research" was outlined in the interview in the January 10 issue of The Scientist [page 11]. It is difficult to defend the needs of science against the demands of a panicky Congress. The pressure generated by Sen. Barbara Mikulski's (D-Md.) subcommittee is particularly dangerous to our country's future, for it may cause us to reduce funding for that which will bring truly new technologies. If we look back to the 19th century, we can identify strains that led to important modern technology. To cite one example, the electromagnetic research led by Michael Faraday and James Clerk Maxwell gave us now-familiar devices such as the electric light, telephone, electric motor, radio, and TV. All this work was of no obvious social value at the time. To give another example, astronomers seeking to understand light coming from the stars built a database of spectra, which led to quantum mechanics and our understanding of atoms, making modern chemistry possible. This theory is also at the basis of most present "new technology" based on lasers, miniaturized electronics, and so forth. And a monk, Gregor Mendel, curious about why and how pea plants inherited flower color and other characteristics, laid the foundation for modern genetics. What would have constituted "strategic basic research" in the society of 1880? Any scientist whose basic work had anything to do with the formation of boiler scale in steam engines would have an edge. Factory power was usually belt-driven, so anything in mechanics relating to belt-drive efficiency would be big. The telegraph was clearly important, so a major effort would be mounted to get telegraph stations in every village, perhaps a set in every house. Any coding work offering a new, more efficiently tapped-out replacement for Morse code would be targeted as strategic. This would be called "The Information Super-Riverboat." Studies in buoyancy (and in producing hydrogen) would be extremely important, to prepare for the great 20th-century travel mode of balloons/dirigibles lying ahead. (Helium, the gas used for safety reasons in many balloons that do fly, is another discovery made in astronomy.) We can never know what is strategic more than a few short years ahead, which also happens to coincide with the next election. We therefore are likely to waste our money on strategic research, as the society of 1880 would have done, for the most part. On the other hand, the return on basic research is high--28 percent interest, according to a Congressional Budget Office report. We can do no less than take on the task of explaining the value of basic research, which provides the possibility of learning truly new things, and of defending the role of NSF, the only agency whose primary mission is to support it. I urge readers to write their senators and representatives, asking them to send copies of the correspondence to Mikulski. ADRIAN L. MELOTT Department of Physics and Astronomy University of Kansas Lawrence, Kans. 66045-2151 (The Scientist, Vol:8, #11, pg.13, May 30, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: garfield@aurora.cis.upenn.edu 71764.2561@compuserve.com The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A. -------- WHERE TO WRITE: Letters to the Editor The Scientist 3501 Market Street Philadelphia, PA 19104 Fax:(215)387-7542 E-mail: Bitnet: garfield@aurora.cis.upenn.edu 71764.2561@compuserve.com ===================================== NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : Hot-Vent Microbes: Looking Backward In Evolution For Future Uses AU : MYRNA E. WATANABE TY : RESEARCH PG : 14 They live--thrive, even--in boiling water! They feed on sulfur or hydrogen. They could be from one of the moons of Jupiter. In fact, their existence here on Earth has led scientists to realize that planets they hitherto assumed to be lifeless might support life. These thermophilic, or heat- loving, microbes--Archaea--are attracting a small but growing cadre of researchers and serious research funding from the United States government. The federal government is so interested in the thermophiles that the Department of Energy (DOE) recently established the Microbial Genome Initiative to fund genomic sequencing and mapping of microorganisms--including Archaea, also known as archaebacteria (see accompanying story)--that may have applications in environmental cleanup, pollution prevention, or energy production. The awarding of one major and possibly two or three supplemental grants to finance the initiative may be announced in August, say observers. The excitement among researchers in this growing field and their desire to recruit more scientists to it are based on the numerous basic research opportunities presented by these ancient, primitive organisms, along with the potential commercial applications of products derived from them. Even DOE's Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois--operated by the University of Chicago--is exploring their commer- cial possibilities. "Argonne wants to be at least among the many laboratories that are going to have a hand in that level of biotechnology," says Jonathon Trent, referring to future opportunities in archaeal products. Trent, a molecular microbiologist at Argonne, recently established its department of molecular biology and biotechnology of hyperthermophilic organisms. Forerunners Thermophilic microbes live at temperatures above 50<198>C, and extreme thermophiles, or hyperther-mophiles, at temperatures greater than 80C. Archaea are found in volcanic hot springs such as those in Yellowstone National Park and volcanic hydrothermal vents in the deep ocean. Researchers sometimes refer to Archaea as "archaes" (pronounced "are-keys"). Some archaeal species grow at temperatures as high as 113oC, and scientists are trying to identify species that grow at even higher temperatures. These species are anaerobic, not using oxygen for respiration, but rather such normally non- life-supporting molecules as sulfur, or hydrogen and carbon dioxide. Methanogens--a group of Archaea species that includes both thermophiles and hyperthermophiles--use carbon dioxide and hydrogen to produce methane. Some scientists believe that they will find organisms most like the precursor of all life among Archaea--a primitive group that appears to have more in common with eukaryotes (life-forms with distinct nuclei) than with bacteria. Archaeal researchers say that the heat and geochemical conditions in hot vents may be similar to conditions that existed on the young, water-covered, cooling Earth. Explains microbiologist Carl Woese of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign: "The object is to try to find the genetic complement of the forerunner of all life." A Woese collaborator is Norman Pace, a microbiologist at Indiana University in Bloomington. Pace's graduate student Susan Barns recently sequenced ribosomal RNA (rRNA) genes from Archaea within sediment samples from a hot spring in Yellowstone National Park (S.M. Barns et al., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 91:1609-13, 1994). In this research, sediment samples were scanned using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for archaeal and bacterial rRNA genes. Pace, who believes that researchers know little about the vast microbial world, hopes to increase knowledge of microorganisms by scanning the environment to identify the presence of diverse microbes (M.E. Watanabe, The Scientist, Sept. 6, 1993, page 17). He is using similar techniques on samples from deep-sea hydrothermal vents in hopes of finding the upper-temperature limits for life and the ancestral organism for all life. He believes that the ther- moacidophilic Crenarchaeota, one of the kingdoms of Archaea, contains "the modern organisms that are most closely related to the ancestor of all life." Woese also views his work with Archaea from an ecological perspective: "The three Ps," he says, "population, power usage, pollution --that's society's problem right now." He believes that his investigations on Archaea, particularly the methanogens, will help find a solution to the problems of power usage and pollution. Other investigators are carrying out basic research with Archaea because the organisms are structurally unique. Eddie Chang, a research scientist at the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) in Washington, D.C., is studying the thermal stability of the lipid membranes in Archaea. He found that the lipid-- a monomolecular membrane with two polar head groups attached at either end of the molecule, rather than a bilayer as in other known cells--can form thermally stable liposomes. Chang explains: "These vesicles are stable up to 100oC and, furthermore, they are resistant to lipase and detergent lytic actions such as biological disrupters. These archae vesicles have the stability attractive for delivery of drugs and transporting other molecules." Argonne's Trent studied the thermophile equivalent of heat- shock proteins. All cells produce these in response to stress, such as high temperature; however, their function is unknown. He hypothesized that Archaea adapted to live at high temperatures would produce a heat-shock protein that would allow them to adapt to even higher temperatures. Trent found that the thermophile Sulfolobus shibatae produces a protein that appears to be related to a well-studied protein of unknown function found in yeast, mouse, and human cells. He further found that this heat-shock protein also works as a molecular chaperone, which aids in protein folding. This would explain the increased production of functional protein that occurs in a stressed cell, because new protein is being formed--and needs to be folded--and denatured protein needs to be repaired, says Trent. Hot Prospects The first Archaea-related products were DNA polymerases for the research market. For example, New England Biolabs, a Beverly, Mass.-based biotechnology company, sells Vent and Deep Vent polymerases, used in DNA sequencing and PCR. These enzymes originally were isolated from hyperthermophiles associated with oceanic hydrothermal vents. Argonne biotechnology adviser Oskar Zaborsky, who previously managed the National Science Foundation's enzyme technology program, says that these polymerases are among the first enzymes commercially available from the Archaea. He says that "the next stage of enzymes from marine organisms"-- which probably will be from hyperthermophiles--"will be biocatalysts that are going to be used as industrial enzymes, in particular, lipases and hydrolases for cleaning aids in detergents and for fine chemical preparation." The most lucrative application area is for conducting unusual reactions. One would be dehalogenation of chlorinated and brominated environmental pollutants, such as trichloroethylene and polychlorinated biphenyls, he says. "These enzymes could also possibly serve a pivotal role, not only for environmental restoration, but also pollution prevention by being used as alternative catalysts in the manufacture of industrial chemicals," Zaborsky says. "We are just beginning," he says, "but applications for these enzymes will cover the full spectrum of uses." Microbiologist Frank Robb of the Center of Marine Biotechnology at the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute in Baltimore is also working on commercially useful enzymes from Archaea. Among these are glutamate dehydrogenase and DNA-modifying enzymes. This dehydrogenase, according to Robb, is "frozen" at room temperature. It assembles into active enzyme molecules in the presence of heat. Enzymes like this dehydrogenase are extremely stable at room temperature and, Robb says, "offer tremendously extended shelf lives" in commercial use. Other laboratories are also pursuing possible commercialization of archaeal products. John Reeve, chairman of the department of microbiology at Ohio State University in Columbus, studies the archaeal methanogens. Methanogens are of great commercial interest for detoxification of wastes and environmental remediation, yielding what Reeve calls "a commercially competitive energy product--biogas [methane]." Reeve is comparing the molecular biology of four different methanogens whose optimum growth temperatures are 37oC, 65oC, 83oC, and more than 100oC. He would like to discover how DNA is stabilized in the hyperthermophilic species and also how they make methane. Robert Kelly, a professor of chemical engineering at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, is looking at ways to use the organisms' stress response in potential commercial applications. In addition, Kelly has been collaborating with several companies to explore food-processing and biomedical uses of some of the high-temperature stable archaeal enzymes. First identified in the early 1980s by Karl Stetter of the University of Regensburg in Germany, the hyperthermophiles are currently considered scientifically as well as thermally hot. Many researchers envision a range of medically, industrially, and environmentally useful compounds derived from the hyperthermophilic Archaea. Biomolecules from these organisms are active at temperatures that generally degrade normal cellular molecules, such as enzymes, lipids, and nucleic acids. The Office of Naval Research (ONR) in Arlington, Va., has been funding studies on thermophiles. ONR has been "interested in exploring the fundamental properties necessary for producing" thermostable biosensors, according to NRL's Chang. Biosensors use biologically derived molecules that respond to changes in the environment in which they are placed. DOE also has a great interest in these organisms, owing to the need to promote production of clean energy. With its recent announcement of the Microbial Genome Initiative-- expected to be funded at approximately $3 million for one to four grants--DOE will probably become the largest U.S. sponsor of archaeal research. D. Jay Grimes, the program's manager, expects that "as many as 25 people may be supported" by the initiative. Scientists also have received grants from NSF, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and corporate and private sources. Myrna E. Watanabe is a biotechnology consultant based in Yonkers, N.Y. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #11, pg.14, May 30, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: garfield@aurora.cis.upenn.edu 71764.2561@compuserve.com The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A. -------- NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : THE ARCHAEAL DOMAIN AU : MYRNA E. WATANABE TY : RESEARCH PG : 15 The discovery in the 1970s--and subsequent molecular studies--of Archaea (also known as archaebacteria) led University of Illinois microbiologist Carl Woese and colleagues to propose a total overhaul of how organisms should be classified (C.R. Woese et al., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 87:4576-9, 1990). The archaebacteria were found, on a molecular level, to be at least as different from bacteria as they are from eukaryotes (life-forms with distinct nuclei). Furthermore, the differences between the archaebacteria and other groups were greater than the differences between taxonomic kingdoms. Thus, Woese and colleagues proposed that organisms be divided into three domains: Bacteria, comprising the organisms currently considered to be bacteria; Archaea, composed of two kingdoms--Crenarchaeota, made up only of thermophiles (heat-loving organisms), and Euryarchaeota, with a few thermophiles and all the methanogens (methane- producing microbes); and Eucarya, encompassing all the current eukaryotes. Kingdoms would be subdivisions of domains. They also proposed that the term archaebacteria be dropped, as Archaea are not bacteria, nor are they close bacterial relatives. Indiana University microbiologist Norman Pace, who advocates using this phylogenetic system, says that the new divisions are not yet generally accepted. Other researchers insist that Woese's work is solid, so it may be a matter of familiarizing people with the new terminology. Even researchers in the field occasionally use the word "archaebacteria," but for the record, according to Pace, these organisms belong to Archaea. Pace points out that little is known about Archaea, and even the current archaeal kingdoms may be thrown into disarray. A case in point: Recently researchers, according to Pace, have found a group of Crenarchaeota living 100 meters below the ocean's surface in the cold waters of Antarctica. According to archaeal researchers, some of the most controversial ongoing arguments in the classification and evolution of Archaea may be found on the Usenet group bionet.molbio.evolution. --M.E.W. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #14, pg.14, May 30, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: garfield@aurora.cis.upenn.edu 71764.2561@compuserve.com The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A. -------- NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : WARMING TO A HOT TOPIC TY : RESEARCH PG : 14 For more information on Archaea research, contact: American Society for Microbiology 1325 Massachusetts Ave., N.W. Washington, D.C. 20005-4171 Phone: (202) 737-3600 Fax: (202) 942-9340 (For the appropriate E-mail address, call the above number.) * Michael Goldberg, executive director * Gail Cassell, president American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 9650 Rockville Pike Bethesda, Md. 20814 Phone: (301) 530-7145 Fax: (301) 571-1824 E-mail: asbmb@asbmb.faseb.org * Charles Hancock, executive officer * Martin Gellert, president Biologists working with deep-sea or hydrothermal-vent organisms also communicate via the DEEP-SEA listserver. Contact Andrew McArthur at amcarth@uvvm.uvic.ca for more information. For ongoing discussion of Archaea research, contact the Usenet group: bionet.molbio.evolution. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #11, pg.15, May 30, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: garfield@aurora.cis.upenn.edu 71764.2561@compuserve.com The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A. -------- NEXT: RESEARCH ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : GENETIC MEDICINE TY : RESEARCH (HOT PAPERS) PG : 16 K.W. Culver, Z. Ram, S. Wallbridge, H. Ishii, E.H. Oldfield, R.M. Blaese, "In vivo gene transfer with retroviral vector producer cells for treatment of experimental brain tumors," Science, 256:1550-2, 1992. Kenneth W. Culver (Human Gene Therapy Research Institute, Iowa Methodist Medical Center, Des Moines): "The first observation in our study was that murine retroviral vectors (MRV) could efficiently transfer genes into tumor cells in vivo. MRV appeared to selectively deliver genes into tumor cells, since MRV require proliferating target cells. Our subsequent studies have confirmed this selectivity in the central nervous system (Z. Ram et al., Cancer Research, 53:83-8, 1993; Z. Ram et al., Journal of Neurosurgery, 79:400-7, 1993). This high-efficiency, selective gene- transfer method holds promise for gene therapies of a variety of solid tumors, since most normal tissues are not rapidly dividing. "We also identified a `bystander tumor killing effect.' Current evidence suggests that the transfer of the herpes simplex-thymidine kinase (HS-tk) gene followed by administration of the anti-herpes drug ganciclovir results in death of the HS-tk (+) cells and neighboring HS-tk (-) cells. The mechanism is thought to relate to the transfer of toxic phosphorylated derivatives of ganciclovir by gap junctions into adjacent tumor cells (W.L. Bi et al., Human Gene Therapy, 4:725-32, 1993). Since no gene-transfer system is 100 percent efficient, the bystander killing effect may allow the possibility for complete tumor eradication with as few as 10 percent of the cells containing the HS-tk gene. "Preliminary data are available on the first eight patients treated with this technique at the National Institutes of Health. These studies have demonstrated no apparent toxicity related to the intra-tumoral injection of xenogeneic murine vector producer cells. Second, treatment with ganciclovir has resulted in changes in the size and radiological appearance of the tumor in five patients. The potential clinical usefulness of the system will depend upon the efficiency of gene delivery throughout the tumor mass. "As a result of these early encouraging phase I findings, Genetic Therapy Inc. of Gaithersburg, Md., will sponsor three additional clinical trials to attempt to further optimize gene delivery into recurrent brain tumors in children and adults. This will include a trial to combine surgical resection of the tumor with the direct injection of vector producer cells into the surrounding, unresectable, infiltrating tumor (K.W. Cul-ver et al., Human Gene Therapy, 5:343-77, 1993). It is hoped that these applications will determine if this gene-therapy approach will have the potential to improve the grave prognosis for these recurrent tumors." (The Scientist, Vol:8, #11, pg.16, May 30, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: garfield@aurora.cis.upenn.edu 71764.2561@compuserve.com The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A. -------- NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : SUPERCONDUCTIVITY TY : RESEARCH (HOT PAPERS) PG : 16 H. Takagi, R.J. Cava, M. Marezio, B. Batlogg, J.J. Krajewski, W.F. Peck, Jr., P. Bordet, D.E. Cox, "Disappearance of superconductivity in overdoped La2- xSrxCuO4 at a structural phase boundary," Physical Review Letters, 68:3777-80, 1992. Robert J. Cava (AT&T Bell Laboratories, Murray Hill, N.J.): "One of the obstacles to understanding the still-elusive underlying cause of high-Tc superconductivity is the finding of a `model system' in which the physical properties are clear-cut, well-characterized, and undisputed. Although more than 30 distinct copper oxide ceramics are now known to be superconducting at high temperatures, virtually all are so complex--either chemically or electron- ically--that they are useless for providing the kinds of fundamental information that theorists need as an anchor for their thinking. Strontium-doped La2CuO4, one of the first copper oxide-based superconductors discovered, and the subject of our publication, is widely considered to be the simplest high-Tc superconductor known. "La2CuO4 itself is an electronic insulator with copper magnetic moments ordered antiferromagnetically at low temperatures. As each Sr replaces an La in La2-xSrxCuO4, one positively charged current carrier (a `hole') is inserted into the system, and one copper magnetic moment is canceled out. At a critical concentration of holes, the antiferromagnetic ordering goes away, the material becomes a metallic conductor, and superconductivity appears--only to disappear again at higher hole concentrations. "Exactly how all this happens is critical, as it is a direct measure of nature's delicate balance of magnetism, electrical conductivity, and crystal structure in the copper oxide superconductors. "There has been controversy since 1987 surrounding the details of what really happens in La2-xSrxCuO4 . We have been in the thick of it. In this paper we described the results of experiments that we attempted to design and execute so unambiguously that it would put an end to the controversy. We hope that neutral or objective readers were swayed by our arguments. "Some holding alternative views did not, however, lie down and play dead after reading this paper: A number of the citations probably reflect disagreement with our interpretation of the way this `simple' model system behaves. We would have been happier, of course, if our paper had put an end to the matter, but we realize that the process of point and counterpoint is the way in which the difficult problems in science are ultimately solved." (The Scientist, Vol:8, #11, pg.16, May 30, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: garfield@aurora.cis.upenn.edu 71764.2561@compuserve.com The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A. -------- NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : CHEMISTRY TY : RESEARCH (HOT PAPERS) PG : 16 T.W. Ebbesen, P.M. Ajayan, "Large-scale synthesis of carbon nanotubes," Nature, 358:220-2, 1992. Thomas W. Ebbesen (Fundamental Research Laboratories, NEC Corp., Tsukuba, Japan): "Carbon nanotubes are very small, hollow graphitic tubes (nanometer in diameter, micrometer long) that generated a lot of excitement when they were first observed. They were seen both as elongated fullerenes and as the ultimate fiber, since the hexagonal network of carbon atoms was perfect. Exciting properties were predicted for the nanotubes, but there was no way to verify them because the nanotubes were available in only minute quantities in a mixture of soot. That is probably why our paper on the large-scale synthesis of nanotubes has had a large impact. It opened the possibility for everyone to do experiments on nanotubes and verify their properties. "It was while we were trying to make fullerene derivatives that we found that we had made large quantities of carbon nanotubes. We determined what the critical parameters were. This technique could then be reproduced around the world. The research activity on nanotubes has been increasing ever since, and now has reached a significant level, which I expect will continue for some time until a number of important properties are measured. In this regard, the purity of the samples is important to do accurate evaluation of the material. "Recently we succeeded in finding a purification method (T.W. Ebbesen et al., Nature, 367:519, 1994), which we believe will also contribute significantly to research on nanotubes. "Once the nanotubes have been properly characterized, we will be in a position to predict more accurately their importance for future science and technology, new materials, and so forth." (The Scientist, Vol:8, #11, pg.16, May 30, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: garfield@aurora.cis.upenn.edu 71764.2561@compuserve.com The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A. -------- NEXT: TOOLS & TECHNOLOGY ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : Computer Aids Help Find And Manage Research Grants AU : FRANKLIN HOKE TY : TOOLS & TECHNOLOGY PG : 17 Biological researchers scrambling for grant support once had to pore over small-print listings in the library and spend hours making query calls to public and private organizations in order to locate agencies amenable to funding their projects. But now, with the advent of the computer age, they can search for potential funders while sitting at their desks--even at 3:00 A.M., if it suits them. Moreover, the tasks of preparing proposals for those funders, once identified, and of managing the money, once won, have also been eased by computers. Powerful electronic tools have been enlisted in each of these areas, helping to streamline the grants process from front to back. Online and CD-ROM databases of funders, computerized grant-proposal forms for various government agencies, and research grant-accounting software are among the new computer aids now available. One of the fastest-growing uses of computers in the grants process, for example, is in identifying likely sources of research support. "We are definitely seeing an increase in the number of scientists using computer resources to locate possible grant funding," says Martha Verchot, education coordinator at the Lister Hill Library of the Health Sciences, University of Alabama, Birmingham. Administrators at Alabama and other universities have encouraged this development in just the past few years by placing commercial databases on campus-wide networks, Verchot says, so that researchers and other end users can access grant information directly. One of the more useful of these databases, she says, is the Sponsored Programs Information Network (SPIN), produced by InfoEd Inc., Albany, N.Y., although several others are also available (see story on page 18). Verchot cautions, however, that scientists accustomed to bibliographic searches sometimes have to readjust their search strategies when hunting for potential grant funding. At her institution, the librarians conduct training classes on the available databases and will also perform librarian- mediated searches. "The end goal of funding searching differs from bibliographic searching," Verchot says. "Too many faculty and researchers approach grant searching expecting to input five to 10 [specific] keywords and find a single perfect match, rather than entering three to four broader keywords and finding the 10 or so possibilities they might want to pursue further. In their quest for that one perfect match they frequently get zero and become discouraged." Another stage of the grants cycle for which computers are becoming invaluable is keeping precise track of expenses, once the hard-won money is in hand. The need to budget carefully is greater today than ever before, given the fact of tighter research funds in almost every area of science. "Researchers want to get on with doing research and don't want to have to spend time with accounting problems," says Kendric C. Smith, a retired professor of radiation oncology at Stanford University in California and president of KCS Software, also in Stanford. "But you need to know where you're at on your commitments and balances." As a professor, Smith developed a research grant-accounting program called Grant Tracker, now marketed through his company, to keep closer track of his department's grant money. Most universities provide their researchers with budgetary statements on a monthly basis, he says, but this is often inadequate, especially toward the end of the grant cycle. "If you don't know where you're at, you can underspend by $100,000 or overspend by $100,000," Smith says. "If you underspend, it means you're probably not getting all the work done that you should be getting done toward your grant, and therefore you lose some competitive edge with other people. And, of course, overspending is a disaster." Funders Online And More Helping to efficiently identify potential funders is the goal of several growing grant-information databases. InfoEd's SPIN database, for example, now lists more than 6,000 funding opportunities, and offers the database in several formats, depending on client preference. One important component of the SPIN database, says Sandra Carrk, manager of funding information services at InfoEd, is its carefully developed set of keywords. SPIN incorporates a standardized keyword thesaurus that is also used by agencies of the federal government, Carrk says, including the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Department of Energy (DOE). "We use that thesaurus, but have modified it," Carrk says. "We've added our own terms to it, also. Right now, the thesaurus has over 2,800 terms, and we're always adding to it as new disciplines come up." SPIN is available online with two subscription options, either $500 per year plus $10 per search or $3,500 per year for unlimited searches. The database is also available as a diskette subscription to be run on the user's local microcomputer system, with three options. The cost of quarterly updates is $1,195 per year, monthly updates are $1,995, and biweekly updates are $2,995. In addition, diskette subscribers are able to search the online version of the database for $10 per search, when needed. According to Carrk, about 75 percent of SPIN users are monthly diskette subscribers. InfoEd also offers the Sponsored Programs Administrative System (SPAS) with several components useful in the grants process. One maintains profiles of faculty members, for example. Carrk says that, when SPIN and SPAS are used together, available funding opportunities can be proactively matched to faculty interests. "You can also find scientists who may want to collaborate with each other, because they have the same interests," Carrk says. Dialog Information Services of Palo Alto, Calif., also provides a pair of online databases useful for locating potential funding opportunities. One is the Foundation Directory (Dialog File 26), and the other is the Foundation Grants Index (Dialog File 27), both produced by the Foundation Center, New York. The Foundation Directory contains in- formation about more than 27,000 United States private foundations and 250 community foundations--the most complete such list available, according to Phyllis M. Andrews, formerly manager of Dialog services for the center and now an independent information professional. Andrews details how to develop effective search strategies for these databases in her article "Grant information online" (Database, 16[2]:38-44, April 1993). The Chronicle Guide to Grants is a new database of more than 10,000 foundation and corporate grant listings produced by the staffs of the Chronicle of Philanthropy and the Chronicle of Higher Education, both published in Washington, D.C. The database is available in either diskette or CD-ROM format, with updates shipped every other month. An annual subscription costs $295 for the diskette version and $395 for the CD-ROM version. Computerized grant forms, in both word-processor and spread- sheet formats, have been developed to speed the task of preparing proposals to the government. Specific forms for proposal submissions to the Public Health Service (including NIH), NSF, and DOE are among those available on diskettes. Two providers of such forms are Envisage Inc. of Jacksonville, Fla., and the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College, Hanover, N.H. Keeping The Books The basic reason that researchers or their staffers need to use research grant-accounting software, according to KCS Software's Kendric Smith, is that university accounting reports always lag well behind actual spending. Researchers who expect these university reports to keep them up to date on their grants spending are making a mistake, Smith says. "It would be comparable to running your own personal checking account without ever keeping track of the checks that you write," Smith says, "and just trying to rely on the statement that the bank sends you." Smith says that programs such as his Grant Tracker are designed specifically to meet the needs of grant accounting. The researcher or responsible staff member begins by entering the amount of the award and such fixed-cost information as salary data on project personnel. Expected raises and cost-of-living increases can be programmed to take effect at future dates. Then, as the work goes forward, expenditures for supplies and equipment are recorded. "It automatically calculates your commitments and balances," Smith says. "And you can subdivide your expenses by various categories, so that you know how you're spending your money, whether it's on petri dishes, chemicals, or tissue-culture media. That can help you plan your budget for next year." Version 5.0 of Grant Tracker, released this month, is available for Windows, DOS, and Macintosh for $399. Although business accounting programs such as Lotus 1-2-3 from Lotus Development Corp., Cambridge, Mass., and Excel from Microsoft Corp., Redmond, Wash., are capable of many of the same functions, they must be specially programmed to do so, Smith says, which can be a very time-consuming process. Julie Bond, an office administrator in the division of clinical pharmacology at Stanford, agrees that the business- oriented software can be unnecessarily difficult to use when compared with programs specifically written to keep track of research grants. For about eight years, she has used a program called Grant Manager from Niles & Associates, Berkeley, Calif., to account for more than $3 million in about 40 different gift and grant funds. These range from relatively small and simple gift accounts to several large, complex NIH grants for AIDS-related research. Bond uses Grant Manager in conjunction with another program from Niles called Personnel Manager. The two programs work together to track and forecast equipment, supplies, and personnel expenditures, she says. Among other uses, Grant Manager speeds reordering of supplies, because it keeps a catalog of previous orders for reference. "It will also track indirect costs, which are becoming more of an issue now," Bond says, referring to institutional overhead expenses reimbursed by the federal government on grants they award. "Basically, you're given a set amount in indirect costs. If you go over, you're not going to get any more, but if you go under, you can convert those to direct dollars--although those direct dollars will then accrue indirect costs, also, so you have to be careful of what you're doing." The one complaint that Bond has with Grant Manager is its inability to interface with the Stanford University network. The company has assured her that it is hard at work on a Windows version, which it expects to release sometime this year. A Windows version of Grant Manager would allow her to move information back and forth between her records and the Stanford system without rekeying. "Once they get it into Windows," Bond says, "that will make it an even more useful and effective tool than it is now." Grant Manager costs $425 and is currently available for either DOS or Macintosh. Personnel Manager also costs $425, but is available only for DOS. The two may be purchased together--for DOS only--for $750. Another grant-accounting package, called Grant Accountant, is available from Research Information Systems in Carlsbad, Calif. Grant Accountant costs $495 and is available for DOS only. Like its competitors, Grant Accountant helps researchers fill the gap between actual expenditures, including salaries, and the monthly statements provided by the university. As the money available to support research becomes tighter, Bond says, the importance of such grant- accounting programs also grows. "In this day of funding crunch, you need to be able to track every single penny," Bond says. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #11, pg.17, May 30, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: garfield@aurora.cis.upenn.edu 71764.2561@compuserve.com The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A. -------- NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : DATABASES TO HELP FIND RESEARCH FUNDING AU : FRANKLIN HOKE TY : TOOLS & TECHNOLOGY PG : 18 According to Martha Verchot, education coordinator at the Lister Hill Library of the Health Sciences, University of Alabama, Birmingham, a number of databases and other resources can help in identifying potential funders. Some of these are available over the Internet free of charge, and some are commercial products provided in different formats. Among these are the following: * The Sponsored Programs Information Network (SPIN) is a database of funding sources in both CD-ROM and online formats available from InfoEd Inc., Albany, N.Y. A companion software system called Sponsored Programs Administrative System (SPAS) includes several grant-tracking functions. For information, call (800) 727-6427. * The Illinois Researcher Information System (IRIS) is a funding-opportunities database developed by the Research Services Office of the University of Illinois, Urbana- Champaign. It is available by subscription and searchable online, with a one-month trial subscription available. For information, call (217) 333-0284. * Dialog Information Services Inc., Palo Alto, Calif., provides several online databases to aid in locating grants, including Foundation Directory (Dialog File 26) and Foundation Grants Index (Dialog File 27). For information, call Dialog at (800) 334-2564 or the Foundation Center at (800) 424-9836. * BRS Colleague, from BRS Information Technologies in McLean, Va., offers several grant-information databases that give descriptions of current and past research funding by the Public Health Service. For information, call (800) 289- 4277. * The National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation provide free information about their grants programs directly via the Internet. The NIH server includes the file "NIH Guide to Grants and Contracts," and the NSF server includes a collection of project abstracts, funding bulletins, and requests for proposals. Use the gopher command to reach nih.edu and stis.nsf.gov, respectively. * FEDIX, a free online service from Federal Information Exchange Inc. (FIE), Gaithersburg, Md., includes information from a number of federal agencies, including the Department of Energy (DOE), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Office of Naval Research, and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. FEDIX is accessible via the Internet by using the gopher command to reach fedix.fie.com (port 70) or the telnet command to reach fedix.fie.com. To request user guides, call FIE at (301) 975-0103. --F.H. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #11, pg.18, May 30, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: garfield@aurora.cis.upenn.edu 71764.2561@compuserve.com The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A. -------- NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : SUPPLIERS OF COMPUTER AIDS FOR FINDING, PREPARING, AND MANAGING GRANTS TY : TOOLS & TECHNOLOGY PG : 19 The following companies and institutions offer computer products to help with different aspects of the research grants process. Please contact the organizations directly or use our Reader Service Card for more information concerning specific products. Academic Research Information Systems 2940 16th St. Suite 314 San Francisco, Calif. 94103 (415) 558-8133 Fax: (415) 558-8135 Circle No. 146 on Reader Service Card Blackbaud 4401 Belle Oaks Dr. Charleston, S.C. 29405-8530 (800) 443-9441 Fax: (803) 740-5410 Circle No. 147 on Reader Service Card Dialog Information Services 3460 Hillview Ave. Palo Alto, Calif. 94304 (415) 858-2700 Fax: (415) 858-7069 Circle No. 148 on Reader Service Card Envisage Inc. 5111-6 Baymeadows Rd. Suite 315 Jacksonville, Fla. 32217 (904) 739-0060 Fax: (904) 731-1993 Circle No. 149 on Reader Service Card The Fund Raising School 550 W. North St. Suite 301 Indianapolis, Ind. 46202 (800) 962-6692 Fax: (317) 684-8900 Circle No. 150 on Reader Service Card Illinois Research Information System Research Services Office 128 Observatory University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Ill. 61801 (217) 333-0284 Fax: (217) 333-7011 Circle No. 151 on Reader Service Card InfoEd Inc. 453 New Karner Rd. Albany, N.Y. 12205 (518) 464-0691 Fax: (518) 464-0695 Circle No. 152 on Reader Service Card Integrated Solutions 1761 Steward Ave. New Hyde Park, N.Y. 11040 (516) 437-2456 Fax: (516) 358-9474 Circle No. 153 on Reader Service Card Legi-Slate Inc. 777 N. Capitol St. Washington, D.C. 20002 (202) 898-2311 Fax: (202) 898-3030 Circle No. 154 on Reader Service Card KCS Software 927 Mears Court Stanford, Calif. 94305-1041 (415) 493-7210 Fax: (415) 493-7210 Circle No. 124 on Reader Service Card MBS-Fame 6680 Beta Dr. Cleveland, Ohio 44143 (800) 682-2479 Fax: (216) 461-7038 Circle No. 155 on Reader Service Card Niles & Associates Inc. 2000 Hearst St. Berkeley, Calif. 94709 (510) 655-6666 Fax: (510) 649-8179 Circle No. 139 on Reader Service Card The Oryx Press 4041 North Central Rd. Phoenix, Ariz. 85012 (602) 265-2651 Fax: (602) 265-6250 Circle No. 156 on Reader Service Card RAMS Inc. 555 Quince Orchard Rd. Suite 200 Gaithersburg, Md. 20878 (301) 963-5226 Fax: (301) 975-0109 Circle No. 157 on Reader Service Card Research Information Systems Inc. Camino Corporate Center 2355 Camino Vida Roble Carlsbad, Calif. 92009-1572 (619) 438-5526 Fax: (619) 438-5573 Circle No. 158 on Reader Service Card Thayer School of Engineering Dartmouth College 8000 Cummings Hall Hanover, N.H. 03755 (603) 646-2455 Fax: (603) 646-3856 Circle No. 159 on Reader Service Card (The Scientist, Vol:8, #11, pg.19, May 30, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: garfield@aurora.cis.upenn.edu 71764.2561@compuserve.com The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A. -------- NEXT: NEW PRODUCTS ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : Heto Introduces DNA Plus System TY : TOOLS & TECHNOLOGY (NEW PRODUCTS) PG : 20 The DNA Plus System, now available from Heto AS of Denmark, is a compact, complete vacuum-concentration system de- signed for drying and concentrating RNA and DNA precipitates. The DNA Plus System is an all-in-one unit, consisting of a vacuum rotator-mini centrifuge, a Teflon- coated membrane vacuum pump, a cooling trap that can handle temperatures as low as -60o C, and a built-in controller for completely automatic operation. The system is situated on a compact, mobile cart. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #11, pg.20, May 30, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : Individual Monitoring Systems' Physical Activity Monitor TY : TOOLS & TECHNOLOGY (NEW PRODUCTS) PG : 20 Individual Monitoring Systems of Baltimore has introduced the PAM2 Physical Activity Monitor, a research and evaluation system for recording and analyzing body movement in animals and humans. The miniaturized, portable device weighs 32 grams. With a sensitivity of 0.1 g acceleration, the unit accumulates activity data in one-minute intervals and can store this information for hours, days, or weeks. For animal research, it can be used for measuring the effects of drugs, toxic substances, and environment on motor activity and behavior. In humans, the PAM2 monitors motor events for activity-related studies, such as investigations of sleep/wake cycles, circadian rhythms, exercise, hyperactivity, and ergonomics. According to the company, the PAM2 method requires no complicated set-up or field adjustment. Activity data from the PAM2 are downloaded to a computer for presentation and analysis. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #11, pg.20, May 30, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : Millipore Releases Glass-Fiber Filter Plates TY : TOOLS & TECHNOLOGY (NEW PRODUCTS) PG : 20 Millipore Corp. of Bedford, Mass., has developed new MultiScreen glass-fiber filter plates for filtration assays. These plates, used in conjunction with the MultiScreen bioassay system, are designed to replace conventional techniques for cell harvesting and receptor-binding assays. According to the manufacturer, when compared with traditional methods, the MultiScreen glass-fiber filter plates significantly enhance the throughput of multiple samples. They also are said to reduce the amount of expensive radioactive waste generated from such studies by up to 99 percent. Each MultiScreen plate is fitted with a glass-fiber filter recommended for bioassay (American Society for Testing and Materials designation Type B or Type C). An open-pore membrane below the glass-fiber media permits incubation as well as filtration of liquids in the upper wells of the plate. Each step of a typical bioassay--sample immobilization, incubation, washing, and detection--can be carried out within the same filter plate, eliminating the need for sample transfers from one reaction vessel to another. Once the assay is completed, the individual filters on the plate are designed to be easily punched out and transferred into scintillation vials, or counted directly in the plate with microplate counters. The user can also retain the filtrate for further analysis by placing a standard, plastic, 96-well plate below the MultiScreen plate and applying vacuum. MultiScreen glass-fiber filter plates can be used for a variety of techniques, including receptor-binding assays, thymidine-uptake studies, and assays on neural receptors. MultiScreen plates are also available with other membranes fitted to the 96-well plate. Researchers can choose from Immobilon membranes, low-binding PVDF membranes, and cellulosic filters such as nitrocellulose, depending on the application. Plates are available in both sterile and non- sterile formats, and in materials compatible with direct scintillation counting on the plate. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #11, pg.20, May 30, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : Coreco's Oculus-F/64 Image-Acquisition And Processing Boards Make Debut TY : TOOLS & TECHNOLOGY (NEW PRODUCTS) PG : 20 Montreal, Quebec-based Coreco Inc. offers the Oculus-F/64 series, high-performance image-acquisition and processing boards for the ISA bus targeted to applications such as industrial inspection, scientific analysis, and medical imaging. The Oculus-F/64 series offers acquisition up to 40 MHz over 250 MOPS of processing power and high-bandwidth communications. The Oculus-F/64 series incorporates high-speed processing hardware including Texas Instruments' TMS 34020 GSP and TMS 320C40 DSP. The unit also features a histogram processor and Coreco's IP-Engine, which combine to perform real-time arithmetic operations. The Oculus-F/64 series relies on all four processors and an 80 MByte/second high-speed memory bus to provide simultaneous image acquisition and processing. The Oculus-F/64 series was designed to acquire data from virtually any source and to simplify data acquisition through an interactive software program that allows users to adjust all video parameters. Up to 48 MBytes of field- upgradable memory can be added to provide additional storage of images, accommodate 16-bit images, or store high- resolution images (up to 4K o 4K). The Oculus-F/64 series supports either single-screen or dual-screen operation and is compatible with Windows 3.1 and Windows NT. To view very- high-resolution images, select Oculus-F/64 products support display resolutions up to 1600 o1200. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #11, pg.20, May 30, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : New Biomolecule Separation Technology From Cohesive Biotechnologies Inc. TY : TOOLS & TECHNOLOGY (NEW PRODUCTS) PG : 20 Acton, Mass.-based Cohesive Biotechnologies Inc.'s patented Wave Chemistry will be used to design and develop purification media to separate and purify biomolecules. This technology was first developed and utilized at Polaroid Corp. of Cambridge, Mass., and is now licensed and patented by Cohesive Biotechnologies. According to the company, it is applying this chemistry for the first time in the separations industry. Cohesive Biotechnologies has been awarded three application patents based on applying the chemistry to chromatographic media. The chemistry's infrastructure allows protein to be analyzed and purified at the lab level and then scaled up into production. This scale-up process is designed to enable biopharmaceutical companies to accelerate the purification of biomolecules. Cohesive Biotechnologies is applying this chemistry to a series of separation products that will be released later this year. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #11, pg.20, May 30, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- NEXT: ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : Noesis' One-Dimensional Electrophoresis Gel Image- Analysis Software TY : TOOLS & TECHNOLOGY (NEW PRODUCTS) PG : 20 Noesis Vision Inc. of Montreal, Quebec, has introduced a fully automated electrophoresis one-dimensional image- analysis software package. The system is Unix-based and runs on all major workstations from Sun Microsystems Inc., Silicon Graphics Inc., and Hewlett-Packard Co. Among the functions that can be performed by the package are detection and quantification of lanes and bands. In addition, interactive tools are provided for controlling image-display parameters. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #11, pg.20, May 30, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: garfield@aurora.cis.upenn.edu 71764.2561@compuserve.com The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A. -------- NEXT: PEOPLE ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : Structural Biology Researcher Wins Awards From Two National Societies AU : NEERAJA SANKARAN TY : PROFESSION (PEOPLE) PG : 22 Peter S. Kim, an associate professor of biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge who also holds appointments as a member of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and an associate investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, has recently been named the recipient of awards from two national professional societies. The American Chemical Society will honor Kim with the 1994 Eli Lilly Award in Biological Chemistry, to be presented at its fall meeting in Washington, D.C., where he will also be chairing a session on "Protein Folding, Function, and Design." On July 12, Kim, 36, will receive the DuPont Merck Young Investigator Award at the Eighth Symposium of the Protein Society in San Diego and will deliver a lecture titled "Protein Dissection." Kim's research focuses on the flow of information in biological systems. "We know about DNA--and in some cases RNA--storing genetic information, being transcribed into RNA, which in turn is translated into proteins," he says. "But until we know how we get folded, functional protein structures from their linear amino acid chains, we cannot really understand the basis for their function and activity." Working to dissect the process of protein folding, Kim's laboratory introduced the technique of using protein fragments (peptides) to construct models of the protein at various stages of folding. He also did experiments to help solve a 40-year-old puzzle about the interaction of proteins. Originally, two strands of some fibrous proteins, like keratin, were believed to interact by a zipper-like mechanism with interlocking units of the amino acid leucine on each strand. An alternative mechanism suggested by noted researchers like Francis Crick and Linus Pauling was that the strands twisted around each other to form "coiled coils." Kim and his collaborators were able to verify these latter predictions by making crystals of certain interacting proteins (E.K. O'Shea, J.D. Klemm, P.S. Kim, T. Alber, "X- ray structure of the GCN4 leucine zipper, a two-stranded, parallel coiled coil," Science, 254:539-44, 1991). This research on the structural basis of molecular interactions led to the discovery of the mechanism of infection of the influenza virus, and shed light on the interaction between certain transcription factors and the oncoproteins fos and jun, as well. These findings have potential uses in the design of drugs to block protein interactions responsible for infection. Kim earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry from Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., in 1979, and did doctoral studies in biochemistry at Stanford University. He is the co- founder of a new biotechnology firm, ScripTech Pharmaceuticals Inc. in Boston. Last year, he received the National Academy of Sciences Award in Molecular Biology. --Neeraja Sankaran (The Scientist, Vol:8, #11, pg.22, May 30, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: garfield@aurora.cis.upenn.edu 71764.2561@compuserve.com The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A. -------- NEXT: PEOPLE BRIEFS ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : SAMUEL THIER TY : PROFESSION (PEOPLE BRIEFS) PG : 22 Samuel Thier, sixth president of Brandeis University, has taken the post of president of the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in Boston, one of five teaching hospitals affiliated with Harvard Medical School. He began in his new job on May 23. As president of MGH, Thier will direct the General Hospital Corp., a parent company that currently oversees seven affiliates, including the McLean Hospital, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, the MGH Institute of Health Professions, MGH Home Health Services Corp., and the MGH Professional Services Corp. Thier came to Brandeis in 1991, after serving for six years as president of the Washington, D.C.-based Institute of Medicine (IoM), an affiliate of the National Academy of Sciences. There, he began a revitalization of the institution, tripling its budget, quadrupling its staff, and increasing the visibility of IoM in national policy debates. (J. Mervis, The Scientist, June 24, 1991, page 3). Previously, Thier had been chairman of the department of internal medicine at Yale University School of Medicine from 1975 to 1985. In the time he has spent as president of Brandeis, Thier has presided over a number of academic, financial, and structural achievements. Chief among these are the development of a new curriculum and new graduate programs, acquisition of the Andrei Sakharov archives, completion of the Benjamin and Mae Volen National Center for Complex Systems, and a significant increase in private donations to the university. Thier will be succeeded by Jehuda Reinharz, provost and senior vice president at Brandeis. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #11, pg.22, May 30, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: garfield@aurora.cis.upenn.edu 71764.2561@compuserve.com The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A. -------- NEXT: OBITUARY ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : ROGER WOLCOTT SPERRY TY : OBITUARY PG : 22 Roger Wolcott Sperry, a prominent brain researcher and a 1981 Nobelist in physiology, died April 17 of a heart attack following degenerative neuromuscular disease in Pasadena, Calif. He was 80 years old. Sperry was perhaps best known for his research on "split brain" patients, demonstrating how the two halves of the brain functioned. He was responsible for overturning the widespread belief that the left brain is dominant by showing that several cognitive abilities were localized in the right brain. It was for this work that Sperry shared the Nobel with David H. Hubel and Torsten N. Wiesel. He also provided experimental proof for the specificity of the reconnection of regenerating severed neurons in newts, which later led to new theories on how neurons grow. After 1965, his work turned more to psychology and philosophy. Sperry was the Board of Trustees Professor, Emeritus, of Psychobiology at the California Institute of Technology, where he served for almost 40 years. Born in Hartford, Conn., he obtained a bachelor's degree in English literature in 1935, and a master's degree in psychology in 1937, from Oberlin College in Ohio, followed by a doctorate in zoology from the University of Chicago in 1941. He performed military service in the Office of Scientific Research and Development Medical Research Project on Nerve Injuries. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #11, pg.22, May 30, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: garfield@aurora.cis.upenn.edu 71764.2561@compuserve.com The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A. --------

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