THE SCIENTIST VOLUME 7, No:10 May 17, 1993 (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) Articles publi

---
Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

THE SCIENTIST VOLUME 7, No:10 May 17, 1993 (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) =============================================================== Articles published in THE SCIENTIST reflect the views of their authors and not the official views of the publication, its editorial staff, or its ownership. ================================================================ *** THE NEXT ISSUE OF THE SCIENTIST WILL APPEAR ON *** *** MAY 31, 1993 *** *** *** ******************************************************* THE SCIENTIST (Page numbers correspond to printed edition of THE SCIENTIST) FOR SEARCHING PURPOSES: AU = author NEXT = next article PG = page TI = title of article TY = type TI : CONTENTS PG : 3 ===================================================================== TY : NEWS REASSIGNMENT AT NIH: Two controversial NIH scientists, Walter Stewart and Ned Feder, who are known for their independent antifraud research, have been "reassigned," effectively removing them from the scientific integrity beat. Scientists have reacted strongly and taken clear sides, some calling Stewart and Feder's efforts unique and indispensable, others saying the action against them was long overdue PG : 1 PRE-POSTMORTEM: With the dissolution of the Carnegie Commission on Science, Technology, and Government looming, scientists as well as government officials critique the panel's performance and the lasting impact of its five-year effort to evaluate and provide advice on science policy issues PG : 1 A POPULAR SUBJECT: Because the discipline of microbiology is involved in so many diverse scientific investigations and therefore finds a place of equal importance in the research and commercial pursuits of academia, government, and industry, the employment outlook for these scientists is as good as or better than the job prospects for most others PG : 1 FUNDING COUNTDOWN: Unless NASA comes up with a redesign of the space station that cuts development and deployment costs by half, the project faces outright cancellation of its funding by Congress this summer PG : 3 MUCH TO TALK ABOUT: The thousands of presentations at this year's meeting of the American Society for Microbiology focus attention on disturbing national health issues, but also showcase the remarkable diversity of the society's membership PG : 10 TY : OPINION STATING THEIR CASE: Recently deposed NIH investigators Walter Stewart and Ned Feder contend that their controversial reassignment caps a decade in which their employer sent them mixed messages about what was expected of them, and frequently repressed their findings for no clear and consistent reason. PG : 11 COMMENTARY: The reassignment of Stewart and Feder is an "ignominious" move on the part of NIH, says immunologist Margot O'Toole, arguing that the science community would be in serious trouble if it weren't for critics who vigilantly watch for signs of misconduct and speak out when they see something amiss PG : 12 TY : RESEARCH ATTENTION-GETTING MICROBES: The health threats posed by the reemergence of infections long thought under control as well as drug-resistant microbes are capturing the attention of microbiologists--and of the general public PG : 16 HOT PAPERS: A geneticist discusses his studies of tandem repeats of nucleotides as diagnostic and identification tools PG : 18 TY : TOOLS & TECHNOLOGY IMAGE-ANALYSIS PICTURE CLEARER: With dropping prices, the enhanced computational power of personal computers, and, especially, the emergence of versatile new software, image- analysis capabilities are being put in the hands of more life scientists than ever before (See also the Scientific Software directory on page 23) PG : 19 TY : PROFESSION DIVERSE COLLABORATORS: Over the past three years, a collaboration among the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the United States Agency for International Development has produced two funding programs to advance biodiversity--one aiming to develop drugs through a more thorough study of biodiversity and the other to advance knowledge of the diversity among ecosystems PG : 21 SUSAN LEEMAN, a Boston University professor of pharmacology and therapeutics, has won the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology's Women's Excellence in Science Award PG : 22 TY : NOTEBOOK PG : 4 TY : CARTOON PG : 4 TY : LETTERS PG : 12 TY : CROSSWORD PG : 13 TY : OBITUARY PG : 22 TY : SCIENTIFIC SOFTWARE DIRECTORY PG : 23 (The Scientist, Vol:7, #10, May 17, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: TI : Experts Assess Carnegie Commission's Impact On U.S. Science Policy While the panel's work has been influential, skeptics question the feasibility of some of its recommendations AU : BARBARA SPECTOR TY : News PG : 1 The Carnegie Commission on Science, Technology, and Government, created in 1988 by the Carnegie Corporation of New York as a five-year-long effort to assess the way science is taken into account in the formulation of United States policy, ends its tenure June 30. The commission, its advisory council, and its 15 committees and task forces have included "the elite of the science policy community in the country," in the words of Rep. George E. Brown, Jr. (D-Calif.)--among them three Nobel-ists (Rockefeller University geneticist Joshua Lederberg, University of Chicago physicist Leon M. Lederman, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist Robert M. Solow) and two former U.S. presidents (Jimmy Carter and Gerald R. Ford). In assessing the success of the commission, outside observers as well as those associated with the group point to several of its recommendations that were implemented by the Bush and Clinton administrations and others that have earned a spot on the national agenda. At the final meeting of the full commission, held on April 1 (Barbara Spector, The Scientist, April 5, 1993, page 3), Clinton's science adviser, John H. Gibbons, read a letter from Vice President Al Gore to the commissioners that stated: "The com-mission's highly productive efforts have already greatly influenced perspectives and actions across federal and state governments." Members of the commission's target audience--including congressional representatives and other key policymakers--praise the panel for having "made a genuine contribution to the debate," according to John C. Crowley, director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Washington, D.C., office. They laud the ability of the commission, which spent a total of about $12 million to $15 million, to produce "well-conceived, well-written reports," as Crowley puts it. Yet some observers, while praising the overall quality of the commission's work, question the relevance and feasibility of some of their recommendations. "In the net, I'd give them high marks," says Bruce L.R. Smith, a science policy analyst at the Washington, D.C.-based Brookings Institution. But, noting that one recommendation was for the appointment of a science counselor to the Secretary of State (in the commission's January 1992 report "Science and Technology in U.S. International Affairs"), Smith says, "They presume there are technological solutions to everything; they always want to have a scientific adviser to everyone and his uncle. "You don't come up with simple answers to complex questions simply by mobilizing the scientists." Focus On Process The commission has deliberately focused its attentions on the processes of organization and decision-making in lieu of trying to find solutions to specific problems. Lederberg, a commission cochairman, says the rationale for the approach was that once a proper decision-making process was established, "the right answers would come out of that process; we would not have to provide them." Mark Schaefer, senior staff associate and director of the com- mission's Washington, D.C., office, says the approach fills a void. "Organization and decision-making are not given a lot of attention," he says. "People are more interested in the policy itself." But, he notes, commission members "who were very experienced in government" knew how unwise structures contributed to many daunting problems: "They could see organizational approaches that work and don't work." The commission's approach can be frustrating to some readers of the reports who are trying to formulate government policy, however. "I'm a goal-oriented person," says U.S. Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.), chairman of the subcommittee on science of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. "I'd like to see more specific recommendations than I'm getting." Ex-Politicians Join Up On the other hand, commission member John Brademas, a former Democratic congressman from Indiana, says the panel's focus on process was one of the factors that induced him to join. "As a member of Congress, [I was] over and over again faced with the question of bringing knowledge together with policy," he says. "The idea of helping public policymakers consider and decide in as rational a way as possible had great appeal to me." Former President Carter, for his part, says his work as chairman of the commission's Task Force on Development Organizations was a logical extension of his activities as founder of the Carter Center, an Atlanta-based nonprofit organization devoted to improving health, fighting hunger, resolving conflict, promoting democracy, and preserving human rights (see accompanying story). "The more that I have become immersed in [the] Third World . . . since I left the White House, the more I see that we need some sort of comprehensive approach to, quote, foreign aid, unquote," he says. "The Carnegie project gave me an opportunity to concentrate on that. That's why I felt it's worth the investment of my time." Reports' Relevance The commission did not set out to directly impact the lives of average working scientists, says Lederberg. "We didn't consider ourselves apologists or defenders or lobbyists for the scientific community," he says. "Our first responsibility was to the citizenry, not to the welfare of scientists." The ultimate goal, he says, was for "the average scientist [to] be part of a system that's functioning more efficiently, with better channeling of [scientific] knowledge into policy outcomes." However, says Maxine L. Rockoff, senior administrator of the commission, if the reports' recommendations were implemented, there would be "more channels available for scientists to have their ideas and their knowledge brought to the decision-making process. To the extent that happens, there will be invitations and opportunities for scientists with relevant knowledge to affect the climate in which funding for research is done." Specific commission recommendations could lead to job opportunities, says commission cochairman William T. Golden, chairman of the board of the American Museum of Natural History in New York. "If the attention paid within our federal and state governments to science and technology issues increases," he says, "there'd be some jobs available that do not now exist." The Issues Of the commission's roughly 400 recommendations, several have already earned serious consideration by top government officials and other policymakers (see story on page 9). Yet the commission's creator, Carnegie Corporation president David A. Hamburg, says he didn't originally intend for the panel to have immediate relevance. When he first hit upon the idea of a commission, he says, "I was primarily thinking long-term." But the commissioners began to address more near-term issues "partly for their own motivation; they felt they needed receptor sites, to use a neuroscience analogy," he says. "I used to complain at meetings that they not lose sight of the long term." Among the issues the commission did not address are two that are currently high on the national agenda: health care and U.S. research universities. Lederberg says the panel opted to stay away from health care because many other groups were studying the issue; thus, "access to expertise [was] not the limiting factor." On the matter of research universities, Lederberg said at the April 1 commission meeting, the group decided that because so many of the commissioners were academic scientists, a report on the subject--which of necessity would deal with research budgets- -would appear self-interested. "We felt we should downplay that side in order to be more effective," he said. A Limited Perspective? Observers say the commission could have benefited from being more inclusive. "I'm suspicious of any organization that consists of almost exclusively over-50 white males," says Daryl Chubin, senior associate at the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA). There are three women on the 22-member commission and two on the 31-member advisory council. Betsy Fader, executive director of Student Pugwash USA in Washington, D.C., a group of young men and women dedicated to exploring the interrelationship of science and society, says she has been especially concerned about the lack of young people on the commission. "So much of the commission's work involves moving away from past priorities and assessing future ones; [it should] include those who will be affected by the new priorities," she says. "The people who are students now will be the managers of technology in 20 years' time. They're still undertaking the research; they really know what the challenges are." Rodney W. Nichols, a member of the panel's advisory council and chief executive officer of the New York Academy of Sciences, acknowledges that such criticism raises "quite a reasonable point." He notes that the commission's founders set out to recruit panelists who had the "highest possible credibility by dint of their professional standing and accomplishment. A younger group probably would have said something different." Schaefer, who at 38 is one of the younger people associated with the commission, notes that while the commissioners generally tended to be 50 and older, "in developing our task forces, we did reach out to younger people." In addition to drawing on the expertise of commissioners, he explains, the panel recruited task force members and consultants of varying ages. "It may appear on the surface that there were only older people, but, in fact, it was more mixed," he says. In retrospect, says Hamburg, if he had the chance to do it over, "I would have included more young scientists and more bench scientists in the enterprise, and I would have involved more women and minorities. Also, I might have made it more international." Mission: Impossible? The commission has been criticized for its repeated suggestions advocating a reorganization of government and nongovernmental agencies. Science and Government Report (SGR), for example, opined in a review of the commission's September 1992 report "Enabling the Future: Linking Science and Technology to Societal Goals" (22[15]:8, Oct. 1, 1992): "Here, as in prior prescriptions, the Commission yearns to link existing organizations for further studies, convene meetings, and add to the capital's glut of unread reports." Congressman Brown, who has "a high regard" for the work of the commission, acknowledges that the "changes in the structure of the federal government" frequently advocated by the panel do not "seem too practical." He adds that "I've tried to achieve some of these same objectives without success." Commissioners were aware of the trade-off involved with making less-than-practical recommendations, says Lederberg: "We had quite a debate about whether we would say what we thought would be the best thing or compromise in advance." A question addressed by the task forces in their deliberations, says David Z. Robinson, the com-mission's executive director, was: "If you make a recommendation that's impractical, does that hurt the rest of the report?" One detriment of including an infeasible recommendation, he notes, is that in analyzing the final product, "people say, `That's that hopelessly nave report,' without realizing that there's a lot of good recommendations in the rest of the report." There's room for hope that recommendations currently viewed as dubious would be taken seriously if the political winds shift, he says: "You hope that you've planted a seed that will grow years later." Achieving Consensus Commission members and staff say the discussions of the various task forces sometimes became quite heated. "We had immense arguments," says Lewis M. Branscomb, chairman of the commission's Task Force on K-12 Mathematics and Science Education. "We had a lot to settle. For example, can you discuss K-12 education without [also discussing] social problems?" Branscomb, Albert Pratt Public Service Professor in the Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, says that "at the end," consensus was achieved by "getting the key protagonists in a room and locking the door." The goal of such encounters, he says, was "to figure out why the differences were occurring and to address the origins of those differences." The chairperson of each task force, as well as the commission staff, have played major roles in merging the divergent views into a consensus report, working together to draft language that everyone can live with. "Obviously, one doesn't want to put together a lowest-common-denominator report, because that tends not to be strong," says Rockoff. "It takes time for a group to get to agreement," says Robinson. "It often takes toning down the language, but you want to get them signing on." Boucher says the fact that Carnegie Commission reports are consensus documents can be a great help to a representative "inundated with reports," noting that, when he receives a commission publication, "I know that report represents the opinion of the most esteemed scientific minds. They've performed a tremendous service." Target Audience Responds Specific commission recommendations have come into question by some members of the target audience for the panel's reports. OTA's Chubin, for example, says he's concerned about the suggestion in "Enabling the Future" that the National Academy of Sciences be the institution to administer a national forum on science and technology goals (Barton Reppert, The Scientist, Nov. 23, 1992, page 1). NAS is "a top-down, academically oriented institution," and thus perhaps not the best one to host such a forum, says Chubin. "If you put it in another kind of organization, you'd get a different kind of skew." SGR (22[15]:8, Oct. 1, 1992) commented sardonically about the recommendation: "As homebase for this proposed superfluity [the forum], the Commission states its preference for the National Academy of Sciences....SGR suggestion: Better yet, go for broke and put it in the U.S. Postal Service." Boucher, on the other hand, says that " `Enabling the Future' has been quite helpful" to his subcommittee. "The Carnegie Commission correctly identified the problem--how to closely link the dollars that we spend to the goals we hope to achieve," he says. "It very nicely phrases the issue in a way the public can understand." In one of its earliest efforts, an October 1991 report entitled "Science, Technology, and Congress: Analysis and Advice from the Congressional Support Agencies," the commission turned its attention to OTA, the General Accounting Office, the Congressional Research Service, the Library of Congress, and the Congressional Budget Office. "I didn't think they captured what we're about," says OTA's Chubin. The report--which recommended "that OTA explore ways to enhance its interactions with other outside organizations"--"seemed to deny that there's informal contact" by staff of the agencies among each other as well as with nongovernmental organizations, Chubin says. "It read as if they're trying to justify a role for themselves. Implicitly, what they're saying is that we need [a nongovernmental organization] like the Carnegie Commission. I think a congressional support agency can do--and does--quite well what they say is needed." Joining The Power Structure The commission, which issued its first report as George Bush was settling into the White House, "tried very hard to be nonpartisan," says Lederberg. "We knew that this would be an ongoing thing, and we couldn't tie it to one administration. We wanted to do work that would make sense through a political transition, with nothing we need to alter." The success of the panel at this endeavor can be measured by the extent to which members of the Carnegie Commission are now moving into the Clinton administration. Science adviser Gibbons, for example, was a member of several commission task forces. Commissioner William J. Perry, who chaired the commission's Ad Hoc Task Force on National Security, is now deputy secretary of defense. Advisory council member Ashton B. Carter, also a member of that task force, has been nominated to be assistant secretary of defense, and commissioner Sheila E. Widnall has been nominated to be the Air Force secretary. At press time, Carter and Widnall had not been confirmed. Quipped Perry at the April 1 meeting: "I'm in the awkward position of having spent several years advising myself what I should be doing." (The Scientist, Vol:7, #10, May 17, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: TI : AN ACTIVITY FIT FOR A PRESIDENT AU : Barbara Spector TY : News PG : 8 Carnegie Commission creator David Hamburg stresses that former President Jimmy Carter didn't merely lend his name to the commission--he rolled up his sleeves and got down to work from the very start. At an April 1 commission program, Hamburg recalled for the audience a 1990 exploratory meeting to discuss the formation of a task force on development organizations, which Carter would chair. "After a discussion all morning," Hamburg said, "rather than joining us for lunch, he went up to his office, sat at his computer, and wrote a draft of what was his understanding of the morning's discussion and the implications of that discussion on the remainder of the task force. And that is quite characteristic." Carter's diligence was an inspiration to the rest of the commissioners, Hamburg said: "If a former president of the United States could do it, it put all the rest of us to shame, and we all got to work." Carter, a nuclear engineer by training, says that under his influence, the character of the task force changed from concentrating primarily on government agencies that deal with development assistance to a focus on the formation of partnerships between the United States and developing countries. "I think it was my influence, plus [that of] a number of other committee members, who felt we had to look at [the issue] in a more generic sense," he says. Not only should the various U.S. agencies dealing with aid "correlate efforts to make it more efficient," Carter says, but also "within the country that receives assistance, we should have a more assured capability of receiving and using the developmental system . . . in a more efficient way." The task force's December 1992 report, "Partnerships for Global Development: The Clearing Horizon," recommends the creation of a "National Action Roundtable for International Development" to foster cooperation among U.S. aid organizations; congressional studies leading to major reform of aid legislation and oversight; and a major revamping of the Agency for International Development, among other things. Traditional political objections to these undertakings can be overcome, Carter says. "If you start talking about the alleviation of hunger or the immunization of children or the eradication of a disease," he says, the concept of helping a developing country "can be made adequately attractive." Developing countries are a living laboratory for basic scientists, Carter says: "Development experience is where you can bring into direct human benefit the results of work done in laboratories." But scientists must learn to become partners with the citizens of these countries, who are generally the people who "put the research findings into practical application," he cautions. --B.S. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #10, May 17, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: TI : THE COMMISSION'S GREATEST HITS AU : Barbara Spector TY : News PG : 9 Perhaps not coincidentally, the Carnegie Commission recommendations cited by commissioners as their favorites are those that have been implemented, wholly or in part, in United States policy. Commissioners acknowledge that "it would be foolish to say [that the policies in question were established] because we said so--there are too many intermediary steps," says Rodney W. Nichols, a member of the panel's advisory council and chief executive officer of the New York Academy of Sciences. Notes David Z. Robinson, the commission's executive director: "These ideas are in the air, but we speeded up the consideration." The following accomplishments are frequently cited by commissioners: * The recommendations that the president upgrade the position of presidential science adviser to an assistant to the president for science and technology and that the appointment be made early in the postelection period, as outlined in the commission's first report, "Science & Technology and the President," issued February 1989. George Bush, although slow to name D. Allan Bromley to the post, did elevate the position as recommended. "That set the stage--it gave us a lot of optimism for the commission," says commission cochairman Joshua Lederberg, former president of Rockefeller University. Bill Clinton went further, appointing science adviser John H. Gibbons one month before he took office. * The notion that institutional linkages between the judicial and scientific communities be developed, as outlined in the commission report "Science and Technology in Judicial Decision Making," released March 31. Last summer, on the recommendation of the task force that produced the report, the Federal Judicial Center agreed to launch a pilot project on judicial management of scientific evidence, funded by the Carnegie Corporation. Nichols lauds the idea of a science unit in the judicial center for its "sheer novelty," calling the issue "a subject that has been touched not at all by the other think tanks." Even Science and Government Report, which has not hesitated to criticize the commission, called this recommendation an "indisputable bull's eye" (23[6]:3, April 1, 1993). * The recommendation that the Department of Education and the National Science Foundation create a mechanism for collaboration, as outlined in the September 1991 commission report "In the National Interest: The Federal Government in the Reform of K-12 Math and Science Education." A memorandum of understanding was drawn up last year between NSF and the Department of Education, pledging to effect collaboration. * The recommendation that the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) be transformed to reflect "a national, rather than solely a defense" orientation, made in the September 1991 commission report "Technology and Economic Performance: Organizing the Executive Branch for a Stronger National Technology Base." The commission was one of many groups and individuals calling for this change. Following up on the recommendation, Congress included a provision in the fiscal year 1993 National Defense Authorization Act, proposed by Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.Mex.), urging the Defense Department to drop the word "Defense" from DARPA's name, thus emphasizing the dual-use component of DARPA's mission. --B.S. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #10, May 17, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: TI : Broadening Applicability Fosters Growth In Microbiology's Current Job Market Researchers believe that molecular techniques and the field's growing list of applications should stimulate ongoing demand AU : MARCIA CLEMMITT TY : News PG : 1 Life scientists are increasingly adopting the belief that microorganisms are virtually everywhere and are responsible for just about everything. This, plus the maturation of molecular- level methods of working with these tiny creatures, is a source of considerable optimism for microbiologists as the 93rd general meeting of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) convenes in Atlanta this week. What they see, in career terms, is that progress in their field is bound to yield an ever-widening world of research opportunities and a correspondingly bright employment future. Gail Cassell, a professor of microbiology at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, and president-elect of ASM, says she's "extremely optimistic" about job opportunities in the field and predicts the coming decade will be a "golden age" for microbiology. >From 27,000 members in 1981, ASM has grown to 42,000 members today and is the world's largest single membership organization in the biological sciences. It includes microbiologists at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels. The organization's large size and recent rapid growth reflect the importance of microorganisms to many scientific enterprises. Microbiologists at all levels of training have long been employed by clinical medicine and public health organizations as well as by the food, agriculture, and chemical industries. Employment has also been steady in government agencies that regulate those industries. They include clinical medicine, food production, and the emerging biotechnology and biore-mediation industries, microbiologists say. Furthermore, increasingly sophisticated molecular methods of classifying and genetically altering microorganisms have opened new realms of possibility for microbiology, they point out. These methods include the quick typing of disease-causing organisms, which allows doctors to more promptly begin patient treatment or to trace the origins of epidemics. Researchers are also using microorganisms to produce pharmaceutically active compounds that stimulate growth of agricultural, products, such as corn; act as vectors in gene therapy treatment; and degrade chemical wastes (see story on page 7). Additionally, jokes Stanley Maloy, an associate professor of microbiology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, the microbes themselves will cooperate to ensure that microbiologists will always have new research to tackle. "Microbes evolve fast enough so new problems will always be there," he says. Although research advances in any scientific discipline do not necessarily translate into jobs for its practitioners, many microbiologists predict that recent progress in their field will do so. This prognosis, they say, stems largely from the fact that an especially broad variety of positions for microbiologists exists outside academia, where employment is expected to remain sluggish. Microbiology Job Arena In the early to mid-1980s, microbiologists were among the founding scientists in the biotechnology and agricultural biotechnology industries. Institutions in all of these sectors still report employing these scientists at the technical, scientific, and executive levels. And, though salaries vary widely, personnel directors say, microbiology compensation is on a par with that of other scientists at all levels. Since current research advances primarily increase the efficiency and range of applicability of microbiology techniques, they should increase the range of job possibilities as well, scientists say. That's especially true, some of them point out, because microbiology studies apply chiefly to problems that won't go away, such as infectious disease, food safety issues, and chemical pollution, and because microbes evolve so fast that new uses for them and new problems stemming from them continually are coming to the fore. According to James Barbaree, a former lab director for the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta and currently an associate professor of microbiology at Auburn University in Alabama, the coming decade should see "lots of jobs characterizing base sequencing of DNA to reliably detect small amounts of organisms." But that doesn't mean that the more traditional microbiological skills will be neglected in the job marketplace, Barbaree adds, since "you still have to grow the organisms and key them out in the traditional way as well." Some scientists believe that, in some specialties, such as food microbiology, employment opportunities are likely to be so strong that job openings may actually outnumber the applicants. "The only problem people from the food science department have is deciding where to work," says Edmund Zottola, a professor of food microbiology at the University of Minnesota. As in many other biological disciplines, combining techniques of molecular genetics with more traditional methods--such as studying the ecology of microbes or the ways in which they cause disease--is key to capitalizing on research gains, microbiologists say. And some see solid evidence that the new generation of scientists recognizes the necessity for such combined expertise. According to Maloy, "Twenty years ago there were molecular geneticists and there were microbiologists who looked at pathogenesis. Now people are being both." Producing young scientists with that kind of varied training should help the field make research advances pay off in the job market, Maloy and others agree. These scientists, they say, will be well positioned to tackle such problems as disease control and bioremediation of waste. However, despite general optimism, scientists also stress that the field is not immune to overall financial realities that may limit government and industry microbiology research, even in critical areas such as developing vaccines and cleaning up hazardous waste at military sites. "The down-side of all of this is in facing shrinking budgets," says ASM president-elect Cassell. As in other disciplines, those depleted budgets are likely to take the greatest toll on the young scientists who hope for academic careers, scientists say. Edward Birge, an associate professor of microbiology at Arizona State University, Tempe, says that while those students "easily find good postdocs," some later move "from temporary teaching position to temporary teaching position" as they seek a faculty post. While few expect the university job market to grow soon, microbiologists are optimistic about chances for job growth in medical and public health institutions, pharmaceutical companies, food companies, the agricultural industry (including seed companies and agricultural biotechnology firms), and private and government organizations doing waste bioreme-diation. In the medical field, ASM's Cassell sees both the upside and the downside of current medical technologies. But both the problems and opportunities should mean a growing job market for microbiologists in clinical settings, Cassell says. On one hand, she says, the advance of gene therapy provides opportunities for microbiologists because viruses and microbial systems are used to deliver them. However, new therapies that have immunosuppressive effects on the body are creating a new problem for microbiologists to solve: how to combat the rise in opportunistic infections that accompanies the immunosuppression. Many microbiology training programs, whose graduates traditionally have gone on to academia, report placing a steady fraction of Ph.D. graduates, often more than half, in industry labs over the past decade. Albert Ades, acting chairman of the department of microbiology at the University of Maryland, College Park, for example, says that at his school "the number taking industry jobs is certainly increasing relative to eight to 10 years ago." It was a gene spliced in the E. coli bacterium that gave birth to recombinant DNA and the biotechnology industry, so it's no surprise that biotechnology companies traditionally employ a large contingent of microbiologists among their technical, scientific, and executive staffs. As many biotechnology companies move beyond the pure research stage into development and manufacturing, many now offer more jobs for microbiologists at the bachelor's and master's level in the manufacturing area, while keeping their research staffs at relatively constant numbers. For Ph.D. microbiologists, that makes the biotechnology employment outlook "fairly steady," according to Christopher Giffin, associate manager of research affairs at Amgen Inc. in Thousand Oaks, Calif. "It's a good market," says Giffin, "but not quite the same as 10 to 15 years ago." Traditional Industry Jobs Traditional pharmaceutical, chemical, seed, and food processing companies often have the luxury of keeping larger general research staffs than do biotechnology startups, since the traditional companies have already made the necessary investment in manufacturing facilities. That may make such companies the source of more new microbiology positions in the next decade because many are increasing their involvement in biotechnology and other newly discovered capabilities of microorganisms. According to Michael Montague, director of research operations at Monsanto Corporate Research, a division of Monsanto Co. in St. Louis, microbiologists increasingly are working in industry labs on research involving human health care, plant pathology, and treatment for chemical wastes. Among the microbiology researchers especially sought after by his company, Montague says, are those with clinical backgrounds who can help develop new drug therapies, those with molecular biology expertise in expression of proteins, plant virologists, and plant fungus experts. Monsanto and many other companies are carrying out new, large- scale fermentation projects aimed at increasing microbes' production of pharmacologically active compounds. This, according to Montague and others, is spawning a growing need for bacterial physiologists--experts in the factors that foster and limit the growth of bacteria, a group of researchers some scientists say is in short supply. ASM president-elect Cassell sees a potential shortage in another microbiology specialty recently found to be pharmaceutically related--mycology, the study of fungus. Citing the recent discovery of a fungus that manufactures the promising anticancer compound taxol, Cassell says she expects pharmaceutical manufacturers to be- gin to focus on fungi as agents for drug development. Meanwhile, Monsanto's Montague and other scientists say that the real growth area for microbiology employment may be in the treatment of chemical wastes. In his company and elsewhere, Montague says, waste treatment is "going to be a growing area. We need new products--both for cleaning up pollutants made today and pollutants made previously. And many may involve microbes." Bioremediation of wastes has been "getting wider acceptance," says David Balkwill, a professor of biological sciences at Florida State University in Tallahassee. One sign of this, Balkwill notes, is that "there's increasing research even in chlorinated compounds and PCBs." These were unthinkable targets for biological cleanup only a few years ago, he says. Many companies doing bioremediation are not research-oriented, he says. Instead, he says, "they found some things that work, so they just pump it in." But, he adds, some of the more prominent bioremediation companies do pursue research, as does the federal government, which faces a chemical cleanup nightmare at military sites and Department of Energy labs. For his part, Balkwill says, he's enjoyed adding consulting work in bioremediation to his basic research specialty, microbial ecology. "It's exciting and rewarding to see predictions made in the lab actually work," he says. "That's what attracted me." Says Balkwill: "There seems to be a large demand for people with experience [in bioremediation]. I've had companies call up and ask if I had people who'd done a dissertation with practical applications. The demand is way ahead of the supply now." Marcia Clemmitt is a freelance science writer based in Washington, D.C. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #10, May 17, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: TI : THE BIG WORLD OF SMALL ORGANISMS AU : Marcia Clemmitt TY : News PG : 7 Despite many research gains that are fueling a stronger-than- average job market, microbiologists say they've merely scratched the surface of the big world of the smallest organisms. A few of the research issues microbiologists call most significant today are: * The disease-causing mechanisms of 130 infectious organisms currently under study at the Centers for Disease Control, especially such newly prominent maladies as Lyme disease, Legionnaire's disease, and food-borne infections. * Interactions between viruses and bacteria and the human immune system that occur during the disease process and disciplines that can shed light on this interplay, such as membrane biophysics. Says the University of Maryland's Albert Ades, "It's time to wed virology, bacteriology, and immunology into one discipline, to make real advances." * Microbial traits with consequences for food-processing methods, such as the way some food-borne microorganisms form hard-to- remove biofilms on processing equipment, what happens to microorganisms when food is heated in a microwave oven rather than by conventional methods, and how some bacteria produce bacteriocins--antibiotic-like substances that inhibit the growth of other bacteria. * The bacterial mechanisms that allow bacteria to interact pathogenically with plants and plant traits that make those bacteria resistant to pathogens, as well as methods of genetically altering plants to create disease resistance. * The microbial ecology of water systems and subsurface systems. Study of the microbial ecology of aquatic systems "can tell us how the world as we know it was shaped by microbes," as well as offer clues to remediating chemical wastes without introducing engineered organisms, says Lawrence Shimkets, a professor of microbiology at the University of Georgia. * The biology of archaebacteria, a group of microbes whose evolutionary path diverged from that of other bacteria early in the history of life and whose traits include adaptation to many environments too extreme for other life forms. "This is clearly a whole new kingdom demanding study, with some interesting linkages to higher organisms, such as in the mechanisms for making RNA," says Alvin Markovitz, a professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Chicago. --M.C. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #10, May 17, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: TI : Science Community Divided On Stewart-Feder Shutdown As NIH `reassigns' its antifraud researchers, their supporters and critics heatedly debate the team's value to science AU : FRANKLIN HOKE TY : News PG : 1 Reaction in the science community has been impassioned and partisan over the April 9 decision at the National Institutes of Health to "reassign" scientists Walter Stewart and Ned Feder to new posts, effectively ending their independent scientific integrity research at the institutes. Stewart and Feder's self- initiated investigative work, conducted over the past decade, has sparked intense controversy at times and has been central to a number of high-profile misconduct cases. The pair's probes often have forced professional science to confront troubling issues. Some scientists have called Stewart and Feder's questioning improper, ill-informed, and destructive to both science and individual scientists. But others have welcomed the debates as part of a necessary, if often trying, process to renew and strengthen the scientific method, which they see as broadly undermined by considerations other than the pursuit of scientific truth. On the first day of their forced reassignment, May 10, the two investigators were locked out of their former offices. To protest their ouster and the impoundment of their files, Stewart and Feder had moved their center of operations to a table on the lawn of the NIH campus. There, according to Stewart, they intended to continue--as best they could--work they had previously begun on a misconduct case. Nobelist David Baltimore, who coauthored and later defended a 1986 Cell paper in which central data were charged by a postdoctoral researcher to have been faked, calls the NIH move "long overdue." Stewart and Feder's inquiries into the claims against the paper were crucial in keeping the matter before the public, and led to hearings before Rep. John Dingell's (D-Mich.) Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Persistent questions concerning the case were seen as an important factor in Baltimore's eventual resignation as president of Rockefeller University in New York in December 1991. "Stewart and Feder have not usefully participated in the scientific enterprise for many, many years," Baltimore says. "And they have used government funds to harass people in a pretense of understanding fraudulent activities. They certainly harassed me." He adds: "They didn't understand the scientific questions at issue nor the technical methodology that was involved, at least in the case I know best. And therefore they came to totally inappropriate conclusions.... They tried to be sleuths." But Margot O'Toole, the scientist who originally raised the questions about the work behind the Cell paper, calls the contributions of Stewart and Feder to that case and others unique and indispensable. O'Toole, now a researcher with Genetics Institute Inc., Cambridge, Mass., sees larger issues at stake in the two men's efforts. "They do two very important things," says O'Toole, "and they're the only two people in science who do them. One is that they promote a debate: They study cases and see how the principles of science are supposed to apply....And the other thing they do is provide evaluation and support for whistle-blowers." As a result, O'Toole says, important questions are raised that otherwise might be ignored--as they sometimes were in the Baltimore case. "For instance, are scientists supposed to correct claims that they know to be wrong?" she says. "Are scientists supposed to be accountable for the claims they make--in other words, respond to questions about them? Are they supposed to share data? Are they supposed to permit free and open debate? Are they supposed to examine the data before coming to conclusions? "These are very basic, founding principles of science," O'Toole says, "but when they come up in a real-life case, people don't recognize them. What they recognize is that somebody is powerful, and somebody else isn't." Stepping Outside Science On April 9, Stewart and Feder each received a letter from their immediate supervisor at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), L. Earl Laurence. The letter explained that their two-man Laboratory of Analytical Chemistry in the Biophysical Histology Section was being "abolished" as of May 1 and that they were being split up and "reassigned" to new positions. The letter said, in part: "This action is being taken because the work that you . . . have been doing over the past several years in the area of scientific practice, including the analyses of plagiarism, has progressively moved outside the mission, responsibility, and authority of the NIDDK. At a time when this Institute's personnel resources are limited, it is essential that I take action to assure that they are focused on ... the conduct and support of biomedical research on the diseases within our mission." It further stipulated that the pair's files should be turned over to the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) or to the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). What the letter did not say explicitly was that Stewart and Feder's accusations of plagiarism against historian Stephen B. Oates of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, had contributed to the action. And it is, in fact, still not possible to say what, if any, direct influence the Oates case had on Laurence's decision, although a connection is widely assumed among scientists, congressional staffers, and others. At press time, Laurence had not returned calls to his office. NIDDK information officer Elizabeth Singer claims unequivocally that the decision to reassign the two was entirely Laurence's and taken for the reasons put forth in his letter. But she speculates that "the Oates affair certainly didn't help things." Originally, the charge that Oates had plagiarized parts of his biography of Abraham Lincoln was raised by another historian in 1990. In May 1992, after a review of the matter, the American Historical Association (AHA) found Oates's book, With Malice Toward None (New York, Harper & Row, 1977), to be "derivative," but declined to call it plagiarism. Stewart and Feder saw in the case an opportunity to test their so-called plagiarism machine--a system of scanning full texts into a computer so that the texts can then be quickly compared for similarities. In this case, the system was asked to search for repetitions of 30-character strings in more than 60 books. The search turned up "hundreds of examples of verbatim copying," according to a letter by Stewart and Feder that accompanied materials supporting their charges submitted to Samuel R. Gammon, executive director of AHA, on February 25 this year. Oates strongly rebutted the allegations in a March 31 press release, writing, "These two Federal government scientists, without training in the field, have concocted their own definition of plagiarism in historical and biographical writing and have judged me guilty of violating their definition." He also wrote: "Stewart/Feder have gained considerable notoriety in the field of science, having charged misconduct against several scientists who were doing research with the assistance of Federal grants. But I am not a scientist working with a Federal government grant. I am a biographer without any ties whatever to the scientific community or to the Federal government." Among questions Oates wanted addressed: "Does the NIH now allow its scientists to use NIH office time, NIH equipment, NIH stationery and paper, and NIH postage and phone privileges in order to mount a public attack against the integrity of a private citizen in the humanities?" According to a Capitol Hill source who asks to remain anonymous, Oates also complained to his district's representative, John Olver (D-Mass.), Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), and Sen. Paul Simon (D-Ill.). Simon, something of a Lincoln scholar himself, was acquainted with Oates. The senator wrote to NIH director Bernadine Healy on March 17 to ask about Stewart and Feder's use of NIH resources to investigate a case outside the NIH mission. On April 27, after the April 9 NIH action, however, Simon wrote again, this time to Bryan B. Mitchell, principal deputy inspector general of HHS. Noting that he had not yet received a response to his letter to Healy, he now sought assurance that the confidentiality of Stewart and Feder's misconduct files would be protected and that "some entity will continue to carry out any part of their activities that is essential to the maintenance of high standards of scientific research at the National Institutes of Health." He added: "I am not able to judge the work of Mr. Stewart and Dr. Feder on biomedical research. I inquired about their activities in regard to the Oates matter only." Although NIH officials have not said so explicitly, the assumption that Stewart and Feder's intervention in the Oates plagiarism case brought about their reassignment is widespread among scientists. "They got stupid enough to go after a historian on pretty ridiculous charges," says one Midwestern scientist whose work has been questioned by Stewart in the past. "I'm very happy this happened--it signals a better future for the young scientists coming along." "In this case, they simply stepped outside of the scientific community to the historical community," says Baltimore, "and that gave the NIH the guts to do what they should have done years ago, which was stop their activities." "There have been quite a few people at the NIH and outside who would really like to get rid of Stewart and Feder," says John Edsall, an emeritus professor of biochemistry at Harvard University. "Those people have won out. . . . The authorities who have done this have just seized upon this particular deviation into another field to use it as an excuse to get rid of them." Improper Roles? Much of the debate concerning Stewart and Feder's inquiries into various cases revolves around whether or not they have the proper scholarly or legal standing to ask the questions that they ask. Those they accuse have asserted, at times, that Stewart and Feder do not sufficiently understand the fields into which they venture and have suggested that the two should restrict themselves to questions within their own scientific disciplines. "But all scientists are also scholars," Stewart responds. "The question we have to answer is, are we going to answer our critics by looking at their credentials or their arguments? I simply say it's the tradition of science that arguments be addressed on their merits." Some people also argue that, because Stewart and Feder are employees of NIH and, therefore, of the federal government, they ought not be engaged in the kind of independent investigative work they do. These complaints are made despite the fact that Stewart and Feder serve in no official investigative capacity and have no enforcement capability. "Although they don't expressly assert that they're speaking with the imprimatur of the NIH, because they're identified as employees of the NIH, I think that's what the public reads," says Melany Stinson Newby, vice chancellor for legal and executive affairs at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Since 1989, Newby has interacted with successive NIH investigating offices--most recently ORI--as they reviewed allegations of misconduct against Wisconsin biochemists Hector DeLuca and Heinrich Schnoes. "What is it they're really supposed to be about? Are they supposed to be looking over the shoulder of the ORI?" Newby adds: "This is the federal government, for heaven's sake! I worry that an entity which is subject to the constitutional provisions of not being able to deny somebody life, liberty, or property without due process has such carte blanche." But others say that Stewart and Feder have more in common with the whistle-blowers they have so often supported than with the official investigating bodies. As such, they ought to be protected from reprisals by their employers--such as having their office abolished and being reassigned--so as to protect continued open scientific debate. These people also see evident value to science in Stewart and Feder's work. "They're high-level, or second-level, whistle-blowers," says Martin Kruskal, a professor of mathematics at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, N.J. "And if you stomp on somebody who's blown the whistle, everybody else is afraid to do anything." "[Stewart and Feder] are definitely whistle-blowers," says O'Toole. "They've been very effective critics of science and of the NIH. And it's been to the NIH's credit that they've recognized the necessity of allowing dissent, up until this point. They've never really liked it, but they've recognized its importance." Stewart sees a very clear distinction between his and Feder's activities and those of the authorities investigating misconduct under government grants. "We ask questions not by virtue of where people get their support," he says, "but by virtue of the fact that they have offered their work to the public as scholars. And that entitles us, as scholars, to ask certain questions--to which, to be fair about it, they're entitled not to reply. . . . There is a completely different group of people, the ORI, which has responsibility vis-a-vis the federal funding of scientists. But we don't work for them, and we have nothing to do with them." Bernard Davis, an emeritus professor of bacterial physiology at Harvard who is writing a book about the Baltimore case, says that while Stewart and Feder's early work spurred valuable discussions in the scientific community, their later efforts focused on more trivial issues. Davis cites with approval, for instance, their study of Harvard's John Darsee, found by NIH in 1983 to have faked data in heart disease studies, and the failure of his coauthors to detect internal inconsistencies in papers bearing their names. "But they moved from an open, legitimate, sound analysis in that first case to ones that were less sound and more destructive," Davis says. "And they were using facilities that they should not have been empowered to use that way. I think the NIH made a mistake in not drawing the line immediately. But administrators don't like to be severe in a place like the NIH." "Their original paper on the Darsee case did, in my mind, raise some very interesting and important issues," says Baltimore. "But they carried [their activities] to a ridiculous extreme and lost perspective, so that they became a danger to the scientific community rather than interesting analysts." "We've always worked simply as professional scientists," replies Stewart, "whose only power comes from the power to convince. And that's what we prefer. We've never aspired to a job where we would have any other sort of power." Fighting Back Stewart and Feder are hoping to have the decision to abolish their office reversed on the grounds that the action was neither fair nor in accordance with NIH personnel policy. To Laurence, in an April 12 memo, they noted that they had received "excellent" ratings on recent performance evaluations that explicitly included their misconduct work; that they had received approval for the purchase of $9,500 worth of new computer hardware for their work only three weeks prior to the decision; and that they had not been told in advance of any problems in their work nor given a chance to remedy those problems. They added: "You told us [verbally] that some officials wanted us investigated and fired, and that other officials wanted us just fired. You refused to identify these officials. This is not fair." To NIDDK director Phillip Gorden, in an April 13 memo, they wrote that supervisor Laurence was aware of the work they were doing on the Oates case, including their plan to send their findings to Oates and AHA. "We received his spoken approval for our action," they wrote. It is not clear, under NIH policy, that Stewart and Feder have grounds to appeal an internal transfer that does not reduce their salary or grade. Nor, so far, have NIH officials indicated their willingness to review the decision. Letters from scientists and others interested in the case have been flowing into the offices of HHS secretary Donna Shalala and various NIH and congressional offices. Among these was a May 4 letter supporting Stewart and Feder from Dingell's subcommittee. But what the outcome will be is not yet clear. "They have a much better [investigations] track record than some of the federal agencies," says Robert Sprague, a professor of psychology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. "I guess they are less intimidated by powerful people who are, somehow, doing the wrong thing than the federal agencies are. That sounds crazy, but that seems to be the situation." Sprague received support from the two when he accused University of Pittsburgh psychologist Stephen Breuning of publishing false claims concerning psychotropic medication of mentally retarded people. Breuning pleaded guilty to academic fraud-related charges in United States District Court in Maryland on Nov. 10, 1988. "The Baltimore case has been a tragedy with many victims," says Davis, "and they are among them. They started with a great deal of credibility and approval from the scientific community, and they've lost their credibility by the kind of judgment shown, most conspicuously in the Oates case, but actually present in other cases." "I have been, from the beginning, a little more dubious about this [plagiarism] machine than about most of their other activities," says Edsall. "But I am definitely on the side of Stewart and Feder, even though they have trespassed beyond the ordinary bounds, certainly, of what they should be doing. This order to dissolve their activities and hand over their files is quite wrong." (The Scientist, Vol:7, #10, May 17, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: TI : President To Space Station: Cut The Fat Or Face The Axe AU : SCOTT VEGGEBERG PG : 3 TY : News The space station Freedom project, which underwent its most recent redesign in 1991, will face outright cancellation by Congress unless it can come up with yet a new design that cuts development and deployment costs in half, according to officials of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. At the behest of Vice President Al Gore, a blue-ribbon advisory panel, chaired by Massachusetts Institute of Technology president Charles Vest, is working with the space agency to work up options matching three budget levels--$5 billion, $7 billion, and $9 billion, exclusive of shuttle costs--spread over a four-year period, starting in 1994 and leading up to full deployment of the station by 1998. To date, about $9 billion has already been spent on station development and design. What's becoming clear is that the role of the station is changing. The Clinton administration does not view the space station as a stepping stone for a manned mission to Mars, as was advocated by previous administrations. That mission is "something we might want to leave to our grandchildren," John Gibbons, presidential science adviser and director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, told Congress on March 29. Instead, the space station will primarily be for conducting materials and life sciences research, Gibbons said. And, reflecting this emphasis on the space station as a scientific outpost, Vest has brought together a group of panelists with a high scientist content. For instance, it includes geophysicist Lou Lanzerotti, chairman of the Space Sciences Board at the National Research Council; geologist Lee Silver from the California Institute of Technology; and otolaryngologist Bobby Alford, executive vice president of Baylor College of Medicine. At an April 22 meeting of this advisory panel, the members heard from Joseph Shea, a manager of the Apollo spacecraft program in the 1960s who has lately been heading up the NASA redesign team. Later that day, however, Shea's resignation as head of the team was announced by NASA, which cited his health problems. Some sources, who request anonymity, speculate it was his blunt speech at the meeting that was his undoing. During his talk to the panel, he detailed the problems associated with the existing Freedom design. "Freedom's got this dilemma," said Shea. "Freedom costs too much. It doesn't do enough science. And the science it does do is too narrowly focused in the eyes of some." It's also risky, he said. Because it would take about 20 launches of the shuttle to loft all its components, and because there is a 5 percent chance of an accident per shuttle launch, there is a high possibility that during the course of station construction, another crew might be lost--as happened with the 1986 Challenger explosion--not to mention the potential for loss of the shuttle itself and major components of the station. As for the debate over whether the space station is a good scientific investment, Shea said, "It is not our job to justify the space station"--that issue will have to be argued elsewhere. Instead, he said, "Our job is to determine whether or not a station can be built for considerably less money." Shea criticized congressional representatives who are pushing NASA for a redesign that results in maximum protection of their districts' space-related jobs, rather than for a cost-efficient and useful space station. "If we're going to bring home the bacon in this [redesign] study, somebody has to get rid of the pork," he said. Shea also criticized NASA administrator Daniel Goldin, present at the meeting, over his imposition of a set of constraints he called the "Goldin rules." Goldin laid down these rules in a March 9 open letter to NASA officials involved in the redesign. Among them was that the proposed redesigns of the station should satisfy high-priority goals in materials and life sciences research, be in orbit by 1997, and cost half as much as the Freedom design. Despite such restraints, Shea expressed optimism that, given the diversity and prominence of the panelists, they could work with or around these constraints. "The window of change is open," he said. Shea's favored design would simply be a 24-foot-diameter pressurized cylinder that is 92 feet long and has seven floors. It would have space for 68 racks of systems and experiments. Such a design would have some limitations, such as not being readily expandable if more money becomes available. But the enormous advantage is that this design would require only one launch, he said. It could be checked out on the ground as a single unit, attached to the shuttle's existing liquid/solid propulsion system, and launched unmanned. Where such a design fits in the $5 billion to $9 billion range of price options is still unclear, said Shea. But it could be continually occupied and supply 30 kilowatts of power to scientific experiments. Probably the most expensive option would be to simply trim down the original Freedom design, as NASA engineer Mike Griffin told the panel. The problem is that even this lightened-up version still requires at least 16 shuttle flights to bring up all the components, plus it would not accommodate modules from partners in Europe and Japan. "In this plan, we run out of money approximately four flights before we're ready to bring up the international partners," he said. But this design is expandable if more money becomes available, he said. The final option presented was intended to be the lowest in cost- -the Modular Buildup Plan. In this design, the first three shuttle missions would bring up and assemble a "power station," consisting of solar cells and heat radiation facilities. With this in place, the shuttle could then hook up for missions of 15 to 30 days in length. The next step up, to the "human tended phase," would be to launch and attach a pressurized laboratory module. Under this configuration, the shuttle would still be used as crew quarters for missions of up to 60 days. And if money and interest continue, habitation and international partners' modules could be added to give it "permanent human presence capability." With the end of the Cold War, many in the space community have recommended closer ties and a collaboration with the Russians. But it was left unclear as to how their enormously powerful Energia booster system and existing Mir space station could fit into the NASA redesign equation. NASA officials addressed this issue only in passing, saying they were still getting information and would report their findings at a subsequent meeting. Robert Park, a physicist at the University of Maryland and outspoken opponent of the U.S. space station, which he has called an "orbiting pork barrel," advocates closer space ties with the Russians. "The original purpose of the space station was never science; it was geopolitical," says Park. "Now to cooperate with the Russians at least has the advantage of being one way of providing aid to the scientists." John Pike, space policy analyst for the Federation of American Scientists, says trying to make science the sole justification for the station's construction is wrong-headed. "Human space flight is fundamentally a political or cultural activity. It ain't science. It's fun," says Pike. Even what NASA holds up as a prime example of how the space station can contribute to the life sciences--production of ultra- pure protein crystals--is being called into question. As one group of U.S. researchers wrote in a November 26 Nature commentary (B.L. Stoddard, et al., 360:293, 1992), the advantages of protein-crystal growth in space is far from proven. "The idea of growing crystals in a microgravity environment remains a controversial topic. At the heart of the controversy are suggestions that such experiments are primarily funded so that government space agencies can claim to be supporting cutting-edge research in either biotechnology (protein-crystal growth) or in materials science (defect-free silicon crystals, for example)," they wrote. The authors of this commentary flew experiments on Mir in 1989 and 1992 and found that only 24 percent of the crystals they grew were clearly superior to those grown on Earth. "Experiments to date have not yet demonstrated that microgravity protein-crystal growth is a wise way to spend ever more scarce government research dollars," they wrote. One coauthor of the Nature commentary, Anthony Arrott, a biomedical engineer and president of Payload Systems Inc., is a proponent of making maximal use of existing Russian space assets before committing huge amounts to an independent U.S. station. The Russian space program "has been shielded from the political chaos," because officials there have "a general appreciation that this is one of the genuinely world-class things they have going on that's not military," says Arrott. The final recommendations of the advisory panel will be made public sometime in early June, and observers predict a tough battle on Capitol Hill this summer for NASA and the space station. As Rep. Dean Gallo (R-N.J.) pronounced at an April 28 hearing on NASA's 1994 budget, the "redesign seriously erodes a lot of support the space station had . . . we are going to have our hands full." (The Scientist, Vol:7, #10, May 17, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: TY : NOTEBOOK TI : Modern Genetics Turns 40 PG : 4 The scientific community recently marked the 40th anniversary of the discovery of the world's most famous molecule, the DNA double helix, as dozens of molecular biologists traveled to Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York to help its discoverers, James D. Watson and Francis H.C. Crick, celebrate. The pair shared the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine in 1962 for their discovery of the messenger of genetic information, which they produced in 1953 at the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge, England. More than 125 scientists, including several Nobel Prize winners, came to Cold Spring Harbor to honor Watson and Crick and discuss the history and future of DNA in talks on the applications of DNA science in understanding the brain, diagnosing and curing genetic disease, and agriculture. Watson, 64, director of Cold Spring Harbor, presented the 76-year-old Crick with a golden replica of their molecule, designed by local sculptor Charles Reina. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #10, May 17, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: TY : Notebook TI : Watson Moves Upstairs PG : 4 In other Cold Spring Harbor news, the laboratory recently announced that Watson, director of the lab since 1968, will become its president, a newly created position, beginning in January 1994. He will be replaced as director by current assistant director Bruce Stillman. In his new job, Watson, also the former director of the National Institutes of Health's component of the Human Genome Project, will be responsible for overseeing laboratory policy, as well as supervising Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, DNA Learning Center, and the Banbury Conference Center. Stillman will be in charge of the lab's science program. Stillman, 40, came to Cold Spring Harbor from Australian National University as a postdoc in 1979. He became a staff investigator in 1981, and is considered one of the world experts on DNA replication. He became assistant director in 1991. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #10, May 17, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: TY : Notebook TI : Seeing The Forest And The Trees PG : 4 A team of botanists from the New York Botanical Garden has discovered an area of forest in Brazil with the highest tree diversity in the world. The team, led by Wyat Thomas, made the discovery in a privately owned forest of about 2,500 acres near Serra Grande in Bahia. The botanists documented a plot of 2 1/2 acres and found 450 species of trees. Among the species observed in Brazil were 13 that were new to science. The inventory of the Brazilian forest is critical, according to Thomas, because the areas under study are among the world's most endangered and are unique. One further chilling note: The record-breaking number of species counted represents only 2 percent to 5 percent of the original forest cover. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #10, May 17, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: TY : NOTEBOOK TI : New Bedtime Story PG : 4 The teenager's timeless plea to stay up late may have more to do with biology than a desire to hang out on the corner with friends, according to Brown University sleep researcher Mary Carskadon and colleagues. Writing in the April issue of Sleep (16[3]:258-62), the journal of the American Sleep Disorders Association and the Sleep Research Society, Carskadon and colleagues claim there is evidence that sleeping patterns change with the advent of puberty. The researchers surveyed nearly 500 children in the fourth through sixth grades. The children answered questions about their sleeping patterns, and the researchers took into account many social factors that might affect bedtimes. They found that more physically mature students chose to go to bed later on weekdays and weekends than those just starting puberty, and chose to get up later on weekends, the most flexible point in their schedule. The results may cause academic administrators to reevaluate traditional school times. "The widespread practice . . . for the opening bell to ring earlier at high schools than junior high schools, and earlier in junior high schools than primary schools, may run precisely counter to children's biological needs," the researchers write. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #10, May 17, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: TY : NOTEBOOK TI : Informatics, Please PG : 4 The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation is accepting proposals for planning grants designed to "explore alternative means to deliver the broadest array of chemical information most effectively to the largest number of chemical scientists, students, and the public." The foundation will award 10 grants of $15,000 to colleges, universities, or other library centers to develop these chemical informatics proposals, from which the organization will award up to two $75,000 implementation grants. Deadline for proposals is June 15. For information, contact Robert L. Lichter, Executive Director, The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation Inc., 555 Madison Ave., New York, N.Y. 10022- 3301; (212) 753-1760. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #10, May 17, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: TY : Notebook TI : Donut Diet PG : 4 Iowa State University researchers have developed a product that eventually may save the lives of thousands of police officers across the U.S. It's not a new and improved bulletproof vest, but rather a low-fat donut. The food scientists have developed a recipe that reduces the high-fat content--generally 25 percent to 35 percent--of one of America's favorite comestibles by substituting the nonfat powdered milk found in many commercial donut recipes with dry soymilk. The theory was that purified soybean proteins reduce fat uptake. Because a lot of fat is absorbed from the oil during the deep-frying process used to make donuts, the researchers hoped using the milk might lessen the fat absorption. What they found was that soymilk reduced fat soaked up by 22.6 percent and cut calories by 5.5 percent. Now, if they could just do something about the coffee.... (The Scientist, Vol:7, #10, May 17, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: TI : CLARIFICATION PG : 5 TY : News In the item entitled "Burying The Hatchet" in the Notebook column of the May 3, 1993, issue of The Scientist (page 4), the name of Hilary Koprowski, former director of Philadelphia's Wistar Institute, was misspelled. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #10, May 17, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: TI : 1993 Microbiology Meeting Offers `Something For Everyone' AU : RON KAUFMAN TY : News PG : 10 Discussions of such disturbing national health issues as the reemergence of tuberculosis and cholera are among the highlights of the American Society for Microbiology's 93rd general meeting. At press time, an estimated 8,000 to 10,000 microbiologists were expected to attend the five-day conference, May 16-20, at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. The meeting is expected to feature some 3,000 scientific presentations--a mixture of lectures, seminars, presentations, and poster sessions--on various aspects of bacteria-, virus-, and fungi-related research. Additionally, products from more than 300 companies will be on display. "Because ASM is such a diverse group," says Judith Domer, chairwoman of the society's program committee, "the whole meeting does not have a common theme." Domer, a microbiologist at the Tulane University Medical Center, New Orleans, says that, as in past years, the conference has been separated into divisional sections for each of five ASM- designated subdisciplines: antimicrobials, genetic microbiology, microbial ecology, viruses, and clinical microbiology. The divisions, which have organized their own programs, have scheduled three-hour topic sessions, each featuring between four and six speakers. In addition to having 10 to 15 more seminars this year than last, a new element has been included in the 1993 meeting: Two general colloquia are scheduled on antibiotic-resistant bacteria and biofilms. Major microbiology topics slated for discussion in special sessions include: "TB Research: A National Priority"; "Cholera in the Americas"; "Hemorrhagic E. coli as a Foodborne Pathogen"; and "Food Irradiation--1993 Perspective." Special "Update '93" sessions have been created to discuss recent developments in superantigens, AIDS vaccines, and neutrophil biology. Also on the agenda is a special historical seminar commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Washington, D.C. "In this year's meeting, there is a renewed emphasis on teaching microbiology and immunology to undergraduate and graduate students," says Domer. Some general meeting workshops are scheduled, including a full-day session called "Critical Thinking in Science Teaching," and five sessions on "Innovative Approaches in the Microbiology Teaching Lab." Additional seminars of interest at the meeting will focus on: * bioluminescent bacteria as biosensors, * genetic immunization, * neuroendocrine modulation of infection, * microbial ecology of atmospheric methane cycling, * dental plaque: a microbial consortium, * indoor microbial air contaminants, * natural products as therapeutic agents, * therapy of septic shock, and * the role of mycoplasms in human disease. ASM president John Ingraham, a pro- fessor of microbiology at the University of California, Davis, says the strength of the meeting is always its diversity. "It spreads over the entire field of microbiology," he says. "There is something for every microbiologist. There are some people who say it's too big, a variation of the Yogi Berra joke: `It's a wonder no one ever comes into this restaurant; it's always so crowded.' But one of the things about a large meeting is that there is always something of interest to everyone." (The Scientist, Vol:7, #10, May 17, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: TY : OPINION TI : Stewart-Feder: Reassignment Is A Moral--Not An Administrative--Matter AU : WALTER STEWART AND NED FEDER PG : 11 Scientists--not bureaucrats or politicians--should, in our opinion, be the ones to set the standards of the scientific profession. This means that scientists have to pay attention to the problem of scientific misconduct. The National Institutes of Health's recent termination of our work on scientific misconduct and our forced reassignment to other work is a step backward for scientists who care about maintaining the standards of the profession. Our reassignment is bound to discourage those who have seen instances of scientific misconduct, such as data falsification or plagiarism, and want to report them. For years, it has been common knowledge that reports of scientific misconduct are often poorly investigated and those who make the reports are often exposed to retaliation. We are attempting to apply the scientific method to understand the origin of this disturbing problem. Our work has involved the use of case studies. As part of our work, we have talked to a large number of individuals who believe they have witnessed misconduct, but who are reluctant to report it because they fear retaliation. In 1983, we set out to learn about scientific misconduct by delving into a prime example of scientific fraud, the Darsee case. What we found was not reassuring: About a third of Darsee's coauthors had not been candid in reporting their work, which is one of our criteria for misconduct. Because this sample was special, our findings did not imply that a third of all scientists are guilty of misconduct--and we still do not know what fraction of scientists are. But the Darsee case presented evidence to us that the occurrence may not be as rare as one would like it to be, and it inspired us to move forward in our study of misconduct. A disturbing aspect of the Darsee case was that the scientists who initially reported wrongdoing to their staff superiors were poorly treated. This proved to be a general feature of scientific misconduct cases. We are able to recount many cases of men and women who were shabbily treated after reporting their evidence of misconduct. How important is the problem of scientific misconduct? At first, we thought its practical importance was small. After all, it is widely believed that a high percentage of research is not of much use. Indeed, we believe that most of the hundreds of thousands of articles produced each year by federally funded science agencies are ultimately useless. Occasional fraudsters, it stands to reason, add only marginally to the pile of useless articles. There is no way of measuring the amount of direct damage caused by fraud. However, real damage is done for certain when scientists respond--as they commonly do--with indifference or hostility to particular allegations of fraud. We have often used the following analogy: An individual burglary causes no significant damage to the gross national product. But if society does not respond to particular cases, things will get worse. Cases of fraud that are mishandled within the science community cause, in our view, three kinds of damage: * The person reporting misconduct suffers by loss of position or professional standing. This is ethically unacceptable and is a reproach to a profession whose goal is truth. * The injustice leads to the intervention of bureaucrats designated to deal with science fraud. Under the usual political pressures, this bureaucracy can hardly avoid becoming ineffectual or worse. * Most important, when misconduct or fraud is condoned or not handled properly, it cheapens the pro- fession. When some scientists profit from misconduct, the resolve of others to compete honestly suffers. Over the years, we have sometimes been accused of favoring the presence of "science police"--outsiders charged with monitoring the practices of researchers. The truth is the opposite. We favor professional self-regulation. We advocate methods that are an integral part of science, such as free and open public debate, the sharing of data used in published papers, and the assuming, personally and professionally, of responsibility for inaccuracies in published papers. These methods are already a part of science, and they are effective at getting at the truth: Had they been followed, we would not have felt compelled to become involved in the Darsee, Baltimore, or Oates cases. Despite our aversion to the notion of "science police," we occasionally have been accused of being just that. But this is not accurate. With the important exception of our work for the Dingell subcommittee, we have never had any power beyond the weight that our scientific colleagues have chosen to give the evidence we present. We wish no power, only a chance to speak. We hope scientists will address the question of misconduct using the methods of science--and we have always wanted to be part of that process. Our use of case studies to understand these problems has stirred controversy. When we began our work on the Darsee case, the dean of Emory University, where Darsee had worked, asked James Wyngaarden, then director of NIH, to "influence" us to "cease [our] bothersome activities." Three weeks later, we received a letter from a superior directing us to stop doing what we were doing with NIH resources. We appealed the directive, and six months later, NIH took the courageous step of reversing its decision, thereby allowing us to resume our work on the Darsee case. Subsequently, NIH actually mandated that we proceed with our studies of misconduct. It is a tribute to NIH that it has generally supported our research. However, the conviction behind that support has not been unwavering, with the result that NIH repeatedly has been thrown into crisis by the findings of work it had approved. For example, when we pointed out problems in Baltimore's Cell paper, we received two written directives from our superiors at NIH forbidding us from talking with the authors. But then, soon after, when the manuscript of our report on the matter was refereed by NIH personnel, the referees complained that we had not talked with the authors--after which we received written directives saying that we must discuss the problems with the authors. NIH's unsteady behavior didn't stop there: After we complied and had our discussions with the authors, we were forbidden by our supervisors to submit the resulting manuscript for publication. Then, after the American Civil Liberties Union asked NIH about the basis for this decision, we were allowed to submit the manuscript because of, in the words of an NIH memorandum to us, "the overriding importance of permitting free and untrammeled investigation and reporting thereof in any research institution." Moreover, on numerous occasions, when we were invited to speak about the Baltimore case at universities and professional meetings, we were forbidden by NIH officials to attend. On several occasions, the disapproval was subsequently--and sometimes mysteriously--changed to approval. At one point, we were forbidden to participate in any activities off the NIH campus without the permission of our supervisors--a ruling that prevented our giving an invited talk just a few blocks south of the campus. Once, just before we were to deliver an invited talk on the Baltimore case, we were handed a set of NIH guidelines on permissible speech that contained a prohibition on speaking about "information that should not have been disclosed to the public." We asked about procedures for determining which information that is public should have been disclosed to the public and which information that is public should not have been disclosed. Following our question, the guidelines were declared a "draft," and in the replacement guidelines the prohibition had vanished. Despite its frequent ambivalence, we feel that NIH's long-term support of our difficult but necessary work on developing methods for the study of scientific misconduct should be a matter of pride to the scientific community. But our current forced reassignment appears to have been prompted by political pressure applied as a result of our using a newly developed technique to explore an academic controversy. In caving in to this pressure, NIH, in our opinion, is manifesting a very troubling brand of timidity. As has been widely reported in the media, with the help of our plagiarism machine, we found in biographies of Abraham Lincoln, William Faulkner, and Martin Luther King, Jr. written by Oates hundreds of previously undetected examples of what we consider plagiarism. After consultation with our NIDDK supervisor, and after giving the biographer numerous opportunities to respond to our allegations, we submitted the evidence to the American Historical Association (AHA), a government-chartered body that judges such matters. Oates reacted by attacking our credentials and motives. He also launched a public relations campaign on Capitol Hill that prompted inquiries from senators and congressmen. It was at this point that NIH took the position that our work had "progressively moved outside the mission" of the institute. Our files were to be packed by professional movers and shipped to dead storage, our work was to be terminated, our documents were to be searched and then warehoused, our computers were to be given to other scientists, and we were to take on new NIDDK jobs, unrelated to our past experience--all of this despite the fact that our work had received ratings of "Excellent" for the past three years, most recently on March 26, 1993, from the very same NIDDK official who subsequently directed us to terminate our work. We were directed by our supervisors to turn over allegations of scientific misconduct to the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) or to the Office of the Inspector General. The problem is that we had received this sensitive information from people on our promise that this would not ever happen. As a matter of conscience, we do not see how we can ethically comply with this directive to breach faith with our sources. During the first week of May, the plans for our termination took a bizarre turn. We were told that our rooms would be filled with file cabinets and documents. We were notified that, under police guard, the locks would be changed, and neither we nor any NIH administrators would have keys to the room; only the NIH police force will hold keys. Our plagiarism machine and all our computers and data will remain locked in this specially secured room. Neither we nor anyone else will have access to the machine. NIH, which prides itself on being like a university, appears to have forgotten how academic institutions are meant to behave. Our supervisors, citing simply the progressive movement of our work "outside the mission" of the institute, did not tell us that their decision had anything to do with our work on Oates's biography, but an NIDDK spokeswoman repeatedly gave a different story to the press. She said that the complaint by Oates was "one of several factors" in the decision to terminate our work. When we called to ask what the "several factors" were, she abruptly ended the call. To the argument that our plagiarism machine should be used only on science cases, we make three points. First, we make our discoveries available to all. Second, experts frequently consult with colleagues in other fields. Third, slipshod scholarship and academic misconduct should be of concern to all scholars. We asked our future supervisors what we would be allowed to do if we saw published errors in a scientific paper. The answer was simple: Notify your supervisor and ORI. This directive amounts to the repeal of the system of scientific self-regulation and its replacement by a system of regulation by authority. This view of science--at the world's largest biomedical research institution-- is disappointing. NIH's shutdown of our activities raises a crucial question: Should anyone be doing research on scientific misconduct? If yes, who? All scientists have an interest in this question. The job of a scientist is to find the truth and make it known, and to correct error. The first part is fun and results in enormous progress; the second part is essential for the health of science. The seizure of our files, the termination of our work, and the prohibition against public discussion of scientific error is not an administrative issue. It is a moral issue. Walter Stewart and Ned Feder are scientists employed by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases in Bethesda, Md. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #10, May 17, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: TY : OPINION TI : Editor's Note PG : 11 Editor's Note: Scientists Walter Stewart, 48, and Ned Feder, 65, have been working side by side at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) in Bethesda, Md., since the late 1960s. Their employment agreements with NIDDK once required that they spend 80 percent of their time on health- related lab research and 20 percent on their investigations of scientific fraud and misconduct. However, their renown in the international science community stems virtually 100 percent from their work in the latter category. Most prominent among their forays into what's become known as fraud-busting are cases that arose in the early and mid-1980s involving scientists John Darsee, a Harvard University cardiologist, and David Baltimore, a Nobel Prize-winning immunologist. In the first instance, Stewart and Feder found--and subsequently documented in a published article (Nature, 325:207, Jan. 15, 1987)--that some of Darsee's coauthors on a paper had, to use Stewart and Feder's phrase, "not been candid" in their research. The two misconduct sleuths were widely praised in the science community for their efforts in the case. Likewise, their persistent efforts in the Baltimore affair elicited strong praise for the NIDDK team from many scientists. It also drew harsh criticism. In that instance, Stewart and Feder launched an examination of work coauthored by Baltimore and published in Cell (45[2]:247, April 25, 1986) concerning gene expression in transgenic mice. Stewart and Feder's findings supported accusations made by Massachusetts Institute of Technology postdoc Margot O'Toole that some of the data in the Cell paper had been incorrectly reported. To some minds, the fraud-busters had gone too far in their detective work by taking Baltimore on and sullying his reputation. Hostility mounted against them when they became advisers on scientific misconduct to the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, chaired by Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), which many scientists regard as an intrusive body of outsiders poised to police a science community that should be able to police itself. For the past five years or so, Stewart and Feder have become targets of widespread disapproval in the research community. Despite calls for their dismissal from NIDDK, however, they have persisted in their investigations--with the official approval of their NIDDK superiors. As part of their misconduct-hunting weaponry, they developed what they call "a plagiarism machine"--a computer system whose software rapidly scans and compares texts, identifying identical word groupings. Earlier this year, they used this device in examining the work of a nonscientist--University of Massachusetts historian Stephen Oates, author of a 1977 book titled With Malice Toward None: The Life of Abraham Lincoln (New York, Harper & Row) as well as biographies of the writer William Faulkner and Martin Luther King, Jr. Stewart and Feder concluded that Oates had plagiarized the work of previous authors in creating his biographies. And not long after they made their opinions known, their operations at NIDDK were officially shut down. In notifying them of this move, the institute expressed its intention to impound all of their files--including documents obtained by Stewart and Feder from misconduct witnesses to whom they had vowed confidentiality. In a phone interview, Stewart did not conceal his indignation over his and Feder's ouster and reassignment to other institute positions. Particularly painful and alarming to both is, in Stewart's words, "the realization that the shutdown of our laboratory is another step toward the policing of science by a bureaucracy." In the accompanying essay, Stewart and Feder reflect on various aspects of what they see as their mission--a morally imperative mission that, in their view, should be shared by all in the science profession. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #10, May 17, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: TY : COMMENTARY (OPINION SECTION) TI : Silencing The Dissenters: An Unwise, Ignominious Move AU : Margot O'Toole PG : 12 The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) should reverse its directive stopping the work of researchers Walter Stewart and Ned Feder, reassigning them, and impounding their files. No public interest is served by silencing voices that speak out when something is amiss. The work of Stewart and Feder has focused on two areas. The first is the study of how the principles of science should guide the professional practices of scientists; the second is providing advice and evaluation for scientists who believe they have witnessed scientific misconduct. After having supported this work for years, NIDDK recently declared it to be outside its mission. However, that the study of the professional practices of scientists falls within the mission of the National Institutes of Health is shown by NIH's mandate requiring those institutions receiving NIH funds to offer courses on precisely these issues. In fact, of all the subjects relevant to biomedical research, these are the only courses so mandated by NIH. It is a preposterous double standard to require all scientific institutions receiving NIH funds to study and discuss such matters, while at the same time shutting down the only scientists at the agency who are dedicated to doing this. To excuse this blatant double standard, the NIDDK press release announcing its move to shut down Stewart and Feder's operations cites "limited resources"--as it financial resources have not always been limited at NIH, and as if the time and resources of the teachers and students in these required courses were not also limited. The necessity of the second aspect of Stewart and Feder's work (providing advice and evaluations for scientists who believe they have witnessed acts of professional misconduct) is shown by surveys indicating that a significant proportion of those who say they witnessed serious scientific misconduct took little or no corrective action. This places both the interests of science and the interests of the public in jeopardy. There can be little doubt that one reason for this unwillingness to bear witness is the hositility that often greets those who raise questions. The principles of honesty, accountability, skepticism, and open debate have fueled the explosion of scientific knowledge. These principles took root as experience showed that they allowed us to unlock the secrets of nature. As scientists, we are obligated to follow the principles and to defend them. It must surely be true that protecting and advocating the principles responsible for scientific advancement fall within NIDDK's mission. Stewart and Feder have successfully used case histories in generating consensus-producing debate within the scientific community. And, following the traditions of science, they have promoted reaffirmation of the traditional principles of science. Several years ago, when I tried to get the authors of a paper to publish a correction of grossly misrepresented results, I was told by the authors and by others that it was not common practice to make such corrections, and that other researchers could eventually figure things out for themselves. Recognizing that important principles were at stake. Stewart and Feder engaged the authors of the study and the scientific community at large in a discussion of the case. As a result, there is heightened awareness that scientists should correct what they know to be incorrect, and that authors should stand accountable for their claims. According to a recent article in Science (C. Anderson, 260:288, 1993), the impetus for the NIDDK directive was Stewart and Feder's use of a computer program to generate support of plagiarism allegations made by others against Stephen Oates, a University of Massachusetts history professor. It seems to me arbitrary to deprive scholars in fields other than science of publicly supported technical advances made within NIDDK-- including those made by Stewart and Feder. If NIDDK disagrees, let is say so and provide a rationale along with a list of scholars who should be similarly deprived. NIDDK has implied that the work of Stewart and Feder will be continued at the Office of Research Integrity (ORI). But NIDDK is making the mistake of confusing two functions that must be kept separate: On one hand, Stewart and Feder work by studying cases and promoting free and open debate among scientists concerning ethical and technical issues. On the other hand, ORI determines whether an individual has violated the terms under which government funds were awarded. ORI is not--nor was it ever intended to be--a vehicle for raising consciousness or promoting consensus regarding matters of professional conduct. It is a scandal that NIDDK intends to impound Stewart and Feder's files. With NIH's knowledge and approval, witnesses have been consulting with them on the understanding that there will be no forced exposure to reprisals stemming from disclosures made against their will. Stewart and Feder cannot comply in good conscience with the NIDDK directive to hand over all information to ORI in violation of previously made agreements. To reach a wise decision, one must listen to dissenters. Allowing for dissent is no less important to the health of science than it is to other human endeavors. Undeniably, Stewart and Feder have been effective critics. It is tempting to try to silence critics, and silencing one makes others less willing to speak out. But when all the critics are silenced, who will be left to dissent? Stewart and Feder are a valuable resource. Immunologist Margot O'Toole, formerly a postdoc at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is currently a staff scientist at a Cambridge, Mass. biotech company. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #10, May 17, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: TY : LETTERS TI : The Seeds Of Ignorance PG : 12 The problem of convincing Congress to fund plant research mentioned in "Genome Mapping Progress Catapults Plant Research" (Scott Veggeberg, The Scientist, Feb. 22, 1993, page 13) has caused a "downward spiral in basic plant-biology research and training," according to the National Research Council's 1992 report Plant Biology Research and Training for the 21st Century (National Academy Press, Washington, D.C.). One likely reason for the lack of support for plant biology is the widespread ignorance about our dependence on plants and photosynthesis for food, oxygen, beverages, the ozone layer, clothing, fossil fuels, biomass fuels, wood, paper, medicines, plastics, perfumes, photographic film, ink, paint, flowers, lawns, shade trees, and so forth. Such ignorance is encouraged by the lack of plant coverage in biology courses, due to what W.M. Darley, writing in the American Biology Teacher (52:354-7, 1990), termed "animal chauvinism." One popular high school biology textbook prominently features a James Thurber quotation, "I passed all the other courses that I took at my university, but I could never pass botnay." Yet this caused no national outrage, as did the talking Barbie doll recently put on the market, which said, "Math class is tough." Plant biology researchers may find government support more forthcoming if they oppose animal chauvinism and make sure students actually learn about plants in biology classes. After all, some of those students have parents in Congress and will one day be in Congress themselves. AU : DAVID R. HERSHEY Department of Horticulture University of Maryland College Park (The Scientist, Vol:7, #10, May 17, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: TY : Letters TI : Scientists As Advocates PG : 12 & 14 I contend that Scott Veggeberg's report on the Boston meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (The Scientist, March 22, 1993, page 1) misquotes me on two key points. He misses the essence of what I was trying to convey. The point I was attempting to make in my talk was that journalists covering scientific disputes should treat with skepticim scientists who adopt advocacy positions that are not directly related to their own research. I used a tongue-in-cheek rhetorical device I called a "blacklist" to distinguish those scientists who, in my mind, fall into this category. In retrospect, I regret the use of that term. In any case, I did not include University of California, Berkeley, chemist Bruce Ames on my "blacklist," as Veggeberg reports. Instead, I specifically stated that Ames was "spared" being on the list because of his restraint in going beyond his own research. Nor did I use the phrase "they're all on the blacklist" to describe all scientist-advocates, as Veggeberg writes. Indeed, as I said in my talk, scientists who feel strongly, even passionately, about the policy implications of their research, without letting their personal views drive their scientific opinions, are fine sources--perhaps even the best. I should also make it clear that the views presented in my talk were strictly my own. I was not representing the policies of Science magazine. AU : CHRISTOPHER ANDERSON Science Washington, D.C. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #10, May 17, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: TY : Letters TI : E-Mail Efficiency PG : 14 Thank you for publishing Joshua Lederberg's detailed descriptions of his attempts to cope with the literature (The Scientist, Feb. 8, 1993, page 10). I would like to make an additional comment about Internet use. The volume not only of publications but also of grant applications is expanding explosively. I manage the radiation study section (RAD) at the National Institutes of Health, Division of Research Grants. We meet formally three times per year. February 8-10 we received 97 applications, a real strain for roughly 20 reviewers in three days. It is also a strain on my personal resources to ensure that all facets of the applications are appropriate (proper paperwork for human and animal subjects, budgets, curriculum vita, supplementary data). This year, in the revised PHS 398 (Public Health Service grant application form) there is a box on the front page for Internet/Bitnet addresses of the applicants. Of the 97 applicants noted above, only 20 included such addresses. My ability to analyze the scientific content of these 97 applications and ensure provision of competent review is a direct function of the time I have available, time that increases dramatically if I can avoid the telephone and handle details via E-mail (even receive reviews via E-mail). It should also be noted that the Division of Research Grants is currently pilot-testing a mechanism for electronic submission of grant proposals. AU : PAUL STRUDLER Scientific Review Administrator Radiation Study Section Division of Research Grants National Institutes of Health Bethesda, Md. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #10, May 17, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: TY : Letters TI : Animal Research PG : 14 We now read a lot about "grass-roots" education regarding pro- animal research at the school level (Ron Kaufman, "Opponents Set 1993 Tactics For Animal Rights Showdown," The Scientist, Jan. 25, 1993, page 1). Two recent events in Seattle illustrate that all isn't well at the professional level. For the 1991 fall quarter, the Washington Association for Biomedical Research had offered a course for science teachers: "Medical Research--The People Behind the Breakthrough." Owing to lack of interest, the course never took place. In 1992, the American Medical Association, as part of a national campaign, staged a one-day workshop in conjunction with the Washington Association for Biomedical Research in Seattle: "Medical Progress--A Miracle at Work," offered to physicians as part of continuing education. Its main goal was to recruit physicians as spokespersons for the use of animals in biomedical research. From this point of view, however, this meeting has to be seen as an utter failure. Among the 90 or so scientists and speakers, hardly a handful of practicing physicians, like myself, were present. If this demonstrated lack of interest is indeed representative, I would suggest that frequently quoted polls claiming overwhelming professional support for the use of animals in biomedical research might not be telling the whole story. AU : ULRICH FRITSCHE Total Health Care for Women Seattle WHERE TO WRITE: Letters to the editor THE SCIENTIST 3501 Market Street Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A. Fax: (215)387-7542 E-mail: garfield@aurora.cis.upenn.edu or : 71764.2561@compuserve.com THE SCIENTIST welcomes letters from its readers. Anonymous letters will not be considered for publication. Please include a daytime telephone number for verification purposes. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #10, May 17, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: RESEARCH TI : Multidrug-Resistant Organisms Are A Major Focus For Microbiologists AU : SCOTT VEGGEBERG TY : Research PG : 16 Reemerging infections and drug-resistant microbes are topics that are capturing considerable attention among microbiologists these days. And evidence of their interest is by no means confined to such microbiology journals as the Journal of Virology or the Journal of Clinical Microbiology. Indeed, these topics dominated the entire August 21 issue of Science magazine last year. Writing in that issue, for example, was Harold Neu, a medical pharmacologist at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons. Neu tells The Scientist that physicians in the United States have a tendency to throw antibiotics at too many illnesses. "I think it's going to be almost impossible to totally end this," he says. "What will happen is we'll breed many antibiotic-resistant microorganims." And unless the pharmaceutical industry keeps ahead of this trend, he warns, "there will be a lot of problems for the future." In the Science article (257:1064, 1992), Neu pointed out that the worrisome situation is not confined to the U.S.: "The stunning success of the pharmaceutical industry in the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany in creating new antibiotics over the past three decades has caused society to become complacent about the potential of bacterial resistance." Neu points to the 50 types of penicillins, 70 cephalosporins, 12 tetracyclines, and so on, that are currently available. But despite all these antibiotics, he says, "a person could die in a hospital in New York, San Francisco, Paris, Barcelona, Tokyo, or Singapore as a result of a resistant bacterial infection." Especially troubling to microbiologists at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta is reemergent tuberculosis. Until the early 1980s, this disease was in a rapid decline, but now it's bouncing back. Its incidence rose by 15 percent from 1985 to 1990, and now new, multidrug-resistant versions of this disease have arrived. To knock out TB requires the use of several drugs because there are strains that are resistant to at least one drug. What's happening now is the emergence of strains that are resistant to several of the leading drugs. "If you have an organism that's resistant, it means the patients are in effect getting mono therapy," says CDC microbiologist Robert Good. He points to a paper from a group of other CDC researchers (M.L. Pearson, et al., Annals of Internal Medicine, 117[3]:191, 1992) reporting an outbreak of multidrug-resistant TB at a New York City hospital that killed people with AIDS so fast that most cases were not even identified as TB before the victims died. The CDC researchers also found that, apparently as a result of this outbreak, up to 50 percent of the health-care workers at this hospital tested positive in a skin test for TB. "Our results show that health-care workers are also at risk for nosocomial [hospital] acquisition of tuberculosis," according to the paper's authors. "Although urban institutions providing care to large numbers of patients with HIV infection and tuberculosis are likely to bear the greatest burden of these epidemics, multi- drug-resistant tuberculosis is not likely to be confined to these institutions." Good says to fight the disease, "we're looking for new drugs, that's No. 1." And he cites important work going on into understanding the molecular biology of drug resistance, being conducted by Ying Zhang at Hammersmith Hospital in London, along with Stewart Cole at the Laboratorie de GEntique Moleculaire Bacterienne in Paris. These researchers have succeeded in cloning the katG catalase-peroxidase gene in Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which they believe may be the culprit in resistance to isoniazid, the core drug in the TB arsenal. The authors speak to the relevance of their work in a 1992 article in Nature (Y. Zhang, et al., 358:591, 1992): "An improved understanding of the mechanism of drug resistance will enable rapid tests for drug-resistant isolates to be developed and should facilitate the design of antituberculosis drugs." (The Scientist, Vol:7, #10, May 17, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: TI : HIGHLIGHTS IN MICROBIOLOGY AU : Scott Veggeberg TY : RESEARCH PG : 16 While the topics of reemerging infections and drug-resistant microbes seem to be capturing the microbiology spotlight, there are countless other significant developments in the field. To feature these new and exciting research findings, the American Society for Microbiology recently began publishing a section entitled "Journal Highlights" in its monthly publication, ASM News. The purpose of the section is to "alert readers to interesting developments reported in ASM journals that they otherwise might not see." What follows is a selection of some of the recently highlighted papers. * J.L. Gallarda, et al., "Early detection of antibody to human immunodeficiency virus type 1 by using an antigen conjugate immunoassay correlates with the presence of immunoglobulin M antibody," Journal of Clinical Microbiology, 30:2379-84, 1992. The new test reduces the likelihood of sending someone home during the acute infection phase without a clue that he or she is harboring the virus, which may not be discovered for years, according to the report. * S.R. Gogu, et al., "Amelioration of zidovudine-induced fetal toxicity in pregnant mice," Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, 36:2370-4, 1992. The adverse effects of AZT can be demonstrated and reversed in mice with the simultaneous administration of vitamin E, erythropoietin, or interleukin-3. * P.B. Eisenhauser, et al., "Cryptidins: antimicrobial defensins of the murine small intestine," Infection and Immunology, 60: 3556-65, 1992. The small intestine, although warm, moist, and nutrient-rich, has an unexpectedly small population of bacteria. The researchers point to endogenous antimicrobial peptides and proteins secreted by intestinal epithelial cells as the explanation. * J.N. Engel, "Azithromycin-induced block of elementary body formation in Chlamydia trachomatis," Antimicrob. Agents Chemother., 36:2304-9, 1992. Azithromycin rapidly blocks chlamydial growth in the life cycle and prevents vacuole formation. * G.P. Leonardi, et al., "Evaluation of three immunoassays for detection of Chlamydia trachomatis in urine specimens from asymptomatic males," Journal of Clinical Microbiology, 30:2793- 96, 1992. Contrary to previous reports, chlamydia can be detected in urine of asymptomatic men through the use of available immunoassays, according to these authors. * L.C. Madoff, et al., "Protection of neonatal mice from group B streptococcal infection by maternal immunization with beta C protein," Infect. Immun., 60:4989-94, 1992. "Transplacental antibodies conferred protection from group B streptococcal infection in newborn mice whose mothers had been immunized with a beta C protein vaccine. . . . Comparable results in humans would eradicate one of the leading causes of neonatal sepsis and mortality in the United States," ASM News says of the research. * J.L. Whitton, et al., "A string-of-beads vaccine, comprising linked minigenes, confers protection from lethal-dose virus challenge," Journal of Virology, 67:348-52, 1993. "Foreign-DNA space limitations on the use of attenuated live virus as a vaccine vector may be overcome by the minigene strategy, whereby several eptitopes inducing antiviral cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) can be expressed in a recombinant vaccine," says ASM. The researchers used small segments of genetic material strung together to evoke a response from the major histocompatibility complex. * M.-L. Johansson, et al., "Administration of different Lactobacillus strains in fermented oatmeal soup: in vivo colonization of human intestinal mucosa and effect on the indigenous flora," Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 59:15- 20, 1993. "In healthy volunteers, 10 days' worth of fermented oatmeal soup enhanced by 19 strains of Lactobacillus produced a jejunal bacterial mix that would be desirable in patients at risk of complications arising from antibiotic suppression of normal intestinal flora," ASM says of the work. --S.V. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #10, May 17, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: HOT PAPERS TI : CELL BIOLOGY (HOT PAPERS) TY : RESEARCH PG : 18 J. Gautier, M.J. Solomon, R.N. Booher, J.F. Bazan, M.W. Kirschner, "cdc25 is a specific tyrosine phosphatase that directly activates p34 cdc2," Cell, 67:197-211, 1991. Jean Gautier (Station Zoologique, Villefranche sur mer, France): "Cell cycle regulation at the onset of mitosis is controlled by the activation of MPF, a complex formed by the p34cdc2 protein kinase, plus a regulatory cyclin subunit. The final step of this activation process is the removal of at least one inhibitory phosphate group on the tyrosine 15 residue of the p34cdc2 molecule. Although previous genetic and biochemical data suggested that this final activation step was carried out by the cdc25 molecule, no convincing evidence that cdc25 directly dephosphoryl-ated p34cdc2 was available. Known protein tyrosine phosphatases (PTPs) shared significant structural homology, but cdc25 did not match most PTP characteristics based on sequence analysis. "In our paper, we demonstrated that the cdc25 protein was able to directly dephosphorylate tyrosine 15 of p34cdc2 and promote its subsequent activation. Moreover, by mutating key amino acids in the putative catalytic site, we showed that both in vivo biological activity and in vitro phosphatase activity were abolished. During the course of this work, novel PTPs were reported from Yersinia and Vaccinia virus, which allowed us to propose a sequence comparison analysis between the cdc25 class and the other PTPs and to classify the cdc25s as PTPs. This paper provides for the first time the biochemical demonstration of direct activation of p34cdc2 by cdc25 and the discovery of a new class of PTPs. This unconventional class of PTPs could be a dual- protein phosphatase family able to dephosphorylate Thr/Ser residues as well as tyrosine residues. It will be important to show whether or not cdc25 is directly responsible for the dephosphorylation of the second inhibitory site on p34cdc2 (residue threonine 14)." (The Scientist, Vol:7, #10, May 17, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: TI : GEOLOGY (HOT PAPERS) TY : RESEARCH PG : 18 A.R. Hildebrand, G.T. Penfield, D.A. Kring, M. Pilkington, A. Camargo Zanoguera, S.B. Jacobsen, W.V. Boynton, "Chicxulub crater: A possible Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary impact crater on the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico," Geology, 19:867-871, 1991. Alan Hildebrand (Geological Survey of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario): "The discovery of the Chicxulub crater and proximal Cretaceous/Tertiary (K/T) ejecta deposits between the Americas has dramatically changed the decade-long K/T debate. The theory that the thin K/T boundary clay contained evidence of an impact large enough to cause the mass extinction at the end of the Cretaceous was first proposed in 1980 (L.W. Alvarez, et al., Science, 208:1095-1108, 1980). Since then it has been the most contentious topic in the geosciences, and, although some interested scientists are still saying that no K/T impact ejecta deposits have been found and that the Chicxulub structure is not a crater, the majority of the community now acknowledges that the evidence for a large K/T impact is overwhelming. "The Chicxulub crater, buried on the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico, is 180 km in diameter, making it the largest known crater to have formed on the Earth in the last 2 billion years. It is revealed by gravity and magnetic field anomalies, seismic reflection surveys, and petroleum exploration drillholes. The impact- produced rocks form a layered sequence as expected at a large impact crater, and diagnostic evidence of shock metamorphism has been found in these units. Chicxulub's size, location, and melt- rock compositions match the thickness, distribution, and composition of the K/T boundary ejecta, strongly suggesting that this crater resulted from the K/T impact. However, although we knew the crater's age was close to the K/T boundary, not enough samples were available to precisely date the crater biostratigraphically. Subsequent radiometric age dating (C.C. Swisher, et al., Science, 257:954-8, 1992) has established that the age of the crater's melt rocks is identical (within analytical precision) to that of the K/T boundary tektites at 65 million years old. Additional constraints on the crater's biostrati-graphic age will have to await acquisition of new samples from a scientific drilling program. "The K/T debate is now centered on the question of how a large impact like Chicxulub might cause massive environmental changes, which in turn would lead to the extinction of species. In addition to other lethal effects of a large impact, the Yucatan platform turns out to have been a particularly deadly target, being covered by a 3- to 4-km-thick sequence of evaporite and carbonate rocks. Shock devolatization would release huge quantities of carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide from these rocks, leading to global acid rain in the short term and greenhouse warming in the long term. The ongoing debate is particularly lively in the paleontological community, where the nature of the extinctions at or near the K/T boundary is still in dispute." (The Scientist, Vol:7, #10, May 17, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: TI : GENETICS (HOT PAPERS) TY : RESEARCH PG : 18 A. Edwards, A. Civitello, H.A. Hammond, C.T. Caskey, "DNA typing and genetic mapping with trimeric and tetrameric repeats," American Journal of Human Genetics, 49:746, 1991. C. Thomas Caskey (Baylor College of Medicine, Houston): "Tandem repeats of three or four nucleotides are common in the human genome and frequently contain different numbers of repeated units. They are, therefore, extremely useful for genetic linkage studies, personal identification, and, most recently, for diagnosis of disease-producing mutations for spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy (SBMA), fragile X syndrome, and myotonic dystrophy. In the case of disease-producing mutations, the repeat sequences can be unstable in germline and somatic tissues once the number of repeats reaches 50-60. Further expansion of the repeat region leads to the disease. The extent to which expansions of triplet repeats are associated with other genetic diseases is currently under investigation. "These simple tandem repeats are very useful for genetic linkage and personal identification for a variety of technical reasons. Unlike dinucleotide repeats, the tri- and tetranucleotide repeats can be visualized without significant shadow bands (which hinder the analysis). Thus, it is simple to score alleles with a variety of detection methods, including autoradiography, silver staining, and fluorescence labeling. Secondly, one can visualize several of the loci simultaneously (a "multiplex" reaction), adding to the informative power of each analysis. Our preferred detection method is automated analysis of fluorescent labeling, using instruments such as those supplied by Applied Biosystems Inc. of Foster City, Calif., or Pharmacia LKB Instruments Inc. in Gaithersburg, Md., since data acquisition and analysis are simplified by the computer interface. Currently, we perform three multiplex reactions, each for three genetic sites with an average heterozygosity of 70 percent. A third favorable feature of tri- and tetranucleotide repeats is the evenness of amplification of the alleles. We find the sensitivity for detection of the alleles to be high for limited amounts of DNA and with degraded DNA samples. Most recently, we preamplified small DNA samples with random 15-mer oligonucleotides and found that this increased our detection sensitivity. "We have applied this technique successfully in analyses of parentage studies, lab sample switches, pathology tissue block switches, forensic rape cases, in utero parentage on rape cases in which paternity is uncertain, murder, and war casualties. In medical diagnostics the method is the preferred analytic approach to diagnosis of SBMA, fragile X syndrome, and myotonic dystrophy. There is little doubt these genetic markers have a variety of utilities." (The Scientist, Vol:7, #10, May 17, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: TY : TOOLS & TECHNOLOGY TI : Image Analysis Under Windows: New Tools For Biologists AU : FRANKLIN HOKE PG : 17 At root, image analysis is the ability to convert a picture into hard data. Over the past few years, a family of versatile, easy- to-use software packages has emerged that promises to put that ability into the hands of more life sciences researchers than ever before. "If a picture's worth a thousand words, a number's worth a thousand pictures," says Paul Goodwin, explaining the technology's value to scientists. Goodwin is manager of the image analysis laboratory of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle. "Historically, biology's been very descriptive. The problem is, the more descriptive a subject is, the more subjective it is. Our goal [in image analysis] has been to find some way to objectify those descriptions." Taken together, these new image-analysis systems take advantage of the fast-dropping prices and growing computational power of IBM-compatible personal computers (PCs). They also build on the strengths of the Windows operating system, the more intuitive graphical user interface (GUI) that progressively is replacing the MS-DOS operating system on many scientific desktops. Among these image-analysis software packages are: OPTIMAS from BioScan Inc., Edmonds, Wash.; GLOBAL LAB Image from Data Translation Inc., Marlboro, Mass.; and MOCHA from Jandel Scientific, San Rafael, Calif. In addition, Media Cybernetics in Silver Spring, Md., expects to release a Windows version of its product, Image-Pro Plus, in June, according to marketing manager Cynthia A. Batz. "A lot of our current users have asked for Windows," Batz says. "So, they're obviously porting or moving over to that platform." According to Tom Bligh, president of BioScan, there are five basic steps to the image-analysis process incorporated into these software packages. The first step is to capture the image in a digital format usable by the computer. Formerly, an expensive piece of hardware called a frame grabber was required for this step, and for many uses this is still the case. But desktop publishing scanners also can be used to scan gel electrophoresis results, for instance, directly into the computer. The second step is to enhance the image by adjusting contrast thresholds, for example, or by averaging several images to reduce instrument noise. Identifying which objects in the image the analysis will focus on is the third step. This can be done manually or automatically, with the help of the computer. Quantification is the fourth step and can include counting, measuring, and classifying objects, as well as assessing density, texture, and other features. These results can then be exported to a spreadsheet, such as Lotus or Excel. In the case of MOCHA, the data can be either exported to a spreadsheet or managed within the program by a data worksheet that is compatible with Jandel Scientific's SigmaPlot scientific graphing software. The fifth step is to manipulate the data, for either analysis or presentation. Such manipulation can include calculating statistics and generating charts and graphs. The Macintosh platform took an early lead in PC-based image analysis, largely on the strengths of its GUI, according to researchers. Now, however, the Windows operating system, with its GUI, is changing the terms of engagement for many IBM-compatible PC users. One result has been the appearance of these more accessible image-analysis packages that take advantage of the acknowledged computational power--especially per dollar invested- -of the 386 and 486 microprocessor machines. "With the number-crunching that you get out of a 33MHz or a 50MHz 486, it's almost like real-time image processing," says Chris Sieracki, a graduate student in optics and electrical engineering at Dartmouth College's Thayer School of Engineering, Hanover, Mass. "And PCs are getting more and more user-friendly because Windows is so much like the Macintosh environment. Also, prices have come down, so you can get an awful lot more." Using GLOBAL LAB Image, Sieracki supports a variety of cell studies being conducted by biomedical researchers at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. "Often, if you want a more powerful system," says Christine Wilson, a Data Translation represen- tative, "the Macintosh systems are out of the price range of a lot of laboratories. Now, with Windows, you have power, ease of use, and affordability." "The advantage over the Macintosh platform--and this is not to slam Macintosh, because we use them for other things--is that the price for performance, the bang for the buck, is better on a 486," says Goodwin, an OPTIMAS user. "Also, I love the Macintoshes for doing graphics, but for doing hard-core image analysis, they just aren't fast enough. And that's why we use Windows." Goodwin's image-analysis applications at Fred Hutchinson, an institution known for its development of bone marrow transplantation techniques, include testing potential donor and recipient cells for compatibility with each other to preclude graft-vs.-host disease. "You have to make sure that the bone marrow that you're going to give someone is not going to turn around and kill that person," he says. "We take lymphocytes from the donor and the patient, put them in a dish together, and ask the question: `Do they kill each other?' It's that simple." Two dyes, acridine orange and propidium iodide, which fluoresce green and red, respectively, are used to help answer the question. Acridine orange enters and dyes each cell nucleus, while propidium iodide dyes only the nuclei of the dead cells. A green and a red image are then captured, contrast thresholds are set to enhance the images, and the image-analysis software counts the live and dead cells. "The whole process takes me less than a minute," Goodwin says. "The manual method is, you have some poor guy under a microscope with a bean counter going, `green-green-green-red-red-green-red- green . . .' And after a couple of hours, he says, `Eureka! I have an answer--and I'm resigning tomorrow, by the way, because I can't do this any longer.' " Michael Tainsky is a molecular and cell biologist at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. He uses MOCHA to screen differentially expressed cDNA in cells, applying a technique similar to Goodwin's. "You may have anywhere from 2,000 to 10,000 spots on a plate," Tainsky says. "And the computer just goes, `bink.' So, you can see the difference in efficiency." (The Scientist, Vol:7, #10, May 17, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: TY : TOOLS & TECHNOLOGY TI : WINDOWS-BASED IMAGE-ANALYSIS SOFTWARE PG : 19 The following companies make image-analysis software products discussed in the accompanying article. BioScan Inc. 170 West Dayton, Suite 204 Edmonds, Wash. 98020 (800) 635-7226 Fax: (206) 775-3640 Product: OPTIMAS Data Translation Inc. 100 Locke Dr. Marlboro, Mass. 01752 (508) 481-3700 Fax: (508) 481-8620 Product: GLOBAL LAB Image Jandel Scientific 2591 Kerner Blvd. San Rafael, Calif. 94901 (415) 453-6700 Fax: (415) 453-7769 Product: MOCHA Media Cybernetics Inc. 8484 Georgia Ave. Silver Spring, Md. 20910 (301) 495-3305 Fax: (301) 495-5964 Product: Image-Pro Plus (See also the Scientific Soft-are directory on page 23.) (The Scientist, Vol:7, #10, May 17, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: TI : NSF Joins USAID, NIH To Create Two Biodiversity Programs AU : LANCE FRAZER TY : PROFESSION PG : 21 Over the past three years, the National Science Foundation has joined with the National Institutes of Health and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to create and develop two funding programs for biodiversity projects. Studies supported under these programs focus on the variety among species and ecosystems in developing nations and assess the impact of global change on levels of diversity in those countries. The International Cooperative Biodiversity Groups (ICBG) Program, developed by NSF in cooperation with NIH and USAID, funds projects aiming to develop new drugs while at the same time leading to a better understanding of global biodiversity (Scott Veggeberg, The Scientist, Aug. 31, 1992, page 5). Many species from the world's scarce plant supply have the potential to be used as therapeutics; an example that has been receiving much attention is taxol, which is derived from the Pacific yew tree and is used to treat breast and ovarian cancer. A sensitivity to biodiversity among researchers, says USAID senior biodiversity adviser S.H. Sohmer, will aid in the preservation of biological resources that are rapidly dwindling, which is vital "if we're ever to recognize the potential of long- term, sustainable development" of those resources. The effort had its beginnings in 1991, when NSF, USAID, and NIH's National Cancer Center and Fogarty International Center convened an international conference of experts in biological diversity, drug development from natural products, anthropology, and intellectual property rights, in an effort to develop new solutions to the growing problem of loss of biodiversity. Conference participants developed a set of general principles for addressing the threat to biodiversity; chief among these was the need for international cooperation. According to Sohmer, consortia composed of universities, nonprofit institutions, and industry (either singly or in partnership) can submit proposals for projects leading to a greater, more comprehensive knowledge base of species of plants and other organisms from endangered ecosystems, supplemented by tapping the intellectual resources of indigenous peoples to learn about the traditional uses of these organisms. Proposals can be submitted by foreign institutions, as long as the consortium has a component from the U.S. Under this program, consortia may use collected species to prepare compounds for testing against cancer, AIDS, infectious and cardiovascular disease, and mental disorders. The goal, says Sohmer, is "to promote the concept of combining scientific progress, economic growth, and a sustainable form of natural resource use. "In this program, we're looking to link conservation, drug discovery, and infrastructure development together to try and find means to contribute to the economic well-being of a country, to train scientists in that country to screen drugs for medicinal uses, and to develop the knowledge and training base necessary for that nation's own scientists to better understand the biodiversity of their own country." NSF/USAID Program An older program funded by NSF and USAID, begun in 1990, sponsors research aiming to expand knowledge of the diversity among ecosystems and species in developing countries. In addition, the agencies hope to encourage projects that will strengthen programs and facilities for biodiversity research and education in developing countries (one of the prime considerations in proposal evaluation, according to Sohmer). In 1992, more than $2.5 million was awarded through this initiative to support 13 U.S. researchers working in Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Indonesia, Madagascar, Mexico, and Panama. Michael Smith, senior research scientist at the Washington D.C.- based Center for Marine Conservation, received a total of $212,000 in funding under this program ($120,000 from NSF and supplementary funding of $92,000 from USAID). He plans to use the money to research and analyze the population distribution of the more than 1,500 species of Caribbean fish. Smith says this funding not only will allow him to pursue a study of these fish on a far greater scale than he might otherwise have managed, but also will further the creation of a genuine regional program in Caribbean biodiversity. "One of the problems in creating a true biodiversity protection and study program is that there is so little regional support for local professionals," Smith says. "That means that most of the guiding expertise that comes to a program comes from countries like the U.S., and that because of financial and other constraints, regional professionals are unable to travel afield to gather the additional knowledge they need for a comprehensive picture of the resources they're trying to study. This funding will go a long way towards changing both of these situations." Charlotte Taylor, a botanist at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, received a total of $286,000 in combined NSF/USAID funding ($168,000 from NSF, $98,000 from USAID), which she says she will use to work on a new flora for the country of Chile. "What we hope to produce," she says, "is a modern, comprehensive flora, complete with descriptions, keys, geographic ranges, and so on, which will provide a detailed information base for conservation work in that region." Taylor says the project will also aid in the training and education of Chilean scientists to specialize in their own flora. "Chile is not a rich country," she says, "and they have a great need to develop their own scientific community. The additional USAID funding will be a tremendous help in that regard." Whom To Contact Funding for the USAID supplement to the NSF/USAID program is based upon yearly appropriations, according to Sohmer, and has averaged $1.5 million annually for the past two years. (The NSF portion of the funding varies from year to year, he adds.) Deadlines for the NSF/USAID proposals are June 15 and December 15. The ICBG Program is being administered by the Fogarty International Center. This program, which is being funded by a commitment of $500,000 per year from each of the three institutions--NSF, USAID, and NIH--has an annual deadline of November 17. Joann Roskoski, NSF ecology program director, says she expects three or four of the 32 ICBG proposals received in 1992 to be funded. The first grant recipients are expected to be announced sometime this spring but had not been announced by press time. For more information, contact Kenneth Bridbord, Chief, International Studies Branch, Fogarty International Center, National Institutes of Health, Bldg. 31, Rm. B2C32, Bethesda, Md. 20892; (301) 496-2515. Interested parties can also obtain information on both programs by contacting James Edwards, the acting division director for NSF's Division of Environmental Biology, at (202) 357-7332, or by referring to these publications: NSF 1-80, "Guide to Programs; Fiscal Year 1993," or the monthly "NSF Bulletin." Lance Frazer is a freelance writer based in Santa Rosa, Calif. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #10, May 17, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: TY : PEOPLE (PROFESSION) TI : BU Professor Wins FASEB Women's Science Award AU : Ron Kaufman PG :22 Citing the 22 years it took for her to gain tenure as a university professor, neuroendocrinologist Susan Leeman notes that her professional life has not been free of frustration. And she attributes much of this frustration to the fact that she is a woman. Moreover, the 63-year-old Leeman, recent winner of the Women's Excellence in Science Award, presented by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), says the career path for women in science today is not much easier than when she was starting out. Leeman, a professor of pharmacology and experimental therapeutics at Boston University who is credited with the discovery of two major peptides, sums it up succinctly: "Women do have a more difficult time than men." The five-year-old Women's Excellence in Science Award was presented by FASEB on March 31 at the Experimental Biology '93 meeting in New Orleans. Accompanying the honor was a $10,000 research grant from the Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly & Co. Former winners of the award include University of California, Berkeley, immunologist Marian Koshland and Harvard Medical School cytologist Elizabeth Hay. Leeman received her B.S. in physiology from Goucher College in Towson, Md., in 1951 and her Ph.D. in medical science from Radcliffe College in 1958. She is credited with the discovery of two peptide neurotransmitters, substance P and neurotensin, which are amino acid chains that assist in communication between nerve cells and sometimes act as hormones. Leeman began her quest for tenure when she accepted an instructor position at Harvard University in 1958. The next year, she left for a postdoc at Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass. "I stayed there for the next 12 years. They called me an adjunct professor and then assistant professor, but I was never given a full faculty position," she says. "I worked under Dr. Nathan Kaplan, who was very good to the women in his department. It was when he left [in 1968] that I had trouble." Because she was never offered a "legitimate position" at Brandeis, she went back to Harvard in 1972 as an assistant professor in the Laboratory of Human Reproduction and Reproductive Biology. "I was in my 40s and had already discovered two peptides, and this was the first time I ever got a position," she says. She stayed at Harvard until 1980. At this time, she says, affirmative action and women's rights were beginning to gain stature. "But once again, no one ever considered me for a tenured position. Maybe if I stood and fought them I could have forced them to give me a job," she says. Leeman left Harvard for a tenured professorship in physiology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. She joined Boston University last year to help start its pharmacology department. In 1991, Leeman became the first--and only--woman elected to the National Academy of Sciences in physiology and pharmacology. Leeman says she will put the award money into her research on the regulation of substance P gene expression in dorsal root ganglia in diabetics. FASEB is now accepting nominations for the 1994 Women's Excellence in Science Award. For information, write to Leah C. Valadez, FASEB Women's Excellence in Science Award, Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, 9650 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, Md. 20814-3998; or call (301) 530-7092. AU : Ron Kaufman (The Scientist, Vol:7, #10, May 17, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEXT: TY : PROFESSION TI : OBITURARY PG : 22 Harrison Echols, a molecular biologist who studied the functions of DNA, died April 11 at his home in Berkeley, Calif. He was 59. Echols had been a professor of molecular and cell biology at the University of California, Berkeley, since 1969. He studied the bacterial virus lambda to try to determine the basic mechanisms of the attachment of a virus' DNA to that of a host cell. Echols received his Ph.D. in physics in 1959 from the University of Wisconsin. His most cited paper, which has been referenced in nearly 300 papers, is "Genetic control of repression of alkaline phosphatase in E. coli," Journal of Molecular Biology, 3(4):425, 1961. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #10, May 17, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================

---

E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank