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Request: the-scientist Topic: the-scientist-930222 Subject: The February 22, 1993 issue of THE SCIENTIST Newspaper Date: 22 February 1993 THE SCIENTIST VOLUME 7, No:4 February 22, 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 *** *** MARCH 8, 1993 *** *** *** THE SCIENTIST CONTENTS PAGE (Page numbers correspond to printed edition of THE SCIENTIST) BIOTECH GET-TOGETHER: The impending merger of the Industrial Biotechnology Association and the Association of Biotechnology Companies into a new group, the Biotechnology Industry Organization, will provide biotech with a unified voice in Washington and expanded networking opportunities for researchers in the field, supporters of the new group and its new president say; but others are skeptical that the consolidated organization, and its new leader, will be able to bring together the often- warring constituencies of the industry Page 1 of newspaper BIO's new president Page 6 of newspaper PCAST IN TRANSITION: Science journalists who brought suit to make public more meetings and documents of the President's Council of Advisers on Science and Technology say their action has resulted in more openness in the council, and their hope is that it will send a warning message to similar executive panels to conform with sunshine laws. Meanwhile, the value of PCAST itself, and whether it will continue under the Clinton administration, are open questions Page 1 of newspaper PROGRESS AT PICOWER: A year after its inception, the Picower Institute for Medical Research, created through the near-total transplantation of Anthony Cerami's biomedical research group from Rockefeller University to North Shore University Hospital on Long Island, is gathering momentum in its goal of applying both basic and clinical research toward new approaches in preventing disease, its scientists say Page 1 of newspaper WOMEN ON THE MOVE: The onset of a new presidential administration has focused renewed attention on efforts to rectify the disproportionately high unemployment rates and low salaries of women in science, most notably through the reintroduction of federal legislation to create a 17-member Commission on the Advancement of Women in Science and Engineering Page 3 of newspaper ADVISING THE ADVISER: National Academy of Sciences president Frank Press, who was White House science adviser under Jimmy Carter, says that John Gibbons--Bill Clinton's choice to play that role--is the right man for the job, but points out the numerous and burdensome challenges that the new adviser must face Page 9 of newspaper COMMENTARY: Contrary to popular perception, undergraduate teaching and laboratory research do not have to be mutually exclusive endeavors and, in fact, should complement each other, providing benefits to both students and professors, according to Occidental College biology professor and associate dean Laura Mays Hoopes, past president of the Council on Undergraduate Research Page 10 of newspaper A BUDDING FIELD: Emerging from the shadows of the Human Genome Project, molecular biologists mapping a plant genome are on the brink of understanding the mechanisms of disease resistance and of creating plants that produce novel substances Page 13 of newspaper HOT PAPERS: A medical researcher discusses a study of AZT Page 15 of newspaper NUMBER CRUNCHING MADE EASIER: New statistical software is helping researchers with varying degrees of skill to analyze data from their work, but software manufacturers say the key advantage of these programs is that they empower scientists to make decisions on applying the information Page 16 of newspaper PRODUCTIVE CHATS: Many veteran researchers feel that more can be gained at scientific meetings by networking with colleagues and other prominent researchers than by attending every presentation; but effective networking takes careful planning and execution Page 19 of newspaper SEEDING COLLABORATIONS: The National Cancer Institute's Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPORE) grants support collaborative ventures--or "translational research efforts"--between laboratory and clinical scientists, with the intent of accelerating the flow of findings from the lab to patients' bedsides Page 21 of newspaper AHMED H. ZEWAIL, a chemical physics professor at the California Institute of Technology, has been awarded the 1993 Wolf Prize in Chemistry Page 22 of newspaper NOTEBOOK Page 4 of newspaper CARTOON Page 4 of newspaper LETTERS Page 10 of newspaper CROSSWORD Page 11 of newspaper OBITUARY Page 22 of newspaper DIRECTORY: STATISTICAL SOFTWARE Page 30 of newspaper (The Scientist, Vol:7, #4, February 22, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ Cerami's New Lab Aims For Bountiful Blend Of Basic Research And Product Development Investigations on aging lead the Long Island institute's efforts to combine the best traits of `pure' and `applied' research (Page 1 of newspaper) BY FRANKLIN HOKE Just over a year after launch, the Picower Institute for Medical Research in Manhasset, N.Y., is gathering momentum, and confidence among institute researchers is growing. The institute came into being Oct. 1, 1991--although it was created on paper July 31--with the near-total transplantation of top researcher Anthony Cerami's group from the Laboratory of Medical Biochemistry at Rockefeller University, Manhattan, to quarters in the Boas-Marks Biomedical Research Center at North Shore University Hospital, Long Island. The goal of the Picower is to "apply the insights gained through basic laboratory and clinical research to the discovery of new approaches to curing and preventing disease and improving human health," according to its mission statement. This aim will best be accomplished, say Cerami and the researchers who have joined him, by channeling the institute's efforts toward both basic and applied goals, and by consciously positioning its operating procedures between those of traditional nonprofit and profit research settings. Picower researchers coming from university and industry labs say the new institute's structure frees them to focus their science with a unique mix of fundamental investigation and medical purpose. "One of my main interests is in having a flow of scientific advances from the academic to the commercial world," says Cerami, the institute's founding president, "because that's the only way it'll ever get applied to use. You can keep working in academic labs and publishing libraries, but it never gets anywhere until somebody is interested in making a product. "I would like to see us somewhere between an academic and an industry kind of lab," he adds. "I think industry has some very good attributes that are not necessarily taken into academic labs and vice versa." An initial gift of $10 million from Florida-based investor Jeffry M. Picower and his wife, Barbara, founded the institute. Cerami says that additional funds will come from grants, further contributions from the Picower family, and various agreements with companies. The goal is an endowment of $100 million. For 1993, Cerami says, the institute will have an operating budget of approximately $6 million. About 20 researchers came to the Picower from Rockefeller University, most of the original lab group; now, the total is more than 50 and climbing. Cerami anticipates the research group will grow to about 75 by mid-year and then level off. The move from New York City went smoothly, Picower researchers say, and the group got back on track quickly, resuming longtime research aimed at problems of aging, metabolism, and infectious diseases. Cerami estimates that 80 percent of the institute's activities deal with problems of aging, such as atherosclerosis, hypertension, and kidney disease. The primary goal of the institute is to do basic research to discover new approaches to disease therapies, but a secondary aim of the institute, he says, is to raise the prestige of research into aging. "If you ask scientists in general," says Cerami, "aging research has an almost pejorative connotation to it. And yet it's one of the major problems that we face, as a society. One of our main objectives is to apply modern science to the complications of aging." The motives for creating the Picower were a combination of push and pull, according to Cerami. Increasingly, he felt, Rockefeller did not provide the ideal environment for his research enterprise. And philanthropist Picower's offer of support presented an irresistible opportunity for resource security and research independence, he says. "The Rockefeller had a unique character, which was the reason I stayed there for 30 years," Cerami says. "There was always an excitement about trying to do things that no one else would do and about not having the economic difficulties that you would have at other institutions. And, when I first went there, it was a very cooperative place." But that unique character was changing, Cerami says, toward the end of his time there. Rockefeller, from its inception, had been divided into laboratories largely under the control of individuals. These labs were, in some cases, quite powerful. According to Cerami, there were efforts to change that structure to be more like "any other institution." "Some people felt that the heads of the labs were taking advantage of the situation," Cerami says. "But I felt that the reason the Rockefeller was successful was because of its structure and because of the independence of the laboratories." Joshua Lederberg, president of Rockefeller from 1978 until mid- 1990, declines to comment on Cerami's move and views on research priorities at the university. But Rodney W. Nichols, executive vice president at Rockefeller until October 1990 and now CEO of the New York Academy of Sciences, says there was no policy aimed at breaking up the larger labs. He acknowledges, however, that there were changes taking place. "We were deliberately selecting some young investigators who would have the title of assistant professor and who would be the head of their own small laboratories," Nichols says. "[Those labs] would be outside the existing framework of established labs and superstars of the sort that Rockefeller, for better or worse, has been famous for." Nichols says that David Baltimore, Rockefeller president in 1990 and 1991, made a number of statements that were perceived as threatening to the independence of the larger labs, of which Cerami's was one. "It would be a strange argument, however, to attribute to David Baltimore the idea that large labs are bad," says Nichols, "because, in many ways, the Whitehead Institute [in Cambridge, Mass.] was a big Baltimore lab." Baltimore was director of the Whitehead in the 1980s. Cerami was one of 15 professors at Rockefeller who opposed Baltimore's presidency, in part because of Baltimore's controversial defense of Thereza Imanishi Kari against charges that she falsified data published in a paper on which Baltimore was a coauthor. Press spec- ulations that continuing tensions between the two men contributed to Cerami's decision to move were downplayed by both at the time. Today, Cerami continues to minimize problems at Rockefeller and to focus on his new position. "I would have taken this job even if nothing were happening at the Rockefeller," he says, "because it's an opportunity to take the best aspects of the Rockefeller and capitalize on them." Bridging Gaps Researchers at the Picower see the institute as bringing together positive attributes of both academic and industry research settings. In addition, Cerami says, he has worked to bring together an interdisciplinary, cooperative group of investigators--free of "prima donnas"--that will have the necessary intellectual and financial resources to solve "the hard problems." Richard Bucala, for example, is an M.D.-Ph.D., with training in rheumatology and molecular genetics. His group is advancing long- standing research into advanced glycosylation products (AGEs), research originally based on studies of diabetics. These compounds have been implicated in a number of age-related pathologies, including cataracts, kidney disease, hypertension, and atherosclerosis, as well as diabetes. AGEs also may be responsible for certain genetic transpositions in DNA. Apparently, long-lived proteins in the body undergo a series of nonenzymatic changes in the presence of glucose that lead, eventually, to unwanted cross-linking between the proteins to form AGEs. A compound that inhibits AGE formation, aminoguanidine, developed by the group now at the Picower, is currently in efficacy testing. "People are excited to be here because there's a lot of interaction," Bucala says. "Everyone is working on more than one thing, and people are teaching each other. For young investigators, it's a very stimulating, very eclectic place." Helen Vlassara, an M.D. with a subspecialty in endocrinology and metabolism, has also worked for many years to extend understanding of AGEs, particularly their role in normal aging. The body's ability to clear the potentially harmful AGEs has been a focus of hers. She feels fortunate that she was able to move to the Picower with a familiar, trusted group of people. "A number of individuals made the same decision, which maintained the cohesiveness of the place," Vlassara says. "The strengths were there, and also our acquaintance with each other and with the leader. It was basically a transplantation of an existing, very well-functioning, extremely productive unit." Picower researcher Kevin J. Tracey is also a neurosurgeon on staff at North Shore University Hospital. "My responsibility in coming here was to do research in a clinical setting," Tracey says, "and to restrict my neurosurgical practice to keep 80 percent time committed to research. In essence, I'm setting up one of the laboratories at the institute, but it's also a laboratory of the department of surgery [at North Shore]. So it really bridges the gap." For most of the past decade, Tracey's research focus has been on a cytokine called tumor necrosis factor (TNF), or cachectin. TNF mediates many of the immune system's responses to infection or invasion. But TNF is also implicated in septic shock and in the wasting syndromes that accompany many chronic illnesses, such as AIDS, cancer, and parasitic diseases. An antibody that blocks TNF is currently in clinical trials for patients with septic shock, Tracey says. He is now looking at how the brain and cytokines "talk" back and forth to control metabolism and plans to branch into studies of stroke. Biochemist Andrew Slater last year announced new findings about how the malaria parasite metabolizes hemoglobin and the mechanism by which traditional quinine-based drugs combat malaria (A.F.G. Slater, A. Cerami, Nature, 355:167-9, 1992). The drug's action had not been fully understood, despite centuries of use. Quinine- resistant malaria is on the rise in the world, and Slater's discoveries may lead to more effective therapies. Another biochemist, Barbara Sherry, is studying cytokines at the Picower, too. TNF is one of these, but she has also worked to identify, clone, and characterize a series of macrophage inflammatory proteins. Cyclophilin, a protein that binds the immunosuppressive drug cyclo-sporin, has been a recent research target. Richard Currie, a biochemist and molecular biologist who has worked with transcription factors and gene regulation, recently joined the Picower from the University of Colorado. He will continue work with lipoprotein lipase, an enzyme important in energy metabolism, and expects to help in cytokine studies. A new lab in formation under molecular virologist Michael Bukrin- sky will study HIV pathogenesis. This past September, molecular biologist Michael Vitek was recruited from Lederle Laboratories, Pearl River, N.Y., to establish another new program, this one to study Alzheimer's disease. His work has targeted the 42-amino-acid beta-amyloid peptide associated with lesions in the brains of Alzheimer's patients. In industry, he says, he ran into "road blocks" that hampered his research. In particular, company lawyers made it difficult to freely exchange ideas with outside scientists. "It got to where my hands were getting tied," Vitek says. "Science just doesn't work that way." At the Picower, he sees the opportunity to do the basic research needed to understand the underlying mechanisms of Alzheimer's disease, while keeping drug development firmly in view. "I wanted to go to an institute that would allow me to be between industry and academia," Vitek says. "I didn't want either one." Therapy As Product One distinguishing feature of Cerami's research effort, at Rockefeller and now at the Picower, is his close attention to pushing research advances through to the clinical market. The focus on useful products derived from well-supported basic research is one way in which the Picower is moving to straddle the ground between academia and industry. Kirk Manogue, a neurobiologist and vice president of the institute, is crucial to the institute's goals in this area. His primary role is to oversee intellectual property protection for the institute's research. Manogue's efforts will likely lead to increased income for the Picower, he acknowledges. But, like Cerami, he insists that additional income is not the main reason to closely track the licensing and patenting of research. "Hopefully, the development of commercial products will bring in a stream of dollars that can be plowed back into the discovery enterprises," he says. "But there are several reasons why, even in traditional academic settings, people are paying more attention to patenting early and patenting often. Most importantly, it's nave to think that [research] will ever lead to anything that's put into service unless it's properly protected." The stance that Cerami has taken on commercializing research results from his labs was, perhaps, a source of some tension at Rockefeller. "In a certain sense, there's always been a high tolerance for applied science [at Rockefeller]," says Rodney Nichols, "for very disease-oriented work, but looking into fundamentals." But he adds: "I think it would be fair to say that Rockefeller has been a little more standoffish, when it comes to commercialization [of research], than some of the more buccaneering campuses." The group of researchers that came to the Picower from Rockefeller had many reasons to expect that the institute would survive and be a success. Even so, they are glad to have new researchers arriving and to see the work reaching full stride. "If you were here a year ago," says Kevin Tracey, "people would have said, `Let's wait and see what happens.' Today, I can tell you with confidence, this place is going to work." Barbara Sherry agrees, but doesn't think the hard work of setting the institute on course is altogether behind them. "We're beginning to see the vision that Tony saw all along," she says. "But it will take another couple of years for it to really be what it will be." (The Scientist, Vol:7, #4, February 22, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ THE INSTITUTE AS LEGACY The study of diabetes and the search for therapies to counter its complications have occupied much of Anthony Cerami's life as a scientist. So, when Jeffry Picower, whose mother died at an early age from the disease, decided to underwrite a new biomedical research institute, Cerami was a logical choice to head it--but not only because of his research work. "My mother was a diabetic, also," Cerami says. "When she was about 55, she started having bad complications." Cerami, now in his early 50s himself, earned his Ph.D. in biochemistry at Rockefeller University in 1967 and became head of one of the larger labs there in 1972. He was in a unique position to help his mother with her medical problems. "I started a program in diabetes to try and understand it better," he says. "My mother was the first person that we studied. She volunteered to come into the Rockefeller hospital, and she lived there for about a year. We brought her into very good control. The complications, for the most part, stabilized." Eventually, his mother did die--but of leukemia, not of diabetes. "The nice thing about working on this was that I felt that I gave my mother 10 years of better life," Cerami says. --F.H. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #4, February 22, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ IBA-ABC Merger To Gather Biotechs Under One Roof One big, happy family of firms is the goal; but skeptics foresee internal squabbling (Page 1 of Newspaper) BY BARBARA SPECTOR An impending merger of the Industrial Biotechnology Association and the Association of Biotechnology Companies will enable the biotech industry to speak with one voice, say those instrumental in forming the unified group. Observers say they expect the combined association to send a clearer message to Congress about what the industry hopes to accomplish, and to provide expanded networking opportunities for its grass-roots membership. Yet skeptics are wondering if the disparate biotech constituencies represented by these two organizations, which have feuded in the past, will be able to set aside their differences to join in a truly united effort. Further fueling skepticism in some quarters is the fact that the man appointed as president of the merged organization, Carl B. Feldbaum, former chief of staff to Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), has no direct biotech experience-- although those responsible for hiring Feldbaum say his extensive experience in Washington, D.C., makes him an asset to the new group (see story on page 6). IBA, with 150 member companies, and ABC, whose 340 members include biotech firms as well as noncorporate entities such as universities and research institutes, announced their plans to merge late last month. The unified trade association, to be called the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), will officially come into existence July 1, pending ratification of the action by the membership of the two groups at their respective annual meetings. The ABC meeting will be held in April; IBA's was scheduled for February 17-19, with ABC board members invited to attend. At press time, the results of the IBA ratification vote were unknown. Says IBA chairman Stephen A. Duzan, chairman and chief executive officer of Seattle-based Immunex Corp., "In order for the industry to remain a world leader, we really had to have a strong trade association. This was an important step in that process." Some observers believe that the merger will have a positive effect in the lab as well as in the global marketplace. Jeff Davidson, executive director of the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Association (PBA), says that BIO's conventions will provide "a more effective environment for scientists in the lab. They can [now] attend meetings and network with colleagues in the entire industry," rather than only half of it. BIO's new president says he intends to visit these bench scientists at their companies. "I'm going to get to as many as I can, to visit them in their offices and labs," Feldbaum says. "I don't want to become Beltway-ridden. Those I can't get to, I intend to have long, detailed, substantive conversations with." Members of the committee that hired Feldbaum say that this ability to converse with constituents and legislators will serve him well in his new position. "He has great technology assimilation and communication skills," says ABC president Thomas G. Wiggans, chief operating officer at CytoTherapeutics Inc. of Providence, R.I. But others doubt that Feldbaum has the proper training for the job. "You like to see a certain kind of background," says one industry insider, speaking on condition of anonymity. Those who have worked with both IBA and ABC in the past are hailing the merger. Peter Feinstein, executive officer of the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council (MBC) and president of Feinstein Partners, a biotech consulting firm in Cambridge, Mass., says the merger "eliminates confusion about who represents the industry's interests in Washington." This added lobbying strength would trickle down to bench scientists, as well, Davidson notes. If legislators are more inclined to look favorably upon a united biotech industry, and if scientists in the field are better able to interact with each other, he says, biotech researchers "will be more empowered to do the things they already do." Moreover, says MBC's Feinstein, "It has been problematic dealing with these two separate organizations. Every time we've dealt with one, we had to consider how that would affect our relationship with the other." In the past, "IBA would come out with one position on a patent issue, and ABC would come out with another position," says Virginia Orn-dorff, director of biotechnology programs for the Colorado Advanced Technology Institute (CATI) in Denver. "It was easy to not pay any attention to either one." ABC executive director William E. Small says the merger "is like the left hand and the right hand joining." While ABC's primary focus has been on educational programming and networking, Small says, IBA has concentrated more on lobbying and the legislative arena. But although the two groups had been discussing unification since 1989, it took a long time to bring them together. A year ago, for example, Small told The Scientist, "We have different agendas, and different needs" (Notebook, The Scientist, March 30, 1992, page 4), referring to the separate missions of the associations. IBA traditionally has focused on the concerns of larger, more established firms, whereas ABC's mandate has been "to handle the interests of emerging organizations, [which were] not necessarily those the larger companies were facing," such as financial problems, says Samuel H. Ronel, president of Interferon Sciences Inc. of New Brunswick, N.J., who served as ABC's president in its formative years, 1986-88. Those instrumental in bringing about the merger say it was finally able to happen because the differences between the two groups have eroded. "Many of our members are `graduating' from emerging to established company status," Ronel says, and therefore need to pay "more attention to regulatory issues and political issues than before. It doesn't make sense to have two separate lobbying organizations." "The organizations began working together off and on for several years," says Wiggans, adding that collaborative efforts "began in earnest this year," making a merger seem logical. But some insiders are wondering whether the two groups will really be able to unite. "With two different organizations, there is a built-in tendency to worry about people not agreeing," says one observer, speaking on condition of anonymity. "You're stuck with some of the classic battles." One such battle has concerned the Orphan Drug Act, which provides market exclusivity for the first company to develop a drug benefiting a United States patient population of 200,000 or fewer. Amend- ments to the act proposed last year by Sens. Howard Metzenbaum (D-Ohio) and Nancy Kassebaum (R-Kans.) would have eliminated a company's market exclusivity when cumulative sales hit $200 million. IBA testified before the Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources that the act "should not be altered according to political whims," according to an April 1992 IBA newsletter. ABC, on the other hand, issued a press release last month quoting Wiggans as saying, "In the case of drugs that are the subject of multiple [competing] sponsorships, [the Food and Drug Administration] should have adopted more liberal criteria to allow the multiple sponsors access to marketing approval." IBA's position on the Orphan Drug Act prompted several companies to resign from the association, including Genetics Institute Inc. (GI) of Cambridge, Mass. In December 1991, GI lost a lengthy patent battle with Amgen Inc. of Thousand Oaks, Calif., over erythropoietin, the protein used to stimulate the body's production of red blood cells, a treatment for patients with severe anemia. GI was also unsuccessful in its court battle to rescind FDA's award of orphan drug designation to Amgen for erythropoietin. GI executive vice president Garen G. Bohlin says "we haven't come to a decision" on whether GI will join BIO. "On balance, I think it's good for the industry to try to forge a consensus on some issues. We would like to be a part of that effort," he says, but he adds that GI must first determine whether "the new organization can provide a proper forum for us. We would have some concerns on whether the merged organization would be effective, given its sheer size and the number of [members] with potentially differing viewpoints." IBA's Duzan downplays the significance of such disputes. "There [have been] two or three issues of a public policy nature that the companies had different positions on that created more of a perception of widespread disagreement than actually was the case," he says. On points of contention like the Orphan Drug Act, ABC's Wiggans says, "a compromise will be reached so a position can be taken by the [new] organization--or, if no compromise can be reached, no position will be taken." In order to alleviate start-up companies' fears that "they'd be swallowed up," says IBA's Duzan, "what Tom Wiggans and I did was (The Scientist, Vol:7, #4, February 22, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ BIO'S NEW PRESIDENT: BIOTECH NOVICE, BELTWAY VETERAN Carl B. Feldbaum, who began his new job as president of the fledgling Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) February 8, is no stranger to Washington, D.C. Since 1988, he has been chief of staff for Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.). Prior to that appointment, he was founder and president of Palomar Corp., an independent national security consulting firm in Rosslyn, Va. He has also served as an assistant to the Secretary of Energy in the Carter administration and inspector general for defense intelligence in the Ford and Carter administrations, and was an assistant special prosecutor with the Watergate Special Prosecution Force. Feldbaum, 49, has no direct biotechnology experience, although he did receive a B.A. in biology from Princeton University in 1966, and was elected to Sigma Xi for his biochemistry research. And, says Association of Biotechnology Companies president Thomas G. Wiggans, chief operating officer of CytoTherapeutics Inc. of Providence, R.I., "he convinced [the search committee] that he remembered some of it--which is more than I can say for myself, sometimes." Wiggans adds that "the search committee voted unanimously for him," selecting him over "a dozen or more serious candidates." What's significant, says Feldbaum, who has a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania, is that he's experienced at "translating science and technology to lawmakers and policymakers." For example, he says, while a Watergate prosceutor he organized a "technical team of physicists and recording engineers" to analyze an 18 1/2-minute gap in the Nixon tapes, and he's assisted Specter with his work as a member of the Senate appropriations committee for the Department of Health and Human Services as well as the Senate Committee on Aging. But Feldbaum is unknown in the biotech community. Understandably, industry insiders who will have to work with him are loath to voice their doubts on the record, but several, speaking on condition of anonymity, have reservations about his ability to be an effective leader for BIO. "I've never heard of him in my life- -nor has anyone else I know," says one. Another, calling the appointment "totally out of the blue," says, "I don't know whether this guy can really make something happen." Yet, says Jeff Davidson, executive director of the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Association, "we didn't expect him to clone many genes, anyway. He has the kind of experience that is probably most important for the kinds of policy decisions coming for the biotech industry." Search committee member Samuel H. Ronel, president of Interferon Sciences Inc. of New Brunswick, N.J., says that Feldbaum's lack of biotech experience "certainly was something that was discussed." But ultimately, Ronel says, the committee realized that "we have a sufficient number of people who could help him on these issues." One industry skeptic doubts that Hillary Rodham Clinton, appointed by President Bill Clinton to revise United States health care policy, will look favorably upon a former aide to Republican Specter: "It doesn't make any political sense." Yet Feldbaum stresses that he's worked in Democratic as well as Republican administrations. And James McCam-ant, editor of the Berkeley, Calif.-based Medical Technology Stock Letter, says that Feldbaum's Specter affiliation "is not necessarily a disadvantage. A group like [BIO] has to work with both parties." Says Ronel: "We were extremely favorably impressed by [Feldbaum's] personality. Conviviality ... is necessary to head our organization, with so many prominent people in it." Adds Peter Feinstein, executive officer of the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, "If they've found someone whom both sides [the Association of Biotechnology Companies and the Industrial Biotechnology Association] are comfortable with, that's very important." --B.S. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #4, February 22, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ PCAST Future Is Uncertain Under Clinton Presidential science panel may have to change its ways--if, that is, it continues to exist (Page 1 of newspaper) BY BARTON REPPERT Science journalists who brought a federal lawsuit against the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) say the court action has resulted in an opening up of some meetings of the President's Council of Advisers on Science and Technology (PCAST) and release of documents detailing PCAST's operations. They say they hope the case also will serve to send a warning to other federal science and technology advisory panels that closing of meetings to the press and public is likely to be challenged, unless it is done in compliance with provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA). However, several outgoing members of PCAST, which was formed by the Bush administration in early 1990, have told The Scientist that they believe their most important contribution was not through open meetings or published reports--but instead, informal "input" during closed-door sessions with the president and senior officials. One of these former council members, Peter Likins, president of Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa., observes that "we had an opportunity to talk to the president, with, I think, unprecedented frequency, until the election began to crowd everything else off his agenda--essentially until February of '92.... That is something that we, the members of PCAST, valued deeply." On the issue of open vs. closed meetings, Likins says: "I truly believe that the process of deliberation that is necessary for effective policy-making in most areas, not just science and technology . . . is impeded by knowledge that every word you speak can find its way into the public domain. I don't mean to circumvent rules of the open society. I realize that we have to accept a certain amount of that, just as part of the price of doing business in an open society. But we have to be careful that we don't get paralyzed by it." At press time, President Clinton's science adviser, John H. Gibbons, had not yet revealed the new administration's specific plans concerning PCAST. Under the Bush administration, PCAST had consisted of science adviser Allan Bromley and 12 prominent members, drawn mainly from universities and industry. OSTP spokesman Ralph Brescia says Gibbons "really hasn't had time to focus on what exactly the structure will be, but he is definitely committed to seeking and utilizing outside advice from the private sector and the university community. He will be examining what, exactly, the best mechanism is for that." The court action was brought last May by the Bureau of National Affairs Inc. (BNA), a major business publisher, along with the newsletter Science & Government Report and the Washington bureau of Nature (Barton Reppert, The Scientist, July 6, 1992, page 1). The plaintiffs contended that PCAST was violating "Government in the Sunshine" provisions of FACA in order to conduct the bulk of its activities in closed sessions. The statute stipulates several limited exemptions--including discussion of sensitive national security, foreign policy, or personnel matters--that have to be cited when federal advisory committees hold closed meetings. In their suit filed in United States District Court for the District of Columbia, BNA and the two science publications called on PCAST to open all future meetings at which the council "intends to discuss its agenda, reports, projects, and panels regarding science and technology." Also, citing the Freedom of Information Act, the plaintiffs sought access to minutes of, and other records relating to, the council's meetings. As a result of the litigation, Judge Thomas R. Hogan ordered PCAST to open up to the press and public its sessions dealing with a study focusing on U.S. research-intensive universities last May, shortly after the suit was brought. These meetings led to the preparation by the council of a major report, released in December, which amounted to PCAST's most substantial published product during the Bush administration, according to science policy observers (see accompanying story). In addition to the research universities study, PCAST late last year released reports on the federal government's role in furthering the bioscience revolution; high-performance computing and communications; science education; mega- projects in the sciences; science, technology, and national security; and technology and the American standard of living. Toby J. McIntosh, a BNA reporter who joined in bringing the lawsuit, says that a "very important result" of the court challenge was the release by OSTP of "a great deal of material about PCAST, which otherwise, I believe, they wouldn't have produced--minutes of the meetings, documentation, and material that went to the members." Overall, he says, "I think we obtained a great deal more information for the public about what PCAST has done and how it did it." McIntosh says that examination of PCAST closed meeting minutes, released by OSTP in response to the legal action, reveals that in most cases "there were no substantial reasons why the meetings should not have been open--no evidence of discussion of much national security or commercially sensitive information." Noting that the government finally released the PCAST documents with virtually no deletions, McIntosh contends that this is "pretty good evidence that there really wasn't anything to warrant closing the meetings in the first place." By undertaking the court challenge of PCAST, McIntosh says, "I hope we've sent a message to other groups that they better look carefully at [FACA] and be prepared to have people contest closed meetings." Eleanor H. Smith, an attorney with the Washington firm of Zuckerman, Spaeder, Goldstein, Taylor & Kolker, who has been representing the science journalists in the case, says that "until we had this litigation, no one knew anything about what the council was doing. All their reports were secret, pretty much all their meetings were secret, all of their working papers were secret." In response to the view expressed by some PCAST members that meetings that are open to the press and public can impede candid discussion of issues, she says: "That is precisely what the Federal Advisory Committee Act forbids. It's exactly why we're litigating this case." With regard to the wider significance of the PCAST case, Smith says: "I think we'll have to wait, to some extent, to see what the Clinton administration does, on their own, to open up meetings of federal advisory committees. But I have no doubt that there will be a ripple effect from this litigation, in terms of making federal agencies and advisory committees that either advise them or the president think twice about blanket exemption claims." A Justice Department attorney handling the case, Peter S. Modlin, says he cannot comment about the government's position because the litigation is still ongoing. The value of PCAST's deliberations is a question being considered, as well. In assessing PCAST's overall role and effectiveness, Lewis Branscomb, director of the science, technology, and public policy program at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, says: "I think that PCAST, viewed from the scientific community, is substantially less visible to policy scholars and the scientific community than the old PSAC [President's Science Advisory Committee, which existed from the late 1950s to early 1970s] was--even though all the old PSAC meetings were off the record. That was before FACA." Branscomb explains that "PSAC did its work in many cases--in most cases--by writing reports, which were in fact published by the White House, and were available for broad commentary and dissemination. Whereas PCAST has done some reports, but by and large their advice has been given in camera, so to speak." Branscomb, who served as a member of PSAC in 1964-68 and as chairman of the National Science Board in 1980-84, says he views the question of holding open meetings as "a very overrated threat to openness of debate" because generally very few members of the press and public actually attend. Another science policy analyst, Bruce L.R. Smith of the Washington, D.C.-based Brookings Institution, says he believes that although PCAST's report on research-intensive universities was "pretty punchy," the council was not in operation long enough to rate its overall performance. Smith says the open vs. closed meetings issue raised in the lawsuit is of "real significance" because if the litigation were to result in barring PCAST from holding virtually any closed sessions, that could render the council "impotent." "If you had to have everything totally open, and there couldn't be an executive session, it would become totally useless. . . . I think that with anything at that level, unless you have the capability of going into executive session, it is not going to be a useful tool for the president," he says. An outgoing member of PCAST, Nobel laureate Daniel Nathans, a molecular biologist from Johns Hopkins University, says of the council's accomplishments: "I think only part of it, probably, is reflected in the reports that have been made public. I would guess the most important thing was the informal input to senior members of the [Bush] administration. We did have access to essentially anyone whom we wanted to talk to ... including the president." Nathans notes that "there are so many inputs going into an administration at that level that it's very difficult to know what your specific input has done in terms of influencing policy.... But we certainly had access to the highest people in the administration." Nathans observes that "there are certain things that we need to discuss in private--in fact, many things.... The only way we're going to get the best out of a group like PCAST is to give them the opportunity to discuss things frankly, and to express views which they may well change--and in some cases talk about issues and people in such a way that it makes no sense to have it in public. On the other hand, I think there are many other things that really ought to be open to direct public scrutiny." Another former PCAST member, John McTague, vice president for technical affairs at Ford Motor Co. in Dearborn, Mich., says he believes the council's most significant accomplishment was "the ability to have informal dialogue with the president .... It was absolutely unfiltered information--the topics were unfiltered ahead of time." McTague declines to explore the substance of PCAST's meetings with Bush, saying that "there's a general policy not to discuss conversations with the president." As for areas in which PCAST was less effective than he would have liked, the Ford executive says that "we could have gotten ourselves better organized early on"--so that the council's reports could have been published before the November election. McTague says he feels the restrictions on closed meetings are often "counterproductive" because "they make it extremely difficult to discuss things where you don't have full information, where you're just sort of feeling things out.... It just isn't an efficient way to proceed." Barton Reppert is a freelance writer based in Gaithersburg, Md. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #4, February 22, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ PCAST's LEGACY To the extent that the President's Council of Advisers on Science and Technology (PCAST), established by the Bush administration, leaves any substantial legacy for the years ahead, it is likely to be identified as the major public policy questions presented in a 46-page report that was released less than a month before the administration left office. The report, "Renewing the Promise: Research-Intensive Universities and the Nation," takes a hard look at "serious signs of stress" affecting the relationship of government, the public, and the United States' research universities. PCAST members David Packard, chairman of the board of Palo Alto, Calif.-based Hewlett-Packard Co., and Harold T. Shapiro, president of Princeton University, said in a letter accompanying the report: "At the very least, we hope that the report will stimulate and contribute to a healthy public debate." During his confirmation hearing January 26 before the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, Office of Science and Technology Policy director John H. Gibbons was asked about the PCAST report--including its recommendation that a substantial federal program be undertaken to repair and renovate aging university research facilities. Gibbons responded that he had seen the report but "not digested it yet." Other findings and recommendations of the PCAST study include: * "It is unreasonable to expect that the system of research- intensive universities will continue to grow.... The cross- pressure of expanding opportunities and constrained resources poses a risk for the United States: spreading its resources too thinly across its array of highly trained investigators and research-intensive universities." * For that reason, research-intensive universities should "eliminate or downsize some departments and specialties rather than sustain less than world-class activities in every area of science and engineering." * At the same time, federal agencies and other supporters of research-intensive universities should "refrain from encouraging universities to embark on new research or education programs or the building of facilities when there is little or no long-term prospect of sustaining those programs." * "We believe that many of the complaints of parents and students concerning the quality of undergraduate education are well- founded. Universities should re-emphasize teaching in all its aspects, both inside and outside the classroom. In doing so, many institutions will have to curtail some of their research activities." --B.R. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #4, February 22, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ Groups Promoting Women In Science Mobilize In Washington, D.C. (Page 3 of Newspaper) BY RON KAUFMAN As the Clinton administration establishes itself in Washington, D.C., action is heating up in the United States capital to raise the awareness of the general public--as well as lawmakers--about the disproportionately high unemployment rates and low salaries of women in scientific careers. Most noteworthy among these efforts, perhaps, is last month's reintroduction of federal legislation that would create a Commission on the Advancement of Women in Science and Engineering. Other efforts include a Washington conference, sponsored by Dartmouth College and the National Zoo, focusing on government policies affecting women; publication of a mentoring handbook by the 3,500-member Association for Women in Science (AWIS); and efforts by the Coalition for Women's Appointments, a group of 80 women's organizations, to persuade the Clinton administration to hire more women to fill scientific roles in government. According to statistics compiled by the National Science Foundation (using 1990 rates), women with master's degrees in science and engineering had median annual salaries $6,200 lower than and an unemployment rate 1.2 percent higher than their male counterparts. This same study, entitled "Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering: An Update," showed women with science and engineering Ph.D.'s had median salaries $4,900 lower than, and an unemployment rate that was more than double, those of men with the same degrees. "There is a problem of equity for the women who are actually holding these jobs," says Sue Kemnitzer, deputy director of the engineering, education, and centers division at NSF. "But there's a kind of ripple effect that can dampen the enthusiasm that young people have for pursuing these careers. Are you going to choose a profession where you see few people who are like you be successful? Probably not." Reintroduced in the House of Representatives on January 6 by Rep. Constance Morella (R-Md.), the Advancement of Women in Science and Engineering Act (H.R. 467) is designed to create a 17-member commission charged with gathering statistics and information that will examine the barriers to recruitment, retention, and advancement of women scientists. During the 102nd Congress, the bill passed the House but was blocked in the Senate. A Morella spokeswoman says the congresswoman has made the legislation a high priority and is intent on getting it passed by both houses this year. Upon the initial introduction of the bill in June 1992, Morella, a member of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, said the purpose of the legislation is to "help women get in, stay in, and prosper in jobs that we know pay well and offer long-term career satisfaction and security." Catherine Didion, executive director of the Washington, D.C.- based AWIS, says she is concerned about the effectiveness of a federal commission. "There is some fear that this commission will suffer the same fate as the Task Force on Women, Minorities, and the Handicapped in Science and Technology from a few years ago, whose recommendations never got off the ground and were not implemented," she says, referring to the December 1989 federal commission report entitled "Changing America: The New Face of Science and Engineering." The commission was chaired by NSF's Kemnitzer. AWIS has its own activities planned for the next few months to raise public awareness concerning the position of women in science. The association has recently released a 260-page handbook, which Didion calls "a paper mentor for women scientists." The book, entitled A Hand Up: Women Mentoring Women in Science (Washington, D.C., AWIS, 1993), was published February 12. The handbook includes essays written by prominent women scientists, who describe the experiences and challenges of working in a profession dominated by men. The writers include Bernadine Healy, director of the National Institutes of Health; Florence Haseltine, director of population studies at NIH; and Linda Wilson, president of Radcliffe College. "We are hoping this publication will be a useful tool for young women entering science to reassure themselves that they're not alone," says Didion. On March 24, the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College and the National Zoo will sponsor the second part of a two-part symposium on enabling more women to choose science careers. The program is entitled "Social and Political Issues" and will be held at 7:30 P.M. in the National Zoological Park Auditorium in Washington. Organizers expect a mostly local crowd of working women scientists, congressional staffers, and the general public. Speakers at the conference include Elizabeth Ivey, provost of Macalester College in Minneapolis, and Rose O'Donnell, a general manager at Hewlett-Packard Co., Palo Alto, Calif. AWIS's Didion will moderate the session, which will focus on how specific government policies affect the status of women in science and what can be changed. The event's organizers are hoping for a better turnout for this second meeting than they had at the first. Only 100 people attended the first part of the program, which highlighted recent findings related to women in science, held on Oct. 13, 1992. "I expect attendance to be much better this time," says Didion. "With the new administration in Washington, there is a recognition of an opportunity for real change. This empowers people to think, `Let me get my voice in here because I know it won't fall on deaf ears.' " The Coalition for Women's Appointments, based in Washington, D.C., at the National Women's Political Caucus, is also attempting to raise the profile of women scientists. The coalition, a group of 80 women's organizations, was formed to promote women for Senate-confirmed positions in the Clinton administration, including cabinet secretaries, undersecretaries, and agency heads. A recommendation list of around 400 women, more than 50 of whom are scientists, has been submitted to the White House. AWIS is part of the environmental task force, which includes staffing proposals in the departments of Energy, Interior, and Agriculture; the Environmental Protection Agency; and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Two early successes were the appointments of EPA administrator Carol Browner and Secretary of Energy Hazel O'Leary, both of whom were recommended by the coalition. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #4, February 22, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NOTE BOOK A Chemical Attraction Among women chemists who are now college presidents, perhaps the most prominent is Linda Wilson, president of Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Mass. Another name to add is Jane Margaret O'Brien, biochemist and president of Hollins College in Roanoke, Va. In July 1991, O'Brien--who received a B.S. in biochemistry from Vassar College in 1975 and a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Delaware in 1981--became the eighth president of the small, all-women's school. She says the rigorous and demanding schedule needed for scientific research has helped her successfully adapt to life as an administrator over 1,000 undergraduates and 94 faculty members. "There are a lot of chemists in administrative work in colleges and universities," she says, noting that her predecessor, Paula Brownlee, now president of the Association of American Colleges, was also a chemist. "The constant demands on you are the same. When doing research, [the demands are] more related to the experiments you're running. But here at a college it's what people need you to do. As a college president, time really isn't my own, nor was it when I was in the laboratory." (The Scientist, Vol:7, #4, February 22, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ Immigrant Scientists: Show Us The Ropes The Association of Engineers and Scientists for New Americans (AES), a New York-based self-help organization of immigrant technical professionals, is seeking volunteer mentors from academia, industry, and government. The group, composed primarily of refugees from the former Soviet Union, most of whom have Ph.D.'s, wants to match immigrant participants with working scientists, who would instruct proteges in job-hunting in the United States and in applying their previously acquired knowledge in their new home. The immigrants would serve as interns in the mentor's institution for three to six months. AES is now seeking grant support for this program. For information, contact AES, 45 E. 33rd St., Suite 3-24, New York, N.Y. 10016; (212) 447-5040. Fax: (212) 889-9366. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #4, February 22, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ Hurrah For Teamwork A chemistry teacher at the University of Connecticut has found, in a pilot study of 16 undergraduates, that students' performance improves by half a letter grade when they study in groups. Now, thanks to a grant of more than $100,000 from the National Science Foundation, chemistry lecturer Cecile Hurley will be expanding her study-group format to about 200 students. She hopes eventually to publish a paper based on her study-group experience. "I wondered why students were not succeeding as they should in science," Hurley says, adding that when she took a closer look, she found "they didn't know how to study." Participants in her small groups, which meet regularly at a set time, "come without distractions--without TV, without pizza," she says. Each participant is responsible for learning to do one homework problem and teaching the others how to master it. "I'm a firm believer in [the theory that] you don't know something until you can teach it," Hurley says. Her students, she adds, "learn more from listening to each other than from listening to me." (The Scientist, Vol:7, #4, February 22, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ Bugging The Capital Around election time, Washington, D.C.'s favorite insects will be out and about again as the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History reopens its popular insect zoo in September. The exhibit, to be renamed the O. Orkin Insect Zoo after the founder of Atlanta-based Orkin Pest Control, which donated $500,000 to modernize the zoo, annually draws more than 1 million visitors. The updated exhibit will feature a variety of live insects, from those found in ponds, deserts, and rainforests to the familiar household variety. Included are old favorites, such as termites, silverfish, German cockroaches, and fireflies, as well as more exotic species, such as tarantulas, whose feedings will take place twice daily during museum hours. The museum is located at 10th Street and Constitution Avenue, N.W., in Washington and is open seven days a week. Admission is free. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #4, February 22, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ Undergraduate Support The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation has established a research awards program directed to non-Ph.D.-granting institutions. The Dreyfus Faculty Start-up Grants for Undergraduate Institutions program will annually provide 10 unrestricted grants of $10,000 to newly appointed faculty to facilitate starting their research. Institutions that grant bachelor's or master's degrees in chemistry, chemical engineering, or biochemistry are eligible to nominate one teacher per year for the grants. The deadline for nominations is May 15. For more information, contact the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation Inc., 555 Madison Ave., New York, N.Y. 10022-3301; (212) 753-1760. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #4, February 22, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ Making Mealtimes Easier To Swallow For anyone who has had difficulty distinguishing the taste of cafeteria food from the taste of the utensils it's served with, an Iowa State University researcher has now made the distinction even less obvious. Jay-Lin Jane, an associate professor of food science and human nutrition, has developed edible dinnerware, made from such vegetable material as corn and soybeans. Actually, the plastics, made of starch and protein, were originally conceived for human consumption, but the material Jane has come up with so far is much too hard to chew. "Nutritionally, it is okay, but you would need a good dental plan if you wanted to eat it," she says. As envisioned, used containers and utensils could be ground into pellets and mixed into livestock feed. But as it degrades completely in water after a time, the material is also being looked at as safe disposables for ships at sea. The U.S. Navy has expressed interest in it. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #4, February 22, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ OPINION Great Challenges Await New White House Science Adviser NAS chief Frank Press says that John Gibbons will have to cope with a host of extremely burdensome social and economic issues Editor's Note: Members of the United States science establishment were generally pleased to hear that John H. Gibbons, former director of the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA), had been chosen to succeed D. Allan Bromley as White House science adviser. Among those who warmly endorsed the president's selection of Gibbons--whose appointment was confirmed on January 28 by the U.S. Senate--was Frank Press, president of the National Academy of Sciences. In the following message, exclusive to The Scientist, Press expresses his confidence that Gibbons is the right man for the job, and that his appointment can be taken as a hopeful sign that the new administration will follow a wise path on matters of science and technology policy. However, Press --who served as White House science adviser under Jimmy Carter from 1977 to 1981--notes that Gibbons assumes his new role at a time when national and global issues require him to extend his scope of consideration beyond science and technology to include weighty economic and social concerns. (Page 9 of Newspaper) BY FRANK PRESS Bill Clinton's early appointment of John Gibbons as his science adviser is a major boost to the new administration's chances of dealing effectively with the economy, health care reform, the environment, the AIDS epidemic, education, and many other issues. These challenges demand not only political leadership, but also an effective use of science and technology. With more than a decade of experience as an outstanding director of the OTA--and his previous leadership position at Oak Ridge, one of the best national laboratories--Gibbons is poised to contribute to wise policy-making from his first day on the job. That the position was filled so early suggests the Clinton team understands the importance of using science to draft solutions that are future-oriented and innovative. This has not always been the case. Many new presidents have been surprised to find that they inherited a position for a science adviser--a high "Level II" post mandated by Congress. They and their senior aides viewed their resident scientist as a narrow specialist who could provide advice on allocating funds to the science agencies but not on much else. A few presidents--John Kennedy, among others--involved the science adviser in a broader range of policies, such as national security and space exploration. But Kennedy's precedent generally was not adopted by his successors. More influential White House aides limited the adviser's access to the inner circle. They failed to appreciate the importance of science and technology in modern life, or simply did not wish to share power. The worst situations occurred when presidents regarded their science adviser as a captive representative of the scientific community rather than as a member of the presidential team. I was told of one case in which a White House chief of staff, presiding over the daily senior staff meeting, asked those representing the black community, the Jewish community, the elderly, and the scientists to leave because a sensitive political issue was on the agenda. When this view prevails, the science adviser is excluded from the decision-making process. He or she is used mainly to round up support from the scientific community on specific issues--and, perhaps, blamed if that community fails to act as desired. One science adviser was dismissed because too many scientists opposed the Vietnam war, supersonic transport, and other administration policies. Another spent a good deal of his time as a salesman for the Strategic Defense Initiative. President Bush's adviser, D. Allan Bromley, deserves great credit for enlarging the role of his office, broadening its scope of concerns to include technology policy, education, environment, and other important areas. Like many of his predecessors, he also knows what it means to deal with more powerful, and less wise, presidential assistants. As one who held the science adviser post under President Carter and served on President Kennedy's scientific advisory committee, I have experienced many of these pressures first-hand. Initially, the White House senior staff viewed our office as representing a narrow specialty and constituency. Early assignments mainly involved science budgets and highly specialized issues. Eventually, however, by providing useful information and an excellent staff, sensitive to political realities, the office became involved in White House consideration of industrial policy, the MX missile decision, space policy, clean air regulations, health care, and other issues. President Carter and his staff came to view our Office of Science and Technology Policy as expert and balanced, and scientists and engineers are hopeful that the new White House team will make even more effective use of technical advice. Representing as they do a generational change, President Clinton and Vice President Al Gore can be expected to look beyond the experiences of the Great Depression, World War II, and postwar prosperity in drafting solutions to current problems. They know that the U.S. can create jobs and compete internationally only by having a better-educated work force. Managers in the private sector must have the skills to use new technology and incentives to invest in it. The federal government must become more of a partner than a passive observer in developing several critical technologies essential to our future. So favorable changes are likely in the allocation of resources to civilian science and technology, as well as on issues involving industrial development, the environment, defense policy, health care, and energy. All of these issues rank high on the new presidential agenda. To resolve them successfully, science and technology considerations must be integrated fully with economic and political ones. The science adviser needs to play a key role in this process. One of Dr. Gibbons's first tasks will be to help the new president select the top 60 science and technology positions in the federal government. These appointees will control an R&D budget of more than $75 billion annually, of which about 40 percent goes to the civilian sector. Given the concerns facing the Clinton administration, Gibbons actually will have to go well beyond the realm of science and technology, in their narrowest definitions, and address matters as far reaching as the economy and broad social issues. He should be involved as a principal player within the new Economic Security Council, the National Security Council, and counterpart groups that deal with productivity, environment, health, energy, and trade policies. If history holds, others on the White House staff may try to prevent this, seeking to restrict the participation of the science adviser to purely scientific matters. This would be unfortunate because whether the topic under consideration is economic growth, drug abuse, the space program, fetal tissue research, urban poverty, global warming, or dozens of other issues, the administration will need the best advice possible. President Clinton's passion for new ideas and Vice President Gore's deep interest in science and the environment suggest they understand this. They seem to know that the world of tomorrow confronts the White House with issues requiring the insights not only of politics and economics but also of science and technology. Advisers in all of these fields must work together for the good of the nation. The U.S. is the world's leader in science and the creation of new technologies. Campaign and transition materials indicate that the new administration will not view science and technology in the same restricted manner as many of its predecessors have done. Instead, we should expect Bill Clinton's team to recognize and use science and technology as a comparative American advantage and a powerful resource to help our nation tackle the many problems ahead. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #4, February 22, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ COMMENTARY (Page 10 of the Newspaper) COMMENTARY by Laura L. Mays Hoopes For Undergraduates, Hands-On ResearchAnd Book Learning Go Hand In Hand A wide range of observers are concerned that science instructors at United States universities are inadequately stimulating, encouraging, and equipping their students--the potential future generation of researchers--to pursue their interests beyond the undergraduate level. Many of those concerned assert that the problem lies in an improper balance between what they consider mutually exclusive activities for professors: classroom instruction and research in the laboratory. On one hand, some contend, science professors should be spending more time teaching in the classroom and less time in the lab; others urge them to put classroom instruction on the back burner and spend more time in the lab, to increase the prestige of their universities as well as national competitiveness. In my view, however, the commonly held dichotomy between "teaching" and "research" is false and misguiding. There are many institutions where the two approaches to science education do not war with each other. At these schools, they go hand in hand: Indeed, research is regarded as the finest form of teaching. Some think of this process as an apprenticeship, but I see it more as an option to buy. A student tries out directing a project, to find out something nobody has known previously. For some, the loneliness of the laboratory or the frustration with the delayed reward system of science may be insufferable; but for many, the result is ample reward. Take, for instance, Christine Hodge, a student researcher funded by Monsanto Co. in 1992--through the Academic Industrial Partnerships program, sponsored by the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR)--for summer study at the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire. Christine subsequently reported that her project "gave me confidence in my ability to perform as a chemist. . . . [I] decided that I would indeed be happiest in a field where I would constantly be finding answers and more questions to ask." As Heinz Koch of Ithaca College--a faculty mentor for another student in the program--has noted: "You learn to become a scientist by doing science, not by studying science." An undergraduate needs a lot of guidance by a caring professor--a lot, but not too much. Each student needs to own a project. Professors who see this as a valuable learning experience are everywhere. But the mother lode of such people is in the primarily undergraduate institutions where CUR is focused--the liberal arts colleges (like Occidental College, my own institution) and the comprehensive universities. We believe that our appreciation of research as an integral component of science education explains why we produce more than our share of future scientists, as amply documented by the Oberlin Reports of the 1980s and the Project Kaleidoscope analysis of 1991. But what's in it for the professor, the ambitious researcher who expected academia to provide an environment primarily for personal scientific pursuits? Well, the professor receives both a teaching and a research benefit: pleasure in a student's learning experience, and progress in solving a research problem. The main costs to the instructor are two: The speed with which progress, as measured by publications, is achieved must be slower with undergraduates doing the research; and, because of this speed differential, the professor cannot really expect to be at the cutting edge of his or her field. In the best cases, however, instructors can find themselves in the scientific avant-garde--trying high-risk but low-budget experiments that can launch whole new fields of investigation. Since undergraduates are frequently fearless and intrigued with the unusual, they are ready and willing to work ahead of current ideas and try to develop the next big area of research. My experience and that of many professors I know invalidates the teaching/research dichotomy. I recommend research with undergraduate students highly to anyone who is looking for a way to increase the number of scientists of the future. Laura L. Mays Hoopes is a professor of biology and associate dean of the faculty, Occidental College, Los Angeles, and immediate past president of the Council on Undergraduate Research. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #4, February 22, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ LETTERS (Page 10 of the newspaper) Thermodynamic Definition The article "Plasmas Show Promise As Next Step For Accelerators" (Tom Abate, The Scientist, Nov. 23, 1992, page 15) contained the sentence "He knew that a laser fired into a cloud of hydrogen-- chosen for its simple atomic structure--would superheat the gas, stripping the electrons from their nuclei and thus creating a plasma." The word superheat has a specific thermodynamic meaning. It means to raise the temperature of a substance above a transition temperature without the equilibrium phase forming. It does not mean to "get really hot." Superheating is similar in concept to supercooling, in which a liquid is cooled below its freezing point without the separation of the solid phase. Common materials can be supercooled. Very pure water can be cooled far below 0 C without it turning into ice. (The slightest disturbance, however, will trigger instant ice formation.) Superheating of water or metals does not ordinarily occur because of thermodynamic reasons. ROBERT ERCK Argonne National Laboratory Argonne, Ill. Animal Rights In his call to arms against the animal rights movement (The Scientist, Nov. 23, 1992, page 12), Patrick Cleveland attempts to demonize the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) by lumping it with organizations and individuals that oppose all animal research, condone terrorism, and vilify scientists. As the person in charge of HSUS's programs on animal research issues, I would like to respond to this blatant mischaracterization. HSUS does not oppose all animal research. Our policy advocates reform, not abolition. Our programs are pragmatic attempts to reduce the suffering and use of laboratory animals without compromising biomedical science. Our work is guided by our Scientific Advisory Council, which consists of physicians, scientists, and veterinarians from prominent institutions. HSUS has been very clear on our opposition to terrorism and violence. We have expressed our views before Congress, in full- page ads in the New York Times, and elsewhere. HSUS has not only avoided vilifying scientists. We also have purposely avoided targeting individual research projects out of our concern that such targeting might inadvertently encourage some activists to threaten the principal investigators. The irony of Cleveland's mischaracterization is that HSUS, perhaps more than any other animal protection organization, has sought to distinguish itself from organizations and individuals that fit his portrayal. For doing so, we have been criticized by some animal rights activists. Detractors such as Cleveland will always be able to dredge up tidbits that prop up their threadbare arguments--a statement on animal research from an old fund-raiser or from a staffer whose program responsibilities do not include animal research. Nevertheless, I invite any interested person to contact HSUS for more information about our actual policy and programs. MARTIN L. STEPHENS Vice President Laboratory Animals Humane Society of the United States Washington, D.C. Liberal Arts Colleges Linda Marsa's article on science at liberal arts colleges (The Scientist, Nov. 23, 1992, page 21) is quite thorough in outlining the problems and the rewards of teaching and doing research at smaller colleges. However, the accompanying list and comment by Sam Carrier, provost of Oberlin College, that there have been no major changes in the list of the best science-active liberal arts colleges, is short-sighted. An appreciable number of other small liberal arts colleges, besides those on the list--producing a high proportion of science graduates, where professors do independent research, but where good teaching is fundamental--can be found. For example, Nobel Prize winner J. Michael Bishop is a graduate of Gettysburg College. Science graduates of Lebanon Valley College, Annville, Pa., have received national honors in their fields. In addition, one graduate was recently named president of the Mathematical Association of America, while another is the new president-elect of the American Chemical Society. Thus, it appears that the 1987 list needs revision. ELIZABETH K. WEISBURGER Chairperson Emerita Board of Trustees Lebanon Valley College Bethesda, Md. WHERE TO WRITE: Letters to the Editor The Scientist 3501 Market Street Philadelphia, PA 19104 Fax:(215)387-7542 E-mail: Bitnet: (The Scientist, Vol:7, #4, February 22, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ RESEARCH Genome Mapping Progress Catapults Plant Research (Page 13 of Newspaper) BY SCOTT VEGGEBERG Plant researchers appear to be catching up with the efforts of those scientists in the better-funded and more visible Human Genome Project. With a critical mass of information forming on the genome of a model plant, Arabidopsis thaliana, including libraries of gene sequences and a number of important chromosome maps, molecular biologists working with plants are at the threshold of important breakthroughs on previously intractable problems. They are on the brink of understanding the mechanisms of disease resistance and of creating plants that produce novel substances like biodegradable plastics. Chris Somerville, a molecular biologist with the Plant Research Laboratory at Michigan State University, is out on that leading edge. He coauthored a recent paper in Science (V. Arondel, et al., 258: 1353, 1992), which was something of a breakthrough because it demonstrated the power of the currently available genetic maps and libraries. "We demonstrated that you could isolate a gene just on the basis of the genetic map location of a mutation of that gene," says Somerville. "Now anything we can mark with a mutation, you can just go and get the gene now." In this research, they used a mutated strain of Arabidopsis that was unable to produce omega-3 unsaturated fatty acids. The culprit was a gene coding an enzyme they dubbed fad3, a fatty acid desaturase. The discovery of fad3 is important because it demonstrates the ability to use the genetic resources currently available to locate and sequence genes with relatively little effort, and it indicates, in Somerville's mind, that one of the big breakthroughs of plant science<197>disease resistance<197>is not far behind. Somerville says that with about 1,000 professors in the United States working in the area of plant disease resistance, it's obvious that interest is keen, but not one of the genes controlling this trait has been identified in any plant. Now, thanks to the mapping efforts combined with other powerful tools of molecular biology, it looks like a number of groups both in the U.S. and abroad are very close to identifying a resistance gene. "It will be a first-class breakthrough when it happens," he says. Joe Ecker, a molecular biologist at the University of Pennsylvania, devotes half of his efforts to mapping the Arabidopsis genome and the rest to working out the signal transduction pathway for the plant hormone ethylene. His latest results, published in the February 12 issue of Cell (J.J. Kieber, et al., 72:427-41, 1993) are the culmination of work he started in the early 1980s and give "the first feel for what a plant signal transduction pathway looks like." It turns out it's very much like the pathway found in humans and fruit flies. Most of the molecular biologists now studying Arabidopsis did not start out working on plants. Ecker got interested in plants while investigating herpes viruses for his Ph.D. At the time, he harbored a strong desire to get involved in hormone research. He says that was also about the time when one of the first big plant molecular biology reports hit the mainstream scientific press (M.D. Chilton, et al., Cell, 11:263, 1977). The paper<197>appearing as it did in Cell, with an accompanying photo on the cover<197>had a big impact on Ecker. "When you're in a medical school, you don't get a lot of plant journals. It was basically telling you you could now introduce genes into plants, " he says. It was an exciting time, a time when "basically nothing was known about how plant hormones worked," he says. "From then until now, we've been pursuing the goal of how plant hormones work, and now we're at the tip of the iceberg on that." Agreeing On Arabidopsis Arabidopsis began to emerge as the agreed-upon model for basic plant researchers about 10 years ago because its genome is small in size, about 100 million base pairs of DNA in five chromosomes, compared with the 3 billion base pairs on 23 chromosomes in the human genome, researchers say. The plant has a short life cycle compared with crop plants such as corn or rice. In addition, the seeds are tiny and the seedlings can easily be grown in the lab. For instance, Pablo Scolnik, a plant geneticist for E.I. Du Pont de Nemours & Co. Inc.'s Experimental Station Laboratory in Wilmington, Del., says that in the basement of his building he has as many Arabidopsis seedlings growing as there are corn plants in Iowa. Du Pont has a large agrichemical business and an expanding interest in agricultural biotechnology. Why is Du Pont interested in this particular plant, a relative of cauliflower that has a pronounced noncommercial, academic reputation? "The ability to clone genes affects all of agricultural research right now," explains Scolnik. "And when you have the genome for Arabidopsis, you have the genome for all plants. They're that homologous." As with others in this field, Scolnik started out in another division of life sciences<197>in his case, as a bacterial geneticist who completed his Ph.D. 12 years ago. Explaining his transition to Arabidopsis, he quips, "I was working with photosynthetic bacteria, and when you grow up you move on to plants." One prominent researcher who also moved on to plants is Howard Goodman, a molecular biologist at Massachusetts General Hospital's genetics department. He was recognized by the Philadelphia-based Institute for Scientific Information as among the top 1,000 cited scientists in the period 1965-78 for his work in cloning the gene for insulin. But since he switched from humans to the field of plant molecular biology about 10 years ago, he says, his citation prowess has declined. Part of the appeal of plant research was that the field was "new and less crowded," he says. "And a lot of the techniques that had been coming up through the animal world hadn't been applied to plants yet." But the study of the molecular biology of plants has been picking up increasing momentum in the past few years. "There's been an explosion of interest in this field," he says. "And it's been very open and very collegial. It's a nice feeling to work in a field where people are so open." He sees both pros and cons to the choice of Arabidopsis<197>achieved through international consensus<197>as the focus of worldwide research efforts in the physiology of plants. While it's beneficial to have a common organism, there are a lot of reasons not to work on Arabidopsis. "For one, it has no commercial value," he says. "That makes it easier to work on in an academic sense," because the plant has no value in the marketplace and so there's less incentive to jealously guard information. "But there's not as much money available as a result." The National Science Foundation, one of the major funding sources for Arabidopsis genetics, supplied $7.7 million in fiscal year 1991 for all types of research on this organism, not just genome- mapping efforts. By comparison, Congress in the same year provided the National Institutes of Health $87 million for the more saleable effort to map the human genome. And that allocation has since grown to $106 million for FY 1993. Plant researchers report, however, that instead of feeling overshadowed, they benefit by being able to take advantage of the biological tools that are developed as part of this massive effort. Du Pont's Scolnik says the problem of funding will be around for a while: "I believe we have a problem. It's a lot easier to convince Congress to fund cancer research than it is to get funds to do plant research." Plus, in the U.S., farmers are paid enormous amounts not to grow certain crops, he says. "We're faced with the question of: `Why should we invest in plant research when we grow more than we need?' " Somerville's answer to that nettlesome question is: "Man does not live by food alone." A lot of our needs, such as for biodegradable plastics, could be supplied by transgenic plants, as he demonstrated in an April paper in Science (Y. Poirier, et al., 256:520, 1992). Corn starch, for instance, costs about 5 cents a pound to produce, while it costs about 50 cents to produce petroleum-based plastics. If plants can be successfully induced to produce alternative products at a similar econom-ic advantage, they will be the factories of the future, according to Somerville. Thriving On Openness Scolnik says that the openness that has been the hallmark of the Arabidopsis genome effort is what's responsible for the fast progress made toward identifying key genes. Despite his company's bottom-line interest in research, he plans to continue to freely share his laboratory's findings. "My policy is to share all the relevant information and basic technology we generate with the rest of the Arabidopsis community," he says. "I think there a misconception that academic labs are more open than industry labs." He says some companies share, others don't, and the same is true of academic labs. "And remember, this is pretty fundamental research. The funds a company will invest in this type of research are limited." It's this paucity of funding that makes it especially critical not to hold onto information. For instance, Scolnik's group published a paper in February 1992, summarizing their progress in chromosome mapping (R.S. Reiter, et al., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 89:1477, 1992). An even more vital communication link than publishing papers in journals is the electronic Arabidopsis newsgroup that was established two years ago, just after the long-range plan for an international plant genome effort was established (see The Multinational Coordinated Arabidopsis thaliana Genome Research Project<197>Progress Report: Year Two, Publication No. NSF 92- 112, National Science Foundation, Washington, D.C., 1992). Researchers in this field report that this electronic bulletin board is extremely useful for communicating with their colleagues no matter where their location or time zone. "Also, my phone rings everyday," says Scolnik. "We [Arabidopsis researchers] talk a lot." The continued openness of this international effort is also a delight for Somerville, who says the gene-patenting issue that has infected the Human Genome Project has been "very destructive." The international collegiality is now a thing of the past in that project. "This is exactly the kind of thing we want to avoid with Arabidopsis," he says. Right now, there's a tentative agreement between most European groups and the U.S. to share information openly. Massive Sequencing Effort There are Arabidopsis sequencing efforts under way in the U.S. at Michigan State and Harvard universities, as well as in France and the United Kingdom, says Somerville. But what he finds potentially exciting is the proposal by former NIH researcher Craig Venter to sequence the entire library of Arabidopsis cDNAs. Venter is known for generating the partial cDNA sequences of neural genes, which formed the basis of the controversial gene patent application being pursued by NIH (Scott Veggeberg, The Scientist, April 27, 1992, page 1). He is currently president of the Institute for Genomic Research, a private group in Gaithersburg, Md., devoted to gene sequencing, which has the capacity to sequence 1,200 cDNAs per day. Arabidopsis has about 20,000 cDNAs, each of which correspond to active genes in the plant. "Venter has spoken to me about doing all the Arabidopsis cDNAs in a matter of a few months. In fact, that remains a distinct possibility," says Somerville. Venter would have the right to hold back and patent a few potentially valuable genes, but the rest of the effort would spill over into the public domain, he says. In Arabidopsis, these cDNAs account for about 30 percent of the total DNA, with the rest being primarily regulatory genes and inactive DNA. Somerville says this approach would close off an alternative pathway, whereby a few big labs generate these sequences. Instead of putting the bulk of them into the public domain, they might play them close to the chest and distribute them to "friends" as favors, or compete directly with the people doing the original research on these genes. For instance, the group of researchers working on Arabidopsis at Michigan State have a lab devoted to sequencing, and the effort is big enough that they could afford to sit on their own sequences. But the 10 principal investigators there are really committed to getting the work out into the open, he says. He says that the large-scale sequencing techniques are out there and that somebody is going to do it. The challenge is to make sure that the groups doing it are regularly releasing their results. "If Craig Venter were to do it, even if he kept back a few dozen very important genes, it would still be a tremendous boon to the Arabidopsis community," says Somerville. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #4, February 22, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ HOT PAPERS (Page 15 of newspaper) MEDICINE J.D. Hamilton, P.M. Hartigan, M.S. Simberkoff, P.L. Day, et al., "A controlled trial of early versus late treatment with zidovudine in symptomatic human immunodeficiency virus infection," New England Journal of Medicine, 326[7]:487, 1992. John D. Hamilton (Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Center, Durham, N.C.): "The results of the V.A. Cooperative Study on AZT (zidovudine)--which compared early vs. later AZT treatment in patients with symptomatic HIV infection and demonstrated a delay in the onset of AIDS but no additional benefit in length of survival--were not welcome to many. Certainly, they were a major disappointment on a personal level to infected patients, their families, and their private health care providers, all of whom hoped for additional survival with early AZT. As an additional perspective on the most important new cause of serious morbidity and mortality in the United States and abroad, the results were not welcome news to officials in public health or to other scientists who had previously reported more encouraging results. Indeed, our study was, and still is, met with considerable consternation and skepticism. "We, too, would have liked to demonstrate a resounding improvement in the therapeutic options available to HIV-infected patients. Nevertheless, the results did provide valuable new information in that they extended the certainty that early AZT compared with placebo delays the onset of AIDS to include the fact that early AZT is also better than later AZT in that respect. Our study (mean, over 24 months) confirmed the NIH trials, which showed that drug toxicity was minimal even when administered over a prolonged period. And our study provided the only published data concerning the impact of early AZT on survival, since neither of the previously reported NIH trials was of sufficient duration to provide any data on this matter. As a point of clarification, our study has been widely publicized as concluding that AZT has no benefit on survival. This is not the case. Instead, our study concludes that early AZT provides no additional benefit in survival to that achieved with later AZT. "Given that early AZT delays the onset of AIDS but does not prolong survival as compared with later AZT, our group believes that it is essential to consider at least five additional issues before automatically instituting AZT therapy when a patient's CD4 count falls below 500 cells/mm3. These are: (1) the occurrence of known immediate and potential delayed adverse side effects, which may outweigh the symptoms that attend disease progression; (2) whether early AZT can be expected to improve the quality of life of the mildly symptomatic patient; (3) the impact, if any, of early therapy on reducing communicability; (4) the consequent emergence of antiviral drug resistance in patients on long-term AZT and the subsequent impact of AZT resistance on disease progression; and (5) the financial cost that inevitably goes along with the early use of AZT. "The importance of these variables in the overall scheme of personal and public health is not clear. In the absence of additional controlled, clinical trial data, however, we believe that decisions to embark on a lifelong therapeutic regimen such as AZT should be made only after considering the relative incentives and disincentives just outlined." (The Scientist, Vol:7, #4, February 22, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ BIOCHEMISTRY S.J. Landry, L.M. Gierasch, "The chaperonin GroEL binds a polypeptide in an a-helical conformation," Biochemistry, 30:7359- 7362, 1991. Sam Landry (formerly with Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas; currently with Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans): "Biophysical chemists studying in vitro protein folding and molecular biologists studying diverse cellular processes, including DNA replication and the heat shock response, have converged on a set of proteins called molecular chaperones, which modulate interactions between protein surfaces. Both the hsp60 and hsp70 families of molecular chaperones bind a variety of non- native proteins. This paper represents an initial effort to answer the questions: What characteristics of a non-native protein are recognized and bound by chaperones; and how can chaperones accommodate diverse primary sequences in order to bind many different proteins? "We began our studies with the E. coli hsp60<197>called GroEL<197> and examined its interactions with fragments of a protein, rhodanese, whose in vitro folding is effectively facilitated by the GroEL/ES/ATP system (J. Martin, et al., Nature, 352:36-42, 1991; J.A. Mendoza, et al., Journal of Biological Chemistry, 266:13044-9, 1991). Using a nuclear magnetic resonance method that relies on the development of distance-dependent interprotonnuclear Overhauser effects in a smaller molecule (in our case, the rhodanese peptide) when it binds to a larger molecule (the chaperone), we found that the peptide bound to GroEL was an a-helix. This peptide presents a hydrophobic surface when folded as a helix; this is a likely feature exploited by the chaperone for binding. "The idea that hydrophobicity is the feature of non-native proteins that is recognized by chaperones was suggested by H.R.B Pelham in 1986 (Cell, 46:959-61). However, the hydrophobic binding mode was not the only possible result. We recently found that an hsp70 chaperone binds a substrate in an extended conformation (S.J. Landry, et al., Nature, 355:455-7, 1992). Here, the interaction with chaperone appears to involve the polypeptide backbone, perhaps through hydrogen bonds. Thus, the two chaperone families may have solved the non-native protein binding problem in different ways: by inducing the polypeptide to coalesce its hydrophobic side chains into a binding surface, or by building an array of polar interactions." (The Scientist, Vol:7, #4, February 22, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ COSMOLOGY T.P. Walker, G. Steigman, D.N. Schramm, K.A. Olive, H.S. Kang, "Primordial nucleosynthesis redux," The Astrophysical Journal, 376:393, 1991. Terry Walker (Ohio State University, Columbus): "The standard model of the hot big bang assumes a homogeneous and isotropic universe with gravity described by general relativity and strong and electroweak interactions described by the standard model of particle physics. The hot big bang model makes two unavoidable predictions: (1) the presence of a low-energy background of relic photons, and (2) the production of primordial elements about one minute after the big bang (referred to as big bang or primordial nucleosynthesis). "The relic photons were first observed by Penzias and Wilson in 1965 and more recently by the COBE satellite (G.F. Smoot, et al., Astrophys. J., 371:1, 1991). "Although it is difficult to disentangle the primordial abundances of deuterium, 3He, 4He, and 7Li from observations made today, our paper shows that there is beautiful concordance between the big bang predictions and these primordial abundances for a very narrow range of the baryon-to-photon ratio h (the one free parameter of the theory): 2.8 x 10-10 aha 4.0 x 10-10. This bound corresponds to a baryon density of about 5 percent of the density expected in a flat universe and suggests that the bulk of the baryons in the universe are dark. Measurements of the amount of gravitating material in the universe suggest that there is more there than just baryons: not only is most of the universe dark, but also it is primarily composed of something besides baryons! "Of course, the agreement between prediction and observation can be turned around to examine alterations to the standard model of particle physics. In this way, we show that the equivalent number of light neutrino species must be less than 3.3, in excellent agreement with the measurements of high-energy collider experiments. This bound admits a myriad of constraints on particle physics beyond the standard model. "Any extension of the standard model must conform to our constraint, and that is the primary source of citations to our paper. In addition, the baryon content of the universe plays an important role in the formation of large-scale structure as well as experimental searchers for dark matter<197>so our paper is often cited for the bound it places on the baryon density. "The `state of the art' in primordial nucleosynthesis research consists of making the most accurate predictions of the primordial abundances (for example, by updating the nuclear reaction network with new measurements) and in extracting the primordial abundances of deuterium, 3He, 4He, and 7Li from existing observational data (for example, 4He is processed by stellar nucleosynthesis and so the primordial 4He abundance must be estimated from a sufficiently uncontaminated subset of the data). This is what we lay out in our paper. "The tremendous predictive power of big bang nucleosynthesis requires that we constantly hunt for chinks in its armor. The simplicity and inevitability of primordial nucleosynthesis means that a true disagreement between prediction and observation would signal a fundamental flaw in our understanding of particle physics and cosmology. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #4, February 22, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ TOOLS & TECHNOLOGY New Help For Researchers With `Rusty' Statistical Skills (Page 16 of newspaper) BY CAREN D. POTTER One-way ANOVA or chi-square test? Two-sample t test or Wilcoxon matched pairs? Statisticians have no trouble with questions like these. Determining the appropriate analysis for a given set of data is what they are trained to do. Research scientists, on the other hand, typically have had only a course or two in statistics and lack a thorough understanding of the subtleties of the different statistical analyses. "Since [researchers] are trying to generalize something about an entire population based on a small sample, it's very important to use the correct test," says Mary Newman, a toxicologist with Liposome Technology Inc. in Menlo Park, Calif. "But statistics is kind of a black box, something we aren't really trained in. This casual acquaintance with statistics is only part of the problem for researchers when it comes to analyzing data. An abundance of statistics software, available now on every type of computer from mainframe to Macintosh, makes the task even more difficult because many stat packages resemble a Thanksgiving dinner--too much of a good thing. "Powerful packages such as SPSS, SAS, SYSTAT, BMDP, and others provide an embarrassment of riches to the user in the possible forms of statistical analysis, says Edward Brent, president of The Idea Works Inc., Columbia, Mo. "There are literally hundreds of forms of analysis available today. Today's crop of statistics software springs from two sources: mainframe-based programs (most have migrated "down to personal computers and workstations, as well) and newer packages written specifically for personal computers. Packages in the former group were originally created for statisticians and assume a familiarity with both statistics and computing that many research scientists do not have. Also, in terms of the analyses they offer, these packages are extremely comprehensive. One pharmacological researcher, who asks not to be identified, likens them to a car with 43 gears. "Either you just don't drive it because it's too hard to figure out, or you putter along, never taking it out of first gear, he says. Software written specifically for personal computers, on the other hand, often provides less functionality than mainframe packages (fewer forms of analysis, for example, or the ability to handle fewer cases and variables), but the trade-off is easier use. These programs--StatView from Abacus Concepts, Berkeley, Calif., and Statistica from StatSoft, Tulsa, Okla., for instance- -make good use of icons, on-line help, and mouse manipulation to greatly simplify data analysis for scientists. Two other packages, InStat from San Diego-based GraphPad Software Inc. and Statistical Navigator from The Idea Works, go even further, to the point of acting like a combination of a favorite stat book and a patient consultant, helping scientists understand the different analysis options so that they choose the appropriate ones. (Statistical Navigator does not perform actual statistical analyses; see accompanying story.) This second group of software packages represents an approach to statistics that has been a long time in coming, according to Harvey Motulsky, president of GraphPad. "I'm surprised the personal computer had been out so long before people made more usable statistics programs, he says. Part of their charm is that most of these newer packages were written not for statisticians, but for scientists. "My experience with mainframe stat software was back in graduate school, says John May, a pharmacologist at Whitby Research in Richmond, Va. "Now, I try to avoid those programs at all costs. Even then, if I could, I used my programmable calculator instead of the mainframe stat package. InStat, in particular, was designed to meet the needs of scientists who are infrequent users of statistics software and somewhat unfamiliar with statistics in general. Two attributes enable it to do this. First, InStat was deliberately designed to lead a user logically through each step of the data analysis process, from entering data to viewing (and understanding) the results. In fact, although most statistics packages do not give users any guidance about entering data, getting data into the computer in the correct format goes a long way toward simplifying the analysis process to follow. InStat uses dialog screens to ask users questions, then builds on their answers to lead them to the next step. For example, an early screen asks which general type of analysis is needed (column comparisons, linear regression, or chi-square and related analyses of contingency tables). InStat uses the answer to create a custom spreadsheet into which data are entered. Once the data are in, the program presents the user with its choices for analysis. With two columns of data, for instance, InStat defaults to the unpaired t test, reporting the two-tailed P value. If this is satisfactory, the user hits a button marked "Do It, and those calculations are made. If other analyses are preferred, the user selects them from a menu. The second feature that makes InStat a blessing to the nonexpert in statistics is its use of plain English--a distressingly rare occurrence in both software and statistics. At most points in the data-analysis process, if a user is confused about a particular term or analysis, he or she can call up a help screen that clarifies it in easy-to-understand language. Here is an example of such a help screen: "Recommendation: Select Fisher's test. The corrected chi-square test is more popular, but only because the calculations are much simpler to perform by hand. Fisher's test yields the exact P value; the chi-square calculations yield an estimate... InStat doesn't try to be all statistical analyses to all researchers, which accounts in part for its user-friendliness. It provides the more commonly needed tests in the realm of biostatistics. Concerns that, in their effort to pare down and simplify InStat, the program's developers might have omitted a number of important analyses appear to be groundless. Diana Gabaldon, writing in Laboratory Microcomputer (10:2[30-33], 1991), was "entirely charmed by the simple thoroughness of this package. She adds that the program includes about 85 percent of the statistical tests normally needed. Pharmacologist May uses InStat and says it lacks only one post hoc test he uses. The company promises this test in the next release. Although InStat is very good at making statistics understandable, it does have limitations. It cannot read most spreadsheet files directly, for example. Its graphs are very simple, and the user is not able to modify or enhance the graphs. Still, at $110, InStat seems well worth its price. Many scientists, although experts in one field, have to venture into the very different, very complex field of statistics to communicate their research to others. User-friendly statistical software helps structure their selection of the appropriate statistical tests and ease the burden of running those tests. Caren D. Potter is a freelance writer based in McKinleyville, Calif. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #4, February 22, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ STATISTICIAN IN A BOX (Page 16 of newspaper) Statistical Navigator from The Idea Works Inc., Columbia, Mo., was designed not to perform analyses but to work as a supplement to existing statistical packages. It uses a type of artificial intelligence called expert systems to determine, from users' input, which statistical analyses are most appropriate for their data. (Statistica from StatSoft, Tulsa, Okla., uses similar technology in its module "Statistical Advisor.) "Expert systems are so named, explains Edward Brent, president of The Idea Works, "because they are designed to help a user with a specific, complex task in much the same way an expert consultant would work, if one were available. Actually, Brent prefers the term "decision support system over "expert systems to describe Statistical Navigator. The latter phrase might convey the wrong impression, he fears--that users answer a few questions, then blindly accept answers that the program spits out. "In each case, Statistical Navigator explains what each analysis does and how it does, or does not, fit the user's research objectives and assumptions. The researcher makes the final decision about which one to use, Brent says. "We believe that the appropriate role for Statistical Navigator is to help researchers think through their analysis problems, not to help them avoid thinking. Statistical Navigator resembles a human consultant in the way it interacts with a user. It starts out with general questions, then moves to ones that are more specific. For example, if the user is knowledgeable enough to select a broad category of analysis from a list (causal analysis, measures of association, scaling and classification, and so forth), the package works at that level. If researchers are less sure of what they are doing, the program gets more specific. The next step is a list of common research questions, asking the user to select the one that best describes his or her own objective. If this doesn't work, the list of questions becomes more detailed and comprehensive. Finally, users have the option of using Statistical Navigator's natural language interface to enter a brief phrase describing their research. Unlike a human, Statistical Navigator doesn't grow tired or impatient, no matter how long this process takes. Once Statistical Navigator has the information it needs, it pre- sents the four analysis techniques that best fit the user's objectives and assumptions. A final report gives a detailed description of each of the four analyses, a numerical score representing how well each matches the user's requirements, a discussion of possible significance tests where appropriate, references to statistical literature in which the user can find out more about the techniques, and, whenever possible, a list of the commonly available statistics packages that perform the analyses. Like InStat, Statistical Navigator makes on-screen help available throughout the process. Also like InStat, Statistical Navigator's help screens are written for an audience that is not expert in statistics. Trevor Hastie, chairman-elect of the American Statistical Association's Statistical Computing section and a scientist at AT&T Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, N.J., cautions that programs like these "can be useful for someone who really doesn't know what they're doing, but you only get out what has been put in to the package. Software based on expert systems assumes that whoever made the rules made the right decisions, he says. "It would seem that these packages would be the ones to recommend to nonexperts, Hastie adds. "But they might be giving a wrong answer, and a nonexpert might not realize it. "We do not intend Statistical Navigator to replace advice from a competent statistician, says Brent. "The program may suggest the researcher consider some form of analysis which is quite new to them. They may be well advised to seek out competent statistical advice. --C.D.P. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #4, February 22, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ PROFESSION Networking At Meetings Is Vital For Career Advancement BY BILLY GOODMAN At large scientific meetings, it's easy to tell the novices from the cognoscenti. While graduate students and other young scientists often rush between meeting rooms to hear consecutive short talks, their more experienced colleagues set foot in lecture halls only to hear a few presentations of special interest. These meeting pros prefer to work the corridors, the poster halls, and the deep sofas of the lobby, where they meet old friends, make new contacts, and discuss experiments, theories, and funding possibilities. Paleoecologist Taber Allison, a research associate at the Harvard Forest, a Harvard University facility in central Massachusetts, goes to a limited number of talks when he attends meetings now. But, he says, "as a graduate student, I felt I had to do something every minute. Now, I pick out a few of the most relevant talks to go to and spend half my time talking to people." Networking is a skill often overlooked by young researchers, yet one that is frequently important for professional advancement in science, according to Mary Powelson, a professor of botany and plant pathology at Oregon State University who has written and lectured on how to get more out of scientific conferences. "In the long run, [networking] is how you begin to identify the leaders in your profession," Powelson says. In the short run, there are a number of advantages to using conferences to develop and extend a professional network, veteran meeting attendees say. To start with, putting faces with names and developing name recognition helps a young researcher begin to fit in with established scientists. Later, as a relationship develops, Powelson notes, new colleagues might well be willing to review a manuscript before submission to a journal. As relationships progress further, colleagues borrow slides from each other, share data, and discuss experimental results, all of which helps them keep abreast of their science and visible within their community. And although there is a widespread view of science as a meritocracy, it's undeniable that whom you know is frequently instrumental in advancing a scientific career. Mary Funke, manager of professional services for the American Chemical Society (ACS), says that, according to ACS's 1988 salary survey, more than 65 percent of chemists found their jobs through professional networks. Indeed, for the professionals who manage scientific meetings, facilitating networking is a primary goal. Louise Salmon is meetings manager for the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS), a consortium of about 40 scientific societies and other groups. The main purpose of the large AIBS annual meeting is to "provide networking between disciplines," she says. "A lot of scientists never get the chance to meet people in related disciplines." During a meeting, as she makes her rounds, Salmon says, "It's wonderful when you hear the buzz of talk in the hallways and you realize that's what the meeting is all about." Many scientists interviewed for this article agree that the most effective networking at conferences begins long before the meetings start. People are so busy at meetings, notes Powelson, that it's important to arrange a rendezvous ahead of time with those you want to see. Explain your reason for wanting to get together and suggest a time. Dinners are usually taken up with banquets or old friends, but many attendees keep breakfast and lunch open for meeting new colleagues. Powelson warns against a tendency to spend all free time with old friends or with the colleagues you traveled to the meeting with, a particular inclination for graduate students. "You need to branch out early" in your career, she says. Young researchers frequently express trepidation about approaching well-known scientists at meetings, assuming that luminaries will be busy or have no interest in meeting them. Sometimes this is indeed the case. But more often, prominent scientists are happy to talk with someone who is well-informed about his or her work. Speakers and poster presenters, especially, expect to be approached for questions and discussion. The welfare of younger scientists at conferences has been the subject of several essays by Eugene Garfield, publisher of The Scientist (E. Garfield, "Information Encounter Groups," Essays of an Information Scientist, 2:498-9, 1977; "Making Contacts at Conferences--A Problem for the Young Scientist," Essays of an Information Scientist, 3:668-72, 1980; and "Making Contacts At Conferences," The Scientist, April 4, 1988, page 7). He has suggested that the first day of the conference be devoted to "information encounter groups." About 30 attendees, including both established and new scientists, would meet and exchange biographical information about each other and outline professional and intellectual problems each faces. Such a meeting would expand the circle of contacts of each scientist and provide the incentive to talk further. Although information encounter groups are not a regular part of scientific meetings, many societies have recognized the need for greater contact between younger and established researchers. For example, at its 1993 meeting in May, the American Crystallographic Association and its Young Scientists Interest Group will match senior members of the association with young members for dinner. Despite such efforts, networking still frequently involves the awkward or intimidating prospect of approaching someone, eminent or not, out of the blue. For this reason, several young researchers stress the value of attending conferences with a thesis adviser or boss who'll take the time to introduce you to colleagues. When Peggy Vanderhoff-Hanaver attended the last meeting of the American Crystallographic Association, friends took her aside, she recalls, and asked, " `Why are you hanging around with your boss? Dump him and hang around with us.' " Vanderhoff- Hanaver, a post-doc at the University of Tennessee-Oak Ridge Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, says that "what they didn't realize is my boss knows a lot of people." Among the people he introduced her to were friends from his graduate school days who were able to give her advice on growing protein crystals. Most scientific meetings have abundant social events designed for relaxation and to encourage informal networking (see accompanying story). Nearly all the young scientists interviewed for this article agree that mixers and other events are ideal places to approach someone whose talk was thought-provoking or whose work is of interest. Most social events are better for making introductions than for serious discussion, which can always be scheduled for a quiet time later in the meeting. While much of the important work at a conference takes place outside the meeting halls, most people who attend conferences want to hear at least a few talks and are always on the lookout for those that promise to be especially interesting or relevant to their research. Yet, it's a daunting task to pick out the handful of talks worth attending at large meetings with 5,000 or 10,000 presentations in four or five days. Just as with other forms of networking, the key is to plan ahead. "Read the abstracts before the meeting," advises Ann Brodie, a research associate in biochemistry at Oregon State University. Brodie is active in the local chapter of the Association for Women in Science and, with her colleague Mary Powelson, has advised students on how to optimize their time at scientific conferences. Acknowledging that picking out a good talk is sometimes a shot in the dark, Brodie emphasizes that one of the advantages of networking is the added information you get on who's a good speaker--and who isn't. Scientists with a network of colleagues frequently call them up before meetings to discuss what presentations or events are worth attending. Presentations at many scientific conferences take the form of very brief seminars and longer keynote speeches. "The problem with the very short papers," says Brodie, "is that if you are not familiar with the research, it's hard to keep up, and if you are familiar, then there's not very much new" in the talk. Computerized help is available for some meetings to help scientists put together an itinerary. Research Information Systems Inc. of Carlsbad, Calif., recently acquired by the Philadelphia-based Institute for Scientific Information, has adapted its Reference Update software to allow keyword searches of meeting programs, greatly simplifying the problem of putting together an itinerary from thousands of abstracts. The Society for Neuroscience, among others, has used the system. The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, which once used the California company's software, now offers a similar service in-house. Whether you select presentations with computer help or via the primitive method of paging through the program, planning an itinerary ahead is essential to organize time efficiently. Pam Tucker, a senior engineer at 3M Co. in Austin, Texas, who often attends meetings of the American Chemical Society, advises writing out a schedule for where you need to be when, and keeping a map handy. Brodie and others feel that poster sessions are often more worthwhile than talks (Robert Finn, The Scientist, Jan. 25, 1993, page 20). There is more time to study and digest the contents of a poster, Brodie says. And the people presenting posters are eager to get into discussions about their work, often leading to exchanges of ideas for experiments and even initiating collaborations. One of the constraints of a short talk is that there is usually time enough only for the results, with little time for discussion of the many false starts typical of experimental science. That's one reason Vanderhoff-Hanaver prefers poster sessions. "I'm trying to grow crystals," she says. "At talks, people show pictures of the final solution. They don't tell you all the work they had to do to grow the crystal." She finds that by talking with researchers at their posters, she is more likely to get the information she wants on systematic methods for growing crystals. This anecdote illuminates one aspect of networking that several younger scientists emphasize: Networking is not simply ingratiating yourself with senior scientists in the hopes of landing a job or getting recognition. It is a way to improve your science by making personal contact with people who can provide advice, criticism, materials, or anything of value to your research. Billy Goodman is a freelance science writer based in Upper Montclair, N.J. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #4, February 22, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ A FIELD GUIDE TO SOCIAL EVENTS AT SCIENTIFIC MEETINGS Almost without exception, social events at scientific conferences are fertile ground for networking, veteran conference attendees say. Those who go to such activities are usually eager to meet people and are often more relaxed than during the tightly scheduled scientific sessions. Nevertheless, not all social events are created equal. Here is a guide to some of them. Mixers: Many societies hold a mixer or reception on the first night of a conference; others schedule a mixer later in the meeting. One drawback of an opening mixer is that you can't use something from the meeting itself to break the ice in conversation. In addition, names may not yet have been linked with faces. Opening mixers are a great place, however, for old friends to meet. A mixer later in the meeting is a good place to approach someone whose talk you liked but whom you couldn't get a chance to talk to earlier. Among the more unusual mixers is the American Chemical Society's "SciMix," which is part poster session, part mixer. Paula Groves of the ACS meetings office emphasizes that SciMix is mainly a poster session "jazzed up" with refreshments. Each division within ACS presents posters. The American Institute of Biological Sciences brings several societies, such as the Ecological Society of America and the Botanical Society of America, together for its meetings. It holds an All-Society Mixer that is very popular, according to AIBS meetings manager Louise Salmon. "It's supposed to last an hour, but usually goes two or three." If the society is footing the bill for a reception, it's called a mixer. But if the event has a corporate or hospital sponsor behind it, then it's likely to be called a cocktail party. When the American Federation for Clinical Research meets, the major medical centers, by long tradition, each host a party, according to Andrew Hoffman, the federation's current president. The parties are "where I've gotten to know a lot of people," says Hoffman, "and are a reason why a lot of people go" to the meetings. Banquets: Many societies have a formal banquet during their annual meeting. There is frequently a separate, hefty charge for these dinners, which often include an awards ceremony or a speaker. If the speaker is boring, the banquet may be the low point of the meeting. Robert Sterner, an associate professor of biology at the University of Texas at Arlington agrees. "Banquets may be the worst place to network," he says, "because you're imprisoned at a table." Oregon State University botany and plant pathology professor Mary Powelson has a contrary view. "My philosophy," she says, "is that it is almost mandatory to go to awards ceremonies to be supportive of your colleagues." Field Trips: Some societies sponsor trips to cultural attractions in the city where the meeting is held; for a few, such as the Ecological Society of America, field trips are more closely related to the professional interests of the members. Such outings are fun and often good places to network. At the 1992 American Institute of Biological Sciences meeting in Honolulu, there were 50 field trips. "You get pretty close to people going up cliffs, along ridge tops, or snorkeling," says Salmon. Just for Fun: The high point of the annual meeting of the American Society of Mammalogists is usually the auction, on the night before the final day of the meeting. Everyone is encouraged to bring in anything that can be auctioned off. Especially popular are personal belongings of someone who has retired, such as field notebooks or, in one case, baby shoes. Other items often auctioned include university T-shirts and books from publishers in attendance; one year, members from Washington brought ash from Mount St. Helens. The money goes to fund the opening beer bash at the next meeting as well as for research support for students. --B.G. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #4, February 22, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ Networking Tips (Page 20 of newspaper) The following tips are a distillation of the advice of numerous scientists and the writings of Ann Brodie and Mary Powelson of Oregon State University. * Ask contacts for business cards and note the circumstances of your meeting on the back. Graduate students should consider getting business cards. * Business meetings of societies are overlooked as places for networking. Attend committee meetings, volunteer to serve on committees, and play an active role on them. If you assume responsibility, get the job done. * When you give a paper or poster, note the names of people who ask questions or talk to you about your work. * Graduate students and others often save money by choosing outlying hotels. Avoid this, if possible, since being centrally located opens up numerous opportunities for informal discussion. * Make it a habit of arranging to have meals with scientists you don't already know. * After a conference is over, follow up with people you've met or heard give a presentation. --B.G. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #4, February 22, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ Grant Program Encourages Collaboration (Page 21 of newspaper) BY JEFF SEIKEN Traditionally, basic scientists have kept to their lab experiments, clinical scientists have kept to their patient studies, and neither has much traffic with the other. But the National Cancer Institute (NCI) is seeking to turn this tradition around. Last year it handed out more than $17 million to the first recipients of its Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPORE) grants. These grants are expressly designed to support collaborative ventures--or what NCI officials like to call "translational research efforts"--between laboratory and clinical scientists. "When we talk about translational research, what we're really talking about is how we move our basic [research], whether it's done in cell lines or mice or rats, into research that will have more of a direct impact on incidence and mortality in humans," explains Brian Kimes, associate director of NCI's Centers Training and Resources Program. The aim of the SPORE program is to accelerate the flow of findings from the lab to patients' bedsides by forging an alliance between the two types of researchers. "The unique part of the grant mechanism is that we're merging the thinking of basic and clinical scientists [and getting them] to design research projects together," Kimes says. In the first round of the SPORE grants, some 50 institutions submitted applications. Out of this pool, NCI selected eight to receive three-year awards ranging from $1.7 million to $2.3 million annually. Four of the grants went to breast cancer researchers, and two apiece to scientists working in the areas of lung and prostate cancer. "Almost all of the grant applications had a lot of high-quality science in them," Kimes says. But the determining factor really came down to which "were the ones that had the translational issues addressed most thoroughly." A recipient whose study characterizes the cooperative nature of the SPORE program is Helene Smith, director of the Geraldine Brush Cancer Research Institute at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco. For the project, Smith teamed up with Craig Henderson, chief medical oncologist at what might normally be considered a rival institution, the University of California, San Francisco. But instead of competing, Smith and Henderson are collaborating on a four-pronged study of breast cancer that will draw on the expertise of researchers and clinicians from all over the Bay area. Their enterprise developed out of a series of interrelated studies initiated about seven years ago. "I was working in breast cancer research," Smith says, "and I realized that in order to move ahead in trying to apply basic research on model systems to breast cancer, I really needed to have clinical colleagues." Smith's conclusion prompted her to start an informal journal club for like-minded scientists. These discussions laid the groundwork for a program project funded by NCI on developing new molecular markers for predicting prognosis. When it came time to apply for the SPORE grants, Smith says, the success of the program project gave her a big leg up on the process because she already had a group of scientists in place who had actively demonstrated their commitment to the SPORE ideal. With a collaborative framework already established, Smith says, "it was relatively easy for us to expand into additional scientists and new directions. The SPOREs were tailor-made for us, in a way." In addition to the eight major awards, NCI issued 12 smaller, three-year grants for feasibility studies. Varying between $70,000 and $200,000 annually, these grants went to investigators whose proposals had some weaknesses but were still judged to be fundable. Kimes characterizes the awards not as consolation prizes, but rather as a form of encouragement. "It was the desire of the cancer institute to maintain momentum at these institutions so that they can continue with their translational objectives and be competitive in the next round. The grants give them some kind of impetus to keep going." Maintaining momentum is exactly what Pittsburgh Cancer Institute director Ronald Herberman intends to do. Although his failure to land one of the major awards will force him to scale back considerably, Herberman still plans to apply the money he did receive to at least the first phase of his project and begin recruiting patients into his study. "It's a foot in the door," is how Herberman sees the grant. "Our challenge is to do as much as we can combining what NCI is making available together with what we can muster from institutional resources to show feasibility and promise [in the next round]," he says. Herberman and other cancer researchers have a bit of time before they have to start preparing for round two. In order to get the program up and running quickly, NCI decided to issue the initial SPORE grants all at once, rather than stagger them over several years. As a result, the second cycle of breast, lung, and prostate SPOREs isn't slated to take place until 1995, when the current awards are due to expire. In the meantime, NCI intends to expand the scope of the program. The institute is currently accepting applications for studies in gastrointestinal cancer (deadline: April 23), and by 1995 it expects to add brain tumors to the SPORE lineup. For more information, contact National Cancer Institute, Division of Cancer Biology, Diagnosis and Centers, 6130 Executive Blvd., Executive Plaza North, Suite 512, Bethesda, Md. 20892; (301) 496-8528. Jeff Seiken is a freelance writer based in Pittsburgh. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #4, February 22, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ PEOPLE (Page 22 of newspaper) Femtochemistry Researcher Is Chosen To Receive $100,000 Israeli Wolf Prize in Chemistry Ahmed H. Zewail, a chemical physics professor at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, has received the 1993 Wolf Prize in Chemistry from the Israel-based Wolf Foundation. Since 1978, the Wolf Foundation has been granting $100,000 prizes for individual achievements in the fields of agriculture, chemistry, mathematics, medicine, physics, and the arts. This year, the prizes will be presented on May 16 by Israeli President Chaim Herzog at the Knesset building in Jerusalem. Zewail is being honored for his contributions to the ultrafast study of chemical dynamics on femtosecond timescales (Kathryn Phillips, The Scientist, May 29, 1989, page 17). One femtosecond is equivalent to one thousandth-mil- lionth-millionth of a second. In femtochemistry, he says, "basically, you're photographing snapshots of the atoms and molecules in the intercourse of a chemical reaction in real time. This has to be done in femtoseconds using ultrafast, pulsating lasers and molecular beams." A summary of his work can be found in Science (A.H. Zewail, "Laser femtochemistry," 242[4885]: 1645-53, 1988). The Caltech laboratory, staffed by about 20 graduate students and postdocs, has five laser facilities--each working on the same research but from a different perspective. Operating expenses for the high-tech equipment are close to $1 million a year. Zewail characterizes femto-chemistry as a "field of study that is exploding." His lab's most cited paper (M. Dantus, et al., "Real- time femtosecond probing of transition states in chemical reactions," Journal of Chemical Physics, 87[4]: 2395-7, 1987) has been cited in more than 100 subsequent papers to date. The next step for Zewail's lab is to advance photoimaging techniques. Currently, he is using spectroscopy, which reveals the atomic "fingerprints" of a molecule's motion. Zewail says he now is trying to use electron diffraction to create direct imaging of the molecules. "With electron imaging, it is like taking an X-ray image of the molecule itself. You are seeing the individual arrangements and structures ... just like you would take a picture," he says. Born in Alexandria, Egypt, in 1946, Zewail started work at Caltech in 1976 as an assistant professor. He received his bachelor's degree in 1967 from Alexandria University and his Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania in 1974 in the laboratory of Robin M. Hochstrasser, another pioneer in the field. Zewail says that, as a native of an Arab country, he feels no uneasiness about receiving an Israeli prize. "This is an important international prize that honors work for the betterment of science and the humanities in the world," he says. "There is a conflict right now between the two countries regarding the rights of the Palestinians and regarding peaceful coexistence between Arabs and Israelis. But I don't feel that politics and science have to be mixed." He says winning the Wolf Prize has made two important impressions. First, he says, "there is nothing more satisfying for a scientist than seeing that the work that we have spent 20 years of our lives on is being recognized internationally. And second, it's just so wonderful to see that [my] own colleagues can appreciate the work that's done by my students, postdocs, and myself." --Ron Kaufman (The Scientist, Vol:7, #4, February 22, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ (Page 22 of newspaper) Former Astronaut, NASA Head Appointed Director Of Georgia Tech Research Institute Richard H. Truly, former astronaut and ex-administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), has been appointed director of the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI). He began in the position on December 1. Located on the campus of the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, GTRI conducts research and development programs in 13 different areas of science, including aerospace science, infrared and electro-optics technology, radar, and environmental sciences. The institute's main customer is the United States Department of Defense. Truly stepped into his new position with the idea that some bold avenues should be explored in order to strengthen the institute's current programs and effectively compete in the 1990s. "There are clearly three major thrusts that become quite obvious," he says. "One is to keep the defense-related reputation. Second, to expand our reputation in civilian technologies and applications. This means to make sure GTRI's research can have value not only to the defense-related work that the organization has been known for in the past, but also civilian technologies and applications. "For example, GTRI is extremely well-known for its support of defense electronics, like radar. But we can easily move into civilian technologies with the work being done in environmental sciences and advanced transportation control systems for air and ground traffic." Truly says his third area of focus will be to establish closer links between GTRI and the surrounding colleges within Georgia Tech, as well as "centers of excellence," also located on the Georgia Tech campus. For example, GTRI and these facilities could share joint faculty appointments and work together on specific projects, he says. Truly joined the U.S. Navy in 1959 and retired as a vice admiral in 1963. He worked on the U.S. Air Force's Manned Orbital Laboratory Program before joining NASA in 1969. His major achievements as an astronaut include working as the capsule communicator to Skylab and the 1975 Apollo-Soyuz mission, as well as serving as commander of the space shuttle Columbia's second flight in 1981 and Challenger's third flight in 1983. Following the destruction of the Challenger in 1986, Truly served as associate administrator of NASA's Office of Space Flight until 1989. He was NASA administrator from April 1989 to March 1992. Truly graduated from Georgia Tech in 1959 with a degree in aeronautical engineering. He says returning to a college campus provides some unique personal challenges. "I've spent most of my career in federal government organizations, specifically the U.S. Navy and NASA, and these cultures and that of a college campus are quite different," he says. "I'm finding this very free and open, and a bit more unstructured than I'm used to. So there is an adjustment for me to learn about this culture and make sure I fit into it. It's a good challenge." --Ron Kaufman (The Scientist, Vol:7, #4, February 22, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ OBITUARY (Page 22 of newspaper) Clinton N. Woolsey, a neuroscientist at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, died January 14 in Madison. He was 88 years old. Woolsey was the school's Charles Sumner Slichter Professor of Neurophysiology, a position he held from 1948 to 1975; he became an emeritus professor in 1975. His research focused on the sensory perception of the brain in both humans and lower animals. Woolsey was a cofounder of the school's Waisman Center on Mental Retardation and Human Development. He received his medical degree from Johns Hopkins University in 1933 and then joined the faculty there. He moved to Wisconsin in 1948. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #4, February 22, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================


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