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Request: the-scientist Topic: the-scientist-930322 Subject: The March 22, 1993 issue of THE SCIENTIST Newspaper Date: 19 March 1993 THE SCIENTIST VOLUME 7, No:6 March 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 *** *** APRIL 5, 1993 *** *** *** ====================================================== THE SCIENTIST CONTENTS PAGE (Page numbers correspond to printed edition of THE SCIENTIST) CONTENTS (Page 3 of Newspaper) ================================================================ IMMUNOLOGY HORIZONS: While the field of immunology has generally been linked with the effort to detect and eradicate diseases and pressing medical problems of the day, a recent study also reveals its importance in stemming the reemergence of "traditional" diseases, such as measles, influenza, and tuberculosis. The growing emphasis on these investigations is translating into increased job opportunities in the field, but in unexpected ways Page 1 EXCELLENCE IN RESEARCH: Along with the more concrete indicators of good science, such as research funding levels and numbers of faculty Nobelists, certain intangibles, including a productive work environment and encouragement of interdisciplinary study, mark the better research university science departments, science faculty say Page 1 AAAS CONFERENCE OBSERVATIONS: The annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Boston drew thousands of scientists and hundreds of journalists and seemed to cover the entire breadth of science, including some surprising-- and humorous--events Page 1 MEETING MANEUVERS: It will not be business as usual for two major scientific meetings taking place next week. Organizers of the American Chemical Society's spring meeting in Denver have had to deal with controversy over Colorado's banning of antidiscrimination laws for homosexuals. Meanwhile, the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology's meeting in New Orleans is adopting a new name--and format Page 3 NSF FUTURE: In an effort to clarify what has been widely regarded as an ambiguously expressed set of National Science Board recommendations regarding the future focus and policies of the National Science Foundation, Harvard University's Lewis Branscomb sums up his views on the matter Page 11 COMMENTARY: Although chemistry is one of the mainstays of all science and is responsible for innumerable advances in medicine, agriculture, the environment, and other areas crucial to human life and the planet's welfare, "chemophobia"--fear of chemistry, brought on, apparently, by well-publicized occurrences, such as chemical pollution--is stunting the field's growth and jeopardizing the supply of future chemists, says Columbia University chemistry professor Ronald Breslow Page 12 SETTING IMMUNOLOGY'S PACE: Given the field's applications in the treatment of AIDS, cancer, and other diseases, it is not surprising that immunology has generated some of the most cited papers in 1992, according to figures from the Institute for Scientific Information Page 14 HOT PAPERS: A neuroscientist discusses genetic mechanisms underlying the influx of calcium ions into neurons Page 15 CYTOKINES OF INTEREST: Interferons and interleukins--immune system biochemicals at the forefront of basic research and medical technology--have been both hailed as potential wonder drugs and derided because of their often-toxic side effects. Nonetheless, they are still the object of intense study and are made readily available to researchers through several suppliers (see also Interleukins and Interferons Suppliers Directory on page 31) Page 19 CAREER OPTION FOR CHEMISTS: Chemists considering a career change that incorporates their specialized knowledge might want to become chemical information specialists, a field whose importance as an aid to researchers is growing rapidly--resulting in increased job opportunities and rising salaries Page 21 BENOIT B. MANDELBROT, an IBM Corp. fellow, has won the 1993 Wolf Prize in Physics Page 22 NOTEBOOK Page 4 CARTOON Page 4 LETTERS Page 12 CROSSWORD Page 13 OBITUARIES Page 22 INTERLEUKINS AND INTERFERONS SUPPLIERS DIRECTORY Page 31 (The Scientist, Vol:7, #6, March 22, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ Intangible Factors Are Crucial In Research Universities' Quest For High Achievement In Science An institution's locale, reputation, and spirit can be as important as big budgets and elegant labs, researchers claim BY FRANKLIN HOKE Few academic scientists would disagree with the notion that the research prowess of a university depends to a great extent on how much money the school is willing to invest in its scientists and the material needs that their investigations entail. And few would deny that the impact of the research reports a school generates each year is one valid gauge of return on that investment and, thus, a means of assessing its position in the hierarchy of scientific powerhouses. But, according to research scientists at major universities throughout the United States, there are several additional factors that, while defying quantification, nevertheless contribute to and reflect a rich and fertile research environment. If such measurable or observable conditions as adequate funding and properly outfitted labs are prerequisite to high achievement, they say, so are a number of these "soft" factors. To what degree, for example, does a research university encourage creative exchange among scientific disciplines? Does a prestigious tradition help it woo top talent--graduate students as well as faculty--away from other institutions? And what about the physical setting of its campus: Is it in the heart of a big- city slum--or nestled into a peaceful small-town community? Is it isolated in the countryside, far from cultural centers--or is it just a cab ride away from museums and cafes? For an academic institution to achieve and maintain enduring prominence as a research hub, scientists agree, a lot rests on how positively it can answer these and other questions about what it has to offer beyond big money and fancy labs. One eminently valuable, if intangible, attribute, for example, is a school's "image." Researchers generally agree that, since success tends to breed success, a good reputation for past achievement can be a forceful determinant of an institution's future gains. "Places have tradition," says Jack L. Strominger, a professor of biochemistry at Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. Strominger ranked among the 100 most cited researchers in the world during the 1980s, according to recent data from the Philadelphia-based Institute for Scientific Information (ISI). "People come here because they know there's been outstanding work done here, and it becomes catalytic," he says. "The better place you're at," he adds, "the better colleagues you have to talk to, the better students and postdocs you get, the better you're going to look, the more fun you're going to have, and the more you're going to be able to accomplish." Certainly, Harvard's research status and accomplishments are enviable: 17th in total research spending in 1991, according to the National Science Foundation; second in citations per paper in the physical sciences, according to recent ISI studies, second in chemistry citations, and seventh in biology citations. Harvard is also first--by quite a distance--in science Nobels going to faculty in residence at time of award with 24. (Rockefeller University in New York City is second with 13.) Another intangible factor that scientists agree is important to advancing experimental science at many successful research universities is an atmosphere of cooperative relations among different departments and their faculty and graduate students. This factor is emphasized more strongly, perhaps, at those institutions whose fortunes have risen in tandem with United States grant-based research since World War II. "There's a tradition here of working togeth-er, which makes the whole a bit more than the sum of its parts," says Rick Dahlquist, director of the multidisciplinary Institute of Molecular Biology at the University of Oregon, Eugene, and a professor of chemistry at the school. Oregon, although not among NSF's top 100 spenders for research, ranked 10th in citations per paper in biological sciences and 25th in physics, according to ISI. The 30-year-old molecular biology institute has served as the model for several similar institutes at Oregon. Most research activity at the school takes place within the framework of these institutes, according to Dahlquist. "The institutes allow research-active faculty to get together, even if they aren't in the same department, to pursue common goals," Dahlquist says. "That has turned out to be the real strength in this place over the years. We tend to all speak a common language, and we all recognize what good science is in a common way." Interplay among various factors, intangible and otherwise, also can be important, according to many research faculty. For example, important to the continued success of a top-flight research institution, these scientists say, is the ability to consistently attract the best graduate students and faculty. Nonquantifiable factors, such as a reputation for accomplishment or a cooperative atmosphere, can figure prominently in this ability. "For any research institution to be really great, it has to have two important components aside from money, aside from facilities," says Robert Tjian, a professor of biochemistry and molecular biology and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at the University of California, Berkeley. "One is the faculty, and the other is the students." Tjian, like Harvard's Strominger, is among the 100 most cited scientists of the 1980s. And UC-Berkeley is among the nation's leading research institutions by several measures: 13th in total research spending, sixth in biology citations per paper, 12th in physics citations, 15th in chemistry citations, and fourth in science Nobels. The two components--top faculty and graduate students--are intimately interconnected, Tjian adds. "If you have one, you have the other," he says. "The best faculty are going to go where they can have access to the best graduate students, because the graduate students are the engine that runs the whole thing. They're the ones doing the experiments." Self-Sustaining Excellence A strong record of research success tends to be self-sustaining, say scientists at several leading institutions, agreeing with Harvard's Strominger. "History plays the biggest role," says Philip Anderson, a professor of physics at Princeton University and a 1977 Nobel Prize winner in physics. "If you've started early and stayed at some high level of quality, you're bound to continue." Princeton, while ranking 64th in total research spending, stands third in physics citations per paper, fifth in biology citations, and 43rd in chemistry. The university ranks eighth in science Nobels. "Once a school has got a certain reputation, it makes it easier to get other high-quality people to go there," says Paul Green- gard, a professor of molecular and cellular neuroscience at Rockefeller University and one of ISI's 100 most cited scientists of the 1980s. "It's not terribly difficult to keep the thing perpetuating itself. People like to go to places that are considered the bastions, so these become self-fulfilling prophecies." Rockefeller, which has focused its efforts in the biomedical disciplines, ranks 82nd in overall expenditures for research. But the university tops the listings in citations per paper in the biological sciences, and is second in total Nobel science prizes with 13. In addition to institutions having identifiable traditions of success, the Nobel Prize also has a traceable "lineage" in many cases, according to Harvard's Stro-minger. "It's amazing how many Nobel laureates worked in the labs of Nobel laureates when they were young scientists," Stro-minger says. The best example of this phenomenon, he says, is Carl Cori, a 1947 Nobel laureate in physiology or medicine. A professor at Washington University in St. Louis, Cori had seven students and postdocs who won Nobel Prizes, including Edwin Krebs, a 1992 Nobel winner in physiology or medicine, Strominger notes. Strominger declines to describe this heritage in terms of simple teacher-student relationships. "It's some sort of intensity and critical attitude toward science that gets transmitted," he adds, "the instinct to identify important areas for research and to [then] pursue and complete problems within these areas." Symbiosis And Synergy Histories of interdisciplinary and cooperative activity play important parts in a research university's record of research accomplishment, scientists say. "A positive thing here is an easy communication between physics, chemistry, and engineering," says Roald Hoffmann, a professor of chemistry at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., and a 1981 Nobel laureate in chemistry. "Compared to other places, it's really unusual and leads to a certain symbiosis in research." Hoffmann traces the collaboration among the three departments to a trio of researchers who came to Cornell in the years before World War II. The three were physicist Hans A. Bethe, chemist Peter Debye, and engineer Henry Sack. The interaction among the disciplines has outlasted its origins and continues to be expressed in such efforts as the NSF-funded Materials Science Center in Ithaca, according to Hoffmann. Cornell ranks seventh in overall research spending, 18th in chemistry citations per paper, 24th in physics, and 25th in biology. The university's six science Nobels place Cornell at seventh in that count. Researchers at other top institutions report similarly cooperative relationships within their schools. "There's terrific interaction between laboratories here," says 1992 Nobelist Krebs, a professor of pharmacology and biochemistry at the University of Washington, Seattle. "The scientific contacts and collaborations possible here are very good, and the spirit is one that encourages that." After about 20 years at Washington, between 1948 and 1968, Krebs says he moved to another university for about a decade. In the late 1970s, he returned to Seattle. "One of the reasons that I was attracted back," he says, "was this interactive spirit here on this campus. I found that I missed that element, which is so evident here." Washington ranks ninth in research expenditures, 17th in biology citations, and 44th in chemistry citations. And three Nobel Prizes have been awarded to university researchers. Judith Eisen, an associate professor of biology at the University of Oregon, Eugene, finds a similar environment at her school. "The general tenor of this place is that there are lots of interactions," says Eisen, who is affiliated with the university's interdisciplinary Institute of Neuroscience, modeled on the Institute of Molecular Biology. At some well-functioning institutions, the physical layout of the campus may generally mirror and support the collaborative disciplinary structure of the school. Oregon exemplifies this: The departments are vertically organized in their own buildings, while horizontal walkways and bridges link departmental elements into the institutes. "It's the institutes that provide the cooperative research atmosphere for different groups," Eisen says. "In neuroscience, for example, we have people from biology, psychology, and other departments." James Gill is a professor of earth sciences at the University of California, Santa Cruz. That university, while not among the top 100 spenders for research, is nevertheless ranked first in physics citations and 12th in biology. Gill describes the campus as a successful experiment, built in the 1950s to accommodate the coming baby-boomers. "The theory was to build an academic core, both literally and figuratively, that would be analogous to any other research university, but to have the students in liberal arts colleges scattered on the perimeter," Gill explains. The idea was to incorporate the "uniquely American institution of a liberal arts college" with a research institution. "In some way or another," Gill says, "these [citation] results derive from that." Princeton's Anderson says that several neighboring research and academic institutions, each with their own successful histories, have added to the strength of physics research at the Ivy League university. In particular, he points to interactions with the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory and the Institute for Advanced Study. "You've got a cluster of good institutions," Anderson says, "and they tend to be synergistic to each other." The surrounding community and physical environment also can be a factor in the overall intellectual success of a university, according to many researchers. These considerations are difficult to assess, because the same elements often have positive and negative sides. Rockefeller's Greengard says that the university benefits to a degree from the cultural richness of its New York City setting in terms of, for example, attracting some faculty and students. On the other hand, he says, a young research faculty member may not want to raise his or her children in that sometimes-threatening urban environment. But then again, he adds, the nonacademic spouse in a two-career couple might find it easier to prosper in the city over a small town. According to Tjian, the community surrounding UC-Berkeley provides an especially good climate for intellectual activity. Many Berkeley residents, he says, are generally highly educated, and the presence in the Bay area of several other universities and a large segment of the U.S. biotech industry serves to indirectly support research work. "And it's a beautiful place, physically," Tjian says. "It's like living on the hills surrounding the Mediterranean, living in the Berkeley hills overlooking the [San Francisco] Bay." Edwin Krebs at the University of Washington, Seattle, says that geography is clearly a plus in the history of that institution. "We're right in the midst of the city," Krebs says, "but Seattle is a very beautiful city. We laugh about it, but everybody has always said the view of Mount Rainier was worth so many thousands of dollars in yearly salary--and that, unfortunately, the administration knew that." (The Scientist, Vol:7, #6, March 22, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ Mounting Threat Of Infectious Diseases Contributes To Rising Need For Immunology Research Specialists In today's otherwise sluggish biomedical job market, career prospects for these scientists are improving in academia as well as industry BY MARCIA CLEMMITT Immunology research is riding the crest of a wave, with significant laboratory results proliferating, observers of the field say. "Immunology remains one area in biomedicine that has relatively good prospectives for employment, and one that is likely to continue doing somewhat better than most others," says Robert Rich, a professor of microbiology, immunology, and medicine and vice president and dean of research at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. Basic and clinical research into immune system responses are increasingly seen as vital to virtually every medical field, including cancer, pulmonary disease, diabetes, and central nervous system disorders. This nearly universal applicability is helping turn a research boom into something much rarer in today's economy--a stronger-than-average job market for scientists with training and experience in immunology, according to experts in the field (see story on page 6). Public awareness of the field's importance is likely to be further intensified by evidence presented in a 1992 report issued by the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine. The report, "Emerging Infections: Microbial Threats to Health in the United States," points out that infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria, cholera, pneumonia, and measles are the leading causes of death and suffering worldwide. Furthermore, the report asserts, such diseases, along with newly emerging ones, such as Lyme disease, will continue to be the major threat to public health in the U.S. and elsewhere, and that immunological studies of their biology and pathogenesis are crucial to controlling them. How the immune system attempts to defend the body against foreign intruders has long been a subject of study. However, the success of molecular biology techniques in studies of immune responses, together with public awareness of diseases affecting the immune system, such as AIDS, has changed immunology from a relatively low-profile discipline two decades ago to a prominent one today. Says Joseph Bellanti, director of the immunology center at the Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, D.C.: "When we started the center [in 1975] we had to teach the university chancellor how to pronounce `immunology.' Now it's a household word; everybody knows it." A human or animal immune system is a large, dynamic system of molecules whose interactions are numerous and complex. Modern immunology includes study of those immune responses at the molecular, cellular, and systemic levels. At one end of immunology research are highly technical, molecular biology-based gene-alteration experiments, in which one gene in a mouse is suppressed to create an artificial immune deficiency disease. At the other extreme are whole-systems approaches to the immune system involving clinical studies of how an infectious disease develops and progresses in the body. While observers of the field predict a relatively strong immunology employment picture in the near future and throughout the coming decade, at present, many scientists say, biotechnology companies and large research universities are not the primary source of new jobs, as might be expected. Instead, open positions are divided among those larger institutions and colleges, as well as small universities, medical schools, and traditional drug firms. And while experts also say that the immunology job market of the future should hold excellent possibilities for scientists who can apply basic research to clinical situations, they also observe that the existence of those future positions depends heavily on government and industry funding priorities, as well as on the field's own ability to organize itself to make the most of its research gains. Since biotechnology companies were first to develop disease therapies using antibody and other immune system-related technologies, many still expect the biotech sector to provide the greatest number of industry job opportunities for immunologists. However, biotechnology executives say that the small size of most companies, plus shifting hiring needs as companies move from the initial research phase into product development, mean that the numbers of scientists they hire with a specialty will be small. John Rodwell, vice president for research and development of Cytogen Corp. in Princeton, N.J., agrees that immunology has been an important part of the initial research stage of his and other biotechnology companies. However, he says, "when companies attain a certain size and stage of development, the size of research and development staffs tends to stabilize." He notes, "In our case, for example, with product approvals in hand, we're now hiring more people in areas like analytical chemistry and manufacturing, who have skills developed in pharmaceutical companies and experience in bringing a product to market." While traditional pharmaceutical companies involved in vaccine development have long conducted immunology research, today many such companies--specializing in fields such as antibacterial agents and central nervous system disorders--are increasing their efforts. "The big drug companies are almost all adding and building groups, most with a focus on inflammatory and autoimmune diseases and on defenses against infection," says Hugh McDevitt, Burt and Marion Avery Professor of Immunology at the Stanford University Medical Center. "The potential for jobs in the pharmaceutical industry is vastly greater than 10 years ago, and we're almost certainly in a growth period [for immunology employment] with the big companies, now, although that expansion may soon stabilize." Many pharmaceutical company executives confirm that their laboratories are giving increased attention to immunology studies. However, along with some biotechnology executives, they also point out that paying more attention to immunology research does not necessarily mean hiring scientists trained strictly as immunologists. Instead, they say that scientists representing many disciplines-- such as molecular biology and protein chemistry--who have some expertise in studying the immune system are carrying out both preclinical and clinical immunology research in company labs. "Though immunology is a very important tool in the research, when the research project is well-defined it's not necessary that the scientists involved in it be strictly trained as immunologists. Different disciplines bring different kinds of expertise to bear on studying the immune response," one industry executive says, speaking on condition of anonymity. As knowledge about the immune system increases at a rapid rate, colleges of arts and sciences are adding immunologists to their general biology departments. In addition, colleges and universities that train medical technologists at all levels are greatly increasing the amount of immunology training they offer, since a basic knowledge of the discipline is important to understanding almost all of what goes on in medical laboratories today. In many smaller universities, the proportion of immunologists in departments of microbiology and immunology has been rising slightly, scientists say, partly as a result of graduate student demand for training in the discipline and partly as a means of obtaining expertise in molecular biology techniques to add to university research teams. Immunologists hoping to obtain such positions need to combine training in a classical, systems-based approach to immunology with specialized molecular techniques. "In order to compete for funding, individuals in small labs have to interact as teams," says Kirk Ziegler, an associate professor in the department of microbiology and immunology at Emory University in Atlanta. Labs like his, Ziegler says, "need the kind of person who can teach classical immunology and also be part of a research team." Medical schools across the United States are also showing a slightly increasing interest in hiring immunologists, many scientists say. They are interested not because more students are seeking to be fully trained as immunology specialists, but because many medical students, physicians, and other postdoctoral students in biomedical investigations would like to add more immunology training to their primary research interests. In addition, some medical school faculty predict that traditional medical school departments of immunology--which concentrate on the immune system's role in allergies and infectious diseases in training pediatricians, family practitioners, and rheumatolo- gists--will increase in size during the next decade, as medical schools aim to turn out a greater proportion of general-practice physicians. Says Melvin Berger, an associate professor of pediatrics at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland: "What we are seeing here is not a lot of people wanting a primary specialty in immunology, but rather a growing clinical demand for immunology training for other specialists." "The exposure to the allergy and immunology specialty in medical schools is relatively small these days," says Allen Kaplan, chairman of the department of medicine at the Stony Brook Health Sciences Center of the State University of New York, Stony Brook. "The trend in the next decade will be to increase the focus on conditions that can be treated on an outpatient basis, and that will increase the amount of training given in allergy and immunology. And the research that's going on in the specialty is increasingly sophisticated." Many observers predict that immunology hiring should remain strong through the next decade and beyond, provided that government and pharmaceutical industry funding priorities, as well as communication and priority-setting within the field itself, allow for testing and development of the many immune-re- sponse-based therapies currently being researched (see accompanying story). "Immunology has traditionally been an attractive discipline for M.D./Ph.D. people, and there'll be a substantial need for M.D.'s with basic science training in the next decade," says Baylor's Rich. "The big area will be transferring basic science at the bench to clinical applications. Anyone who can combine clinical skills with basic research is likely to have a very bright future." Marcia Clemmitt is a freelance science writer based in Washington, D.C. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #6, March 22, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEGLECTED AREAS OF IMMUNOLOGY RESEARCH COULD BRING BIG PUBLIC HEALTH GAINS When immunology makes the news, the subject matter is often its role in developing new therapies for dramatic, high-profile diseases like cancer or AIDS, or issues of cutting-edge technology, such as using engineered viruses as vectors for gene therapy. But according to some scientists, that fixation on high technology and diseases the public clearly perceives as life- threatening obscures the traditional aspect of immunology research that may be most important to promoting human health in general--its application to such "ordinary" infectious diseases as measles, influenza, and tuberculosis. A report by the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine (IOM)--issued in late 1992 and entitled "Emerging Infections: Microbial Threats to Health in the United States"-- notes that though "the emergence of HIV disease has stimulated a high level of interest in the scientific, medical, public health and policymaking communities...awareness of and concern about the threats to human health posed by other emerging and reemerging microbial diseases remain critically low." Disease-causing microbes have always posed a threat to human health, and, according to the IOM report, that threat may intensify in the coming years. As evidenced by the recent reemergence of diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria, and measles, and outbreaks of food-borne diseases such as the E. coli infection that recently killed several small children in the northwestern United States, changing human living conditions as well as the genetic change and evolution of microbes make outbreaks of killer infections a perpetual threat. And, according to the institute's report, wider human travel, increased long- distance transport of food and other products, new food- processing methods, and modern medical treatments that may suppress immune response all may make present-day populations even more susceptible to some infectious diseases. Immunology research, say the IOM report authors and other scientists, is one vital link in countering such widespread threats to public health. Properly directed immunology research is essential to developing diagnostic tests to determine who in the population may be most susceptible to such diseases as well as to developing vaccines, which, says Emory University immunology and microbiology department associate professor Kirk Ziegler, are "the cheapest way yet found to get rid of large amounts of human suffering." To accomplish the immunology research needed for such an effort, some scientists are calling for a more comprehensive, systems- based study of immune response, in order to develop the most efficient, side-effect-free vaccines. The report's authors and others cite the need for more research focusing on diseases such as tuberculosis, long considered a defused threat by the medical community and the public. "To create an appropriate vaccine, you have to understand everything you can about how the disease comes about, at the molecular, cellular, and clinical levels," says Frank Fitch, Albert D. Lasker Professor in the Medical Sciences at the University of Chicago. "The immune system is a dynamical system with many feedback loops. Some make things better; some make things worse. You have to know what kinds of immune responses you want to encourage and discourage, so you need to know exactly how the disease goes about making people sick." Fitch warns that such research will be further hampered if immunology training programs focus on molecular biology to the exclusion of more clinical and classic approaches. The report cites a vital need for the nation to "maintain a core of generalists...to respond to emerging and other infectious disease problems." The history of medicine has also militated against doing such studies for some of the most common human diseases, Fitch says, and that's caused some of the gaps in immunological knowledge that may have the greatest future effects on public health. "Some diseases are more complicated than previously thought. TB is one," Fitch says. "Unfortunately, in some of these cases, antibiotics and chemotherapies developed before an understanding of how the disease works. Since tuberculosis, for example, could be treated with antibiotics, it didn't become interesting to know how the disease makes people sick." Such flukes of medical history have left large gaps in immunological knowledge of many diseases that are currently public health concerns, says Mitchell Cohen, director of the division of bacterial and mycotic diseases at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, who also contributed to the IOM report. "Among the high-priority diseases at CDC, there are many good opportunities for important research." Cohen says. "Many of these diseases have been neglected. Less [immunology research] has been done in TB than in HIV infection, for example. "Similarly, we understand very little of the role of immunology in influenza or in E. coli and other food-borne diseases. In order to combat outbreaks of those infections, develop better vaccines for influenza and so on, that kind of research needs to be done." But Cohen and other scientists concerned with the public health consequences of microbial infection note that there's no way they can guarantee that such research will be done. "About all we can do is call people's attention to the vital areas," Cohen says. "And we do that in every way we can." The IOM report says that "industry currently lacks economic incentives to stimulate efforts at preventing infectious diseases with vaccines....Nor does the public health sector...have a mechanism for setting development programs in motion....A comprehensive approach is urgently needed." --M.C. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #6, March 22, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ MAKING USE OF IMMUNOLOGY RESEARCH As immunologists look ahead, many see their discipline poised to translate its accumulated basic science knowledge into tangible human good. However, many also point to obstacles and challenges that may stand in the way of that accomplishment, including substantial problems in communicating and setting appropriate priorities within such a fast-growing, widely dispersed field. "The field has grown very fast and the current priorities seem skewed," says Ellen Vitetta, a professor of microbiology and director of the cancer immunology center at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. "We're certainly still entranced with ourselves as a discipline, but I think other people may be getting a bit fed up with us, wondering where all our promised results are." One problem, say some scientists, is that communication and priority-setting are especially difficult in a field that's pursued in such a wide variety of laboratories. Immunologists of different stripes need to communicate more with each other if real gains are to be made, they say, and structures need to be set up to facilitate such communication. "Certainly one of the discipline's strengths is that it doesn't belong to any one department," says Georgetown Uni-versity's Joseph Bellanti. "But that's also one of the difficulties. It's hard enough to communicate in one department. With immunology, people trained in it are doing it, people not trained in it are doing it, surgeons are doing it, microbiologists are doing it. In order to utilize those resources maximally, you need to transfer knowledge and set the right priorities. "One of the greatest challenges of the 21st century will be to put immunological tools . . . to good clinical use. But it will take hard work and imagination on our part to develop strategies to do it, plus convincing the bean counters in our organizations [that new facilitating structures need to be set up]," Bellanti says. According to some scientists, current government funding priorities as well as academic hiring preferences may be limiting the supply of young scientists who are interested in making those transfers from basic science to clinical application in favor of those who take a purely molecular approach. "The areas attracting people still tend to lean towards the new hot technologies, such as transgenic mice . . . fallouts of molecular analysis," says Vitetta. "We've got fixated on the genes, and what's being ignored is the biology of the pathogenesis of disease. It's harder to get students and fellows to work on this. The experiments take longer; it takes longer to get published. People are afraid they'll get lost. "Despite what we hear about the government wanting everybody to be vaccinated, the final decisions remain with the study sections and how they spend the budgets. It's much harder to get funded for the clinical work, so people stay away from it." --M.C. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #6, March 22, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ Reporter's Notebook: AAAS Annual Meeting BY SCOTT VEGGEBERG The American Association for the Advancement of Science returned to Boston, the city of its birth, for an annual meeting held February 11-16 that drew 5,000 scientists and students, plus more than 700 reporters. The meeting, which seemed to touch upon the entire breadth of science, featured appearances by such science luminaries as Harvard University pop-paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould and cosmologist George Smoot of Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, who led the group that, in his words, "discovered the primordial seeds of modern structure in the universe." Following, from this reporter's notes, is a sampling of interesting--sometimes surprising--moments that colored the proceedings: * Louis Pasteur, if investigated by science fraud fighter Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), might well have had his funding stripped on the grounds of serious scientific fraud and misconduct, according to Princeton University historian Gerald Geison. Geison told the 300-plus attendees at his Saturday lecture--"Louis Pasteur, Laboratory Notebooks, and Scientific Fraud"--that Pasteur apparently was ruthless in pushing aside and stealing the glory of rivals in vaccine development. This scientific giant took big risks in applying ill-tested rabies vaccines on human dog-bite sufferers, Geison said. And the findings reported in Pasteur's laboratory notebooks did not jibe with his public writings. "There are serious, ethically dubious discrepancies between his public and private writings," said Geison. But despite this outrageous record--which he said "would not pass muster with Congress" today--Geison contended that Pasteur, who spearheaded so many advances in science, should be forgiven. Bringing the Pasteur record into the modern context of AIDS researcher Robert Gallo, who has been accused of stealing the credit for discovering the human immunodeficiency virus, he said, "This attention to all forms of alleged scientific misconduct, unless very carefully constrained, leaves too little room for risk- taking and simple human courage.".... * Scientists wishing to descend from the ivory tower and enter the public-policy arena, watch out. Those who take strong advocacy positions on topics such as global warming, biological diversity, or the cancer-causing threat of chemicals could wind up on Science magazine reporter Christopher Anderson's blacklist. Anderson spoke at "On the Record: Scientific Advocacy in the News Media," a symposium exploring the issue of scientists using their credentials to push their personal agendas. According to the testy reporter, Carl Sagan left the realm of credibility and became an "agenda advocate" when he began writing and talking about nuclear winter. Equally untrustworthy, in Ander-son's view, are Harvard University biologist E.O. Wilson--outspoken in his views on the dire consequences of declining biological diversity--and University of California, Berkeley biochemist Bruce Ames, who is often acerbic in his criticism of the way chemical risk is assessed. "They're all on the blacklist," said Anderson. "If scientists take an advocacy position, I shouldn't take them seriously." ... * Speaking of journalists, who says they aren't tax-and- spenders at heart? At the National Association of Science Writers meeting held at AAAS, the membership heard a proposal from the board of directors to raise the annual membership dues by $10 per year. Not to be outdone, two members in a motion from the floor raised the ante to a $15 increase. Said motion was duly seconded and passed by an overwhelming show of hands, notwithstanding this fiscally conservative member's nay-say- ing. . . . * Sated by a creamy, cholesterol-laden bowl of clam chowder, this reporter relished the thought of attending "Guts, brains, diet, and human evolution," an after-lunch lecture to be delivered by Katharine Milton, an anthropologist from UC-Berkeley. In her abstract, Milton had promised that "by focusing on some of the dietary challenges faced by early anthropoid primates and early Homo [genus], as well as gut morphology and food choices of our closest living relatives, the great apes, we can perhaps gain a better understanding of the type of diet best suited to our own biology." Unfortunately, the lecture was canceled, no explanation. Maybe it was something she ate. . . . * One of the locals from Harvard took on a visitor from New Haven, Conn., at a session on "The Economics of Biological Diversity." Robert Mendelsohn, an economist with the Yale University School of Forestry, said that trying to preserve the environment in developing countries by establishing preserves won't accomplish much protection. His alternative to the rampant conversion of forests to farm or ranch lands is extraction of the maximum value from them as forests. "Surprisingly, the tropical forests have enormous amounts of value," he said. Limited studies in the Belize Highlands and Peruvian Amazon show that an annual income of $700 to $3,000 per hectare can be realized by exploiting the full spectrum of forest resources, including monkey meat, medicinal plants, fruit, and latex. The notion behind these extraction preserves is to "take advantage of diversity, don't fight nature," he said. But that's where Harvard economist Martin Weitzman saw--and even became--red. "The numbers I'm seeing somehow don't seem plausible," he said. "If I take a dart and throw it at a map of the Amazon, will I get thousands of dollars?" Mendelsohn conceded that these incomes are available only in locations close to transportation hubs and they fall off in proportion to distance from market. But he defended his position that extraction, and maximal marketing of the products, is the solution to the rain forest crisis. "The idea of people shifting tastes to preserve tropical rainforests sounded ludicrous to me, until I saw Rainforest Crunch." Rainforest Crunch is a tasty, peanut brittle-like snack, but made with cashews and Brazil nuts. Money from the sale of this product is going to establish the very forest extraction operations in Brazil that Mendelsohn described. But given the high-calorie and -fat content of the snack, this reporter has to wonder if this is really a valid solution, given an America already battling the bulge. . . . * Meanwhile, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration public relations representatives were occupying a large expanse of turf over in the exhibits hall. At the colorful and informative mock-up of a Mars colony, this reporter caught a slickly produced bit of infotainment--"The Mars Evening News." Those listening learned the weather outside was a frosty 58 degrees below zero, with an overnight low dipping to 125 below. Also in the space agency's P.R. module, Hugh Downs, host of the television show "20/20," provided an education in technology transfer by pointing out that the first "A" in NASA stands for aeronautics and that modern aviation practically owes its very existence to the space agency.... * Rep. George Brown used the AAAS meeting as a vehicle to announce his assault on pork-barrel spending in academia. Brown, the California Democrat who chairs the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, said academic earmarking, the practice of inserting projects that have not passed any peer-review process into bills, is "spiraling out of control." His press secretary, Rick Borchelt, pointed out that for fiscal year 1992, the aggregate amount of academic pork slipped into the budget, $707 million, was about equivalent to that provided for the superconducting supercollider, which is itself maligned as a budget buster. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #6, March 22, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ AT A GLANCE AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY SPRING MEETING More than 10,000 scientists are expected to attend ACS's 205th national meeting in Denver March 28-April 2. Approximately 4,800 papers and more than 650 technical sessions are scheduled. Meeting Highlights * Presidential Event, "Health Awareness Fair." Featured will be aerobics instruction, gym equipment, diagnostic testing, and healthful snacks. (Sunday, March 28, 7 P.M., Convention Center) * Media Relations Training Session. Program will guide scientists in handling media interviews. (Sunday, March 28, time to be announced, Gold Room/Cripple Creek Room, Brown Palace Hotel) (The Scientist, Vol:7, #6, March 22, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ Two Major Scientific Meetings Slated Next Week BY BARBARA SPECTOR Two major scientific meetings will be taking place next week--one marked by controversy, the other by change. Denver is the site of the spring meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS), set for March 28-April 2. ACS officials say they are unfazed by a boycott of the state of Colorado by gay-rights activists and others angry about the passage in November of Amendment 2, an amendment to the state constitution banning local antidiscrimination laws for homosexuals. At press time, the boycott had "not materially affected our attendance yet," according to Christine Pruitt of the society's meetings office, although she acknowledges receipt of several letters from people saying they will not be coming to the meeting because of its location. About 10,000 to 12,000 people generally attend ACS's spring and fall meetings, society officials say. Meanwhile, Experimental Biology 93 is slated for March 28-April 1 in New Orleans. The conference--bringing together four of the nine societies that make up the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), as well as five "guest" societies--has adopted the new name this year; it will no longer be known as "the FASEB meeting." FASEB president Shu Chien, a professor of bioengineering and medicine at the University of California, San Diego, says that the name change is in line with the federation's mission to "bring the societies together for common goals and recruit new societies." Chien says, "One advantage of a large meeting is that it brings everyone together. But the downside is that people don't feel they can really go to the sessions they want to-- there's too many things going on. With nine societies meeting together, it's almost impossible." Thus, he says, "to make it mandatory [for constituent societies] to go to the FASEB meeting would make it difficult for them to join the federation." In anticipation of such concerns, Chien says, "we adopted this more flexible approach: All member societies can hold their own meetings, and we get some to meet together." The change in the conference's name, he says, came about because "the societies that decide to meet together may not be even half of the federation, so it's not right to call it `the FASEB meeting.'<|>" Also new for the experimental biology meeting this year is the format for presentation of papers, which are now being organized according to predetermined "themes." Chemists Convene ACS is trying something new at its meetings this year, too, in an effort to accommodate its members. In response to complaints of poor attendance at Friday-morning events, the spring meeting will include more programs on Sunday instead. One of these Sunday special events, entitled "What Works: Chemists in the Classroom," is aimed at researchers who are not professional educators. Visiting a classroom can be daunting, says program chairman Robert Silberman, a professor of chemistry at the State University of New York, Cortland. "Suddenly, you find yourself faced with little kids, and you've planned this elaborate, intricate experiment that doesn't work" because the children can't comprehend it, he explains. "If [the program] works out, we'll bring it to future meetings," Silberman says. "We hope for several hundred people to show up for this." He says he can't predict how the Colorado boycott will affect his program. ACS officials cite difficulties in getting out of contracts and finding sufficiently large alternative sites as reasons they are not considering moving the meeting from Colorado. Yet a change in conference locale is not unprecedented for the society. In 1980, ACS moved the fall meeting from San Francisco to Las Vegas in order to get away from a hotel workers' strike. Society officers say they don't expect much outcry this time around. "I don't think [the boycott] is going to affect the success of a convention as big as 10,000 people," says Nina McClelland, president of NSF International Inc., a private testing lab in Ann Arbor, Mich., and chairwoman of ACS's meetings and expositions committee. "Most chemists think [such considerations are] irrelevant to the science. That's got to change," says Shane Que Hee, an environmental and industrial hygiene chemist at the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Public Health. Que Hee is boycotting the Denver meeting. "I was thinking of going along and maybe even presenting papers," he says. "But as soon as I heard about the boycott, I decided I wouldn't go." The American Association of Immunologists (AAI), a FASEB constituent that is planning its own separate annual meeting in Denver May 21-25, is facing a similar problem. In the January edition of the AAI Newsletter, the association placed a notice reading: "AAI opposes [Amendment 2].... While we understand the concern...cancellation of the meeting would result in legal action against AAI by hotels and other service organizations with which we have signed contracts.... The Council will not consider making any future contractual commitments in Colorado until the amendment is overturned." "I was very happy to see that notice," says Rochelle Diamond, chairwoman of the Pasadena, Calif.- based National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals. "At least AAI is being sensitive and are making a statement about how they feel. I have not seen ACS do anything like that." The January 18 issue of Chemical & Engineering News, in which the 27- page preliminary program for the ACS meeting appeared, did not address such concerns. Biology Business The more than 10,000 attendees at Experimental Biology 93 will be contending with a new method of organization of the sessions. Papers and symposia will be arranged in eight thematic topics, selected by the meeting's program committee. FASEB president Chien says the themes selected for the meeting were "areas of mutual interest to the four societies that will be at the meeting--in particular, areas that cross the disciplines." But the new theme format has created "some mild confusion" among presenters, says David Pollack, a research investigator at Abbott Laboratories' pharmaceutical products division in Abbott Park, Ill., who has attended FASEB meetings in the past and will be going to Experimental Biology 93. Among the papers Pollack's group at Abbott will be presenting is one on endothelin. But, after perusing the program, he says, he found that "there's no topic in there that says `endothelin'--yet I know there's going to be a lot of papers on endothelin. They don't have the familiar sections, and it's hard to tell which session is going to be the one that will have similar papers. The fear is to be misplaced and get lost--to have your session in another building [away from related presentations], and nobody will come to it." Lansing Taylor, director of the Center for Light Microscope Imaging and Biotechnology at Carnegie Mellon University and an invited speaker at the meeting, says that figuring out where to find programs of interest "has always been a problem" at FASEB events. Because of the many societies participating, the meeting is "so large, it's difficult," says Taylor, who doesn't think the reorganization will decrease the confusion. "With all these opportunities, there's a bit of hassle. If you want to really figure out what to do, you have to invest a little time." FASEB offers a computerized service to help meeting attendes navigate their way through the abstracts. The service allows keyword searches of meeting programs to assist in creating an itinerary. The American Physiological Society (APS), one of the FASEB constituents convening in New Orleans, will be inaugurating a mentoring program at the meeting. A mentoring workshop is scheduled for Sunday, March 28. "Young women, especially junior faculty, don't know how to go about advancing their careers," says Hannah Carey, an assistant professor in the department of comparative biosciences at the University of Wisconsin's School of Veterinary Medicine in Madison. A mentor, says Carey, chairwoman of the APS Women in Physiology Committee, can help a young scientist by "being a listening ear, [providing] feedback on problems that may come up- -especially if the mentor has experienced these problems; by providing support and discussion of what it takes to stay in science, such as dealing with child care and balancing family and career; and by helping with the basics of being a scientist-- giving advice on funding opportunities, publishing opportunities, and networking." (The Scientist, Vol:7, #6, March 22, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ AT A GLANCE EXPERIMENTAL BIOLOGY 93 The more than 10,000 expected attendees at the conference March 28 to April 1 will encounter more than 5,000 scientific reports, as well as about 600 exhibits from more than 379 companies. Meeting Highlight * Workshop, "Science Illiteracy: Impact on Research and What Can Be Done." Speakers will discuss the relationship between basic science knowledge and attitudes toward the use of animals in research, among other topics. (Sunday, March 28, 2 P.M., Convention Center rooms 5, 7, and 9) * Public Affairs Symposium, "Science at the Crossroads: Is Basic Research in Trouble?" Speakers will discuss changes in federal support for basic science. (Monday, March 29, 11:30 A.M., Convention Center room 41/42) (The Scientist, Vol:7, #6, March 22, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ AT A GLANCE AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY SPRING MEETING More than 10,000 scientists are expected to attend ACS's 205th national meeting in Denver March 28-April 2. Approximately 4,800 papers and more than 650 technical sessions are scheduled. Meeting Highlights * Presidential Event, "Health Awareness Fair." Featured will be aerobics instruction, gym equipment, diagnostic testing, and healthful snacks. (Sunday, March 28, 7 P.M., Convention Center) * Media Relations Training Session. Program will guide scientists in handling media interviews. (Sunday, March 28, time to be announced, Gold Room/Cripple Creek Room, Brown Palace Hotel) (The Scientist, Vol:7, #6, March 22, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ Intangible Factors Are Crucial In Research Universities' Quest For High Achievement In Science An institution's locale, reputation, and spirit can be as important as big budgets and elegant labs, researchers claim BY FRANKLIN HOKE Few academic scientists would disagree with the notion that the research prowess of a university depends to a great extent on how much money the school is willing to invest in its scientists and the material needs that their investigations entail. And few would deny that the impact of the research reports a school generates each year is one valid gauge of return on that investment and, thus, a means of assessing its position in the hierarchy of scientific powerhouses. But, according to research scientists at major universities throughout the United States, there are several additional factors that, while defying quantification, nevertheless contribute to and reflect a rich and fertile research environment. If such measurable or observable conditions as adequate funding and properly outfitted labs are prerequisite to high achievement, they say, so are a number of these "soft" factors. To what degree, for example, does a research university encourage creative exchange among scientific disciplines? Does a prestigious tradition help it woo top talent--graduate students as well as faculty--away from other institutions? And what about the physical setting of its campus: Is it in the heart of a big- city slum--or nestled into a peaceful small-town community? Is it isolated in the countryside, far from cultural centers--or is it just a cab ride away from museums and cafes? For an academic institution to achieve and maintain enduring prominence as a research hub, scientists agree, a lot rests on how positively it can answer these and other questions about what it has to offer beyond big money and fancy labs. One eminently valuable, if intangible, attribute, for example, is a school's "image." Researchers generally agree that, since success tends to breed success, a good reputation for past achievement can be a forceful determinant of an institution's future gains. "Places have tradition," says Jack L. Strominger, a professor of biochemistry at Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. Strominger ranked among the 100 most cited researchers in the world during the 1980s, according to recent data from the Philadelphia-based Institute for Scientific Information (ISI). "People come here because they know there's been outstanding work done here, and it becomes catalytic," he says. "The better place you're at," he adds, "the better colleagues you have to talk to, the better students and postdocs you get, the better you're going to look, the more fun you're going to have, and the more you're going to be able to accomplish." Certainly, Harvard's research status and accomplishments are enviable: 17th in total research spending in 1991, according to the National Science Foundation; second in citations per paper in the physical sciences, according to recent ISI studies, second in chemistry citations, and seventh in biology citations. Harvard is also first--by quite a distance--in science Nobels going to faculty in residence at time of award with 24. (Rockefeller University in New York City is second with 13.) Another intangible factor that scientists agree is important to advancing experimental science at many successful research universities is an atmosphere of cooperative relations among different departments and their faculty and graduate students. This factor is emphasized more strongly, perhaps, at those institutions whose fortunes have risen in tandem with United States grant-based research since World War II. "There's a tradition here of working togeth-er, which makes the whole a bit more than the sum of its parts," says Rick Dahlquist, director of the multidisciplinary Institute of Molecular Biology at the University of Oregon, Eugene, and a professor of chemistry at the school. Oregon, although not among NSF's top 100 spenders for research, ranked 10th in citations per paper in biological sciences and 25th in physics, according to ISI. The 30-year-old molecular biology institute has served as the model for several similar institutes at Oregon. Most research activity at the school takes place within the framework of these institutes, according to Dahlquist. "The institutes allow research-active faculty to get together, even if they aren't in the same department, to pursue common goals," Dahlquist says. "That has turned out to be the real strength in this place over the years. We tend to all speak a common language, and we all recognize what good science is in a common way." Interplay among various factors, intangible and otherwise, also can be important, according to many research faculty. For example, important to the continued success of a top-flight research institution, these scientists say, is the ability to consistently attract the best graduate students and faculty. Nonquantifiable factors, such as a reputation for accomplishment or a cooperative atmosphere, can figure prominently in this ability. "For any research institution to be really great, it has to have two important components aside from money, aside from facilities," says Robert Tjian, a professor of biochemistry and molecular biology and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at the University of California, Berkeley. "One is the faculty, and the other is the students." Tjian, like Harvard's Strominger, is among the 100 most cited scientists of the 1980s. And UC-Berkeley is among the nation's leading research institutions by several measures: 13th in total research spending, sixth in biology citations per paper, 12th in physics citations, 15th in chemistry citations, and fourth in science Nobels. The two components--top faculty and graduate students--are intimately interconnected, Tjian adds. "If you have one, you have the other," he says. "The best faculty are going to go where they can have access to the best graduate students, because the graduate students are the engine that runs the whole thing. They're the ones doing the experiments." Self-Sustaining Excellence A strong record of research success tends to be self-sustaining, say scientists at several leading institutions, agreeing with Harvard's Strominger. "History plays the biggest role," says Philip Anderson, a professor of physics at Princeton University and a 1977 Nobel Prize winner in physics. "If you've started early and stayed at some high level of quality, you're bound to continue." Princeton, while ranking 64th in total research spending, stands third in physics citations per paper, fifth in biology citations, and 43rd in chemistry. The university ranks eighth in science Nobels. "Once a school has got a certain reputation, it makes it easier to get other high-quality people to go there," says Paul Green- gard, a professor of molecular and cellular neuroscience at Rockefeller University and one of ISI's 100 most cited scientists of the 1980s. "It's not terribly difficult to keep the thing perpetuating itself. People like to go to places that are considered the bastions, so these become self-fulfilling prophecies." Rockefeller, which has focused its efforts in the biomedical disciplines, ranks 82nd in overall expenditures for research. But the university tops the listings in citations per paper in the biological sciences, and is second in total Nobel science prizes with 13. In addition to institutions having identifiable traditions of success, the Nobel Prize also has a traceable "lineage" in many cases, according to Harvard's Stro-minger. "It's amazing how many Nobel laureates worked in the labs of Nobel laureates when they were young scientists," Stro-minger says. The best example of this phenomenon, he says, is Carl Cori, a 1947 Nobel laureate in physiology or medicine. A professor at Washington University in St. Louis, Cori had seven students and postdocs who won Nobel Prizes, including Edwin Krebs, a 1992 Nobel winner in physiology or medicine, Strominger notes. Strominger declines to describe this heritage in terms of simple teacher-student relationships. "It's some sort of intensity and critical attitude toward science that gets transmitted," he adds, "the instinct to identify important areas for research and to [then] pursue and complete problems within these areas." Symbiosis And Synergy Histories of interdisciplinary and cooperative activity play important parts in a research university's record of research accomplishment, scientists say. "A positive thing here is an easy communication between physics, chemistry, and engineering," says Roald Hoffmann, a professor of chemistry at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., and a 1981 Nobel laureate in chemistry. "Compared to other places, it's really unusual and leads to a certain symbiosis in research." Hoffmann traces the collaboration among the three departments to a trio of researchers who came to Cornell in the years before World War II. The three were physicist Hans A. Bethe, chemist Peter Debye, and engineer Henry Sack. The interaction among the disciplines has outlasted its origins and continues to be expressed in such efforts as the NSF-funded Materials Science Center in Ithaca, according to Hoffmann. Cornell ranks seventh in overall research spending, 18th in chemistry citations per paper, 24th in physics, and 25th in biology. The university's six science Nobels place Cornell at seventh in that count. Researchers at other top institutions report similarly cooperative relationships within their schools. "There's terrific interaction between laboratories here," says 1992 Nobelist Krebs, a professor of pharmacology and biochemistry at the University of Washington, Seattle. "The scientific contacts and collaborations possible here are very good, and the spirit is one that encourages that." After about 20 years at Washington, between 1948 and 1968, Krebs says he moved to another university for about a decade. In the late 1970s, he returned to Seattle. "One of the reasons that I was attracted back," he says, "was this interactive spirit here on this campus. I found that I missed that element, which is so evident here." Washington ranks ninth in research expenditures, 17th in biology citations, and 44th in chemistry citations. And three Nobel Prizes have been awarded to university researchers. Judith Eisen, an associate professor of biology at the University of Oregon, Eugene, finds a similar environment at her school. "The general tenor of this place is that there are lots of interactions," says Eisen, who is affiliated with the university's interdisciplinary Institute of Neuroscience, modeled on the Institute of Molecular Biology. At some well-functioning institutions, the physical layout of the campus may generally mirror and support the collaborative disciplinary structure of the school. Oregon exemplifies this: The departments are vertically organized in their own buildings, while horizontal walkways and bridges link departmental elements into the institutes. "It's the institutes that provide the cooperative research atmosphere for different groups," Eisen says. "In neuroscience, for example, we have people from biology, psychology, and other departments." James Gill is a professor of earth sciences at the University of California, Santa Cruz. That university, while not among the top 100 spenders for research, is nevertheless ranked first in physics citations and 12th in biology. Gill describes the campus as a successful experiment, built in the 1950s to accommodate the coming baby-boomers. "The theory was to build an academic core, both literally and figuratively, that would be analogous to any other research university, but to have the students in liberal arts colleges scattered on the perimeter," Gill explains. The idea was to incorporate the "uniquely American institution of a liberal arts college" with a research institution. "In some way or another," Gill says, "these [citation] results derive from that." Princeton's Anderson says that several neighboring research and academic institutions, each with their own successful histories, have added to the strength of physics research at the Ivy League university. In particular, he points to interactions with the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory and the Institute for Advanced Study. "You've got a cluster of good institutions," Anderson says, "and they tend to be synergistic to each other." The surrounding community and physical environment also can be a factor in the overall intellectual success of a university, according to many researchers. These considerations are difficult to assess, because the same elements often have positive and negative sides. Rockefeller's Greengard says that the university benefits to a degree from the cultural richness of its New York City setting in terms of, for example, attracting some faculty and students. On the other hand, he says, a young research faculty member may not want to raise his or her children in that sometimes-threatening urban environment. But then again, he adds, the nonacademic spouse in a two-career couple might find it easier to prosper in the city over a small town. According to Tjian, the community surrounding UC-Berkeley provides an especially good climate for intellectual activity. Many Berkeley residents, he says, are generally highly educated, and the presence in the Bay area of several other universities and a large segment of the U.S. biotech industry serves to indirectly support research work. "And it's a beautiful place, physically," Tjian says. "It's like living on the hills surrounding the Mediterranean, living in the Berkeley hills overlooking the [San Francisco] Bay." Edwin Krebs at the University of Washington, Seattle, says that geography is clearly a plus in the history of that institution. "We're right in the midst of the city," Krebs says, "but Seattle is a very beautiful city. We laugh about it, but everybody has always said the view of Mount Rainier was worth so many thousands of dollars in yearly salary--and that, unfortunately, the administration knew that." (The Scientist, Vol:7, #6, March 22, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NOTEBOOK Closing The Door Softly Now that Bernadine Healy has said she will resign June 30 as director of the National Institutes of Health, at least some of her previous critics have opted to let bygones be bygones--and to sound more favorable in assessing Healy's tenure at NIH. For example, Phillip Sharp, head of the biology department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a past NIH detractor (Scott Veggeberg, The Scientist, Sept. 14, 1992, page 1), says he believes that Healy "did a good job strengthening the director's office at NIH." As for popular criticism of Healy-- over the Bush administra-tion's ban on fetal tissue research, allegedly "politicizing" NIH, and other issues--Sharp says: "I don't need to deal with that now. I have no interest in emphasizing some of the more controversial issues. . . . She served to the best--[with] full intensity--for that period of time, and the country has benefited from that." A `Strong Move' On the subject of Healy's achievements at the NIH helm, MIT's Sharp voiced particular approval on matters involving Francis S. Collins, director of the University of Michigan's Genome Technology and Genetic Diseases Center. Collins has tentatively accepted an offer to become the new head of the multibillion- dollar Human Genome Project--succeeding James Watson, whom Healy forced out. Says Sharp: "I think the development of the human genome initiative, and bringing Francis Collins there, was a strong move by her." Settling A Score The federal government has admitted in court that the President's Council of Advisers on Science and Technology (PCAST) improperly closed meetings to the press and public in violation of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA). In an agreement filed last month in United States District Court for the District of Columbia, to settle a lawsuit brought by science journalists (Barton Reppert, The Scientist, July 6, 1992, page 1), the government, represented by Justice Department attorney Peter S. Modlin, also admitted that PCAST and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy "improperly withheld records" from public disclosure in violation of FACA and the Freedom of Information Act. In addition, the court settlement acknowledged that at least 20 of the 28 meetings held by PCAST since the council was established in 1990 were convened in violation of a FACA provision mandating at least 15 days' advance notice published in the Federal Register. In settling the case, the government also agreed to pay $6,000 to cover attorneys' fees and other costs incurred by the plaintiffs in bringing the lawsuit. AMP-lification Since it was founded nearly a year and a half ago, the animal research advocacy group Americans For Medical Progress (AMP) has been placing full-page ads in major national newspapers heralding the benefits of using animals in biomedical research and criticizing its "animal rights" opponents. The latest manifestation of the media effort was an ad the group placed in the February 7 New York Times' Sunday Week In Review section praising an episode of the TV show "60 Minutes" that dealt with the issue. "We introduced Mike Wallace to the animal rights movement and animal liberation terrorism. He hadn't even heard of it until then," says Susan Paris, president of the Arlington, Va.-based nonprofit organization. According to the Times, this type of advertisement costs more than $64,000. What About Bugsy? May Berenbaum, an entomologist at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, believes that the best way to debunk the myth of the nerdy scientist is to explore the image as perpetuated on film. So, as she has done for the past 10 years, last month Berenbaum presented the "Insect Fear Film Festival"--a 12-hour movie marathon shown free of charge--on her campus. Berenbaum says the event, which featured such classics as Godzilla vs. Mothra, The Bees, and Arachnophobia as well as refreshments made with real, edible insects, was "well-attended and well-received by all," drawing a total of 300 to 400 viewers. Berenbaum says her colleagues who attended the festival helped dispel the images presented on screen: "It gave people an opportunity to meet real entomologists. There are only 7,000 members of the Entomological Society of America, so the odds of running across one are small." She adds that the effort paid off: "People had a good time. The warm, fuzzy feeling extends to the scientists--not just the insects." More Media Messages Another audiovisual effort aimed at educating the public about scientists is the National Women's History Project's video "You Can Be a Scientist, Too." The 13-minute tape, intended to show the diverse types of science career paths that can be pursued, intersperses classroom scenes with biographical sketches of women scientists. Filmed on location in an elementary school, it shows that kids' "why" and "what-if" questions are the same type as those asked by scientists. For more information, contact the National Women's History Project, 7738 Bell Rd., Windsor, Calif. 95492; (707) 838-6000. Home Improvement A 113,000-square-foot addition will be added to the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, Calif., changing the 28-year-old original structure, which has been heralded by architects as a model design for laboratory research. The $21 million, two-winged complex will house laboratories, offices, meeting rooms, and an underground auditorium and will stand 148 feet from the existing building. Institute officials predict that construction will be completed in two years. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #6, March 22, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ OPINION ========= The Future Of NSF: Four Key Issues Require Clarification BY LEWIS M. BRANSCOMB A recent article in The Scientist, headlined "NSF Still Wrestling With Science Board Over Recommendations For Agency Future" (Barton Reppert, Feb. 8, 1993, page 1), discussed the report of the National Science Board's Commission on the Future of the National Science Foundation. This commission, of which I was a member, was asked to answer two questions: (a) How can NSF best ensure its continued support of basic academic research? and (b) What, if anything, should NSF do differently to meet the new national priorities in the post-Cold War period? The commission answered these questions, but, as The Scientist correctly noted, the report was worded rather ambiguously. Bruce Smith, a science policy analyst at the Brookings Institution, was quoted as saying about the report: "It's like the Dead Sea Scrolls, written in some kind of strange code." I rather agreed with Smith, and felt strongly that the issues surrounding NSF's future are so important that the commission's views should have been expressed with much greater clarity. For this reason, shortly after the report was given to the National Science Board, I wrote to the board to describe the four key points in the report on which I thought the commission was in full agreement, but which did not come through with the clarity they deserved. Here are the four points: 1. The National Science Board must not remain passive while enormous changes are taking place in the United States science and technology enterprise, its policies, institutions, and goals. Many of the mechanisms through which science creates public benefits are beyond NSF's control. Many are managed by federal agencies other than NSF. The agency has two choices: (a) take on the entire technological food chain from research to market, or (b) take an active--indeed, leading--role in helping the president and his assistant for science and technology formulate a technology policy within which NSF's proper role is defined and linked to the rest of the S&T and innovation enterprise. The first course leads to disaster, the second fulfills NSB's legislative mandate to inform the president and Congress about the health of U.S. science. The board's report on industrial R&D last summer is a good start, as is the NSF leadership of a number of activities of the Federal Coordinating Council for Science, Engineering, and Technology, such as those concerning materials science and K-12 math and science education. NSF has demonstrated its ability to fit its activities into the broader scope of federal activities that deliver the benefits of R&D to the nation in its collaboration with the Department of Education in K-12 math and science education reform. NSF can also make sure that the research it sponsors is exploited for public benefit by more visible cooperation with agencies that use science in the development of technology, such as the departments of Defense, Energy, and Commerce, as well as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. NSF also sponsors the Critical Technologies Institute (CTI), which provides analytical support to the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). The agency could take a more active role in ensuring that CTI fully supports OSTP in formulating national policy. 2. NSF should continue to support research in the sciences and in engineering, and it should provide the facilities and infrastructure required for a strong national research capability. The present portfolio of disciplines and activities is broad enough; NSF does not need to expand that portfolio, as some have suggested--and many fear--to include commercial technology development or more elaborate programs of technology transfer to industry. Nor should NSF allow its engineering centers or its investments in the National Research and Education Network (NREN) to be divested to some civilian technology agency (as was proposed in one Clinton transition team document). NSF's grants should continue to insist on intellectual excellence in all it does, foster unsolicited proposals, cherish its "bottoms- up" style of project choice, and cling to merit-based competitive performer selection. 3. NSF must recognize that the U.S. technical community is weaker than it should be in many fields that are quite exciting intellectually, but also could be making a very big contribution to the nation's technological competitive advantage. An example is synthetic polymer chemistry. NSF must not allow pressure from disciplinary constituencies to prevent a distribution of resources into its programs and activities that better matches the technical challenges facing America. Instead, it should reach out to technically sophisticated people who understand the fields in which American science and engineering are underinvesting, and ask them to participate in an improved resource allocation process that is better matched to national needs than today's programs reflect. This is not a task to be laid on individual academic scientists in the manner of the Mansfield Amendment, which required universities receiving Defense Department funds to document how the science would contribute to military purposes. The NSB itself should make studies, consult with experts in industry and universities, and inform itself about the strengths and weakness of the nation's research capabilities. The board should then allocate resources among disciplines and programs with an eye to both scientific interests (pressures from good proposals) and the importance of the disciplines and programs as intellectual underpinnings of American technological ability. This does not mean setting up NSF divisions of environment, health, defense, and the like, in NIH style. NSF should not do applied (that is, problem-solving) research. It should pay more attention to disciplines and interdisciplinary research known to be poorly represented in our universities as we shift our attention from the Cold War to a cold economy. More advice from the most technically qualified people with industry experience should be sought. NSF should not tell university scientists what to do; it need only put properly allocated resources in the paths of bright people. 4. NSF must take more seriously the effectiveness of linkages that connect academic science and engineering to the users of the knowledge created, and strengthen those linkages where needed. The object is not to force university scientists to "get in bed" with industry, but to ensure that academic researchers have multiple opportunities to benefit from and collaborate with colleagues in industry and others putting science to use. Among appropriate linkage mechanisms, in addition to students going to work in industry, are university centers with industry participation, faculty-industry exchanges, development of the NREN and facilities shared with industry users, support for data evaluation, reviews, and S&T information services, workshops, conferences, and travel. The board should realize, however, that university science and engineering activities are very heavily involved with industry already. A recent study by economists Wesley Cohen, Richard Florida, and W. Richard Goe of Carnegie Mellon University found that 1,050 university-industry research centers on U.S. campuses were spending $4.5 billion annually, of which $1.5 billion came from industry. NSF and the universities it supports have no reason to feel that the contact between academic engineering and science is inadequate; rather, they should be focusing on the quality and importance of these activities in order to keep them at a high standard, helping industry while sustaining the independence and intellectual quality of academic research. Lewis M. Branscomb is director of science, technology, and public policy at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #6, March 22, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ COMMENTARY ========== by Ronald Breslow Let's Put An End To `Chemophobia' Chemistry is one of the oldest sciences, with a distinguished history of intellectual and practical achievement. Chemists consider it the "central science," interacting with physics as well as with biology, with engineering, and with materials science. The names of some subfields tell this story: physical chemistry and chemical physics, biochemistry and chemical biology, medicinal chemistry, neurochemistry, petroleum chemistry, polymer chemistry, agricultural chemistry. Chemistry courses in colleges traditionally are among the largest, in part because chemical training is needed not only for future chemists, but also for doctors, pharmacists, biologists, engineers, and nurses. Trained chemists are in demand in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries--industries in which the United States is highly competitive--and in many other fields. Despite all this, chemistry suffers from an image problem. It is not always seen to be the science where the action is. In some quarters, chemophobia has also led to a negative stereotype and a tendency to credit other fields with the advances that chemistry makes. For instance, many groups are formulating plans to improve pre-college science education, and chemistry sometimes plays a small role in these plans. Too few people realize, to cite another example, how modern medicines usually arise. Every pharmaceutical company has a large group of medicinal chemists designing and synthesizing new molecules with the hope that they will be useful drugs. The ideas are often based on what others have learned about the detailed chemical structures of important biological molecules, such as hormones and enzymes, or natural medicinal compounds. Medicinal chemists combine these clues with their own knowledge of how to create new chemical structures and produce a candidate molecule for evaluation as a drug. Based on the results, further new molecules are then created to improve the properties. This activity takes advantage of information about the general question that most chemists address: What is the relationship between the chemical structure of a substance and its properties? The properties may well be useful, while predicting properties from a knowledge of chemical structure poses very fundamental scientific questions. The field attracts both those with practical interests and those who want to uncover basic scientific principles. The origin of the general problem may in part be chemophobia, the fear of "chemicals" induced by some well-publicized chemical pollution problems. However, in examples such as the opening of the atmospheric ozone layer, it is well to remember that the problem was discovered by chemists who were studying basic chemical reactions, and its solution is being designed by chemists. What is needed is not fear, but good science. For society as a whole, chemophobia must not be allowed to overshadow the contributions that chemistry can continue to make to human welfare. Carefully and thoughtfully applied, chemical discoveries can continue to advance medicine, agriculture, and other practical fields. At the same time, chemical researchers have the exquisite satisfaction of uncovering some of nature's most exciting secrets. The field needs and deserves support commensurate with its potential contributions. It also needs and deserves the interest of students attracted by the possibility of making fundamental discoveries that have the extra potential of contributing to human welfare. Ronald Breslow is S.I. Mitchill Professor of Chemistry and University Professor in the department of chemistry at Columbia University, New York. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #6, March 22, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ LETTERS ======= Confocal Microscopy Thank you for devoting the Tools & Technology section of the Jan. 25, 1993, issue [page 17] to the subject of confocal microscopy. We enjoyed reading the opinions of a number of the most eminent United States researchers using confocal microscopy techniques, but we do feel the need to clarify one point made in the article. A statement attributed to Roger Tsien of the University of California, San Diego, gave the mistaken impression that there is no commercially available laser-based confocal system today capable of video-rate imaging. To the contrary, Meridian Instruments Inc., Bio-Rad Microscience Division, and Noran Instruments Inc. all market systems capable of capturing 30 frames a second. In our case, we have been marketing the INSIGHT Laser Scanning Confocal Microscope (a real-time, real-color system offering video-rate image capture) worldwide since April 1991. CAROL L. GENEE Manager Marketing Communications Meridian Instruments Inc. Okemos, Mich. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #6, March 22, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ An Oversimplification As a faculty member at a highly selective liberal arts college, I need to comment on your recent article entitled "Doing Science Off The Beaten Track At Liberal Arts Schools" (Linda Marsa, The Scientist, Nov. 23, 1992, page 21). The article is incorrect in presenting an oversimplified view of what a liberal arts college is like. A well-informed scientist would never think of saying, "The University of Thus-and-Such is a great science school"; he or she would articulate a more informed view of the university in question by saying what the strong science departments or programs were. Just as a university has specific strengths due to history, facilities, and staffing, liberal arts colleges are composed of numerous (smaller) departments or programs. There is no such thing as a homogeneously excellent set of science departments at any college. To use an example I am familiar with, the 50 "science-active colleges" on the Oberlin Report list you reprinted are purported to be the best small science schools in the United States. However, the Council on Undergraduate Research more recently published a national rating of biology departments (CUR Newsletter, 11[4]:25-33, May 1991) that used several criteria including the critical one (for this discussion) of the total number of students going on to graduate school during the last four years for which data are available (1984-88). Of the top 25 college biology departments in terms of students going on to graduate studies in biology, eight of them (Allegheny College, Colby College, Eastern Illinois University, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Juniata College, St. Lawrence University, State University of New York-Purchase, and the University of Tampa) do not appear in the top 50 schools of the Oberlin science list. Viewing small campuses as somehow simpler entities than research universities does a great disservice to the truth of the situation. Small campuses are not oddly different from their large cousins. Liberal arts colleges are a diverse group of institutions, each of which has its own specific strengths and weaknesses. CUR has produced recent ratings of various sciences at liberal arts colleges, and these sorts of ratings more closely reflect the complexity of small campuses than do the generalizations inherent in the Oberlin list that your article relied solely upon. STEVEN A. KOLMES Associate Professor of Biology Hobart & William Smith Colleges Geneva, N.Y. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #6, March 22, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ An Avalanche? I found Joshua Lederberg's representation of knowledge as akin to natural disaster--an avalanche of bits of information increasing exponentially, threatening to bury us all--a bit daunting (The Scientist, Feb. 8, 1993, page 10). His solution for storing his voluminous notes using document scanners and CD-ROMs reminded me of an encounter in Paris between French writer Paul ValEry and Albert Einstein. Valery, who always noted each and every one of his ideas meticulously, asked Einstein if he carried a notebook with him to record all of the ideas that must come to him in the course of a day. "No," said Einstein. "Really?" asked the surprised Valery. "Do you write them on your sleeves?" Einstein smiled. "Oh, you know," he said, "ideas, they are very rare." He estimated that in all of his life he had had only two of them. THOMAS G. STEFFENS Jamaica, N.Y. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #6, March 22, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ WHERE TO WRITE: Letters to the Editor THE SCIENTIST 3501 Market Street Philadelphia, PA 19104 Fax:(215)387-7542 E-Mail: 71764.2561@compuserve.com E. Garfield: garfield@aurora.cis.upenn.edu THE SCIENTIST welcomes letters from its readers. Anonymous letters will not be considered for publication. Please include a day-time telephone number for verification purposes. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #6, March 22, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ RESEARCH ======== Immunology: Highlights From A Hot Biological Field BY SCOTT VEGGEBERG Some of the most influential papers in 1992, according to data provided by the Philadelphia-based Institute for Scientific Information, were in immunology. This is not surprising, given the field's applications in stemming AIDS, cancer, and other pressing diseases. The most cited paper published within the last two years is from the Max Planck Institute for Biology in Tbingen, Germany (K. Falk, et al., Nature, 351:290, 1991). This paper, which by the end of February 1993 had been referred to in 220 subsequent articles, deals with an advance in the understanding of MHC, the major histocompatibility complex molecules. MHC binds short peptides that are derived from intracellular proteins. The peptides are then presented to the cell surface for inspection by the immune system. Native proteins produce "self peptides," which are recognized as friendly, while foreign proteins give rise to antigenic peptides and stimulate an immune response. In the work by Kirsten Falk and associates, the breakthrough was in the characterization of peptides that are bound to MHC molecules. As the authors point out, knowledge of the peptide motifs of individual MHC molecules can "help with synthetic or recombinant vaccine development and potentially also for intervention in autoimmune diseases or graft rejection." A paper from the labs of Don Wiley, a professor of biochemistry and biophysics at Harvard University (T.S. Jardetzky, et al., Nature, 353:326, 1991), appearing a few months after the Max Planck findings were published, has been cited in close to 85 papers as of February 1993. This article pushed the knowledge of these peptides still further. Ted Jardetzky, the paper's first author, told The Scientist that for this study, the researchers worked with a type of MHC molecule called human leukocyte antigen (HLA). "We isolated HLA from the surface of cells, denatured it, and collected a pool of small molecular- weight peptides. Falk and colleagues had just demonstrated that similar peptide pools contain sequence motifs which differed between HLA molecules. We were able to fractionate this complex pool of peptides--more than 100 to 1,000 different peptides--and sequence 11 `self peptides.' Seven of these peptides matched to sequences from known proteins, providing a definitive demonstration that normal intracellular proteins are also being transported to the cell surface for immune surveillance. These complexes of self peptide and HLA can have both good and bad consequences. In the case of autoimmune diseases, some T cells react inappropriately against self, but for some tumors, the expression of self peptides could be the key to an immunological cure." Work that has pointed the way to understanding how immunosuppressive drugs work, coming out of the laboratories of Harvard University chemist Stuart Schreiber and Gerald Crabtree at the Beckman Center for Molecular and Genetic Medicine at Stanford University, has been a citation-rich region of immunology. Michael Flanagan, who was a postdoc in Crabtree's lab and is currently working at Gilead Sciences in Foster City, Calif., says he is not surprised that the work has attracted attention. "Everything was done to maximize exposure," he says. His group's paper, "Nuclear association of a T-cell transcription factor blocked by FK506 and cyclosporin A" (W.M. Flanagan, et al., Nature, 352:803, 1991), was promoted in the "News and Views" section of the same issue of Nature in which the paper appeared (A.L. DeFranco, page 754). Meanwhile, an issue of Cell published the previous week contained not only Schreiber's paper, "Calcineurin is a common target of cyclophilin-cyclosporin A and FKBP-FK506 complexes" (J. Liu, et al., Cell, 66:807, 1991), but also an accompanying mini-review, "When worlds collide--Immunosuppressants meet protein phosphatases" (F. McKeon, page 823). In the Crabtree paper, which has attracted about 100 citations since publication, the researchers demonstrated that a genetic transcription factor, NF-AT, which is critical to T-cell gene activation, is apparently a specific target of the immunosuppressants. Schreiber's paper, which has racked up an impressive 163 citations since publication, identified a different mode of action of immunosuppressive drugs. That is, they block the phosphatase calcineurin, which forms an essential link in the signaling pathway that activates T cells. Just prior to this report, Schreiber surveyed progress in the study of immunosuppressants in "Chemistry and biology of the immunophilins and their immunosuppressive ligands," an article that has been cited a total of 185 times since its publication (S.L. Schreiber, Science, 251:283, 1991). According to Schreiber, immunosuppressants like cyclosporin A and FK506 act early on in the signal transduction cascade that leads to T lymphocyte activation, while other compounds apparently interfere with other steps in the signal pathway. So, the work with immunosuppressants transcends the field of immunology, giving insight into the molecular biology of signal transduction. As Schreiber wrote in the Science paper: "The research outlined in this article illustrates an approach to the study of cellular, particularly cytoplasmic, phenomena. In this approach, modern techniques in chemistry and biology are melded so that the interactions of natural and synthetic ligands with their cellular receptors can be explored. Small molecules are used as probes, first for identification and isolation of relevant proteins in a system of interest and then for the development of a detailed understanding of the system through studies of structure and function. Such a chain of events has been initiated by a family of immunosuppressants, and other natural products might be useful as probes for a diverse set of events that includes protein trafficking and cytoskeletal dynamics. Although there is still much to be learned about cytoplasmic signalling mechanisms with use of immunophilin and immunosuppressive probes, the prospects for insights appear promising." Many of the other highly cited papers in immunology also deal with signal transduction. Joseph Bolen, who is a research scientist at the Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical Research Institute in Princeton, N.J., was a coauthor of a 1991 paper appearing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (A.L. Burkhardt, et al., 88:7410, 1991) that has been cited in more than 65 papers. Speaking of this paper, "Anti- immunolglobulin stimulation of B lymphocytes activates src- related protein-tyrosine kinases," Bolen told The Scientist: "Only in recent years has it been appreciated that enzymes possessing tyrosine kinase activity, originally noted as the oncogenes of retroviruses, are involved in normal cell signal transduction. These facts, coupled with the significant progress made by immunologists in the identification and characterization of receptors on cells of the immune system, has led to the close scrutiny of the potential role of tyrosine protein kinases in signal transduction by hemopoietic cell-surface molecules. Among receptors of this class, much attention has been focused on the surface immunoglobulin (or antigen receptor) of B cells. "This particular paper simply demonstrates that at least three different closely related tyrosine protein kinases of the src family--the blk, lyn, and fyn gene products--can be enzymatically activated when B cell-surface immunoglobulins are crosslinked, which is a laboratory means to mimic antigen binding. "Several tyrosine protein kinases appear to be responsive to the surface engagement of the B cell antigen receptor," Bolen said. "These observations provide a starting point to determine the role of the individual kinases in B cell signal transduction." Also among the high-impact papers are those involving adhesion receptors--cell-surface molecules that regulate the migration of lymphocytes and the interactions of activated cells during immune reponses. Probably the hottest review paper in this field, "Adhesion receptors of the immune system," appeared in Nature in 1990 and since then has racked up an astounding 892 citations (T.A. Springer, 346:425, 1990). As Timothy Springer, a professor of pathology at Harvard University, writes in this paper: "There are important interactions between antigen receptors and receptor molecules involving signaling pathways and interactions with gene expression. Further studies on three-dimensional structure and interactions with signaling pathways and the cytoskeleton promise to provide exciting insights into the mechanism of function of adhesion receptors. The role of these molecules in vivo in guiding cell interactions and localization in the complex microarchitecture of lymphoid organs, as well as in immune responses in other tissues, is another area that promises to yield rich insights." An adhesion-minded review from Martin Helmer of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston has developed its own devoted following with more than 370 citing papers to date (M.E. Helmer, "VLA proteins in the integrin family: Structures, functions and their role in leukocytes," Annual Review of Immunology, 8:365, 1990). Helmer told Science Watch, a newsletter published by the Institute for Scientific Information (April 1992, page 5): "There's widespread interest in the integrin family because essentially all cells and all tissue types, with the exception of red blood cells, use different members of this family for various adhesion processes. "Basic researchers in developmental and cell biology, cancer, and immunology--they all have a stake in learning how and why cells adhere. These molecules are on T cells, B cells, and monocyte cells of the immune system," Helmer said. "People are now looking at these molecules as more than just Velcro strips lining the outside of a cell and providing adhesiveness. The next step is to find out how these molecules translate that information into cellular signals. They're now viewed as true receptors, in that they bind and then important events follow, involving gene induction, morphology, migrations, and spreading. Depending on which members of the family have contact, you get a whole host of subsequent events. It's an area of research that's really attracting a lot of attention." And not to be forgotten, of course, are the hot papers reporting original research on cell adhesion, with the following racking up exceptional citation records: * 220 citations: M.L. Phillips, et al., "ELAM-1 mediates cell adhesion by recognition of a carbohydrate ligand, Sialyl-Lex," Science, 250, 1130, 1990. * 172 citations: G. Walz, et al., "Recognition by ELAM-1 of the Sialyl-Lex determinant on myeloid and tumor cells," Science, 250:1132, 1990. * 164 citations: J.B. Lowe, et al., "ELAM-1 dependent cell adhesion to vascular endothelium determined by a transfected human fucosyltrans-ferase cDNA," Cell, 63:475, 1990. * 100 citations: Y. Shimizu, et al., "Activation-independent binding of human memory T cells to adhesion molecule ELAM- 1," Nature, 349:799, 1991. * 59 citations: E.L. Berg, "A carbohydrate domain common to both Sialyl Lea and Sialyl Lex is recognized by the endothelial cell leukocyte adhesion molecule ELAM-1," Journal of Biological Chemistry, 266:14869, 1991. * 56 citations: F.W. Luscinskas, et al., "Cytokine-activated human endothelial monolayers support enhanced neutrophil transmigration via a mechanism involving both endothelial- leukocyte adhesion molecule-1 and intercellular adhesion molecule-1," Journal of Immunology, 146:1617, 1991. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #6, March 22, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ HOT PAPERS ========== SOLID-STATE PHYSICS J. Unguris, R.J. Celotta, D.T. Pierce, "Observation of two different oscillation periods in the exchange coupling of Fe/Cr/Fe(100)," Physical Review Letters, 67:140, 1991. John Unguris (National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, Md.): "Our paper examines the relationship between atomic order and magnetic coupling in artificially grown magnetic multilayer structures. Some of these structures have the fascinating property that the magnetization in alternate magnetic layers may either be aligned parallel or antiparallel, depending on the thickness of the nonmagnetic spacer layer between them. Measuring the thickness dependence of the magnetic coupling in these layers, which may be only a few atomic layers thick, is essential for understanding the origins of the coupling in these technologically important materials. "We approached the problem in a different manner from that of previous researchers. Instead of trying to grow and measure many samples reproducibly with different spacer thicknesses, we grew a single sample, which consisted of an Fe/Cr/Fe `sandwich' with a wedge-shaped Cr spacer layer. We then used a scanning electron microscope to measure the direction of the magnetic coupling at any point along the wedge and thereby generated a single picture that showed the magnetic coupling as a function of the Cr thickness. Using the electron microscope also allowed us to use a nearly perfect, but very small, single crystal Fe whisker for the substrate. The atomic scale order of the film growth on these whiskers was far better than on polycrystalline substrates. "Surprisingly, we found that the magnetic coupling reversed direction whenever the spacer thickness was changed by only a single layer of Cr atoms. In addition, these oscillations continued for Cr spacers that were up to 72 layers thick. In contrast, earlier work had only seen coupling reversals every six layers and over a much smaller Cr thickness range (S.S.P. Parkin, Physical Review Letters, 67:3598, 1991). These results have reinforced the view that the properties of magnetic multilayers are intimately related to the atomic scale ordering in these structures." (The Scientist, Vol:7, #6, March 22, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ MOLECULAR BIOLOGY C. Abate, D. Luk, T. Curran, "Transcriptional regulation by Fos and Jun in vitro: interaction among multiple activator and regulatory domains," Molecular and Cellular Biology, 11:3624, 1991. Cory Abate (Rutgers University, Piscataway, N.J.): "The fos and jun oncogenes were isolated independently as cellular transforming genes. However, their protein products function cooperatively as components of a dimeric transcription factor complex. A great deal is known about the dimerization and DNA- binding properties of Fos and Jun. This provided a unique opportunity to dissect the mechanisms responsible for the transcriptional activity of a heterodimeric complex composed of two oncogene products. In this paper, we defined several regions in Fos and Jun that affected transcription positively (activator regions) or negatively (repressor regions) and showed that the transcriptional activity of the heterodimer resulted from the cumulative action of these multiple activator and repressor domains. "This report is among the first to examine interactions among transcriptional regulatory domains present in both partners of a heterodimer and provides a general model for the function of multicomponent transcription complexes. Many transcription factors, including Fos and Jun, share conserved motifs that mediate dimerization and DNA binding and these related proteins can form various heterodimeric complexes. Our results suggest that these various heterodimeric complexes may have very different effects on gene transcription, depending on the specific combinations of activator and repressor region that are present in each member of the protein complex. This is likely to be an important mechanism that contributes to directing functional specificity among transcription factor complexes. "Another aspect of this paper that has attracted attention in the field is the highly quantitative and rigorous approach that was taken to perform the in vitro transcription assays. This type of approach could be of general utility for studying the transcriptional properties of other protein complexes." (The Scientist, Vol:7, #6, March 22, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ TOOLS & TECHNOLOGY ================== Interferons And Interleukins: From Bench To Bedside BY RICKI LEWIS Interferons (IFs) and interleukins (ILs) are immune system biochemicals at the intersection of basic research and medical technology. Part of the class of secreted cellular regulators known as cytokines, IFs and ILs have experienced dizzying public relations ups and downs, hailed one season as tomorrow's wonder drugs, derided the next as toxic side effects emerge during therapy. Despite the cytokines' slower-than-expected entry into the clinic, applications are accumulating, and basic research in this area remains vigorous. This means a continuing market for vendors who provide these intriguing immunochemicals. Many researchers elect to purchase a cytokine rather than extract or synthesize it themselves. If they go this route, they benefit from the advantages that come with obtaining any biochemical from a vendor--consistency of product, purity of product, and time saved. Cytokines offered for sale, for example, are routinely screened for contamination by bacteria, fungi, and mycoplasma. And companies cite the biological activity of their products, or sell assays--such as Madison, Wis.-based Promega Corp.'s Cell Titer 96 Non-Radioactive Cell Proliferation/Cytotoxicity Assay-- for users to determine this themselves. Most company literature indicates that these cytokines and related products are for research uses only. Cytokine manufacturers offer a variety of both human and murine IFs and ILs, from natural sources or recombinant DNA technology and in tissue culture or ultrapure grades. R&D Systems Inc. of Minneapolis sells a "cytokine sampler kit" that includes eight types of cytokines. Some companies offer glycosylated or nonglycosylated forms of certain cytokines. CALBIOCHEM Corp. of San Diego improves on nature, offering a variant IL-2 that has two amino acid substitutions that render it more soluble. The problem researchers have had in taking an IF or IL to the clinic is that there are so many of these cytokines, and they interact in so many ways, that limiting their actions to just one effect is nearly impossible. And even if a benefit predicted by in vitro studies--such as shrinking of a tumor--occurs, effects elsewhere in the body can be diverse and dangerous. "There's a difference between what a cytokine does in molecular terms and what it does in a physiological sense--that is, in the big picture of what it does in the body," says Corrado Baglioni, a professor of biology at the State University of New York, Albany. At the basic research level, to decipher cytokine activity, a researcher attempts to selectively block the function of one type of molecule, and then observes the effects on the organism, typically a mouse. This is done by any of several techniques, including gene targeting (in which a nonfunctional version of a gene is swapped for the working one in the organism); using neutralizing antibodies to take a cytokine out of circulation; and designing molecules to block cell surface cytokine receptors with precise specificity. These in vitro and animal studies are complemented by correlations of cytokine levels to specific diseases in humans-- such as increased IL-1 in rheumatoid arthritis. The need to measure precise and minute amounts of specific cytokines in plasma, sera, and cell culture supernatants opens a market for assay kits. Genzyme Corp. and Advanced Magnetics Inc., both of Cambridge, Mass., for example, offer cytokine immunoassay kits that include all reagents (antibodies, buffers, standards, and diluents). Other firms, such as Oncogene Sciences Inc., Uniondale, N.Y., and R&D Systems offer antibodies against specific cytokines. Staggering Complexity Once cytokine levels have been linked to certain disease states, the next step is to manipulate them to achieve a therapeutic goal. But harnessing cytokine action is complicated by a staggering interplay of biochemicals. Consider septic shock, an often-fatal immune response to gram-negative bacterial infection. Septic shock is triggered when white blood cells encounter a lipid called endotoxin in the microbes' cell walls. As a result, the body becomes flooded with at least three types of ILs, as well as a cyto-kine called tumor necrosis factor (TNF). Not only is a particular medical condition often associated with a multiple cytokine response, but also the cytokines themselves have diverse effects. IFs, for example, broadly affect physiology by activating certain genes and immune system cells and by inhibiting cell division and blood vessel growth--often simultaneously. Even when the effects of one cytokine can be tracked, the picture is still quite complicated. IL-1, for example, induces fever, sleep, anorexia, hypotension, and production of blood cells. It is also linked to a veritable medical dictionary of conditions, including leukemia, arthritis, colitis, atherosclerosis, and many others (C.A. Dinarello and S. M. Wolff, New England Journal of Medicine, 328:106-12, 1993). Using IL-1, or any cytokine, means finding a dose that optimizes the beneficial effects while dampening the destructive ones. Interferons, as a group, were discovered in the late 1950s. They were described as a family of species-specific proteins that interfere with a range of viral infections in vertebrates. Because IFs also inhibit cell division, they quickly attained a reputation as potential wonder drugs, possibly able to fight viruses and cancer. Initially, however, the proc-ess of developing IF into a drug was stymied by the need to extract and purify it from donated blood, with a dauntingly high estimated price tag of $178 million per ounce. When recombinant DNA technology made possible the economical, safe scale-up of biological proteins, IF was one of the first in line. In 1982, backed by the American Cancer Society, IF alpha started clinical trials. Three years later, it became the first pure human protein approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a treatment for the rare hairy cell leukemia. "There are so many different types of interferons in our bodies," says Charles Pfau, a professor of biology at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., "and only a few have been produced by genetic engineering. These have some limited effects on certain diseases, but we still don't know how to utilize them. We don't know the checks and balances of the body." For example, Pfau and coworkers developed a mouse model showing that "in some viral diseases, IF actually exacerbates instead of ameliorating the condition," he says. If IF could worsen a viral infection in mice, they hypothesized that it might in humans, too. As potential examples of the mechanism, they cited a viral disease in South America, called junin, and the deadly Lassa fever of Africa. People with these disorders make "horrendously high titers of IF," according to Pfau. Although Pfau says that they never actually proved the link between high IF and viral disease in humans, their work made headlines when people in clinical trials of IF in France died. But today IF research is alive and well. Several clinical trials are under way, including IF alpha to treat certain life- threatening bulges of blood vessels, IF beta for multiple sclerosis and hyperlipidemias, and IF gamma for lowering the frequency of bacterial infection in chronic granulomatous disease. In cancer therapy, IFs may be promising adjuvants to standard therapies, greatly expanding the market for each type of treatment. IFs have been found to prolong the effectiveness of traditional cancer treatment protocols in some patients with non- Hodgkin's lymphoma, myeloma, or colorectal or bronchial cancer. Interleukins were originally thought to oversee interactions between white blood cells, the emissaries of the immune system, but now are known to affect a wider variety of cell types. Most clinical interest is currently focused on IL-1 and IL-2, with researchers beginning to glimpse the roles of others of the 14 known interleukins. IL-1 was discovered in 1972, and its structure and function were delineated over the next seven years. Human IL-1 was first manufactured by recombinant DNA technology in 1984. A key immune system regulator, IL-1 sets into motion a chain reaction that intensifies the immune response. It is IL-1 that responds to the initial presence of a foreign antigen, activating T cells to mature, proliferate, and produce other cytokines. IL-1 also hikes production of collagenase, prostaglandins, and antibodies. Because collagenase breaks down connective tissue, and prostaglandins are associated with inflammation, excess IL-1 may lie behind many inflammatory disorders. The cytokine is also responsible for the fever, headache, ache, fatigue, and weakness of influenza. Efforts to control IL-1 activity in the treatment of inflammatory illness have taken advantage of a naturally occurring molecule in the human body. This molecule, the IL-1 receptor antagonist, blocks cell surface receptors for IL-1. "The IL-1 receptor antagonist is now being produced by recombinant DNA technology in large amounts. We expect to see it neutralize the cytokine's effects," says Baglioni. Evidence for that is already strong. The IL-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1ra, or Antril) is in phase III clinical trials by Synergen Inc. of Boulder, Colo. In a large study, Synergen scientists found that 16 percent of septic shock patients given Antril died, compared with 44 percent of those given placebo. The company anticipates FDA approval this year. IL-2 has followed the pattern of other cytokines--initially greeted with unreasonably high expectations, it has since found a niche or two, and a few new applications are in the offing. It was discovered in 1976 (D.A. Morgan, et al., Science, 193:1007-9, 1976), becoming available via recombinant DNA technology in 1984. IL-2 maintained a high profile through the 1980s, as Steven Rosenberg at the National Cancer Institute and others found that when IL-2 is applied to white blood cells removed from patients, and then reinfused as "lymphokine activated killer cells" along with a booster of IL-2, some patients experienced spectacular remissions. Even such devastating conditions as advanced malignant melanoma showed improvement. Enthusiasm for IL-2 plummeted, though, when the cytokine was found to have highly toxic side effects. But recent progress with IL-2 to treat metastatic kidney cancer, for which there is no other treatment, suggests that a combination of lower doses and physicians learning how to manage the side effects will make IL-2 safer to use. FDA approved IL-2 to treat metastatic kidney cancer in February 1992. Known as Proleukin, IL-2 for this use is produced by Cetus Oncology Corp. of Emeryville, Calif. On another front, IL-2 is in phase I clinical trials to treat CD8 cells removed from people with AIDS. The IL-2 matures the cells, which are then returned to the donor along with IL-2, better able to mount an immune defense. Development of this use for IL-2 is a joint venture between Applied Immune Sciences Inc. of Menlo Park, Calif., and Care- mark Inc. of Lincolnshire, Ill. Other interleukins are in the pipeline. Genetics Institute Inc., based in Cambridge, Mass., is looking at IL-11 in vitro and in mice to stimulate platelet production, which could help counter the platelet-depleting effects of chemotherapy. IL-6, also known as beta-2 interferon, may have a bright future as a platelet growth stimulator, and as an antiproliferative treatment for breast, colon, and skin cancer. IL-6 is in preclinical testing by Ajinomoto Co. Ltd. in Tokyo, Ares-Serono NV in Geneva, and Genetics Institute. As biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies pursue direct application of IFs and ILs to human health care, basic researchers are still trying to more precisely define the roles of these complex biochemicals. They may get some help from examining how viruses evade a cytokine attack. For example, says Baglioni, "Some viruses, such as cowpox, have genes that are used to neutralize cytokines. This gives the virus a better chance to replicate, or inflammation does not occur until the virus has had a head start at replicating. Cytokines must be very important, if viruses bother to acquire an evolutionary way to neutralize them." Ricki Lewis is a freelance science writer based in Scotia, N.Y. She is the author of a biology textbook and has just completed a human genetics text. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #6, March 22, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ NEUROSCIENCE N. Burnashev, H. Monyer, P.H. Seeburg, B. Sackmann, "Divalent ion permeability of AMPA receptor channels is dominated by the edited form of a single subunit," Neuron, 8:189, 1992. Nail Burnashev (Max-Planck Institute for Medical Research, Heidelberg, Germany): "In our brain the influx of calcium ions into neurons is an exquisitely controlled event, because calcium entry is important for learning and memory functions and, if excessive, can lead to cell death. One way for the controlled entry of calcium into neurons is through ion channels activated by the abundant excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate. Molecular studies of these channels conducted over the past three years have helped delineate those channel elements that determine the glutamate-evoked calcium flux into neurons. "Glutamate receptor channels are composed of several different subunit constituents. The subunits for a ubiquitous glutamate receptor carry in a particular position either a positively charged amino acid (arginine) or a neutral amino acid (glutamine). These amino acids affect the properties of ion flow through the channel (T.A. Verdoomm, et al., Science, 252:1715, 1991; R.I. Hume, et al., Science, 253:1028, 1991). The channel properties regarding the permeation of calcium ions also depend critically on which of the two amino acids occupies this position. Presence of the positively charged arginine precludes calcium influx. "Our study revealed that two independent genetic mechanisms underlie the fine tuning of calcium permeability through these channels. First, the amount of the subunit carrying the arginine is regulated. Some neural cells have no such subunit and, as a consequence, glutamate activates calcium entry into these cells (T. Muller, et al., Science, 256:1563, 1992; N. Burnashev, et al., Science, 256:1566, 1992). Second, the arginine that negatively controls the calcium permeability of the channel is introduced into this functional position by a process referred to as RNA editing (B. Sommer, et al., Cell, 67:11, 1991). Our results suggest that in the developing brain, this process is operative at a lower level than in the adult brain. This finding would be compatible with the notion that in the precocious central nervous system glutamate-activated calcium entry into cells controls important developmental mechanisms." (The Scientist, Vol:7, #6, March 22, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ MAJOR SUPPLIERS OF INTERFERONS AND INTERLEUKINS With many questions about the basic biology of these enigmatic immunochemicals still to be answered, suppliers--some of whom are listed below--are likely to have a ready research market. CALBIOCHEM Corp. 10933 N. Torrey Pines Rd. La Jolla, Calif. 92037 (800) 854-3417 Fax: (800) 776-0999 Cellular Products Inc. 872 Main St. Buffalo, N.Y. 14202 (800) CPI-KITS Fax: (716) 882-0959 Cetus Oncology Corp. 4560 Horton St. Emeryville, Calif. 94608 (800) 238-8779 Genzyme Corp. One Kendall Square Cambridge, Mass. 02139 (800) 332-1042 Fax: (617) 252-7700 R&D Systems Inc. 614 McKinley Place, N.E. Minneapolis, Minn. 55413 (612) 379-2956 Fax: (612) 379-6580 RDI Research Diagnostics Inc. Pleasant Hill Rd. Flanders, N.J. 07836 (201) 584-7093 Fax: (201) 584-0210 (See also the Interleukins and Interferons Suppliers Directory on page 31.) (The Scientist, Vol:7, #6, March 22, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ PROFESSION ========== Chemical Information: A Career Alternative For Chemists BY EDWARD R. SILVERMAN Chemists who are contemplating career alternatives in today's highly competitive job market might want to consider an emerging specialty: chemical information. Information professionals perform a wide variety of tasks, including library research, patent research, marketing research, preparation of customer service materials, acquisition of books and journals for libraries, and updates of electronic research systems. Because of their heavy reliance on scientific literature, chemists--many of whom will be convening at the spring meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS) March 28 through April 2-- have particularly high potential to excel in this specialty. Unlike general-interest librarians, chemical information professionals are hybrids--they often possess a degree in chemistry or another science field, in addition to a degree in library science, although a library degree is not always required. In recent years, the demand for such people has become keen: The information age has prompted a need for people who not only retrieve and organize complex scientific data, but also understand its meanings and applications. The growing awareness that scientists are highly qualified for such positions springs from a recognition of the assistance a chemist can offer a scientific colleague combing through chemical abstracts or researching patent law. To underscore the growing demand for such people, ACS's 1,400- member Division of Chemical Information recently released a survey of pay scales for the discipline. Because the field is so varied, the survey also provides statistics on the type of degree or degrees held by information professionals, types of employers, and job functions. "Having a science background can be very important," says survey coauthor Patricia O'Neill, who heads the physical sciences library at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. "People who are end-users of [scientific] products have very specific needs," she says. "And if a marketing representative, for example, can't communicate in their language, how can a customer possibly understand?" In the survey, responses were compiled from 589 information professionals, who provided data as of September 1991. For academics, this represented the 1991-92 school year. Sixty-two percent of the respondents were members of ACS's Division of Chemical Information. In addition, queries were mailed to members of the biological and chemical interest group of the American Society for Information Science and the science and technology section of the Association of College and Research Libraries. The salary results mirror the varied nature of the specialty. The average annual salary reported was $50,400. In academia, however, the average was $36,900. Averages for industry and government were $57,000 and $54,900, respectively. Notable, though, was the finding that scientific information professionals with a doctorate in chemistry earned 19 percent more than their peers holding a doctorate in another science field, and 25 percent more than those holding a doctorate in a non-science field. "There are openings in these positions all the time. They won't vanish like some jobs vanish these days," says Arleen Somerville, head of the science and engineering lab at the University of Rochester in New York. "You need to understand chemistry and have the ability to work in the electronic world. In academia, you traditionally need a library degree. But there are very few people out there in the industrial world with a library degree and a chemistry background." Edlyn Simmons, manager of the patent information science group at Marion Merrill Dow Inc. in Cincinnati, concurs. "There's enormous demand for people who don't exist," she says. "Until 10 or 15 years ago, the amount of information available in the patent world was relatively small. Now, we're flooded with information sources, and they're pretty complicated." At the same time, Simmons cautions that companies aren't bidding up salaries because of the lingering recession and the continuing transfer of chemists from laboratory jobs into information jobs. "Different companies have very different values placed on the people who perform this work," she adds. In government, the need for such information professionals is growing, although budget constraints continue to dampen hiring, says Joseph Clark, senior scientist in the technical administration division of the United States Department of Commerce in Washington, D.C. "The information resource manager is a relatively new classification," he says, adding that this job requires keeping up with new technological advances. Other survey highlights include: * Information professionals' salaries increased as the length of time with their employer increased. * The average salary for women was $45,829, compared with $56,256 for men. However, O'Neill notes that the men were at their jobs for an average of two years longer than the women and that there were more women who reported working in academia, which pays 30 percent less than industry, on average. * Academic respondents indicated that their most common function was to serve as a librarian, doing such work as cataloging, purchasing, and online or literature searching. * Those in industry reported more diversity among functions, including computer research, database management, marketing, patent and legal research, and managing information centers. Overall, experts predict that demand will increase as employers recognize that the quality of the workload requires highly specialized knowledge and skills. "You can't just do this as part-time work. There's too much to remember," says Victoria Veach, a technical information specialist with 3M Corp. in St. Paul, Minn. "To access a database and make use of indexing, you need to use information regularly and pull out codes for compounds. It's quite complex to search in a chemical area," she says. Once the economy improves, hiring should pick up, particularly among employers who engage in a lot of research and development, experts say. "You won't see a lot of help-wanted ads right now because of the state of the economy," Veach says. "We're not hiring anyone right now. But if we were looking, I'm not sure we'd find someone. A lot of people don't even know that the profession exists. For employers, it's slim pickings." Edward R. Silverman is a freelance writer based in Hoboken, N.J. Chemical Information: A Career Alternative For Chemists BY EDWARD R. SILVERMAN Chemists who are contemplating career alternatives in today's highly competitive job market might want to consider an emerging specialty: chemical information. Information professionals perform a wide variety of tasks, including library research, patent research, marketing research, preparation of customer service materials, acquisition of books and journals for libraries, and updates of electronic research systems. Because of their heavy reliance on scientific literature, chemists--many of whom will be convening at the spring meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS) March 28 through April 2-- have particularly high potential to excel in this specialty. Unlike general-interest librarians, chemical information professionals are hybrids--they often possess a degree in chemistry or another science field, in addition to a degree in library science, although a library degree is not always required. In recent years, the demand for such people has become keen: The information age has prompted a need for people who not only retrieve and organize complex scientific data, but also understand its meanings and applications. The growing awareness that scientists are highly qualified for such positions springs from a recognition of the assistance a chemist can offer a scientific colleague combing through chemical abstracts or researching patent law. To underscore the growing demand for such people, ACS's 1,400- member Division of Chemical Information recently released a survey of pay scales for the discipline. Because the field is so varied, the survey also provides statistics on the type of degree or degrees held by information professionals, types of employers, and job functions. "Having a science background can be very important," says survey coauthor Patricia O'Neill, who heads the physical sciences library at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. "People who are end-users of [scientific] products have very specific needs," she says. "And if a marketing representative, for example, can't communicate in their language, how can a customer possibly understand?" In the survey, responses were compiled from 589 information professionals, who provided data as of September 1991. For academics, this represented the 1991-92 school year. Sixty-two percent of the respondents were members of ACS's Division of Chemical Information. In addition, queries were mailed to members of the biological and chemical interest group of the American Society for Information Science and the science and technology section of the Association of College and Research Libraries. The salary results mirror the varied nature of the specialty. The average annual salary reported was $50,400. In academia, however, the average was $36,900. Averages for industry and government were $57,000 and $54,900, respectively. Notable, though, was the finding that scientific information professionals with a doctorate in chemistry earned 19 percent more than their peers holding a doctorate in another science field, and 25 percent more than those holding a doctorate in a non-science field. "There are openings in these positions all the time. They won't vanish like some jobs vanish these days," says Arleen Somerville, head of the science and engineering lab at the University of Rochester in New York. "You need to understand chemistry and have the ability to work in the electronic world. In academia, you traditionally need a library degree. But there are very few people out there in the industrial world with a library degree and a chemistry background." Edlyn Simmons, manager of the patent information science group at Marion Merrill Dow Inc. in Cincinnati, concurs. "There's enormous demand for people who don't exist," she says. "Until 10 or 15 years ago, the amount of information available in the patent world was relatively small. Now, we're flooded with information sources, and they're pretty complicated." At the same time, Simmons cautions that companies aren't bidding up salaries because of the lingering recession and the continuing transfer of chemists from laboratory jobs into information jobs. "Different companies have very different values placed on the people who perform this work," she adds. In government, the need for such information professionals is growing, although budget constraints continue to dampen hiring, says Joseph Clark, senior scientist in the technical administration division of the United States Department of Commerce in Washington, D.C. "The information resource manager is a relatively new classification," he says, adding that this job requires keeping up with new technological advances. Other survey highlights include: * Information professionals' salaries increased as the length of time with their employer increased. * The average salary for women was $45,829, compared with $56,256 for men. However, O'Neill notes that the men were at their jobs for an average of two years longer than the women and that there were more women who reported working in academia, which pays 30 percent less than industry, on average. * Academic respondents indicated that their most common function was to serve as a librarian, doing such work as cataloging, purchasing, and online or literature searching. * Those in industry reported more diversity among functions, including computer research, database management, marketing, patent and legal research, and managing information centers. Overall, experts predict that demand will increase as employers recognize that the quality of the workload requires highly specialized knowledge and skills. "You can't just do this as part-time work. There's too much to remember," says Victoria Veach, a technical information specialist with 3M Corp. in St. Paul, Minn. "To access a database and make use of indexing, you need to use information regularly and pull out codes for compounds. It's quite complex to search in a chemical area," she says. Once the economy improves, hiring should pick up, particularly among employers who engage in a lot of research and development, experts say. "You won't see a lot of help-wanted ads right now because of the state of the economy," Veach says. "We're not hiring anyone right now. But if we were looking, I'm not sure we'd find someone. A lot of people don't even know that the profession exists. For employers, it's slim pickings." Edward R. Silverman is a freelance writer based in Hoboken, N.J. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #6, March 22, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ CAREERS IN ABSTRACTING AND INDEXING FOR SCIENTISTS As computer networks, online databases, and various types of document delivery systems become more actively used by researchers, the need for knowledgeable and competent scientists to perform abstracting and indexing services will increase, according to the National Federation of Abstracting and Information Services (NFAIS), based in Philadelphia. Abstracts are the concise, generally noncritical summaries at the beginning of documents. Indexes are lists of a document's contents organized by key words or phrases. A new book, Guide to Careers in Abstracting and Indexing (Philadelphia, NFAIS, 1992), points out: "In the 1990s, A&I [abstracting and indexing] services have become big business. Technology has revolutionized the basic A&I services, and a growing population of computer-savvy users poses new challenges." Even with computer databases that provide full-text documents, NFAIS executive director Ann Marie Cunningham predicts that the need for services that facilitate speedy data searches, such as those provided by the Institute for Scientific Information in Philadelphia and H.W. Wilson Co. in New York, is making all A&I services more vital. Scientists often begin a career in A&I working on a freelance basis for a book or serial publisher or A&I services. "Most of the scientists going into this type of work have advanced degrees in a particular scientific discipline," she says. "For instance, many people coming to the end of their professional career as a researcher or university professor and who don't want to work full-time or are retiring might consider getting into some freelance indexing and abstracting. "Sometimes, a publisher may hire someone for entry level with a bachelor's degree to cover the general scientific literature. But for something technical, like chemistry or physics, it would not be unusual to see doctorates." According to NFAIS statistics, average annual starting salaries for A&I work run between $13,000 and $29,000. Some government agencies pay up to $46,000 for A&I in a highly specialized field. To obtain the A&I career guidebook, contact NFAIS at 1429 Walnut St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19102; or call (215) 563-2406. --Ron Kaufman (The Scientist, Vol:7, #6, March 22, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ PEOPLE ======= Fractal Developer Wins Wolf Prize Benoit B. Mandelbrot, a fellow at the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, N.Y., will be awarded the 1993 Wolf Prize in Physics by the Israeli-based Wolf Foundation on May 16. Since 1978, the Wolf Foundation has been granting $100,000 prizes for individual achievements in agriculture, chemistry, mathematics, medicine, physics, and the arts. This year, the prizes will be presented by Israeli President Chaim Herzog at the Knesset building in Jerusalem. Born in Warsaw, Poland, Mandelbrot, 68, is being honored for showing how fractals can have practical applications in many disciplines. He is the author of The Fractal Geometry of Nature (New York, W.H. Freeman & Co., 1982). Fractals--geometric objects of a complex nature composed of simple, invariant geometric patterns--have been found useful to researchers in the diverse fields of astronomy, computer science, biology, economics, geography, and physics. "I never liked mathematics by itself. I didn't like its dryness or abstraction," Mandelbrot says. "So I spent all my life being a mathematician without being a member of the core mathematics community. I've always done things my own way, which is why all my work has been used by many different disciplines." In addition to gaining satisfaction from the cross-disciplinary utility of his work, Mandelbrot says, he is extremely pleased that fractals are easily understood by high school and college teachers. "To my surprise and delight, young people and adolescents in the United States, France, England, and Australia have shown an extraordinary affinity to these ideas at an early age," he says. High school teachers are able to use fractals to motivate students to study mathematics, he notes. Mandelbrot received his Ph.D. in mathematical sciences from the Faculte des Sciences de Paris in 1952. He has been at IBM since 1958, starting as a research staff member. In 1974, he became a fellow at the research center. Since 1987, he has also served as a professor of mathematical sciences at Yale University. --Ron Kaufman (The Scientist, Vol:7, #6, March 22, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ OBITUARY ======== Robert W. Holley, a biologist and Nobel laureate, died February 11 in Los Gatos, Calif. He was 71. Holley, along with Marshall W. Rirenberg and H. Gobind Khorana, won the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine in 1968 for deciphering the genetic code for RNA. His classic paper on the subject appeared in the Journal of Biological Chemistry in 1965 ("Sequences in yeast alanine transfer ribonucleic acid," 240:2122). Holley did his RNA work at Cornell University, where he taught organic chemistry at the school's agricultural station at Geneva, N.Y., from 1948 to 1958. He was a researcher at the United States Department of Agriculture's Plant, Soil, and Nutrition Laboratory at Cornell in 1958-62. Holley then taught biochemistry and molecular biology at Cornell until 1966. He was a fellow and a professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, Calif., from 1966 until his death. He received his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Cornell in 1947. Ora Smith, a professor, emeritus, of vegetable crops at Cornell University, died February 4 in Ithaca, N.Y. He was 92 years old. Known on the Cornell campus as "Mr. Potato," he retired in 1967. Among other achievements, he pioneered the technique of reducing potato sugar in order to produce tasty potato chips and french fries. Smith was the only person to have been an honorary member of both the Potato Association of America and the European Association of Potato Research. He received his Ph.D. in vegetable science from the University of California in 1929 and wrote more than 500 scientific and popular articles on the potato. (The Scientist, Vol:7, #6, March 22, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================ Science Historian Is Elected To Congress Of the 124 freshmen members of the 103rd Congress, Rep. Robert E. Filner (D-Calif.), a former professor of the history of science at San Diego State University, says he is entering national public office with a unique perspective. "Coming from a background as a historian with some knowledge of science, I think I come at the political process in a much broader and more analytical way," says Filner, who represents California's 50th District in San Diego. "Certainly, almost every major policy area involves scientific information. Most congresspeople don't have scientific backgrounds, so I oftentimes will have to figure out how to put science information into a form or style they can understand without diluting or oversimplifying it." Filner won 57 percent of the popular vote in the November general election, easily beating his Republican opponent, Tony Valencia. Filner says he has chosen to serve on the House Public Works and Transportation Committee and the Veterans' Affairs Committee, largely because of the importance these committees have to his San Diego constituency. He says his personal interests lie in the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, but he believes that freshman representatives should take care of their districts' needs first. Since 1970, Filner, 50, has taught survey courses in the history of science and science policy at San Diego State University. He received his B.A. in chemistry (1963) and his Ph.D. in the history of science (1970) from Cornell University. He says that even though education is his "first and true love," if the voters agree, he would like to stay in politics for a while. "However," he points out, "the political life is very uncertain. They don't give you tenure here." --Ron Kaufman (The Scientist, Vol:7, #6, March 22, 1993) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ================================

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