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Phone :(215)243-2205 // Fax: (215)387-1266 ================= To access THE SCIENTIST electronically: URL:gopher:// ---- GOPHER : telnet login : gopher terminal type: vt100 (if unknown) Choose #4, 4, and 12 from successive menus. ---- TO FTP : ftp /cd pub/the)scientist login / password = anonymous / your e-mail address ================== THE SCIENTIST VOLUME 8, No:22 NOVEMBER 14, 1994 (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) =============================================================== Articles published in THE SCIENTIST reflect the views of their authors and not the official views of the publication, its editorial staff, or its ownership. =============================================================== *** THE NEXT ISSUE OF THE SCIENTIST WILL APPEAR ON *** *** NOVEMBER 28, 1994 *** *** *** ******************************************************* Subscription rates for the printed edition are: In the United States: one year $58, two years $ 94 Canada : one year $82, two years $142 All other foreign : one year/air cargo $ 79 one year/ airmail $133 THE SCIENTIST (Page numbers correspond to printed edition of THE SCIENTIST) FOR SEARCHING PURPOSES: AU = author TI = title of article TY = type PG = page NXT = next article ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : CONTENTS PG : 3 ============================================================ NEWS DE FACTO REFORM: Though health-care reform was declared legislatively dead more than a month ago, observers from various segments of the biomedical research community report that reform-based changes, such as managed care, are proceeding apace, and their effects are being felt in academic and industrial research PG : 1 UNIQUE AIDS CONFERENCE: Among the 800 or so AIDS investigators from around the world attending Robert Gallo's 10th annual lab meeting, some love the atmosphere, others hate the format; but almost all agree the gathering bears the distinctive imprint of the accomplished and controversial AIDS researcher PG : 1 APOXALYPSE NOW: A recommendation by a World Health Organization committee to destroy the world's remaining smallpox stores has scientists reacting strongly, both for and against the proposal PG : 1 BROAD-BASED MEETING: A far-ranging scientific program is in store for attendees of next month's annual meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology, including presentations on such "hot" topics as signal transduction and emerging fields like programmed cell death PG : 3 OPINION GALLO ON GALLO: In an exclusive interview with The Scientist, NIH retrovirologist Robert Gallo discusses reports that he will leave the health agency in the near future and reflects on pivotal past events. From the earliest days of AIDS research, Gallo has played a central role in advancing scientific understanding of HIV. In the mid-1980s, however, he was involved in a bitter dispute over appropriate credit for its discovery PG : 12 COMMENTARY: The scientific journals and reference works becoming available on CD-ROM are indications that the dream of universal, real-time access to the world's accumulated knowledge is coming close to tangible reality; but practical technological obstacles need to be overcome before this "information nirvana" is achieved, saysEugene Garfield PG : 13 RESEARCH A FIELD DEVELOPS: Among the numerous exciting advances taking place in the neurosciences, the field of developmental neuroscienceis providing some of the most active and productiveinvestigations PG : 14 HOT PAPERS: Molecular biologist Cammie Lesser discusses nuclear pre-mRNA splicing; biologist J. Troy Weeks reports on a protocol for producing transgenic wheat lines; developmental biologist Kevin Peters expands on FGF receptor genes PG : 15 TOOLS & TECHNOLOGY CULTURAL SOLUTION: Although cell-culture media and reagents often rely on long-established formulations, suppliers have managed to keep pace with and facilitate the multitude of new discoveries and techniques in cell biology PG : 16 PROFESSION SELLING SCIENCE: Scientists trying to cope in an increasingly precarious job market are "transitioning" into nontraditional careers; many of them are applying their knowledge and skills in sales PG : 24 THOMAS KIRK, former deputy director of the superconducting supercollider laboratory, has become an associate director of Brookhaven National Laboratory PG : 25 SHORT TAKES NOTEBOOK PG : 4 CARTOON PG : 4 LEADERS OF SCIENCE PG :10 LETTERS PG : 13 CELL-CULTURE MEDIA DIRECTORY PG: 20 NEW PRODUCTS PG : 23 OBITUARY PG : 25 (The Scientist, Vol:8, #22, pg.3, November 14, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A. -------- NXT: ---------------------------------------------------------- TI : Gallo's Meeting: A Scientific 'Folk Festival' AU : FRANKLIN HOKE TY : NEWS PG : 1 Like Robert Gallo the scientist, Robert Gallo the scientific impresario can be brilliant and engaging, excessive and abrasive, according to some of the 800 AIDS investigators from around the world attending his 10th annual lab meeting last month. They say Gallo's eclectic touch is evident throughout the gathering, which they consider one of the most important of the year--almost as much for the community feeling it brings to the far-flung scientists battling the disease complex as for the new research presented there. "Gallo's meeting has juice, that's what it's got," declares Cecil H. Fox, an experimental pathologist, biochemist, and 20-year NIH veteran who is now president of Molecular Histology Laboratories Inc., Gaithersburg, Md. "That is, there's a lot of interpersonal contact, there are colorful people that go to it, there are discussions, disagreements, and, frequently, hard feelings and good feelings that come out of it. It's what scientific meetings are supposed to be about. It's not a group of wooden people flying in on an airplane, getting off the plane, coming to the hotel or whatever it is, delivering a talk that they've delivered six times in the previous two months, getting back on the plane, and leaving." Fox adds that, among scientific meetings, "this is a folk festival." Surprising, perhaps, to outsiders is the fact that much- publicized and long-running official investigations of alleged scientific misconduct by Gallo and members of his lab, which were discontinued in November 1993, appear to have had little impact on attendance at the meeting or on its overall value to scientists. The meeting, sponsored by Gallo's Laboratory of Tumor Cell Biology in the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health, runs for seven days--from September 25 to October 1 this year--10 hours a day, with 10 minutes scheduled for each talk. Even so, Gallo says, the large number of worthy papers presented this year required that the meeting be broken into concurrent sessions for the first time. "I never wanted it to happen, but the only alternative was to make this eight, nine, or 10 days," he explains. Gallo exerts a high degree of personal control over the meeting's agenda, researchers say, and some of its most valuable and unique aspects strongly bear his imprint. For example, Gallo selects and invites the much-praised roster of special lecturers, top scientists not working directly on AIDS but whose research often proves to have implications for the field. Some of the often-criticized features of the event, too, spring from the same source. Here, scientists at the meeting point to what they call an overwhelming number of papers presented with insufficient screening, resulting in a "diluted" quality of the sessions and, this year, in undesirable concurrent sessions that undermine the meeting's feeling of unity. Still and all, the scientists come. "This is the real AIDS researchers' meeting," says Candace Pert, a psychopharmacologist and former NIH investigator now with Peptide Research, a Rockville, Md.-based consulting firm. According to Pert, the larger international AIDS meeting, held in Yokohama, Japan, this year, is "too inconvenient and too much infiltrated by nonscientific issues." The researchers who come to the meeting are not blind to the misconduct charges that have dogged Gallo for much of the past decade. The investigations revolved around accusations that he misappropriated credit in 1984 for the discovery of HIV from Luc Montagnier and his researchers at the Pasteur Institute in Paris. But while a number of the meeting participants believe some portion of the charges, they also tend to be somewhat forgiving. "He's a rogue, but a likable one," says one British researcher, speaking on condition of anonymity. She says she was disinclined to attend when invited by Gallo several years ago, because of the controversy surrounding his lab. Since then, she has come to every meeting. "It's a large meeting but keeps its small-meeting feel. I don't know how he does it." "A few years ago, I stopped worrying about credit and how many more papers I was going to publish," says Pert. "I've published my 250 papers, and I'm really focused on finding cures for human diseases. So, if [Gallo] should steal something that I think of that enables him to make progress, I'd feel good about it. He does have this reputation, but I think it's undeserved on a certain level." A French researcher, who asks not to be identified, says angry feelings still run high, at least in her country, concerning the just apportionment of credit between Montagnier and Gallo for discovering HIV. Nevertheless, she says, many French scientists have continued to attend the meeting regularly, and she has attended Gallo's meeting every year since 1985. This year, there was talk in the halls that this might be the last Gallo meeting to be held in the Washington, D.C., area--or, in any case, the last to be held at government expense. Rumors circulated that Gallo has been asked to leave NIH and to retire from government in return for a permanent discontinuation of the misconduct investigations. Other speculation suggested he may return to his alma mater in Philadelphia, Thomas Jefferson University, or establish a university-affiliated institute near NIH with at least one other high-profile AIDS researcher. Gallo acknowledges that he is engaged in negotiations with several universities and that he would like to move into academia (see interview on page 12). Scientific Strengths "What I like about the Gallo meeting is that it's not just about AIDS," says Terri H. Finkel, an immunologist working on T-cell signaling at the National Jewish Center for Immunology and Respiratory Medicine in Denver, where she is head of the laboratory of pediatric research. "Eclectic is the word that comes to mind, because he brings in people that may not be in the field [of AIDS], but touch on it in various ways." As examples, Finkel cites the talks given by NIH neuroscientist and Nobelist D. Carleton Gajdusek on infectious amyloids, by Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator Roger M. Perlmutter of the University of Washington, Seattle, on T-cell development and signaling, and by David Beach, another Hughes investigator at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York, on cell-cycle kinases. "All of these can help us better understand HIV, although the people aren't in that field," Finkel says. "And that's really what HIV [research] needs." She points to recent exhortations by Bernard Fields (Nature, 369:95-6, 1994) and NIH Office of AIDS Research head William Paul for a return to basic research in AIDS investigations. "Gallo's meeting has been trying to do that, and, of the AIDS meetings, it's unique in trying to take a broader view." Finkel's own talk, titled "How Does HIV Kill T Cells?", was included in a session on apoptosis--programmed cell death, or cell suicide--and fit into one of several distinct scientific themes evident at the meeting. In her study, Finkel explored possible signaling mechanisms by which HIV may be killing T cells other than the cells actually infected with the virus. "The dogma certainly is that HIV itself kills cells, that it's a cytopathic infection, and so we assumed that the infected cells would be apoptotic," Finkel says. "Probably the most surprising result that came out of this study was that the infected cells were not apoptotic--it was the bystander cells that were apoptotic. That was a complete surprise and may mean the virus has ways of protecting itself [and the infected cell] from apoptosis." "Back in the early days, people were so excited that they'd found the virus," says Pert. "The concept was that the virus directly infected lymphocytes, and that's the pathogenesis. But the subtheme [that emerged at this meeting] is that the viral proteins do all kinds of things by acting at receptors, by acting at a distance, so that only a very small percentage of the cells in the immune system actually need to be infected, because they're putting out this extremely toxic little protein. And it's really getting more play." "We needed very badly to have a summary roundtable on how the T cells are lost," says Gallo, noting that a number of studies presented offered conflicting views on the question of whether HIV kills T cells directly or indirectly. "That general area was, to me, one of the high points of the meeting, but without clear-cut resolution." One of the most important presentations, according to Gallo, recapped HIV vaccine work being done with chimpanzees by Marc P. Girard of the Pasteur Institute. In this study and others, vaccines based on HIV envelope proteins, such as gp120 and gp160, have been shown to stimulate significant immune responses in chimpanzees. "This is a chimpanzee study just using the viral protein," Gallo says. "It's the kind that got refused recently for clinical trials [by National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Anthony Fauci in June], the kind that one finds it hard to believe would do something. Nonetheless, [the vaccine] has protected chimps, both by mucosal infection and intravenous infection [routes], and it's protected against a few different strains." Scientific Character One of the two vaccines for which clinical trials were refused further United States government support this summer was a gp120 vaccine developed by Genentech Inc. of South San Francisco, Calif. Last month, the World Health Organization in Geneva, after consulting much of the same preliminary data as did Fauci, agreed to fund large-scale clinical trials that will include the Genentech vaccine. The clinical scientist managing the trials for Genentech is Don Francis, a researcher whose longtime criticism of Gallo and his lab dates to the mid-1980s, when Francis was with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. At that time, a dispute flared between Francis and Gallo, with each accusing the other of impeding research progress against AIDS by controlling access to crucial experimental samples and reagents. Francis, who did not attend the Gallo meeting, acknowledges that the gathering "has become, traditionally, an interesting scientific affair." And he understands that most scientists do not make a link between the allegations against Gallo's lab and their decision to attend his meeting, although he finds it surprising. "Science is the pursuit of the truth," Francis says. "How can a meeting designed to uncover the truths of nature be hosted by a group--not necessarily an individual, but by a group--with a questionable history of honesty? That's the underlying question. And this [meeting] is really hosted by the United States government, represented by that group and NIH. How does that continue, I wonder?" Other researchers, whether they do or do not believe the charges leveled against Gallo and his lab, seem ready to move on to other discussions. "It's really a pity that the discussion of whether [Gallo] stole the virus from the French or not has eclipsed the fact that he's a really original and brilliant scientist," says Pert. "The French sent him the virus because they knew he could grow it, and they couldn't grow it. So, I respect his brilliance--and maybe he's growing and learning to give more credit to other people." "I don't think it's worth pursuing any longer," Fox comments. "[But] this is a case of someone marked with the sign of Cain. That's it. He wasn't exonerated, remember." Like others, Fox, who is a veteran of the Gallo meetings, praises many of the speakers at this year's event while criticizing the number of low-quality papers presented, the split sessions, and even the choice of hotel, which was changed from previous gatherings. "The old meetings that were held down in the basement of this hotel in Bethesda were wonderful, because it was like the old experiments in sensory deprivation," says Fox. "What you did was you went down into this chamber, this darkened chamber, and you were sensorily deprived. You sat there, and you could see the podium and the lights on the podium and the slides, and you didn't try to pay attention. But you emerged, mole-like, six or seven days later with a reordered understanding of the state of science associated with lentiviruses. It was an osmotic learning experience." (The Scientist, Vol:8, #22, pg.1, November 14, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A. -------- NXT: ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : U.S. Health-Care System Changes Proceed In Absence Of Reform Industrial and academic biomedical scientists areincreasingly affected by `competition withoutthe management end' AU : BARBARA SPECTOR TY : NEWS PG : 1 Since September 26, when Sen. George Mitchell (D-Maine) officially pronounced health-care reform dead for 1994, each sector of the biomedical research community has been reacting in its own way to the news of its demise. Officials at academic health centers, for example, have been lamenting this year's missed opportunity, while leaders of biotechnology and pharmaceutical firms have been celebrating the congressional reprieve. But regardless of their position on the issue, research administrators in industry and academia agree that the United States health-care market is already driving the system toward reform, even without legislation. And in the two years since Bill Clinton became president, they say, these market-influenced changes have dramatically altered the way virtually everyone in this sector does business. "The market forces are out there, which are pushing toward the managed competition [and] the HMOs," observes Bruce L.R. Smith, a science-policy analyst at the Washington, D.C.- based Brookings Institution. "The whole Clinton health [plan] was more a reflection of those forces than the cause of the debate. And those forces will continue, and they'll have some impact." "Though we didn't make any policy headway, the market has changed phenomenally in the past 22 months," reports Edward O'Neil, an associate professor of family and community medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine and executive director of the Pew Commission on Health Professions. "It's created a managed- competition model without the management end of it." Several policy analysts predict that some attempt will be made to reintroduce a reform bill--and the related Harkin- Hatfield Fund for Medical Research amendment (see accompanying story)--in the 104th Congress in 1995. But Alan Hillman, director of the Center for Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania's Leonard Davis Institute for Health Economics, contends that, because the system has already changed of its own accord, to a certain extent "it doesn't matter what specific plan comes out of Washington." Hillman, who served on a 500-person task force organized by Clinton in early 1993 to design the president's reform plan, maintains that such legislation would "really simply be a catalyst or facilitator. It will not be the end-all or be- all of reform unless it's a drastic plan, which I don't think now has any chance of passing." The View From Industry The relief on the part of top executives of drug and biotech firms at the collapse of reform efforts stems from their strong objection to price controls, a component of Clinton's original plan. Limits on prices, in the view of Richard De Schutter, president of Chicago-based Searle and Co., would have "stifled research," marking "the end of the industry as we know it." While the issue of price controls was on the table, many companies, fearful of the potential detriment to their profit margin, put ambitious research plans on hold. Now, says De Schutter of his pharmaceutical house, "we plan to spend more on R&D in '95 than in '94. That would not have been possible if the Clinton plan had gone through." Had the president's original vi-sion become a reality, he speculates, companies would have adjusted through "massive layoffs, which clearly is not the case now." Likewise, Carl Feldbaum, president of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), reports that the notion of price controls served to "scare the heck out of our investors." Biotech CEOs, according to Feldbaum, were "threatened by this episode and distracted, as well." But, notes Robert Bell, a professor of economics at Brooklyn College, City University of New York, the nationwide move to managed care is limiting what drug and device manufacturers can charge even in the absence of legislation. "Insurance companies are imposing the price controls," he observes. He and other pharmaceutical industry analysts point out that the most notable effect of market forces has been the decreased desirability of "me-too" drugs--those that duplicate the functions of existing medications. "Insurers set up a formulary, or a list of drugs they'll pay for," says Bell, author of Impure Science: Fraud, Compromise, and Political Influence in Scientific Research (New York, John Wiley and Sons Inc., 1992). "They are not at all interested in these 'me-too' drugs. [They] will only approve something that's tried and true." Manufacturers "can't expect to market drugs on the grounds that those drugs are going to be widely prescribed unless they [genuinely] add something or reduce costs," asserts Kenneth Shine, president of the Institute of Medicine (IoM). Because it is less costly to produce a "me-too" drug than a novel product, "their profits are going to be squeezed." As a result, Shine foresees that "jobs in industry will shrink in the aggregate for scientists." Searle's De Schutter agrees: "As the marketplace flexes its muscle, the pharmaceutical industry has to change. The consolidations are not over." With this shift in focus, Bell predicts, "medical research is more likely to become more bona fide research. There is more incentive to develop an AIDS drug or a cancer drug than a 'me-too' drug. [While] those people working on [duplicate medications] will be looking for work, those working on AIDS, cancer, or many, many problems that need work will do fine." Academic Centers' Woes As more individuals enroll in cost-conscious managed-care plans, academic health centers are forced to compete with community hospitals for patients. This situation puts the university facilities at a disadvantage, since they need patient-care revenues to fund their research and teaching operations. "When the hospital starts to bleed, the medical school goes into shock," says John W. Rowe, president of Mount Sinai School of Medicine and Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. A number of reform proposals under discussion would have included subsidies for academic centers to help offset the decrease in internal support for these functions. Without reform, "the bottom-line message is that managed-care organizations competing in a price-driven environment will not pay for research or education," laments IoM's Shine. "If you're negotiating in a managed-care environment in which price is the determinant, it's very hard to generate margins," he elaborates, adding that he expects a shrinkage in university research. "You can't raise people's tuition [more]. The endowment has been committed umptity-ump times. You can't ask a donor to pay your indirects. It's potentially a very serious problem if no reform is [passed]." On the other hand, reform would likely have included some provisions detrimental to academic centers, such as reductions in Medicare and Medicaid and decreased support for specialty medical education, according to Mount Sinai's Rowe. While decreasing the number of specialists is desirable in the long run, he says, in the short term the measure "has a potentially adverse effect on the very population that health-care reform was designed to assist." Academic medical centers--many of which are located in urban areas--"provide needed specialty care to indigent neighborhoods through supervised residents and fellows," Rowe notes. With a reform-driven reduction in the number of residents in medical specialties, "it costs a hospital a substantial amount of money to replace a resident with a health-care provider [such as a nurse practitioner or physician assistant]. We saw no provision to assist these institutions in coping with this effect." UC-San Francisco's O'Neil sees changes on the horizon. While academic health centers have traditionally viewed their mission as "training specialized providers," now "those that can't diversify their patient-care programs are at risk." At his institution, he reports, administrators are pondering the issue of "How can we bring a richer mixture to our training programs and position the biomedical research enterprise so that it remains strong and vibrant?" The an- swer, he suggests, may lie in shrinking the medical school and downsizing specialty care. But, he adds, this strategy cannot be adopted by all institutions. Issues each school must address for itself, according to O'Neil, include: "Should we just become a biomedical research institution, and cut out most of the patient-care program? Should we expand the primary-care network to have enough people in our programs to support the tertiary care that we do? Should we develop partnerships with new merging systems?" The last tactic, he points out, has been aggressively pursued by the University of Pennsylvania and several other institutions. Although national health-care reform has not become a reality, several states have proceeded with their own legislation, which has affected the academic health centers within their borders, according to administrators at such institutions. Minnesota, for example, is one of the most regulated states in terms of health-care policy, with a sizable majority of its population enrolled in managed-care plans. In addition, there are local reform laws in the Minneapolis- St. Paul area, notes Shelley Chou, interim dean of the University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis. In his region, Chou says, "managed care has now progressed to an integrated service network. It is not easy for patients to go out of the system unless they co-pay." In the absence of a contractual agreement between a university facility and a system insurer, he explains, "going back and forth from an academic health center to the system is not easy" for patients. His institution is developing "a Centers of Excellence type of package" to make it attractive to managed-care systems, offering tertiary- care services such as bone- marrow transplants for a flat fee. "It's a moving target," Chou says. "We do the best we can to build up a primary-care practice in greater Minnesota. The maturity of the market is a factor--how many patients are locked [in]" to particular managed-care packages. "We may not have enough revenue to run the kind of quality projects that we do." What Next? For now, academic and industry administrators are trying to deal with the market changes already occurring, while bracing themselves for the plans that might be introduced in Congress next year. "Some people will say it was good to step back and think about [the optimal measures to be taken]," remarks Roy Silverstein, president of the American Federation for Clinical Research (AFCR) and chief of the division of hematology and medical oncology at Cornell University Medical College in New York City. "I view it as an opportunity that was lost." AFCR, Silverstein vows, will continue to lobby for reform: "We will keep supporting [legislators] who support aspects of health-care reform that we think are important, and keep reminding them how important we think this is." >From the biotech industry's point of view, says BIO president Feldbaum, "the silver lining was that, instead of biotech being buried in the noise level, we were able to be heard above the din. We were able to explain ourselves." He anticipates "not having to be on the defensive" when the debate resumes. Clinton administration officials maintain that they will continue the reform effort. At the Albert Lasker Medical Research Awards luncheon, held on September 30, Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala gave the attendees "a message from the first lady that she has no intention of giving up on health-care reform." Penn's Hillman is skeptical, however. "We'll have to see how receptive Congress and the United States people are," he cautions. "We'll have to wait and see what happens in January and February--what tactics are going to be used by various members of health-care industry. Then we'll see if there's a chance for serious reform. If not, we'll go back to the tried-and-true method of incremental change." (The Scientist, Vol:8, #22, pg.1, November 14, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A. -------- NXT: ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : WHITHER HARKIN-HATFIELD? AU : BARBARA SPECTOR TY : NEWS PG : 8 The Harkin-Hatfield Fund for Medical Research amendment, introduced last spring by Sens. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Mark O. Hatfield (R-Ore.) and attached to several health-care reform bills debated in Congress, would set aside monies for medical research above the National Institutes of Health appropriation. The funds would be obtained through a 1 percent assessment on all monthly health insurance premiums and a voluntary income tax check-off. The biomedical-research community--joined by many members of Congress--was overwhelmingly in favor of the amendment. "The support for that bill this year was unlike anything I've seen," says Terry Lierman, president of Washington, D.C.- based Capitol Associates Inc., a government-relations firm. But with health-care reform bills taken off the table, at least for the remainder of the year, there is no guarantee that the proposal will pass. Harkin and Hatfield both are considered friends of biomedical research. As chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, Harkin obtained an increase in the NIH budget from $7.89 billion in 1989 (when he took over the subcommittee chairmanship) to $11.34 billion in fiscal year 1995. Hatfield, the ranking Republican on the Appropriations Committee, was instrumental along with Harkin in setting up nationwide centers for Alzheimer's research five years ago. In addition, he wrote legislation setting up a national center for sleep research as part of NIH's reauthorization last year and has embarked on a campaign for a strategic plan for research on rare diseases. Both senators have pledged to continue their efforts to pass the Harkin-Hatfield amendment, either as part of a larger health-care reform bill or as a free-standing bill. Lierman calls the proposal "the only vehicle available to provide the funding necessary to avert the crisis in medical research." Other ways of allocating the money have become dead ends, he says: "There's a budget freeze. You can't get it into the appropriations process. And the president isn't going to propose any increase." Institute of Medicine president Kenneth Shine, who has had informal discussions with representatives of managed-care organizations, reports that they would be receptive to the bill if the money from the proposed fund were to go to clinical research--which would free up more NIH money for basic science. "There's a logic to the approach," he maintains. "It makes sense to them to have a small percentage of the health-care dollar support research when it's clinical research. "In fact, money has been coming out of patient care to support research, by paying it to hospitals to create overhead. What we're talking about is rationalizing what is already happening--patient care supports research." In the absence of a total national reform package, however, it is likely that the public will be leery of the proposal, some observers believe. If Harkin-Hatfield were not included in an aggregation of modifications to the entire health-care system, "passing that bill would be [viewed as] passing a tax," asserts Abbey Meyers, president of the New Fairfield, Conn.-based National Organization for Rare Disorders. "Nobody's going to vote for anything that would raise taxes. It has to be something that people don't see in their paychecks." Hatfield addressed this concern in a written response to a question from The Scientist: "Some will continue to see it as a tax rather than investment in cost containment. For those, let me reiterate that this is one tax the American people seem to support overwhelmingly, with Harris polls showing that 77 percent of Americans will pay $1 more per week in taxes for medical research [see below]." But Bruce L.R. Smith, a science-policy analyst at the Washington, D.C.-based Brookings Institution, says the proposal amounts to "adding to the cost of insurance." He contends: "It's adding to the cost of the system when the problem is to control the cost of the system. If NIH wants an increase in appropriations, let them go to Congress and ask for it, and debate it on its own terms." Roy Silverstein, president of the American Federation for Clinical Research, acknowledges that the proposal may be viewed as an additional tax. "There's a risk that people will see it that way," he says. "But anything that puts on the table the opportunity to increase funding for medical research is a risk worth taking." --B.S. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #22, pg.8, November 14, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A. -------- NXT: ------------------------------------------------------------ TI: RESEARCH!AMERICA: CITIZENS WOULD PAY MORE TY: NEWS PG: 8 In 1993, Research!America, an Alexandria, Va.-based research-advocacy organization, commissioned Louis Harris and Associates to take a survey of United States adults, assessing their views on various health-care issues. According to the polling organization, the 1,254 respondents' age, sex, race, education, and region were weighted "to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population." The margin of error for the survey is approximately 3 percent. Following are highlights of the survey: * 91 percent of respondents said they believed the U.S. should spend more on medical research. * Given a choice, 61 percent said the country should spend a lot more on medical research, compared with 35 percent favoring a lot more spending on energy research, 10 percent advocating a lot more spending on space research, and 9 percent recommending a lot more spending on defense research. * 74 percent of respondents said they were willing to spend $1 more per week in taxes if assured that it would be spent for additional medical research. Seventy-five percent said they would spend $1 more per prescription drug, and 77percent said they would spend $1 more per week in insurance premiums. Source: Research!America (The Scientist, Vol:8, #22, pg.8, November 14, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A. -------- NXT: ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : Smallpox Extermination Proposal Stirs Scientists AU : KAREN YOUNG KREEGER TY : NEWS PG : 1 Eminent virologists from around the world are reacting strongly--both for and against--a recommendation made in September by a World Health Organization (WHO) committee to destroy all remaining stores of the smallpox virus. At a September 9 meeting in Geneva, the 10-member WHO Ad Hoc Committee on Orthopoxvirus Infections unanimously agreed that the potential costs to humanity from biological warfare or inadvertent outbreaks of the disease outweigh its research benefits to science--especially when there are alternatives to using the live virus for scientific investigations. Advocates of preserving the viral stores argue, however, that given the powerful microbiological tools that have been devised in the recent past, it is short-sighted and foolish to get rid of the live virus just yet. They contend that information that is likely to be discovered in the smallpox genome could help fight other deadly viral pathogens, most notably HIV. "To me, on a scientific basis, we're taking an extremely precious resource and destroying it," asserts Bernard Fields, chairman of the microbiology and molecular genetics department at Harvard Medical School in Boston. While he does not advocate that researchers "immediately start doing experiments with the virus," Fields stresses that "destroying it ends the whole issue of possibly understanding it in the future." On the other hand, David Baltimore, Ivan R. Cottrell Professor of Molecular Biology and Immunology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, maintains that "we can get a lot of information from a variety of other routes, which I think scientists will be prepared to take because they're safe." He adds, referring to concerns that terrorists might use the virus in biological warfare: "Balance [these alternative methods] against the fact that there are nuts in the world, and I would just as soon get rid of it." If the recommendation to exterminate the stores by June 30 is carried out, it also means that the smallpox virus--more specifically, the variola strain, which is deadly to humans- -would have the distinction of being the first species to be intentionally eliminated. Before the remaining stocks are autoclaved and incinerated, health ministers from around the world will vote on the ad hoc committee's recommendation at the annual meeting of the World Health Assembly--the decision-making body of WHO--next May in Geneva. Currently, live viral stocks are held in freezers in high-containment laboratories at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta and the Institute for Viral Preparations in Moscow. Diseases And Detente Smallpox was once the scourge of almost every inhabited continent on Earth, with hundreds of cases appearing in the former Yugoslavia as late as the early 1970s. In 1967, WHO launched an aggressive vaccination campaign to eradicate the disease. Ten years later, a man from Somalia was the last known person in the general populace to die of smallpox. In 1979, WHO announced that the Earth was smallpox-free, making the virus the only contagious pathogen ever to be eradicated. WHO first suggested that the virus be destroyed in 1986. According to Frank Fenner, chairman of the current WHO committee, there were no strong objections from the scientific community. But, he adds, in the interests of detente, a United States-Soviet Union collaboration was proposed in 1990 to sequence the virus, thus giving smallpox a reprieve until December 1993. "The U.S. Na-tional Academy of Sciences and the Russian Academy of Sciences got together and thought a way of softening Cold War attitudes might be to set up a collaborative enterprise of sequencing the genome of the variola virus," notes Fenner, who is also a professor, emeritus, at the John Curtin School of Medical Research of the Australian National University in Canberra. To date, two strains have been totally sequenced along with portions of five others. Another strain is currently being collaboratively sequenced by CDC and the Moscow institute, says Joseph Esposito, director of the WHO Collaborating Center for Smallpox and Other Pox Virus Infections at CDC. Should the virus be destroyed, the collaborating laboratories in Moscow and Atlanta will remain open, says Esposito. Among other responsibilities, he reports, the CDC center will continue working with other poxviruses. The WHO committee also recommended that CDC and the Moscow institute become repositories for cloned smallpox DNA stored in recombinant plasmids. But in mid-1993, Fenner says, a "small minority" of mostly U.S. scientists whose "words carry a lot of weight" expressed reservations about the standing directive to eliminate the virus after it was sequenced. These scientists voiced their hesitation despite the endorsement of the WHO committee's recommendation by several groups, including the American Society for Microbiology and the Council of the International Union of Microbiological Societies. Although the committee listened to the pleas from the scientific community to save the virus, Fenner says, the committee represents 156 nations and couldn't justify keeping the virus on hand because of a few vocal, yet eminent, virologists. "It was a small minority, and I think that weighed in the consideration of the committee," he remarks. Why Destroy It? To the WHO committee, the most compelling argument to get rid of the smallpox stores is the potential for the virus to be used by terrorists for biological warfare (B.W.J. Mahy et al., "The remaining stocks of smallpox virus should be destroyed," Science, 262:1223-4, 1993). "Political stability is a relative thing," Baltimore observes. "In a perfect world we would have a perfect repository where we could keep it just in case we were wrong [about destroying the smallpox virus], but I don't think that makes any sense now, since all of its information is decoded." But Fields views this reasoning as political rhetoric, not a scientific dilemma at all. Moreover, he says, this objection can be addressed through concomitant political solutions: "There are political ways to deal with that. Remove it from CDC and Moscow and put it in a neutral country under extremely safe conditions." Nonetheless, Fenner maintains, the committee's responsibility to the people it represents is justification for destroying the virus: "There are more countries in the world experimenting with bacterial warfare than there were a few years ago, and many countries feel more comfortable if there weren't these 600-odd strains of virus just [kept] in a deep freezer." Advocates of saving the virus, however, contend that, in any case, eliminating lab-controlled stocks doesn't mean that the threat of a smallpox outbreak is gone forever. Three potential sources, they say, exist: possible stocks unwittingly or intentionally stored in non-WHO laboratories; possible preservation of the virus in the tissues of smallpox victims buried in the Russian permafrost region; and possible re-emergence through a monkeypox variant. Given these circumstances, they ask, why not maintain the stores for study? Committee chairman Fenner counters that the likelihood that a vial of smallpox virus would be found in storage somewhere unbeknownst to WHO "gets more and more remote as time goes on" and if someone is keeping it secretly, there's "no way of knowing that, anyway." He also calls the chances that an epidemic would be initiated from permafrost cadavers "remote" and points out that easy transmission of the monkeypox virus in humans "hasn't happened in the whole human occupation of the rainforests of western, central Africa." In that unlikely event, WHO officials add, they have about 500,000 doses of vaccine readily available, with more capable of being produced in a matter of weeks. On the other hand, the possibility of accidental release from the lab is significantly less remote, according to the committee and its backers. "It can get out; it's proven its ability to get out," says Baltimore, referring to a 1978 isolated case that stoked early debates of what to do with the remaining stores. One year after the "last" death in Somalia, Janet Parker, a British photographer, became accidentally infected while taking pictures in a Birmingham University Medical School lab in which some samples were stored. Hers was the last recorded death by smallpox. This incident is the "practical example [of accidental infection] that everyone points to," he observes. "Even if that wasn't the case, we know that containment is never perfect. That's the problem with human beings--they're fallible." Supporters of retaining the virus, however, claim that the Birmingham incident couldn't happen in today's highly secure facilities in which the remaining smallpox stocks are stored. Why Save It? Opponents of the committee's recommendation maintain that biomedical researchers would forever lose unique scientific knowledge if the virus is destroyed, especially at a time when molecular biological techniques are just beginning to reveal so much about viral pathogens (W.K. Joklik et al., "Why the remaining stocks should not be destroyed," Science, 262:1225-6, 1993; L.S. Sandakhchiev, "We'd Better Think Twice Before Eradicating All Smallpox Virus Stocks," The Scientist, Aug. 23, 1993, page 11). They say that preserving the variola virus--at least for the next five to 10 years-- for future study will aid in understanding the way other such other deadly viral pathogens as HIV operate and also in developing antiviral drugs. "Twenty years ago we didn't know anything about [smallpox] proteins," Wolfgang Joklik, James B. Duke Professor of Microbiology at Duke University in Durham, N.C., points out. "Twenty years ago we thought all the information present in a [human] viral genome was only to enable the virus to multiply. Now we know that half the information is to defeat the human defense mechanism." The smallpox virus infects humans exclusively. However, proponents of destruction say that genetic studies can be done without the live virus because the base-pair sequence of smallpox DNA has been mapped and that cloned smallpox viral DNA is being kept in recombinant plasmids. (As a precautionary measure, WHO also urged that no more than 20 percent of the plasmid fragments be housed in any one laboratory--with the exception of CDC and the Moscow institute--and that no studies be performed in labs where other poxviruses are kept.) But, Joklik counters: "To study smallpox pathogenesis, the complete virus is required, not just plasmid clones and a sequence. How viruses cause disease at a biochemical and molecular level is little understood, and in smallpox, viral proteins mimic or interfere with host immune and regulatory functions. Clones don't suffice for study because encoding regions of the smallpox DNA are separated from regions that control expression." Fields concurs: "Anyone who says the sequence is enough doesn't understand virology, and that includes some famous virologists. We have to understand holistic parts of this virus and how these work together. There are many other poxviruses [to work on], but not this one. This one is the key pathogenic virus in its family. It's qualitatively different." Even if the virus is destroyed, current pox research will proceed apace, according to Fenner: "Pox virologists are now working primarily with vaccinia [an avirulent strain of smallpox] and other pox viruses as vectors for novel vaccines" against diseases unrelated to poxviruses. Currently, the live smallpox virus is being used only in the sequencing project. A Dubious Distinction One issue that does seem to trouble both camps in the debate is that, if the recommendation is carried out, smallpox will be the first species to be deliberately wiped out by humans. "I think that makes everybody a little unhappy," remarks Baltimore. "I do think that biological diversity is one of the great positive aspects of our planet and that we should be maximizing it rather than destroying it, so I think that that's a real concern. "On the other hand, it's very hard to find a positive side of viruses. As a virologist, that's always bothered me. If [eradicating] any species can be justified it's a species that has no obvious positive side to it, either aesthetic or any other." For the champions of sparing the virus, of course, this aspect of the smallpox debate is also of concern. "I don't mind containing things," Joklik says, "but I don't think we should destroy them. With the variola virus, obviously it's taken millions of years for nature to make it, and why should 10 guys sitting around a table say, 'Let's destroy it'? "It just doesn't make any sense to me because it's just such an admission of defeat to say we can't keep it safe." (The Scientist, Vol:8, #22, pg.1, November 14, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A. -------- NXT: ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : Far-Ranging Scientific Program To Be Featured At Cell Biology Meeting AU : KAREN YOUNG KREEGER TY : NEWS PG : 3 A well-rounded agenda of talks, special lectures, and awards awaits cell biologists who will be attending the 34th annual meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB), according to meeting organizers. Symposia covering such hot subjects as signal transduction, as well as newly emerging fields like programmed cell death, are all part of a far- ranging scientific program. The gathering will take place at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco from Saturday, December 10 to Wednesday, December 14, with an estimated 7,000 researchers expected to participate. An unprecedented 2,836 presentations and posters and a trade exhibition at which more than 300 organizations will be represented are scheduled. "We've got an exciting group of speakers that will cover subjects of traditional interest to cell biologists and also some emerging areas," says Bill Wood, cochairman of the program committee and a professor of molecular, cellular, and developmental biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder. "We're also proud of the number of women speakers that we have. Four out of the nine chairs of the major symposia are women." These nine major symposia cover the areas of cellular disease mechanisms and therapeutic strategies, intercellular communication, signaling in nervous-system genesis and function, molecular machinery of the secretory pathway, programmed cell death, building biological structure, cell specification and patterning during embryogenesis, biological functions of cell adhesion, and signal transduction from the cell surface to the nucleus. The meeting will kick off with a keynote address by Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health's National Center for Human Genome Research. Collins will discuss "Human Genetic Disorders and the Human Genome Project." Elizabeth Marincola, executive director of ASCB, notes that Collins's presentation will "combine science and public policy." The first of the nine symposia, which is to cover current approaches to gene therapy, will follow the keynote speech. Harkin Honored This year the society will present its first ASCB Public Service Award to Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa). After receiving the award on Tuesday, December 13, Harkin will speak on the topic of "Biomedical Research Funding and Health-Care Reform." J. Richard McIntosh, president of ASCB and a professor of cell biology at Colorado, says Harkin has shown unusual farsightedness in championing basic biomedical research funding, as demonstrated by the Harkin-Hatfield Fund for Medical Research amendment to the health-care reform bill that he and Sen. Mark O. Hatfield (R-Ore.) jointly proposed (see story on page 1). "When Harkin came through with the idea of a 1 percent surcharge [on health-insurance premiums, to be funneled to research], that was, of course, a remarkable breakthrough in terms of [ASCB's] perception of the way Washington was treating basic science," McIntosh declares. "It's really his courage in taking on something like that that holds promise of opening up better research for ultimately cheaper medicine in the long run. It's really hard to take that view. And that's why we are giving him the award." In general, McIntosh says, ASCB "has a significant interest in trying to make sure that Congress is fully aware of the value of basic research. A fair amount of the research that is presented at a meeting like this is funded by the NIH, and much of it also by NSF and private foundations." Traditionally among funding agencies, McIntosh points out, "there's been a strong tendency to devote research [dollars] to things that are going to be of practical importance." But, he contends, what most politicians don't understand "at a gut level" is that "science doesn't work that way very well because it's a very exploratory undertaking. "The discoveries that will turn out to be the most valuable are often unanticipatable. These are issues that right- minded fiscal advisers loathe because they are the kinds of things that imply you can't plan and manage everything. Science, however, has a different culture." Special Features In addition to scientific and policy-oriented offerings, the meeting will feature several other professional sessions and services for students and investigators (see story on page 3). According to Marincola, the purpose of a special panel discussion entitled "Practice of Science: The Problem of Ambiguity," to be held on Tuesday, December 13, is to "help students understand the gray areas" of the practice of their profession and some of the difficult issues researchers must address. For example, Marincola says, "everybody's talking about conflict of interest, and the NIH is coming down hard on people who are not careful about conflicts, and yet students and young investigators--well, everybody--feels as if there are no rules. It's the kind of thing that people have to pick up intuitively, and they are picking it up in inconsistent ways." In addition to this session and a special graduate student symposium to be held on Monday, December 12, says Mary Beckerle, cochairwoman of the program committee and a professor of biology at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, "we tried to get as much participation by graduate students and postdocs as possible" in the other activities at the meeting. She says that at least four out of the six speakers in each of 24 minisymposia being conducted at the meeting are students or postdocs. Students and other job-seekers can take advantage of the meeting's annual career-placement service, which will post more than 300 positions. Participants can arrange for interviews with representatives from more than 100 employers in industry, government, and aca-demia. The service is free for ASCB student members. McIntosh emphasizes yet another "terribly im-portant" feature of the meeting: the Exhibit Hall, a display of equipment and supplies from scientific firms; materials from scientific and academic publishers; and information on government and private research institutes, as well as professional societies. He describes this event as "partly a service the society can render to the private sector--a way that vendors can, with one commitment of personnel and resources, get access to a large number of potential customers. And partly it's a service to the members of the society, who need to find out what's current, what's hot, and what the best methods and equipment are." (The Scientist, Vol:8, #22, pg.3, November 14, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A. -------- NXT: ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : AT A GLANCE TY : NEWS PG : 3 >From December 10 through 14, organizers expect approximately 7,000 researchers to gather in San Francisco for the 34th annual meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology. More than 2,800 presentations and posters, as well as a trade show representing more than 300 organizations are scheduled. Following are some of the special events scheduled to take place at the convention: * Saturday, December 10, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.: Pre- conference workshop, "Connections for Excellence: Pre- college Science Education for Scientists" * Sunday, December 11, 2:00 to 3:00 p.m.: E.E. Just Lecture, "Actin-Dependent Movement of Organelles in the Squid Giant Axon," George M. Langford, E.E. Just Professor of Natural Sciences, Dartmouth College, Hanover, N.H. * Monday, December 12, 1:00 to 2:30 p.m.: Graduate Student Symposium, "Can Scientists Be Educators?" * Monday, December 12, 6:00 to 7:15 p.m.: Women in Cell Biology presentation * Tuesday, December 13, 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.: 13th Keith R. Porter Lecture on Cell Biology, "Signaling Genes from the Cell Surface: The JAK-STAT Pathway," James Darnell, Vincent Astor Professor and head of the laboratory of molecular cell biology, Rockefeller University, New York For more information on the meeting, contact the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) National Office: ASCB 9650 Rockville Pike Bethesda, Md. 20814-3992 (301) 530-7153 Fax: (301) 530-7139 E-mail: * J. Richard McIntosh, president * Elizabeth Marincola, executivedirector (The Scientist, Vol:8, #22, pg.3, November 14, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A. -------- NXT: NOTEBOOK ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : Gold In That Thar Crater TY : NEWS (NOTEBOOK) PG : 4 In today's overpublished research environment, what kind of work captures the world's attention? Los Alamos National Laboratory geologist Fraser Goff has an answer. Last month, at the Geological Society of America's annual meeting in Seattle, he presented a paper reporting that the Galeras volcano in Colombia releases gold into the atmosphere during eruptive episodes. While gold, silver, and platinum are commonly present in rocks from eruptions of extinct volcanoes, Goff explains, "here was an example where we actually found it in a live volcano." His report has "generated a lot more interest than I was expecting," says Goff, who was attending a conference in Colombia in January 1993 when the eruption occurred, killing nine people, six of whom were scientists. "Reporters from Spanish-language papers asked me questions like: Have I staked it?" For enterprising souls who think they can "run around with baskets, collecting nuggets," Goff adds a note of realism: The volcanic eruptions distribute the gold into the atmosphere; "you'll never find it." (The Scientist, Vol:8, #22, pg.4, November 14, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- NXT: ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : Where Credits Are Due TY : NEWS (NOTEBOOK) PG : 4 The University of California, San Diego, bioengineering program is finally getting accreditation to go along with the respect it's acquired over the past 28 years. UC-San Diego has designated bioengineering a separate department in the School of Engineering, joining the existing departments of electrical engineering, computer science and engineering, and applied mechanics and electrical sciences. The program was ranked fifth- best in the United States this year in a recent survey of engineering school deans conducted by U.S. News and World Report (March 21, 1994). The new department will be chaired by Shu Chien, director of the school's Institute for Biomedical Engineering. Armed with a $3 million grant from the nonprofit Whitaker Foundation, the department intends to eventually increase its present faculty of eight professors by seven, beef up its core facilities, and establish graduate and postdoctoral fellowships. The new department offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in two major areas: bioengineering and premed biomedical engineering. For more information, contact Chien at (619) 534- 5195. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #22, pg.4, November 14, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- NXT: ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : Garden Of E-mail TY : NEWS (NOTEBOOK) PG : 4 The 250,000-volume library of the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx has made its complete catalog available on the Internet. CATALPA--which stands for Catalog for Library Public Access and is also the name of a genus of American and Asiatic trees of the trumpet-creeper family--is fully searchable by author, title, subject, call number, keywords, corporate entry, or contents notes. According to library officials, the garden is the first major botanical institution to make its entire library (The Scientist, Vol:8, #22, pg.4, November 14, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- NXT: ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : WHI Expands TY : NEWS (NOTEBOOK) PG : 4 The National Institutes of Health has added 24 new centers to the existing 16 participating in the $628 million, 15-year Women's Health Initiative (WHI), conducting research on the chronic diseases that affect women, such as various cancers, heart disease, and osteoporosis. The study targets postmenopausal women, aged 50 to 79, and follows them for at least three years. Thus far, according to Ruth Kirschstein, NIH deputy director, the centers have carried out more than 52,000 screening visits since the original sites were announced last year. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #22, pg.4, November 14, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- NXT: ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : Survival Center TY : NEWS (NOTEBOOK) PG : 4 The situation for the Earth's species, scientists warn, is precarious. Biologists predict that humans may cause as many as 500,000 to 1 million species to be lost in the next 20 years. But from deep within the concrete environs of New York City, five local institutions are collaborating to study and help preserve the world's disintegrating species. Columbia University, the American Museum of Natural History, the New York Botanical Garden, the Wildlife Conservation Society, and Wildlife Preservation Trust International have established the Center for Environmental Research and Conservation (CERC) with the help of a $6 million grant from the Netherlands-based V. Kann Rasmussen Foundation, and $3 million more from Columbia, where the center will be headquartered. Much of the research will be conducted in 12 remote study centers to be established in Europe, North America, Latin America, Asia, and Africa. The center will create interdisciplinary research groups that will propose strategies to manage habitats and bring back endangered species, as well as study the effects of such policies on humans. Another important goal will be to train future generations of scientists and policymakers. For information, contact Robert Nelson at Columbia, (212) 854-5573. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #22, pg.4, November 14, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- NXT: ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : Power Lines TY : NEWS (NOTEBOOK) PG : 4 The Department of Energy recently moved to make more comprehensive information from its national laboratories and other facilities accessible online. Taking advantage of an increasingly popular free Internet navigational and search program, or "browser," called Mosaic, DOE provides a single point of access to agency-wide resources through the program's "home page" feature. Included are various news and program announcements, as well as appropriate agency contacts for further information. The electronic address for DOE's home page is (The Scientist, Vol:8, #22, pg.4, November 14, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- NXT: ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : Bibliographers' Competition TY : NEWS (NOTEBOOK) PG : 4 Every scientist knows it pays to keep up with the literature, but a prize awarded every two years recognizes individuals who do so with conscientiousness and innovation. The Oberly Award for Bibliography in Agricultural Sciences is granted in odd-numbered years for the best English-language bibliography in the field of agriculture or a related science compiled during the two-year period preceding the year in which the award is made. Winners receive a cash award (which varies) and a citation. The deadline for nominations is December 1. Nominations should be sent to: Oberly Jury Chair, Mike Haddock, Farrell Library, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kan. 66506. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #22, pg.4, November 14, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- NXT: ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : LEADERS OF SCIENCE THE READERS OF THE SCIENTIST PG : 20 THE SCIENTIST continues to feature the achievements of men and women who shape the world of science. Their research contributions and role in science policy are increasingly significant in a world marked by rapid developments and transitions. Here's what six influential leaders of science had to say about the part THE SCIENTIST plays in their active professional lives. ELLEN C. WEAVER 1993 President of the Association for Women in Science, emeritus professor of biological sciences and associate dean at San Jose State University. "What I particularly like about THE SCIENTIST is the cogent analysis of the political and economic issues which affect scientists. And it doesn't hurt that women are explicitly included on almost every page -- a refreshing change from most science publications." ---- ALFRED McLAREN President of Science Service Inc. and publisher of _Science News_. "I enjoy reading THE SCIENTIST because it highlights and provides considerable information on trends of interest. It also provides much information of value to science professionals on options for both research employment and the job market in general at a time of relative impasse for young people in particular." ---- HERBERT PARDES Chairman of the scientific council, National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression, and vice president for health sciences and dean of the faculty of medicine at Columbia University. "THE SCIENTIST is one of the key resources for staying informed about the breadth of science and developments in science policy. A sophisticated perspective on the way science intersects other disciplines and plays a role in broad social policy is attainable through regular reading of THE SCIENTIST." ---- MARYE ANNE FOX Member, National Science Board, M. June and J. Virgil Waggoner Regents Chair in chemistry, University of Texas, Austin. "What impresses me about THE SCIENTIST is its ability to provide information that isn't available anywhere else -- with consistency." ---- MARY WOOLLEY CEO of Research!America, Alexandria, VA. "I like the breadth of THE SCIENTIST. The articles from recognized leaders in the field help me keep abreast of state-of- the-art thinking in science and science policy. THE SCIENTIST is an excellent way to get timely information." ----- EDWARD O. WILSON Baird Professor of Science and curator in entomology at Harvard University. "I consider THE SCIENTIST to be one of the few and among the most readable of professional journals covering all aspects of science." (The Scientist, Vol:8, #22, pg.10, November 14, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A. -------- NXT: OPINION ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : Robert C. Gallo Looks Beyond NIH And Defends The Past AU : FRANKLIN HOKE TY : OPINION PG : 12 Q There are several rumors--some quite specific--that you may be leaving NIH in the near future. Some have you forming an independent institute, perhaps with a university affiliation. Are those rumors true? A It is true that I'm involved in about 11 different negotiations. I'm interested in the possibility of doing something--I don't know about independent, but university- related, certainly. It's all premature. Q If you were to move to an academic setting, what would you gain and what would you lose? A The only thing you leave behind are your memories and assurance of constant funding. The advantages are obvious-- student contact, which I've never had, and I'd like. I have postdocs, but I've never had students, and I teach well. [Also,] money in your pocket. I need more money. Q So, one reason to leave is that NIH is a constant but not necessarily generous funder? A One [reason] is that if I don't do it [now], I'll never do it. I should have done it seven years ago. Of course, I think NIH made my career and was--and is--a great place. But seven years ago, if I'd made the move at that time, I think a lot of the problems I went through wouldn't have happened. They certainly wouldn't have happened with me not being able to speak. They certainly wouldn't have happened without a lot of counterpunching. I couldn't expect or dream that these things would have evolved in the way [they did] without any internal help, including [with] legal bills. This part is not something I've been particularly happy about, obviously. But--and it's a heavy but--if I stay or don't stay, NIH is a place I'll always carry a great affection for and an appreciation for all the things it did for me over a very long period of time. Also, on the outside, I'll have a little more freedom if I do make such a move. Not just personal freedom, [but freedom] to build clinically. If you want to move something from the lab to the clinic at NIH, you're relying more and more on [attracting the interest of] a company. If you have your own biotechnology involvement on the outside, and you're a board member, you may be able to influence that decision. I would like to have more influence on what goes clinical in my own center, place, university. I think I would have that, more than you can possibly have at NIH. Q You've complained at times about the attention being given in the press to critics of the HIV hypothesis for AIDS. Do you think the press gives too much credence to these scientists? A I guess so, yes. Nothing could be clearer on this planet--we never are absolute about anything--but we can't get any more absolute than that HIV is the cause of AIDS. It's about like that. Molecular-clone virus, which means it's absolutely pure, has infected four people by accidents in the lab--all four have AIDS now. I mean, you can't get much better than that. My view is that, in AIDS, the media has made anybody who speaks an instant expert. You equalize us all. But you can see, coming to a scientific meeting, everybody is not exactly the same. There are differences in quality. You guys in the media have got to remember, if you want to do what's fair and right, that I'm working, that guy's working [points to scientist at the next table in the restaurant, who has been quietly listening in on the interview and now laughs nervously]. [The anti-HIV critics] are not working. They're talking. It's so much easier to just talk, rather than work. And what the hell are they doing other than talking? Let them do work. Q Bio/Technology magazine (12:762, August 12, 1994) recently reported that you favor funding the work of one such researcher, Peter Duesberg at the University of California, Berkeley, who has proposed experiments to explore the role in AIDS of nitrite inhalers--poppers. Were they accurately reporting your views? A They were. But listen carefully. The proposal that Duesberg made in front of me at a Kaposi's sarcoma [KS] meeting that was organized by the popper people I thought was a reasonable idea. But that doesn't mean that I saw the thing written up and that it was written up properly. Q What was it, precisely, that you found reasonable? A The concept to combine virus with certain chemicals like poppers in the monkey model, because that's KS. KS, there is no question, is multifactoral. KS, there is no question, is enormously augmented by HIV, but clearly it's multifactoral. We've been arguing that from the beginning. We know that. You don't just take HIV and get Kaposi's sarcoma. There's something else going on. [But] that's not AIDS. That's a component of AIDS, a tumor aspect of AIDS. Q The misconduct investigations against you and your lab appear now to be in the past. Without revisiting the charges in detail, if you could go back, is there any point where you would drop in and say, "Yes, I wish I hadn't done that"? A In all frankness, I don't think anybody did anything wrong, other than solve the problem of etiology and develop the blood test. I think that will stand in the record. It can't go away, even though some people want it to. But, yes, I could have weighed some things more carefully. I was, perhaps, too impetuous. I talk before thinking sometimes, which is a tendency [of mine]. I also wish--and some of my colleagues say I'm crazy because I had no [choice but] to come--but I wish I didn't go to the [April 23, 1984] press conference, because I had only two weeks before visited the Pasteur Institute [in Paris], told them our data, and said if it's the same virus type we'll make an announcement together. That would have been the perfect thing to do. It's exactly what I'd planned, and, so help me God, that's the truth. And what happened was I went on to a meeting in Cremona [in Italy] with NIH director Jim Wyngaarden, and on April 21st I was told to come home immediately. Jim and I came home, and there was a press conference. Apparently, Heckler felt she had no choice, because we had five papers in press: four in Science, one in Lancet, and pieces of it were coming out in the Manchester Guardian. The British had information on it, and it was leaking. So, she said she had to announce that the cause [of AIDS] was known. She had to announce that we had a blood test. >From her perspective, maybe she was right. From my perspective, I should have said I won't do it. I should have said, "Under no circumstances can I go to a press conference until I compare properly the viruses and we talk together [with the French]." Nonetheless, Heckler did give the French credit [at the news conference]. The newspapers didn't report it. Why? Because she had laryngitis and couldn't speak anymore, and she passed out her release. It's right in there. I have the tape [of the conference]. You know what I say [on the tape]? Somebody [referred to the human retrovirus announced at the conference as] HTLV, and I said, "Look, don't call it HTLV, because it's different from [Gallo's previously discovered retroviruses] HTLV- I or HTLV-II. I think it's going to be in the same family"-- that's the only scientific mistake we made--and I said, "Call it the third human retrovirus, if you wish, HTLV-III, hyphen, LAV, because my suspicion is it will be exactly the same subtype described [as LAV] last year--but not well characterized and not shown to cause AIDS--by the French group." And I named their names. All that's forgotten. [Moreover,] immediately [after the conference], I sent two colleagues to France. One stayed there and worked. He brought our viruses and cell lines to France and left them there. And he made comparisons. Those comparisons showed it was very likely they were the same subtype. On June 7, 1984, only a month after our papers came out, I made a press conference with Montagnier in Colorado at a meeting--front page, Washington Post--in which I said they had isolated the virus the previous year, [and] it's almost certainly the same virus type. So, what happened? What happened was that it was in the interests of some people to resurrect [the fact that] we had a contamination. We learned so did Montagnier. So did about seven labs, with the same virus. But we're the only ones who were investigated. We had a hell of a lot of other isolates [supporting Gallo's 1984 findings], including isolates in 1983. And NIH made a [press] release like that. But it gets buried. It's all forgotten. But 1984--how the hell can people sweep away 1984? We showed the cause of AIDS, we developed the blood test, we mass-produced the virus, we characterized it to a great degree, and within months afterwards we showed it infected macrophages, went to the brain, and was heterosexually transmitted. All of that is just swept away. Q Most of the people usually cast as your arch-rivals or enemies are, in fact, here at your meeting. A Anybody in my position has scientific enemies, and I'm far from perfect. I don't want you thinking that I'm thinking I'm an angel. I've never been an angel. [National Cancer Institute director Samuel] Broder once said to me, "You play basketball, you love to rebound." I said, "Yes." [Broder said,] "And I bet you elbow." "Yes." "And then you go out for beer with the guys." And I said, "Yes, we're friends, right?" And he said, "Yes, well, the whole world's not that way. You're going to have people who remember that one little elbow you gave them 10 years ago." Q One person here who described you as both brilliant and charming also said that you are sometimes your own worst enemy. A It's true. I get myself into trouble a lot. I used to do it much more than now, though. Pre-AIDS, I didn't have, really, problems, except scientific debates. AIDS is an unusual field. It has all the passions of humanity to an extreme. You have dying people. You have young people dying. You have the sexual issues. You have prejudices. You have people's religions on their shoulders. You have a lot of mis-representation of things. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #22, pg.12, November 14, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A. -------- NXT: COMMENTARY ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : Of Multimedia CD-ROMs And Real-Time Access: `Information Nirvana' Is Still Not On Horizon AU : EUGENE GARFIELD TY : OPINION (COMMENTARY) PG : 13 Franklin Hoke recently gave our readers an interesting view of the prospects and problems of the new generation of scientific journals on CD-ROM (The Scientist, Sept. 19, 1994, page 17). It is indeed exciting to contemplate the convenience of having instantaneous, fingertip access to the Journal of Biological Chemistry, Journal of the American Chemical Society, and other primary-research publications. Of course, major reference works are also available on CD-ROM, such as the Science Citation Index and the Oxford English Dictionary. These are being joined by a growing number of encyclopedias, including Microsoft's Encarta (based on the Funk & Wagnalls New Encyclopedia), Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia, and the New Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia. "Multimedia" is the buzzword of choice for these latter publications because they boast not only articles and illustrations, as in the print versions, but also audio narrations, animations, and even video clips. It is debatable whether these multimedia applications truly "bring the book to life," as the publishers tend to claim. You can access tens of thousands of articles on the CD-ROM encyclopedias, but the number of video clips ranges anywhere from 20 to 80. Nevertheless, the multimedia bells and whistles are diverting and make browsing more fun. It is interesting to note that the CD-ROM edition of Encyclopaedia Britannica is text only and includes no illustrations. This burgeoning catalog of multimedia reference works promises to make a reality of early visions of universal, real-time access to our accumulated archive of knowledge--what Vannevar Bush called "Memex" and H.G. Wells termed the "World Brain." But don't hold your breath for the dawn of this information nirvana. A major stumbling block is that there is no generic, standardized software for all the different multimedia CD-ROM encyclopedias. Each runs on its own specialized software, which you have to store on your hard drive. Encarta, for example, requires at least 2.5 megabytes (MB) of available disk space, while Compton's requires either 8 or 20 MB, depending on how fast you want to run it. Assuming an average of just 5 MB per multimedia CD-ROM encyclopedia, loading 20 separate reference works would take up 100 MB of hard-disk space just to store the search-and-display software! Add to this the many other programs you typically use--word processing, spreadsheets, graphics, relational databases, bibliographic-management software, mathematical and statistical packages, and so forth--as well as all the text and data files stored on your hard drive, and you'll soon need at least a gigabyte of hard-disk memory. Another stumbling block to real-time accessing of multiple CD-ROM reference works is the need for mechanical "jukebox" CD-ROM readers or electronic "towers." The price of a mechanical six- pack jukebox is under $500. More important, whenever you switch from one CD to another, you have to wait while the drive reads through all six disks. This takes only a few minutes, but it is long enough to interrupt your thought process and raise your frustration level. An alternative is the electronic tower containing seven drives. The seven drives are read once, allowing you to switch between disks with little delay. But they come at a cost closer to $2,500. Three towers can be linked for an additional $5,000. This would provide a library of 21 CD-ROM reference works with essentially random access. Reaching the information nirvana of rapid access to all the world's knowledge in a way that allows us to work--and think--in real time will require some major technological fixes in hardware capabilities as well as software compatibility. I do not doubt that the stumbling blocks can be overcome. Memory is becoming cheaper. Data-compression techniques may increase CD-ROM storage capacity by an order of magnitude. Optical disks may even achieve terabyte storage capacity. Chips are becoming ever faster. And modems may soon have the bandwidth necessary for instantaneous search and retrieval of massive online databases via the Internet or other networks. But my optimism that the technological solutions are near at hand is tempered by impatience. After waiting more than 40 years for Memex or the World Brain, a few more years may not seem too burdensome. Then again, I still get annoyed by the few minutes it takes for my CD-ROM jukebox to read and open the six disks in the cartridge. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #22, pg.13, November 14, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A. -------- NXT: LETTERS TI : Animal Research Advances AU : STEPHEN S. HULL, JR. TY : OPINION (LETTERS) PG : 13 The anti-animal research position extolled by Kenneth Stoller (The Scientist, Sept. 5, 1994, page 12) seems rather contradictory in light of his profession. As a pediatrician, he must be aware of the vast amount of animal research that directly affects a newborn's health. The first surgical closure of a patent ductus, which normally closes at birth, was performed using puppies. Without this closure, a "blue" baby lingered and soon died. Today this situation is not even in the textbooks, and most medical students have never seen this syndrome. The use of pulmonary surfactants--critical to the management of premature infants--was developed using animals, particularly newborn lambs. The list goes on and on, including vaccines, antibiotics, diagnostic procedures, and treatments. Stoller may not approve of research using animals, but because he is a private practitioner, the vast amount of his income is directly tied to animal research done so that he may deliver a high quality of health care. Perhaps he would prefer the "good old days" of high neonatal mortality from diseases such as polio, and explaining the deaths to parents who lose a child. These diseases were not "exaggerations"; perhaps he is too young to remember them. He is right on one point: Animal research comes at a cost and, frankly, one I am able to support. As a parent of three children, I do not want Stoller telling me which medical treatments are "politically acceptable" and which ones are not. Stephen S. Hull, Jr. College of Medicine University of OklahomaHealth Sciences Center Biomedical Sciences Building Oklahoma City, Okla. 73190 (The Scientist, Vol:8, #22, pg.13, November 14, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- NXT: ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : Animal Alternatives AU : DONALD J. BARNES TY : OPINION (LETTERS) PG : 13 Science is big business, and wherever big business is found, ancillary units will exist to siphon off any funds not already committed to the primary mission. It would appear that Susan Paris, as president of Americans for Medical Progress Educational Foundation, has found such a niche (S.E. Paris, "Animal Rights Advocates' Actions Pose Big Threat To Public Health," The Scientist, Sept. 5, 1994,page 12). Paris is not the genius behind this hysterical "beating of the bush," as others--notably the National Association for Biomedical Research--have been making a nice living with the same tactic for years. The simple fact is that most animal-rights activists embrace medical research, though not at the expense of sentient creatures. We are all concerned about our own health and the health of our loved ones; we decry the expenditure of billions of tax dollars for treatment of diseases that could easily be prevented; and many of us support alternative methods of research with our own money. For example, the National Anti-Vivisection Society, the charitable nonprofit organization for which I work, is the sole supporter of the International Foundation For EthicalResearch (IFER), which funds biomedical science directly in an attempt to find new techniques and methodologies which do not depend on animal suffering and death. Do we fit the mold into which Paris would cast all animal advocates? Finally, Paris states that the study of nonhuman animals is". . . medical science's most valuable tool in the fight against disease." This is ludicrous. Billions of nonhuman animals have suffered and died in research into cancer, diabetes, stroke, mental illness, and so forth. Where are the cures? Why am I more likely to contract cancer today than ever before? Should I choose to protect my own children by supporting such improbable research? Donald J. Barnes Director of Education National Anti-Vivisection Society 53 W. Jackson Blvd. Chicago, Ill. 60604-3795 (The Scientist, Vol:8, #22, pg.13, November 14, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A. Fax: (215)387-7542 -------- NXT: RESEARCH ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : Developmental Neuroscience Blossoming In The 1990s AU : NEERAJA SANKARAN TY : RESEARCH PG : 14 Midway into the 1990s--the "Decade of the Brain," as declared by the United States Congress--scientists are touting major, exciting breakthroughs in the neurosciences. Researchers continue to uncover new aspects of the structure, development, and function of the brain and nervous system. According to neurophysiologist Zach Hall, director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) in Bethesda, Md., a particularly active topic of research has been developmental neuroscience. The study of the formation and maturation of the nervous system, this subdiscipline encompasses a broad range of investigations, from the expression of specific genes to the formation of nerve cells and the organization of the entire system. As such, this expanding field draws from a number of basic areas, including genetics and gene regulation, molecular and cell biology, biochemistry, and physiology. The wealth of information to arise from advances in these disciplines, coupled with increased sophistication in such technologies as imaging, microscopy, and tissue culture, has enabled both developmental biologists and neuroscientists to pose hitherto unasked questions. For example, Eugene Major, who heads the Laboratory of Molecular Medicine and Neuroscience at NINDS, points out that "molecular technologies--gene amplification and expression systems--are much further along now than they were five to 10 years ago." Such technologies allow developmental neuroscientists to work with molecules that are otherwise produced in very low amounts. "The whole biology of neurotrophic factors and how they control the genes in developing nerve cells" can be studied now that scientists can produce and analyze these factors in their labs, he adds. "The whole field of developmental biology is very promising--many basic problems are now being solved," says Carlos Lois, a physician currently working toward his Ph.D. in neuroscience at Rockefeller University in New York. Thus, scientists interested in the development of specific tissues and organ systems are now able to apply these basic findings toward answering their particular questions. Developmental neuroscience, Lois notes, is especially attractive in that "the nervous system is uncharted territory--many investigators [in-cluding developmental biologists] are attracted by its complexity." But the same intricacies that attract and intrigue investigators have also posed obstacles--in designing and performing experiments--to the progress of the neurosciences, researchers say. "To some extent, the nervous system has been technically difficult to work with until recently," says Major. "We now have nervous-system-derived cell cultures with representative populations of neuronal cells that are reproducible." For Major, who works on viruses that have a specific predilection for certain brain cells, for example, such cell cultures are essential for investigating the mechanisms by which the viruses infect and reside in the brain. A boon to the field, he adds, has been the availability of fetal tissue for research. "Human fetal tissue has played a significant role in drawing attention to experiments that can be done; we don't have to rely totally on [animal] model systems," he says. Because of the high degree of variation in the brains of different animals, he explains, the results of experiments on animals cannot always be extrapolated to human disease. One of Major's areas of research is investigating cell lineage-- namely the course of development and differentiation--of various cells in the brain, and using this information to study the pathogenesis of viral infections of the nervous system. For example, his laboratory has studied the mechanisms of disease processes of viral-induced leucoencephal-opathies--a group of infections of non-neuronal brain cells, called glia, in the brain's white matter often associated with AIDS. Most recently, the group discovered that HIV-1 is capable of infecting cells called astrocytes in the developing nervous system. The researchers postulate that astrocytes probably act as reservoirs for the virus in cases of AIDS-associated leucoencephalitis (C. Tornatore et al., Neurology, 44:481-7, 1994). The virus lies latent in the astrocytes until it reactivates in response to certain cytokines. The next step, Major anticipates, is "to understand the mechanism of the [virus-nerve cell] interaction," and investigate possible intervention strategies based on blocking either infection of the cells or the reactivation of the virus. Dispelling Dogmas A long-standing belief in the scientific community about the development of the nervous system in mammals has been that neuronal cells could grow only prenatally, and that cells were incapable of migrating over long distances and differentiating into neurons after birth. Indeed, this dogma was so deeply entrenched in the research community that an early report documenting neurogenesis in the brains of adult rats and mice (J. Altman, G.D. Das, Journal of Comparative Neurology, 124:319, 1965) went largely ignored, says Lois. "The generation of new neurons was demonstrated in adult canaries in the 1980s, by which time there were significant technical advances in the field as well as a change in attitudes," remarks Lois. "But there was still very little known about neurogenesis in mammals. "Certain cells in the lateral ventricles of the [mammalian] brain were known to divide, but their fate was not known," he explains, adding that these cells were commonly thought to die or become glia. Lois investigated the fate of the dividing brain cells from rats, both in vitro and in vivo, using a combination of labeling techniques on transgenic animal models. Recently, Lois and his adviser, Arturo Alvarez-Buylla, a professor of neuroscience at Rockefeller, published evidence that neurogenesis does occur in adult mammals. They reported that a population of dividing cells in the lateral ventricles of the brain migrate to the olfactory bulb region, where the cells then differentiate into neurons (C. Lois, A. Alvarez-Buylla, Science, 264:1145-8, 1994). These findings may have implications in therapeutic approaches to various neurodegenerative diseases and transplantation, Alvarez- Buylla and Lois speculate. For instance, by directing precursor cells to specific parts of a brain, it may be possible to replace dying cells in the targeted region. But to do this, Lois says, "it is important to generate specific types of neurons, and as yet we have no clue on how to do that." These results have also opened up some interesting questions in fundamental neurobiology--for example, "Why is the olfactory bulb targeted for cell replacement?"--he adds. "Even more puzzling is how memories are maintained when the structure of the cell is changing as it undergoes differentiation. Normally, we think of memory as being stored in the synapses between various neurons. These are all questions to which the answers are completely unknown." Leading researchers see the upcoming decades yielding answers to these and other intriguing questions about how the nervous system is formed and how it matures. The development of the nervous system, more than any other system in the body, is particularly fascinating because of its potential to yield answers to questions about behavior, memory, and intelligence, scientists say. Pasco Rakic, chairman of the neuroanatomy section at the Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn., likens the advance of this field to a house of bricks. "You build up a house with thousands of bricks--all of them are equally important but no one is really more important than anything else. Developmental neuroscience is a whole discipline, not just one area of research. There are many, many important and exciting things going on." (The Scientist, Vol:8, #22, pg.14, November 14, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A. -------- NXT: ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : NERVE CONNECTIONS TY : RESEARCH PG : 14 Society for Neuroscience 11 Dupont Circle, N.W.Suite 500 Washington, D.C. 20036 Phone: (202) 462-6688 * Nancy Beang, executive director * Carla Shatz, president * 23,000 members International Societyfor Developmental Neuroscience University of TexasMedical Branch Galveston, Texas 77550-0652 Phone: (409) 772-3667 Fax: (409) 772-8028 E-mail: * Arne Schousboe, president * Regino Perez-Polo, secretary-general * 1,000 members (The Scientist, Vol:8, #22, pg.14, November 14, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A. -------- NXT: HOT PAPERS ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : MOLECULAR BIOLOGY TY : RESEARCH (HOT PAPERS) PG : 15 C.F. Lesser, C. Guthrie, "Mutations in U6 snRNA that alter splice-site specificity--implications for the active site," Science, 262:1982-88, 1993. Cammie Lesser (Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, School of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco): "Nuclear pre-mRNA splicing is the process by which the introns--the noncoding portions of precursor mRNAs--are removed and the coding sequences called exons are ligated together. This process is mediated by the spliceosome, a cellular complex composed of both RNA and proteins. A major challenge has been determining how the components of the spliceosome identify the exact intron/exon boundaries (splice-sites) and then juxtapose the catalytic residues of the spliceosome with these boundaries. The information content at the splice sites is very limited, because there is a serious problem in maintaining the fidelity of the reaction. "Early studies demonstrated that one of the RNAs--the small nuclear RNA (snRNA) U1--base-pairs with the 5_ splice site. This RNA-RNA interaction is important for recognizing and committing the pre-mRNA to the splicing pathway. However, it is not sufficient to determine the site of 5_ cleavage, since certain mutations impair fidelity, independent of maintaining this base- pairing interaction. Thus, the question of how the site of 5_ cleavage is determined long remained unanswered. "A recent series of in vitro biochemical cross-linking studies, in both yeasts (H. Sawa, J. Abelson, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 89:1269-73, 1992) and mammals (D.A. Wassarman, J.A. Steitz, Science, 257:1918-25, 1992), indicated that an invariant region of the highly conserved U6 snRNA is also in close proximity to the 5_ splice site. In our study, we performed a series of in vivo genetic studies to demonstrate a base-pairing interaction between this invariant region of U6 snRNA and the 5_ splice site. Furthermore, by establishing that the stabilization of the U6 snRNA-5_ splice-site pairing could improve fidelity, we demonstrated that this interaction plays a crucial role in determining the exact site of 5_ cleavage. In addition, we showed that this invariant region of U6 snRNA also influences the site of 3_ cleavage. "These results are exciting for several reasons. First, we were able to determine that the elusive factor responsible for defining the 5_ cleavage site is the well-characterized and highly conserved U6 snRNA. Second, our work demonstrates that the 5_ cleavage site is defined by an RNA-RNA interaction, as in the case of self-splicing introns in which the RNA alone catalyzes the splicing reaction. Lastly, our discovery provides a missing link in a previously described network of RNA-RNA interactions (H.D. Madhani, C. Guthrie, Cell, 71:803-17, 1992) analogous to those in the catalytic core of self-splicing introns. These results suggest that the RNA components of the eucaryotic spliceosome perform the catalytic function in nuclear pre-mRNA splicing, thus supporting the hypothesis that life evolved from an 'RNA world.'" (The Scientist, Vol:8, #22, pg.15, November 14, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A. -------- NXT: ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : DEVELOPMENTAL BIOLOGY TY : RESEARCH (HOT PAPERS) PG : 15 K.G. Peters, D. Ornitz, S. Werner, L. Williams, "Unique expression pattern of the FGF receptor 3 gene during mouse organogenesis," Developmental Biology, 155:423-30, 1993. Kevin G. Peters (Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, N.C.): "Members of the fibroblast growth factor (FGF) family are powerful regulators of cell growth and differentiation that stimulate cells by activating specific receptor, tyrosine kinases. In this and a previous paper (K.G. Peters et al., Development, 114:233-43, 1992), we have shown that three of the four known FGF receptor genes are expressed in virtually all differentiating organs, but that the individual genes have specific patterns of expression that are, for the most part, nonoverlapping. These results suggest that FGFs play important roles in the development of multiple-organ systems and that individual receptor genes have very specific functions. "These expression studies have since been used by us and others to guide efforts to establish specific roles for two of the FGF receptor genes during organ development. First, knowing that one of the FGF receptors--FGF receptor 2--was expressed in the developing lung, we engineered a transgenic mouse that expresses a specific inhibitor of FGF receptor 2 in its embryonic airways (K.G. Peters et al., EMBO Journal, 13:3296-301, 1994). These transgenic mice have a complete absence of airway branching and of airway-epithelial differentiation, thereby establishing a critical role for FGFs in early lung development. "Based on our observation that FGF receptor 3 was expressed in the cartilage of developing bones, and on data from other groups that show that the gene for a common form of dwarfism-- achondroplasia--mapped to the same chromosomal region as FGF receptor 3, Shiang and coworkers demonstrated that patients with achondroplasia have very specific point mutations in FGF receptor 3, which are likely the cause of this genetic disease (R. Shiang et al., Cell, 78:335-42, 1994). Thus, proper functioning of FGF receptor 3 appears to be critical for early skeletal development. "These two studies have, in turn, led to efforts to test the ability of FGFs to protect and/or regenerate damaged lung tissue, and to develop a simple diagnostic test for the prenatal diagnosis of achondroplasia. Considering that the first FGF receptor was identified in Rusty Williams's laboratory as recently as 1989 (P.L. Lee et al., Science, 245:57-60, 1989), our series of studies illustrates the rapid progress in going from benchtop to bedside, made possible by modern molecular biology." (The Scientist, Vol:8, #22, pg.15, November 14, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A. -------- NXT: ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : PLANT BIOLOGY TY : RESEARCH (HOT PAPERS) PG : 15 J.T. Weeks, O.D. Anderson, A.E. Blechl, "Rapid production of multiple independent lines of fertile transgenic wheat (Triticum aestivum)," Plant Physiology, 102:1077-84, 1993. J. Troy Weeks (United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Western Regional Research Center, Albany, Calif.): "Although wheat was transformed genetically in 1992 (V. Vasil et al., Bio/Technology, 10:667-74, 1992), an improved transformation system had yet to be established to make bioengineering of this grain crop experimentally practical. Our goal was to develop a protocol for wheat transformation that would allow any suitably equipped laboratory to achieve transformation on their first try. We were successful in establishing a transformation protocol that yielded multiple transformed wheat lines without excessive effort, was reproducible on a regular basis, and yielded fertile transgenic lines that passed on the genotypes and phenotypes to successive generations. The protocol also makes it feasible, for the first time, to study protomer and protein functions in trans- genic wheat. "Our protocol describes certain key elements that appear to influence transformation efficiency, frequency, and success. We used the cultivar Bobwhite, which forms callus tissue very readily and is highly embryogenic. DNA was introduced into five- day-old calli, which are derived from immature embryos using the particle-bombardment approach. Selection was based upon the use of the bar gene and the herbicide bialaphos. "Our protocol represents a general outline for achieving wheat transformation that is both reproducible and reliable. Scientists can use this outlined protocol to establish wheat transformation in their laboratory and then apply it to their own research programs. "Recent reports describing wheat transformation (V. Vasil et al., Bio/Technology, 11:1553-58, 1993; N.S. Nehra et al., Plant Journal, 5:285-97, 1994; D. Becker et al., Plant Journal, 5:299- 307, 1994) include most, if not all, the aforementioned elements. Recent optimization of our protocol has increased the transformation frequency to greater than 1 percent. Follow-up work includes adapting our system to introducing agronomically important traits into commercial wheat cultivars." (The Scientist, Vol:8, #22, pg.15, November 14, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A. -------- NXT: TOOLS & TECHNOLOGY SECTION ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : Better Understanding Of Cell's Life Eases Culturing AU : RICKI LEWIS TY : TOOLS & TECHNOLOGY PG : 16 The term "cell culture" brings to mind several cliches--"if it ain't broke, don't fix it" and "the more things change, the more they remain the same," to name a few. While the requirements of cells growing in culture haven't changed over the years, better understanding of the precise combinations of nutrients, growth factors, attachment factors, and the like necessary for a cell's life apart from the organism has eased cell culture, always an integral part of the cell biology laboratory. "Lots of companies come out with media or reagents for this or that, and make a big splash, but they're all basically derivatives of traditional products," says Hayden Coon, a former National Institutes of Health re-searcher who is the founder of Human Cell Therapies Inc. of Chebeague Island, Maine. "Some companies call new products proprietary, but they're just developed slightly beyond the original. They are variations on a standard theme. But as long as it meets the goals of what we're doing, we're satisfied," asserts Coon, whose biotech startup is planning to develop pancreatic islets and other cell implants for treating human disease. Although suppliers of cell-culture media and reagents often rely on established formulations developed in the 1950s, such as the popular Dulbecco's modified eagle medium, they have managed to keep pace with the many new discoveries in cell biology, offering an assortment of individual reagents, kits, and custom services for culturing a variety of cell types. An Industry Merges And Matures Cell culture has evolved along with molecular biology advances in general, and to recombinant DNA technology in particular. Before the late 1970s, cells were coaxed to thrive in culture so that their secreted natural products could be collected. With the advent of recombinant DNA technology, researchers and then pharmaceutical manufacturers could endow cells with new synthetic capabilities, ushering in the age of "biological" therapeutics. "True tissue-culture people are trying to maintain cultures with growth factors, cytokines, and such. There's no change there from years past. But there are now more people using cell culture as a tool to investigate what cells do," comments Shari Harrison, product manager for a line of cell-proliferation and cell-death kits from Indianapolis-based Boehringer Mannheim Corp. "Molecular biology, cell biology, immunology, and biochemistry--once separate disciplines--are now totally merged," she says, referring to the diverse scientists who now use the kits. The future of the field, according to many researchers, will be in implants. Unlike the past uses of cell culture as an incubator to churn out a needed biochemical, cell-implant technology aims to nurture cells for the purpose of transferring them to a human body, where their secreted products will prove therapeutic. "I envision, perhaps 20 years from now, a series of ampules, on shelves, with cell therapies administered by a nurse to anyone who has a complaint," Coon predicts. Cell-culture supply companies will not have to shift gears much, if at all, to accommodate the fledgling field. "Cell-therapy technology may have a different goal than traditional cell culture, but the companies that already manufacture media can just follow the recipes of any research group, according to what types of cells they plan to implant," Coon adds. What Cells Need Most researchers use secondary cell cultures, grown from cell lines obtained from another researcher or from a facility such as the American Type Culture Collection of Rockville, Md. For a researcher to start a primary culture--one directly from an organism--cells must first be disassociated. This might involve using a protease (such as trypsin or collagenase) and a chelating agent to chemically break apart adherent cells, and then a mechanical disruptor to further separate them. Cell types are then grouped by physical differences such as weight, size, or cell-surface topography. Cells are given enough space, in an appropriate biochemical milieu, not only to survive, but also to divide and specialize. Epithelial cells in culture form sheets; muscle cells join into pulsating groups; neurons sprout extensions; fibroblasts churn out collagen. A culture medium typically includes nutrients (amino acids, a carbohydrate such as glucose or galactose, and vitamins), inorganic salts (of magnesium, sodium, potassium, calcium, phosphate, chloride, sulfate, and bicarbonate), antibiotics, and perhaps a fungicide such as amphotericin B. Also included are chemicals for the culturist's benefit--phenol red to indicate pH, and trypan blue to distinguish dead from living cells. The Trend Away From Serum Until recently, another basic component of cell-culture medium was serum, usually from fetal calf or horse. Serum provides a wealth of benefits to cells, including nutrients, hormones, attachment factors, and carrier proteins for water-insoluble compounds. Serum also neutralizes some toxins and buffers the culture medium. But using serum has a drawback--it adds a whole set of unknowns, possibly including infectious agents such as viruses and mycoplasma. "Actually, using serum is okay, if your goal is to grow cells. But if your goal is to grow cells and understand their physiology, you need another kind of approach," according to Coon. That approach is to use low-serum or serum-free media, which means that what leaves with the serum must be replaced with whatever mix of growth factors, hormones, and cytokines a particular cell type prefers. Another reason to minimize serum usage, or at least to track its geographic origin, is the recent outbreak of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or "mad cow disease," in England. Concern over contaminated serum prompted the Food and Drug Administration to alert cell-culture reagent manufacturers, on Dec. 17, 1993, that they shouldn't use bovine materials from England and other European nations where BSE is seen. "Now the industry is looking for serum sources from only a few places--the U.S., Canada, New Zealand, and Australia," says Richard Wilkinson, senior director of research and product development at HyClone Laboratories Inc. of Logan, Utah. Cost is also a factor in avoiding serum. HyClone's FetalClone serum substitutes are about half the price of serum-based media. "We picked the name to convince the public that it looks like bovine serum-based media, but it's not," notes Wilkinson. FetalClone I is suited to hybridomas, II to Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells, and III to fibroblasts. HyClone also offers a Complete Culture Media (CCM) line that is serum-free. Says Lucy Cherbas, staff scientist at Indiana University, Bloomington: "We grow some of our Drosophila cell lines on HyClone's serum-free CCM 3 medium, which is cheaper than mixing up a serum-based medium. They won't tell us what's in it, but we have no need to know--the cells grow!" CCM 3 is specialized for insect cells. Other CCM products target hybridomas (CCM 1), human fibroblasts (CCM 2), keratinocytes (CCM 4), and CHO cells (CCM 5). Another vendor of serum-free insect media is JRH Biosciences of Lenexa, Kan., which offers kits consisting of complete, assembled media called EX-CELL 400, 401, and 405. In addition to Drosophila, a mainstay of genetics, another big market for insect cell-culture media is the baculovirus expression system that uses ovarian (Sf-9) cells of the pupa of the armyworm Spodoptera frugiperda. St. Louis-based Sigma Chemical Co. also offers serum-free media kits tailored to specific cell types. "Each kit is composed of basal medium plus necessary supplements," says Joel White, technical services representative in cell culture. The keratinocyte medium kit (KMK-1), for example, includes basal medium, bovine insulin, bovine pituitary extract, human recombinant epidermal growth factor, gentamicin, amphotericin B, and hydrocortisone. Other kits are useful for culturing fibroblasts or endothelial cells. "The kits save researchers not only time, but they save economically," White adds. "If a researcher were to buy all of the growth factors needed to supplement a cell culture, it would be very expensive. He or she would be trapped into buying larger quantities than needed. The kit puts it all together quite conveniently." Patrick Chang, product group manager at BioWhittaker Inc. of Walkersville, Md., ticks off what he considers the top four "of about 20" reasons to avoid serum. "The biggest reason is that animal blood may contain viruses, some that we have no assay for. If you are running a pharmaceutical or biotech company and are manufacturing a drug or a biological, using cells in culture with serum-based media is taking a large risk. Second is the cost, and third is the consistency. When a lot of media runs out, and a researcher gets some from a new lot, there can be large differences in content. Finally, because of the defined nature of serum-free medium, we know exactly what's in it. Parts of serum may be unknown, such as growth factors we don't yet know about." BioWhittaker offers a new serum-free product, called Ultra-MEM. "Most serum based media require 5 to 10 percent serum to work well. Our new formulation requires less than 10 percent," reports Chang. The company also custom-manufactures medium. Human Cell Therapies' Coon is one satisfied customer. "We gave BioWhittaker a list, and they did a magnificent job. They did it well, fast, and we got good results," he says. For researchers choosing to buy single cell-culture components and cook up their own defined medium, most vendors offering kits also sell individual items, such as growth factors, antibiotics, and amino acids. Some companies sell combinations of reagents, such as JRH Bioscience's EX-CELL 900, which is a premixed preparation of bovine insulin, transferrin, and selenium, the three most commonly used media supplements for mammalian cell culture. The trio of chemicals enhances proliferation of many cell types, while decreasing serum needs from 10 percent to 2 percent, according to company literature. Intergen Co., located in Purchase, N.Y., doesn't itself offer kits, because it has so much business supplying individual cell- culture reagents to companies that then package them in this way, according to Michael Budnick, manager of technical/marketing services. For example, the company is the largest supplier in the world of bovine albumin, a plasma protein. "It's being used more and more in biotechnology and pharmaceutical production where customers are trying to get away from fetal bovine serum and use a more defined medium. You can reduce or eliminate fetal bovine serum if you use albumin, transferrin, insulin, and growth factors," says Budnick. Albumin has numerous roles in cell culture, including stabilizing, providing protein, and protecting against oxygen damage. Several new products are keeping cell-culture technology on track with cell biology advances, ranging from individual reagents, to kits, to entire bioreactor systems. Attaining Attachment Switching from serum-based medium to serum-free medium stresses cells. The finicky cells might not attach to the new surface, or may not proliferate. As cells that can't adapt die, the nature of the cell population subtly shifts, altering experimental results. San Diego-based Protein Polymer Technologies Inc. offers ProNectin F, which can ease this tough transition for cells. The product is a protein polymer built of repeats of a tripeptide that is part of fibronectin, a natural attachment factor, encapsulated in a polymer coating. The protein portion is synthesized in recombinant bacteria. "ProNectin F allows the rapid passage of cells from serum-based to serum-free media without extensive weaning protocols," explains Mary Forrest, product manager. "It's ready to use, which appeals to industry, as opposed to culturing with lots of reagents," she adds. Cellco Inc. of Germantown, Md., for example, uses ProNectin F in its CELLMAX Artificial Capillary Cell Culture Systems, designed for growing mammalian cells for research and pharmaceutical applications. Eventually, the device will be used for ex vivo cellular therapy, in which a patient's cells are collected, cultured in the system, altered genetically, allowed to proliferate with the correction, then returned to the patient, where their bolstered capabilities should correct a disease state. "Cellco and its collaborators have confirmed that ProNectin F provides for im-proved cell adhesion and growth while enhancing the biocompatibility of our products," says R. William Lynn, president and CEO of Cellco. "These are very critical considerations when working with therapeutically useful cells such as endothelial and bone marrow stroma." Cell Proliferation And Death Boehringer Mannheim offers several kits that embrace a more molecular approach to monitoring the life, reproduction, and death of a cell. "It used to be that, to study cell proliferation, you'd put yourself at a microscope and count cells. Now there are several ways to do it," notes product manager Harrison. "The MTT and XTT Cell Proliferation Kits measure metabolic activity in the cell, using tetrazolium salts in a nonradioactive colorimetric assay," Boehringer technical services scientist Sharon Mountain explains. The salts are oxidized by cellular and mitochondrial enzymes, forming a dye. "But there is a danger of not getting perfect data if cells show increased metabolism, but are not proliferating. So the user can look at a true indication of proliferation, which is DNA synthesis," adds product manager Harrison. She is referring to researchers working with the company's cell-proliferation kits, based on incorporation of bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU), a base analog, into replicating DNA. A fluorescently tagged antibody to BrdU highlights cells that have incorporated the analog, indicating new cells and therefore measuring proliferation. Keeping pace with what Harrison calls an "exploding" interest in programmed cell death (apoptosis), Boehringer Mannheim offers two products, the Cell Death Detection Kit (introduced in February) and the Cellular DNA Fragmentation Kit (introduced in May). Programmed cell death is an active process that sends a cell through a characteristic sequence of events. At first, blebs form from the cell membrane, the cytoplasm condenses, and the nuclear membrane breaks down. The next step is where the test intervenes. The self-destructing cell produces an endonuclease that cuts up its DNA--but only at sites where the nucleic acid is exposed, and not protected by the histone proteins that form part of a chromosome's structure. After the endonuclease snips the double helix into 180-base-pair stretches of DNA hidden in histones, the cell shatters, and scavenging cells absorb its remains. This dance of death is distinct from other ways that cells die. The products can help researchers distinguish between necrosis, which is the passive breakdown of structures as a cell dies, and apoptosis, which is an active process. Because these routes to cell death differ, they may underlie different disease states. The Cell Death Detection test is an immunoassay that utilizes anti-histone antibodies to detect the characteristically sized histone-DNA complexes the endonuclease liberates. The Cellular DNA Fragmentation test uses BrdU to quantitate the DNA pieces. Back To Basics The promising future of cell-implant technology has led some cell culturists to reexamine the state of their art, because the need for the technology is compelling. "About 6,000 pancreases are donated a year, two or three are needed to cure one patient of diabetes, and there are 1.4 million diabetics. This is an area where amplified cells in culture could make a great impact," says Human Therapies' Coon. But cell-implant technology won't be feasible until cell culturists learn much more about the individual requirements of different cell types, says Randal A. Goffe, chief technical officer and vice president at Unisyn Corp., headquartered in Tustin, Calif. "The reason hepatocytes have taken so long to work in an artificial liver, and artificial pancreases and livers have never succeeded clinically, is because cell-culture systems aren't efficient enough," he explains. "At the current metabolic efficiency, you need massive numbers of cells to treat one person," Goffe adds. "But if the cells were performing at their peak efficiency, you would need only a small device, and a realistic number of cells. At that point, we will attain clinical efficiency. Cell culture is the key to moving forward in cellular therapy. We must discover the nuances of how to treat cells. No one has optimized cell-culture and bioreactor technology. We must go back to basics, not just throw cells into something and hope for the best." Researchers at Unisyn are taking that "tear it down and build it back up" approach to perfect a product in development called Unigrow, which is a hollow-fiber bioreactor. Cells grow in narrow spaces between hollow fibers bundled into glass or plastic cylinders. The setup mimics an animal's circulatory system, with fibers delivering oxygen and nutrients, and taking away wastes and secreted substances. Goffe is currently attacking what he calls "the oxygen paradox"-- the fact that cells need oxygen, but too much of it or too close contact is lethal. "In cell culture, when you increase the oxygen, you kill the cells," he says. "From an engineering standpoint, how do we design a system so that doesn't happen? That's what we're involved in." He is evaluating several hemoglobin-based formulations as oxygen deliverers in the Unigrow bioreactor-in-progress. "It only works if you separate the cells from the hemoglobin, and that's where a hollow-fiber bioreactor comes in," he points out. "Like in the body, the hemoglobin products bind carbon dioxide where metabolic wastes build up and drops it, picking up oxygen, in regions where oxygen's partial pressure is higher." Goffe adds that the system works on any cell type, even the notoriously fussy hybridomas. Goffe is particularly interested in hematopoietic stem cells. He founded Bothall, Wash.-based Cellpro Inc., a company specializing in stem-cell separation. Stem-cell culture could be invaluable in treating many disorders, because these cells give rise to mature blood cells. Nurturing stem cells in vitro presents quite a challenge, because they often progress through several distinct stages before attaining their final differentiated state. He notes: "It is important to control the microenvironment for hematopoietic stem cells, and to supply nutrients, oxygen, and a specialized medium for long-term expansion. To do this, you must go back to first principles--strip the system down to simple components and rebuild." Ricki Lewis is a textbook author and freelance science writer based in Scotia, N.Y. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #22, pg.16, November 14, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A. -------- NXT: ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : CELL-CULTURE MEDIA SUPPLIERS DIRECTORY TY : TOOLS & TECHNOLOGY PG : 20 AdvancedBiotechnologies Inc. Columbia, MD Circle No. 210 on Reader Service Card American QualexAntibodies La Mirada, CA Circle No. 212 on Reader Service Card American Type Culture Collection (ATCC) Rockville, MD Circle No. 211 on Reader Service Card BioWhittaker Inc. Walkersville, MD Circle No. 214 on Reader Service Card Boehringer Mannheim Corp. Indianapolis, IN Circle No. 215 on Reader Service Card Cell Systems Corp. Seattle, WA Circle No. 217 on Reader Service Card Cellco Inc. Germantown, MD Circle No. 218 on Reader Service Card Cellpro Inc. Bothall, WA Circle No. 219 on Reader Service Card Celox Laboratories Hopkins, MN Circle No. 216 on Reader Service Card Electron Microscopy Sciences Fort Washington, PA Circle No. 220 on Reader Service Card Fluka Chemical Corp. Ronkonkoma, NY Circle No. 221 on Reader Service Card Gallard-Schlesinger Industries Inc. Carle Place, NY Circle No. 222 on Reader Service Card Human Cell Therapies Inc. Chebeague Island, ME Circle No. 223 on Reader Service Card HyClone Laboratories Inc. Logan, UT Circle No. 224 on Reader Service Card ICN Biomedicals Inc. Costa Mesa, CA Circle No. 225 on Reader Service Card Intergen Co. Purchase, NY Circle No. 226 on Reader Service Card Irvine Scientific, Inc. Santa Ana, CA Circle No. 227 on Reader Service Card JRH Biosciences Lenexa, KS Circle No. 228 on Reader Service Card Life Technologies Inc. Gaithersburg, MD Circle No. 229 on Reader Service Card Mallinckrodt Specialty Chemicals Co. Chesterfield, MO Circle No. 230 on Reader Service Card Pharmacia Biotech Inc. Piscataway, NJ Circle No. 231 on Reader Service Card Promega Corp. Madison, WI Circle No. 232 on Reader Service Card Protein PolymerTechnologies Inc. San Diego, CA Circle No. 233 on Reader Service Card Research Diagnostics Inc. Flanders, NJ Circle No. 234 on Reader Service Card Research Organics Inc. Cleveland, OH Circle No. 235 on Reader Service Card RocklandImmunochemicals Gilbertsville, PA Circle No. 236 on Reader Service Card Sigma Chemical Co. St. Louis, MO Circle No. 237 on Reader Service Card Thomas Scientific Swedesboro, NJ Circle No. 238 on Reader Service Card Unisyn Corp. Tustin, CA Circle No. 239 on Reader Service Card Wako BioProducts Richmond, VA Circle No. 240 on Reader Service Card WorthingtonBiochemical Corp. Freehold, NJ Circle No. 241 on Reader Service Card (The Scientist, Vol:8, #22, pg.20, November 14, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A. -------- NXT: ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : NEUROSCIENCE PRODUCTS SHOWCASE TY : TOOLS & TECHNOLOGY PG : 21 Stoelting Launches Line Of Stereotaxic Instruments The new line is designed for experiments involving small animals in either the student or basic research laboratory. Based on the standard U-frame design, the instruments offer several new features, including: scales that face the open end of the U- frame, the typical working position of the researcher; a secure lock on the tilting mechanism; and a custom lead screw for a faster drive. Both single- and dual-manipulator models are available. Stoelting Co., Wood Dale, IL Circle No. 202 on Reader Service Card Booth Numbers 218, 220, 222 ---- Fluorescent Sample-Analysis System Molecular Dynamics' Vistra FluorImager SI is a system for quantitative analysis of fluorescent gels, blots, thin-layer chromatography (TLC), and microplates. It holds larger samples than can be accommodated in Molecular Dynamics' FluorImager 575 system, the product it replaces. The larger sample capacity allows researchers to use standard, long-format, glass-sandwiched gels, which are popular for human identification and other one- dimensional gel applications. The new system also is controlled through a SCSI interface from an external Windows NT workstation. Molecular Dynamics, Sunnyvale, CA Booth Number 227 & 229 Circle No. 203 on Reader Service Card ---- Photon Unveils Ratio Fluorescence Spectrometer The RatioMaster Ratio Fluorescence Spectrometer is designed for quantitative determination of ions inside living cells. Using Fura-2 and other fluorescence probes, the instrument measures calcium, potassium, magnesium, pH, and other ions in single cells or cell populations. It can be configured as a cuvette system, a microscope photometry system, or an imaging system. Photon Technology International, South Brunswick, NJ Circle No. 204 on Reader Service Card Booth Number 839 ---- Owl Scientific's Tapeless Sequencing Gel Caster Debuts The Otter Sequencing Gel Caster casts gels in three minutes using a sliding method. It relies on surface tension, so no taping is required and gels are reportedly bubble-free without leaking problems. The caster is adjustable to fit standard sizes of sequencing glass plates. Owl Scientific Inc., Woburn, MA Booth Number 1335 Circle No. 210 on Reader Service Card ---- Zeiss Introduces Automated Coverslipper From MICROM The Cover-Tech Coverslipper, manufactured by MICROM of Walldorf, Germany, automatically attaches glass coverslips to microscope slides at a rate said to be up to 500 per hour. The unit is designed for cytological smears and preparations as well as histological sections. It features a touch keypad, integrated halogen illumination, slide counter, and automatic error display. Carl Zeiss Inc., Microscope Division, Thornwood, NY Circle No. 208 on Reader Service Card Booth Numbers 622-630 ---- Immunoassay System For Protein Quantitation The ORIGEN Immunoassay System is an automated research analyzer and line of reagents for the development and analysis of immunoassays based on electrochemiluminescence. The unit provides solution-phase binding kinetics in 15 to 30 minutes. Homologous assay formats allow for discrimination of bound vs. unbound analyte without separation or washing steps. A range of immunoassays has been developed using this system, including separation, nonseparation, competitive, and sandwich immunometric assays. IGEN Inc., Rockville, MD Booth Numbers 810, 812 Circle No. 206 on Reader Service Card ---- Pharmacia Announces Nucleic Acid Preparation Kit EasyPrep offers a standardized method for nucleic acid preparation to researchers requiring nucleic acids from bacteria, in vitro DNA synthesis, polymerase chain reaction, and other sources. Positive air pressure from the kit's pump pushes liquid through as many as 24 filter and column wells held in sample plates in a sealed processing unit. Four kits containing disposable filters, column wells, and ready-made solutions are available separately, each containing material for 24 purifications. The specialized kits are Plasmid, M13, PCR, and Oligo Prep. Pharmacia Biotech, Piscataway, NJ Circle No. 207 on Reader Service Card Booth Numbers 636-638-640, 735-737-739 ---- New Physiological Data Logger From Mini-Mitter The Mini-Logger Series 2000, a compact and wearable unit, provides physiological data on ambulatory subjects. The instrument's programmability enables users to designate combinations of heart rate, temperature, and activity channels as well as select sampling frequency in seconds, minutes, hours, or days. It samples four standard channels plus a heart-rate or Inter-Beat Interval optional channel, and has a minimum of 128K memory for data storage. Mini-Mitter Co., Sunriver, OR Booth Number 1336 Circle No. 205 on Reader Service Card ---- (The Scientist, Vol:8, #22, pg.21, November 14, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A. -------- NXT: PROFESSION ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : More Researchers Are 'Transitioning' Into Sales Careers AU : RICKI LEWIS TY : PROFESSION PG : 24 In order to cope with a job market that over the past 10 years has become less secure, some scientists are doing what recruiters and career counselors term "transitioning"--identifying combinations of skills and talents that might be parlayed into a nontraditional career. Dorothy Rodmann, a career-services consultant at the Washington, D.C.-based American Chemical Society (ACS), is seeing transitioning becoming a necessity for an increasing number of chemists. "In light of what has been happening in the job market- -downsizing and strategic changes in direction [among chemical companies]--many chemists are looking at ways to move in different directions, and use their chemical knowledge and skills, often in nontraditional careers," she reports. The need to identify alternative career tracks extends beyond chemistry. And one area beginning to attract scientists is sales. On the surface, traditional scientific training may not seem to provide any skills necessary for a career in sales. But a personable scientist who has conducted research, trained students, lectured--and even, once upon a time, successfully sold fast-food burgers or Girl Scout cookies--might just have what it takes to sell the tools of the scientific trade, according to recruiters, sales managers, and scientists who have made the switch. Linda Romagnano, product manager at National Labnet Co. Inc. of Woodbridge, N.J., has found a sales career to be a preferable alternative to the academic world. Upon earning her Ph.D. in ecology at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J., she did postdoctoral research in cell and developmental biology. But after seven years as a postdoc, she looked for a change. "I felt the academic route was not what I wanted," she recalls. "It wasn't satisfying, and I didn't like the grant thing. People were having a hard time getting grants, and I didn't want to be competitive in that way. I felt I'd rather be competitive in business. It was, admittedly, a huge jump." Recruiters are seeing more scientists wishing to explore nontraditional careers such as sales. None of the scientific societies contacted by The Scientist keeps separate statistics on the number of researchers going into this type of work. But Michael Neuschatz, senior research associate in the education and employment division of the College Park, Md.-based American Institute of Physics (AIP), says that AIP's most recent figures indicate that 40 percent of physics Ph.D.'s end up in fields outside of research. While this high number would include bench scientists who go on to become vice presidents of research, it also encompasses those in sales, publishing, and marketing, according to Neuschatz. "I get so many people at the bench who want to leave, it's unbelievable," remarks Leonard Kalvert, president of New York City-based Kalvert Personnel Service Inc., who has placed scientists for 26 years. "Many scientists find that science was more fun in school than it proved to be at work. They're tired of the bench, find the work repetitious, boring. So many scientists don't want to be in the lab, even those right out of school." James Iannoni, president of James Iannoni and Associates Inc. in Hampton, Conn., agrees with Kalvert: "We too have seen more candidates for alternative careers in the last six to nine months. What's precipitating it is that academics are tired of the precarious grant scene, and in industry, scientists must contend with restructuring, realigning, and downsizing. With this lack of stability, some scientists say they are amenable to other career options." "I've very definitely noted an increasing interest in the whole concept of career transitioning, and different ways to use chemistry," adds Rodmann, author of a forthcoming ACS publication called Transitioning for Chemistry: Making It Happen. For Romagnano, it was an ad in the newspaper that made her realize how her particular experiences fit the profile of a scientific sales specialist. "This company wanted someone with a molecular biology background who was good with people, and was highly visible," she says. "I felt I qualified. I had taught genetics, lecturing to a large group. I was constantly training people in the lab, and this position required training others. The only thing I was lacking was business skills, but everyone said you can learn that. It's the science you can't learn," she says. National Labnet, where she has worked for a year, sells thermal cyclers, shakers, centrifuges, and other scientific equipment. At first, Romagnano says, she had regrets about leaving research. "But I've been surprised at how much I've enjoyed learning more about business," she declares. Why Firms Want Scientists Despite the current uncertain economic climate, many companies are well aware of the value of a person with that rare mix of scientific and "people" skills. "In understanding intricate applications, there's no question that a scientifically trained individual, and not just someone with a business degree, is in a really far better position to effectively represent the company," notes Iannoni. Companies seek expertise in particular areas--such as chromatography or peptide sequencing--as well as a broader ability to see how all of the instrumentation in a laboratory functions together to facilitate the customer's research. And for that, there's no substitute for research experience. "It's much more important to understand people's applications than to know sales strategy. They can teach you that," says Armand Scatena, a sales representative (a field engineer, in company parlance) for Hewlett-Packard Co. in Wilmington, Del. "The trick is to understand what people do. I am a problem solver. I provide solutions, so I must understand their problems." Scatena sells chromatography and spectrophotometer equipment to General Electric Corp. and other clients in the Albany, N.Y., area. Hewlett-Packard requires its sales personnel to have a bachelor's or master's degree in a science. Scatena has an M.S. in chemistry, and has been in sales for nine years. John Dresher, manager of recruiting and placement at Merck and Co. Inc. of West Point, Pa., emphasizes that a mix of science and business skills, as well as personality, is required to sell well. A sales representative, he points out, "must communicate effectively. Some people might do this by injecting humor, others by being authoritative. Other folks can't do it at all." Getting Into Sales How can a scientist make a salesworthy personality apparent to potential employers? Revamping the curriculum vita is a first step. "A scientist interested in a sales position needs to generate a resume that has a different flair," Iannoni advises. "When a company looks for a sales profile, they look for key indicators on a resume that point to an outgoing personality. Things in a resume can [demonstrate] that. They look at hobbies, for example." He placed one mechanical engineer at a company's automotive division, for example, because the candidate's resume mentioned an interest in cars. Recruiters suggest that scientists list sales as the career objective on their resume, and be sure to mention those fast-food and cookie-selling jobs of the past. "Any kind of sales experience is important," stresses Iannoni. "If you worked in a store during college, that's important. Working in that capacity shows you were using good people skills. Scientific training doesn't include this." Charles Kelleher is one scientist who educated himself in business. He has a Ph.D. in veterinary microbiology, and describes himself as a poultry-health specialist, or "chicken doctor." Always fascinated by marketing and organizational management of companies, Kelleher has worked for a commercial poultry company, then a vaccine manufacturer, and for the past six years has been director of marketing and sales at Kirkegaard Perry Laboratories Inc. of Gaithersburg, Md., a provider of diagnostic kits for the poultry industry. Kelleher is self-taught in business. "The Ph.D. provides the knowledge base," he says. "I acquired business skills through some courses. There are lots of management-training programs [at companies] that a scientist could enroll in. I also did a lot of background reading, and learned some things by trial and error." On The Job Scientists in sales point out that their careers aren't necessarily better or worse than research positions in government, industry, or academia--just different. And, like all jobs, sales has its ups and downs. "The advantages of travel are that you visit laboratories and meet people, and every day is different. On the other hand, being on the road several times a week does detract from one's personal life," comments Scatena, who travels about 25 percent of the time. The travel is often what allows a scientist-turned-salesperson to stay up-to-date, by being on the science scene. "A scientifically trained sales rep might spend a couple of days at [the National Institutes of Health] in a particular lab, discussing, for example, an aspect of the Human Genome Proj-ect," Kalvert notes. "He or she must understand the group's research to see where the company's products fit in." Romagnano keeps abreast of research news and trends by presenting her company's products at major cell biology and neuroscience meetings, where she can meet and mingle with scientists as well as listen to talks. Kelleher advises that continuing to attend meetings and going to seminars are good ways to stay current. Salaries in sales jobs are at least on a par with those of assistant professorships and entry-level Ph.D. positions in industrial research, according to Romagnano, and may be higher at large pharmaceutical companies than at fledgling biotech firms. But figures fluctuate greatly. "Income varies. Some companies are salary-oriented, some work more on commission, some allow sales reps to buy a piece of the company," says Paul Kaufman, sales manager at PGC Scientifics Corp. in Gaithersburg. Kaufman has a B.S. in biology, a B.A. in chemistry, and research experience at NIH. Kelleher adds: "The money is better in business, but you earn every penny. The responsibility and what's required of you are much greater." Beyond Sales It's not uncommon for a Ph.D. scientist who gets a taste of the business world through a stint in sales to rise in a company, to such areas as technical services or regulatory affairs. "An R&D scientist may move up by becoming more involved in production and management," says Kelleher. Even those scientists who stay in sales often assume greater responsibility than simply selling a microscope here or a cell-disruption kit there. "I help our sales force, train them," Romagnano explains. "My job is to get the reps technically competent so that after I go out two or three times with them, they do not need me. I also provide technical support for our customers." Recruiter Iannoni has seen many scientific careers at many companies. "Whatever the technical area--pharmaceuticals, medical devices, telecommunications--the upper echelons come less from research and more from sales and marketing. You commonly see that progression," he says. The key to entering a career in sales--or any alternative to the traditional science trajectory--is a broadened outlook and flexibility, and the ability to envision technical expertise and talents in a different setting. Notes Kelleher: "My advice to a scientist contemplating a career in sales is to balance and broaden the educational scope, as well as job experience." Ricki Lewis is a freelance science writer based in Scotia, N.Y. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #22, pg.24, November 14, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A. -------- NXT: PEOPLE ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : Former SSC Official Assumes Key PostAt National Laboratory AU : NEERAJA SANKARAN TY : PROFESSION (PEOPLE) PG : 25 Thomas Kirk, the former deputy director of the now-defunct superconducting supercollider (SSC) laboratory in Waxahachie, Texas, has assumed the position of associate director for high- energy and nuclear physics at the United States Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, N.Y. He began his job October 3. Kirk took over the position from Melvin Schwartz, who left the laboratory to become the I.I. Rabi Professor at New York City's Columbia University. Kirk, a high-energy physicist by training, will be responsible for the physics department, the alternate gradient synchrotron (AGS) department, the instrumentation division, and the Center for Accelerator Physics at Brookhaven. Kirk says of his immediate goals for his new position, "My first job is to make sure that the programs are sustained as planned," before embarking on new ventures. Of all the programs under way at the laboratory, Kirk considers the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) program as the most important. Expected to be fully operational by 1999, RHIC will enable physicists to study heavy-ion collisions for ions as large as gold, and thus "investigate the physics of the Big Bang. We are hoping to re-create the quark-gluon plasma that existed one microsecond after the creation of the universe." Such experiments, he adds, while not proving the long-contested Big Bang theory for the origins of the universe, "would add credibility" to the theory. Kirk also places a high priority on the research programs associated with the AGS facility, used to study heavy-ion collisions of lighter particles than those examined with RHIC. Kirk, 54, received a B.S. degree in engineering physics from the University of Colorado, Denver, in 1962, and his master's and doctoral degrees in physics from the University of Washington, Seattle, in 1964 and 1967, respectively. As physics department faculty member at Harvard University until 1972, he conducted research at Brookhaven and in the course of his career participated in four high-energy AGS experiments there. He has held several scientific and management positions at many of the top United States physics laboratories, including the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Ill., and the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois. He is a consultant on various projects to both the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation. --Neeraja Sankaran (The Scientist, Vol:8, #22, pg.25, November 14, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A. -------- NXT: OBITUARY ------------------------------------------------------------ TI : JEROME BERT WIESNER TY : PEOPLE (OBITUARY) PG : 25 Jerome Bert Wiesner, an electrical engineer who served as science adviser to President John F. Kennedy and president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and was also an internationally known advocate of arms control, died of heart failure on October 21 in Watertown, Mass. He was 79 years old. Wiesner, president of MIT from 1971 until 1980, began his association with the school in 1942. In that year, he joined the research staff of the newly created Radiation Laboratory, where he worked on the development of microwave radar. Subsequently, he held numerous high-level positions at the school, including director of the Research Laboratory of Electronics (the successor to the Radiation Laboratory), acting head of the department of electrical engineering (now the department of electrical engineering and computer science, MIT's largest academic department), dean of the School of Science, and provost. During World War II, he was a leader in the development of radar, and within the scientific community was recognized as an authority on microwave theory, communication science and engineering, signal processing, and radio and radar. Wiesner was a frequent consultant and adviser to the government. He became a member of the President's Science Advisory Committee in 1957, during the Eisenhower administration, and in 1961 became science adviser to Kennedy while also heading the Science Advisory Committee. Later he served on the Technology Advisory Council of the Office of Technology Assessment in Congress. Among dozens of national and international awards and honors, he received the President's Certificate of Merit, the United States' second highest civilian award for outstanding service. In 1958, Wiesner became associated with Pugwash, an informal group of scientists dedicated to improving relations between intellectual leaders in Communist and Western countries. While a member of the Kennedy administration, he was a key figure in establishing the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, achieving a nuclear test-ban treaty, and in the effort to restrict the deployment of antiballistic missile systems. In addition to numerous articles on arms control and nuclear disarmament in national and international newspapers, he wrote books on arms control as well as science and politics. A native of Detroit, Wiesner attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and received his bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees from the school in 1937, 1938, and 1950, respectively. Prior to coming to MIT, he was chief engineer for the Acoustical and Record Library of the Library of Congress. (The Scientist, Vol:8, #22, pg.25, November 14, 1994) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.) ---------- WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104 U.S.A. --------


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