John Fleischman

John Fleischman

John is ASCB Senior Science Writer and the author among other things of two nonfiction books for older children, "Phineas Gage: A Gruesome But True Story About Brain Science" and "Black & White Airmen," both from Houghton-Mifflin-Harcourt, Boston.

Travelers through Terminal C at Washington's Dulles International Airport have another month to catch their planes and "Life: Magnified," the joint imaging exhibit organized by ASCB and the NIH National Institute for General Medical Sciences, and funded by Zeiss Corp. The public response to the show, which features 44 massive color transparencies mounted on lightboxes was so positive, the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority asked to extend the show's run through the end of the year.

A separate Undead Video category has been added to the bill at the Zombie CellSlam, a juried, stand-up science slam set for Monday evening, December 8, at the 2014 ASCB/IFCB meeting. The Undead Video entries will compete for a single $200 prize. “The undead have a zero cost of living,” explained Simon Atkinson, Chair of ASCB’s Public Information Committee (PIC), which is bringing CellSlam back from the dead by popular demand. “We thought $200 would more than cover it.”

For biologists, we are surprisingly shy about the facts of life. After all, where do cell biologists come from? Storks or DNA are not adequate answers. So who are our scientific ancestors and who are our human ones? Who were the influencers, the supporters, and the guides? And from where inside came the endless questions and the itch to see how a thing works? What were the outside events that turned so many into explorers, plodders, geeks, glass washers, and the occasional genius?

Two longtime ASCB members and longtime advocates for bringing underrepresented minorities into bioscience have been named as PIs in grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) under its wide-ranging "Enhancing the Diversity of the NIH-Funded Workforce" program.

To be clear, E. Josephine Clowney, the 2014 winner of the $5,000 ASCB Kaluza Prize supported by Beckman Coulter, says she met her husband and learned to be a good scientist as a disc jockey for her college radio station. Leaving the husband part aside, Clowney explains the scientist part this way—playing all kinds of music on the highly eclectic WCBN-FM at the University of Michigan (UMich) in Ann Arbor, including music she didn't think at first was music, such as a Thai elephant orchestra with pachyderms soloing on gongs. Elephants and Elvis, the music opened her ears and her mind to the unfamiliar, the eccentric, and the unconventional.

Ernst-Ludwig Winnacker's organization, the Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP), made it official on September 19 when it signed DORA, the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment. In signing, the HFSP, an international coalition funded by 15 countries to support basic life science research, pledged to follow the DORA principles to minimize the use of journal impact factors (JIFs) in scientific assessment for hiring, promotion, and funding.

In Philadelphia this December, Ann Reid's mission will be to talk to scientists about talking about the science of evolution without losing their scientific cool. "It's not about the science," says Reid, the new Executive Director of the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), "or at least you have to get a lot of stuff out of the way before you talk about the science."

Mother Nature made an unexpected appearance this afternoon at the Lasker Awards luncheon in New York City when Peter Walter of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and ASCB President Elect for 2016, described her as a mix of biological referee, evolutionary trickster, and puzzle mistress. "In biology, Mother Nature presents the playing field, and it is our task to decipher how it works," Walter declared. "Disconcertingly, Nature deploys the strategy of random walk, of mutation and selection, leading to the evolution of the world that surrounds us. She then presents us with the most fascinating puzzles to decipher: the inherently unpredictable Rube Goldberg machines that make up a living cell."

It will be a triple feature, short but powerful, says Duane Compton. The three "Tell Your Own Cell Story" videos just commissioned by ASCB's Celldance Studios will feature eye-popping live cell imaging and scientific storytelling, according to Compton, who chaired the Celldance selection panel. The panel today announced the names of the ASCB members from whom videos have been commissioned and the cell stories they plan to tell.

Monday, 08 September 2014 14:10

ASCB President-Elect Walter Wins Lasker

The UPR has unfolded into the 2014 Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award for ASCB President-Elect for 2016 Peter Walter. A Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), Walter was named co-winner winner today along with Kazutoshi Mori of Kyoto University for their independent but closely related work on untangling the unfolded protein response or UPR, a signaling pathway that protects cells by flagging misfolded proteins in the cytoplasm and switching on a protective response.

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