It's Thanksgiving. You're home from grad school and lab where you're fired up about cytoplasmic accumulation and nuclear clearance of TDP-43, a protein implicated in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, when Aunt Carol passes you the candied sweet potatoes and sweetly asks, "Now, dear, what is it that you are doing in your research?" You take a deep breath and begin, "So..." About a minute later, you're explaining how to knock out the TDP-43 analog in fruit flies when a look of horror crosses Aunt Carol's face. "Flies? Your laboratory is full of flies?"
March is Women's History Month and both the Royal Society in the United Kingdom and the Smithsonian Institution Archives (SI Archives) in the United States scheduled Wikipedia "edit-a-thon" sessions to strengthen the online encyclopedia's inadequate coverage of women in science history. The Royal Society's event was last week but for the Smithsonian's there's still time to sign up and learn how to become a Wiki editor or go along in person to the Women In Science session on Tuesday, March 18, at the SI Archives offices in Washington.
Ninety-five American newspapers had weekly science news sections in 1989. In 2005, there were 34 and in 2012, 19. Traditional newspaper science reporting—it isn't coming back. Gone too are TV science reporters as Americans are for the first time as likely to get science and technology news from the Internet as from television. Good riddance, says a new species of online science writers, "content curators," and scientists themselves who are populating a brave new ecosystem of web sites, blogs, e-pubs, and even "bijou" print issues to chronicle mid2d21ST (*mid-second decade of the twenty-first century) science.
An estimated 1,000 scientists lost their National Institutes of Health R-series grants because of the automatic sequester of federal funding last year, according to a new analysis by Jeremy Berg, Director of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's Institute for Personalized Medicine and the ASBMB President. Berg used data from the NIH RePORTER for R-series grants, which are the foundation of most labs, to determine the effects of the sequester between FY12 and FY13. His data show that the R-series of grants was disproportionately affected by the sequester, with roughly 1,000 researchers losing funding. Berg is the former Director of NIH's National Institute for General Medical Sciences (NIGMS).
ASCB member, former ASCB President, and 2013 ASCB Annual Meeting keynote speaker, Elaine Fuchs has been named the winner of the American Association for Cancer Research's 2014 Pezcoller Foundation-AACR International Award for Cancer Research. Fuchs, who is a professor at the Rockefeller University and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, is known for her pioneering work on epidermal stem cells and the relationship between "stemness" and cancer progression.
One of the pleasures of the AAAS Annual Meeting is walking through walls. Science can be a windowless warren if you stick with what you know so sometimes it pays to step out. At AAAS, you can seek out a symposium on some outlandish topic just to view unknown terrain. Sometimes you glimpse far horizons. Sometimes you are fogged in.
2013 will always be known as the year of sequestration. The inability of Congress to do its job resulted in almost $2 billion in combined cuts to the budgets of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF). But there was a bright side to sequestration. The 16-day shutdown of the federal government and the bad press it generated finally forced Congress to do something it had not done in years – pass a budget for the federal government.
It can be flattering or terrifying but it's always important. It's that rare opportunity when a non-scientist is genuinely curious about what you do. It's your chance to talk about the puzzling result that keeps you up at night, the critical piece of data you finally got, or the little pieces of a microscopic mystery that you're working to solve.
The world of slime molds is seething with activity as teams prepare their entries for the upcoming Dicty World Race, set for May 16 in the Massachusetts General Hospital lab of Daniel Irimia. Meantime, Irimia and ASCB member Chris Janetopoulos of Vanderbilt University have raised $3,000 from private sponsors for prize money. Their goal now is to raise the grand prize to $5,000 through crowd funding on RocketHub. The idea that you could win real money racing Dictyostelium discoideum is startling. Imagine cell biology on the sports pages. Give generously.
CHICAGO—The "Triple A-S" meeting is like no other scientific gathering in that it is not really for scientists but for journalists who follow science. Scientists do come to present talks or to serve on AAAS governing sections, but to understand the meeting's central purpose, think of AAAS as the world's largest annual science press conference.