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.
Your cells should go to Washington. Or at least your cell images should go to Washington's Dulles International Airport where ASCB and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) are collaborating on an eye-popping exhibit of cell images in the Gateway Gallery of the United Airlines hub terminal from June through November. The exhibit, to be called Life: Magnified, will feature stunning micrographs of cells, tissues, microorganisms, and molecular landscapes.
Dear fellow bench scientist,
I cannot tell a lie. Dr. Washington is off today. But if you're working hard in the lab, either because your PI or your inner PI (you) requires it, Dr. Washington has a workaround. Sure, your Facebook friends are posting selfies with their President or El Presidente cocktails. But put down the beaker of despair (think of alcohol as just more glassware to wash) and take Dr. Washington's Instant Holiday.
It was either serendipity or the anxiety of an entire generation of graduate students coming to a boil, but last fall something triggered an explosion of science advocacy on the Emory University campus in Atlanta. A grad student "advocacy journal club" has sprung to life with 50 members, ambitious plans for organizing more, and a working alliance with the dean and with Emory's Office of Governmental Affairs.
NIH Director Francis Collins yesterday unveiled an unusual open access alliance of 10 "biopharmaceutical" companies and eight nonprofits to wade through the growing flood of bio data on four diseases—Alzheimer's, Type 2 diabetes, and the autoimmune disorders, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus—to identify therapeutic targets and characterize biomarkers. All data and analyses will be publicly shared. The pharma and nonprofit allies will put up $230 million over five years in hopes of making translational sense of the mass of new imaging, "omic" sequencing, and other data on these four diseases with massive impacts on public health. The new alliance is called the Accelerating Medicines Partnership (AMP).
"Why is my bench sticky?" one card asks. If the answers, "Rotation students" or "Because the Bible says so," strike you as particularly funny, then you need to download and print out a new open-source card game called Cards Against Science. It was created by a physicist for scientists including non-physicists (like cell biologists), although with its references to spermatozoa and Drosophila, it wouldn't hurt to know your pipette from your elbow.
Amoebae, start your engines. Dictyostelium discoideum a.k.a. Dicty, the slime mold with a vast reputation (and literature) as an experimental model system, will go head to head (or leading edge to leading edge) next May against a neutrophil challenger, a human neutrophil-like cell line called HL-60, in a desperate race through a microfluidic maze. The winning cells will get a drink of chemical attractant and their human managers cash (amount undetermined but likely small) and fame (fleeting).
Making pluripotent stem cells, cells with the ability to turn into almost any cell type, is easier than ever, according to new papers published this week in Nature. Just add stress.
By creating laboratory systems that can accurately model all kinds of normal and diseased human cells, tissues, and even organs, advances in stem cell culturing techniques could open the way for a "new era of human cell biology," Lawrence Goldstein, chair of the ASCB Stem Cell Task Force, told the National Institute for General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) Advisory Council meeting on the NIH campus in Bethesda, MD, Friday. "There are tremendous opportunities using stem cell technologies... to advance our understanding of basic biological principles," Goldstein of the University of California, San Diego, told the NIGMS council when presenting the task force's recommendations. "There are some programmatic goals we think will help us get there," he said.