A senior researcher who can't get an answer from a shutdown NIH about a proposed clinical trial on a neurodegenerative disease, a Nobel Prize-winning scientist who fears that a generation of innovators will be lost, and a young investigator wearied at the lab by endless funding cuts and frustrated at home by the halt to promising research into a genetic disorder that affects her daughter

Published in ASCB Post

Two longtime ASCB members, Randy Schekman of the University of California, Berkeley, and James Rothman of Yale University, have won the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discoveries of how molecules move through the cell in vesicles and fuse to target membranes in a process known as "trafficking."

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ASCB member Pascale Cossart of the Institut Pasteur in Paris won the 2013 International Balzan Prize, worth 750,000 Swiss francs (roughly $800,000), for her work on the molecular biology of pathogenic bacteria and their interaction with host cells. Speaking for the Balzan Foundation, Peter Suter, honorary vice president of the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences, said, "Her research has provided very significant insights into the mechanisms underlying infectious diseases and how they might be combatted."

Published in ASCB Post
Monday, 30 September 2013 17:20

The Essential Mice of NIH

Just hours before the government may close down, federal employees around the world are waiting to hear if they will have to go to work in the morning. The question of the day in government buildings is which employees will be declared "essential" or "nonessential." Essential employees must show up for work even if the government is closed.

Published in ASCB Post
Monday, 30 September 2013 08:50

A Postcard from EMBO 2013

In a city where bikes outnumber cars and even people, more than 900 scientists dodged bicycles as they picked their way to the conference center for the 2013 EMBO meeting in Amsterdam. Kai Simons, Director Emeritus and Research Group Leader of the Max Planck Institute-CBG in Dresden, opened the meeting last Saturday, October 21. His talk that extended his pioneering research on lipid rafts in eukaryotic cell membranes toward bacteria with a new class of proteins called hopanoids that stand in for sterols on bacterial "liquid-ordered" membranes.

Published in ASCB Post

Got a piece of venerable (if supposedly functional) equipment taking up bench space? Turn it into an ASCB #ThrowbackThursday winner! The ASCB Post is ramping up its weekly Twitter hashtags with a cell biology twist. #ThrowbackThursday, which features blasts from the ASCB past like old photos of ASCB members (with the opportunity to guess the identity) or a landmark paper published back in the day, is adding a new category for historic/obsolete lab equipment.

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The ASCB Kaluza Prize supported by Beckman Coulter is named for the German mathematician Theodor Kaluza (1885-1954), who is the namesake of Beckman Coulter's flow cytometry software system. The posthumous reputation of Kaluza, who was not a biologist but a German mathematician, has been on the rise in recent years, and the eponymous honor of a $5,000 cash prize for scientific achievement for an ASCB graduate student is only the latest feather.

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Big discoveries can turn up in unexpected places, such as neurons of the Pacific electric ray, Torpedo californica. That was the start of Richard H. Scheller's path to the 2013 Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award, which he received last week. Along with Thomas C. Südhof of Stanford University, Scheller won for their independent investigations into the regulatory mechanisms of neurotransmitter release.

Published in ASCB Post

Later this fall, a few, a precious few, ASCB members will be booking flights to Stockholm. For the rest of us, take a seat with your laptop tonight to watch live as another batch of Nobelists—the Ig Nobelists—step into the bright lights. This is one show you will be glad to miss as an honoree.

Published in ASCB Post

Today Richard H. Scheller, an ASCB member and Executive Vice President of Genentech, was named the winner, along with Thomas C. Südhof of Stanford University, of the 2013 Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award. They won for their separate work in understanding the regulatory mechanisms of neurotransmitter release.

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