Winners of a Nobel Prize typically get a private call from a member of the selection committee shortly before the news breaks to the public. But this year the Nobel committee couldn't reach W.E. Moerner, a professor of chemistry at Stanford University and an ASCB member. Moerner was in Recife, Brazil, on the morning of October 8, attending the Third International Workshop on Fundamentals of Light-Matter Interactions. Moerner had his cell phone turned off to save international roaming charges. So when it was announced that he was one of the three winners of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry it fell to the Associated Press to reach his wife, Sharon, at home with the news. She turned to WhatsApp to send him the message to turn on his phone. Moerner was thrilled to share his excitement with family, friends, and colleagues. His first call was to his son, Daniel, who is working toward a PhD in philosophy at Yale University.
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.
"Interest in biology has never been higher,” says Louis Reichardt, emeritus professor of physiology at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). And yet, as federal research funding declines, Reichardt worries that many graduate students are despairing of their prospects for productive research careers. “It takes some ingenuity now to find future opportunities in science,” he says. In recent years, Reichardt has devoted his own ingenuity to helping students find these opportunities. A glimpse of his work can now be seen on iBiology.org.
Bruce Alberts, professor at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), who served as ASCB president in 2007, was just named one of the nation's top scientists by President Obama. Alberts and nine others are recipients of the National Medal of Science, the Nation's highest honor for individuals who have made outstanding contributions to science and engineering. Alberts will be presented the medal in a ceremony at the White House later this year.
Eleanor (Josie) Clowney , a postdoc at Rockefeller University who did her graduate work at the University of California, San Francisco, has been named the winner of the 2014 $5,000 ASCB Kaluza Prize for outstanding research by a graduate student. The Kaluza Prizes are supported by Beckman Coulter. Clowney won for her breakthrough work on olfactory neurons performed in Stavros Lomvardas’ lab. Her work provides a new perspective on how acute transcriptional specificity can be achieved through epigenetic mechanisms.
Inmate-college students at San Quentin Prison will soon have microscopes for their biology lab through an ASCB Outreach Grant, offered by the Committee for Postdocs and Students (COMPASS) outreach subcommittee. ASCB members Ryan McGorty and Adam Williamson, both postdocs at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), asked for the outreach grant to help their volunteer efforts as instructors for a introductory biology course for prisoners.
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."
Andrew Pelling has a new application for the apple, but it is not the latest i-gizmo from Cupertino, CA. Pelling and colleagues at the University of Ottawa have come up with a possible solution to the limitations of traditional, two-dimensional (2D) cell culture, which does not reproduce the microenvironment and tissue architecture that surrounds cells in a living organism—the apple, the one-a-day fruit that keeps the doctor away and is an essential ingredient to the All-American pie.
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.
In Hollywood and in 3D molecular printing, you start with a script. But the scripts that Darrell Hurt offers bioscience researchers help them to make molecular discoveries more easily. Hurt is the section head at the Computational Biology Bioinformatics and Computational Biosciences Branch at the NIH, where he recently launched the NIH 3D Print Exchange. http://3dprint.nih.gov/ The Exchange offers open-access to ready-to-use scripts, the instructions that drive 3D printers, so scientists can turn their .pdb and other data files into print-it-yourself plastic models.