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ASCB Newsletter - November 1997

37th ASCB Annual Meeting News & Information

Special Interest Subgroup Meetings
Saturday, December 13
1:00 PM-5:00 PM

Organization Of Spindle Poles
Organizer: Duane A. Compton, Dartmouth Medical School
Room 22

The role of centrosomes in organizing microtubule minus ends at spindle poles has been controversial for nearly 100 years because they are present at the spindle poles in most cell types due to their inherent role in microtubule nucleation, but they are absent in other cell types. Recent evidence suggests that both centrosomal and acentrosomal spindles share a similar mechanism for the organization of microtubule minus ends at spindle poles. This special interest subgroup meeting will draw together investigators examining the mechanism of spindle pole organization. (Sponsored by Carl Zeiss, Inc., Microscopy Division)

Speakers will include:
Duane Compton, Dartmouth Medical School
Christophe Echeverri, Worcester Foundation for Biomedical Research
Tom Hayes, University of Minnesota
Rebecca Heald, University of California, Berkeley
Andreas Merdes, Ludwig Institute, San Diego
William Theurkauf, State University of New York, Stony Brook
Patricia Wilson, University of Wisconsin

Organizers: Andrew L. Harris, Johns Hopkins University and Linda Musil, Oregon Health Sciences University Room 4

Gap junctions are central to many fundamental aspects of cell biology, including development, growth control and differentiated tissue function, from coelenterates to humans. The cloning and expression of new connexins (Cx) has stimulated studies of the structure/function of the channel, its synthesis, processing, and physiological modulation. Recent experiments have provided illuminating insight into connexin roles in cellular biology, development and disease. This subgroup will bring together investigators and students for presentation and discussion of exciting developments in the past year. (Sponsored by Monsanto/Searle, with additional support from Axon Instruments)

Topics and speakers will include:
Modulation of neural crest migratory behavior by Cx43 gap junctions. Guo-Ying Wang and Cecilia Lo, University of Pennsylvania
Ocular abnormalities in Cx50 deficient mice. Tom White and Daniel Goodenough, Harvard University
Cx50 in macroglia of the mammalian retina and visual pathway. Michael Schütte and J. Mario Wolosin, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine
Degradation of Cx43 junctions in cardiac myocytes in vitro and in vivo. Jamie Laing and Eric Beyer, Washington University
Proliferating state alters junctional permeability of vascular smooth muscle. D. Kurijiaka and J. Burt, University of Arizona
Endotoxin induces gap junctions in human polymorphonuclear cells. Cecelia Brañes and Juan Sáez, Pontifica University Conception
Gap junction communication in human lymphocyte subpopulations. Ernesto Oviedo and W. Howard Evans, University of Wales
Functional Expression of a Drosophila Gap Junction Protein in Xenopus Oocytes. Pauline Phelan, University of Sussex (UK).
Regulation of osteocalcin gene transcription by changes in gap junction permeability. Roberto Civitelli, Washington University
Cx43 promoter activity in myocytes reduced by TNF. Antonio DeMaio and Mariana Fernandez-Cobo, Johns Hopkins University Medical School
Cell-to-cell communication in the lens: a tale of two connexins. Guido Zampighi, University of California, Los Angeles

Organizer: Bhanu P. Jena, Yale University School of Medicine, and Heinrich Horber, EMBL Room 27

Discovered just a decade ago, the atomic force microscope, and recently the optical tweezer, have emerged as powerful tools for the study of cellular structure and function at ultra high resolution and for micromanipulation of intracellular structures in living cells. Intermolecular interactions between biomolecules in physiological buffer can now be directly measured using both the atomic force microscope and the optical tweezer. Morphological studies of live cells, previously impossible due to the resolution limits of the light microscope, are now possible. The atomic force microscope has been used to examine the cellular surface, intracellular structures, as well as isolated organelle and biomolecules, revealing previously unknown cellular and subcellular structures at nm resolution. The major contribution of the atomic force microscope and optical tweezer to biology has been in their ability to study the dynamics of live cells in physiological medium, at ultrahigh resolution and in real time. Structures unidentifiable in fixed or freeze-fractured tissue preparations for electron microscopy probably due to perturbation during processing, can now be imaged at nm resolution in living cells using the atomic force microscope. The subgroup meeting will bring together several speakers who are experts in the area to cover this new and emerging technology for use in the study of cell structure and function.

Topics and Speakers will include:
Gerd Binnig, IBM Rueschlikon, Switzerland
Hermann E. Gaub, University of Munchen, Germany
Single protein recordings of foldings/unfolding reactions. Julio M. Fernandez, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, and
Heinrich Horber, EMBL, Heidelberg, Germany
Investigating the mechanical response of living cells by AFM. Manfred Radmacher, University of Munchen, Germany
Viewing nuclear pores through electrodes and the atomic force microscope. Hans Oberleithner, University of Muenster, Germany
Using AFM and Optical Tweezers to study exocytosis. Bhanu P. Jena, Yale University School of Medicine
Entropic motion of neurofilament side arms: a mechanism for maintaining interfilament spacing. Jan H. Hoh, Johns Hopkins University
Detection of extracellular ATP in living cells. John P. Geibel, Yale University School of Medicine
AFM on mechano sensitive ion channels. Frederic Sachs, State University of New York, Buffalo
Study of molecular motors using optical tweezers. J. Howard, University of Washington, and
David M. Warshaw, University of Vermont
Optical tweezers and mechanical measurements. Ernst-Ludwig Florin, EMBL, Heidelberg

Organizer: J. M. Jessup, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Room 36

This Special Interest Subgroup studies the ability of three-dimensional cultures to promote cellular interactions that recreate the structure and function of tissues in vivo. Novel three-dimensional culture systems as well as the effects of three-dimensional growth on phenotype will be presented with an emphasis on analyses of molecular expression and biological mechanisms. Scientists who are interested in the use of novel three-dimensional culture technologies to evaluate specific molecular biological problems in vitro that occur in tissues in vivo will be brought together. (Supported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.)

Topics and speakers will include:
Cell adhesion, apoptosis and the epithelial phenotype. Steve Frisch, Burnham Institute
Growth and differentiation of skeletal and cardiac muscle. Lisa Freed, MIT
The effects of three-dimensional cultures on differentiation in HL-60 Cells. N.R. Pellis, NASA Johnson Space Center
Three-dimensional endothelial cultures. Elliot Levine, Wistar Institute
Role of matrix in three-dimensional suspension culture of salivary gland. H. Kleinman and Matthew P. Hoffman, National Institutes of Health, NIDR
Expression of aminoglycoside binding proteins in three-dimensional cultures of proximal renal tubule cells. Timothy Hammond, Tulane University
Three-dimensional induction of drug resistance and p27Kip1. Robert Kirbel, Reichmann Research Institute, University of Toronto
Three-dimensional cultures of adrenal neuroendocrine cells and the induction of the differentiated phenotype. P. Lelkes, Mt. Sinai Medical Center, Milwaukee
Reversal of G2 arrest in a suspension culture system in microgravity. J. M. Jessup, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute
The effects of three-dementional cultures on differentiation in HL-60 cells. Neal Pellis, NASA-Johnson Space Center

Organizer: J. Richard McIntosh, University of Colorado, Boulder Room 13

This meeting is to present and discuss exciting new electron microscopy (EM) that helps to characterize 3-dimensional structures of key interest to cell and molecular biologists. An introduction by the chair will describe the technical problems and their current solutions, which define both the strengths and the limitations of methods now available. Each speaker will then present structural data that illuminate an important biological issue: the organization of cytomembranes, as revealed by high voltage EM tomography; the mechanisms for microtubule initiation in vivo that are suggested by structural studies of the centrosome; the organization of nuclear pores, as revealed by advanced EM techniques; the architecture of a large virus and the dynamic changes in motor enzymes that accompany their interactions with cytoplasmic fibers, as seen by cryoEM of frozen hydrated specimens; and the atomic structure of tubulin, as revealed by EM crystallography. These and other presentations by ASCB members should give participants a vivid understanding of the novel ways in which EM images and computer image processing are now being combined to provide new insights into classic biological problems.

Speakers will include:
J. Richard McIntosh (Chair), University of Colorado
David Agard, University of California, San Francisco
Kenneth Downing, Lawrence Berkeley Laboratories

Mark Ladinsky, University of Colorado
Maryann Martone, University of California, San Diego
Ron Milligan, Scripps Research Institute
Hans Ris, University of Wisconsin
Alasdair Stevens, National Institutes of Health

Organizer: Mark McNiven, Mayo Clinic Room 33

This subgroup is focused on understanding the specific processes by which cytoplasmic vesicles are formed from distinct membrane compartments. In just the last several years our understanding of how dynamin, clathrin, COPs, adaptors, caveolin, and other proteins contribute to this important process has expanded dramatically. Vesicle formation and budding will be the key topic in this discussion as opposed to targeting, transport, docking, and fusion.

Topics and Speakers will include:

Endocytic Processes

Dissociation of clathrin and adaptins from nascent vesicles, Ernst Ungewickell, Washington University
Molecular mechanisms mediating the fission and internalization of caveolae, Jan Schnitzer, Harvard University
Synaptic vesicle recycling at the synapse, Pietro DeCamilli/Kohji Takei, Yale University
Synaptic vesicle formation in vitro, Regis Kelly, UCSF

Secretory Processes
COPII at the Endoplasmic Reticulum, Charles Barlowe, Dartmouth University
Dynamins in the secretory pathway, Mark McNiven, Mayo Clinic
Regulated secretory vesicle formation from the trans-Golgi network, Sharon Tooze, ICRF London
Molecules involved in the formation of constitutive transport vesicles from the trans-Golgi network, Kathryn Howell, University of Colorado

Organizers: Elizabeth Holleran and Erika Holzbaur, University of Pennsylvania, and R. Dyche Mullins and Thomas Pollard, Salk Institute for Biological Sciences Room 20

Actin-related proteins, a family sharing 25-50% identity with conventional actin, were first discovered in 1992. Although this is a relatively recent discovery, progress of the field has been remarkably fast. Recent work has identified more than 20 actin-related proteins with important but diverse cellular functions. Three highly conserved Arps (Arpl, Arp2 and Arp3) have been identified in widely divergent eukaryotic phyla and have been the subject of the most intense study. In yeast, filamentous fungi, and mammalian cells Arp1 or centractin is necessary for nuclear migration and correct mitotic spindle orientation and may be a cytoskeletal scaffold used by dynactin to link the motor protein dynein to vesicles or membranes. In Acanthamoeba, humans and yeast Arps 2 and 3 are members of a larger complex (the Arp2/3 complex) that bundles actin filaments, binds conventional actin binding proteins, is implicated in Listeria monocyotogenes motility and appears to be an essential regulator of the actin cytoskeleton. Other Arps, with known representatives from only a single species have been described and may play roles in chromatin packaging and nuclear events. The speakers have all contributed significantly to our understanding of the actin-related proteins described above.

Speakers will include:
James Bingham, Johns Hopkins University
John Cooper, Washington University
Elizabeth Holleran, University of Pennsylvania
Erika Holzbaur, University of Pennsylvania
Rong Li, Harvard University
Tim Mitchison, University of California, San Francisco
Dyche Mullins, Salk Institute for Biological Science
Tom Pollard, Salk Institute for Biological Science
Dorothy Schaefer, Washington University
Trina Schroer, Johns Hopkins University
Matt Welch, University of California, San Francisco
Dirk Winter, Harvard University

Organizer: Albert J. Banes, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and Jeremy B. Tuttle, University of Virginia Health Sciences Center Room 37

This meeting is another in a series of successful subgroup meetings that have focused on cellular mechanisms of mechanical sensitivity. Presentations will range from consideration of cell-matrix relationships in bone, isolation of stretch-activated ion channels and modulation of cellular activity by mechanical force to stretch-activated genes and promoter mechanisms. (Sponsored by Flexcell International Corporation.)

The research talks will be enhanced by a panel discussion designed to summarize current understanding, formulate consensus and discern common themes.

Topics and Speakers will include:
Cell-matrix relationships in bone: the in vivo reality and implications for cell dynamics, signaling, and mechanosensation. Marc McKee
University of Montreal
Isolation, characterization, and function of the osteoblast stretch activated cation channel. Keith Hruska, Barnes-Jewish Hospital, St. Louis
Modulation of cell activity by mechanically sensitive ion channels. Fred Sachs, State University of New York at Buffalo School of Medicine and Bauer Sumpio, Yale University School of Medicine
Mechanics and morphogenesis in tissue engineering in vitro, Linda Griffith, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Mechanical strain alters airway smooth muscle contractile properties. Paul Smith, University Hospital of Cleveland

For information about attending the subgroup meeting contact Jeremy Tuttle or Christi Sherrod.

Organizer: Richard Vallee, Worcester Foundation for Biomedical Research Room 32

Cytoplasmic dynein is a multi-subunit microtubule motor protein, which requires a second multi-subunit complex, dynactin, for most, if not all of its functions. Together 10-20 genes have been identified in the dynein/dynactin pathway in yeast, Drosophila, Aspergillus, Neurospora, and vertebrates. In contrast to other motor proteins, cytoplasmic dynein also appears to be involved in a wide range of intracellular functions, the full extent of which is still being worked out. Why a single motor protein requires so many accessory subunits and structures for its function is uncertain, and how it is selectively targeted to a diversity of cargo structures remain major unresolved issues. Dynactin has been proposed to serve as a "receptor," or anchor, for cytoplasmic dynein, and its subunit complexity may, in part, reflect the diversity of cargo. However, its mechanism of action remains to be fully tested. Finally, the large subunit of dynaction, p150glued, is structurally related to another vesicle binding protein, CLIP-170, but their functional relationship has been a mystery. Work in a variety of biochemical, genetic, and cellular systems is converging to address these questions.

Topics and speakers will include:
Introduction. Richard Vallee, University of Massachusetts Medical School
Dynactin: Mechanisms of dynein activation and roles in membrane trafficking. Trina Schroer, Johns Hopkins University
Dynactin’s role in linking dynein to membranes. Erika Holzbaur, University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine
Evidence that dynein and dynactin are recruited to the kinetochore by ZW10 through a direct interaction with the p50 subunit of dynactin.
Michael Goldberg, Cornell University
Interaction of dynein and dynactin with NuMa. Don Cleveland, University of California, San Diego
Dynactin co-localization with CLIP-170 at microtubule distal ends. Kevin Vaughan, University of Massachusetts Medical School
CLIP-170 at the kinetochore. Jan De Mey, Institute Jacques Monod, Paris
A class VI unconventional myosin (95F myosin) associates with a CLIP-170 homolog in Drosophila, Kathryn Miller, Washington University


Molecular Biology of the Cell - Call for Papers

Molecular Biology of the Cell Paper of the Year Award
Call for Papers

Molecular Biology of the Cell is currently accepting papers for consideration for the seventh MBC Paper of the Year Award. The winner will be the first author, who must be a student or post doctoral fellow at the time of submission of the paper published in MBC issues from July 1997 through June 1998 and judged to be the best of the year by the MBC Editorial Board. The winner will be a speaker in a minisymposium at the 1998 ASCB Annual Meeting in San Francisco. The award will pay travel expenses and registration fee for the winner to attend the Annual Meeting.

First authors who are students or postdocs at the time of submission.

To be a minisymposium speaker at the ASCB
Annual Meeting, with travel expenses and registration fees included.

The awardee will be chosen from all papers published in MBC from July 1997 through June 1998 and will be featured at the ASCB Annual Meeting in San Francisco December 12-16, 1997.

If you have a great paper send your manuscript to the ASCB Publications Office, 9650 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, MD 20814-3992. Phone (301) 530-7153; Fax (301) 571-8304.


Career Trends and Prospects:

Analysis and Implications of the ASCB Membership Career Survey
Sunday, December 14, 9:30 AM

This past Spring, the ASCB commissioned a survey to study the state of our profession as experienced by its membership. The survey reached a randomly selected 45% of the membership and approximately 70% of those responded. The survey asked members to report on career progression and perceived prospects, and also asked members to suggest public policy strategies that will affect the profession. The compiled results of the survey will be presented, including the ways in which attitudes, experiences, progress and prospects vary among the different segments of the membership. Much of the hour will be devoted to discussion with attendees, which will in turn will guide the Society's attempts to influence cell biology's future. Refreshments will be served.



Do You Need a Postdoc, a Research Associate or Senior Colleague?

Look to the ASCB first to fill a vacancy by placing your recruitment advertisement in the monthly ASCB Newsletter.

  • Low Rates: $7.50/line, 10-line minimum
  • High Readership: 10,000 research scientists
  • Precise Target: Experienced and qualified membership
  • Convenient Deadline: First of month preceding month of issue

Contact: Rick Sommer
Phone (301) 530-7153
Fax (301) 530-7139

Research Associate positions available in a HHMI laboratory to study exciting and challenging problems in cell signaling. Join us in the Center for Cell Signaling as we build a center for excellence in the areas of kinase cascades, small GTP binding proteins, protein phosphatases, and nuclear transport. Motivated individuals with record of accomplishment should apply (cv plus three references) to Dr. T.W. Sturgill, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of Virginia, Markey Center for Cell Signaling, Box 577, Charlottesville VA 22908 USA via facsimile (804) 924-9659. EOE/AA.

POSTDOCTORAL POSITION to study RNA export and nuclear organization of yeast and animal cells [JCB, 126, 649; EMBO J. 15, 6750]. Send two letters of recommendation and CV to A. Tartakoff, Pathology Department, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, 2085 Adelbert Road, Cleveland OH 44106; Fax (216) 368-5484; Email EOE/AA.

SCIENTISTS who can conceive and execute text book-style artwork are needed to help illustrate books and other media published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, NY. A thorough knowledge of cell or molecular biology is desirable, and expertise in graphics packages such as Adobe Illustrator, CorelDraw, Canvas, PhotoShop, etc. is required. The work would be part-time and freelance and communications with CSH could be largely electronic. Applicants should mail or email cv and art samples to Dr. John Inglis, Director, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, 1 Bungtown Road, Cold Spring Harbor NY 11724; Email; or visit our booth (#1150) at the ASCB Annual Meeting.

The Department of Anatomy at the University of Mississippi Medical Center has openings for two tenure-track faculty positions at the rank of assistant professor or higher. The Medical Center is located in Jackson, the state capital, and has a major building initiative underway. Both research ability and teaching skills are highly regarded. The department is well-equipped for contemporary research. Areas of current strength include systems and cellular neuroscience, and cardiovascular cell biology. Teaching duties will be assigned in gross anatomy/embryology, histology/cell biology, or neuroscience. Applicants should send a cv, a description of research interests and teaching qualifications, and arrange to have three letters of recommendation forwarded to: Chair, Anatomy Department Search Committee, University of Mississippi Medical Center, 2500 North State Street, Jackson MS 39216-4505. Completed applications must be received by January 9, 1998. The University of Mississippi Medical Center is an equal opportunity employer, M/F/D/V.

The Department of Anatomy, Cell & Neurobiology at Marshall University School of Medicine invites applications for a tenure-track Assistant Professor position starting 1 July, 1998. Successful candidate will have a PhD &/or MD degree, substantial postdoctoral experience, publications, qualifications for superior teaching of cell biology to medical & graduate students, & must develop &/or maintain an externally funded research program. Individuals with expertise in cell signaling and transduction pathways, confocal microscopy, and grant support are particularly encouraged to apply. Submit a letter addressing research credentials & plans, and teaching experience, a cv, recent publications, and 3 reference letters to: Dr. W. B. Rhoten, Dept. of A,C & N, MUSOM, 1542 Spring Valley Dr., Huntington WV 25704. Review will begin 1 December. MU is an EO/AA/ADA employer.

Postdoctoral Position is available to study functions of cell junctions in signal transduction and growth regulation in Drosophila. Ongoing research focuses on the functions of the Neurofibromatosis 2 tumor supressor, Merlin, in regulating cell proliferation, and on identifying the molecular framework within which Merlin and related proteins function. Please send cv, a brief summary of research experience, and names/ addresses of three references to: Dr. Richard Fehon, DCMB Group, B361 LSRC, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708-1000. 919 613 8177 (fax), Email EOE/AA.

Postdoctoral Position is available to study growth control mechanisms in gastrointestinal cancers. The position is open for applicants with MD or PhD and a strong experience in molecular biology, cancer growth mechanisms, or cell signaling mechanisms. To apply, send cv, summary of research interests, and the names and full addresses of three references to the attention of: Ms Jeanne Myers, Administrative Assistant, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, MS 131, Allegheny University of the Health Sciences, Broad and Vine, Philadelphia PA 19102-1192. Fax: (215) 246-5432. EOE/AA.


Congress 101: How and Why To Talk Science With Your Representative

Tuesday, December, 16, 9:30 AM, Room 10

Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA)
Marc Kirschner

Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), longtime Congressman and supporter of biomedical research, and Marc Kirschner, former Chair of the ASCB Public Policy Committee and a constituent of Congressman Frank, will lead a discussion with attendees about the nexus between Congress and science at the ASCB Annual Meeting. Issues to be addressed include:

  • What do Members of Congress understand about science?
  • What should Members of Congress understand about science?
  • How do I approach my Representative?
  • What should I expect my Representative to do for me?
  • What can I do to support my Representative?
  • How can I most effectively influence Congressional support for biomedical research?
  • How can Ihelp my Representative become an advocate for biomedical research?

Most of the time will be designated for audience discussion; all meeting attendees are encouraged to come, whether or not they have experience with their Member of Congress. Refreshments will be served.

Peer Review Changes at the NIH
Tuesday, December 16, 12:00 noon, Room 20

Ellie Ehrenfeld
Keith Yamamoto

Ellie Ehrenfeld, Director of the NIH Center for Scientific Review (formally known as the Division of Research Grants), and Keith Yamamoto of the University of California, San Francisco, will lead a discussion on Peer Review Changes at the NIH. The peer review system at the NIH is in the midst of implementing changes that will transform the way study sections review and score grant applications; many of the changes are at the recommendation of the NIH Peer Review Oversight Group (PROG), which was chaired by Yamamoto. Immediately following this presentation will be a Demonstration Study Section, to be moderated by Gerald Greenhouse.



The ASCB is grateful to the members below who have given gifts to support Society activities:

Eileen D. Adamson
Robert S. Adelstein
Elena Bendala-Tufanisco
Mina J. Bissell
Henry G. Brown
Anna M. Castle
J. David Castle
Shu Chien
Eloise E. Clark
Victor M. DeLeon
Harrison W. Farber
Daniel S. Friend
Michiko N. Fukuda
Susan A. Gerbi
Harriet T. Gagne
Sugie Higashi-Fujime
Thomas G. Honegger
Jonathan C.R. Jones
Ralph T. Kubo
Harold E. Lane Jr.
Gordon W. Laurie
Sharon Lobert
Wilfredo Mellado
David S. Miller
Alan Leslie Munn
Elizabeth F. Neufeld
Takeharu Nishimoto
Yukio Okano
Jane Overton
Shoshana Paglin
William Reed
Mary K. Rundell
David R. Samols
Michael L. Shelanski
Jean-Pierre Simon
Bayard T. Storey
Joel A. Swanson
Kingo Takiguchi
Kelly Tatchell
Sharon T. Vaughan
Charles J. Walsh
Nakazo Watari
Michael Thomas Watkins
Zena Werb
Richard D. Ye


Grants & Opportunities

American Association for Cancer Research
Gertrude B. Elion Cancer Research Award

Supported by a Grant from Glaxo Wellcome Oncology

The purpose of the AACR's Gertrude B. Elion Award is to foster meritorious basic, clinical, or translational research in the U.S. or Canada by a non-tenured scientist at the level of Assistant Professor. Tenured faculty, federal government employees, and employees of private industry are not eligible for this award.

Terms: the one-year award includes a $30,000 grant plus travel to the AACR Annual Meeting to accept the award. Candidates must be nominated by a member of the AACR and submit a detailed application.

Deadline: December 15, 1997. For application information contact Jennet Anne Horst-Martz at Phone: (215) 440-9300; FAX: (215) 440-9372; Email.

Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowships For Minorities
1998 Program: The program, sponsored by the Ford Foundation and administered by the National Research Council (NRC), enables teacher-scholars to engage in postdoctoral research and scholarship in an environment free from the interference of their normal professional duties and helps them to achieve greater recognition in their respective fields and to develop the professional associations that will make them more effective and productive in academic employment.

Approximately 25 one-year postdoctoral fellowships, with a total award package worth $35,000 to each fellow. Deadline for application is January 5, 1998. Phone: (202) 334-2872; Email; Website.

Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research Training Fellowships in Biological Sciences

Postdoctoral Research Fellowships for Physicians support 3 years of full-time research; 88 physician postdoctoral fellows receive $6.5 million annually. Deadline for 1998 competition: December 2, 1997.

Medical Students
Research Training Fellowships for Medical Students support 1 year of full-time research, and continued fellowships help fellows complete their medical studies; 100 fellows receive $2.7 million annually. Deadline for 1998 competition: January 10, 1998.

For more information: Phone (301) 215-8889; Email; Website.


Mounting Your Poster with Velcro

Poster sessions have come to be a primary means of conveying our recent research results; these sessions have evolved into a very effective means of engaging one’s colleagues in detailed discussion about new findings and ideas. The aisles teem with excitement, exchange and new ideas and insights.

The ASCB offers helpful hints and suggestions for producing effective posters, many of which originate from presenters. Over the years I have tried to make my presentations effective, keeping to some basic notions of simplicity, style and legibility. One part of the process that has been a source of some difficulty has been the reliance on "stick pins" to mount the poster to the display boards. The display boards vary greatly in their holding of stick pins. Many of us have experienced the frustration of having to remount our poster while the presenter on the other side of the display board hammers her or his poster in place. In some cases I have had to resort to synchronize my pinning with that of the person on the other side of the board.

I recently learned through the ASCB and one of their contractors that this year the ASCB is using display boards that are covered with a fuzzy cloth material over homosote board. The homosote is an excellent material for stick pins; the cloth is a better mounting material. Many years ago, when the ASCB first started using poster sessions, the display boards were covered with carpet. But in those years I found a means of mounting posters that was superior to stick pins -- Velcro. Given the ease of set-up and take-down of the poster and the freedom from having one's poster fall while the person on the other side of the display hammer's their's into place, I offer the following suggested alternative.

I have found that posters made of Crescent or similar poster board stock can be effectively mounted with Velcro. I find that 2 inch-long strips of 3/4-inch wide "hook-side" self-adhesive Velcro fixed to the corners of the back side of each poster card (e.g., 18 x 14 inches) makes a secure means of fixing a poster to the display board. Hook and fuzz fasteners (generically called Velcro) come in many sizes, colors and shapes. I have used several of these products for various applications. I have found the self-adhesive Velcro-brand product to be the most reliable; it can be purchased in various configurations. I prefer the roll of adhesive-backed material containing both the hook and fuzzy sides.

After preparing the poster, count the number of corners and cut the needed number of Velcro pieces, and store the cut pieces with their paper backing in a zip-lock plastic bag, to prevent drying while in transit. For larger panels, use a third piece centered along each side and one in the center of the panel. Once at the poster area, affix the adhesive side of the Velcro to the panels (Figure 1), using modest hand pressure to insure that the adhesive has bound to the poster. Then place the cards onto the display board where needed; only a light finger tap to the poster board over the Velcro is needed to engage the hooks with the cloth of the display board (Figure 2).

With this method the poster: (a) can be mounted quickly and easily repositioned; (b) stays where your place it; and, (c) is easily removed. [If desired, the Velcro can later be removed by gently prying with finger nail and then a spatula blade.] The fuzzy side mate of the hooks can be used to mount your poster on a wall once you return to your lab.

After having to catch panels of my posters that came loose while another poster was being mounted, I intend to return to the use of Velcro. I invite others to do the same.

- Robert Silver

Editor’s Note: Velcro will not be available at the Washington Convention Center, so participants who intend to use Velcro should bring it with them. Velcro is an optional alternative to stick pins; poster presenters may use either method.

New Volumes From Methods In Cell Biology
The ASCB sponsors Methods in Cell Biology, a series founded by David Prescott in 1964 and published by Academic Press. In time for the ASCB annual meeting, Methods in Cell Biology will present four new volumes: Methods in Muscle Biology edited by Charles P. Emerson and H. Lee Sweeney, Nuclear Structure and Function edited by Miguel Berrios and Laser Tweezers in Cell Biology edited by Michael P. Sheetz.

Each volume addresses the need for useful protocols that will allow a research lab to strike out in a new direction. For example, the Muscle Biology volume describes methods for asking specific cell biology questions with muscle as a model system. The Nuclear Structure and Function volume complements Functional Organization of the Nucleus: A Laboratory Guide by Barbara Hamkalo and Sarah Elgin with up-to-date protocols for studying nuclear transport, interphase nuclear structure, and chromatin structure. Mike Sheetz has edited a volume on optical traps that describes the construction and applications of optical traps for studying single molecules and cells.

In February we eagerly await the publication of Video Microscopy, edited by Kip Sluder and David Wolf. This volume joins our very successful Fluorescence Microscopy volumes by Yu-Li Wang and Lansing Taylor, Confocal Microscopy by Brian Matsumoto, and Motility Assays by Jonathan Scholey. These and other volumes will be on display at the Annual Meeting.

In addition to the wide variety of areas covered by the Series, Methods in Cell Biology will continue to develop volumes in two focus areas: microscopy, and model cell biological and developmental systems. A significant fraction of the royalties go to the ASCB to support student travel to the ASCB Annual Meeting. As in the past, ideas for future volumes by Society members are encouraged enthusiastically.

-Leslie Wilson and Paul Matsudaira, co-editors


Online Abstract Search

Users of the World Wide Web can now do their own online search through the abstracts submitted for the 1997 ASCBAnnual Meeting. The search program provides the ability to search the titles of abstracts programmed for presentation. The user can search the meeting program by keywords, phrases, author names, institutions and sessions. By marking the selections that interest you, you can create a personal itinerary for the meeting. To use the search: set your browser to the ASCB website and follow the links to the 1997 Abstract Search.


Peer Review Changes at the NIH

Tuesday, December 16, 1997 - 12:00 noon, Room 20
Ellie Ehrenfeld, Director of the NIH Center for Scientific Review (formally known as the Division of Research Grants), and Keith Yamamoto of the University of California, San Francisco, will lead a discussion on Peer Review Changes at the NIH. The peer review system at the NIH is in the midst of implementing changes that will transform the way study sections review and score grant applications; many of the changes are at the recommendation of the NIH Peer Review Oversight Group (PROG), which was chaired by Yamamoto. Immediately following this presentation will be a Demonstration Study Section, to be moderated by Gerald Greenhouse.


Prusiner Wins Nobel Prize

Stanley Prusiner of the University of California, San Francisco, won the 1997 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discovery of prions, a new genre of disease-causing agents. The finding was controversial because prions, unlike other germs, contain no genetic material; they are simply proteins. Prions are believed to cause a group of degenerative brain diseases, including Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, or "Mad Cow Disease".

The Prize, worth $1 million, will be awarded to Prusiner in Stockholm this December. Prusiner has been a member of the ASCB since 1976.

Prusiner briefing the Congressional Biomedical Research Caucus in May, 1996.


Simons, Wilson Appointed to Committee Chairs

ASCB President Mina Bissell and ASCB President-elect Elizabeth Blackburn have announced the appointments of new chairs of two Society committees: Kai Simons of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory will chair the International Affairs Committee, and Katherine Wilson of the Johns Hopkins University will chair the Public Information Committee.

Both chairs will initiate three-year terms of office on January 1, 1998. Wilson succeeds Robert Goldman of Northwestern University, who was the founding Chair of the Public Information Committee; Simons succeeds Douglas Murphy of the Johns Hopkins University, who was also the original Chair of the International Affairs Committee.

Simons' goals for the International Affairs Committee include to:

  • Work with the International Federation on Cell Biology to improve the International Congress on Cell Biology;
  • Develop an International Section for the ASCB Newsletter;
  • Develop, in coordination with the ASCB Education Committee, training instruments in cell biology (e.g. videos and other teaching aids);
  • Initiate and maintain a database on international graduate student and postdoctoral fellowships;
  • Develop a similar database for international research grants, and
  • Recruit more non-U.S. members to ASCB membership.

The Public Information Committee, devoted to increasing public appreciation of basic biological science, is responsible for several ongoing Society activities, including:

  • Promotion of members' research to the general press by the publication of press books announcing and explaining selected research to be presented at the ASCB Annual Meeting;
  • Hosting press at the Annual Meeting;
  • Soliciting op-eds which highlight the value of basic biological research by members for publication in local newspapers;
  • Supporting the Science Writers' Workshop at the Marine Biological Laboratory;
  • Serving as an information resource for reporters, and
  • Sponsoring the Society's cell biology t-shirts.


1997 ASCB Social

Monday, December 15, 7:30 PM-11:00 PM

Corcoran Gallery of Art

Ticket price includes

  • buffet supper with two servings of beer, wine or soft drink;
  • live music, and
  • access to all museum exhibits.

Total Cost: $50

Tickets will be available at the Washington D.C. ConventionCenter only until Monday, December 15 at 10:00 AM.

(Sale of tickets is prohibited on the Gallery premises. No one will be allowed in with out a ticket.)

Special Program for Postdocs at Annual Meeting

Monday, December 15, 2:00 PM, Room 10
Organized by the Coalition of Life Sciences Postdoctoral Associations

Introductory Remarks:
Valerie Weaver, Postdoctoral Fellow, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Welcoming Address:
ASCB President Mina Bissell, Challenges Faced by P.I.s and Postdoctoral Fellows
Brian Rowning, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Washington

Expanding Career Opportunities and Initiating Change
Michael Alvarez, Director of Career Placement, University of California, San Francisco
David C. Bowen, Scientist, NeuralStem Biopharmaceuticals, College Park, MD

Krzysztof Bojanowski, Postdoctoral Fellow
Harvard Children's Hospital

Moderator: ASCB President-elect Elizabeth Blackburn

Online Abstract Search
Users of the World Wide Web can now do their own online search through the abstracts submitted for the 1997 ASCBAnnual Meeting. The search program provides the ability to search the titles of abstracts programmed for presentation. The user can search the meeting program by keywords, phrases, author names, institutions and sessions. By marking the selections that interest you, you can create a personal itinerary for the meeting. To use the search: set your browser to the ASCB web site and follow the links to the 1997 Abstract Search.

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