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ASCB Newsletter: August 1997

A Commemoration
    08/01/1997

Keith Roberts Porter
1912-1997

The Rockefeller University
Caspary Auditorium
Monday, October 6, 1997
2:00 30 PM - 5

Opening Remarks
David Luck

The Beginnings at Rockefeller
Phil Siekevitz

Merry Friend
Rollin Hotchkiss, James Murphy

Smiling Mentor
Lee Peachey, Peter Satir

Introduction to his Science
Peter Satir

Microtubules and ER: Current Relationships
Jennifer Lippincott-Schwartz

Coated Vesicles & Endocytosis
Mark McNiven

Muscle Contraction: Introduction
Lee Peachey

Excitation-Contraction Coupling: Then & Now
Andrew Huxley (tentative)

Summary
George Palade

No registration required; all are welcome. For more information, call Philip Siekevitz at (212) 327-8119 or Peter Satir at (718) 430-4061.

 


Do You Need a Postdoc, a Research Associate or Fellow
    08/01/1997

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

 


Balanced Budget Agreement Proceeds
08/01/1997

Balanced Budget Agreement Proceeds
Congress returned from the July 4 recess and completed its work on the balanced budget agreement. Both the Senate and the House had passed their version of the Medicare and tax portion of the FY'98 budget reconciliation bill in June. The conference committees are set to reconcile the two versions of the bills beginning July 10 and will likely work until the August recess. There are many controversial tax and spending issues that will not be easily resolved, including changes in Medicare and the reduction of capital gains taxes.

Tax Issues
During the Congressional break, members of the Congressional Liaison Committee of the Joint Steering Committee were notified of two tax provisions in the House bill that could impact them and their research assistants, and were asked to contact their Representatives. As noted in the July ASCB Newsletter, the House version of the tax bill would revoke two tax exemptions: tuition waivers for graduate research and teaching fellows, and the faculty retirement trust fund of TIAA-CREF.

Neither the tuition waiver provision nor the TIAA-CREF provision were in the Senate version of the bill, which provides an opportunity for compromise. The research community is hopeful that these higher education provisions will fail in the final bill.

The Administration has not weighed in on these higher education tax provisions, but the President did offer his own tax reform proposal, which combined parts of the House and Senate bills as well as some of his own ideas. The President's proposal includes a 30% capital gains tax exclusion, a $500-per-child tax credit for children under 17, and a 20-cents-per-pack cigarette tax that was not in the bipartisan budget deal but was included in the Senate bill. Clinton's plan has been reviewed by the House Joint Committee on Taxation which said that it "falls nearly $15 billion short of providing the maximum $85 billion tax cut over five years called for in the bipartisan budget agreement," due to the inclusion of the cigarette tax.

Though Administration officials have attempted to tinker with the budget reconciliation bill before it comes to the President, he is likely to sign the version that Congress sends him because he is as intent on completing the budget deal as is Congress. As House Ways and Means Committee Chairman William Archer says of the President, "we don't want to send him a bill that he will veto, and he doesn't want to veto a bill that we send him." The President and Congress at this time are expected to come to mutual agreement on the comprehensive budget bill.

NIH Appropriations Markup
The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, HHS & Education, chaired by Rep. John Porter (R-IL), marked up its bill, which includes funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), on July 15. Prior to the markup Porter made it clear that he did not feel bound by the recent budget agreement and vowed that he would create a bill that meets his priorities. Porter said, "my bill contains a great deal of the budget agreement, and that is why my allocation has gone up. I am going to follow the agreement as closely as possible. But, there will be differences between what the budget agreement priorities are and...the priorities of the L-HHS Subcommittee members in the Subcommittee's bill." He specifically focused on increasing the funding for the NIH, which the budget agreement had slated for only a small 1.2% increase. The Labor-HHS Subcommittee markup included $13.505 billion for the NIH,representing a 6% increase over last year 's funding level.

The Senate Labor, HHS Appropriations Subcommittee is scheduled to mark up its version of the bill the week of July 21. Due to the controversial nature of the bill, the full Senate Appropriations Committee failed to pass the Labor Health and Human Services bill the last two years. Consequently, the bill never came to the Senate floor for a vote. During these years, L-HHS funds have been effected in the final omnibus appropriations bill or continuing resolution for appropriations. This year might be different for two reasons: there is a new and determined Chairman of the full Senate Appropriations Committee, Ted Stevens (R-AK), and the Chairman of the L-HHS Subcommittee, Arlen Specter (R-PA), is running for reelection. Senator Specter continues a commitment to a 7.5% or $13,692,844,000 increase for the NIH.

Congressional Appropriation Mark-up
Agency FY98 House Subcommittee Markup %Increase Over FY'97 FY'98 Senate Subcommittee Mark-up %Increase Over FY'97
NIH $13,505 billion 6% (= $764 million) $13,692 billion 7.5% (= $959 million)
NSF $ 3,487 billion 6.6% (= $217 million) $3,377 billion 3.3% (= $107 million)

VA, HUD & Independent Agencies Appropriations Bill is Marked Up; NSF Sees Healthy Increase
The House Appropriations Subcommittee on VA, HUD and Independent Agencies conducted its markup of FY'98 funds, including those for the National Science Foundation (NSF). The House Science Committee had authorized $3.505 billion for the NSF, a 7% FY'98 increase in funding over FY'97. House appropriators came close to this goal with a 6.6% funding increase for the NSF at $3.487 billion. The Senate VA-HUD Subcommittee marked up its version of the appropriations bill on July 15 including a 3.3% increase for the NSF.

NIH Reauthorization
Senator Bill Frist (R-TN), Chairman of the Senate Public Health and Safety Subcommittee of the Labor and Human Resources Committee, held a hearing on NIH reauthorization on July 24. The hearing focused on three case studies of how NIH conducts its research. The studies were in the areas of pediatrics [in part due to Senator Mike Dewine's (R-OH) interest], Parkinson's disease, and in bioengineering technology — the latter of particular interest to Senator Frist, who is a cardiovascular surgeon. This hearing follows an earlier hearing by the Committee on how the NIH sets its funding priorities. The July event will be followed by another hearing in September, on clinical research.

Changes at DRG
The NIH Division of Research Grants, under the leadership of Ellie Ehrenfeld, is reviewing the entire peer review process and is making several changes. Some of the project areas on which the DRG is concentrating are:

  • analyzing and reorganizing study sections to more accurately reflect contemporary science;
  • evaluating and improving reviewer participation in the peer review process;
  • increasing the interactions of the DRG with the NIH institutes and centers to improve communication and cooperation within the NIH community;
  • establishing dialogues with specific segments of the research community to address their concerns;
  • helping to develop and implement exciting advances in information technology; and
  • promoting general outreach to the entire community.

Ehrenfeld hopes that by including the extramural community in the consideration of modifications to evaluation and reorganization, they will find creative ways to change. Interested investigators may visit the DRG Web site.

 


Career Planning Resources on the Web
    08/01/1997

Conducting a successful job search should not begin suddenly when a job is needed; it is an ongoing process. At each stage of a scientific career it is important to conduct a personal evaluation. Life experiences, new scientific breakthroughs, and job experiences all act to effect changes in personal and career goals.

A strategic analysis is the place to begin. Personal, educational, and professional strengths, personal and career goals, and marketability must be assessed honestly, yet creatively. A scientific education can be combined with a personal interest to target a position in research or teaching, industry or academia, government, law, museums, or apparently non-related industries; there are industries other than pharmaceuticals where a strong background in the biological sciences and/or research analysis is useful. To consider nonresearch career options, explore a web site such as that of the Biology Department of Trinity University, Austin, Texas, or the discussions offered by the National Academy of Sciences in its publication Careers in Science and Engineering.

A personal evaluation should also include prioritizing salary, job security, opportunities for personal growth and lifestyle. These lists should be written, dated, and updated regularly with the other documents in your career file.

An accurate personal assessment is helpful when developing a career plan and when writing a Curriculum Vitae (CV). Two publications available from the ASCB are useful in career planning and development; both discuss the written material and oral presentations necessary to conducting a job search; they also offer an excellent discussion of career strategies for the candidate with a doctoral degree:

  • How to Get a Research Job in Academia or Industry is available from the ASCB National Office and contains a sample CV.
  • How to Get a Job at a Primarily Teaching Institution is available from the ASCB National Office and on the ASCB Web Site

The World Wide Web is an excellent source of job listings, but more than that, it can be a source for guidelines for the written material and oral skills needed when conducting a job search.

Participation in the ASCB Placement Service is part of a complete job search. ASCB Placement Service forms are available by returning the form below or sending a note to the fax or e-mail address indicated. Candidates and employers are encouraged to register prior to November 3 to take advantage of a special mailing to pre-registered employers. Included in the mailing are candidate advertisements for all preregistered candidates and results of the search program, which matches preregistered candidates and employers. Candidate information for up to 10 candidates are mailed to each employer for the positions advertised.

Request for Placement Service Forms
For the 1997 Annual Meeting
(Preregistration Deadline:November 3, 1997)

Name:
Dept:
Institution:
Address:
Phone:
Fax:
Email:

Please indicate Employer Candidate Number of copies desired

Send this form to the
ASCB National Office, Placement Coordinator,
9650 Rockville Pike,
Bethesda MD 20814-3992;
Phone: (301) 530-7153
Fax:(301) 530-7139

 


Classifieds
    08/01/1997

Do You Need a Postdoc, a Research Associate or Fellow?
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

Postdoctoral Position in molecular genetics and glycobiology. A position is open in a project aiming at understanding the pathogenesis of the carbohydrate-deficient glyco-protein (CDG) syndromes. A gene for CDG1 has recently been cloned (Nature Genet. 16, 88-92, 1997) and current work includes the generation of a mouse model. Applications are invited from candidates with strong background in glycobiology, molecular and cellular biology. The post is available from Jan. 1st, 1998, for 2 years, extendible to 4 years. The Center for Human Genetics at the University of Leuven, Belgium, is a major research center with affiliations to the University Hospital. Applicants should send a cv including a research summary, and names of 3 refs to: Dr. Gert Matthijs, Center for Human Genetics, Campus Gasthuisberg ON6, B-3000 Leuven, Belgium Fax 32-16-345997.

Postdoctoral Position to study fibro blast-matrix interactions in vitro and in situ using transgenic mice carrying targeted matrix mutations. Desired skills include cellular and molecular biology, or fluorescent microscopy and image analysis expertise. Send or email cv, brief research summary and names of three references to: Dr. Sandra K. Masur, Depts of Ophthalmology and Cell Biology/Anatomy, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, 100th St & Fifth Avenue, NY NY 10029-6574. Fax: (212) 289-5945, EOE/AA.

Postdoctoral Position available immediately for PhD with experience in cell and molecular biology or cellular neurobiology. Study the role of a mammalian myosin V in nerve cell function using dilute-lethal (myosin V null) mice in conjunction with video microscopy, motility assays, cell culture, biochemistry and immuno-electron microscopy. Please send or email CV and names of references to: Dr. Paul Bridgman, Washington University School of Medicine, 660 S Euclid Ave., Box 8108, St.Louis, MO 63110. Fax: (314) 747-1150 EOE/AA.

Postdoctoral Position is available for NIH-supported study of cell. & molec. mechanisms of CNS myelinogenesis. Currently, we are studying myelin/oligodendrocyte glycoprotein, an lg-like membrane protein of oligodendrocytes that is also a major target antigen in immune-mediated demyelination (ie., multiple sclerosis). Previous experience in cell biology, mol. biology, or protein chemistry is desirable. Applicants should send CV, research interests, and 3 reference letters. Salary, negotiable. Contact: Dr. Minnetta V. Gardinier, Dept. Pathology W127, Northwestern Univ. Med. Sch., 303 E. Chicago Avenue, Chicago, Il 60611; Phone (312) 503- 2093, Fax (312) 503-8240.

 


DeCamilli Named Porter Lecturer; Special Porter Retrospective Planned
    08/01/1997

Pietro DeCamilli of Yale University was named the 16th Keith R. Porter Lecturer. The Porter Lecture, a highlight of the ASCB Annual Meeting, will have special significance this year because of Porter’s death in May.

A special retrospective of Keith Porter’s life and contributions to cell biology is also being planned as part of the Porter Lecture presentation.

The Lecture and Retrospective will be held on Tuesday evening, December 16 at the ASCB Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.

 


Deceased Members
    08/01/1997

The Society recognizes with condolences to their families the death of the following ASCB members:

Barbara H. Bowman
of the University of Texas Health Science Center; she had been a member of the ASCB since 1973.

Richard P. Bunge
of the University of Miami School of Medicine; he had been a member of the ASCB since 1982.

 


Grants & Opportunities
    08/01/1997

Correction
The name of Stanley Holt was incorrectly spelled on page 3 of the July ASCB Newsletter

The American Foundation for AIDS Research (AmFAR) announces special targeted research grant support for a maximum award of $150,000, including not more than 20% for indirect costs, for projects in HIV Vaccine Development. These are a one-year award, with the possibility of renewal for a second year. Submit a pre-application Letter of Intent for appropriate projects. A limited number of full applications will be solicited from submitted Letters of Intent. Letter of Intent application forms can be downloaded from AmFAR’s web site. For more information contact: American Foundation for AIDS Research, Grants Department, 733 Third Avenue, 12th Floor, New York, NY 10017 Phone: (212) 682-7440; Fax (212) 682-9812; Email.

Bone Health & Military Medical Readiness (Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases). The U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command is soliciting research proposals for studies of bone physiology in populations of military age. Research insights into fundamental mechanisms of bone biology and pathogenesis of bone diseases (such as osteoporosis, Paget’s disease of bone, and osteogenesis imperfecta) contribute to the goals of this research. Projects are typically 2-4 years in duration and must be completed by 30 September 2003. Approximately $9.5M is available for the lifespan of these projects. Letters of Intent containing a proposed title, brief description of project scope (< 150 words), and investigator and institution identification are due by 3 September 1997. For further information contact: USAMRMC (MCMR-PLC), Army Operational Medicine Research Program, Fort Detrick, MD 21702-5012; Fax (301) 619-2416; Website.

 


1997 Hot Papers
    08/01/1997

The 1997 ASCB Annual Meeting in Washington D.C. will include a Special Poster Session on Wednesday, December 17, designed for presentation of posters demonstrating exciting results that were not available for the regular abstract deadline in August. Abstracts for the Special Poster Session must be received by the ASCB office on or before October 3. A subgroup of the Program Committee will select abstracts, and authors will be notified by November 15 of the Committee’s decision. Printing deadlines prevent these abstracts from appearing in the Molecular Biology of the Cell Abstracts Issue. They will, however, be listed in the Program Addendum, which is distributed at the Annual Meeting.

Submission of Abstracts for the Special Poster Session
(October 3 deadline)

One abstract-equivalent per member is permitted. A member may sponsor an abstract submitted by another member or by a nonmember, but the sponsoring member may not then submit another paper of his/her own. (An exception to this is made for abstracts submitted for the science education abstract codes. Submitters and sponsors of science education abstracts may also submit or sponsor a scientific abstract.) If two members are co-authors, their paper is an abstract-equivalent for one of them and the other may submit another paper if he/she so desires. A student member may sponsor his/her abstract only. Students may not sponsor another person’s abstract. Sponsors of submitted abstracts should be sure that all authors listed on the abstract have had a significant role in the research being reported. Members of FASEB societies other than the ASCB may sponsor one abstract, providing that the sponsoring FASEB society member is one of the authors.

Each abstract should contain a sentence stating the study’s objective (unless given in the title); a brief statement of methods, if pertinent; a summary of the results obtained; and a statement of the conclusions. It is not satisfactory to say, "the results will be discussed." Use a short, specific title. Capitalize initial letters of trade names. Use standard abbreviations for units of measure. Other abbreviations should be spelled out in full at first mention, followed by the abbreviation in parentheses. Exceptions: DNA, RNA, etc.

Electronic Submission via E-mail
Submitters who are remitting the Special Poster Session Abstract Submission fee with a credit card may submit their abstract via e-mail. Along with your abstract, provide all information requested on the form on the next page. Electronic abstracts must be fewer than 2,025 keystrokes (including spaces). Please list separately where boldface, italicized, superscript, subscript, or Greek letters are required.

 


New Joint Steeting Committee Home Page Unveiled
  08/01/1997

The Joint Steering Committee for Public Policy has developed a new Website designed for busy scientists. Members of the JSC are the American Society for Cell Biology, the American Society for Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, the Biophysical Society, the Genetics Society of America, and the American Association of Anatomists. As a member of a JSC society, scientists are urged to learn more about ongoing advocacy efforts. The JSC Website allows scientists to access information on biomedical research appropriations and other relevant issues efficiently. The Joint Steering Committee for Public Policy Website. The Website includes information about the legislative process, how to contact your Member of Congress, links to federal funding agencies, and much more.

 


Annual Meeting Sponsors
    08/01/1997

The ASCB is grateful to the first sponsors of the 37th ASCB Annual Meeting:

  • Academic Press
  • Bristol-Meyers Squibb Pharmaceutical Research Institute
  • Burroughs Wellcome Fund
  • Chroma Technology Corporation
  • Corning Costar Corporation
  • Glaxo Wellcome
  • JEOL USA Inc.
  • The Rockefeller University Press /
  • The Journal of Cell Biology
  • Worthington Biochemical Corporation
  • Carl Zeiss Inc., Microscope Division

1997 ASCB Corporate Members
Silver Corporate Members

Olympus America, Inc.
PharmMingen
Seikagaku America, Inc.
StressGen Biotechnologies Corporation
Taylor-Wharton

Bronze Corporate Members
Affymax Research Corporation
Chroma Technology Corporation
Merck Research Laboratories
NaviCyte, Inc.
Nikon, Inc.
Schering-Plough Research Institute
World Scientific Publishing Co Pte Ltd
Carl Zeiss, Inc., Microscope Division

 


Letters To The Editor
    08/01/1997

Dear Ms. Marincola,

I don't usually take time to write "Letters to the Editor" but this is one time I find myself on a slow burn and need to get it out of my system.

I was pleased last year to learn that the ASCB was going to offer a reduced membership rate for postdoctoral fellows. After all, postdoc pay (even for "senior research associates") is very low compared to that of a faculty position or a staff scientist position in industry. I thought it was nice that the ASCB would recognize this!

Then, when the ballot appeared for the membership to vote on this issue, I was dismayed to see that it was carefully worded so that the postdoc membership rate was to be restricted to those in short-term "training" positions.

That is when my slow burn started. I couldn't help but have a mental picture of the author of this ballot measure with his or her nose in the air, saying, "let's be sure and put restrictions on the qualification for the postdoctoral membership rate – after all, it should be only for those who are following the traditional path of a short postdoctoral "training" position, certainly not for those permanent-postdoc-types!"

Well, I would like to say a few things to the author of that ballot measure. First of all, I'll bet that you indeed followed the conventional path, and now pull down a comfortable salary in a traditional career position. But did you also notice there were people who just didn't fit in with their first choice of postdoctoral training labs, and after a year or two had to try again with another? Or even more likely, who took long-term postdoctoral positions because of compromises with their spouse's career plans? Or chose to work as part-time research fellows because they were trying to balance the needs of young children in the family with the desire to keep going in research?

True, you may have in mind some postdoctoral fellow you may have known, who "relaxed" and tried to settle into a long-term position rather than heading on up the career ladder after two years. But if you had bothered to think about it, it might have occurred to you that the "relaxed" postdocs really don't stay around long – in today's competitive research environment, how could they?

We frequently hear rhetoric about the need for creative and non-traditional solutions to career challenges in science. Yet despite that rhetoric, those who have become long-term postdocs don't have to look far to be reminded of their second-class-citizen status. They don't qualify for postdoctoral fellowships (which are understandably intended for new Ph.Ds), and can't apply for other grant funds without (at least) an assistant professorship offer in hand. Those postdocs whose situations change and do try to move up the ladder later in life find that their long-term postdoctoral experience is not much of an advantage (i.e., "if you were any good you wouldn't have had to be a postdoc for so long").

I think if you take a good look at the ASCB membership, you would find a surprising number of long-term postdocs who are productive scientists, actively contributing to their respective fields. Not many of us complain about the career choices and compromises we have made: if we didn't love research and couldn't deal with the low pay, we'd be doing something else. But, let's have some respect!

The real issue here is not the money. It's the attitude. The ballot measure wording to deliberately restrict the postdoctoral membership rate to the conventional-career short-term postdoc-in-training, implies that "other kinds" of postdocs don't deserve the break. And this demonstrates the presence of an elitism that does not belong in the higher ranks of the ASCB. Shame on you!
Sincerely,
Karen K. Hedberg
University of Oregon

Dear Dr. Hedberg:

The institution of a postdoctoral category of membership was intended solely as a means to make new and continued membership in the ASCB more financially feasible for people who had just recently completed their degrees. The time limitation of four years was not meant to suggest that people should finish their training or otherwise have achieved independence -- however defined -- in this amount of time. Indeed, the Council recognized when recommending the new category of "Postdoctoral Membership" that most ASCB members, indeed most young scientists, cannot expect to complete a postdoc in four years, whether they intend to pursue an academic, industrial, government, or other career.

The ASCB Education Committee is currently conducting a membership survey to learn more about career trends, which the Committee recognizes have changed dramatically in recent decades. While the data is still being analyzed, it would seem to suggest that few people have completed their training in four years recently.

The reason that the Council recommended the four-year limitation on Postdoctoral Membership was purely practical and financial, not philosophical: since the Council recognized that many members who had previously been "Regular" (i.e. full-paying) members would now be able to convert to "Postdoctoral" (i.e. subsidized) members, it felt that it was prudent to protect the downside loss in revenue to the Society by limiting the eligibility period of Postdoctoral Membership. Note that at the same time that Postdoctoral Membership was instituted, the term-limitation of Student Membership -- previously five years -- was eliminated. This was to avoid the complication that the limited term of the student membership might cause when implementing the Postdoctoral Membership -- specifically, if the five years of eligibility for Student Membership runs out, but the member is still a student (also not an uncommon situation), would a member be "bumped" over Postdoctoral Membership to Regular Membership? That would seem inappropriate, as would making someone who is still a student a "Postdoc" member. Therefore the Council decided that as long as a student continues to provide proof of student status annually, she or he could enjoy Student (i.e. heavily subsidized) Membership indefinitely. Postdoc Membership was limited in duration in recognition that discounted member categories are directly subsidized by full-paying members, and that it is therefore appropriate to limit its duration.

Your letter bespeaks a frustration that goes beyond the ASCB's membership policies. Many, many of our members share your anxiety -- not just those who have made the sacrifices that you describe, but also those of an earlier generation who have not faced the same job market personally, but do now through their students, trainees, and younger colleagues. The ASCB Education Committee Membership Survey was intended to gather the data that will serve to substantiate an even stronger role for the ASCB in the national policy debate on federal funding for biomedical research, particularly as it enables developing research careers.

E.M.

Dear Elizabeth:

Thank you so much for your attempts to schedule the future ASCB meetings so as not to overlap with Chanukah! I was so impressed when I read your committee's [Council] report in the June Newsletter (we members do read it!). While I was compelled to bring up the subject (in other words, complain) last winter, I did not expect my voice to be heard. So I thank you and the committee, my family thanks you, and I hope that there are others who thank you as well.
Rhea-Beth Markowitz
Institute of Molecular Medicine & Genetics, Medical College of Georgia

 


Members In The News
    08/01/1997

Five ASCB members have been honored this year with Pew Awards for young investigators who show outstanding promise in the basic and clinical sciences. Each will receive $200,000 of support from the Pew Charitable Trusts. They are:

  • Ann Marie Craig of the University of Illinois;
  • Benjamin S. Glick of the University of Chicago;
  • Daniel S. Kessler >of the University of Pennsylvania;
  • Philip B. Wedegaertner of Thomas Jefferson University; and
  • Yixian Zheng of the Carnegie Institution of Washington.

 


New Minorities Program A Hit
    08/01/1997

The ASCB honored six 1997 ASCB/MBL minority funding recipients at a luncheon at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, on July 12. The luncheon inaugurated the first Mentoring Workshop of the ASCB Minorities Affairs Committee, sponsored by the I & G Foundation. The Fellows, who received tuition support for MBL courses from the ASCB MAC through an NIH MARC grant, were:

  • Raymond Chitwood of the University of Texas San Antonio, taking the course on Neural Systems & Behavior;
  • Anthony DePass of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, taking the course on Physiology;
  • Spontaneous McKnight of the University of Arizona, taking the course on Physiology;
  • Eric Norman of the University of Pittsburgh, taking the course on Neurobiology;
  • Omar Quintero of the Washington University at St. Louis, taking the course on Physiology; and
  • Eric Reese of the University of California, Riverside, taking the course on Physiology.

Honoring the students on behalf of the ASCB were ASCB Secretary George Langford, ASCB Past Presidents Ursula Goodenough and George Pappas, President of the National Academy of Sciences and ASCB member Bruce Alberts, ASCB Councilor Lydia Villa-Komaroff, ASCB Executive Director Elizabeth Marincola, ASCB Minorities Affairs Committee Chair J.K. Haynes, MAC Committee members Sandra Murray and Dan Friend, Director of the MARC Program, Adolphus Toliver, and many of the workshop speakers.

This is the twelfth year that the ASCB and the NIH-MARC Program have supported fellowships at the MBL.

The ASCB Minorities Affairs Committee recognizes that professionals in science receive sound academic training but are often not prepared to deal with the practicalities of their jobs. Without this practical training, students are unrealistically challenged to obtain a position and maintain a sustained contribution to science, to the detriment of individuals as well as the scientific enterprise. The I & G Mentoring Workshop was developed to address these issues. The proceedings of the Workshop will be published by the ASCB to increase the availability of the information developed at the Workshop.

ASCB members working at Woods Hole were invited to act as local mentors to the MAC-supported MBL students and to participate in the Workshop. Members met students at a poster session held at the MBL in June and further developed their contacts at the Recognition Luncheon.

Previous MAC-supported MBL course participants were also invited to attend the luncheon and participate in the workshop. Alumni who returned to share personal experiences with this year's Fellows include 1992 recipient Darien Cohen, Ph.D., of Genentech; 1992 recipient Ed Leonard, M.D., Chief Medical Resident at the University of Washington Hospital, who will be starting an Infectious Disease Fellowship at Stanford in the fall; 1993 recipient Raquell Holmes, Ph.D., a postdoc at Tufts University; 1993 recipient Michelle Johnson, a graduate student at Harvard Medical School Pediatric Research Labs at Massachusetts General Hospital; 1994 recipient Ana DePina, a graduate student at Dartmouth College; 1995 recipient Andrea Morris, a graduate student at Princeton University; 1996 recipient Paul Gray, a graduate student at UCLA; 1996 recipient Jeffrey Milner, a medical student at the University of Alabama, Birmingham; and 1996 recipient Sonya Summerour, a graduate student at the University of California, San Diego.

Ambrose Jearld of the Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NFSC) was invited to participate with NFSC summer undergraduates Monica Holland of Hampton University, Jewel Parham of Fort Valley State University, and Marcus Texeira of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Similarly, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Summer Program undergraduates participating were: Sharat Gadde from Yale, Leigh Torres of American University, and Erica Westcott of Clark-Atlanta University.

Students working in ASCBmember laboratories who participated were undergraduate students Tchaiko Parris and Drew Love; Deidre Gipson, MD/Ph.D student, also participated.

Workshop organizer Sandra Murray developed a program around the personal experiences of participating ASCB members and the returning award recipients. The tone of the conference was set by George Langford in his Keynote Speech: Careers: A Successful Journey and by Sandra Murray’s talk on Climbing Academic Mountains. The sessions were engagingly entitled:

  • Live It! How to Get Ahead with the Best: Strategies for Survival. Previous students Ana DePina, Raquell Holmes, Paul Gray, Michelle Johnson, Constance Moore, Andrea Morris, and Sonya Summerour shared their experiences and suggestions;
  • Say It! How to Communicate Scientific Data, presented by Birgit Rose;
  • Write It! How to get Published. Robert Goldman took the students through the process from selection of material to be presented, through the final edit. Robert Palazzo then demonstrated article review, with Goldman doing a rebuttal;
  • Fund It! Grantspersonship was presented by ASCB MAC member Adolphus Toliver of the NIH;
  • Live It! Life in Various Career Paths was presented by Elaine Bearer, Darien Cohen, Jeff Milner, Harish Pant, and Madeline Vargas. Alumni Ana DePina, Andrea Morris, and Sonya Summerour also presented valuable information, and the entire group shared personal experience;
  • Just Do It! The closing discussion was moderated by Haynes and Murray.

Many presenters stayed throughout the program and meals, adding their experiences about topics under discussion and precipitating lively discussions among current and returning students and senior scientists. Attendees were empowered by becoming aware of the culture of science: when is it OK to ask questions or state disagreements, and how is it best accomplished? During the course of the meeting, students became mentors themselves by sharing experiences, and mentors were refreshed by the insightful questions and brisk discussions. All who attended encouraged the organizers to plan additional workshops and enlarge the pool of attendees.

 


Shafer Named NIGMS Deputy
    08/01/1997

W. ("Winona") Sue Shafer, Chair of the ASCB Women in Cell Biology Committee, has been named Deputy Director of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Shafer has been a member of the ASCB since 1976. In her new position, she will provide leadership in developing and executing NIGMS policies and allocating resources, and will represent NIGMS in senior-level interactions with other NIH components and in dealings with other agencies and scientific organizations. In addition, Shafer will continue to serve as director of the NIGMS Division of Extramural Activities, a position she has held since 1989.

More ASCB members who receive NIH funding receive it from the NIGMS than from any other NIH institute: according to 1995 membership survey, about two-thirds of members receive support from the NIH — and of those, about 18% receive it from the NIGMS.

In announcing the appointment, Marvin Cassman, Director of the NIGMS and also an ASCB member, said, "Dr. Shafer is highly regarded within NIH and in the extramural community. She has performed many of the functions of a Deputy Director for some time, and this appointment just confirms her crucial role in the Institute."

Shafer started at the NIH in 1974 as a health scientist administrator in the Cellular and Molecular Basis of Disease Program of NIGMS. In 1978, she became chief of the instrumentation section of the NIGMS Physiology and Biomedical Engineering Program. Her section’s mission was expanded in 1980 to include biomedical engineering.

In 1983, Shafer joined what is now the NIH National Center for Research Resources as Chief of the Office of Program Planning and Evaluation, and in 1987 she moved to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, serving first as Deputy Director of the Division of Basic Research and then as the division’s Acting Director. She returned to the NIGMS in 1989.

Shafer received a bachelor’s degree in zoology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and a doctoral degree in developmental biology from the University of Florida, Gainesville. Her postdoctoral work was at the University of Florida and at Kalamazoo College in Michigan.

Of Shafer and her WICB Committee chairmanship, ASCB President Mina Bissell has said, "not only has Dr. Shafer managed to provide much-needed leadership and structure to the WICB Committee, but in this three years as a nascent Society committee, it has gained a reputation as one of the Society’s most productive and respected committees due almost entirely to Dr. Shafer...[she] is an extraordinary leader and a model committee chair. She is highly intelligent, organized, and constructive. She is gentle but persistent, diplomatic, and persuasive."

Throughout her government career, Shafer has demonstrated particular interest in the instrumentation needs of the biomedical research community and has worked to increase the number of minority scientists engaged in biomedical research.

Among Shafer’s honors are a Department of Health and Human Services Executive Management Award, two NIH Director’s Awards, and an NIH Quality of Work Life Award.

 


Association for Women in Science
    08/01/1997

AWIS is committed to the achievement of equity and full participation of women in all areas of science and technology.

AWIS
1200 New York Avenue NW
Suite 650
Washington, DC 20005
Phone: (202) 326-8940
Fax (202) 326-8960

 


WWW.Cell Biology Education
    08/01/1997

The ASCB Education Committee calls attention each month to several websites of educational interest to the cell biology community. The Committee does not endorse nor guarantee the accuracy of the information at any of the listed sites. If you wish to comment on the selections or suggest future inclusions please send a message to Robert Blystone

  • The MAD Scientist Network
    This URL is an interesting effort "to use the web to unite hundreds of scientists in a forum where people can ask questions and learn more about the world around them." The site has question and answer files organized by subject, by grade, and by keyword. The grade level breakdown includes K-3, 4-6, 7-9, 10-12, and undergraduate. Twenty-four subject categories include anatomy, biochemistry, biophysics, botany, cell biology, development, genetics, and molecular biology. Some recent posted questions include the following: ‘what role does hot water play in hand washing? ', ‘why is yawning contagious? ', ‘what is the effect of a steroid injection on soft tissue? ', ‘and where does earwax come from? ' It takes a moment to figure out how to best navigate the site and to respond to questions. The network is a place to visit and you just might have some answers to currently posted questions from some curious young people.
  • All the Virology on the WWW
    This site is a gold mine for students taking a virology course. "All the Virology" links a myriad of virology resources. It also has an extensive collection of virus pictures arranged by viral family. One section of the homepage leads to note sets for virology courses with diagrams, videos, and tutorials. Even links to virology dictionaries are included as well as an on-line bookstore for microbiology and virology. The site is being operated through Tulane Medical Center and David M. Sander is the Webmaster. This is a very complete general virology resource.
  • AIRC Special Project Angiogenesis
    When this URL is opened, one reaches the General Pathology and Immunology page at the University of Brescia, Italy. Dr. Marco Presta has assembled a source for angiogenesis research involving twelve different persons in several Italian labs. The site opens with a contents section with ten choices including an introduction to angiogenesis, angiogenesis and cancer, and several molecular modeling elements. Instructors of Developmental Biology will find the site a good source of teaching ideas with useful graphics to aid in visualizing the topic of angiogenesis. The site seems to load slowly so patience will be required for several of the files. Chemscape Chime or RasMol will be needed to run several of the molecular movies. QuickTime movies of mouse development are included.

The above URLs were checked July 7, 1997.

This and all the previous ASCB columns reviewing educational websites with links to the sites may be found through the ASCB web site

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