|Society Committees Meet|
Following are reports of the Society Committees whose chairs reported to Council and that convened during the Annual Meeting.
Congressional Liaison Committee
Steven Morin, a physician and for eleven years Science Legislator for Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was the featured speaker. Morin urged biomedical scientists to engage their Member of Congress on science. He remarked thatMembers of Congress are inundated with information and often rely on staff to synthesize complex data. Morin reflected on the 105th Congress and speculated on the 106th, indicating that in his years in Congress, he had never confronted such a chaotic and unpredictable atmosphere.
Dan Kiehart from Duke University and Kathleen Mulder from Penn State University gave testimonials on their involvement with the CLC through their state organizations. Each reported on their state visits to Washington, D.C. to meet with their Congressional delegation. Both emphasized that interaction with a Member of Congress does make an impact, and can be fun. Kiehart and Mulder reinforced the importance of maintaining contact by regularly writing Members of Congress on various biomedical topics.
Any scientist interested in joining the Congressional Liaison Committee should contact Alec Stone or visit our web site.
Publication of Teaching Articles
1999 Education Committee Workshop
Bruce Alberts Science Education Award
Education Initiative Forum
Coalition for Education in the Life Sciences and National Association of Biology Teachers
Minorities Affairs Committee
Minorities Special Session
Committee members continue their commitment to EdComm/MAC booth activities, which this year included a follow-up session with Scientific Writing Workshop presenter Judith Swan of Princeton and the University of Pennsylvania. The Committee hopes to make meeting presenters more accessible to meeting attendees by expanding this feature in 1999.
Committee members developed a list of potential speakers and their topics and will explore development of a speakers bureau similar to that introduced by the WICB Committee.
Public Information Committee - Cell Biology Merchandise
Science Writer & Media Specialist
Public Policy Committee - Annual Meeting Activities
Congressional Education Liaisons’ Report
The Committee discussed the plans for the coming year and the FY’2000 budget. Former ASCB President Don Brown and JSC Chair Eric Lander have already held high-level meetings with members of the Clinton/Gore Administration to makr the call for support of basic biomedical research. The Com-mittee reaffirmed that the biomedical research community should support all sciences, not just the NIH, particularly the NSF and other agencies that contribute to basic research relating to cell biology.
Congressional Liaison Committee
Congressional Biomedical Research Caucus
Animal Research Facilities
Women in Cell Biology Committee
Organizer Sue Wick noted a large increase in interest in Industry & Biotech, recommending that more table hosts for this topic be recruited for 1999. After three years, Wick asked to be relieved of her organizing responsibilities; Sandra Masur and Mary Ann Stepp agreed to organize the 1999 lunch with Roger Sloboda of the Education Committee.
Evening Program: Your Students’ Career Choices: Mentoring Young Scientists into the 21st Century
ASCB Newsletter/WICB Column
|1998 Annual Meeting Statistics|
Scientific Participants... 6,630
|San Francisco Mayor Presents Award to Bishop|
San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown presented the Fifth Annual ASCB Public Service Award to University of California, San Francisco Chancellor and former ASCB President J. Michael Bishop before a standing-room-only crowd of hundreds at the ASCB Annual Meeting.
ASCB Public Policy Chair Paul Berg cited Bishop as a "national leader in health and education policy and a tireless advocate for basic biomedical research" before introducing the Mayor (see page 25 for the full text of Berg's remarks).
Bishop, who won the Nobel Prize in 1989 with Harold Varmus, called his public service, "among the most gratifying parts of [his] career." Bishop's stunning acceptance speech, received by a sustained standing ovation, will be published in Molecular Biology of the Cell in the Spring.
Council Approves San Diego Meeting Site, Admits Over 1100 New Members, Reaffirms NASA Position.
The governing Council of the ASCB held its semi-annual meeting in San Francisco prior to the opening of the ASCB Annual Meeting. Elizabeth Blackburn of the University of California, San Francisco presided; the meeting was attended by all 17 Members of Council as well as three Councilors-elect.
Following is a brief summary of the Council's discussions and actions, exclusive of the reports of Committee Chairs and the Molecular Biology of the Cell Editor-in-Chief.
ASCB Council and Council-elect met in San Francisco prior to the Annual Meeting. Back row, from left: James Nelson, Mary Beckerle, 1999 President Randy Schekman, Tony Mahowald, 2000 President Richard Hynes, Kai Simons, Jennifer Lippincott-Schwartz, Councilor-elect Ted Salmon, WICB Committee Chair Zena Werb, Councilor-elect Mark Mooseker, Secretary George Langford, Ira Herskowitz, Treasurer Carl Cohen. Front row, from left: Mary Lee Ledbetter, 1997 President Mina Bissell, 1998 President Elizabeth Blackburn, Lydia Villa-Komaroff, Susan Strome, Pamela Silver, Councilor-elect Sandra Murray. Not pictured: Councilor-elect Eric Olson.
|Letters To The Editor|
Science Education Standards
Dear Ms. Marincola,
Thanks for printing the interesting letter to the California Board of Education by Paul Berg, Elizabeth Blackburn and Frank Solomon 1. They correctly suggest that the new California Science Standards might be so full of fact detail that teachers may be forced to decrease exciting hands-on discovery science activities in their classes, as these sorts of exercises take lots of time to do right. This contention, however, will only result if the statewide exams that will be designed to test mastery of the new standards dwell on too much fact detail and not on the basic concepts in the standards. If that happens, then teachers may indeed be fearful that their students will do poorly on these exams and hence move away from time consuming hands-on science and move towards more traditional fact-based lessons. I'm hopeful that California will understand that exciting, hands-on, inquiry-based science is very useful and will design the exams to stress fundamental concepts, instead of excessive factual detail.
Having said that, one must be also critical of some components of the national standards documents, such as the AAAS Benchmarks and the National Research Council's National Science Education Standards. Here is a quote from page 113 of the AAAS Benchmarks:
(Science for Grades 9-12) "For example, students should know that cells have certain parts that oxidize sugar to release energy and parts to stitch protein chains together according to instructions; but they don't need to remember that one type of part is a mitochondrion and the other a ribosome, or which is which [italics added]."
Is that what we want to see in our high schools? Have some of the national standards documents gone too far to the other extreme, away from some basic facts? Recently, these national standards documents have been criticized 2 as lacking specificity and detail and being based on weak studies in education research, while the American Electronics Association, representing more than 3,000 U.S.-based technology companies, including 1,500 California companies, applauded the California Science Standards.
Time will tell, though, if the California Standards went too far in the direction opposite that taken by the National Standards documents. Thank you.
— Steven B. Oppenheimer, Member, ASCB; Director, Center for Cancer and Developmental Biology. California State University, Northridge, CA
Training & Careers
Dear Ms. Marincola,
In September 1998 I attended the University of Utah Biosciences Career Symposium at which you and Frank Solomon presented your perspective on career opportunities for scientists with advanced degrees. The position which you described as a research track faculty position is virtually identical to a position which I had just begun in Mary Beckerle's lab here at Utah. Now that I have been here a few months and I can see this position evolving into a mutually beneficial situation for both Mary and me, I just wanted to add my support for such a position. After a long-term but very positive postdoc situation, I found that with a husband who is destined to remain in Salt Lake City, two small children at home, and my inability to devote the minimum 60 hours a week that seems necessary to succeed in a tenure track position, it was difficult to move onward or upward. However, this new opportunity to work with Mary as a Research Assistant Professor will allow me to apply for external funding, to stay in the lab with my own research projects, and still be available to help others in the lab with "hands-on" science. At the same time, the pay and benefits are better and the status is higher than a postdoc. Mary benefits by having a senior person who is more available to fledgling scientists in the lab, who can help with experimental details, provide some continuity to the lab etc. I could go on, but let me just say that I am not alone in believing that the American system of science works well overall, but has been overlooking a talented and useful but under-utilized population of scientists (i.e. terminal postdocs). I believe more research track faculty positions as you proposed would greatly benefit science as a whole.
Good luck with your work!
Laura M. Hoffman, Member, ASCB; Department of Biology,University of Utah
Dear Ms. Marincola,
Perhaps 25 years ago I sent a letter to the President of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) pointing out to him that there was no hope that the number of PhD's being turned out by faculty during their academic lifetimes would be able to find positions, that if every faculty member turned out 10 to 15 students with PhD's, Malthusian principles would apply. I also pointed out that the AAUP ratings of academic institutions based on the salary ranges they offered would become useless.
As I recall, he answered that everyone had a right to as much education as they desired.
Clearly my predictions, which were not predictions at all but rather a simple application of biology, have now fully come about.
Larry W. Cohen, Founding Faculty and Professor of Biology, California State University at San Marcos
|Minorities Affairs Committee Histochemical Society Workshop Travel Awards Call for Applications|
The Workshop on Microscopy of Living Cells and Tissues is on April 17, 1999 at the annual meeting of the Histochemical Society from April 16-18, 1999 at the Hyatt Regency HoPhone: in Bethesda, MD. The Histochemical Society meeting is immediately followed by the Experimental Biology Meeting in Washington, D.C. from April 17-21, 1999.
Awards of up to $600 are offered through an ASCB MAC NIH/NIGMS/MARC grant for minority graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and junior faculty.
To apply, access an application from the ASCB Website
Application Deadline: March 15, 1999
For more information, contact Daniel Friend,
Other ASCB Minorities Affairs Committee Program Deadlines
Friday Harbor Laboratories Summer Quarter Application: March 1, 1999
ASCB/MAC Visiting Professor Summer, 1999, Application: March 1, 1999
These ASCB MAC programs are funded through a National Institutes of Health NIGMS Minorities Access to Research Careers grant
|Membrane Trafficking and the Cytoskeleton: An Integrated View|
June 26-30, 1999
Careers, Policy, Education, Minorities, Women
Following are reports on special events held at the 38th ASCB Annual Meeting in San Francisco.
Affirmative Action Panel
Blackburn expressed the Society's strong support for policies that encourage the participation of minorities and people of diverse backgrounds in research and teaching. Cruz addressed the problems with affirmative action, citing studies that suggest that students admitted under such policies are less likely to be prepared for academic challenges and thus more likely to fail. Penhoet emphasized the importance of broad participation in science at all levels, pointing to our increasingly technological society, and to the importance of understanding cultural differences in the delivery of health care. He further advocated that research on health and behavior address issues that may differently affect or be specific to individuals from different groups, noting that questions addressed by particular researchers and supported by the federal government are greatly influenced by the experiences of the researchers and administrators conducting the work. Penhoet also observed that by the time young people reach the university level it is too late to effectively recruit people of diverse backgrounds, an effort which must begin much earlier. Wilson identified isolation as a barrier to reaching individuals from diverse backgrounds. She noted a subtle prejudice toward "like kind" individuals by the majority. Wilson suggested that characteristics that make the best scientists be established and that selection criteria to evaluate these traits be employed. She also outlined strategies to help those from different backgrounds succeed, as well as ways to make those in the majority aware of incidences of bias and unfair treatment in work environments, in order to make them more receptive to minority-individuals. For their part, individuals were encouraged to select work environments that are conducive to their development and to clearly define their own goals for work and for life satisfaction.
College Program: What to Expect in Graduate School
Panelists cited their reasons for choosing graduate school as loving scientific research or a need to learn more before pursuing a career in science. Interestingly, none said they chose graduate school as a means of reaching a specific career goal, but more as the next logical step in pursuing their interests.
The panel described graduate school as a much more independent experience than college, noting that it was often difficult to gauge how well one was doing, and if one was doing enough. All three panelists said that the transition to graduate school was difficult, but easier in a program offering a more structured first-year curriculum. The panel also stressed the importance of pacing oneself and of finding a good advisor.
Each panelist agreed that in choosing a graduate program, they sought one that was "fun," and that offered lab rotations. Rotations were seen as important because of the varying nature of labs even within the same institution, both in terms of the science they pursue and in their environment. The panel agreed that it is vital to find a lab that is a good fit: some labs are populated with relatively isolated scientists, each working independently; others are more interactive and collaborative. Neither one was seen as preferable, but students were encouraged to be sensitive to the differences and to choose the setting that suits best. Early exposure to different areas of research was also promoted as a way to help students to find a research focus that they find to be exceptionally interesting.
Holmes, who has served on the admissions committee at Berkeley, briefly described the qualities that graduate schools seek in a candidate: "good numbers" (grades and GRE scores), and the ability to do science and communicate clearly about science. He urged applicants to craft their personal statements to describe achievements, why they want to pursue science, and what topics interest them. He recommended against essays that are too "hokey."
Education Initiative Forum
Interactive Web-Based Visualization of Macromolecular Structure
Using free public software, Marcey demonstrated the construction of an interactive tutorial that permitted student investigation of macromolecular structure; he also provided HTML code for several sample molecular tutorials.
The Online Macromolecular Museum.
Evolution and Creationism: The Problem that Won't Go Away
Pennsylvania Biotechnology Associa-tion (PBA) Education Committee Model for Pre-College Science Education
Merwin promoted a quarterly journal anticipated for publication, Your World Bio-technology and You.
ASCB members with topics and/or speakers of potential interest for presentation at the Education Initiative Forum at the 39th ASCB Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. are invited to direct them to ASCB Education Committee Member Chris Watters, Middlebury College, Department of Biology, Middlebury VT 05753. Phone: (802) 443-5433 Fax: (802) 443-2072).
High School Program
Minorities Poster Session & Awards Luncheon
Approximately 80 people attended the Awards Luncheon, hosted by Virginetta Cannon of Morehouse College, and MAC Vice Chair Donnella Wilson. Table discussions included topics such as "Finding a Career Path" and "Teaching vs. Research at a Small Institution."
Minorities Special Saturday Session: The Excitement of Research
The opening panel, of young research scientists, included Melissa Green of Indiana University School of Medicine, Patrick Allen of the University of Colorado, and Sonya Summerour of the University of California, San Diego.
Green emphasized the need for a "never-ending commitment to research science," and also noted the importance of a nurturing environment for success. She further cautioned that such an environment must at times be created, and also underscored the value of networking. Allen encouraged students to find an area of research with some personal relevance, observing that "if you find research that you have a vested interest in, you will pursue it with more fervor." Summerour noted that "a lot of decisions will be made in science in the next century," especially in genetics and genetic engineering, and stressed that "we [minorities] need to be at the table."
The second panel, of established scientists, included ASCB Councilor Lydia Villa-Komaroff of Northwestern University, Bruce Jackson of the Boston University School of Medicine, and Maria Elena Zavala of California State University, Northridge. Villa-Komaroff suggested "the four P's": plan, prepare, persist, and pretend. The latter, she said, means that you should pretend that you belong wherever you are, even if you are in a prestigious institution working with world-famous scientists: "pretend that you deserve to be there, because if you got there, you do deserve to be there! No one will know that you are pretending, and pretty soon you won't be pretending at all." Of research she commented that, "there isn't any high as good as finding out something that nobody else knows yet." Jackson concurred, noting that "science is getting to play detective every day. It's fun," and compared scientific discovery to "turning on lights in the universe." Jackson also strongly urged students to disregard what people say you cannot do, attributing his own achievements to ignoring nay-sayers. Zavala agreed, but also cautioned that sometimes it is in one's best interests to say no to opportunities in order to retain focus and budget time. Zavala reiterated the advice to students to "do what you love."
Jackson underscored the value of meetings like the ASCB's for networking.
Eloy Rodriguez, of Cornell University, the 1998 E. E. Just Lecturer, described the excitement and adventure of exploring tropical rainforests as a part of his research.
Session participants also attended the Scientific Writing Workshop presented by Judith Swan of Princeton University and the University of Pennsylvania.
Women in Cell Biology Evening Program
Jill Fuss, a senior graduate student in Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of California, Berkeley, described some of the issues students face in learning about multiple career choices and the preparation needed for those careers. Joseph Gall of the Carnegie Institution of Washington talked about the experiences of many of his former students who selected non-academic careers after rigorous PhD training, and how they found this training contributed to their success in those careers. He encouraged discussion of career issues between mentors and students very early in the training process, so that Ph. D. training can incorporate experiences that promote career development outside of academia. Michael Alvarez, Director of the Career Center at the University of California, San Francisco, emphasized the value of providing information early and often as well as creating an environment that encourages students and fellows to explore careers that suit their talents.
Thorny issues were raised by the audience, including how to approach a thesis advisor who has little respect for careers outside academia; how to tell a student that an academic career would not be the best choice given the student's interests and talents; the competitiveness of the job market outside academia; when students should be encouraged to enter PhD programs, and when internships or externships out-side of academia in the context of graduate or postdoctoral training are advisable.
Panelists underscored the value of PhD training in critical thinking, problem solving, open-ended question asking, skepticism and the analytical evaluation of information. The "fun" of science was also emphasized, as was the general value of being well trained in scientific thinking and methodology.
The ASCB is grateful to the members below who have recently given gifts to support Society activities:
|Members In The News|
Purnell W. Choppin, President of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute since 1987 and ASCB member since 1972, announced his resignation from HHMI effective the end of 1999.
Brian Herman of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and ASCB member since 1980, was recently named Chairman of the Health Science Center’s Department of Cellular & Structural Biology.
Suzanne Pfeffer, ASCB member since 1983 and Cover Editor of Molecular Biology of the Cell, has been appointed to Chair of the Depart-ment of Biochemistry at Stanford University. She had served as the Associate Chair since 1997.
Military Research Lab Is Closing Military contractor is selling at drastically reduced prices its Perkin Elmer PDS Microdensito-meter, Joyce Loebl microdensitometer, LKB, Nova and Sorvall ultramicrotomes, Reichert Polycut S motorized sliding microtome, refrigerated and rotary microtomes, LKB knife maker, AO knife sharpener, Gatan dual ion mill and stereo microscopes. For spec sheets call (202) 544-0836.
Grants & Opps
The National Institute of General Medical Sciences announces two pharmacogenetics initiatives designed to promote research in this rapidly expanding field that aims to determine the genetic basis for individual responses to drugs for details.
Federation of American Societies For Experimental Biology
The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) in Bethesda, MD, invites applications and nominations for the position of Executive Director to begin service on or after June 1, 1999.
Qualified applicants should have executive/administrative experience in planning and resource allocation with a record of achievement and leadership in management of academic, association or other non-profit organizations. The Executive Director must have the ability to work in a multi-centered environment, a commitment to coalition building, an interest in the applications of technology to the management of associations and familiarity with public policy issues of importance to biomedical and life scientists.
Qualified candidates should send resume with covering letter in confidence by March 15, 1999, to:
William R. Brinkley, Ph.D.
FASEB Summer Research
June 12-August 20, 1999
Locations: Saxtons River, Vermonth
The FASEB Summer Research Conferences are developed to give experimental biologists an opportunity to meet and explore new approaches to current research in areas of scientific development. Emphasis will be on the cutting edge research. Post-doctoral students and senior pre-doctoral canidates are encouraged to participate in the conferences. Se the FASEB web site for the conference schedule. The preliminary programs wlil be posted in February.
For additionnnal information and a copy of the meeting information booklet, you may contact: FASEB Summer Research Conferences Fax: (301) 571-0650
Women In Technology International - WITI Hall of Fame
CEO Recognition Award
Women in Science and Technology Month
For more information or to submit nominations, please see WITI’s Web site or call (800) 334-9484.
LOUISIANA TECH UNIVERISTY
Louisiana Tech University is seeking qualified applicants for three tenure track positions in Biomedical Engineering. All ranks will be considered. Current research interests include: biomedical sensors and instrumentation, biomolecular engineering and tissue engineering. We are especially interested in candidates with research activity in biomedical applications of micro-sensors/devices; two of these positions will have the opportunity for a joint appointment with the Institute for Micromanufacturing (IfM).
Applicants must have a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering or a closely related field. The position requires a person with excellent written and oral communications skills, the ability to build and sustain an externally funded research program, as well as supervise doctoral students in research projects. Excellence in teaching and a commitment to high quality professional service is expected.
Send curriculum vitae, statement of teaching and research goals, and names and contact information for at least three references to:
Applications will be reviewed starting December 1, 1998 until the position is filled. The starting date for the position is September 1, 1999. Louisiana Tech University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply. For additional information on these opportunities as well as the Institute for Micromanufacturing, College of Engineering and Science, and the university, please refer to the website.
A Ph.D. and/or M.D. degree, postdoctoral experience, a record of publication in quality journals, and qualifications to teach cell biology to medical and graduate students are required. The successful candidate will be provided a research laboratory to develop and/or maintain an imaginative, externally funded research program.
All applications are welcome and individuals with expertise in cell signaling, molecular biology, single cell analyses, and grant support are especially invited to apply. Candidates should send an introductory letter addressing their teaching experience and philosophy, research accomplishments and future research plans, a curriculum vitae, copies of 2 or 3 recent publications, and arrange for at least three letters of reference to:
William B. Rhoten, Ph.D., Dept. of Anatomy, Cell and Neurobiology, Marshall University School of Medicine, 1542 Spring Valley Drive, Huntington, WV 25704-9388. Screening of applications will begin 4 January, 1999.
Marshall University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action/ADA Employer and especially encourages applications from women and members of minority groups.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, how much is a movie worth?
For details on preparing and submitting video files, see the Instructions to Authors at MBC Online.
|WWW.Cell Biology Education|
The ASCB Education Committee calls attention each month to several Web sites 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 focus this month will be on educational Web sites that were identified at the ASCB Annual Meeting held December, 1998. Many ASCB members are developing some wonderful resources for cell biology instruction. If you would like to call attention to your Web-based course materials, please e-mail me at the address above.
These sites were checked December21, 1998. Previous ASCB columns reviewing Educational web sites with the links to the sites may be found online.
—Robert Blystone for the ASCB Education Committee
1116 Candidates for Membership Admitted
Molecular Biology of the Cell
Botstein lauded the efforts of Jennifer Lippincott-Schwartz and James Nelson, who serve as editors for the newly-introduced video feature in MBC Online. Since July 1998, MBC Online has published 57 videos by 11 authors.
Botstein noted that the ongoing growth of the paper journal, coupled with the community's increasing use of the online version, presents authors the opportunity to publish a greater volume of material electronically compared to print. The Editorial Board will be encouraging authors to take advantage of this feature in the coming year, in an effort to provide as much scientific information as possible to MBC's readers without straining the capacity of the print version.
Sites Reserved Through 2009
2006 San Diego
Modifications to EB Wilson Award Selection Process
Undergraduate Registration Rate to be Introduced
ASCB NASA Position Reaffirmed
Council Declines to Form "Fellows"
Last Day Reconfiguration Reconsidered