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ASCB Newsletter - April 2000

Borisy, Horvitz Run for 2001 Presidency Eight Candidates for Council

Gary Borisy of Northwestern University and H. Robert Horvitz of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology will run for ASCB President-elect on the ballot to be mailed to regular and post- doctoral members this Spring. Eight candidates will run for four positions on the ASCB Council.

Eligible members are encouraged to vote. Ballots will be counted on July 1, and results will be announced in the July issue of the ASCB Newsletter.

Elizabeth Blackburn of the University of California, San Francisco served as Nominating Committee Chair; also serving on the Committee were Douglass Forbes, Rick Horwitz, George Langford, Tony Mahowald, Elizabeth Marincola, Pam Silver, Lydia Villa-Kamaroff and Judy White.

Renew Your Membership By May 1 For Inclusion In Directory and Election
Members who have not renewed their membership by paying their dues for 2000 may still be included in the 2000 ASCB Directory of Members if their dues are received in the ASCB office by May 1. All regular and postdoctoral members will also be eligible to vote in the upcoming elections for Society Council and President-elect if their 2000 dues payment is received by that date. Pay online or contact the ASCB or (301) 530-7153 to receive a dues renewal form.


Call For Education Initiative Proposals

Each morning of the ASCB Annual Meeting, theASCB Education Committee presents an Education Initiative Forum during the coffee break betweenscientific symposia. The Forum presentsprograms of interest to scientists and educators.

ASCB members with topics and/or speakers of potential interest for presentation at the Education Initiative Forumduring the 40th ASCB Annual Meeting in San Francisco are invited to direct suggestions to ASCB Education Committee member Chris Watters at Middlebury College, Department of Biology, Middlebury VT 05753


The ASCB Social

Monday, December 11, 7:30PM - 11:00PM
The M.H. de Young and the Asian Art Museum
Golden Gate Park, San Francisco
Buffet Supper, Live Music

Students, purchased by October 1*: $25
Non-students, purchased by October 1: $35
All tickets purchased after October 1: $45

*limit of one per student registrant. Additional tickets may be purchased at the non-student rate. For more information about the museums. Chinese handscroll by Fan Qi, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, the Avery Brundage Collection


Porter Archives Join ASCB’s at UMBC

On March 13, Trustees of the Keith Porter Endowment participated in a ceremony donating Porter’s archives to the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, to join the ASCB’s archive there. Porter was a founder of the ASCB and of the field of cell biology who served as Society President in 1978. He died in 1997.

Surrounding Porter’s photo at the acquisition ceremony were UMBC faculty member & ASCB member John Kloetzel, ASCB Executive Director Elizabeth Marincola, Porter Trustee & ASCB member Blair Bowers, UMBC faculty member Tom Roth, UMBC Library Director Larry Wilt, UMBC President Freeman Hrabowski III, ASCB member & former Porter Trustee Robert Trelstad and Porter Trustee & ASCB member Lee Peachey

Iris McDuffie of Forsyth Technical College in Winston-Salem, North Carolina receives an ASCB MACTravel Award to attend the workshop Visualizing Neoplasiafrom Histochemical Society Executive Director William Stahl of the University of Washington. The workshop was part of the Histochemical Society meeting in New Orleans.


Minorities Awards for Researchers in Aging

The ASCB Minorities Affairs Committee announces awards for aging research. NIH/National Institute on Aging will fund travelawards to attend the 2000 ASCBAnnual Meeting. Graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and early career faculty conducting research in the following areas are encouraged to apply:

  • Cell senescence
  • Role of apoptosis in maintaining cellular homeostasis
  • Role of telomeres & telomerase in aging
  • Age-related changes in intracellular signaling
  • Cellular oxidative stress and protective mechanisms
  • Age-related changes in structure & function of extracellular matrix
  • Stem cell biology related to health problems of older people
  • Cell biology of the aging immune, musculoskeletal and cardiovascular systems



The ASCB is grateful to those below who have recently given gifts to support Society activities:

David A. Begg
Marc R. Block
William R. Eckberg
Dan P. Felsenfeld
Joe R. Haeberle
Satoru Matsuda


Members In The News

Former ASCB President Elizabeth Blackburn of the University of California, San Francisco, an ASCB member since 1978, received the 2000 GHA Clowes Award at the American Association for Cancer Research Meeting on April 4.

Bettie Sue Masters of the University of Texas Health Science Center, an ASCB member since 1989, has been elected to serve as FASEB's Vice President-elect for Science Policy.

J. Richard McIntosh of the University of Colorado, an ASCB member since 1970, who served as President in 1994, was named Distinguished Professor at the University of Colorado.

Janardan K. Reddy of Northwestern University Medical School, an ASCB member since 1971, received the Arnold J. Lehman Award from the Society of Toxicology.


The American Society for Cell Biology Proudly Presents

Accompanied by historic annotations, sixty plates grace this limited edition color volume compiled for the ASCB by Joseph Gall of the Carnegie Institution of Washington. Cost: $29 each plus shipping: U.S., $5; Airmail outside U.S., $15 Send orders to: The American Society for Cell Biology 9650 Rockville Pike Bethesda, MD 20814-3992



Leading Pharmaceutical Company seeking Director, Drug Discovery. Responsible for drug discovery activities directed toward small molecules, antibodies, chemokines, etc. & management of functional genomics effort on an ongoing gene project. Must have PhD in molecular biology, cell biology, or related field, minimum of 10 years experience, a good publication record and management experience. Located in New Jersey. Contact: Bonnie Werner, Bola International, (516)-868-2817.

Research Associate. Our Wound Healing Research Laboratory has recently developed a unique animal model of controlled ischemia/reperfusion injury in skin. This model may be used to study the etiology, prevention, and treatment of skin ulcerations such as pressure ulcers. We need the assistance of an experienced Ph.D. cell biologist, biochemist, or related specialist to further characterize and develop this model of a chronic wound. This one-year, renewable, research fellowship will pay $25,100 plus fringe benefits and will begin July 1, 2000. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents with excellent oral and written skills in English. The University of Virginia is an equal opportunity employer. Please send a detailed resume by May 1 to: George T. Rodeheaver, Ph.D., Director, Wound Healing Laboratory, University of Virginia Health System, P.O. Box 801351, Charlottesville, VA 22908-1351.

Assistant Professor. The Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology, University of Western Ontario, is considering prospective applicants for salary support awards (Scholarships) from national granting agencies such as the Medical Research Council of Canada (Canadian Institutes of Health Research) and the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation. Individuals who are successful in receiving such an award will be appointed at the rank of Assistant Professor and will receive a salary and benefits commensurate with that rank. All Scholars will be considered for a tenure track position upon completion of their award. The Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology has a nationally recognized research program in Cell and Molecular Biology which includes several leading laboratories and a successful and well established graduate program. The research interests within the Department include molecular approaches to intercellular communication, tumour cell growth and metastasis, cell signalling and chondrocyte differentiation, protein trafficking and import, peroxisome biogenesis, stroke and neurodegenerative mechanisms, neurotrophins and their receptors, transendothelial migration, placental development, atherogenesis, muscle differentiation, and gene expression in neurological disorders. The department has recently been renovated and extensively equipped with the latest facilities for research in Cell and Molecular Biology. Centralized facilities also include a single cell microinjection and micromanipulation laboratory, a fluorescence confocal microscope equipped with three lasers and an extensive digital darkroom. Further information is available at http://www.uwo.ca/ anatomy/index.html. Interested applicants should send their curriculum vitae, a statement of their research plans and the name of three referees to: Dr. B.A. Flumerfelt, Chair, Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada, N6A 5C1. In accordance with Canadian immigration requirements and Scholarship eligibility, this advertisement is directed to Canadian citizens and Permanent Residents of Canada. The University of Western Ontario is committed to employment equity, welcomes diversity in the workplace, and encourages applications from all qualified individuals.

Postdoctoral positions available immediately to study 1) signalling paths in yeast (JBC, 274, 33785) and 2) protein therapeutic strategies for the Fragile X syndrome in animal cells. Requirements: published experience in molecular cloning and green card or US citizenship. Send CV, description of research interests and names of references to Dr. A. Tartakoff, Pathology/Cell Biology, 2085 Adelbert Road, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH 44106.


ASCB Placement Service

Information on potential employers and limited information on registered candidates are available on the ASCB.

At the time of their Placement Service registration, one-third of candidates who continue to conduct a job search indicated availability of May 2000 or later; many others indicated a negotiable availability date.

Brief descriptions of candidates’ qualifications and interests may be found on the ASCB Website. A packet with complete information on these candidates may be purchased from the ASCB. Download an order form from the Careers website or contact ASCB.

Advertisements for employers who registered with the Placement Service are on the website; candidates may contact employers directly.


Letter From Larry Goldstein

March 27, 2000
The Honorable Thomas Bliley Chairman
House Commerce Committee
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Congressman Bliley,
On behalf of the 10,000 scientists who belong to the American Society for Cell Biology, we urge you to oppose the Human Fetal Tissue Reporting and Disclosure Act of 2000, H.R. 3980. If passed, this bill will almost certainly have a chilling effect on several very important and potentially lifesaving areas of biomedical research.

At a hearing of the Commerce Committee on March 9, Members from both sides of the aisle expressed a strong commitment to fetal tissue research. However, some Members were legitimately concerned that tissue suppliers might be illegally profiting from the sale of fetal tissue. During this thorough and in-depth hearing, no evidence was produced to support the claim that fetal tissue is being sold for profit to biomedical researchers. In fact, one witness claiming to have first hand knowledge of such illegal activity was convincingly discredited. In spite of the absence of evidence for illegal fetal tissue sales, Representative Coburn introduced H.R. 3980 with the likely intent of inhibiting and defacto eliminating the use of fetal tissue for research. Most disturbing, the bill clearly targets the researchers themselves, who are not even the subject of suspected abuses.

H.R. 3980 would impose on researchers reporting guidelines so extensive and invasive as to inhibit and effectively eliminate the legitimate use of fetal tissue for life-saving medical research. For example, provisions include: 1) The requirement that all researchers using fetal tissue file a disclosure with the Secretary; 2) Personal accountability of the researchers for the source of the tissue, something they have no legitimate or ethical means to independently verify; 3) Verification by the scientists that suppliers followed specified procedures to obtain and supply tissue; and 4) Disclosure of the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all those who handled the tissue. We suspect that this last provision was imposed with the intent of scaring off suppliers and users of tissue for literal fear for their life and safety. This intimidation is not only unethical but it is also unnecessary. To our knowledge all available evidence indicates that the vast majority of those who use fetal tissue in their research are scrupulous in following the letter and spirit of current law, in part because biomedical researchers are keenly aware of the great sensitivity around its use.

Fetal tissue is vital to the advancement of critical biomedical research. As the Human Genome Project nears completion, the knowledge we will gain offers great promise for clinical treatment of many diseases, such as diabetes, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. The initial development of some of these new therapies will require research with legally-obtained fetal tissue. Those who wish to frustrate this research, either directly or through intimidation, should be held accountable to those whose lives depend on it.

Thank you for your ongoing dedication to medical research and your attention to this important issue.

Lawrence S. B. Goldstein, Ph.D.
University of California, San Diego School of Medicine
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute


Stem Cell Research: The Fight is Not Over

A Ban on Stem Cell Research Would Result in “Unprecedented Restriction on Scientific Freedom”

Last year, the scientific and patient advocacy communities, led by the American Society for Cell Biology, suc- cessfully joined efforts to prevent Congress from banning embryonic stem cell research in the face of considerable public pressure. But those who are determined to outlaw stem cell research are fiercely determined, well- organized and are growing sharper in their message. If suc- cessful, their efforts will result in an unprecedented restric- tion on scientific freedom and an injus- tice to those who suffer from disease or have the potential to — all of us.

The discovery in November of 1998 by James Thomson and John Gearhart of embryonic stem (ES) cells was a major scientific breakthrough, the full value of which has barely begun to be appreciated. ES cells have the potential to form any type of human cell, but not a human being. A large body of successful work with mouse ES cells suggests that we can learn how to induce these cells to differentiate into many dif- ferent cell types. Such a discovery would, in turn, enable scientists to cre- ate new, healthy tissue to replace dam- aged or dead tissue, such as bone mar- row for the treatment of cancer, pancre- atic cells for alleviating diabetes and neuronal cells for treating Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s and various forms of brain and spinal cord disorders.

Despite the amazing scientific and medical potential of ES cells, those who oppose this research do so because they object to using cells that are obtained from human embryos. In 1995, Congress passed a ban on federal funding of research on embryos. The ban, however, is silent on stem cell research, and the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) ruled last year that the law allows federally funded researchers to work with stem cell lines as long as the cells were derived by and obtained from privately funded sources. The American Society for Cell Biology, the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the National Bioethics Advisory Commission and other scientific and patient organizations support the action of the HHS. Furthermore, most of these groups are advocating that federally funded scientists be enabled to derive stem cells themselves. Senators Arlen Specter (R-PA), Chairman of the Senate Labor Health & Human Services Appropriations and Education Sub- committee, and ranking Democrat Tom Harkin (D-IA) have recently introduced S. 2015, “The Stem Cell Research Act of 2000,” which would allow federally- funded scientists to do this.

Opponents of embryonic stem cell research argue that scientists can restrict their study to work on adult stem cells. This would be unwise. While there is some promising progress from work suggesting that adult stem cells are capable of limited differentiation, those indications have yet to be replicated. The rarity and indeterminate developmental history of adult stem cells ren- der their value for the treatment of most diseases problematic. Rather, we believe that studies using all forms of stem cells — embryonic, fetal and adult — should be pursued to deter- mine their relative utility for therapeutic purposes.

Earlier this year, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) released draft guidelines for research involving human pluripotent stem cells to implement HHS’s direc- tive. The guidelines are appropriately restrictive and responsive to the sensibilities of those who are concerned that work proceed under careful ethical oversight, requiring that stem cell lines be derived only from frozen embryos that result from attempts at in vitro fertilization, and are in excess of clinical need and, therefore, will be dis- carded in any case. They also require the informed consent of the donor. Importantly, the guidelines furthermore ensure federal oversight of stem cell research and guarantee “daylight” through public input into the conduct and direction of this research in the United States. Currently, stem cell research may be conducted in the private sector free of federal oversight or participation, limit- ing the opportunity for public input and with the certainty of intellectual property barriers.

Despite the ethical protections pro- vided in the pro- posed NIH guide- lines, some “right to life” groups have flooded the NIH and members of Congress with several thousand letters expressing their opposition to stem cell research, far outnumbering the letters received from scientists and health advocates. In addition, last year, 70 members of the House co-signed a letter to HHS Secretary Donna E. Shalala opposing the department’s 1999 ruling allowing the NIH to fund stem cell research, and demanding reconsidera- tion. This year, 20 Senate members fol- lowed suit in opposing the NIH guidelines. Representative Jay Dickey (R- AR), one of the original authors of the embryo research ban, has said that he is “more determined than ever” to defeat stem cell research.

In spite of this intense pressure, the defense of stem cell research in Congress is formidable, bipartisan and includes many conservative pro-life members. Senators Specter and Harkin have held no fewer than four hearings on the importance of stem cell research. Others on record in support include Representatives Brian Bilbray (R-CA), Duke Cunningham (R-CA), Dianna DeGette (D-CO), Nita Lowey (D-NY), John Porter (R-IL), Henry Waxman (D- CA) and Senator Strom Thurmond (R-SC).

Complicating matters is renewed opposition to fetal tissue research [see pages 12-14]. The stem cells that Gearhart obtained using private funds were from aborted fetuses, which will inevitably entangle the effort to ban fetal tissue research with the stem cell controversy.

Stem cell research is not an abortion issue; it is a question of science with enormous potential for improving human health. We must protect this most promising and humane line of research from an assault from those who fear it.

—Paul Berg is Cahill Professor of Cancer Research and Director of the Beckman Center for Molecular and Genetic Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine. Lawrence S. B. Goldstein is Professor at the University of California, San Diego and Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Berg is Chair and Goldstein is member of the Public Policy Committee of the American Society for Cell Biology.


Grants & Opportunities

The National Cancer Institutehas established two websites as resources for those interested in cancer research:

Research Resources: A Directory of Research Tools and Services for Cancer Researchers lists over 100 available resources including animals, drugs, chemicals, biologicals, statistics, specimens, family registries, genome maps and clones.

Cancer Research Training, Career Development and Education Opportunities offers cancer training grants to basic, clinical, population and behavioral science investigators who address problems in cancer biology, causation, prevention and control, detection and diagnosis, and treatment and rehabilitation:

Science Writer for Cell Biology The American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) seeks an experienced freelance science writer to work half-time. The writer will contribute substantially to ASCB efforts to educate the public about basic bio medical research, specifically as it relates to cell biology. Responsibilities will include:

  • Production of illustrated pressbooks for distribution in print to the national and international press and to be posted on the Web. Each pressbook will summarize interesting topics relating to cell biology and disease research.
  • Solicitation and organization of videos, short articles, abstracts and essays from ASCB members as a basis for pressbook and educational material.
  • Preparation for TV and radio coverage of the Society's Annual Meeting by organizing videos and potential interviews to accompany pressbook stories.
  • Draft and promote press releases on behalf of the Society.

Send current resume and one short writing sample to: The American Society for Cell Biology, 9650 Rockville Pike, Bethesda MD 20814-3992. Application deadline: May 1, 2000

Research Positions Available Program In Mechanotransductions Pathways In Bone Indiana University School Of Medicine
The Departments of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Physiology and Orthopaedic Surgery invite applications for research positions for a newly created program in Mechanotransduction in Bone, established with funding from the National Institute of Arthritis, Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. The goal of the program is to understand how a mechanical stimulus applied to bone cells is transduced from the extracellular matrix to the cell nucleus where gene transcription occurs. The program involves five Team Leaders who represent a synthesis of mechanical engineering, membrane physiology, cell and molecular biology. Areas of investigation include mechanical loading technologies for cell culture, mechanosensitive ion channels in the cell membrane, cytoskeletal mechanics, and nuclear matrix transcription factors.

Positions Available
We are seeking qualified applicants for six postdoctoral positions. Applicants should be expert in one of the following research areas: biomechanical engineering, membrane physiology, integrin-extracellular matrix interactions, actin cytoskeleton, and/or DNA binding proteins. Basic laboratory skills are necessary along with good communication skills.

Send curriculum vitae and names of three references to: David B. Burr, PhD Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, MS 5035 Indiana University School of Medicine Indianapolis, IN 46202 We are an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer and encourage minority and female applicants.

Director, Medical & Science Grants Steven and Michele Kirsch Foundation
The Kirsch Foundation seeks a full-time Director who will: identify promising areas of medical and scientific research consistent with the Foundation’s stated interests; design, manage and evaluate the grantmaking program for science and medical research project grants; implement the Kirsch Fellowship Program working with a renowned Scientific Advisory Board, and represent the Foundation publicly.

The Kirsch Foundation is headquartered in San Jose, California, has a $75 million endowment, and expects to grow significantly over the next few years.

Candidates must have an MD or PhD, broad intellectual interests and capacity, demonstrated project management skills and strong interpersonal skills. The ability to work with scientists in a staff role and as an integral part of the Foundation’s team is critical. Program officer experience is preferred. Competitive salary and benefits package. Details about the Foundation and the position can be found online.

Send a cover letter and current resume to Kathleen Gwynn, President & CEO,. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply.



June 22-24, Ottawa, Canada
Canadian Federation of Biological Societies 43rd Annual Meeting Apoptosis and Cell Signaling; Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals
Phone: (613) 225-8889; Fax: (613) 225-9621

June 29-30, 2000, Palm Beach, Florida
Genomics, Proteomics, Bioinformatics, & Developmental Toxicology in the 21st Century In conjunction with the Teratology Society annual meeting

July 13-16, Birmingham, UK
Young Scientists Travel Fellows’ Symposium
Phone: (144) 171-580-3481; Fax: (144) 171-637-7626

July 16-20, Birmingham, UK
18th International Congress of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Beyond the Genome: Understanding and Exploiting Molecules and Cells in the Third Millennium
Phone: (144) 171-580-3481; Fax: (144) 171-637-7626

August 12-14, Madison, WI
Intracellular Protein and Lipid Traffic

August 13-26, Woods Hole, MA
Marine Biological Laboratory Neural Development & Genetics of Zebrafish
Phone: (508) 289-7401

August 13-September 1, Woods Hole, MA
Marine Biological Laboratory Neurobiology and Development of the Leech
Phone: (508) 289-7401

September 14-17, Baltimore, MD
CSDS XIV Congress Cardiovascular System Dynamics Society

September 24-28, Gold Coast, Australia
International Congress on Differentiation & Cell Biology; 11th Meeting of the International Society of Differentiation, Inc.
Cell and Developmental Biology – The Next Millenium

October 5-8, Cambridge, MA
Society for Leukocyte Biology 34th Annual Meeting Interactions of Innate and Acquired Immunity
Phone: (301) 571-5703

December 1, 2000, Paris, France
The secretory machinery: a target for bacterial neurotoxins.
A symposium in memory of Heiner Niemann (1945-1999)

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