|Hynes Takes Office|
Richard Hynes of MIT took office as ASCB President on January 1. Following is his statement to the membership.
It is an honor to serve as President of the ASCB, albeit somewhat daunting. The Society exists to serve the interests of its members (now almost 10,000) and to promote the field of cell biology. It is a privilege to share in these endeavors along with the dedicated ASCB staff and the many ASCB members who volunteer their time and energy in furthering the Society’s activities in education, publishing, public policy, etc.
Cell biology has never been in a more vigorous phase of growth and activity, as evidenced by the recent Annual Meeting. This year’s meeting will honor the 40th anniversary of the ASCB and will highlight some of the past achievements of cell biology as well as serving as a forum for presentation and discussion of the latest advances in our science. Those advances impact increasingly on societal concerns and it is incumbent on the ASCB to provide information, education and advice concerning issues that arise from, or affect, the rapid progress of cell biological discovery.
In the coming year, the ASCB will continue its active involvement in public policy, in collaboration with other scientific societies. We look forward to enlisting more of the ASCB membership in these and other activities. The state of our profession is in flux, as cell biology permeates industry, health care and public policy, and the Education Committee will continue its efforts to analyze and propose improvements in the career structure. It is a truism that the postgenomic era will engender radical changes in the way that cell biology is done, as will other technological advances. The growth and productive application of cell biological knowledge are expanding rapidly and we need to anticipate the challenges and opportunities offered.
This is a very exciting time in cell biology and its related disciplines and I look forward to working for and with the ASCB membership and staff, as we meet those challenges and exploit the opportunites.
The Department of Cell Biology at the University of Virginia has available a tenure track position at the Assistant or Associate Professor level. The department seeks candidates whose research will complement existing strengths in cellular, reproductive, and develop-mental biology. Candidates are expected to develop and maintain independent programs of investigation and to participate in graduate education. Applications are welcome from junior investigators as well as from mid-level investigators with established research laboratories. A program of training and reduced initial responsibility is available for medical teaching in cell biology/histology or anatomy. Opportunities for productive collegial interactions include interdisciplinary programs in cell and molecular biology, reproduction, development, neuroscience, cancer, signal transduction, cardiovascular biology, cell-matrix biology, biophysics, and structural biology, as well as participation in translational research with clinical faculty. Additional information about the department is available online. Candidates should submit curriculum vitae and description of research, and request that three letters of recommendation be sent to: Dr. Charles J. Flickinger, Chair, University of Virginia Health System, Department of Cell Biology, School of Medicine, P.O. Box 800732, Charlottesville, VA 22908-0732. The position will remain open to applications until filled. An Equal Opportunity/ Affirmative Action Employer.
Postdoctoral Research Associate position available immediately for recent Ph.D. or M.D./Ph.D. graduate in cellular or molecular biology with an interest in angiogenesis. The project involves the study of bioactive lipid metabolites of arachidonic acid produced by tumor cells which produce dramatic effects onhost vasculature angiogenesis. Preliminary data supports an exciting and novel mechanism of tumor cell induced angiogenesis. Work involves state of the art molecular and cellular biological techniques. Successful candidates should have demonstrated experience with standard molecular biology and cell biology techniques. Previous work with endothelial cells or in the area of angiogenesis is desirable. Preference will be given to candidates with demonstrated research ability and strong written communication skills. Minimum salary of $30,000 dependent upon experience. Please send 1) a brief statement of your research insterests, capabilities and goals; 2) curriculum vitae; 3) address, fax/telephone numbers and 4) three references to: Dr. Kenneth V. Honn, Wayne State University, 5101 Cass Ave., Rm. 431, Detroit, MI 48202.
Postdoctoral Research Associate position available immediately for recent Ph.D. or M.D./Ph.D. graduate in cellular or molecular biology with an interest in lipoxygenases. The project involves the study of novel lipoxygenases found in tumor cells and examination of their regulation at both the transcriptional level and post-translational level. Successful candidates should have demonstrated experience with standard molecular biology and cell biology techniques. Previous experience with arachidonic acid metabolism is desirable. Preference will be given to candidates with demonstrated research ability and strong written communication skills. Minimum salary $30,000 dependent upon experience. Please send 1) a brief statement of research interests, capabilities and goals; 2) curriculum vitae; 3) address, fax/telephone numbers and 4) three references to: Dr. Kenneth V. Honn, Wayne State University, 5101 Cass Ave., Rm. 431, Detroit, MI 48202.
Postdoctoral position, University of Wisconsin-Madison, to study aspects of intracellular lipid traffic. The position is available in February 2000. Research topics include sterol transport from the ER to the plasma membrane in yeast, phospholipid flip-flop in the ER and in bacterial cytoplasmic membranes, and synthesis and trafficking of glycosylphosphatidylinositols (GPIs) in mammalian cells. Experience in molecular cell biology including subcellular fractionation, protein purification, membrane biochemistry and/or lipid biochemistry is essential. Applications, including a cv and the names (+ contact information) of two references, should be sent to: Anant Menon, Department of Biochemistry, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 433 Babcock Drive, Madison, WI 53706-1544, USA, or by email.
Postdoctoral position available immediately to investigate the molecular mechanisms of intracellular protein traffic in lymphocytes. Current projects include the elucidation of the granule fusion machinery in cytotoxic T lymphocytes and the regulation of protein traffic to and from lysosomes in antigen presenting cells. We are specifically interested in the role of SNARE proteins in constitutive and regulated secretion in these cells. Information about the group can be found online Successful applicants will have a strong background in basic cell and molecular biology. Send CV, brief description of research experience, and names of three references to Dr. Paul Roche, Experimental Immunology Branch, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Building 10, Room 4B36, Bethesda, MD 20892. Fax (301) 496-0887.
Society Committees Meet
ASCB President Randy Schekman announced Council's decision not to renew membership in FASEB effective 2001.
Secretary George Langford presented a graph of the growth in membership over the past ten years. Total membership has doubled from 4,849 in 1989 to 9,652 in 1999.
Langford reported that a polling firm had been contracted to conduct focus groups with member and nonmember meeting attendees. The Society hopes to be able to use the resulting analysis to better accommodate existing members as well as to attract new members.
Langford named the ten members who had died in 1999: Arthur Cohen, Jonas Richmond, Werner Risau, Russell Ross, Paul Srere, J. Herbert Taylor, Mathew Thomas, Benjamin Volcani, John Watson and Jerome Wolken.
Gary Ward, a member of the ASCB Finance Committee, presented financial statements for the fiscal years ended March 31, 1995 to 1999 (see November, 1999 ASCB Newsletter).
Schekman noted that the 2000 meeting will be the 40th Annual Meeting of the ASCB and that a committee had been appointed to recognize the anniversary.
Schekman thanked ASCB membership and staff for facilitating his service as President. He passed the gavel to Richard Hynes, who will succeed Schekman on January 1.
The Committee is developing a proposal for a web-based journal to disseminate articles relevant to education in cell biology. Committee members Bob Blystone, Sally Elgin and Linda Silveira are formulating the aims and scope of the project, with the goal of establishing the journal during this year.
Connie Oliver reported the continued sponsorship of the ASCB Symposium at the National Association of Biology Teachers annual meeting through the participation of local ASCB members. Oliver has identified members from Tampa who will speak at the NABT meeting in Orlando in October, 2000.
The Committee will repeat the highly successful Genomics Workshop at the 40th ASCB Annual Meeting in San Francisco in 2000. Elgin, working with Silveira, will again chair the organizing group.
Chris Watters solicited suggestions for Education Initiative Forum presentations for the 2000 ASCB meeting. Watters plans to continue offering three diverse programs: a web-based/electronic presentation, an undergraduate teaching exercise presentation, and a presentation of broader issues.
The Committee also discussed its other programs at the ASCB meeting: the Education Poster area, the inclusion of demonstrations by poster presenters in the EdComm/MAC Information Booth, and the Career Panel.
New Cell Biology Booklet
Minorities Affairs Committee
Haynes expressed concern that although the number of MAC Travel Awards granted have remained constant, the pool of applicants for some programs has dropped by as much as 50%. Exacerbating the problem is the difficulty of maintaining contact with young awardees, who move frequently.
If approved, the NIH/NIGMS/MARC grant will fund a new Linkage Program and additional ASCB staff support to improve communication between the MAC and seven identified institutions. It is hoped that the program will stimulate increased awareness by underrepresented minority students and their mentors and will correspondingly increase the pool of minority students who take advantage of the awards offered by the ASCB MAC.
Wilson circulated the Statement of Objectives for the Society as approved by Council two days before. The objectives are a result of a MAC request that the Society state its support of minorities in science.
E. A. "Lenny" Dawidowicz of the Marine Biological Laboratory reported on the reorganization of MBL programs. Dawidowicz will oversee Education programs, including the Summer Program in Neuroscience (SPINES). Dori Chrysler Mebane, for several years the lead contact between the ASCB MAC and the MBL, has announced her resignation from the Laboratory. The Committee expressed its gratitude to Mebane for her support of the ASCB and the MAC.
Bruce Jackson of Boston University School of Medicine and MAC member Sandra Murray reported on an NSF-sponsored meeting on minority scientist funding held at Emory University. The organizers determined to start an organization of black biological scientists with the goal of providing opportunities to share experiences, build collaborations and mentor the careers of students and scientists. The MAC will consider a formal proposal for endorsement of this effort, and expressed support for the group, asking Murray to serve as liaison to it.
Ad hoc Committee member Eva McGhee of the University of California, San Francisco, reported on the ASCB MAC Saturday Session, which has grown from about 35 attendees to over 100. Conrad Messam of the NIH, who will serve a two-year term as an ad-hoc member of the MAC, has agreed to chair the 2000 session.
Molecular Biology of the Cell
Botstein emphasized that the MBC Editorial Board will encourage authors to publish shorter papers, providing the option to include additional material in the online journal. He described a new page charge structure to provide an incentive to authors to achieve this goal: authors will be charged $65 for the first 12 pages published, and a premium fee of $120 for each additional printed page over that amount. Members of the ASCB will receive a 20% discount on their total page charges. The new rate structure will be implemented in January, 2000.
Public Information Committee
The 1999 Pressbook attracted over 50 members of the press to cover the ASCB Annual Meeting, significantly more than in any previous year. This year's Pressbook included 19 fully illustrated research reports. The Committee discussed how to improve the process for obtaining high-quality images for use by the media.
Public Policy Committee
The Committee reviewed 1999 Annual Meeting events including the Public Service Award, "Congress 101, " the Congressional Liaison Committee reception, the Practice of Science Panel on "Graduate & Postdoctoral Training: Challenges for the New Millennium," and the Peer Review Panel.
Joint Steering Committee for Public Policy
Congressional Education Liaisons' Report
Joint Steering Committee for Public Policy Congressional Liaisons Peter Kyros and Belle Cummins reviewed progress in 1999, including a 15% increase in the NIH budget and a 6.5% increase in the NSF budget. Kyros described the advocacy efforts that contributed to last year’s increases, including over 80 visits by scientists to Capitol Hill, speeches on the floor of the House, and letter writing. They urged the Committee to write and to ask Congressional Liaison Committee members to write thank you letters to all those Members of Congress who supported doubling the NIH budget over five years and to encourage them to renew their commitment to this goal in the coming year. CLC members will also be encouraged to publish letters-to-the-editor and op-eds in their local newspapers.
The Committee discussed plans for the coming year and the FY2001 budget. That week, ASCB Public Policy Committee and JSC member David Botstein held meetings with senior officials of the Clinton/Gore Administration to urge continued support of basic biomedical research in the FY 2001 budget. The Committee reaffirmed support for all sciences, not just the NIH, particularly through the NSF and other agencies that contribute to basic research relating to cell biology.
Congressional Liaison Committee
The Committee discussed plans to expand the local organizing effort in California, which will require a dedicated coordinator to be based in California. Funds for this project will be raised in the state.
The Committee also discussed the recent decision by Council to not renew its membership in FASEB and how that decision might impact the JSC's activities.
Congressional Biomedical Research Caucus
Animal Research Facilities
Stem Cell Research
Genetically Modified Foods
Women in Cell Biology Committee
Affirmative Action Forum
|Annual Meeting Social Moves to American History|
Annual Meeting Special Events
Following are reports of special events held at the 39th ASCB Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.
Bruce Alberts Award
It is a pleasure to be able to be here to present this ASCB award for Science Education to someone who has made a huge difference to us all.
But first, let me state, as I did last year, that this award should be named after someone else after a decade or so. It is important that the award carry the name of someone whose science is still fresh to make the critical point to young scientists that paying attention to education as a civic duty is an indispensable part of the life of a scientist. Science moves so fast, with its ethos of continuous progress, that active scientists naturally assume that whatever we older folks did in the past should have been quite easy to discover. At any rate, reputations are very fleeting among scientists. Possibly, someone in this audience will have their name attached to this honor after me, and I think that this is only appropriate.
The ASCB selection committee had no problem in determining this year's awardee. Eugenie Scott is the Executive Director of the National Center for Science Education, a tiny non-profit organization located near Berkeley, California. Its purpose is to "explain the nature of science to the public," day in and day out. This effort has put Genie on TV — Donahue, Geraldo, Firing Line, Cross-Fire, and so on — as well as on the radio. There she has often come face-to-face with people who think quite differently than scientists do about such issues as biological evolution, the age of the earth, or the age of the universe.
As one of her nominators wrote, "Genie has been the primary voice of reason in this country, offering a détente between the positions of the committed religious fundamentalist and the pragmatic scientist, the harassed school principal and the perturbed parent. Not only is she capable of dealing substantially with the attacks on evolutionary science, she is both sensitive and deeply knowledgeable in exploring the religious issues."
Eugenie received her Ph.D in anthropology from the University of Missouri in 1974 for a thesis entitled "Dental Evolution in Pre-Columbian Coastal Peru." She then served for 12 years as a professor of anthropology, writing increasingly about evolution debates, before moving to California to begin her second career as an educator of all Americans.
Her task is a critical one. The issue today is not just about whether or not biological evolution should be taught in schools. The real threat concerns the role of science in our society.
Because science derives explanations from confirmable data, it has been tremendously successful in explaining natural phenomena. Scientists have developed explanations for the movements of the sun and stars, the structure of matter, the history of life on Earth, and many other natural occurrences. By the same means, we also have deciphered which substances in our environment are harmful to humans, developed cures for diseases, and generated the knowledge need-ed to produce innumerable labor-saving devices.
To disregard what we know from science for the sake of political expediency threatens the rationality that our society depends on to make wise judgments. This is why the debate over the Kansas State School Board decision represents such a critical wake-up call for scientists. We cannot take our world views for granted. And we must work much harder to spread the understanding and values of science throughout society. For example, when we teach first-year college students only the "facts" that have been learned through science, we fail to give them the understanding required to determine what is and what is not science. They graduate with no way of distinguishing scientific knowledge from any other way of knowing, leaving society extremely vulnerable to misinformation of all kinds.
No one has taken up the cause of science with more energy, courage and skill than Eugenie Scott. It is with great pleasure that I present her with the ASCB [Bruce Alberts] Science Education Award.
College Student Program
Congress 101: How to Talk Science with Your Representative and Why
Morella and Goldstein focused the discussion on process. Morella described the bipartisan support for biomedical research on Capitol Hill and emphasized the importance of constituents communicating with their Representatives. Much of the presentation involved audience participation.
Key points from the presentation were:
Scientists should learn in advance if their Representative is a member of the Congressional Biomedical Research Caucus. If so, thank her. If not, urge her to join.
Congressional Liaison Committee
Tom Pollard, Congressional Liaison Committee Chair for the Joint Steering Committee, reminded the 70 people present that the CLC effort relies on biomedical scientists at the grassroots. ASCB Public Policy Director Tim Leshan introduced Ellen Murray, Clerk for the Senate Minority Labor/HHS Committee, who spoke about the importance of contacting Members of Congress. Murray noted that the science community has a unique role to play in conveying to Members of Congress the importance of biomedical research. By emphasizing science rather than politics, CLC members — through the Congressional Biomedical Research Caucus, Capitol Hill Days and district meetings — have been able to persuade their Representatives to continue to increase federal funding for biomedical science. Murray commented that one person can make an impact and that frequent contact with a Representative is important in creating a real, positive effect on the legislative and budgetary process.
Three CLC members, Judith Glaven, Rebecca Hughey and Monica Torres, gave impassioned testimonials about how Capitol Hill Days changed the way they viewed Members of Congress and the legislative process: they feel less intimidated and more active in communicating with their Members of Congress, providing them with vital information on biomedical research.
Rebecca Hughey described a visit with her Representative and two colleagues, in which they discussed how hospitals are critical for rural communities to fill the old manufacturing void.
Other CLC members spoke about the general lack of understanding by Members of Con-gress about where and how biomedical research dollars are spent. They suggested that a good way to educate a Representative is to extend an invitation to tour a lab and explain how science impacts the community.
Larry Goldstein used his relationship with his Congressman as an example of how a scientist can influence the position of a Member. At first, Goldstein was unsure if talking about his science would be sufficiently compelling. Now he is a regular advisor to his Congressman — especially important around controversial issues that previously his conservative Representative would have rejected out of hand.
To join the CLC, contact Alec Stone, National Field Coordinator, at (301) 571-7781
EdComm member Sally Elgin selected Workshop, poster or Forum presentations that would be enhanced by access to the Internet and invited presenters to expand their presentations at the booth; included were Richard Hershberger of Carlow College who demonstrated "Darwin 2000: a Bioinformatics Education Web Site Supporting Student Research in Evolution and Molecular Biology"; C.D. Watters of Middlebury College who demonstrated "Investigating Membrane Structure and Fluidity with Computer Simulations"; Robert Blystone of Trinity University who demonstrated "Teaching Undergraduate Biology Quantitatively Using Scientific Visualization and Graphic Display"; A. Malcolm Campbell and Erin Mooney of Davidson College who demonstrated "From Genome to Cloned Gene and Expressed Protein in One Semester"; Jeffrey Newman of Lycoming College who demonstrated "A Developmental Approach to Integrating Bioinformatics with Laboratory Experiments in Several Undergraduate Courses"; J.B. Piperberg of Millersville University who demonstrated a "Spreadsheet Simulation of Enzyme Kinetics: A Cell Biology Laboratory Exercise"; and Melanie Fields of Sidwell Friends School and Mark Ellisman of the National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research (NCMIR) at the University of California, San Francisco who demonstrated their "Telemicroscopy" program.
The ASCB Education Committee workshop on Genomics: How Do We Teach in the Middle of a Revolution?, co-chaired by Sarah Elgin and Malcolm Campbell, considered the changes in the knowledge base and research/teaching tools in the area of genomics, and examined several different strategies for bringing the field into the classroom and student lab. About 140 people attended. At the meeting:
Education Initiative Forum
Robert Blystone of Trinity University discussed Teaching Undergraduate Biology Quantitatively Using Scientific Visualization and Graphic Display. He observed that techniques associated with scientific visualization can move two-dimensional anatomical data into four dimensions and increase student comprehension. Noting that the graphic display of data permits the student to move to a greater level of interaction with a data set, Blystone demonstrated several graphic exercises. A PowerPoint version of the presentation is online here.
Alternatives to the Use of Animals in Research (AUAR) was presented by Joanne Zurlo of Johns Hopkins University, who noted the dramatic advances in the use of alternative study methods. High throughput screening, use of bioluminescent assays, and genetically engineered, differentiated cells in culture, particularly human cells, were discussed.
Sam Silverstein of Columbia University described the Columbia University summer program initiated in 1990. Silverstein reported that for at least two years after teachers complete the program, students of participating teachers show significantly higher interest and achievement in science than students of non-participating teachers. Columbia has been awarded a $1.6 million NSF grant to study teacher-scientist programs at seven sites throughout the U.S.
ASCB members with topics and/or speakers of potential interest for presentation at a future Education Initiative Forum should submit them to ASCB Education Committee Member Chris Watters, Middlebury College, Department of Biology, Middlebury VT 05753.
High School Program
Over 300 students and their teachers from the Washington-Baltimore area attended the session. In addition to describing the excitement around the completion of the human genome sequence, Collins made students aware of the related ethical, legal and social issues. Collins remained for twenty minutes following his address to answer students' questions, which ranged from DNA sequence patents to ethical questions of humans altering their own evolution.
Following Collins' presentation, students spent two hours visiting selected exhibitors' booths, where they received demonstrations in small groups.
Minorities Poster Session
Minorities Poster Session Winners
Minorities Saturday Session
Alfred Johnson, President of the NIH Black Scientists Association, described the purposes of the NIHBSA: to provide a support network for black scientific and administrative personnel; to work toward full minority representation at all occupational and executive levels; to monitor institutional support of minorities, and to facilitate community interaction.
Keynote speaker Bruce Jackson of Boston University suggested that involvement in grammar school science programs is the best method to increase the number of minorities in science. "Science is a profession that must be taught consistently and vigorously... Finish your degree first and get good. Then go out and [nurture] the scientific and intellectual prowess of primary school students," he urged.
Jackson also reflected philosophically on pursuing a career as a minority in science "There is always going to be this effort," he cautioned, "to minimize your achievements... and unless you have a very stalwart opinion of yourself, it's going to work... people will tell you what you cannot do. Do it anyway," Jackson insisted.
David Burgess, ASCB member and President of the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science, also underscored the importance of establishing one's own scientific reputation to be better able to help foster the interest and careers of young people. In addition, he emphasized the importance of study section service, as well as advisory councils to NIH institutes.
Burgess praised the ASCB for its advocacy for biomedical research on Capitol Hill, and challenged the Society to lobby Congress "to address the issues which President Clinton has identified as national priorities... health and educational disparities." He noted that Representative Connie Morella (R-MD) (see page 4) had appointed a Committee to address the issues of advancement of minorities and women in science.
Burgess indicated optimism about current trends for minorities in science. He noted that 14% of undergraduate natural science graduates are minorities, about the same as the population of minority college students. Burgess remarked that research opportunities for minorities are underutilized, especially summer research opportunities for undergraduates, which provide vital experience and contacts for admission to graduate schools. "No, there aren't enough [opportunities]," he admitted, "but it's encouraging how many there are."
Christine O'Brien of the National Research Council suggested that it is more important for faculty who write fellowship recommendations to know the applicant and her research well than that the recommender be well-known. In applications, "don't hold back," O'Brien urged, "when talking about your excitement and dreams for future research." She also advised that if an application is not successful, to ask for the written comments made by reviewers and consider reapplying.
Daniel Drell of the Department of Energy and Eve Barak of the National Science Foundation discussed a variety of opportunities at all educational levels. Click here for a complete list of recommended websites.
WICB/Education Committee Careers Discussion Lunch
Table leaders were remarkably accomplished individuals who generously gave time and information to the participants.
The presentation at the lunch of Junior and Senior WICB awards to Yixian Zheng and Ursula Goodenough by Zena Werb provided an appreciative and appropriate audience.
This year, Biotech & Industry was the most commonly designated discussion topic. Bioinformatics as an emerging area of great interest was added to the traditional topics on university oriented research, job application strategies and other career issues. The initial feedback was enthusiastically positive. Decisions for next year's programs will draw from information gathered from participants.
WICB Evening Panel
The demonstrations combined humor and serious advice from the panelists, and the evening sent many away with new insight into some of the issues, foibles, mistakes and caveats in a successful negotiation.
Building on the success of this event, the WICB plans to organize a more involved negotiating program at next year's Annual Meeting.
ASCB-Zeiss Road Race
|Council Endorses Society Objectives|
Council Endorses Society Objectives, Plans ASCB 40th
Randy Schekman of U.C. Berkeley presided over the semi-annual meeting of the ASCB Council in Washington last month. Regular business included reports from committee chairs and the Editor-in-Chief of Molecular Biology of the Cell, which appear on pages 16-21. The agenda was dominated by the discussion of the ASCB's membership in FASEB (see article above). Below is a summary of other issues.
Schekman noted the establishment of the new ASCB-Promega Award for Early Career Life Scientists, given the first year to Raymond Deshaies of Cal Tech. Future awardees will be designated early in the year so that a major symposium at the ASCB Annual Meeting can be planned around the awardee's participation.
Schekman recognized and thanked outgoing officers Elizabeth Blackburn, George Langford, Ira Herskowitz, Pamela Silver, Kai Simons and Lydia Villa-Komaroff for their service to the Society. He extended special recognition to Langford, who completed two terms, six years, as Society Secretary.
Executive Director Elizabeth Marincola reported on the 1999 Annual Meeting. Registration, exhibit booth sales and sponsorship income had all exceeded projections. She also announced the recruitment of a new Director of Membership & Fund Development, Michael Murphy.
Langford presented the names of 1,079 candidates — 417 students, 308 postdocs and 354 regular — for membership in the Society. The Council unanimously voted to admit all candidates to Society membership. Langford further proposed eleven members for Emeritus membership; these candidates were also approved unanimously. Finally, Langford called attention to the ten members who had died in 1999 . Net membership grew by 116 since the previous year and with the approval of new members totaled 9,748 for 1999.
Treasurer Carl Cohen presented financial results for the fiscal year ended March 31, 1999, which produced an excess of revenues over expenses of $288,011 (see November, 1999 ASCB Newsletter for detail). He further presented the budget recommendation of the Finance Committee for the fiscal year to end March 31, 2001. The FY01 budget, which was approved by Council, projects a very small excess of revenues over expenses of less than $9,000. Cohen noted that the current market value of the Society's investments is nearly $2 million.
2000 Program Chair Jean Schwarzbauer presented preliminary suggestions for Program Committee members and speakers for the 2000 Annual Meeting. Council offered several recommendations; Schwarzbauer noted that she is also receiving helpful suggestions from the membership. The Committee will develop the program in the first months of the new year.
Richard Hynes presented the preliminary report of the ASCB 40th Anniversary Committee, chaired by former President Elizabeth Hay and other former and current officers Hynes, Schekman, Schwarzbauer, Marincola, Joseph Gall and Robert Trelstad. Ideas being developed are the production of a video about the history of cell biology, a special issue of Molecular Biology of the Cell featuring critical papers published in the field of cell biology, an historical display, and social and ceremonial events to be held at the 40th ASCB Annual Meeting in San Francisco from December 9-13, 2000.
In response to a request from the ASCB Minorities Affairs Committee, Council developed Society objectives, which were approved (below). They will be published in future editions of the ASCB Directory of Members.
|Statement of Objectives for the American Society for Cell Biology|
The purpose of the American Society for Cell Biology is to promote and develop the field of cell biology. In recognition of the interdependence of all the sciences, the Society extends this mandate beyond cell biology.
To achieve the Society’s purpose, the ASCB seeks to:
|New Cell Biology Booklet|
The Education Committee, Chaired by Frank Solomon of MIT, introduced Exploring the Cell, What Cells Do and How Cell Biologists Study Them, a high school publication which succeeds Oppor-tunity & Adventure in Cell Biology.Thousands of copies of the booklet, produced by a gift from SmithKline Beecham, will be distributed in response to requests from students, teachers, parents and counselors; they are also provided at the ASCB High School program, at the annual meetings of the National Association of Biology Teachers and the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science.The publication is online and is available upon request to ASCB members.
|ASCB Will Not Renew FASEB Membership|
At its semi-annual meeting last month, the Council of the ASCB determined not to renew the Society's membership in the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology effective January 1, 2001.
The decision, following four hours of deliberation, overwhelmingly favored not renewing. ASCB President Randy Schekman had appointed an ad hoc committee last Spring to consider the Society's FASEB membership (see June, 1999 ASCB Newsletter). The Committee, chaired by former ASCB President Marc Kirschner, also included other former presidents Elizabeth Blackburn and Tom Pollard, President-elect Richard Hynes, former Councilor Suzanne Pfeffer, and Schekman. The Committee worked for several months, interviewed over 30 key participants in ASCB and FASEB activities, including former presidents of both organizations, and presented a report to Council.
Both the Committee and the Council acknowledged the importance of FASEB in advocating for basic biomedical research over the past decade, and the ASCB's critical contributions to FASEB's effectiveness. The 1990s have seen a major commitment on the part of biological scientists to explain the value of biomedical research and its impact on the nation's health and prosperity. Schekman commented, "both ASCB and FASEB have made many important contributions to these advocacy efforts and we are confident that both will continue to do so. The ASCB has vigorously supported FASEB in these efforts and is committed to continuing to collaborate in our common purpose of promoting biomedical research." Council expressed confidence that the ASCB's departure from FASEB would not affect the Federation's continued effectiveness.
Council's central considerations were the costs and benefits to the ASCB of the Society's membership in FASEB. Over the ten years of the ASCB's membership, FASEB membership has grown from seven to fifteen societies, ranging from under 2,000 members to the ASCB's nearly 10,000 — one of the two largest FASEB societies. At the same time, FASEB governance is based on the Senatorial model of equal representation for each member, regardless of society size. This arrangement, it was felt, significantly diminished the ASCB's voice in FASEB decision-making. In contrast, the ASCB pays dues to FASEB in proportion to its size, not its representation. FASEB's continued commitment to both unabated growth and to nonproportional representation was reaffirmed at the FASEB Board of Directors meeting held last month just days before the meeting of ASCB Council.
FASEB member societies designate volunteer scientist representation on several committees as well as the Board of Directors. While FASEB's policy decisions have in the majority of cases been consistent with the ASCB's, those cases where the Federation and the Society have diverged have demanded a very significant investment of time and effort on the part of ASCB representatives and staff.
The primary reason for the decision was to allow the ASCB to focus its energies and resources by optimizing the Society's commitments of time, effort and money for other ongoing public policy activities. Hynes indicated, "we are convinced the ASCB will continue to contribute a strong voice on behalf of biomedical research, as will FASEB. Where our agendas coincide, as they often do, we will work together as in the past. Where ASCB has particular interests or concerns, we can act most effectively in the context of a more focused group." The Society will concentrate the ASCB's public policy efforts on issues of particular relevance to its members through its own Public Policy Committee and the Joint Steering Committee on Public Policy, a collaborative group involving the ASCB, the American Society for Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, the Biophysical Society and the Genetics Society of America.
Council's action was announced just prior to the opening of the 39th ASCB Annual Meeting. That week, the annual business meeting of the Society was held and the decision was discussed. Several expressed disappointment that the question was not put to the membership for a vote. Both the Committee and Council considered this possibility but decided against it for several reasons. First, the decision to join the Federation initially was made without a membership vote, and with the intention that if at some future time the cost-benefit balance of FASEB membership shifted, the Society would be free not to renew. Second, Council felt that as the governing body elected by the membership, it was entrusted and indeed required to make appropriate policy decisions on behalf of the membership. Third, the Council felt that the costs and benefits of ASCB membership in FASEB were sufficiently deep and complex that it was most appropriate to have a representative group explore in depth the pros and cons of FASEB membership for the ASCB rather than demanding that the ASCB membership expend the significant time needed to fully familiarize itself about the relevant issues. Finally, the Council and the ad hoc committee felt that vocal public debate about the advantages and disadvantages of membership in FASEB would be damaging to ongoing public policy initiatives being pursued by FASEB and the ASCB. The Council was particularly sensitive to criticism it had received from other FASEB member societies when the same issue was considered previously, in January 1996. At that time a headline in the ASCB Newsletter, "Council Debates FASEB Membership" elicited no response from the ASCB membership but was viewed as potentially weakening to FASEB. The Society was urged to debate this issue less publicly so as not to harm unnecessarily the Federation in the event the ASCB decided not to withdraw.
The ASCB is widely credited for its contributions to elevating the level of biomedical research advocacy in the early 1990s. The Society's efforts, both within FASEB and independently, have helped to bring the importance of biomedical research before the public and the Congress. These efforts have borne fruit in the commitment by Con-gress and the President to strengthen support for the NIH and NSF. "Moreover," commented Hynes, "as cellular and molecular biology have ever greater impact on society, there is a responsibility to offer informed counsel, advice and education. For example, profound issues such as stem cell research arise directly from, and will have a great impact upon, cell biology. It is our responsibilty to serve as a resource of informed discussion of these issues as well as the broader ones of overall support for biomedical research."
The ASCB is grateful to those below who have recently given gifts to support Society activities:
Robert S. Adelstein
|Grants & Opportunities|
A new RFA entitled “New Therapies for Diabetic Foot Disease” solicits both basic and clinical applications relevant to understanding the etiology and pathogenesis of diabetic foot ulcers, and to developing effective prevention and treatment modalities. This RFA may be of interest to those who are studying the basic biology of wound healing.
The Hamdan Award for Medical Research Excellence offers three awards of Dhs.100,000 (approximately $27,000) for 1999-2000, for published articles in the following topics: genetics in diabetes, recombinant vaccines in infectious diseases, and therapy in leukemia. Send nominations by March 1 to: The General Secretariat, Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for Medical Sciences, P O Box 22252, Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Tel: +971-42275-888, Fax: +97-42272-999; e-mail: Email Website.
The NIH has allocated $1 million to fund applications relevant to The Role of Endothelial Dysfunction in Diabetic Complications. This PA may be of interest to investigators doing basic research on endothelial cells or those studying vascular biology. See their website.
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, in conjunction with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, is offering 30 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellow-ships. Freshmen, sophomores, women and minorities are particularly encouraged to apply. Application deadline: January 24. See their website or contact Claudia Washburn at (217) 333-7903.
|Minorities Poster Session Winners|
|Members In The News|
Cornelia Bargmann of the University of California, San Francisco, an ASCB member since 1995, will receive the 2000 C.J. Herrick Award from the American Association of Anatomists.
H. Robert Horvitz of MIT, an ASCB member since 1988, and Alexander Varshavsky of Cal Tech, an ASCB members since 1991, were selected by the Gairdner Foundation to receive the Foundation's 1999 International Award for outstanding discoveries or contributions to medical science.
N. Ronald Morris of the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey, an ASCB member since 1979, will receive the E.C. Hansen Foundation's Gold Medal for 2000 in recognition of his work on the genetics and cell biology of the cell cycle.
Thoru Pederson of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, an ASCB member since 1966, was recently awarded the Bernhard Medal at the Wilhelm Bernhard Workshop Series in Prague.
Gerald M. Rubin of the University of California, Berkeley, an ASCB member since 1990, became Vice President for Biomedical Research for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute on January 1.
Michael Shelanski of Columbia University, an ASCB member since 1968, was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.
|Society Appoints Membership & Fund Development Director|
Michael Murphy became the ASCB’s Director of Membership & Fund Development on January 3.Murphy, who worked for ten years at the American Psychiatric Association, will develop ASCB membership programs.
The purpose of the American Society for Cell Biology is to promote and develop the field of cell biology.In recognition of the interdependence of all the sciences, the Society extends this mandate beyond cell biology.
To achieve the Society’s purpose, the ASCB seeks to:
|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 Education Committee Workshop at the recent ASCB annual meeting was a goldmine of information concerning genomics and teaching. ASCB members Sally Elgin and Malcolm Campbell organized a wonderful program titled "Genomics: How Do We Teach in the Middle of a Revolution?" The next several WWW columns will review excellent websites demonstrated or mentioned at the ASCB genomics workshop.
These sites were checked November 10, 1999. Previous ASCB columns reviewing Educational web sites with the links to the sites may be found at trinity.edu.
–Robert Blystone for the ASCB Education Committee
|Annual Meeting News and Statistics|
Annual Meeting Statistics
Scientific Participants - 5,743