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ASCB Newsletter - June 2001

Reeve to Receive Public Service Award

Actor Christopher Reeve has been named to receive the eighth annual ASCB Public Service Award.

Reeve is Chairman of the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation, formed in 1999 from a merger of the Christopher Reeve Foundation and the American Paralysis Association. He has been an outspoken supporter of biomedical research, particularly embryonic stem cell research.

Society Public Policy Committee Chair Paul Berg will present the Award on Sunday evening, December 9, at the ASCB Annual Meeting in Washington, DC.


Council Goes to Washington

The Society’s governing Council devoted a half-day to visiting Members of Congress on Capitol Hill before its semiannual meeting in Bethesda last month.

Councilors visited Members and staff in the House and in the Senate. Meetings were held with the offices of Reps. George Gekas (R-PA), David Price (D-NC), Duke Cunningham (R-CA), William Coyne (D-PA), Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Michael Capuano (D-MA); and Senators Max Cleland (DGA), Zell Miller (D-GA), Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). Councilors thanked Members of Congress for their support of the NIH and urged an additional increase in FY 2002 to keep appropriations on track to double the NIH budget between FY 1999 and FY 2003. They also asked that the FY2002 budget for the National Science Foundation be increased $645 million beyond the President’s recommendation, and thanked Representatives for their membership in the Congressional Biomedical Research Caucus.

Members were generally responsive and universally supportive of the NIH, though were quick to remind their scientist-visitors that the tax cut moving through Congress would leave little opportunity to increase spending on science or other discretionary programs.

Participating in the visits for the ASCB were President Elaine Fuchs, Past President Richard Hynes, President-Elect Gary Borisy, Treasurer Carl Cohen, Secretary Larry Goldstein, and at-large Councilors Joan Brugge, Carol Greider, Susan Michaelis, Mark Mooseker, John Pringle, Ted Salmon, Sandra Schmid, Sue Shafer, Julie Theriot and Donella Wilson.


Lindquist Named Porter Lecturer

Susan Lindquist of the University of Chicago has been named to give the 20th Annual Keith R. Porter Lecture at the 41st ASCB Annual Meeting in Washington, DC.

Lindquist’s contributions are in protein conformational changes in the context of cell biology, including protein-based inheritance, protein misfolding diseases, stress tolerance and evolution.

The Lecture will be held on Tuesday evening, December 11, at 7:00 p.m. at the Washington Convention Center.


Call for Proposals New Summer Meeting Series

All ASCB members, individually or in teams, are invited to submit proposals to organize the first in a series of summer meetings, to be held in 2002. The three-day meeting will host about 200 participants.

Topics should be novel (e.g., combining fields that don’t traditionally meet together, or focusing on an emerging area) and include:

  • a one-page summary of the scientific substance of the meeting;
  • names of 3-10 potential speakers (confirmation need not be obtained in advance);
  • CVs of proposed lead organizers.

Submit proposals to the American Society for Cell Biology, 8120 Woodmont Ave., Suite 750, Bethesda, MD 20814.

Application deadline is July 1. Some participation in fundraising may be required of organizers. Meeting dates and site to be determined by the Society in consultation with the organizer(s).


Education Committee Organizes Education Symposium, Journal, Workshop

Frank Solomon of MIT chaired the May 21 semi-annual meeting of the ASCB Education Committee in Bethesda. The meeting was attended by Committee members Robert Bloodgood, Sarah Elgin, Elizabeth Gavis, MAC representative Raquell Holmes, J. Richard McIntosh, Linda Silveira, Samuel Silverstein, Elisa Stone, Christopher Watters, Cell Biology Education Editor-in-Chief Samuel Ward, and ASCB staffers Stephanie Dean, Dot Doyle and Elizabeth Marincola.

Sally Elgin chaired a subcommittee to help plan and execute the K–12 Science Education Symposium to be held at this year’s Annual Meeting (see page 10); others serving include Bob Bloodgood, W. James Nelson, Elisa Stone and Frank Solomon. The Subcommittee plans to assemble a directory of K–12 science programs nationally which offer opportunities for scientist involvement.

Raquell Holmes reported on plans for the Education Workshop also to be held at this year’s Annual Meeting, on Computational Modeling of Cellular Systems for Research and Education. Formal presentations will be followed by informal break-out groups led by the presenters.

J. Richard McIntosh discussed the development of a new forum this year, on Late Career Opportunities. The session will highlight mechanisms and models for scientists who transition from principal investigatorships to other endeavors at a senior career stage.

The continuing development of Cell Biology Education was discussed by CBE Editor Sam Ward. The journal will include K–12, undergraduate and graduate teaching materials, reviews, science education policy, pedagogy and interactive discussion forums. Instructions to Authors are being developed.

Solomon presented a draft of the National Bureau of Economic Research/ASCB Report on Careers in the Biosciences. Committee members endorsed the report findings.


Call for Nominations WICB Career Recognition Awards

The WICB Committee recognizes outstanding achievements in cell biology by presenting two Career Recognition Awards at the ASCB Annual Meeting. The Junior Award is given to a woman in an early stage of her career (assistant professor or equivalent) who has made exceptional scientific contributions to cell biology and exhibits the potential for continuing a high level of scientific endeavor while fostering the career development of young scientists. The Senior Award is given to a woman or man in a later career stage (full professor or equivalent) whose outstanding scientific achievements are coupled with a longstanding record of support for women in science and by mentorship of both men and women in scientific careers.

To submit a nomination for a 2001 Career Recognition Award, please provide: for the Senior Award, a letter of nomination, curriculum vitae of the candidate and a maximum of 5 letters of support; for the Junior Award, a letter of nomination, curriculum vitae of the candidate, and a maxiumum of 3 letters of support. A complete packet of materials should be sent to Trina Armstrong at the ASCB National Office: 8120 Woodmont Ave., Suite 750, Bethesda, MD 20814; Trina Armstrong. Nominations must be received by August 1.


K-12 Science Education for the Future

A lunchtime symposium to highlight and encourage the involvement of ASCB members in K-12 science education will be a new feature of the ASCB Annual Meeting this year. The Tuesday noon event, initiated by President Elaine Fuchs and organized by the Society’s Education Committee, will feature talks by Bruce Alberts and Maxine Singer.

Following lunch and presentations by the speakers, focused discussion guided by ASCB members currently involved and K-12 teachers who have worked with scientists will be held in small groups, modeled on the successful WICB Lunch. Education Committee member Bob Bloodgood notes that, “K-12 science outreach can be many things, starting with a classroom visit to help the teacher with a science activity, mentoring students who are working on science fair projects, providing a workshop for teachers, providing a campus laboratory visit for students, or a more sustained program to impact the way that your local school district teaches science. ASCB members and K-12 teachers have much to learn from each other, and there are now many national resources available to aid in that dialogue.”

The Education Committee will provide information on accessing those resources to Symposium attendees.

All members engaged in K-12 science education and outreach activities are also encouraged to submit an abstract to the Education poster session for the 2001 Annual Meeting. Selected education abstract authors will be invited to display posters at the Tuesday luncheon, in addition to the regular Education poster session.


WWW.Cell Biology Education

The ASCB Education Committee calls attention each month to 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.

  • BIOSIS Most people know BIOSIS from its two major activities: Biological Abstracts and Zoological Record. Each year these two services together post more than 600,000 reviews and citations of papers and events in the biological sciences world. BIOSIS has created a very interesting and useful Web site that has eight initial paths on the homepage, one of which is titled “Resources.” By selecting “Resources,” a page comes up that identifies ten worthy free resources to any user. One resource is titled BIOSIS essentials, which states, “from paleobiology to AIDS, BIOSIS Essentials demonstrates how wide a range of subjects BIOSIS traverses within the life sciences, and it gives users a preview of the new articles and meetings from these resources that are still in production here at BIOSIS.” At the time of this review, the Table of Contents section of 48 journals was listed and could be browsed. There is an interesting “Did You Know?” section that gives teasers from currently reviewed pieces, including moss helping with Alzheimers and a reference to uncontrollable hair syndrome. One may also consult the Zoology conference schedule that provides the dates of professional meetings all over the world. Each conference is linked to an appropriate Web site that gives further information.

    Internet Resource Guide. Links to over 30 biology career pages and nearly 100 general information pages can be found here. This is a gold mine for a high school teacher or parent looking for science information for their children. There are also resources that could be used by an undergraduate educator, some of which have been reviewed previously by this column. It would be worth your time to look over this site if you have strong zoological interests.

    The Free Resource page also allows one to explore the “Guide to the Animal Kingdom for Students and Educators.” The taxonomic key used by the Zoological Record is laid out before you, and color-coded as well. If you were looking for relationships between animal species, this would be one place to start.

  • AIBS The American Institute for Biological Sciences was founded in 1947. Their educational outreach committee has recently reviewed critically ten popular high school biology textbooks. One can download a PDF file titled, “Review of Biological Instruction Materials for Secondary Schools” by selecting “educational outreach” from the site homepage. The 814Kb file translates into a 72 page, very systematic report on ten textbooks based on a study funded by the Packard Foundation. The study of the texts included the topics Philosophy and Design, Evolution, Interdependence of Organisms, and Molecular Genetics. The study is very thorough and data are arrayed in informative graphs. If you are seeking a comprehensive review of today’s high school biology textbooks, this is an excellent place to start. Greater differences between the books were discovered than might first be expected. The study also places the texts into their contemporary educational context. The educational section of the site also has a nice Careers in Biology component that complements the career material at the ASCB site.
  • CELS: Coalition for Education in the Life Sciences Although dated, the CELS homepage identifies and provides links to professional organizations in biology that maintain undergraduate educational resources. Select “Educational Activities Links” to bring up the extensive listings, including a link to the ASCB. By choosing “Educational Organization” one can gain access to “web sites of the leading national organizations and professional societies in higher education and science education.” If you wish to see what is going on “out there” in undergraduate biology education, this is a good place to start.

These sites were checked May 18, 2001. Previous ASCB columns reviewing Educational Websites with the links to the sites may be found online.


Members In The News

Donna Dean of the National Institutes of Health, an ASCB member since 1995, has been appointed Acting Director of the newly established NIH National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering.

Sharon Long, an ASCB member since 1994, has been appointed Dean of Humanities & Sciences at Stanford University.

Keith Yamamoto of the University of California San Francisco, an ASCB member since 1990, received the UCSF Holly Smith Award for Exceptional Service to the School of Medicine.



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

Josephine Adams
Douglass Jane Forbes
Ronglin Xie


Grants & Opportunities

Call for Nominations. The National Academy of Sciences is accepting nominations for the NAS Award in Molecular Biology. Deadline is August 31. See www.national-academies.org/nas; select “awards.”

The Fulbright Scholar Program is offering lecturing/research awards in biological sciences for the 2002-03 academic year. Deadline is August 1.

The Amersham Pharmacia Biotech & Science Prize for Young Scientists. Applicants must have completed their Ph.D. in 2000 with research in the field of molecular biology. Deadline: July 16.



Assistant Professor. Clemson University, Department of Animal and Veterinary Science, is seeking applicants for Assistant Professor, 50 percent research, 50 percent teaching. The research program should focus in the area of growth and development of food producing animals, and should integrate with existing departmental research. It is desired that the successful candidate have experience in one or more of the following areas: molecular and cell techniques related to the induction and control of growth, growth factors, and nutrient regulation, availability and partitioning. Candidates must have a Ph.D. in an area related to the biology of animals used for food production and should submit a resume, transcripts, and a list of four references to Dr. Glenn Birrenkott, Chair, Animal and Veterinary Science, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634-0361. Applicants accepted until August 15. Clemson University is an affirmative action employer. EEO NIH Postdoc Positions. The following is a description of two NIH grant-supported postdoctoral positions available beginning June 2001. Both require a Ph.D. and U.S. citizenship or permanent resident status.

  • Position #1: Study transcriptional regulation of proteoglycan core protein genes expressed in the cornea. Candidate should have experience in modern molecular biology techniques including expression library construction and screening, cell culture,
  • Position #2: Study carbohydrate substitutions on corneal proteoglycans. Candidates should have experience with FACE, mass spectroscopy, and/or NMR. For either position, send curriculum vita, 3 letters of reference, and a senior-authored, refereed publication to: Gary W. Conrad, Ph.D., Division of Biology, Ackert Hall, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506-4901. Tel.: (785) 532-6662; Fax: (785) 532-6653. Location: central Kansas Flint Hills, native tall-grass prairie. Gorgeous environment. Kansas State University is an equal opportunity employer. KSU actively seeks diversity among its employees.

Post-Doctoral Positions in Biology at Boston College. Boston College, a national university that offers outstanding research facilities, has the following postdoctoral openings in the Biology Department.

  • Cytokinesis. Dr. David Burgess. Cytokinesis, the division of the cytoplasm during mitosis, is mediated by an actin-myosin based contractile ring in the cleavage furrow. Opportunities are available to study the cleavage stimulus and the response system orchestrating assembly and dynamics of the contractile ring.
  • B Cell Activation and Signal Transduction. Dr. Thomas Chiles. An NIHsupported position is available to study the regulation of cell cycle entry in B lymphocytes in response to B cell antigen receptor (BCR) ligation. The proposed research includes study of the role of hsp90/Cdc37 in D-type cyclin-cdk4 holoenzyme complex assembly and of the regulation of Cdc37 function by phosphorylation during negative signaling in mature B cells.
  • Fission Yeast Signal Transduction. Dr. Charles Hoffman. Two NIH-supported positions are available to study glucose detection and cAMP signaling in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe. The proposed research includes: (1) study of the git3 glucose receptor and (2) cloning and characterization of the S. pombe sgt1 gene proposed to encode a direct physical activator of adenylate cyclase.
  • Stuctural Biology of Myelin and Amyloid. Dr. Daniel Kirschner. Positions are available studying: (1) the ultrastructural neuropathology of, and adhesive mechanisms in, CNS and PNS myelins and (2) fibrillogenesis and the molecular organization of amyloid assemblies.
  • Host-Parasite Interactions in Malaria. Dr. Marc Muskavitch. Positions are available to study the developmental and cell biology of the midgut in the malaria vector mosquito, Anopheles gambiae. Understanding the biology of the An. gambiae midgut, a tissue central to the reproduction of malarial parasites, will advance our understanding of host-parasite interactions in malaria, and may help us develop strategies to disrupt this interaction.
  • Drosophila Notch Signal Transduction. Dr. Marc Muskavitch. Positions are available to study signal transduction and cell-fate specification in the development of the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. Studies will focus on ligand structure-function relationships, receptor processing, and activation in the Notch signal transduction pathway.

For more information on each of these labs. Applicants for all positions must have a Ph.D., demonstrated skills in the chosen subject area, and fluency in spoken and written English. To apply for a position, please send a curriculum vita and three letters of reference addressed to the appropriate faculty member at: Boston College, Biology Department, Higgins Hall, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467. Boston College is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We encourage applications from women and from members of groups underrepresented among life science professionals.

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