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ASCB Newsletter - November 2002

ASCB to Host Summer Meeting on Stem Cells

The ASCB Summer Meeting Selection Committee, chaired by Linda Hicke of Northwestern University, selected from among several member proposals Signal Transduction Determining the Fate of Stem Cells for the topic of the 2003 ASCB Summer Meeting.

The meeting, which will accommodate about 200 participants, will be organized by Naohiro Terada of the University of Florida College of Medicine and Gary L. Johnson of the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center.

Dates, location and program will be announced in the ASCB Newsletter


NIH Director to Address Cell Biologists

Elias Zerhouni, Director of the National Institutes of Health since May, will be the featured speaker in the Practice of Science Session at the ASCB Annual Meeting. Zerhouni will speak on “The Post-Genome NIH” on Monday, December 16, at 5:30 PM. The session will be moderated by Keith Yamamoto.


Dalai Lama Learns Biology from ASCB Members

The Ultimate High-Level Briefing
In late September, ASCB members Ursula Goodenough of Washington University and Eric Lander of MIT journeyed to the foothills of the Himalyas, Power Point in hand, to respond to the request of His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, to learn about modern cell biology.

Seated in easy chairs, surrounded by translators, Western visitors and monks in attendance, Goodenough and Lander each had a morning to lay out facts and their implications for His Holiness. In the afternoon was discussion and commentary from the Tibetan Buddhist point of view elicited by such concepts as evolution and DNA manipulation. “It was a very rich experience for me,” says Goodenough. “The Tibetan language doesn’t have words for many scientific concepts, and indeed, many of the concepts themselves are not part of their world view. For example, their texts do not regard plants as being alive. Their whole philosophy is focused on sentient beings, but sentient beings are all animals. They don’t say a plant dies. They say it dries up.” Her explanation of cell receptors and signal transduction cascades as part of “cellular awareness” set off a lively discussion among the translators because the Tibetan term translated as “awareness” is reserved to describe higher levels of human consciousness.

Goodenough and Lander were two members of a five-scientist panel invited by the Mind & Life Institute as part of an ongoing series of seminars on Western science for His Holiness and his inner circle of monkscholars. Previous seminars explored particle physics and neuroscience. This was the Dalai Lama’s first foray into cellular biology; Goodenough found him a quick study. “He’s very interested in science and really wants to understand this stuff. We’d been told that he knew about DNA and proteins, but when I started it became clear that he had very little background. So we spent twenty minutes from nucleotide sequence to amino acid sequence, in wonderful tutorial fashion, and he picked it up at once. Of course, one is left to wonder how many of the world’s leaders understand DNA!protein .”

Goodenough traveled with her 20-yearold son, Thomas, from St. Louis to Dharamsala, the northern Indian town at 1800 meters altitude that has been the de facto holy city for Tibetan Buddhists since the Dalai Lama fled there in 1959. Lander went with his wife and three children.

At the end of the seminar, the Dalai Lama called the scientists forward and wrapped each in a beautifully woven, white silk shawl, called a khata, as a sign of thanks. Back in St. Louis, Goodenough has only to touch it to vividly recall the scene in the Dalai Lama’s monastery-quarters. “What I’m saying in this interview in no way communicates what it feels like to be in the presence of these people. My feet are fully anchored in the material world but these monks are engaged in what might be described as a contemplative technology that takes a vastly different perspective.”


Horvitz Receives Nobel

H. Robert Horvitz of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology will receive the Nobel Prize for discoveries into the genetic regulation of organ development and programmed cell death. Horvitz has been a Society member since 1988 and serves on the ASCB Public Policy Committee and the Joint Steering Committee for Public Policy.

Horvitz and colleagues identified key genes regulating organ development and programmed cell death. Understanding cell death clarifies the mechanisms by which some viruses and bacteria invade our cells in AIDS, neurodegenerative diseases, stroke and myocardial infarction.

Sydney Brenner and John E. Sulston will share the Medicine or Physiology Prize with Horvitz. The awards are presented on December 10, the anniversary of Nobel’s death in 1896.


ASCB Members Elected to IOM

Sixty-five people were elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences this Spring, including 11 ASCB members.

  • Ira Herskowitz University of California, San Francisco Member since 1990
  • Louis J. Ignarro University of California, Los Angeles Member since 1975
  • Richard Lifton Yale University Member since 1998
  • Gerald M. Rubin University of California, Berkeley Member since 1990
  • Erkki Ruoslahti The Burnham Institute Member since 1982
  • George R. Stark Cleveland Clinic Foundation Member since 1995
  • Ralph M. Steinman The Rockefeller University Member since 1974
  • Craig Thompson University of Pennsylvania Member since 1997
  • John Trojanowski University of Pennsylvania Member since 1985
  • Irving Weissman Stanford University Member since 2002
  • Zena Werb University of California, San Francisco Member since 1976


ASCB Press Office Will Distribute Member Releases

ASCB members presenting at the Annual Meeting may provide press releases about their work through the ASCB’s Newsroom, located in Room 212 of the Moscone Convention Center. The release must concern a member’s scientific work and be issued by the Public Information Office of the home institution, funding agency, or company.

The press office is run by the ASCB’s Public Information Committee (PIC), which also issues the Annual Meeting Press Book, highlighting selected newsworthy research being presented at the Annual Meeting. Thirty to forty professional science journalists report on the meeting each year. Last year’s Annual Meeting was covered by Science, Nature, BioMedNet, UPI, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Reuters Health, The Scientist, Dallas Morning News and Science News, among other media outlets.

For details about Annual Meeting press, contact the ASCB’s Science Writer, John Fleischman.


What is Science Education Partnership?

While it can take many forms, a science education partnership can be as simple as a parent-scientist visiting a classroom to talk about his or her career, to describe an aspect of science, or to present a simple science activity.

The ASCB Annual Meeting K-12 Science/Education Partnership lunch will:

  • stimulate discussion among teachers and scientists about classroom participation;
  • demonstrate an exercise that can be adapted to all classroom levels, and
  • provide opportunities to problem solve classroom situations.

Lunch tickets may be purchased with online meeting registration, or during the Annual Meeting at the Ticket Sales counter in the South Lobby of Moscone Convention Center.

Cost is $15 for students; $20 for others.


Biotech Symposium to Feature Haseltine, Sigal, Yancapolous

The annual ASCB Annual Meeting Biotech Symposium will feature major figures in private and public health biotechnology. The Symposium will be moderated by James Sabry of Cytokinetics and will be held on Sunday, December 15 at 8:00 PM in Room 130 of the Moscone Convention Center.

  • James Sabry Cytokinetics, Inc. (Moderator)
  • Julian Adams Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
  • Brian Druker Oregon Health & Science University
  • David Phillips Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
  • Charles Homcy President of Rand Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc.


Letters To The Editor

Misconduct Malpractice


I have an additional concern about the post-doc experience that was not addressed in the discussion on “Scientific Sweatshops” in the recent ASCB Newsletter [President’s Column, October 2002]. Along with legitimate concerns about scientific misconduct present today, there has been a virtual epidemic of false scientific misconduct charges leveled against individuals as a method of revenge in the scientific workplace.

A recent review of cases summarized by the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) found that about half of the investigations found no misconduct, and a large proportion of these investigations were launched by individuals intent on exacting revenge on someone in the laboratory. Unfortunately, while the target of these attacks is often the senior investigator, it is usually the post-doctorate student who finds himor herself the target of these investigations since this is the person whose responsibility is the maintenance of laboratory notebooks. In practice, it is exceedingly easy to launch investigations with a few scribbled notes, or even with no supporting documentation at all. While the cost is often trivialized by the press and NIH, these investigations represent a tremendous hardship on the post-doc who often has played no role in the bad relationships which nurtured the false accusations in the first place. In addition to the obvious human rights issues, the financial hardship borne by the post-doc is extreme, to say the least. While millions of dollars are spent by the university and by NIH on the prosecution of these “bad faith” accusations (to use the terminology of ORI), zero resources are provided to the beleaguered post-doc(s) who must fund their legal expenses alone. The only recompense that NIH provides is that, after their tormenting experience, they may then go further into debt to sue their accusers in court to recover these expenses, wasting additional years of their life.

Unlike training in the basic sciences, training in the medical sciences requires mandatory malpractice insurance that provides proper legal defense in cases of medical malpractice accusations. It would appear that NIH and other funding agencies should provide this basic protection, especially in light of the epidemic of false accusations which are often supported and encouraged by these entities.

Peter R. Williamson
University of Illinois, Chicago

Fed Up with Spam


I am a member of ASCB. What is your policy on unsolicited Email? I never ever wish to receive unsolicited commercial Email. I have received a number of commercial Emails recently. Do you ever give out members’ Emails addresses?

Christopher Ross
The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

Dr. Ross:

We realize how intrusive unsolicited email can be. Therefore it is the ASCB’s policy not to rent, sell or give away members’ email addresses to commercial interests or even nonprofit organizations. The only time that ASCB members receive email as a consequence of ASCB membership is when the Society wishes to inform members of its own important activities or opportunities, such as Annual Meeting deadlines, and, occasionally, critical public policy issues. And we try to be very selective even about those notices because we wish members to take our communications seriously and therefore seek to avoid email saturation.

Instead, we have invested in publishing a hard copy of the Society’s newsletter monthly to ensure that our members are informed of important events in a timely manner. We do sell the opportunity to reach our members in this venue (i.e. through ads), which we think is less imposing than email, and more effective for the advertiser.



The ASCB is grateful to the following members who have recently given gifts to support Society activities:

Robert Adelstein
Milton Adesnik
Dorothy Boatman
Matthew Brady
Donald Brown
Coralle Carraway
Christopher Carron
Nirupa Chaudhari
Ellen Dirksen
Paul Dreizen
Howard Ducoff
Thelma Dunnebacke-Dixon
Christine Field
Leslie Gold
Nancy Weber Kaye
James Keen
Elizabeth Kordyum
Sandra Masur
Wilfredo Mellado
Minoru Morikawa
Vivianne Nachmias
Mohandas Narla
Elizabeth Neufeld
Mark Philips
Juan Ramon Sanchez-Esteban
Samuel Silverstein
Peter Sorger
Christina Wahl
Susan Wick


Members In The News

Donna Dean, an ASCB member since 1995, has been named the first deputy director of the NIH National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering. Dean has been serving as Acting Director of NIBIB since January 2001.

Jan Ellenberg of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, Germany, an ASCB member since 1996, will receive the Nikon Instruments Inc./MBL Research Fellowship for 2002.


Grants & Opportunities

Royal Society. The Royal Society invites nominations for a new award in honor of Rosalind Franklin. Deadline: November 29. See www.royalsoc.ac.uk/awards.

2003 Cooperative Grants Program. The U.S. Civilian Research and Development Foundation (CRDF), invites teams of U.S. and former Soviet Union (FSU) scientists and engineers to apply for oneto twoyear grants. One application may be submitted every twelve months.

NIGMS Grants. RFAs are being accepted for Exploratory Center Grants for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research. Deadline for Letter of Intent: February 13, 2003; deadline for Application: March 13, 2003.


2002 Minorities Affairs Committee Travel Awards

The ASCB Minorities Affairs Committee has selected the following students and scientists to receive travel awards which are funded through an NIH NIGMS MARC grant:

Laura Arce, University of California, Irvine
Sidney Cambridge Max-Planck-Institute, Munich-Martinsried
Ayesha Carter, Virginia Technical University
David Cullins, University of North Carolina
Luz Cuevas-Molina, Ponce School of Medicine, Garrochales, PR
Idaris de Jesus Maldonado, University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez
Brent Elliott, NIDDK/NIH Kuburat Famuditimi, University of Maryland
Mario Fernandez, Minnesota State University
Michael Garcia, University of California, San Diego
Tiana Garrett, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Tracie Gibson, University of Wisconsin Medical School
Annalyn Gilchrist, McGill University, Montreal, Canada
Annette Gonzalez, Northwestern University School of Medicine
Triscia Hendrickson, Emory University School of Medicine
Shanta Hinton, Howard University
Damon Jacobs, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Jenelle Jones, North Carolina Central University
Silvia Mah, University of California, San Diego
Nekeshia Maloney, Morgan State University
Rebecca Marquez, University of Kansas, Lawrence
Patrick Martin, University of Virginia Health System School of Medicine
Josephine Mendoza, California State University
Doshandra Newton, North Carolina Central University
Mahasin Osman, Cornell University
Nafeesa Owens, Thomas Jefferson University
Sonya Perez, St. Mary’s University
Jennifer Pons, Georgetown University
Johanna Porter-Kelley, National Institutes of Health
Melanie Jean Ragin, Pennsylvania State University
Carroll Reese, Morgan State University
Luis Rodriguez, Cornell University
Ademi Santiago-Walker, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Miriam Segura-Totten, The Johns Hopkins University
Claudia Toledo, California State University
Inemesit Udoeyop, Connecticut College
Melanie Van Stry, Boston University School of Medicine
Laura Zanello Adams, University of California, Riverside

The National Institute on Aging has selected the following students, whose research is focused on an area of aging research, to receive special NIA MAC Travel Awards:

Nicolas Azios, University of Texas, Austin
Sandra Bolanos, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston
Claudette Davis, City University of New York, City College
Melissa Hubbert, Wake Forest University School of Medicine
Kafi Meadows, Albany Medical College
Donia Palomo, The Catholic University of America

Awards are also made to the Following MAC Linkage Fellows:

Lisa Banner, California State University
Alexis Brooks-Walter, Florida A&M University
Charles Bradley Shuster, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces
Karen Hubbard, City University of New York, City College
Amy Lucero, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces
Vivian Navas, University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez
Mark Maloney, Spelman College, Atlanta
Jennifer Rashe, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces
Graciela Unguez, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces
Velinda Woriax, University of North Carolina, Pembroke


2002 ASCB Predoctoral Travel Awards

The following students were selected competitively by the ASCB Education Committee to receive travel awards to attend the 42nd ASCB Annual Meeting. Special congratulations to the top-ranked students, whose awards are supported by the Worthington Biomedical Corporation.

ASCB/Worthington Predoctoral Travel Awardees
Scott Bornheimer, University California, San Diego Alexander Rigort, University of Bonn, Germany Jonathan Soderholm, University of Chicago Guo Wei, Ohio State University Shelli Williams, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa Michele Wozniak, University of Wisconsin, Madison

ASCB Predoctoral Travel Awardees
Jawdat Al-Bassam, The Scripps Research Institute Heath Balcer, Brandeis University
Eustratios Bananis, Albert Einstein College of Medicine Helene Benink, University of Wisconsin
Adam Berger, Emory University
Nicole Bryce, Childrens Hospital of Westmead, Australia
Rodrigo Bustos, The Johns Hopkins University
Kimberly Chambers, Cornell University
Gurushankar Chandramouly, Purdue University
Shaohong Cheng, University of Manitoba, Canada
Oscar Colegio, Yale University
Lee Cooper, Cornell University
Carolyn Coyne, University of North Carolina
Sean Deacon, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Caterina Di Ciano, Toronto General Hospital, Canada
Jeroen Dobbelaere, TTH Zurich, Switzerland
Rachel Dusek, Northwestern University
Christian Faul, Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Michael Fox, Virginia Commonwealth University
Terra Frederick, Pennsylvania State University
German Gil, CIQUI-BIC, Cordoba, Argentina
Greta Glover, Oregon Health & Science University
Eric Griffis, Emory University School of Medicine
Inna Grosheva, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel
David Harrison, University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey
Stuart Hicks, The Johns Hopkins Medical School
Alyson Hobbs, The Johns Hopkins Medical School
Myles Hodgson, Royal Perth Hospital, Perth, Australia
Nian Huang, University of Mississippi Medical Center
Miriam Huerta, Center for Research and Advanced Studies, Mexico City
Hyun-Jung Kim, Kvungpook National University School of Dentistry, Korea
Nadia Korfali, University of Edinburgh, Scotland
Tanya Koropatnick, University of Hawaii
Jan Kuiper, University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Vadivelu Kumar, Institute of Molecular Pathology, Vienna, Austria
Karen Lee, Hong Kong University of Science & Technology, China
Lisa Mi-Jung Lee, University of Iowa
Sheeyong Lee, University of Mississippi Medical Center
Carolina Levy, National Academy of Medicine, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Xianwu Li, University of Washington
Song Liang, University of Texas Health Sciences Center
Jurgita Matuliene, University of Minnesota
Stephanie McAlhany, Baylor College of Medicine
Shannon McCue, University of Toronto–Toronto Research Institute, Canada
Jennifer McCullar, Oregon State University
Melanie McGill, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada
Meghan McMullen, Albany Medical College
Kevin Miranda, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
Leah Morris, University of Virginia
Rachel Nguyen, University of Minnesota
Kimi Nishikawa, State University of New York
Jiaxin Niu, University of Illinois College of Medicine
James Orth, Mayo Foundation
Carola Otth Lagunas, University Austral de Chile, Valdivia, Chile
Yulia Ovechkina, University of Washington
Shujuan Pan, University of Texas-MD Anderson Cancer Center
Priyiadarshini Pande, Utah State University
Nish Patel, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada
Claire Pearson, University of Nebraska
Stephanie Pontier, University of Montreal, Canada
Renee Pulver, University of Vermont
Anita Rao, University of Maryland
Carey Rodeheffer, Emory University
Minoru Sano, University of Tokyo, Japan
Christoph Schatz, EMBL, Germany
Abhinav Seth, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
Elena Shestakova, University of Rene Descartes, France
Irena Shur, Tel Aviv University, Israel
Maria Silva, University Federal Uberlandia, Brazil
Michelle Siu, Population Council
Christian Smith, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada
David Sofeu Feugaing, University Hospital of Muenster, Germany
Jose Sotelo, Facultad De Ciencias, Uruguay
Dayalan Srinivasan, Harvard University/Massachusetts General Hospital
Alexander Swarbrick, Garvan Institute for Medical Research, Australia
Anjali Teckchandani, Temple University School of Medicine
Leslie Tompkins, North Carolina State University
Shilpa Vashist, Pennsylvania State University
Yi Wang, University of Alberta, Canada
Jing Wang, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
Sylwia Wasiak, Montreal Neurologocal Institute-McGill University, Canada
Kari Weber, University of Wisconsin
Matthew Wheeler, University of Chicago
Kari Wojtanik, Tufts University School of Medicine
Joyce Yao, Emory University
Ka Kit Yeung, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, China
Daniel Young, University of Massachusetts Medical School
Kate Young, University of Rochester
Hicao Yue, University of Southern California
Maria Yuseff, University of Chile, Santiago
Jian Zhang, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
Xiaohui Zhang, University of Miami School of Medicine
Philip Zuzarte, University of Guelph, Canada

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