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ASCB Newsletter - June 2002

Council Urges Publishers to Release Content Free

Differential Between Foreign and U.S. Dues to be Eliminated in 2004; Over 300 New Members Admitted; Meeting Site Selection Committee Appointed

At its meeting last month in Bethesda, the elected Council of the ASCB made policy changes to broaden membership and to encourage publishers to provide free access to the scientific literature.

The Council voted to allow only publishers who agree to release their content for free electronic access six months or fewer after publication to be eligible to offer their titles to ASCB members through the annual dues notice. The change will take effect in 2004, to give publishers time to conform with the new standard.

The Society has been a leader in the “free access movement”. Council felt it important that it use its leverage to urge publishers to release their content, provided by members of the scientific community, back to the community within a reasonable period of time.

Council noted that some publications offered through the ASCB—such as The Journal of Cell Biology—already release their content within six months of publication. This is consistent with Society policy for its own peer-reviewed publications: Molecular Biology of the Cell is released for free access two months after publication, and Cell Biology Education is released immediately.

Other titles currently offered through the ASCB are not available for free access at all, or only after a year or more following publication. In taking their action, Council recognized that scientific journals are built on the volunteer contributions of authors, reviewers and often editors.

In other business, Council determined to eliminate the differential in dues between ASCB members in the U.S. and members outside the U.S., effective with the calendar year 2004.

In making the change, Council recognized that the major financial justification for establishing the differential originally—the increased costs of mailing the Society’s journal and other printed matter— has diminished over the last decade as electronic media has eliminated many of those special costs.

The Council also embraced the symbolic gesture of offering a single dues rate for each of the three categories of paid individual membership—regular, postdoctoral and student— notwithstanding where the member resides. “In today’s global research community, maintaining the distinction between U.S. and foreign membership dues rates seemed like an idea whose time has passed”, commented ASCB President Gary Borisy. “We want to let our colleagues across the globe know that while we are the ‘American’ Society for Cell Biology, we believe that it is neither possible nor desirable to separate by geographic origin the research contributions of our members”, he said.

The Council took considerable time to analyze the Society’s financial exposure should another national tragedy or scare threaten the Society’s ability to fully execute a future Annual Meeting. The Council determined to build its reserve fund to serve as self-insurance against such an occurence, but gradually enough so that programs would not be jeopardized. It charged the Finance Committee with recommending an implementation plan.

A report was received from each Society committee, and reviewed. Important issues being addressed by committees, as reported in the ASCB Newsletter, include advocacy for federal funding for stem cell research and somatic cell nuclear transplantation, the defense of teaching evolution in schools, and supporting the careers of underrepresented minorities in science. Council noted the extraordinary contributions to the scientific community of hundreds of volunteer ASCB members through the Society.

ASCB President Gary Borisy appointed a committee to recommend future Annual Meeting sites to follow the currently scheduled meetings.

Society Secretary Larry Goldstein proposed 331 new applicants for membership in the Society, and eleven members for Emeritus Status. All were approved.


New Editors-in-Chief Appointed to CBE

Sarah C.R. “Sally” Elgin of Washington University and Malcolm Campbell of Davidson College have been appointed Editors-in-Chief of Cell Biology Education, the ASCB’s new journal.

Founding Editor-in-Chief Samuel Ward will remain on the Editorial Board. He resigned to dedicate himself to a year-long sabbatical in Germany. Ward had made important contributions to establishing CBE, by appointing an outstanding editorial board and helping to secure grant funding.

“The formidable team of Elgin and Campbell will empower this journal to become an indispensible vehicle for researchers who teach biology at every level, from high school through graduate school. I am proud that the Society has stepped up to the complicated and critically important challenge of improving the teaching of biology,“ said ASCB President Gary Borisy in announcing the appointments.


Meselson to Receive Public Service Award

Matthew Meselson of Harvard University has been named to receive the ninth annual ASCB Public Service Award.

Meselson is being honored for his dedication, over many decades, to guiding and informing national policy on issues of deep significance, in particular his concern about and advice to the government on Yellow Rain and chemical warfare in the 1960s and 1970s. Today, Meselson is a leading advisor to the government on bioterror threats.

Most scientists know Meselson best from the famous Meselson/Stahl experiment.

Society Public Policy Committee Chair Paul Berg will present the Award on Sunday evening, December 15, at the ASCB Annual Meeting in San Francisco.


Bernfield Memorial Contributors

The Society is grateful to the following donors who helped establish the ASCB-Merton Bernfield Award. Other contributors were listed in the May 2002 issue of the ASCB Newsletter.

Children’s Hospital Pathology Foundation, Inc.
Bernard L. & Sarah D. Mirkin

Ronald & Ruthanne Field
Partners Healthcare System
Frank & Betsy Stockdale
Zena Werb

J. Michael Bishop
Caroline H. Damsky
Ralph & Margie Sanderson
Michael & Johanna Wald

Gordon & Sharon Bower & Julia Bower Wheat
Alfred & Ardis Breslauer
Jeffrey D. Esko
Brenda Fingold & Daniel Geffken
John G. Flanagan
Koji Kimata
Rong Li
Frank McKeon
Aaron & Joan Shatkin
Thomas Walz
Qiang Yu & Junying Yuan

Up To $99
Patricia Cunningham & Samuel Kennedy
Eric C. Eichenwald
Arlene & Ron Spiegler


MBC Receives SNAP Award

Molecular Biology of the Cell was honored with an EXCEL Award from the Society of National Association Publishers for 2002.

MBC will receive the Bronze Award for General Excellence in the category of Scholarly Journals; the category includes best writing, content, graphic design and overall packaging in a peer-reviewed publication. The Award will be presented this month at the Annual Meeting of SNAP.



The ASCB is grateful to the following member who has given a gift to support Society activities:

Julie Theriot


Members In The News

ASCB Councilor John Pringle of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a member of the ASCB since 1976, was inducted last month into the Harvard Varsity Club Hall of Fame. The 24th Hall of Fame induction ceremony honored Pringle for Swimming & Diving for the class of 1964.

Virginia Shepherd, an ASCB member since 1983, has been named director of the Office for Science Outreach at Vanderbilt University. Shepherd received the ASCB Bruce Alberts Award in 2000.

Joint Steering Committee for Public Policy Chair and former NIH Director Harold Varmus, President of Memorial SloanKettering Cancer Center and an ASCB member since 1992, will receive the National Medal of Science, the nation’s highest honor for science. The Medal, administered by the National Science Foundation, was announced by President Bush last month and will be presented at a White House ceremony this month.


ASCB Members Elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Eight ASCB members were among those elected to fellowship in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and one was elected Foriegn Honorary Member.

  • Mina Bissell Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
  • Wolfgang Baumeister Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry (Foriegn Honorary Member)
  • Shaun Coughlin University of California, San Francisco
  • A. James Hudspeth The Rockefeller University
  • Mary Kennedy California Institute of Technology
  • Anthony Means Duke University
  • Bruce Spiegelman Harvard Medical School/Dana Farber Cancer Institute
  • Ronald Vale University of California, San Francisco
  • Peter Walter University of California, San Francisco


Education Committee Works with Postdocs; Plans Annual Meeting Events

Sarah Elgin of Washington University chaired the May 17 meeting of the ASCB Education Committee in Bethesda. The meeting was attended by members Robert Bloodgood, Robert Blystone, Victoria May, Patrica Pukkila, Roger Sloboda, Elisa Stone and Christopher Watters; ad hoc Post Doctoral Subcommittee members Kimberly Paul and Thomas Sweitzer; Minorities Affairs Committee liaison Raquell Holmes, and ASCB staffers Stephanie Dean, Dot Doyle, Elizabeth Marincola, Harry Rothmann and Kevin Wilson.

Paul and Sweitzer reported on the development of the Postdoc Subcommittee. A Charter for the structure and function of the Subcommittee on Postdoctoral Training was presented to the Committee and adopted with some modification. The Subcommittee requested that the Society develop a statement on the purpose of the postdoctoral experience for the discipline, and develop norms regarding the postdoctoral fellowship. A Postdoc web page has been launched on the ASCB Education Committee page. About 20 ASCB members have responded to the call for Subcommittee members in the ASCB Newsletter. The Subcommittee will meet at the ASCB Annual Meeting. Future projects include expansion of the web page and development of a “Guide to the Annual Meeting for Postdocs.”

Pat Pukkila proposed that a reception for undergraduate students be held at the Annual Meeting to highlight their science and facilitate their interaction. The Committee supported the proposal.

Dean reported that the premier issue of Cell Biology Education will be available on-line shortly. The first issue will also be printed. As with Molecular Biology of the Cell, much of the content of CBE, such as graphics, will only be available on line.

Blystone and Elgin reported on planning for the undergraduate teaching workshop New Paradigms in Introductory and Cell Biology: Bio 2010. The workshop focuses on the NRC report Bio 2010: Undergraduate Biology Education to Prepare Research Scientists for the 21st Century. Featured speakers are NRC Committee Members Joan Steitz of Yale University, Louis Gross of the University of Tennessee and Betsey Dyer of Wheaton College. Additional speakers will be selected from abstracts submitted under science education. Emphasis will be on learning experiences that include data acquisition and analysis, and on the integration of mathematics into the teaching of biology.

The K-12 outreach lunch will feature Liesl Chatman, Executive Director of the Science & Health Education Partnership at UCSF. Demonstration of a classroom activity on cells will be included this year.

The event will be held on a Sunday to enable local teachers and college faculty to participate. A summary of programs will again be incorporated in a printed booklet to be distributed there.

Elgin proposed a collaboration to develop materials that ASCB members could use to teach younger students about cells, perhaps modeled after Microscopic Exploration, developed by the Lawrence Hall of Science (University of California, Berkeley) Great Explorations in Math and Science (GEMS) program, in collaboration with the Microscopy Society of America. The proposed publication would include cell biology labs for students in grades 4– 8. The Committee enthusiastically supported pursuing the collaboration.

Chris Watters and Linda Silveira are planning the Education Initiative Forum, to be held Monday–Wednesday at the Annual Meeting; Vicki May will organize the ASCB Symposium at the National Association for Biology Teachers meeting; Elizabeth Jones is writing a grant to fund pre-doctoral travel awards for the ASCB Annual Meeting, and Leslie Leinwand will organize the continuing Career Panel at the ASCB Annual Meeting.


Letters To The Editor

Location, Location, Location

Dear Dr. Borisy,
I have been meaning to respond to your columns in the February and April 2002 issues of ASCB Newsletter.

We are an American Society for Cell Biology. One of the Objectives of the Society is “to support the profession of cell biology by guiding national policy on the education, training and career development of basic biomedical researchers, and by contributing to local and national efforts to enrich science education.”

The NIH, NSF and USDA all try to strengthen the national regions of this country by considering underrepresented areas of the USA. The scheduling of so many meetings in California is a policy that is against this federal aim and the very objectives that our Society wishes to proclaim. The fifth aim is to develop the careers of historically under-represented constituencies in biomedical research, including minorities and women. The entire Mid-west and South are being neglected by the cities the ASCB has and plans to commit to. The last meeting in the South was in 1993, in New Orleans. The last meeting in the ‘mid-west’ was in Denver in 1992.

The American Society for Microbiology, of which I am one of 19,000 members, has meetings in all areas of this country. The 1999 meeting was in Chicago: 13,500 members attended, there were 125 Symposia and colloquia; 3500 posters. This year the 2002 meeting is in Salt Lake City!

I am suggesting that the ASCB officers think hard and more creatively about where they will commit the Society Annual Meeting from 2008 and beyond. If $60,000 is needed to hold the meetings in Chicago or Orlando or New Orleans, approach NIH and/or NSF for the funds on the basis of holding truly national meetings.

Graduate students and post-doctoral fellows from the mid-west and South have been shortchanged by the planning of so many meetings outside of these regions.

I have nothing against California. I love going there. However, I am a member of the American Society for Cell Biology and not the Californian Society for Cell Biology.

I suggest the officers read the statement of Six Objectives for the ASCB as published in our Newsletter before making future meeting sites. Ask yourselves, are we meeting these national objectives by our planned meetings on the two shores of this country.

Best Wishes,

Joseph W. Sanger

Foreigners Attend the Annual Meeting, Too

Dear Dr. Borisy,

I have enjoyed your President’s column so far. It makes sense that someone just taking office should delve into statistics and present the state of the Society. But your recent article was uncharacteristically chauvinistic. “43.8% East Coast, 18.3% West Coast and 37.9% Non-Coast” doesn’t leave much room for those of us from the Third World, does it? In fact it is my, probably biased, impression that ASCB meetings are full of non-resident visitors—including both speakers and attendees—and that they make a substantial contribution to the success of the meetings. It would be nice if you could acknowledge our existence sometime!


Dennis Bray

Response from Gary Borisy:
I thank Dennis Bray for his comment that my April column, “Who Goes to the Annual Meeting?” was “uncharacteristically chauvinistic” in that it gave the breakdown of attendance by region of the US without mentioning participation from members elsewhere in the world. Mea culpa and I am glad for the opportunity to correct this error of omission. In fact, approximately 19% of regular ASCB members attending the Annual Meeting are non-US. This does not include international scientists who are not members. As I noted in my March column, “Who Are We?”, the ASCB is increasingly an international cell biology organization and the contributions of non-US participants are vital to the success of the Annual Meeting.


Grants & Opportunities

National Organization for Rare Disorders is accepting applications for clinical research of HallervordenSpatz Syndrome. Full proposals, by invitation only, are due July 1, and announcement of awards is in September. Questions?

AAAS WISC Research Program and Grants. The American Association for the Advancement of Science seeks applicants with recent doctoral degrees for its Women’s International Science Collaboration Program 2001-2003. Application deadline is July 15.

The Fulbright Scholar Program is offering university lecturing and postdoctoral research awards in biological sciences in the Middle East/Asia for the 2003-04 academic year. Deadline is August 1.

NIGMS Grants. The NIH NIGMS has grant opportunites in the areas of Structural Biology of Membrane Proteins, Ethical Issues in Human Studies and NIH Research Training Grants. Deadlines vary beginning August 1.



Assistant Professor, Cell Biology. Simon Fraser University, BC. The Department of Biological Sciences is seeking a tenure track faculty member in the area of CELL BIOLOGY. The appointment will be made at the Assistant Professor level with a start date on or after January 1, 2003. Any area of modern Cell Biology is of interest, but preference will be given to candidates who study functional aspects in cellular systems that bridge our current research strength at the subcellular and the organ and tissue levels. The successful candidate will pursue a vigorous, externally funded research program that includes the training of graduate students. She or he also will be expected to develop upper division undergraduate and graduate courses in cell biology, and contribute to the teaching of the introductory course in Cell Biology. Review of applications will begin on September 3, 2002, and the search will remain active until the position is filled. Applicants should send a Curriculum Vitae, three representative reprints, a one-page summary of their research objectives, and three letters of reference to Dr. Norbert H. Haunerland, Chair, Department of Biological Sciences, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Blvd., Burnaby, B.C. V5A 1S6, Canada; Fax (604) 291-4312.

All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority. The appointment is subject to final budgetary approval by the University.

Simon Fraser University, located in the greater Vancouver area, is committed to employment equity, welcomes diversity in the workplace, and encourages applications from all qualified individuals including women, members of visible minorities, aboriginal persons, and persons with disabilities.

Assistant Professor, Cell Biology/Physiology. Ashland University seeks a full-time Assistant Professor for a one-year vacancy. Qualifications include a Ph.D., and ability to teach courses in cell biology, human anatomy and physiology and general introductory courses for both majors and non-majors. Facilities are available for directing undergraduate research. Send letter of application, statement of teaching philosophy, curriculum vitae, transcripts and 3 letters of recommendation to Cell Biology Search, Department of Biology/Toxicology, Ashland University, Ashland, OH 44805. Review of applications begins on June 14. AA/EOE.

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