|Annual Meeting Highlights|
Despite storms that hit the West Coast, participation in the ASCB Annual Meeting set a new record for a regular Annual Meeting. 9,767 registrants attended the meeting, where 3,461 scientific abstracts, nine major symposia, 32 minisymposia and a wide variety of awards, lectures, special events, committee activities and exhibits were presented. Following are some meeting highlights:
Congress 101/CLC Meeting
The Joint Steering Committee for Public Policy held its annual reception for Congressional Liaison Committee members. This year’s event, Stepping Up to the Plate: Why You Need to be a Science Advocate, featured Thomas Pollard and Harold Varmus. They gave an overview of the current political climate on Capitol Hill in relation to stem cells, cloning and federal funding, and encouraged scientists to engage in science policy advocacy.
MAC Mentoring Symposium
The program was presented by Scott Fraser of CalTech on Seeing Is Believing: Watching the Cellular Dynamics that Build Embryos. Over 300 students and teachers from all over the Bay Area attended.
Fraser compared various aspects of imaging to playing football, including a picture of how looking into an embryo can be like watching a football game that is played in a stadium full of milk. The theoretical background gave way to an animated fly-by of a 3Drendered picture of a mouse embryo that elicited awe from the students. After Fraser’s presentation, several exhibitors hosted students at their booths.
Education Initiative Forum
WICB/Education Networking Career Lunch
Participants were asked to complete a questionnaire, the data from which will be analyzed by Lunch organizers and used to improve future programs.
ASCB Zeiss Run
Minorities Poster Session Winners
|Council Discusses Inclusion, New Member Criteria, Annual Meeting Format|
The Society Council met before the ASCB Annual Meeting last month in San Francisco. Members in attendance conducted the regular Council business of admitting candidates to membership (see page 39), reviewing the financial performance of the Society (as presented in the November 2002 issue of the ASCB Newsletter) and receiving reports and discussing the programs of Society committees (see pages 4-24).
The elected body also discussed several new proposals and issues that impact ongoing and potentially new Society activities:
Incorporation of Commercial Activities in Society Programs
Inclusion of the Membership in the Affairs of the Society
Methods in Cell Biology
Proposed Membership Modifications to the Society Bylaws Council developed two recommendations to the Constitution & Bylaws Committee for proposed changes to membership policy as specified in the Society Bylaws. They are to:
Molecular Biology of the Cell Editorial Board Meeting
Yamamoto emphasized the importance of continued vigilance by Associate Editors and the Editorial Board to shepherd manuscripts through the peer review system in a thorough, prompt and fair way. He announced the appointments of nine new Associate Editors and nine new Editorial Board members, effective 2003.
MBC Managing Editor Stephanie Dean acknowledged the extraordinary contributions of MBC staff Rebecca Wason and Liz Haberkorn. Dean noted that the upward trend in manuscript submissions is projected to increase journal issue size by 10% in 2003. She also noted that the two-month reduction in publication lag enabled by MBC in Press allows the publication of manuscripts within weeks after final decision.
Dean reported that institutional subscriptions rose 16% due mostly to consortial sales to developing countries. She announced that MBC, in partnership with the National Library of Medicine’s PubMed Central, will archive MBC backissue content since the journal’s inception, when it was titled Cell Regulation. This project will enable free public access to all MBC back-issue content electronically at the PubMed Central site. MBC is also developing the capacity to enable authors to receive page proofs for their accepted manuscripts electronically, to speed production time, particularly for authors outside the U.S.
Cell Biology Education Editorial Board Meeting
Elgin remarked that manuscripts with longitudinal assessment are the central focus of CBE, but noted that assessment can take different forms. She underscored that the journal covers all life science research, not just cell biology, and emphasized that content should reflect topics of greatest interest to faculty and teachers of life sciences at the K-25 levels.
Campbell noted that CBE has already attracted over 1,200 subscribers who have registered to receive alerts when new content is posted on the CBE website. Campbell discussed other electronic features of CBE and reported that capacity is being developed to publish content containing Chime and other online media.
Elgin and Campbell proposed adding a “Points of View” feature to CBE, which was endorsed by the Board. The column will include point/counterpoint opinion pieces on current trends in life science teaching and research.
The goals of the K-12 Lunch are to entice scientists to learn how to become involved in classrooms, to bring members of the community, especially teachers, to the ASCB meeting, and to provide a networking opportunity for those already engaged. Gary Borisy commented that he had heard from ASCB members who are primarily intested in education that they feel that there is a “place for them” in the ASCB and at the Annual Meeting. The Committee will focus next year on practical approaches to the classroom for scientists inexperienced with K-12 students. The Lunch will be held on Sunday to encourage participation of local teachers.
Tom Sweitzer and Kim Paul reported on the first meeting of the Subcommittee on Postdoctoral Training. The Subcommittee is dedicated to expansion and enhancement of the ASCB postdoc webpage; development of articles on postdoc issues for the ASCB Newsletter; and implementation of postdoc travel awards. The Subcommittee recognized improvements by the Society for postdocs, including the new Job Board and Career Center, online program scheduling for the Annual Meeting, publication of Career Advice for Life Sciences and Life Sciences Research and Teaching: Strategies for the Successful Job Hunt, and the launch of Cell Biology Education. The Subcommittee asked that the ASCB notify COSEPUP of its advances in support of postdocs. Richard Rodewald of the NIH Center for Scientific Review addressed a general postdoc session.
The Education Initiative Forum featured selected speakers from education abstracts. Attendance at and interest in the Forum continues to be great and increasing.
The Committee determined to display education posters in the EdComm/MAC Information Booth in addition to their scheduled poster sessions.
Elgin reported on Cell Biology Education. She noted that new electronic resources for publishing animations, 3-D visualizations and Chime tutorials are being developed.
The Bio 2010 Workshop sold out at 140 people. Elgin reported that participant evaluation indicated that attendees were very satisfied with the session. The Committee recommended that in lieu of printed material, a CD be provided and that Workshop participants be invited to bring laptops.
A new reception for undergraduate student poster authors was well-attended. The Committee resolved to continue to cultivate interest of undergraduate students in the ASCB.
Miller reported on the ASCB Symposium presentations of Robert Brackenbury and Nancy Ratner of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine at the National Association of Biology Teachers Meeting last year. They discussed the history and availability of green fluorescent proteins and the interaction of research and treatment in neurofibromatosis.
Vicki May and Ken Miller agreed to develop a proposal for a new “Cell Biology Explorations” publication for teachers.
Public Policy Committee
Post-Election Political Outlook
The Senate budget provides $27.19 billion for the NIH and $5.3 billion for the NSF. For the first time in years, Congress did not complete its work on the annual budget before adjourning last year, approving just two of 13 appropriations bills. As in past years, the huge Labor, Health and Human Services & Education Appropriations bill that provides funding for the National Institutes of Health is a major point of controversy.
President Bush has insisted that discretionary spending for the entire federal budget not exceed $759 billion. That figure would require the Senate Appropriations Committee to reduce total spending on the remaining appropriations bills. Kyros reported that Congressional leaders had in early December reached a deal to reduce the Senate version of the Labor, Health and Human Services & Education Appropriations bill by $2.8 billion. The Senate bill is $4.4 billion larger than the President’s request and the House version of the same bill. Even with the lower Senate figure, Kyros calculated that it would still be possible to complete the doubling of the NIH budget in FY2003.
Joint Steering Committee for Public Policy
Tom Pollard reported on the monthly Hill Days bringing together members of the Congressional Liaison Committee with members of the House and Senate and Congressional staff. He noted the particular success of meetings between members of the scientific community and members of Congress in their home district offices. As of November, CLC membership was over 3,500 scientists.
The Society for Neuroscience became a member of the JSC in 2002. Matt Zonarich reported on current efforts to recruit SFN members to the CLC. Tom Pollard and Michelle Grifka reported on the expansion of outreach into selected west coast states.
Paul Berg, Tom Pollard and Elizabeth Marincola reported on the meeting of JSC representatives with NIH Director Elias Zerhouni the prior month.
Goldstein briefed the Committee on the process leading to the passage of legislation in California to enable stem cell research in the state and of a mechanism to fund the research there.
Berg noted the appointment of the NIH Stem Cell Research Task Force by NIH Director Elias Zerhouni. The goal of the Task Force is to facilitate stem cell research within the limits of existing policy.
Indications are that Brownback and Weldon would, with the support of the President, again propose legislation to enforce a moratorium on nuclear transplantation research. The duration of the moratorium remains uncertain.
Genetically Modified Foods
GenBank Submission Policy
Public Information Committee
PIC Chair Kathy Wilson developed a proposal and the ASCB agreed to finance the symposium. The panel of six ASCB speakers—Wilson, Andrew Belmont, Howard Worman, Brian Burke, Bob Goldman, and Douglass Forbes— will update science reporters on February 17 on the new research that has transformed our view of the eukaryotic cell nucleus from a passive “DNA basket” into a dynamic organelle that exercises critical control over cell fate. Broadcast-quality, color video of the ‘new’ nucleus in live action is being created by Timothy Richardson of the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children, to illustrate the Denver talks.
In anticipation of the success of the 2003 symposium, the ASCB agreed to extend funding for a seminar at the AAAS meeting in 2004, to be held in Seattle. The 2004 symposium, tentatively titled, Seeing Life in New Ways, will use a visual approach to grab journalistic attention.
ASCB President Gary Borisy praised the PIC’s newly-retitled press book, Cell Biology 2002, (available at www.ascb.org/ pressbook/ pressbook02.html.) Borisy also conveyed the request of the ASCB Council to analyze a proposal from a New York-based photojournalist and film producer to work with the Society to create real data-based animations of basic cell processes. The proposal calls for ASCB help in producing a commercial TV documentary series and an illustrated book.
PIC members discussed recent efforts to change the State of Ohio’s secondary school science requirements to allow “Intelligent Design” to be taught as an alternative to Evolution. The Intelligent Design initiative was successfully defeated, thanks in part to a joint letter to state education officials and lawmakers from the PIC’s Tom Egelhoff and the Public Policy Committee’s Paul Berg, urging Ohio to reject “I.D.” as a euphamism for the religious doctrine of “Creationism,” with no place in the state’s required biology curriculum. But wellfunded Creationist organizations are expected to target other state or local school boards. The PIC asked Egelhoff and Bob Palazzo to coordinate efforts to defeat the “Intelligent Design” movement with the Society’s Public Policy and Education committees.
Minorities Affairs Committee
Wilson announced the creation of the position of ASCB Director of Minorities Affairs to become a member of the Society’s senior staff. There was a lively discussion of the potential role and evaluation of the new Director. The goals and direction of the NIH-MARC grant were also revisited. Tracking and evaluation will be a necessary part of the renewal and may require the assistance of a consultant.
The 2003 Mentoring Symposium organizer, Sabrice Guerrier, will work with the 2002 and 1997 organizers, Alex Rodriguez, and Tracie Gibson, respectively. The Committee renewed its commitment to current MAC Annual Meeting activities, which were all reported to be successful, and determined to seek funding for activities that are not supported by the MARC grant. The Committee hoped to broaden eligibility for MAC travel awards to include non-poster presenting faculty and undergraduate students from Minority Serving Institutions, as well as to continue to enhance and promote its activities via the MAC website and the JustGarciaHill National Minority Scientist website.
Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science President Maria Elena Zavala reported on the successful Cell Biology Symposium at the SACNAS meeting, which drew the greatest attendance among all concurrent scientific sessions at the meeting. The MAC renewed its support of the Symposium and of grants for two SACNAS students to attend the ASCB Annual Meeting. Similar participation in the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students was discussed, starting with a MAC-designated symposium speaker for the 2003 ABRCMS meeting.
Jerry Bryant reported that eligibility for Merck/United Negro College Fund fellowships has been expanded from “African Americans of non-Hispanic descent” to the more inclusive “African Americans”.
WICB’s two new publications, Career Advice for Life Scientists and Life Sciences Research & Teaching: Strategies for the Successful Job Hunt, were reported to be well received by ASCB members and others.
|Hynes, Welch, Appointed to Lead Committees|
ASCB President Suzanne Pfeffer has announced the appointment of Chairs of the Society’s Nominating and Local Arrangement Committees.
2000 ASCB President Richard Hynes of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology will chair the Nominating Committee, which will recruit candidates to run for Society leadership positions in 2004.
Matthew Welch of the University of California, Berkeley, will serve as Chair of the Local Arrangements Committee. The LAC organizes Annual Meeting events including the Social, the High School and Student programs, the ASCB-Zeiss Run and the Restaurant Guide.
Hynes and Welch begin their one-year terms this month.
|Members In The News|
Morris J. Birnbaum of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, an ASCB member since 1992, received the School’s 2002 Stanley N. Cohen Biomedical Research Award for basic science research.
Aaron DiAntonio of the Washington University School of Medicine, an ASCB member since 2002, was among five scientists named 2002 W.M. Keck Foundation Distinguished Young Scholars in Medical Research.
Stanley Falkow of Stanford University, an ASCB member since 1997, will receive the National Academy of Science’s 2003 Selman A. Waksman Award in recognition of excellence in the field of microbiology.
Sarah Gibbs, Emerita professor at McGill University and an ASCB member since 1965, will receive the National Academy of Science’s Gilbert Morgan Smith Medal for excellence in published research on marine or freshwater algae.
Joseph Goldstein of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, an ASCB member since 1980, has been elected a trustee of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Craig Thompson of the Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute at the University of Pennsylvania, an ASCB member since 1997, has been named to succeed Goldstein as Chair of the HHMI Medical Advisory Board.
Carol Greider of the Johns Hopkins University, an ASCB member since1996, will receive the National Academy of Science’s Richard Lounsbery Award in recognition of extraordinary scientific achievement in biology and medicine.
Nancy Jones of Wake Forest University Health Sciences, an ASCB member since 1989, has been named to serve on the HHS Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Human Research Protections. The Committee replaces the former National Human Research Protections Advisory Committee.
Richard Lifton of Yale University School of Medicine, an ASCB member since 1998, will receive the 2003 Roy O. Greep Award from the Endocrine Society for outstanding contributions to research in endocrinology.Vivian Siegel, former Editor-in-Chief of Cell and an ASCB member since 1988, has been named Executive Director of Public Library of Science Publications.
Axel Ullrich of the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry, an ASCB member since 1984, received the 2002 King Faisal International Prize in Medicine for breast cancer research.
|Bernfield Memorial Contributors|
The Society is grateful to the following donors to the ASCBMerton Bernfield Memorial Award Fund.
The ASCB is grateful to the following members who have recently given gifts to support Society activities:
|Grants & Opportunities|
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.
NIGMS Administrative Supplements. Human Embryonic stem cell research funding opportunities. Deadline is May 5, 2003.
Assistant Professor, Molecular Cell Biology. The Department of Biological Sciences at Ohio University seeks to fill a full-time, tenure track position at the Assistant Professor level in molecular cell biology beginning fall, 2003. We seek candidates who use molecular approaches to address fundamental questions in cell biology. A Doctorate in cell biology or a related area, postdoctoral research experience, and evidence of scholarly research achievement are required. Candidates are expected to develop an independent, fundable research program. Strong institutional research support includes a new, 70,000 sq. ft. Life Sciences building, a transgenic mouse facility, scanning and transmission electron microscopes, a confocal microscope, NMR and mass spectrometers, and a fluorescence-activated cell sorter. The successful applicant will teach undergraduate cell biology and an upper level course, preferably in immunology or virology. Salary, benefits, and start-up funds are competitive.
Further information about these positions can be found online. Please submit a letter of application, curriculum vitae, summaries of research program and teaching interests/philosophy, and the names, postal addresses, e-mail addresses, and phone numbers of three references to Dr. Ellengene Peterson, Department of Biological Sciences, Ohio University, Irvine Hall, Athens, OH 45701-2979. Review of applications will begin on December 3, 2002. Ohio University is an Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity Employer. Women and minorities are especially encouraged to apply.