1303newsletter - page 1

V O L U M E 3 6 , N U M B E R 2
Executive Director's Column 3
WICB Column
Public Policy Briefing
Congressional Briefing Series 14
Cell Sightings
LSE Table of Contents
Local Meeting Highlights
Get Ready for the 2013 Meeting 19
Did You Know...?
Highlights from MBoC
Grants & Opportunities
2013 Call for Nominations 24
Members in the News
Meetings Calendar
In Memoriam
New ASCB Members
2013 Member Gifts
Dear Labby
Organize a Local Meeting 31
A New Era for ASCB
Page 3
Communicating with
Journal Editors
Page 9
Cantor Hails Basic
Page 11
Ins ide
M A R C H 2 0 1 3
The latest trial balloons for reforming peer review of grant applications
at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) are like high-altitude
probes sent up to gauge the wind without alarming anyone on the
ground. It’s been almost non-stop stormy weather at NIH’s Center
for Scientific Review (CSR) for nearly a decade since the doubling of
the NIH budget at the millennium ran into the headwinds of war,
the Great Recession, and the fiscal stalemate. Richard Nakamura had
been serving as the CSR’s temporary head since September 2011 but
with his confirmation last December as permanent director, the CSR
has cautiously released the latest suggestions
from its Peer Review
Advisory Committee on protecting an institution that for academic
researchers renders life-or-death decisions, the NIH study section. The
latest from the Advisory Council includes the idea of abolishing all resubmissions of rejected
grant applications—what are called A1 amended proposals—for an A0, all-or-nothing, single-
tier application system. This would effectively leave it to PIs themselves to decide whether a
given proposal is really new or if submitting it is a futile gesture.
NIH Peer Review, continued on page 5
Streamlining NIH Peer Review in
Turbulent Conditions
Richard Nakamura
The call that she had just been awarded a $3 million
Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences came out of the
blue, and Cori Bargmann says that there is no other
word to describe her reaction but stunned. Bargmann
had just reached her office at the Rockefeller University
on the morning of February 20 when a phone call
came through from Art Levinson, chair of Genentech
and Apple, and Yuri Milner, a Russian entrepreneur,
Silicon Valley venture capitalist, and now scientific
philanthropist. Last year Milner stunned the physics
world with nine individual $3 million Breakthrough
Prizes. This year, he organized a squad of internet
entrepreneurs—Sergey Brin of Google, Anne Wojcicki
of 23andMe (and wife of Brin), and Mark Zuckerberg
and his wife, Priscilla Chan, of Facebook—to fund
a prize of $3 million for each of 11 winners of the
inaugural Breakthrough Prizes in Life Sciences.
The group now says that the Life Science prizes will
continue annually.
ASCB Members Dominate First-Ever
Breakthrough Prizes in Life Sciences
Breakthrough, continued on page 7
Cori Bargmann
Eric Lander
David Botstein
Titia de Lange
Credit: Frank Wojciechowski
Credit: The New York Times
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