The Gift of Being Crystal Clear

Do we understand crystal clear thinking? Perhaps, when someone is expressing clear thoughts we understand the concept, but in reality, we really do not understand what happens inside the brain when one is thinking clearly. But now in a Nature paper, scientists at Stanford University have unveiled CLARITY, which is an acronym for a technique to render a post-mortem brain completely clear, that is, optically transparent and permeable to macromolecules. One day CLARITY may help us understand clear thinking and much more. Importantly, it could give us a handle to better understand the extremely complex neuronal circuitry in the brain, with its 1014-1015 synapses. It could help us better understand the abnormal circuit wiring that occurs in humans affected by developmental pathologies, such as many psychiatric disorders. What an exciting moment for us to be witnessing this discovery!

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Renato Dulbecco: A Gentle Superman Recalled

David Baltimore, who shared the Nobel Prize with Renato Dulbecco and Howard Temin in 1975, said it best in his memorial tribute at the time of Dulbecco's death:[1] "A gentle superman," Baltimore wrote. Renato was truly a superman, although when I first met him, in his late seventies, stylish, sharp-as-a-razor scientist, he reminded me more of James Bond than of a comic book character. But indeed, superhero he was.

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ASCB Kaluza Prize Reflects ASCB’s Concern that Young Scientists Are Now a Vulnerable Population

ASCB Kaluza Prize Reflects ASCB’s Concern that Young Scientists Are Now a Vulnerable Population

The ASCB Kaluza Prize recognizes significant research achievement by early career scientists who still pursue excellence amidst economic uncertainties and political shortsightedness. ASCB Photo.In the...

11-20-2013

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Round Trip from Stockholm to ASCB

Round Trip from Stockholm to ASCB

With Stockholm still in the future, Randy Schekman (third from left) with fellow 2013 Nobel winner, Jim Rothman (far right), shared the ASCB's highest scientific honor, the E. B. Wilson Medal, with St...

11-06-2013

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Colliding Worlds—A Rare Visit to the CERN Collider Gives a Biologist New Hope

Colliding Worlds—A Rare Visit to the CERN Collider Gives a Biologist New Hope

Nearly 170 meters beneath CERN, ASCB Executive Director Stefano Bertuzzi gets a rare look at the Large Hadron Collider. Here he stands in front of the detector. Photo Credit: ASCBLast week, I was invi...

10-23-2013

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Watching Train Wrecks

Watching Train Wrecks

It’s full steam ahead for disaster or will the brakes stop the runaway fiscal crisis train in time? Photo by John FleischmanAlong with the future of U.S. research science, the train wreck metaphor has...

10-16-2013

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UPDATED-NIH Furloughs to Widen—From Slowdown to Shutdown, U.S. Science Takes a Hit

UPDATED-NIH Furloughs to Widen—From Slowdown to Shutdown, U.S. Science Takes a Hit

The USDA is closed and no U.S. orders for international fruit flies can be processed until the government is back in business.Photo Credit: André KarwathUUPDATED—The "Activation Energy" blog has learn...

10-09-2013

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Shutting Down Basic Science—Some Thoughts at Midnight (no, this is not a fairy tale)

Shutting Down Basic Science—Some Thoughts at Midnight (no, this is not a fairy tale)

Last night at midnight, the government ran out of money and shut down its main operations. Sadly, it left me wondering if perhaps our democracy ran out of steam as well. I've tried to explain what is ...

10-01-2013

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New Partners and New Ventures for ASCB in Science Education Reform

New Partners and New Ventures for ASCB in Science Education Reform

In a 2012 Science editorial, Bruce Alberts, a former ASCB president who was then the journal's editor, urged professional societies to team up in leading innovation in science education. ASC...

09-25-2013

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The Scholarly Paper That No One Will Want to Read Is Being Written in Congress

The Scholarly Paper That No One Will Want to Read Is Being Written in Congress

Spelling It Out: Spending on basic research has increased our longevity and the quality of that longer life. Photo Credit: John FleischmanThis week, a paper in the American Journal of Public Health, a...

09-18-2013

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A Scientist-Senator with a Seat — and a Vote — for Life

A Scientist-Senator with a Seat — and a Vote — for Life

I recently spent some time on a family vacation in Italy. We have a tradition in our family; at the dinner table, each of us has to say the best and the worst thing that happened to him or her during ...

09-10-2013

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Showing the Faces of Science

Showing the Faces of Science

In 2011, the Nobel Foundation awarded its prize of prizes to cell biologist, immunologist, and longtime ASCB member Ralph Steinman. When the foundation tried calling to deliver the good news, no one p...

09-05-2013

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Lessons from a Society of Societies

Lessons from a Society of Societies

This week, ASCB went to ASAE, or rather five ASCB staffers and yours truly attended a meeting of the ASAE in Atlanta. ASCB, I trust you know, stands for the American Society for Cell Biology. The ASAE...

08-07-2013

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Why Congress Should Be Worried About the Endoplasmic Reticulum

Why Congress Should Be Worried About the Endoplasmic Reticulum

Morphogenesis in biology always fascinated me. As a developmental neurobiologist at the bench, I studied how homeobox genes patterned the neural epithelium, the retina in particular, to understand the...

07-30-2013

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