John is ASCB Senior Science Writer and the author among other things of two nonfiction books for older children, "Phineas Gage: A Gruesome But True Story About Brain Science" and "Black & White Airmen," both from Houghton-Mifflin-Harcourt, Boston.
John Sack has probably done as much as anyone to transform—or disrupt, depending on who is talking—the scholarly publishing business. As founding director in 1995 of HighWire Press, Sack was asked by Stanford University Press to see if research journals could dip a toe in the unknown but rising waters of the online world while still keeping their integrity and citable permanence dry. Sack plunged in. Today HighWire is the leading e-publishing platform, handling 1,732 scholarly journals, reference works, books, and conference proceedings, for scholarly publishers, large and very small.
A new $5,000 prize funded by a leading biomedical technology company to honor research by a graduate student member of the ASCB will be the first competition judged in keeping with guidelines from the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA), which ASCB endorsed in June. Candidates for the ASCB Kaluza Prize supported by Beckman Coulter, Inc., an international biomedical systems manufacturer, will be evaluated on the discoveries they have made, not on the impact factors of the journals where the results have been published, according to ASCB President Don Cleveland.
Celldance 2013, ASCB's Really Useful Cell Biology Video Contest, has engineered a truly simple PDF download of the "Mad Mice" poster. Suitable for high-resolution color printers or screen savers, the "Mad Mice" poster serves a double purpose—it will make your lab bench or office space pop (graphically) and it reminds you to enter your short video that illustrates a basic cell mechanism or process by October 31.
There are more legendary places in science—Newton's apple tree or the bathtub of Archimedes—but of the real ones, there could be few more famous or harder to find than Thomas Hunt Morgan's Fly Room at Columbia University. This is the room where in 1910 Morgan and his students discovered "white" or w, the first sex-linked mutation in Drosophila melanogaster. Here began the modern era of quantitative biology and genetics. For a limited time, you can visit an uncanny version of the Fly Room itself, but only if you hurry to Brooklyn, NY.
Robert P. Perry, who made his mark at the start of the DNA age with key work on RNA synthesis and was still at the leading edge 45 years later, publishing an evolutionary biology paper using bioinformatics to compare mouse and human ribosomal protein promoter genes, died July 15 at his home in Bucks County, PA. He was 82. Perry was best known for resolving the structure of the 5' cap on messenger RNA in the nucleus. He spent nearly his entire research career at what is now the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia and was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1977. He was a member of ASCB for 29 years and served on the ASCB Council from 1971-1973.
Fit an iPad with a powerful magnifying objective and what do you get? A rugged, diagnostic-quality microscope that can instantly make cell biology come alive for schoolchildren in New Orleans. ASCB is teaming with Dan Fletcher's Bioengineering group at the University of California, Berkeley, which created the original instrument, to place a set of 10 CellScopes newly adapted to work with iPads, in a city classroom. ASCB members have already kicked in $3,800 toward the $15,000 cost of the first set for New Orleans.
The iPad screen allows three children to use each device, taking turns making samples and imaging. The CellScopes will come with a new curriculum on plant stomata developed by the California Academy of Sciences, which beta-tested the scopes in May. The ASCB is working with local science educators to identify a motivated teacher (likely 4th—6th grade) who will learn to demonstrate the scopes and loan them to others. The teacher and students will be invited to the ASCB Annual Meeting on Saturday, December 14, to receive the scopes and training on the spot.
As an ASCB member, here's your chance to give back to the schoolchildren of the city that is hosting the 2013 ASCB Annual Meeting. Once upon a time, someone sat you at a microscope and adjusted the eyepiece. Suddenly you were looking into the microworld. Decades later, you still are. It's time to pay it forward. (It's also tax deductible for U.S. residents.)
A pioneer in the discovery and exploration of the cytoskeletal motor protein, dynein, Barbara Hollingworth Gibbons died June 7 at her home in Orinda, California, with her husband, Ian, and their children Peter and Wendy at her bedside. She was 81. As a husband and wife scientific team, Barbara and Ian Gibbons were jointly honored by the ASCB in 1998 for their dynein work with the presentation of the E.B. Wilson Medal, the Society's highest scientific honor.
In 2013, Celldance is determined to be really useful. The ASCB's video contest, now in its ninth year, wants to make cell biology perfectly clear, especially for those who teach at the introductory level and for the curious prowling the Web.
Adolphus "Tol" Toliver, a prominent voice at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for active measures to support minority students and faculty pursuing careers in biology, died March 26, exactly two weeks short of his 82nd birthday.
Ruth G. Doell, an ASCB member from 1964 until her retirement from the Biology Department at San Francisco State University in 1992, died February 22 at her home in El Granada, CA. She was 86.