Christina Szalinski

Christina Szalinski

Christina is a science writer for the American Society for Cell Biology. She earned her Ph.D. in Cell Biology and Molecular Physiology at the University of Pittsburgh.

Winners of a Nobel Prize typically get a private call from a member of the selection committee shortly before the news breaks to the public. But this year the Nobel committee couldn't reach W.E. Moerner, a professor of chemistry at Stanford University and an ASCB member. Moerner was in Recife, Brazil, on the morning of October 8, attending the Third International Workshop on Fundamentals of Light-Matter Interactions. Moerner had his cell phone turned off to save international roaming charges. So when it was announced that he was one of the three winners of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry it fell to the Associated Press to reach his wife, Sharon, at home with the news. She turned to WhatsApp to send him the message to turn on his phone. Moerner was thrilled to share his excitement with family, friends, and colleagues. His first call was to his son, Daniel, who is working toward a PhD in philosophy at Yale University.

The resolution of traditional light microscopy was long thought to be limited due to the maximum diffraction of light. But today's Nobel Prize winners in Chemistry changed that. William Moerner, Eric Betzig, and Stefan Hell won for cleverly circumventing this limit and imaging at a whole new scale known as nanomicroscopy or superresolution imaging. 

ASCB’s third annual We Are Research campaign needs you and your labmates to put a face on biomedical research. At your next lab meeting, lab happy hour, or lab karaoke party, round up the gang, snap a photo of your team, and submit it ASCB’s third annual We Are Research campaign needs you and your labmates to put a face on biomedical research. At your next lab meeting, lab happy hour, or lab karaoke party, round up the gang, snap a photo of your team, and submit it here by October 17. Last year’s We Are Research campaign collected 203 photos, which went to 418 members of Congress, showing them the real live people involved in biomedical research who live, work, and even vote in their home constituencies. It’s an effective reminder, according to ASCB’s science policy advocates.

Bruce Alberts, professor at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), who served as ASCB president in 2007, was just named one of the nation's top scientists by President Obama. Alberts and nine others are recipients of the National Medal of Science, the Nation's highest honor for individuals who have made outstanding contributions to science and engineering. Alberts will be presented the medal in a ceremony at the White House later this year.

Eleanor (Josie) Clowney , a postdoc at Rockefeller University who did her graduate work at the University of California, San Francisco, has been named the winner of the 2014 $5,000 ASCB Kaluza Prize for outstanding research by a graduate student. The Kaluza Prizes are supported by Beckman Coulter. Clowney won for her breakthrough work on olfactory neurons performed in Stavros Lomvardas’ lab. Her work provides a new perspective on how acute transcriptional specificity can be achieved through epigenetic mechanisms.

Your latest western blot may be worth a thousand words but you will need to write1,000 words to go along with it. So how to choose which 1,000? To help with the essential task of writing up your latest research, we found some free advice (which will offset the cost of “free” open access publishing).

Inmate-college students at San Quentin Prison will soon have microscopes for their biology lab through an ASCB Outreach Grant, offered by the Committee for Postdocs and Students (COMPASS) outreach subcommittee. ASCB members Ryan McGorty and Adam Williamson, both postdocs at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), asked for the outreach grant to help their volunteer efforts as instructors for a introductory biology course for prisoners. 

Tuesday, 16 September 2014 00:00

Nontraditional Careers: Science Policy

A doctorate in biology is preparation to do more than just bench work, said Lyric Jorgenson, a PhD who now works as Science Policy Advisor and Analyst at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). "It's a degree in logic," she contends. Logic and problem solving, an interest in politics, combined with the ability to write for different audiences are essential skills for PhDs looking to make the leap into science policy.

"Active-learning interventions," in which passive lectures are replaced with interactive activities, moving lecture materials to homework and outside readings, have been shown by STEM education researchers in recent years to be strikingly effective, but a new study published on September 2 in CBE—Life Sciences Education, published by ASCB, reveals that this strategy is especially powerful for black and first-generation college students. An active-learning strategy in an introductory biology course halved the black-white achievement gap and significantly improved the outcome for first-generation college students compared with students in a lecture-based class.

Chaperones aren't just for high-school homecoming dances. Cells have chaperones as well, chaperone proteins that ensure newly made proteins are properly folded. If protein folding goes awry, diseases associated with misfolded proteins such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's can arise. But if one set of chaperones can throw a wet blanket on a school dance, imagine a second set of co-chaperones just to keep the chaperones in check. That's the growing picture in cellular chaperoning as folding guardians of the cell turn out to have guardians of their own.

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