It's hard to imagine a scientific conference without poster presentations. There would be tumbleweeds rolling through the exhibit hall, company reps would be asleep in their booths, and grad student and postdocs would be hung-over every morning of the meeting.
It's been nearly a year since an insurgent group of scientists and journal editors gathered in San Francisco at the ASCB Annual Meeting to plot a counterattack on the outsized influence of "impact factor" on scientific assessment. A metric invented in the 1960s by Eugene Garfield to help academic librarians subscribe to influential journals, the journal impact factor had become a misleading measure, the insurgents agreed. In June, they issued the Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA), asking the world science community to sign on, endorsing 18 recommendations for new standards of research assessment that would move away from journal-based metrics to individual assessment. The number of DORA signatories is now approaching 10,000. Evidently, scientists are ready for something better than the impact factor, but what?
Sydney Brenner is, of course, the Nobel Prize winner who brought us Caenorhabditis elegans, the lab model organism. That should make Brenner "a man who needs no introduction" except in cell biology where historical amnesia is as common as Pipetman. As Brenner himself noted last year in Science, "I once remarked that all graduate students in biology divide history into two epochs: the past two years and everything else before that, where Archimedes, Newton, Darwin, Mendel—even Watson and Crick—inhabit a time-compressed universe as uneasy contemporaries."
If you've just spent five years at the bench in graduate school and are looking for another way to use your science doctorate, you will be relieved to know that a patent agent doesn't need to add a JD to the PhD. Instead, a patent agent has to pass a separate patent bar exam to become registered, and a formal law school degree is not a prerequisite.
Hankering for face time with a distinguished researcher? No matter where you are in the world, you will soon be able to drop by for an online Google hangout with some of the world's leading biology discoverers. The hangouts are organized by iBiology.org, the open-access, free science video site supported by ASCB.
"Deciding to 'leave the bench' and basic research after committing many, many years to graduate school is not an easy thing to do," Katrina Yu begins her essay in the special November 1 issue of Molecular Biology of the Cell (MBoC). "There is real pressure from peers, principal investigators (PIs), even parents, to stick it out and follow a more established career path, either to academia or the biotech industry."
Two pioneering online biology video sites, iBioSeminars and iBioMagazine, have undergone another step in their evolution and been merged to create a new website, iBiology.org. Following the model of its predecessors, iBiology.org will continue to offer videos by world-class biologists for free.
The ASCB Kaluza Prize supported by Beckman Coulter is named for the German mathematician Theodor Kaluza (1885-1954), who is the namesake of Beckman Coulter's flow cytometry software system. The posthumous reputation of Kaluza, who was not a biologist but a German mathematician, has been on the rise in recent years, and the eponymous honor of a $5,000 cash prize for scientific achievement for an ASCB graduate student is only the latest feather.
In the grand march of human history, first there was the cave wall and charcoal. Then came the inked poster. Now comes the ePoster, the dynamic multimedia form of the venerable 3'8" (1.1m) X 6' (1.828 m) paper poster. For the first time, the 2013 ASCB Annual Meeting will feature this new presentation format (see Jessica Polka's example below).
1. What is your current position?
Scientist (group leader) at Genentech
2. How far in advance of your planned starting date did you begin looking for jobs?
3. How did you learn about your current position?
Former colleague already employed at Genentech