John Fleischman

John Fleischman

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.

Mother Nature made an unexpected appearance this afternoon at the Lasker Awards luncheon in New York City when Peter Walter of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and ASCB President Elect for 2016, described her as a mix of biological referee, evolutionary trickster, and puzzle mistress. "In biology, Mother Nature presents the playing field, and it is our task to decipher how it works," Walter declared. "Disconcertingly, Nature deploys the strategy of random walk, of mutation and selection, leading to the evolution of the world that surrounds us. She then presents us with the most fascinating puzzles to decipher: the inherently unpredictable Rube Goldberg machines that make up a living cell."

It will be a triple feature, short but powerful, says Duane Compton. The three "Tell Your Own Cell Story" videos just commissioned by ASCB's Celldance Studios will feature eye-popping live cell imaging and scientific storytelling, according to Compton, who chaired the Celldance selection panel. The panel today announced the names of the ASCB members from whom videos have been commissioned and the cell stories they plan to tell.

Monday, 08 September 2014 14:10

ASCB President-Elect Walter Wins Lasker

The UPR has unfolded into the 2014 Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award for ASCB President-Elect for 2016 Peter Walter. A Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), Walter was named co-winner winner today along with Kazutoshi Mori of Kyoto University for their independent but closely related work on untangling the unfolded protein response or UPR, a signaling pathway that protects cells by flagging misfolded proteins in the cytoplasm and switching on a protective response.

Monday, 08 September 2014 09:02

Dr. Botstein Buys a Book

It was the one of the very few moments in his life when he was truly speechless, says Malcolm Campbell. He was at the 2013 ASCB spring Council meeting in Washington, DC, seated next to fellow ASCB councilor David Botstein who had just won one of the new $3 million Breakthrough Awards in Life Sciences. Waiting for the meeting to come to order, Campbell, a professor at Davidson College in North Carolina and a leading proponent of research-driven reform in undergraduate biology education, congratulated Botstein on the award. Campbell recalls, "David said, 'I want to give some money to MIT, Cold Spring Harbor, UCSF, and to you.

Back from the undead, the 2014 "Zombie Cellslam," the Public Information Committee's stand-up science slam, is slouching toward Philadelphia where it will take the stage again at an Annual Meeting of the ASCB for the first time in five remarkably peaceful years. No more. The 2014 Zombie Cellslam, so named because it will not die, is set for Monday evening, December 10, at the joint ASCB/IFCB meeting in the Pennsylvania Convention Center. It will offer a variety of wit, music, and outrageously amusing competition plus free popcorn and a cash bar.

It is a truth all but universally acknowledged that a eukaryotic cell entering mitosis must be in want of the canonical proteins for mitotic checkpoints. And then there is Giardia intestinalis. A notorious flagellate pathogen, this binucleate protist belongs to one of the major eukaryotic lineages now called the "Excavates." Like all other Excavates, Giardia is weird, says Zacheus Cande of the University of California, Berkeley, but weird in a good way because of its ancient evolutionary divergence from the better-known branch of eukaryotes where everything from humans to yeast hang out.

Microscopic movie moguls have two more weeks to submit their "Tell Your Own Cell Story" proposal to ASCB's Public Information Committee (PIC), which will commission three live cell imaging videos at $1,000 each to be shot on location in the labs of ASCB members. The new deadline is August 15.

Call it "JIF Day," an event both anticipated and dreaded in scientific publishing when Journal Citation Reports, a commercial service of Thomson Reuters "Web of Science," issues its yearly "journal impact factor" (JIF) ratings that purport to rank journals by their research impact. This year Thomson Reuters postponed JIF Day from mid-June to late-July. With the 2014 JIF ranking finally expected this week, the anti-JIF coalition of scientists, journal editors, and scholarly publishers who issued the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) are greeting the delayed JIFs with examples of JIF-less "good practices" for scientific assessment.

The 40 came from all over North America, Europe, and Africa, 24 grad students and 16 postdocs, chosen from the 532 applications the ASCB received from members for a special 12-day "short" course on "Managing Science in the Biotech Industry" at the Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) with funding from EMD Millipore. Besides their ASCB connection, what the participants had in common were years of academic training and a curiosity about life in biotech.

When the fledgling ASCB held its big meeting in a down-at-the-heels hotel on the Chicago lakefront in 1961, it was something of a carnival of animals, lab animals. Peter Satir, who is now at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, NY, was present in Chicago. Fifty three years later when asked about the first scientific program, Satir couldn't help pointing out how many different organisms or parts thereof were being studied.

Page 1 of 9

submissions

COMPASS Blog