"ALEster" is the pseudonym of a self–described postdoc in molecular biology who wants to build a highly portable cell biology lab, including cell culture incubator, laminar flow hood, and fluorescence microscope, that you could take everywhere you go. It occupies 15 square inches (.381 square meters) of floor space. ALEster is an AFOL, that is, an Adult Fan of LEGO, so his pocket lab was designed with LEGO bricks, complete with PI, Professor Umami, and postdoctoral fellows, the red-haired imaging expert Lory Rhodamine, and the thickly bespectacled biochemist Sam Emsa. The result is detailed, accurate, and a marvel. ALEster submitted his lab design to the official LEGO Ideas site last winter in hopes of attracting 10,000 endorsements, becoming an official LEGO idea set, and inspiring a new generation of bench jockeys.
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.
ASCB's Public Information Committee (PIC), the longtime producer of Celldance, is now a microscopic motion picture producer. For Celldance 2014, PIC will commission three "Tell Your Own Cell Story" videos at $1,000 each to be shot on location in the labs of ASCB members. "In a very modest way, we are looking to underwrite cell biology films that balance an accessible narrative, rock-solid science, and awesome imagery," says PIC Chair Simon Atkinson.
Sebastian Mana-Capelli of the University of Massachusetts Medical School was named by the Molecular Biology of the Cell (MBoC) Editorial Board as recipient of the 23nd annual MBoC Paper of the Year Award. As a postdoc in Dannel McCollum's lab, Mana-Capelli was first author of the article "Angiomotins link F-actin architecture to Hippo pathway signaling" (Mol. Biol. Cell 25, 1676–1685).
Roll-aboard suitcase in tow, the passenger in the red chinoiserie jacket was coming up the ramp to Terminal C in Dulles International Airport at a determined rate when her eye was caught by a blaze of color on the wall. She stopped to study the image glowing on the wall-mounted light box. Then she read the label. It was an enormous blow-up of mouse cancer cells with actin labeled in green to show the cell-cell adhesion points. And it was strangely beautiful. The passenger continued slowly up the ramp, examining each of the 46 giant images displayed on the light boxes, from Ebola virus to gecko lizard toe hairs to mitotic chromosomes. This airline passenger was one of the 1.25 million expected to pass through the Gateway Gallery at Dulles over the next six months where Life: Magnified, a collaborative project of the ASCB and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) opened with some fanfare yesterday. Life:Magnified was made possible by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority with funding support from the Carl Zeiss Company.
It began as a quiet Friday on Capitol Hill. May 30 found many members of the Senate back home for a long weekend, meeting with constituents. The House of Representatives had been in session until almost 2:00 am the night before, voting on funding for the departments of Commerce and Justice plus other agencies including the NSF. But then a contingent of ASCB Councilors and leaders arrived. Things soon grew much livelier.
Arriving today, an exotic world, both foreign and as close as their own skin, will greet travelers moving through Washington Dulles International Airport, as “Life: Magnified,” an exhibit of 46 eye-popping color images of life on the cellular level, opens in the airport’s Gateway Gallery in Concourse C. “Life: Magnified” is a collaborative project of the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB), the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (Airports Authority) with support from ZEISS.
Yale professor, Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, and ASCB member, Joan Argetsinger Steitz has been elected a foreign member of the Royal Society in the UK. Steitz was an early pioneer in RNA biology, discovering much of the machinery and key players in RNA splicing. She went onto elucidate the role of small nucleic ribonucleoparticles (snRNPs or "snurps") in modifying non-coding introns and continues her work on microRNAs in gene regulation. The Royal Society membership joins a long list of Steitz's honors and awards including the Gairdner International Award in 2006 and the ASCB's highest scientific honor, the E.B. Wilson Medal, in 2005.
ASCB President-Elect Peter Walter, professor of biochemistry and biophysics at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), is the co-winner of the 2014 Shaw Prize in Life Sciences and Medicine. Walter, who is also a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, will share the $1 million Shaw Prize with Kazutoshi Mori of Kyoto University for their work on the unfolded protein response (UPR), the cell's quality control response to an accumulation of defectively folded proteins.
David L. Spector of the Cold Springs Harbor Lab (CSHL), a scientist long known for his pioneering work in live cell imaging of the nucleus and its surprisingly fluid geography and population, has been named to a pair of prestigious memberships, one in the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and the other in EMBO, the European Molecular Biology Organization. Spector, who is both a professor and Director of Research at CSHL, has been an ASCB member since 1980. He chaired the ASCB Annual Meeting program committee in 2008 and served on ASCB's governing Council from 2010 to 2012.