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.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has negotiated an agreement with the family of Henrietta Lacks, the African-American woman who died of cervical cancer in 1951 and from whom the famous cell line, HeLa, was derived. The agreement will provide researchers controlled access to the full HeLa genome, through a review group of physicians, scientists, a bioethicist, and Lacks family members, according to a report in Nature and other news media.
The inhabitants inside the Washington Beltway love secrets. They love knowing them, they love keeping them, they love letting people know they know them, and they love reading them after someone else has leaked them to a reporter. One Beltway resident recalls a neighbor's garden party where a fellow guest announced that she would have to kill her listener if she were to reveal where she worked. "I'm still not sure if she was serious or not," the party goer recalls somewhat nervously.
Given Inner Washington's passion for secrets, it is curious that the House of Representatives' secret task force on immigration reform has apparently disappeared without a trace.
President Obama announced Wednesday the nominations of France Anne Cordova, an astrophysicist and former president of Purdue University, to become Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) and of Yale microbiologist and science education reformer Jo Handelsman to be the Associate Director for Science in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).
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.)
Ever since Jessica Polka, co-chair of ASCB's committee for postdocs and students (COMPASS), published an extremely popular post on how to print your favorite protein in 3D, the media seems to have exploded with articles about 3D printing. Coincidence? You decide. Send us your comments in two dimensions.
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.
If you were playing with an app on your phone, you would have missed it. Earlier today, the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education Appropriations Subcommittee approved the FY14 Departments of Labor, Health & Human Services, and Education appropriations bill without amendment and by voice vote. The bill, which is notable for its funding for the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), includes $30.9 billion for the NIH, which is $1.6 billion more than the NIH's FY13 budget, after sequestration.
Cholera is changing the human genome, according to research published in Science Translational Medicine on Wednesday. The investigators scanned the genomes of individuals living in the Ganges Delta of Bangladesh and West Bengal in India, where cholera is prevalent. ScienceNow and the New York Times report that the researchers found 305 regions of the genome with changes due to cholera, evidence that natural selection made its mark on the genes over the past 5,000 to 30,000 years.
Fundamental knowledge of biology is what drives the pharmaceutical industry, James Sabry, Vice President of Partnering at Genentech and an ASCB Council member, told a Biomedical Research Caucus briefing on Capitol Hill Wednesday. And yet the kind of primary research that yields new insights into fundamental biological mechanisms is government-funded through agencies like the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Sabry said. "We can't get a grant from the NIH at Genentech. The money doesn't come to us directly. What comes to us is basic knowledge. Without that, our industry would come to a grinding halt in the United States."