Big discoveries can turn up in unexpected places, such as neurons of the Pacific electric ray, Torpedo californica. That was the start of Richard H. Scheller's path to the 2013 Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award, which he received last week. Along with Thomas C. Südhof of Stanford University, Scheller won for their independent investigations into the regulatory mechanisms of neurotransmitter release.
Later this fall, a few, a precious few, ASCB members will be booking flights to Stockholm. For the rest of us, take a seat with your laptop tonight to watch live as another batch of Nobelists—the Ig Nobelists—step into the bright lights. This is one show you will be glad to miss as an honoree.
Today Richard H. Scheller, an ASCB member and Executive Vice President of Genentech, was named the winner, along with Thomas C. Südhof of Stanford University, of the 2013 Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award. They won for their separate work in understanding the regulatory mechanisms of neurotransmitter release.
John Sack has probably done as much as anyone to transform—or disrupt, depending on who is talking—the scholarly publishing business. As founding director in 1995 of HighWire Press, Sack was asked by Stanford University Press to see if research journals could dip a toe in the unknown but rising waters of the online world while still keeping their integrity and citable permanence dry. Sack plunged in. Today HighWire is the leading e-publishing platform, handling 1,732 scholarly journals, reference works, books, and conference proceedings, for scholarly publishers, large and very small.
Behind the acronyms ASCB + GSA = LSE stands a new editorial partnership between the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) and the Genetics Society of America (GSA) to support the online journal, CBE—Life Sciences Education (LSE). The journal, which was started by ASCB in 2002 as Cell Biology Education but changed to CBE—Life Sciences Education in 2006 to reflect the breadth of its educational coverage across all life sciences, will have a joint editorial board drawn from scientists in both societies. GSA will become a full editorial partner, promoting the journal, soliciting manuscripts, and contributing to its costs of operation while ASCB will remain the actual publisher. Erin Dolan will continue as LSE Editor-In-Chief.
A matched-peer controlled study of science faculty at minority-serving institutions (MSIs) shows that an outside mentoring support program increased the number of peer-reviewed research publications, the number of federal grants, and the variety of professional and curricular activities of those who participated versus academic peers who did not.
Writing in Science Careers, Sandra Schmid, former ASCB President, declares that the Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) principles should be used in the hiring process. Over 9,000 individuals have now signed DORA, but Schmid points out that, "Our signatures are meaningless unless we change our hiring process."
Renato J. Aguilera, Professor at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) and chair of the ASCBs Minorities Affairs Committee, will receive the SACNAS 2013 Distinguished Research Mentor Award. SACNAS was founded in 1973 as the Society for the Advancement of Chicano & Native Americans in Science. An ASCB member since 1990, Aguilera directs the Biology Graduate program at UTEP, which has grown to include more than 50 PhD students, half from underrepresented minorities in science. Aguilera also directs the NIH funded Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement and a National Science Foundation S-STEM grant, which have funded the training of more than 100 undergraduates. More than half of those trainees have continued on to graduate programs. Aguilera himself decided to pursue a career in research with encouragement from SACNAS founding member Eppie Rael.
A new $5,000 prize funded by a leading biomedical technology company to honor research by a graduate student member of the ASCB will be the first competition judged in keeping with guidelines from the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA), which ASCB endorsed in June. Candidates for the ASCB Kaluza Prize supported by Beckman Coulter, Inc., an international biomedical systems manufacturer, will be evaluated on the discoveries they have made, not on the impact factors of the journals where the results have been published, according to ASCB President Don Cleveland.
Celldance 2013, ASCB's Really Useful Cell Biology Video Contest, has engineered a truly simple PDF download of the "Mad Mice" poster. Suitable for high-resolution color printers or screen savers, the "Mad Mice" poster serves a double purpose—it will make your lab bench or office space pop (graphically) and it reminds you to enter your short video that illustrates a basic cell mechanism or process by October 31.