Like a kid hovering over an ant with a magnifying glass, you can easily fry a worm with a microscope. But if you could do it without zapping the subjects, long exposure imaging would be immensely helpful for studying a cell process like development in a living Caenorhabditis elegans embryo. In a pair of just published papers—one in Nature Biotechnology yesterday and another in Nature Methods on October 6—Hari Shroff, tenure-track investigator at the NIH, unveiled a pair of new microscopes that offer an alternative solution to the problem of light-blasted subjects.

Published in ASCB Post
Thursday, 10 October 2013 00:00

Open-Access—The Bad and The Good

Grace Groovy of the International Journal of Cancer and Tumor would be happy to publish your nonsensical data, Science Magazine news reporter John Bohannon discovered. But that journal wasn't the exception. In a 15-month investigation, Bohannon concocted a bogus paper that he fed into a program that randomly generated bogus variations from bogus researchers at various bogus institutions which he then submitted to 304 open-access journals.

Published in ASCB Post

A senior researcher who can't get an answer from a shutdown NIH about a proposed clinical trial on a neurodegenerative disease, a Nobel Prize-winning scientist who fears that a generation of innovators will be lost, and a young investigator wearied at the lab by endless funding cuts and frustrated at home by the halt to promising research into a genetic disorder that affects her daughter

Published in ASCB Post

Two longtime ASCB members, Randy Schekman of the University of California, Berkeley, and James Rothman of Yale University, have won the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discoveries of how molecules move through the cell in vesicles and fuse to target membranes in a process known as "trafficking."

Published in ASCB Post

ASCB member Pascale Cossart of the Institut Pasteur in Paris won the 2013 International Balzan Prize, worth 750,000 Swiss francs (roughly $800,000), for her work on the molecular biology of pathogenic bacteria and their interaction with host cells. Speaking for the Balzan Foundation, Peter Suter, honorary vice president of the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences, said, "Her research has provided very significant insights into the mechanisms underlying infectious diseases and how they might be combatted."

Published in ASCB Post
Monday, 30 September 2013 17:20

The Essential Mice of NIH

Just hours before the government may close down, federal employees around the world are waiting to hear if they will have to go to work in the morning. The question of the day in government buildings is which employees will be declared "essential" or "nonessential." Essential employees must show up for work even if the government is closed.

Published in ASCB Post
Monday, 30 September 2013 08:50

A Postcard from EMBO 2013

In a city where bikes outnumber cars and even people, more than 900 scientists dodged bicycles as they picked their way to the conference center for the 2013 EMBO meeting in Amsterdam. Kai Simons, Director Emeritus and Research Group Leader of the Max Planck Institute-CBG in Dresden, opened the meeting last Saturday, October 21. His talk that extended his pioneering research on lipid rafts in eukaryotic cell membranes toward bacteria with a new class of proteins called hopanoids that stand in for sterols on bacterial "liquid-ordered" membranes.

Published in ASCB Post

Got a piece of venerable (if supposedly functional) equipment taking up bench space? Turn it into an ASCB #ThrowbackThursday winner! The ASCB Post is ramping up its weekly Twitter hashtags with a cell biology twist. #ThrowbackThursday, which features blasts from the ASCB past like old photos of ASCB members (with the opportunity to guess the identity) or a landmark paper published back in the day, is adding a new category for historic/obsolete lab equipment.

Published in ASCB Post

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.

Published in ASCB Post

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.

Published in ASCB Post

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