"Interest in biology has never been higher,” says Louis Reichardt, emeritus professor of physiology at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). And yet, as federal research funding declines, Reichardt worries that many graduate students are despairing of their prospects for productive research careers. “It takes some ingenuity now to find future opportunities in science,” he says. In recent years, Reichardt has devoted his own ingenuity to helping students find these opportunities. A glimpse of his work can now be seen on iBiology.org.
Bruce Alberts, professor at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), who served as ASCB president in 2007, was just named one of the nation's top scientists by President Obama. Alberts and nine others are recipients of the National Medal of Science, the Nation's highest honor for individuals who have made outstanding contributions to science and engineering. Alberts will be presented the medal in a ceremony at the White House later this year.
Eleanor (Josie) Clowney , a postdoc at Rockefeller University who did her graduate work at the University of California, San Francisco, has been named the winner of the 2014 $5,000 ASCB Kaluza Prize for outstanding research by a graduate student. The Kaluza Prizes are supported by Beckman Coulter. Clowney won for her breakthrough work on olfactory neurons performed in Stavros Lomvardas’ lab. Her work provides a new perspective on how acute transcriptional specificity can be achieved through epigenetic mechanisms.
Inmate-college students at San Quentin Prison will soon have microscopes for their biology lab through an ASCB Outreach Grant, offered by the Committee for Postdocs and Students (COMPASS) outreach subcommittee. ASCB members Ryan McGorty and Adam Williamson, both postdocs at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), asked for the outreach grant to help their volunteer efforts as instructors for a introductory biology course for prisoners.
In Philadelphia this December, Ann Reid's mission will be to talk to scientists about talking about the science of evolution without losing their scientific cool. "It's not about the science," says Reid, the new Executive Director of the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), "or at least you have to get a lot of stuff out of the way before you talk about the science."
Andrew Pelling has a new application for the apple, but it is not the latest i-gizmo from Cupertino, CA. Pelling and colleagues at the University of Ottawa have come up with a possible solution to the limitations of traditional, two-dimensional (2D) cell culture, which does not reproduce the microenvironment and tissue architecture that surrounds cells in a living organism—the apple, the one-a-day fruit that keeps the doctor away and is an essential ingredient to the All-American pie.
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.
In Hollywood and in 3D molecular printing, you start with a script. But the scripts that Darrell Hurt offers bioscience researchers help them to make molecular discoveries more easily. Hurt is the section head at the Computational Biology Bioinformatics and Computational Biosciences Branch at the NIH, where he recently launched the NIH 3D Print Exchange. http://3dprint.nih.gov/ The Exchange offers open-access to ready-to-use scripts, the instructions that drive 3D printers, so scientists can turn their .pdb and other data files into print-it-yourself plastic models.
It's rare to find a young scientist in a big office, yet Gregory Alushin, age 29, has generous space, a U-shaped desk, and a floor-to-ceiling window with a view of the NIH campus. He is semi-apologetic about the arrangement, insisting that it's only temporary. "We're going to have to leave this place in a few months," Alushin hastily explains. "Another institute had just moved out of this space so we got to be the temporary sole occupants." His lab was founded only seven months ago, says Alushin, and he doesn't want to get too comfortable.
"I grew up in a very big family in a very small house," says Lydia Villa-Komaroff. That house was in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where few Mexican-American kids like herself were lucky to even finish high school. But Villa-Komaroff knew from a young age that she wanted to become a scientist. She remembers when she was nine, hearing her uncle talking about his work as a chemist and deciding that this sounded like the career for her. "All children are scientists, but... I think it gets lost because people forget about the excitement and the joy of discovery," she says. "I wanted to continue to explore things, take them apart, put them back together."