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ASCB Newsletter - January 1997

Classifieds
    01/01/1997

Position Available

Science Support Manager.
Information Dynamics, Inc. (IDI), a Washington, DC based high-technology firm, is seeking a Science Support Manager for the NASA HQ Office of Life and Microgravity Sciences and Applica-tions (OLMSA) contract in Washington, DC. Requires five years demonstrated experience working with the scientific, engineering, and business communities. Management experience required. MS in Biology, Materials Science, Fluid Physics or related field also required. Ph.D. preferred. IDI offers an excellent salary and benefits package including a 401(k) plan. Please forward inquiries to: Mail: IDI, 400 Virginia Ave., S.W., Suite 110, Washington, D.C. 20024. Fax: (202) 863-5210 Email For more information on IDI. IDI is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Internship Sought
Smith College, Junior, biology major, seeks summer internship in genetics or developmental biology laboratory. Southeast United States preferred. Contact Marsha Crawley: (413) 585-4266.

 


ASCB Committee Reports
    01/01/1997

ASCB Committee Reports
Here are the brief summaries of ASCB committee activity.

International Affairs Committee
The International Affairs Committee meeting was chaired by Doug Murphy. It reviewed its support of 49 international students and investigators under the Developing Countries Awards, sponsored by the ASCB and the International Federation for Cell Biology, and travel grants from the International Science Foundation (ISF). Some funds raised by the International Federation of Cell Biology, the ASCB International Affairs Committee (IAC), and ASCB Council ($43,000 total) supported the visits of 39 international cell biologists from 18 countries, including five from Africa, six from Russia and Eastern Europe, 11 from South and Central America, and 17 from Asia. An additional ten Russian scientists received travel awards from the International Science Foundation, the largest number yet to receive awards to attend an ASCB Annual Meeting.

The following points were noted regarding the Developing Countries Travel Awardees:

  • The International Federation of Cell Biology (Ivan Cameron, Secretary General) held a welcoming reception for the travel awardees.
  • The Committee agreed to investigate the possibility of providing each of this year's travel awardees with a book or video tape that could be used for education when they return home. Video tapes, if provided, would need to be in PAL and SECAM code for use outside the United States.
  • A follow-up study is planned to determine how the meeting arrangements might be improved in future years.

    The Committee will seek a more neutral title for the award in future and welcomes suggestions from the ASCB membership.
  • The Committee agreed to continue a limited program of support for four to five persons per year to attend regular Annual Meetings of the ASCB.

ASCB Minorities Poster Session
In addition to the regular poster sessions where their work is presented to a larger audience, Minorities Affairs Committee (MAC) travel awardees and other young investigators were invited to present their work at the Minorities Poster Session. The 1996 Minorities Poster Session was sponsored by Pfizer to spotlight the work of young investigators and to provide an opportunity for networking and mentoring.

Three posters were chosen for awards based on scientific merit and visual clarity of presentation, appropriateness of methodology logic, and verbal presentation. MAC members D. Chavez, D. Friend, T. Gurney, S. Murray, A. Toliver, and G. Vigil served on the Selection Committee. The Awardees are:

  • Sidney B. Cambridge, Carnegie Mellon Universtiy (Doctoral Graduate Student Category)
  • Althea M. Grant,Emory University (Doctoral Graduate Student Category)
  • Olga A. Cabello, Baylor College of Medicine (Postdoctoral Category)

Ahna Skop, University of Wisconsin, Madison (Doctoral Graduate Student Category) received Honorable Mention.

The winners will each receive a check for $163 on behalf of Pfizer.

Public Policy Committee
Paul Berg presided at the meeting. The FY'98 proposed federal budgets for those agencies supporting basic biomedical research were the focus of the meeting. ASCB Congressional liaisons Peter Kyros and Belle Cummins discussed the status of the NIH budget, which the administration is attempting to finalize before submitting it to Congress in early February. There is serious concern that funding for basic research could be reduced in service to the Administration's determination to balance the federal budget. A recent visit between ASCB and Office of Management and Budget officials confirmed this potential.

Kyros and Cummins encouraged the Committee and the Society to contact all new members of the House and the Senate to educate them about issues of concern to the Society and encourage them to join the Congressional Biomedical Research Caucus. The Committee also determined to develop tools such as a video or slide presentation for scientists to use to teach other scientists how to advocate for federal funding for basic biomedical research.

The Committee is developing a short list of Society members who may be called upon on short notice to go to Capitol Hill to meet with Members of Congress. Members of the Committee will develop a panel discussion for next year's annual meeting to discuss effective means of advocacy for scientist on the federal level. The group determined to endorse the NIGMS policy to create an interim funding pool at the NIH in order to protect a small number of research projects which could slip below the pay line.

A Committee was appointed by Berg to develop ASCB misconduct guidelines. The Committee will also write to NIH Director Harold Varmus regarding proposed changes to the NIH peer review system.

The Committee discussed the FASEB Consensus Conference. Some were concerned that there was no consensus reached on the NASA recommendation and asked that a letter be written to FASEB to clarify the appropriate action when there is disagreement on a recommendation.

Education Committee Summary
Frank Solomon chaired the Education Committee meeting; he introduced Sue Shafer, Chair of the Women in Cell Biology Committee, who proposed that a careers column be produced for the ASCB Newsletter jointly by the Minorities Affairs, WICB and Education committees. Don Kimmel of the MAC has agreed to spearhead the project. Education Committee members enthusiastically supported the proposal and suggested discussions of alternative careers as topics and the possibility of interfacing with the AAAS Science's Next Wave Web site (http://sci.aaas. org/nextwave). Shafer sees the key to the column editor's job as coordination so that the three committees are not producing columns on the same topic at the same time.

Solomon and Dick McIntosh reported on the progress of the Education Committee Subcommittee on Graduate Education. The Subcommittee was created to consider career opportunities in biology, and how they affect graduate and undergraduate training. The issue was addressed as a response to the perception among cell biologists, junior and senior, that the opportunities for employment in the field are changing, quantitatively and qualitatively. The Subcommittee agreed that their first task is to realistically analyze the biomedical research job market, and how it may affect the ASCB membership, and by extension the biomedical re-search community at-large. The Sub-committee agreed that although some questions may duplicate those found on other surveys, the ASCB has an obligation to serve the needs of cell biologists and Society members. A formal proposal was made to the ASCB Council to fund an appropriate survey and approval was received to fund a survey of 3,000 ASCB members.

Points introduced by the Committee include:

  • the need to consider the impact of retirement practices on job availability at introductory and intermediate career levels;
  • the need to maintain large enough survey cohorts to ensure integrity of the survey results;
  • the need for clearly stated questions, for example, what defines a cell biologist;
  • the need to identify questions that apply to subsets of statistically significant size.

In conjunction with this discussion, Ted Gurney pointed out that training grants and MARC grants are dependent on baseline data about the racial composition of the Society, which is not currently available. The Education Committee strongly supported the MAC in its need for this information and urged that this question be included on the membership renewal and membership application forms.

Questions developed for the survey will be sent to the full Committee and others for review at each step of development.

In Memory
The Society recognizes with condolences to his family the death of ASCB member Edward A. Khairallah of the University of Connecticut, September 26, of heart disease.

Sam Silverstein introduced his recommendations for continuing Committee involvement in pre-college science education. He proposed that a case statement be prepared on the Committee's position and that specific recommendations with cost and value to the Society be developed. The Committee agreed unanimously that the ASCB remain committed and involved in pre-college science education. Specific programs discussed include:

  • providing token support for teachers to work with ASCB mentors through SWEPT (Scientific Work Experience Programs for Teachers);
  • joining with other scientific societies in forming local consortia/networks.
  • developing scientist-student partnerships;
  • determining teacher needs rather than providing unneeded services, such as a registry of unneeded equipment.

Committee members noted that two meetings a year were not enough time to discuss and act on the precollege science education concerns of the Committee. A subcommittee addressing pre-college science education issues was formed with the charge of developing a written document with specific proposals to the full Committee.

Roger Sloboda reported on the What to Do with Your Graduate Degree Lunch cosponsored at the Congress & Meeting by the Education and WICB Committees. The Education Committee will continue its involvement and recommends that the lunch focus remains on careers, since the interest is so high and presumably many members from the East Coast will attend the Annual Meeting in Washington who were unable to attend the meeting in San Francisco.

The Committee agreed to continue its participation in the National Association of Biology Teachers meeting in 1997. Connie Oliver reported that speakers from the general geographic area at which the annual NABT meeting is held are asked to update teachers on current trends in cell biology and to relate the topic to the "real world". Comments from teachers include thank you's for providing scientific information and updates and comments that "these PhDs are fun to listen to". Traffic at the ASCB booth was very heavy, with obvious interest from the teachers in the information on cell biology and about the ASCB.

Selection of a topic for the 1997 Education Committee Workshop at the Annual Meeting will be suggested by the Subcommittee.

Bob Blystone received warm thanks from the Committee for his faithful and popular contributions of monthly Web site columns for the ASCB Newsletter and for his Web site tutoring at the Education/Minorities Affairs Com-mittes booth.

Women in Cell Biology Committee
The Women in Cell Biology (WICB) Committee was chaired by Sue Shafer. Caroline Kane reported that the speaker's bureau is taking shape. The bureau will list names and contact information for prominent women scientists who can recommend excellent women speakers in their area of expertise. Listings will be publicized on the ASCB Web site and through a mailing to university department chairs. Quarterly announcements in the ASCB Newsletter will direct interested program chairs to the ASCB Web site.

Kane updated the Committee on affirmative action activities in California and advised that with passage of Proposition 209 ( the California Civil Rights Initiative) political organizers plan to campaign for similar bills nationally. The Committee endorses the sponsorship of a discussion of affirmative action at the 1997 Annual Meeting and will propose inclusion of this topic under the auspices of the Program Committee rather than as a WICB activity.

Laura Williams reviewed the columns from 1996 and those proposed for 1997. It was suggested that topics and guest column authors be solicited from the ASCB membership through the ASCB Newsletter.

Kane reported that the WICB/Education Committees luncheon was again a great success, with approximately 500 people in attendance, cigarette advertising directed toward women in Working Woman magazine was condemned by the Committee. Sally Amero has drafted a letter to Nancy F. Smith, Editor-in-Chief, expressing the concerns of the WICB Committee that such advertising is contrary to the magazine's stated intent of promoting the welfare of women. The letter will be copied to the advertising cigarette companies and to other scientific publications.

WICB has identified a need for more extensive career counseling articles in the ASCB Newsletter and has proposed joint sponsorship of articles with the Minorities Affairs Committee (MAC) and Education Committee. Don Kimmel of the ASCB MAC will act as coordinator for the column.

The Committee endorsed Council's recommendation to propose to the ASCB membership that the sponsorship requirement for applicants be dropped, feeling that its function is not clear and it hinders applications from institutions where there are few ASCB members.

Since the Committee takes seriously its mission to address issues of concern to women cell biologists, it agreed that a box requesting that suggestions for additional activities be printed in the ASCB Newsletter and that it be placed permanently on the ASCB web site.

Publications Committee
Marianne Bronner-Fraser chaired the Publications Committee. Paul Matsudaira and Les Wilson reported on the Methods in Cell Biology series. Jasna Markovac from Academic Press indicated that the series is doing very well. Only one volume was planned for this year, and four volumes have been planned for next year. Academic Press is also looking into the feasibility of putting their methods series online as they have done with their journals. Markovac reported that having the journals online has not negatively impacted individual sales. The Committee asked that a list of volumes published to-date be provided before the next meeting so that suggestions can be made for future new and updated volumes and appropriate editors.

David Botstein, Editor-in-Chief of Molecular Biology of the Cell, presented his report to the Committee (for details see MBC report, p. 10). He expressed concern that the journal had seen a decrease in essays and asked the Com mittee to suggest names of potential essay editors. Bronner-Fraser explained that the role of the Committee with regard to MBC was to make recommendations to Council. Members discussed formalizing the length of terms for all editorial board members, including the Editor-in-Chief and Editor, and agreed to make their recomendations to Council. The Committee also discussed and will make recommendations to Council regarding the policy of serving on two closely related cell biology journals.

Bronner-Fraser reported that several of the Committee's publications came to fruition in time for the Annual Meeting, including How to Get a Teaching Job at a Primarily Undergraduate Institution, by Malcolm Campbell, and How to Get a Research Job in Academia and Industry, by Gary Gorbsky and Margaret Werner-Washburne. Additional projects were discussed that are currently in progress including an update of the Opportunities brochure, How to Get an Alternative Job, and How to Get Tenure. Committee members hoped to have them ready by the next Annual Meeting.

The Committee approved Fiona Watt's request that the Journal of Cell Science be included as an option on the ASCB dues notice at a reduced rate to Society members.

Exhibits
Over 10,000 participants attended the 6th International Congress on Cell Biology and the ASCB 36th Annual Meet-ing in San Francisco. They had an opportunity to visit 340 exhibiting companies displaying products and services for use by cell biologists in 453 booths.

In addition to visiting the exhibits, attendees could choose among thirty Exhibitor Showcase presentations and 15 Exhibitor Tutorials which are industry-sponsored seminars. These seminars were held both during the day and at night and allowed the attendees to gain additional information on specific topics of research.

Society revenues from exhibiting companies are the largest single income source for the Society and help contain the cost of scientific registration at the An-nual Meeting. Exhibitors base their decisions about whether to at-tend a particular meeting on attendee intetest generated at the An-nual Meeting and subsequent sales. Members are encouraged to show their appreciation to companies that support the Society by considering these exhibiting companies in future purchasing decisions, and by letting them know that their visit to an ASCB exhibit helped influence their purchase decision.

Molecular Biology of the Cell
Editorial Board

David Botstein chaired the meeting, which was attended by a over thirty board members.

Attendees were given copies of Joe Gall's recently published book, Views of the Cell, a compilation of MBC covers and descriptions, compliments of the Society and MBC. Botstein thanked Gall for his extraordinary contributions in producing MBC covers for five years. He explained that at a summer board meeting it was decided that Suzanne Pfeffer would serve as Cover Editor and that each Associate Editor would choose two seminal figures in their field to be reproduced on the MBC cover together with an explanation of the figure's importance and impact. All Board members will be encouraged to contribute to this effort.

Botstein reported the Council's strong endorsement of the journal (see Council summary, p. 4). He explained that the decision to make MBC a benefit of membership had increased costs and that advertising income did not offset these costs. However, Council agreed to allocate a higher portion of the membership dues to MBC, in keeping with common practice among professional societies. He was pleased with Council's renewed commitment to the journal.

Botstein reported that MBC's impact factor continues to be strong at 9.376. Members discussed the relative importance of impact factors and agreed that librarians do look to them in making purchasing decisions. They agreed that there should be a marketing effort to librarians and that it emphasize ISI figures. Circulation figures should be used when speaking to postdocs to encourage submissions. Botstein noted that total submissions for this year roughly parallel those of last year because more research papers but fewer essays were submitted. Randy Schek man pointed out that all editors worked very hard the first year to submit and solicit good papers for MBC and suggested that practice continue. All agreed that the Editorial Board has to drive this process and set an example by encouraging their postdocs to submit their best work to MBC. The Board discussed the question of essays, suggesting that they can include reviews or topics such as an evaluation of peer review, a retrospective of classic papers or classic errors, biographies, forecast of hot topics, and technology. Statistics indicate that the journal covers most fields in cell biology well except for those areas represented by other journals exceptionally well. The Board agreed that MBC cannot cover all fields, but that the Board should continue to expand so that papers in all areas of cell biology are welcome.

Members discussed the review process. All agreed that papers must meet the requirements described in the Instructions to Authors; however, the review process needs to be constructive, resulting in better science even for those authors whose work is rejected. Keith Yamamoto suggested that a journal is only as good as the quality of its editors and reviewers, making it imperative that destructive or gratuitous reviews are not to be tolerated. The Board agreed that reviewers must think of themselves as advocates for, not adversaries of, the authors.

Minorities Affairs Committee

J.K. Haynes presided over the meeting of the Minorities Affairs Committee (MAC). Haynes re ported that the MAC received a four year NIH-MARC grant for $123,580/year. The MAC also re ceived a supplemental grant to fund the Special Saturday Session and office support for MAC activities. Additionally, the MAC received a $10,000 grant from the I & G Foundation to fund a mentoring and networking workshop at the Marine Biological Laboratories at Woods Hole, Massachusetts.

Three guests to the MAC meeting described their programs and the potential for interaction with the Committee:

  • Cliff Poodry of the NIH/NIGMS MARC program noted that the MAC has accurately identified the problem of extreme under-representation of minorities in the bench sciences, and that its challenge now is to demonstrate solutions. He noted that future programs must offer solutions and assessments of those solutions. Application, intervention, analysis, and report all must be a part of grant proposals. In the past, evaluation has been lacking; because this is new, MARC and MBRS will provide technical assistance to grant applicants in setting up this component. Com mittee members recognized that this requirement calls for baseline data about minority members of the ASCB.
  • George Hill of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) attended as a follow-up to the May joint meeting of society minority committees. In his introduction of Hill, Haynes noted that ASM has been in the forefront of minority committees. Hill is responsible for setting up the Web links with committees who attended the May meeting. ASM has two minorities committees: the Minority Educa tion Committee (new chair, Clifford Houston of the University of Texas Galveston) and the Committee on the Status of Minority Micro biologists (CSMM).
  • Jerry Bryant of the Merck/United Negro College Fund program asked the assistance of the MAC in supporting minority students selected by the Merck program. Each year the Merck program supports 37 minority undergraduate and graduate students and post-doctoral fellows. Cur-rently, the Merck program includes 15 undergraduates who are seniors seeking placement in graduate programs. At the end of ten years, there will be 370 Merck fellows identified as well as all of the applicants that the program was unable to fund. Bryant will track both groups.

Dan Friend reported on the MAC poster session. The Committee agreed that the session is too isolated and should be moved to the main poster area. This will highlight these posters to the general meeting attendees and make it easier for the poster reviewers to review the posters of those minority travel awardees who are presenting at the regular session. The Committee was pleased with the attendance by Society officers at the Minorities Luncheon and recognized Friend's efforts in this area.

A Committee of undergraduate and graduate students has begun planning for the next Saturday Session prior to the 1997 Annual Meeting.

The Committee nominated Franklyn G. Prendergast for the 1997 E. E. Just Lecture.

Sandra Murray announced that the I & G Mentoring Session at MBL will take place on June 20-21. Ten discussion segments have been planned. The Session will involve ten current MBL fellows, ten previous fellows, and ten mentors identified from staff currently at MBL. An additional ten mentors will be selected as Internet mentors. The additional mentors will be chosen on the basis of scientific interest rather than minority identification.

ASCB/Carl Zeiss, Inc. Run Results

More than 100 hardy runners braved the early morning drizzle to participate in the Fourteenth Annual ASCB/Zeiss Run in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. Mike Ignatius of the Local Arrangements Committee organized the race with the help of his lab. The winners were presented with award certificates and a winner's bag from Zeiss. Running gloves were provided to all runners and volunteers by Laboratory Skin Care.

The winners and their times were:
Overall Women Overall Men
5K Samara Reck-Peterson 22:02 5K Bruce Goode 17:20
10K Carla Koehler 44:02 10K Andreas Merdes 35:02
Division Winnners
Women 5K Men 5K
20-29 Samara Reck-Peterson 22:02 20-29 Scott Baker 17:39
30-39 Katherine Bertoff 25:30 30-39 Bruce Goode 17:20
40-49 Katherine Swenson 25:34 40-49 Robert Ochs 23:18
50+ Katherine Lyser (63!) 33:11 50-59 Jim Hampten 18:06
60+ Michael Bennett (65!) 30:43
Women 10K Men 10K
20-29 Anne Bradford 45:15 20-29 Jonny Lyon 40:54
30-39 Carla Koehler 44:02 30-39 Andreas Merdes 35:02
40-49 Linda Hendricks 56:52 40-49 David Drechsel 38:49
50+ David Sherwood 41:34

MARC Awards
Nine minority institutions won awards to send scientists and students to the 37th ASCB Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. through the MARC program of the NIGMS of the NIH, and administered by FASEB. Three faculty members and six students from Prairie View A&M University, Prairie View, Texas; California State University, Los Angeles; and the University of Puerto Rico will attend.

Maria Elena Zavala announced that 15 host scientists have committed to participate in the ASCB/MAC Visiting Professorship Program. Committee members are also encouraged to identify potential hosts. Five scientists will be selected to work in these labs. Host and scientist may apply as a team or an applicant may ask for help in locating a volunteer host. Scientist application information will be published in the Februay issue of the ASCB Newsletter and there will be a concurrent mailing to MARC and MBRS investigators with an application deadline of March 1, and selection of scientists on April 1. Visiting sessions will last for ten weeks.

The Committee agreed to provide $1500 to fund the attendance of three students at a Histology Society Workshop on "Labeling Techniques for Immunocytochemistry". They will also attend a special section on problem solving in the lab.

Ted Gurney, liaison to the Education Committee, reported on the Education Committee Survey. Because the MAC is interested in investigating the success of minority Ph.D.s in the job market, the Committee agreed to ask the Education Committee to include questions on its survey of ASCB members about job prospects for minority members.

Gurney also reported that he has identified 40 programs for Undergraduate Summer Research Opportunities (see pages 43-46). Additional programs will be listed in the February newsletter.

Friend, as liaison to the Public Information Committee, reported that t-shirt sales and the Science Writer's Workshop continue successfully, and that the Committee is seeking ways to improve the effectiveness of the Press Book. Friend will participate in Press Book activities and will encourage inclusion of abstracts by minority scientists.

Don Kimmel will serve as the coordinator for the ASCB Newsletter column on careers, a cooperative project of the ASCB MAC, Education, and WICB committees.

 


Council Eases Membership Requirements; Approves Record New Members
    01/01/1997

The following report of the key deliberations and actions of ASCB Council, which met on December 6 and 7 in San Francisco, excludes issues regarding Society committees

J. Michael Bishop presided at the one-and-a-half day meeting. Present were Bishop, Past President Ursula Goodenough, President-elect Mina Bissell, Secretary George Langford, Treasurer Carl Cohen, Councilors Mary Beckerle, Marianne Bronner-Fraser, Douglass Forbes, Judith Kimble, Richard Hynes, Ira Mellman, Mary Lee Ledbetter, Suzanne Pfeffer and Tony Mahowald; elected members who had not yet assumed office present were President-elect designate Elizabeth Blackburn and Councilors-elect Pamela Silver, Kai Simons and Lydia Villa-Komaroff.

  • President J. Michael Bishop urged the Council to seriously consider the Society's relationship with FASEB, on which it resolved to take action in Dec-ember 1997. He reported on a meeting held in Novem-ber of the presidents of all ten FASEB societies.
  • Bishop reported that he had decided to terminate plans for a public event on "An Evening with the Cell." Although PBS's San Francisco affiliate, KQED, had agreed to produce the program, funding could not be procured in time for the production schedule. Bishop furthermore felt that the effort required to hold the program did not warrant the return if the program could not be produced and broadcasted nationally, and furthermore felt that gift funds that might be directed to the Society should not be diverted to supporting this program. Council indicated a hope that funds would be identified in the future and that "An Evening with the Cell" would at some later date be produced and televised.

Education/Minorities Affairs Committee Information Booth
Posters highlighted E. E. Just Lecturers and the activities of the MAC. Publications about education programs and activities were available to review and to take, and videos describing programs and educational tapes were available for review. Miguel J. Bisbal of Humacao University College, Puerto Rico, won a copy of the CELLebration video. Announce-ments about the Merck/United Negro College Fund Fellowship programs were available and may be requested from the ASCB Office.

Robert Blystone, member of the ASCB Education Committee, set up terminals for browsing the science education offerings on the Internet, and a compilation of his education website columns from the ASCB Newsletter was available.

The Booth was staffed by members of the MAC and Education Committee and Minorities Affairs Travel Awardees, and was funded by the Journal of Cell Biology Rockefeller University Press.

The Education/Minorities Affairs Committees Information Booth

  • Executive Director Elizabeth Marincola reported on the Congress & Meeting: over 4200 abstracts were submitted (compared to 2700 in 1995) and 4000 scientists from over fifty countries had preregistered. Forty-nine travel awards had been granted to participants from developing countries, in addition to the travel awards that are regularly offered by the Society's Minorities Affairs and Education committees. Over 450 exhibit booths had been rented, filling exhibit space to capacity, and over $425,000 in gift funds had been raised.
  • There was discussion about the costs and benefits of mailing the Annual Meeting Program and Molecular Biology of the Cell Abstracts Issue in advance of the meeting (see Letter to the Editor, page 47). Council determined that the availability of abstract titles and authors on the Web should be more widely promoted in the future but that for 1997, the Program and Ab-stracts Issue should also be mailed to pre-registrants in ad-vance. Council resolv-ed to continue to monitor member re-action and available technology with the goal of optimizing the cost-benefit of distributing advance meeting information.
  • Treasurer Carl Cohen presented the audited budget for the fiscal year which ended March 31, 1996, which showed a net loss of about $37,000 on the year for operating expenses, and a Society net worth of about $400,000. He presented the proposed budget for FY'98 which included a new membership dues structure providing a reduced rate category for post-doctoral fellows and an increase in dues for regular domestic members to $115 from the current rate of $95 effective 1998, the first increase since 1994 (other membership categories will also increase proportionally.) Council also voted to increase the internal allocation to Molecular Biology of the Cell to $25 from $15, to more accurately reflect the actual cost of producing the journal. 1997 ASCB Annual Meeting registration rates were set. The most noteworthy change in registration rates was a significant increase in the rate for on-site non-members which will be coupled with a new opportunity for on-site registrants in this category to pledge to join the Society the following year in exchange for the opportunity to register for the current meeting on-site at the member rate. The proposed budget, which included new efforts by the Education Committee's Subcommittee on Graduate Education (see page 7), was approved as modified.
  • Council heard a report of the Editor-in-Chief of Molecular Biology of the Cell, David Botstein (see MBC report, page 10). The Council recognized the outstanding contributions of the journal in certain fields and praised the Editor-in-Chief for the remarkable volunteer contributions of the Editorial Board to the Society and to the field of cell biology. Council further determined that the journal, through the Editor-in-Chief, would be accountable directly to Council, discontinuing its reporting responsibility through the Publications Committee, which also reports directly to Council.
  • Secretary George Langford presented the names of a record 1310 new applicants for membership in the Society (see pages 39-42). The Council approved the applicants for membership. About one thousand new members join each year, though the net increase in Society membership has been about 500 per year in recent years; attrition is assumed to be due to non-retention of "first-time, partial year" applicants. It is hoped that the new post-doctoral membership category will attract new members to the Society. Council observed a moment of silence in memory of recently deceased Society members, notably former President and co-winner of the first E.B.Wilson Medal, Daniel Mazia.
  • Langford presented the recommendations of the ASCB Membership Committee, which met in August. It established a goal of 15,000 ASCB members by the fiftieth anniversary of the Society in 2011. It hopes to work with the Public Policy Committee to have the first decade of the next century declared, "The Decade of the Cell", noting the visibility of "The Decade of the Brain". There was considerable discussion about the costs and benefits of requiring two sponsors for membership applications. Council determined to recommend to the ASCB membership that the Society by-laws be revised to eliminate the requirement for sponsorship, except when a candidate is applying for sponsorship under the "equivalent experience" clause, which allows those without a doctoral degree and who are not working toward a doctoral degree to apply for membership if they can demonstrate experience equivalent to a doctoral degree. The Council also resolved to propose an Honorary Membership for selected individuals, such as public officials, the Society may wish to recognize as members who do not qualify for membership under the current scientific criteria.
  • Council approved the appointments of Douglass Forbes and J. Richard McIntosh as Chairs of the 1997 Program and Nominating committees, respectively.
  • Council considered a proposal to establish an Annual Meeting lectureship in memory of Daniel Mazia. Council recommended that the proposers instead be encouraged to direct support to contribute to the sponsorship of an Annual Meeting Symposium in Mazia's memory.
  • There was discussion about sites for ASCB annual meetings after the current contracts run out in 2002. The matter was referred back to the Ad Hoc subcommittee for further discussion and recommendation. Sites being considered by the Ad Hoc committee include Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Philadelphia, Boston, and Washington.
  • Council determined to fund the request of the Joint Steering Committee for Public Policy through Tom Pollard to contribute $10,000 per year to help support a staff person devoted to working with scientists in their districts. It is the hope that a significant number of scientists will meet and regularly visit their members of Congress and be called upon by their Representatives to serve as resources on issues relating to federal funding of biomedical research and other science-related policy.
  • Council considered a request by the President-elect of the Ameri can Society for Biochemistry & Moleular Biology to hold a joint Annual Meeting in 2001 or 2002. Council determined to decline the offer.
  • Cohen reported on the management workshop which he had organized. More than twice the number of people registered than for which there was capacity, so a second workshop was scheduled. Council voted to provide contingency funding for a similar workshop in 1997 should the National Science Foundation not renew its support, which supplemented the $10 registration charge.
  • Mary Clutter, ASCB member and Assistant Director of the National Science Foundation, gave a presentation about biology programs at the NSF. She indicated that the budget outlook for FY'98 is not promising, and requested the Society's advocacy support. She also announced the vacancy of the position of NSF Deputy Director and solicited nominations to fill the position.

 


Gifts
01/01/1997

Gifts
The ASCB is grateful to the members below who have given gifts to support society activities.

Mary Beckerle
Janice Blum
Anthony Campagnoni
Edward Chambers
Yong Choi
A. Kent Christensen
Laura Cisar
J.S. Clegg
Allen Costoff
Paul Dreizen
Howard Ducoff
Marcus Fechheimer
Christine Field
Ruth Furukawa
Susan Gentleman
Fred Grinnell
Charlotte Kaetzel
Ruth Kleinfeld
Brian Knoll
Ralph Kubo
Fumio Matsumura
Edward McKee
Alan Munn
Albert Nakano
Alfred Owczarzak
Thomas Pollard
Anthony Poole
Evelyn Ralston
Emma Shelton
Rebecca Shirk
Peter Sonderegger
Richard Stenger
Zena Werb
Leslie Wilson

The Society extends special thanks to Fred Grinnell, who submitted the winning t-shirt slogan To Thine Own Cell Be True. Grinnell de-clined the $250 reward, designating it to the minorities travel fund for the Congress & Meeting.

 


Kirschner Receives Public Service Award
    01/01/1997

Kirschner Receives Public Service Award
Following are the remarks of J. Michael Bishop, 1996 ASCB President, and Paul Berg, ASCB Public Policy Chair, honoring the presentation of the third ASCB Public Award to Marc Kirschner, and Kirschner's acceptance speech. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) presented the Award to Kirschner.

"Scientists are public servants. I believe this on two counts. In the first place, what we do has profound impact on the culture of our society, on human health and welfare, and on economic prosperity-it is becoming increasingly clear that scientific discovery is now the principal driver of economic growth.

In the second place, scientists derive most of their resources for research from the taxpayer. It follows that we should be accountable to our fellow citizens and their agents in government, and that we should seek every possible means to share with them our visions for the future.

Sadly, we scientists have been slow to develop a dialogue with the public, and in particular, with our legislators. Within the limits of its resources, the ASCB has been trying to rectify this deficiency. I believe that this is a vital and admirable activity. Moreover, it is not merely self-serving: it is an effort to reach out to the larger community that shares our goals and values.

In order to further validate the dialogue between scientists and the public, the ASCB created its award for public service: the ASCB Public Service Award. The recipients are chosen annually by the society's Public Policy Committee. They may be either public servants who have fostered the cause of biomedical research or scientists who have facilitated our dialogue with the public. Irrespective of their provenance, they deserve our respect and gratitude. They serve as examples for us all."
— J.M.B.

Following are excerpts from Paul Berg's introduction of Marc Kirschner:
"Marc... was established [early] as a leader at the interface of molecular and cell biology...[later,] in the fifteen years he was at UCSF, it emerged as one of the world's leading research centers in molecular, cell and developmental biology. I know first hand because Stanford's fiercest and most successful competitor for graduate students was the remarkable collection of Bill Rutter, Harold Var mus, Mike Bishop, Howard Goodman, Bruce Alberts, Keith Yamamoto, Marc Kirschner and others too numerous to identify individually. Marc's work on the cell cyle, particularly the events regulating the onset of mitosis, was innovative in its conception, design and execution, and paved the way for linking signal transduction pathways to proteins mediating critical steps leading to mitosis...[But] the honor we confer on him tonight is not for his science but for his equally impressive and important achievements in public service...by 1990, he along with others sensed that while research findings and opportunities were taking off, federal funding of biomedical research, especially through the NIH, was seriously threatened... Kirschner and a key group of others energize[d] the biomedical community to assume a more pro-active role in educating and persuading Congress and the Ad ministration of the value of the life sciences...many deserve credit for the success in achieving substantial increases in the NIH budget at a time of punishing decreases elsewhere in the federal budget but certainly Marc's tireless efforts stand out amongst the contributions of many other scientist advocates... Kirschner's public policy initiatives not only thrive, but have stimulated other professional societies to duplicate his efforts, contributing to the influence of the voice of the biomedical researcher in Washington."
—P.B.

Following is kirschner's acceptance speech in its entirety:
Thank you very much. I am grateful to the American Society for Cell Biology for bestowing this award on me, to the current President of the Society, Mike Bishop, Scientific Advisor to the Congressional Research Caucus and co-conspirator in so many of our public policy efforts; to Paul Berg, the current Chair of the Public Policy Committee who has been doing a terrific job in mobilizing the work of our society; to Elizabeth Marincola, the executive director of the ASCB, who has been an incredibly able agent for facilitating science advocacy in Washington; to Bill Brinkley, who preceded me in my position as public policy Chair and who helped awaken us to the critical needs in Washington; to Tom Pollard, who convinced us to take a cue from National Rifle Association and get organized, and to Peter Kyros and Belle Cummins, our astute and dedicated legislative representatives in Washington. Finally, I am honored that Nancy Pelosi is here tonight to present this award. I miss many things about San Francisco, but one of them is being able to follow closely Congresswoman Pelosi's passionate ad vocacy for many important social and political causes, including biomedical research. If this were Chicago, where I grew up, I would have continued to vote for her for many, many years after I left.

I accept this award not so much in recognition of my own efforts to advocate for federal funding of biomedical research but rather as acknowledgment of the contributions that so many of us have made: I accept this award for each of you who wrote a letter, responded to a CLC alert, visited your Representative or Senator, or spoke at a school, a Rotary Club, or even a cocktail party about the goals and accomplishments of science.

Over the past seven years, there has been a growth of scientific advocacy in Washing ton but what has set the biomedical re search community apart and to a great degree has made us uniquely successful is that the advocacy has been by scientists themselves. I have observed, with all due respect to my colleagues, that scientists do not tend to be great politicians. But happily, our modest advocacy has been effective because our goals serve basic American values and because the American political system is still responsive to those values. Furthermore, several thoughtful and effective Members of Congress, such as Representative Pelosi, have risen to service as champions of biomedical research.

The strategies that we pursue are not profound at all; they are obvious and simple. There may be an art to politics, but the kind we scientists practice best has essentially no art at all. Early in my efforts in Congress, I met an aide from Washington State who had a deep personal interest in Native American Affairs. He was frustrated because he had visited several poor tribes, who were spending their limited money on expensive lobbyists in Washington in the mistaken belief that only these magic stewards of power could gain them access to their own Representa-tives. In fact he knew that the tribe members themselves were their most effective spokespeople-most knowledgeable, most sincere, and ultimately most convincing. Our view was the same. Though we did engage help in tracking and interpreting events in Washington from Peter and Belle, ultimately their most effective contribution has been to help us to become our own advocates.

So we did what came naturally and extended the journal club or Grand Rounds approach to Congress and helped establish a caucus to showcase current progress on important medical and scientific problems. When we started, one crusty Congressional aide told me that such a science caucus would not last two sessions. We have now held fifty sessions, well attended by senior staff but also by members of Congress. Congress woman Pelosi recently attended a discussion of advances in HIV therapy that featured an in-depth discussion of the recent development of protease inhibitors. People care about health and they want the benefits of health research to be shared by all American citizens. The pessimistic Congressional aide had based his prediction on his experience that busy people would not continue to attend boring science talks. He was right about that, but what we knew and he didn't was the difference between a boring talk and a fascinating one. Harold Varmus organized the first caucuses; Mike Bishop has organized them for the last three years. On short notice, virtually every invited scientist came to Washington to speak. If you have the best and most persuasive organizers organizing the most lucid and knowledgeable speakers on subjects of current interest, then people will find it worth attending.

The presidential candidates were also not oblivious to the importance of health research. In what might have been the only memorable moment of two exceptionally drab political conventions, Christopher Reeve spoke movingly about the kind of nation that commits itself to health research. I hope that Congresswoman Pelosi will remind the President of the seriousness of that commitment, especially when the OMB has apparently recommended that instead of a modest inflationary increase for the NIH next year, its budget be cut below this year's level by $100 million.

Yet as limited as the NIH budget is, biologists in this country who can claim some connection to human disease have had it relatively easy even in these difficult budgetary times. The physical scientists whose work is vital to health and environmental research have not fared as well. Everyone shares enthusiasm for those obliterative breakthroughs like penicillin and the Salk vaccine that both save money and prevent human agony. Even the long term efforts on cancer, on AIDS, on heart disease, and on mental illness have been punctuated with enough encouraging developments to warrant confidence in the promise of science to cure and prevent disease. People do not expect quick fixes. They know that thousands of person-years of grim effort went into each success. Biomedical scientists, unlike most public beneficiaries, are not required to show a yearly cost-benefit analysis or to explain their failures.

So we are left to simply tell our story honestly, without exaggeration, to a naturally receptive, usually personally vested audience. This is the easiest part of our challenge. Yet, we face serious barriers. There is chronic underfunding, preventing the full application of the fruits of biological research to disease, and there is an insidious damage to the whole scientific enterprise caused by hyper competition, in large part driven by the underfunding. While I would most like to speak for the next few minutes of our wonderful accomplishments, I feel obligated to address these two ominous challenges.

I once testified on behalf of our Society in front of Nancy Pelosi's House committee on Health, Labor and Education. Preceding me were three speakers protesting proposed cutbacks in education for deaf children. As much as I believed in science, I did not want a dime of research money to come from support for deaf education. Yet by the current agreement on deficit reduction, domestic discretionary spending will decline over the next five years. Some say that the NIH can be expected to decline by as much as 30%. Although most doubt that this will happen, we are in uncharted waters. I am certainly not an expert on the budget and I do not know where the money will come from. I do know that we cannot reduce our advocacy for biomedical science; it is too important to all our citizens, rich or poor, Republican or Democrat, black or white-indeed it is important to all the world's citizens. But I also know that it is unacceptable to us as not just scientists, but as parents, as children of aging mothers and fathers, as friends and family of people who de pend on their country for special needs, that the NIH be the only survivor of an assault on domestic discretionary spending. The only alternative is to increase appropriations for the domestic discretionary part of the budget. Until we have a reasonable answer to this riddle of how to cut the budget, develop the strength of biomedical research, and maintain social programs for the poor and helpless, we will all be terribly uneasy.

Finally I want to talk about the anxiety in science indirectly caused by limited NIH money and the funding criteria we have created. While our system of peer review in the US may be the best yet devised, it sadly has built incentives for risk-aversion which forces applicants to take the short view. We have all seen grants rejected for flimsy and narrow-minded reasons and carefully written papers rejected without consideration. This can only reflect a profound anxiety in science itself. I wonder, in today's environment, would a grant be funded for Fred Sanger's ambitious but slow and uncertain effort to sequence the first protein? How many compounds could Paul Ehrlich have screened to counter syphilis before some study section would have canceled his funding? Could anyone now support Jim Watson's quixotic and meandering efforts to understand the structure of the gene, or would he suffer the fatal criticism of hubris and lack of feasibility? Would Darwin's voyage of the Beagle be construed as a fishing expedition without testable hypotheses? Or would the Study Section have approved the general idea for its novelty but canceled his foreign travel? Ironically, today most scientists make heroic attempts to cloak any semblance of originality in the guise of pedestrian and feasible science, just to make it acceptable to the NIH committees. For some naive and unfortunate souls it is not always possible to hide their youthful enthusiasm and creativity. Every young scientist I know is aware that it is suicidal to propose an experiment that might not work. Yet we all know that most of the great experiments in science are big risks. And not all of them can be done on Sunday mornings, with the leftover resources from other experiments. But the irony is that the people on the Study Sections are us, and we are submitting ourselves to a hysteria for safe science, as we vainly try to cut the salami thinner and thinner.

The lesson of the public affairs efforts by this society that is being honored tonight is that scientists must invest themselves in their own issues. This is ironic advice to people who already work unreasonable hours with no personal or professional guarantees, often at the expense of family, finances, and even of personal health. But this is a lesson that our colleagues in the physical sciences might have learned too late: if it is important, we have to do it ourselves. There is no religious order for the protection of scientists. We must engage the support of the public to invest in research. After all, it is an investment, not simply an amusement. It will pay dividends in the future as it has in the past. It is a permanent bull market, where individual shares may fall but any reasonable mutual fund is certain to pay off. How can one resist such an investment opportunity?

Though it is true that most investments will pay off, some investments pay better than others. We must insist that our scientific, academic, and funding institutions contribute to the welfare of science as a whole, that they support the freedom of investigation, fairness, and integrity. Science must maintain its diversity, not just a diversity of individuals, but much more important, a diversity of approaches. For all the allure of large industrial-scale efforts in science, not only to some scientists but significantly to journalists and politicians, we must remember that the cornerstone of progress is built primarily on the incremental efforts of individual scientists working in small groups. "Small" science provides the opportunity for creative young people to contribute significantly to an important biological idea or to a valuable medical application, and it is this chance for individual achievement that draws the best of them to arduous careers in laboratory experimentation. Peter Medawar has reminded us that scientists do not come from a standard mold. He said, "Among scientists are collectors, classifiers, and compulsive tidiers-up; many are detectives by temperament and many are explorers. Some are artists and others artisans. There are poet scientists and even a few mystics." To this I might add they all require grants. A challenge for all of us is to build on our success, convince the nation of the importance of our task, and convince ourselves in difficult times to retain our creativity and our diversity. For it is not our importance as individuals that matters; it is that the health of our nation depends on the health of our research. Thank you.

 


Letters To The Editor
    01/01/1997

Dear Editor,
I have just read Dr. Marvin Cassman's letter published in the ASCB Newsletter [November 1996] explaining the steps NIGMS is taking to help productive laboratories that experience lapses in funding. I wholeheartedly applaud this initiative. I think this idea is ingenious and should be adopted by the other NIH institutes as soon as possible.

I am a junior investigator at the University of California Riverside and have been funded by NIGMS for the past 4 years. It gives me great satisfaction to see that such forward looking initiative came from the Institute that supports my research endeavors. I also want to applaud NIGMS for dedicating a large amount of their funds to funding principal investigator generated research projects. I think that it is imperative that other Institutes do the same.

Of particular importance are the PIs from educational institutions. As the competition for research funds becomes stiffer and stiffer, it becomes ever more difficult for those who teach to compete with those who do not. But if we who teach lose our funding, the entire biomedical system is in jeopardy because education of the future generations will become separated from front-line research. I would like to ask Dr. Cassman and his fellow directors to consider this very serious problem and perhaps find an equally creative way to address it.

Manuela Martins-Green


To 1996 President
J. Michael Bishop

Dear Mike:
Thank you for inviting me to attend the reunion of past presidents in San Francisco. I cannot attend although I'm in good health. It is now 32 years since I was elected President of ASCB. As I remember it, the Board of Directors always named one of their own group and were required to name an outsider as the other nominee. Daniel Mazia called me one evening while they were at dinner but I was assured it was just a formality and I would not be elected. Later I got the news. I was not an active member at the time. I am now in good health at age 85, having retired in 1982. I have articles on what I now call Real Bioethics in Perspectives in Biology and Medicine and one in press in Ethics and the Environment Volume I with help form the McArdle Laboratory and my granddaughter Lisa Potter. Regards to "all the old-timers and the new."

Sincerely,
Van Rensselaer Potter, Ph.D.
Hilldale Professor of Oncology, Emeritus


Editor:

Please mail abstracts and programs before the meeting.

Thanks,
Jim Sellers
NIH

Dear Jim:
We received a significant number of such requests this year, most more vociferous than your succinct and polite note. There were several reasons that the Molecular Biology of the Cell Abstracts Issue and the Congress & Meeting Program were not mailed in advance of the December, 1996 Congress & Meeting. First, the number of attendees from outside the U.S. for the Congress & Meeting was expected to be (and indeed was) much greater than for a usual ASCB Annual Meeting. Experience shows that a very large percentage of volumes mailed outside the U.S., even if sent airmail six to eight weeks in advance, do not arrive, or do not arrive in time, to their intended destinations. This causes both ill-will and signficant expense, incurred both by the higher overseas mailing costs initially and by the cost of replacing mailed but unreceived volumes. Second, because of the larger number of regular abstracts expected and received for this meeting (2601 in 1995 vs. 3891 in 1996), the volumes were significantly heavier than usual, again making advance mailing more costly but also requiring participants to carry five and a half pounds of printed material to the meeting. Weight correlates not only to burdened backs but also to the number of people who choose not to carry volumes to the meeting but who then want replacements when they arrive. Third, it is the tradition of International Congresses to distribute materials on site, so most foreign attenders not only expect but indeed prefer this arrangement for the reasons outlined above. And finally, we were able to post abstract titles and authors on the Web to enable attendees to organize their time in advance notwithstanding the absence of hard copy. Thousands of people used this service and feedback indicates that they were very pleased with its accessibility and searchability.

Nonetheless, at its recent meeting, ASCB Council decided to resume the mailing of the Program and Abstracts Issue in advance of the 1997 Annual Meeting, and to continue Web posting. It furthermore resolved to monitor membership preferences and available technology so that the Society can continue to serve its members' needs while containing their costs.

E.M.

 


Members In The News
    01/01/1997
The following ASCB members were elected to the Institute of Medicine:
Gerald Fink, Director, Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and American Cancer Society Professor of Genetics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Brigid L.M. Hogan, Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; Hortense B. Ingram Professor of Cell Biology, Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Merton Bernfield, Clem-ent A. Smith Professor of Pediatrics; professor of cell biology; and director of the joint program in neonatology, Harvard Medical School

Richard D. Klausner, director, National Cancer InstituteKiysohi Kurokawa, professor and chairman, department of medicine, University of Tokyo Faculty of Medicine

Bettie Sue Masters, Robert A. Welch Professor in Chemistry, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio

Michael B.A. Oldstone, professor of neuropharmacology and immunology, Scripps Research Institute; head, division of virology, University of California, San Diego

Samuel C. Silverstein, John C. Dalton Professor and chairman, department of physiology and cellular biophysics; and professor of medicine, Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons

Torsten N. Wiesel, president, Rockefeller University

 


ASCB Placement Service
    01/01/1997

Information on both candidates and positions still avilable after the Placement Service at the meeting in San Fransico are now accessible quickly and conveniently on the ASCB Website

Candidate names, addresses, and telephone numbers are not available in the listings. This additional candidate information is available in the ASCB Placement Service Candidate Book. The Candidate Book has information sheets on the 325 candidates who registered with the ASCB Placement Service before and during the Congress & Meeting in San Francisco. Candidate information includes name, addresses, type of work desired, citizenship, visa type, geographic preference, date of availability, academic training, professional experience, specialties, and publications.

Candidate information is available upon request at no extra charge to employers who participated in the ASCB Placement Service in San Francisco as a benefit of their Placement Service package. Non-profit employers who did not participate in the ASCB Placement Service may purchase a Candidate Book for $75; commercial non-participating employers may purchase one for $200.

Candidate Book Order Form

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$200, Institution

Type of Payment:
Enclosed is a check made payable to the ASCB (US funds only)

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Send check or credit card information with the completed order form to The American Society for Cell Biology, 9650 Rockville Pike, Bethesda MD 20814. Phone: (301) 530-7153; (301) 530-7139

 


1996 President J. Michael Bishop
    01/01/1997

Bissell Takes Office
Following are remarks by Mina J. Bissell, who took office as ASCB President on December 12.

It is both a privilege and an awesome responsibility to be elected the ASCB President. To begin, therefore, thank you for honoring me with your confidence and your vote. The Society has many vital agenda items articulated by our distinguished past-presidents and I am eager to continue these efforts as well as to initiate a few new ones:

  • I ask for your help in attracting new ASCB members in order to keep our exciting Society vibrant and responsive;
  • I urge all of you to support your Society's journal, Molecular Biology of the Cell, edited by some of our finest and most articulate colleagues. My laboratory will submit a number of papers to MBC in the coming months; I encourage you to do the same. I want to emphasize that Molecular Biology of the Cell and Journal of Cell Biology both should be supported. They are complementary and each is an important forum for our best cell biology research. Both have supported the ASCB and its members all along.
  • I encourage you to become advocates for biomedical research and to be active and cognizant of Congressional decisions that impact science funding and thus our lives (See J. Daie, The Activist Scientist, Science 1996; 272:1081).
  • I urge you to got involved in science education at all levels and to support the wonderful work of the Society's committees, from Education and Minorities Affairs to Women in Cell Biology and Public Policy.
  • I urge you to endorse all sources of funding for biomedical science. I know the importance of this first hand as a scientist whose early survival depended on small yet crucial funding from the NSF but also depended especially on funding from the OHER office of the DOE. I firmly believe we not only need a robust and healthy NIH, but in order to allow some flexibility we also must have a multiplicity of funding in other forms-such as NSF, DOD, OBER, NASA or the private sector. It is crucial that we get involved, insist on peer review and actively participate to ensure that the best and the most original science gets funded.
  • We may or may not be training too many biologists. I am among those scientists who believe we need all the talent we can get. At a universal level, of course, I am an advocate for birth control! But I think it is important not to restrict access to graduate schools. Biology is the science of the 21st Century. But, certain opportunities are limited and it is true that not everyone will automatically become a tenured professor. Many of our younger scientists, however, seem to think it is their birthright, when in fact, this has never been true. Yet myriad opportunities are rapidly unfolding. An advanced degree in the biomedical sciences can be put to respectable and exciting use, not only for teaching and research in universities, but also for research in private and public institutions, teaching in high schools and junior colleges, becoming a science writer (both for the scientific community and for the general public), working in science management (where would we be without all of the wonderful scientists who help fund us?), getting involved in politics at all levels, or even running a successful business.

The one thing that I wish to accomplish above all during my term is to have those of us who live and breathe science, help to bring the wonder, the adventure and the enthusiasm for doing biology back to those who think they have lost it amidst the concerns for funding and a lack of jobs. This is especially important because this disillusioned group includes many of our young and some of our best, the most sensitive and original, and thus the most indignant. The disillusion runs deep and wide. One of my graduate students, echoing many others, recently told me that she can barely name more than a few people whom she would consider as role models or would care to emulate: "No one cares about scholarship any more. All established scientists want is more money and power. They are all arrogant, exclusive, conservative and self-serving." The burgeoning of the biotech industry, so helpful in opening new job opportunities to biologists, nonetheless has brought uneasiness and skepticism to our midst. We must make sure that the role models of yesterday-absent-minded and self-absorbed, yet kindly and scholarly mentors-are not replaced by uncaring profiteers who have forgotten their calling as educators and seekers of truth. The fact that women and minorities are mostly excluded from the higher ranks of biotech companies and advisory committees is a reflection that we still have a long way to go in creating an outstanding scientific community of which we all can be proud.

There are many legitimate questions to be raised. Doubts about oneself and the validity of what we do with our lives are the very fiber of intellectual honesty. If we didn't question and if we didn't despair from time to time, if we don't hold up our mentors and peers to scrutiny and to the highest standards of ethics and scholarship, if we didn't poke at prejudices and question conservative and "business as usual" attitudes, we would have failed the very essence of our profession.

But hear me when I say to my student and to those of you who despair: if biomedical research is what you truly want to do, then you must be willing to pay the price. Those who bemoan the "good old days" must not remember all of them well. True, there always have been a few extraordinarily gifted and/or lucky men (and even fewer women) who did not have to struggle and who were at the right place at the right time and a few who have gotten to high places undeservedly. But many of us (especially those who push the envelope beyond the accepted norm, as well as women and men who choose to raise children and do science) know better. It has always been difficult to do science-or for that matter anything else-really well and have security and recognition from the start. Reading history helps! It takes much time, patience, stubbornness, years and years of seven-day weeks and eighteen-hour days, years of poverty level wages, predictions of doom and failure, rejections of papers and grants, depression and self-doubt (Am I any good? Do I measure up?). But one persists. One continues because this is what one must do-this is what you want to do. The excitement of discovering something new, the pulse that goes up as you develop a gel, watch a pattern emerge under a microscope, or listen to a particularly cogent lecture, as you make, break, and remake hypotheses, as you see the excitement in a pupil's eye, or see your students come of age scientifically, as you reach a new understanding-truly these are your rewards. Artists paint, writers write, and scientists continue to do experiments both in good times and in bad; we are here for the duration and it finally comes to pass. Believe me, I know. We must endure and persist and we must support one another.

We at the ASCB are already doing much to help our students and scientists who may need help. We are inclusive (we can do even better); we encourage mentorship and reward mentors; we organize workshops and lectures on grantsmanship and host round tables on alternative careers, how to find a job, how to keep a job, how to collaborate, etc. The ASCB, through its Public Policy Committee, has shown how legislators can become (or are) our friends if we care enough to talk to them and to effectively articulate our needs and the importance of biomedical science. Get involved! Of course we can do more and we will. But we need all of you as teachers and role models or as pupils and those who take advantage of what we offer. The ASCB is living proof that science-or at least cell biology in its broadest definition-is vibrant and well, despite all of the concerns. We have attracted the most absurd mix of talents, personalities, and temperaments, yet we all come together be cause we love doing biology. Lets celebrate our field!

The magnificent staff of the ASCB office, members of your Council and I welcome hearing from you. Let us know your concerns, your needs, your ideas and your solutions. Let's "connect."

To contact Mira Bissell by email regarding Society matters

 


1997 Summer Research Programs in Biology for Undergraduates
    01/01/1997

This is the first part of a two-part listing of undergraduate biology science summer programs. List includes confirmed information for the summer of 1997 as of December 1996. Programs for minority students are emphasized but the list includes information for all undergraduates. Additional listings will appear in the February ASCB Newsletter and on the ASCB Website.

American Association for the Advancement of Science, "AAAS Fellowships for Scientists and Engineers." The AAAS offers five fellowship programs in the interface area between science and public policy. Successful applicants are usually experienced career professionals but there is one program applicable to outstanding undergraduates, the Mass Media Fellows Program. The MMF program is really designed for graduate students but it has accepted occasional outstanding highly motivated undergraduates who are science majors, not journalism majors. The talents the program is looking for include a sound knowledge of basic science and the ability to communicate research results and science issues to the lay public. Fellows spend ten weeks during the summer working as reporters, researchers, or production assistants at radio or TV stations, newspapers and magazines. Fellows receive weekly stipends pro-rated by site plus travel expenses. Minorities and persons with disabilities are especially encourged.

Argonne National Laboratory, "Student Research Participation Program." The program includes life sciences as well as math, computer science and engineering. Dates: Eleven weeks, early June to mid-August. The program offers hands-on lab experience. Students must have completed the sophomore year and not more than the first year of graduate study, with GPA >= 3.0. Students currently enrolled who have been out of school for no more than six months will be considered. There is a stipend of $225 per week plus allowances for round trip travel and housing. Application deadline: February 1, 1997. Contact Lisa L. Reed, Division of Educational Programs, Argonne National Laboratory, 9700 S. Cass Avenue, Argonne, IL 60439-4845. Phone: (630) 252-4579. Email.

Brookhaven National Laboratory, "Summer Student Program, 1997." The program covers the wide range of disciplines at Brookhaven which include life sciences, math, applied math, physics, engineering, and scientific journalism. The program is interested in attracting students from traditionally underrepresented groups. Students should have a career interest in science and must have completed the junior or senior year with a B average or better. The program offers a wide variety of hands-on lab experience. There is a stipend of $225 per week plus room and round trip travel. Dates: June 2 to August 8. Application deadline: January 31, 1997. Contact Robert Thomas, Science Education Center, Building 438, BNL, P.O. Box 5000, Upton, Long Island, NY 11973-5000. Website.

Carnegie Mellon University, "Summer Undergraduate Research Program," sponsored by the NSF-REU. The program is designed for college students planning on graduate education for the Ph.D and research careers in the biological and biomedical sciences. The fields of interest are gene stucture, function, and regulation, protein structure/function, enzyme mechanisms, cell and developmental biology, organelle assembly, membrane structure/function, structural biology, and metabolic regulation. There will be a special seminar program for the summer students. A strong academic record is important but previous research experience is not required. Applicants must be US citizens or permanent residents and have completed the sophomore or junior (preferred) year. Graduates cannot be considered. Accepted summer students will receive a stipend of $2500 plus university housing and a travel allowance. The dates of the program are June 2 through August 8, 1997. Application deadline: March 1.

Case Western Reserve University, Department of Physiology & Biophysics "The Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP)." This program is designed for outstanding students with majors in biology, chemistry, physics or related disciplines. Students will carry out a research project under the close guidance of a faculty member during the summer months (8-10 weeks). Stipends are provided and on-campus housing is available. In general, we accept students who have finished their junior year. Exceptions are possible for advanced sophomores. Decisions on acceptance into the program will be made on a continuous basis. However, most decisions are made by March 1. The CWRU School of Medicine also conducts a special pre-medical education program called Health Careers Enhancement Program for Minorities (HCEM). The Department provides the program with twenty-one hours of basic and clinical science lectures. It also gives program participants access to its facilities and to related programs.

Case Western Reserve University, "Summer Program for Undergraduate Research (SPUR)," sponsored by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The program offers a ten week research experience for college students planning onresearch careers in biological and biomedical sciences. Participating departments are Anatomy, Biochemistry, Biology, Biomedical Engineering, Chemistry, Environmental Health Sciences, Genetics, Molecular Biology & Microbiology, Neurosciences, Nutrition, Pathology, Pharmacology, and Physiology & Biophysics plus selected social science departments which interface with biomedical areas. The program includes a weekly seminar series, extracurricular events, and culminates with a research poster session given by participants. There is a stipend of $2500 for ten weeks. The times are flexible. Low cost dorm housing is available. Last date for mailing application materials: Feb 7. Application deadline: March 1. Contact Mary Jones, Biology Department, CWRU, Cleveland, OH.

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, "1997 Cold Spring Harbor Undergraduate Research Program." Applications are invited from undergraduate students in their sophomore or junior year to take part in the research activities of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory during the summer of 1997. Last year 22 participants were selected from over 400 applicants. The undergraduate program is conducted to provide increased opportunities for the scholarly development of outstanding undergraduates. Research at Cold Spring Harbor is concentrated on the various aspects of molecular biology. Independent research projects by the undergraduates are conducted in conjunction with the permanent staff of the laboratory. In addition to research activities, a continuing series of seminars are given throughout the summer as part of posdoctoral training courses in bacterial genetics, yeast genetics, mouse embryology, molecular cloning, plant molecular biology, and neurobiology. Students are encouraged to attend the seminar.

Colorado State University, College of Agricultural Sciences. "Graduate Discovery Minority Internship Program." The program offers laboratory experience along with a series of workshops on agriculture, preparation for the GRE, communications, computers, and contacts with industry representatives. Minority students are encouraged to apply. Students should have completed the sophomore or junior year and should be planning on entering graduate (PhD) programs. The program offers hands on laboratory experience. There is a stipend of $2500 plus travel expenses, room, and board. Dates: June 1 to July 26, 1997. Application deadline, March 1. Contact Dr. Elaine Roberts, Discovery Coordinator, College of Agricultural Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523. Phone: (970) 491-5842. Fax: (970) 491-3862. Email.

Colorado State University, "Undergraduate Research in Molecular Biosciences." The program features a wide variety of research projects with hands-on experience; the majority emphasize regulation of gene expression in eukaryotic systems and structure/function relationships in macromolecules. There is a seminar series on research careers in varied settings and several social events as parts of the program. The program seeks to attract but is not limited to students from traditionally underrepresented groups. There is a stipend of $2500 plus travel expenses, and full room and board. Dates: June 2 to August 8, 1997. Application deadline: February 14, 1997. Contact DeAnn Keith, Colorado State University, Dept. of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Fort Collins, CO 80523. Phone: (970) 491-5602 Fax: (970) 491-0494 Email.

Committee on Institutional Cooperation, "1997 Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP)." This is a multi-institutional program designed to introduce high-ability minority students to research and to prepare them for graduate school. Since the program was founded in 1986, two-thirds of SROP students have gone on to graduate or professional careers. The program includes twelve midwestern universities, the Universities of: Chicago, Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Northwestern, Ohio State, Pennsylvania State, Purdue, and Wisconsin at Madison. The program matches the students. interests with available positions throughout the program. Students spend 8-10 weeks on supervised research with faculty mentors. There are supplementary enrichment activities provided by weekly seminars and workshops plus an annual SROP conference every July where students present results of their research. There is a stipend of $2500 plus up to $1100 toward room.

Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Student Traineeships in Biomedical Sciences and Cystic Fibrosis Research. Ten week minimum, no deadlines. For more information, contact Office of Grants Management, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation National Office, 6931 Arlington Road, Bethesda, MD 20814 or the web site.

Dartmouth College, "Howard Hughes Program for Undergraduate Research in the Sciences." The research areas include physical biochemistry, structural biology, cell and molecular biology, biotechnology, biochemical engineering and related fields. Students will work with a faculty mentor on an ongoing research project. The program is designed to help students make decisions involving graduate training in the sciences, professional training in medicine and other health-related fields. Program dates are June 17-August 22, 1997. Application deadline is February 3. An official transcript, resume and two letters of recommendation from a faculty member familiar with the students.s academic record is required. Each student selected receives a stipend of $2500 for the summer. Room and board is also provided. The contact person is: Sandy Gregg, Assistant Dean of the Faculty, Dartmouth College, 6201 Wentworth Hall-Room 307, Hanover, NH 03755. Phone: (603) 646-3756 Fax: (603) 646-3838.

Duke University, Marine Laboratory, "Nicholas School of the Environment." Subjects of study include biological oceanography, biochemistry of marine organisms, marine ecology, toxicology and pollution, estuarine ecosystems, molecular physiology and evolution, tropical marine organisms, and studies of marine fisheries policy. The Marine Laboratory has two field stations, at Beaufort, NC and at the Bermuda Biological Station. Students may split the Spring 1997 semester between the two stations. There are two 1997 sessions, Jan 16-March 7 and March 20-May 10. Contact Nicholas School Marine Lab, 135 Duke Marine Lab Road, Beaufort, NC 28516. Phone: (919) 504-7502. Email Website.

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, "Summer Undergraduate Research." The program is designed for students planning careers in research in basic biological sciences. Summer students become members of research teams; there are 42 teams in cellular biology, developmental biology, oncogenes, molecular immunology, molecular biology, membrane biology, genetics, and virology. For summer students there will be an orientation session, weekly research meetings, and an end-of-summer get-together. There is a salary of $3250. Students must pay for transportation to and from Seattle plus housing. Dormitory housing plus a meal plan on the University of Washington campus costs about $150 a week. Apartments without meals cost about $350 a month. Applications from minorities and women are encouraged. Dates: 10 weeks during the summer, somewhat flexible. Application deadline: February 15,1997. Contact Lori Blake, Summer Undergraduate Research, Basic Sciences B1-030, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research.

Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, "HACU National Internship Program." The program covers many disciplines. Math, Science, Engineering, and Computer Science majors are encouraged to apply. Last year 288 interns were placed and the program is expanding. Interns. assignments are made with the objective of matching the students. skills and academic interests with the staffing needs of federal agencies throughout the US. Students work in laboratories, examine patent applications, develop computer software, conduct audits, do research, write and design publications, and much more. Enrolled students from sophomore to graduate students with GPA > 3.0 are eligible. Dates: 10 weeks during the interval June 1 to August 15, 1997. There is a weekly stipend sufficient to cover needs plus roundtrip travel to the site. Application deadline: March 1, 1997; however, earlier applications have better chances of being placed.

Institute of Ecosystem Studies, "Undergraduate Research Opportunities in Ecology" are anticipated through pending funding for the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Program of the NSF. Research areas include groundwater ecology, beaver activity and stream water quality, submersed aquatic vegetation in the Hudson River, competition between zebra mussels and zooplankton, microbial processes of freshwater wetlands, tree response to defoliation by the gypsy moth, the mouse connections, roles of seed eaters in forest food webs, ecology of forest edges, plant communities, and restoration ecology. The program is not targeted to minority students but is interested in attracting students from traditionally underrepresented groups. Freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and first semester seniors with biology backgrounds are eligible. Dates: May 27 to August 19, 1997. Each student will work with one or more scientist mentors. The program offers lab and field experience. There is a stipend of $300.

Jackson Laboratory, "Summer Student Program." This 9 to 11 week research program is intended for high school juniors and college undergraduates. Minorities are strongly encouraged to apply. The program specializes in biomedical sciences and mouse genetics. Dates: June 8 to August 11, 1997 with option for "Early Start" on May 26 (college students only). The program offers extensive lab experience. There is a stipend plus room & board for college students. Application deadline: February 14, 1997. Contact Randi Mitchell, Training & Education Office, The Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, ME 04609-1500. Phone: (207) 288-6250.

Leadership Alliance, "Summer Research Early Identification Program." The Leadership Alliance is a consortium of 12 colleges and universities in the eastern US: Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Howard, Hunter College, Johns Hopkins, NYU, Princeton, University of Pennsylvania, and Yale. The program encourages motivated underrepresented students in all academic fields to consider academic careers in higher education. Students work closely with a faculty mentor during the 10 week summer program. Depending on the participating institution, the program may include seminars, field trips, and social events. Students apply to the Executive Office at Brown for all of the institutions in the Alliance. The Executive Office will match accepted applicants with openings at the several institutions; every effort will be made to ensure agreeable matches. After the matches have been made, the participant will communicate with the host campus and faculty mentor.

Los Alamos National Laboratory, "Undergraduate Student (UGS) Program." The Laboratory.s original mission, to design, develop, and test nuclear weapons, has broadened and evolved to include development of several cutting-edge scientific technologies including life sciences, biomedical sciences, plus health and environmental sciences. Of special interest to cell biologists are projects in pulmonary biology, radiation biology, flow cytometry, and the Laboratory.s leadership role in development of the Human Genome Project. Undergraduate students can participate in the excitement of developing technologies by enrolling in summer programs. Applications are accepted from August 1 through March 31 for positions available the following summer. Students must have graduated from high school and be enrolled in an undergraduate program. A cumulative GPA of at least 2.0 for freshman and at least 2.5 for sophomores, juniors, and seniors is required.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, "MIT Summer Research Program." The program covers a wide range of science and engineering projects at MIT. The program is targeted to African American, Mexican American, Native American, and Puerto Rican students. Dates: June through August (10 weeks). The program offers a wide variety hands-on lab experience. There is a weekly stipend plus travel and housing. Students should have finished the sophomore or junior year in college with a GPA >= 3.0. Application deadline: January 15, 1997. Contact Assistant Dean Daniel T. Langdale, MIT Summer Research Program, 3-138 MIT, Cambridge, MA 02139. Phone: (617) 253-9462. Fax: (617) 253-5620. Email.

Methodist Hospital of Indiana, "Summer Student Research Program." This program pairs undergraduate science students with biomedical researchers for a 12 week period from May through August. Students receive hands-on reseach experience in advanced medical technology. Resarch projects include enterocyclis in the diagnosis of small bowel disease, spinal nerve root monitoring during pedicle screw insertion, fine needle aspiration biopsy and lymphoma diagnosis, total shoulder arthroplasty vs hemiartroplasty, and aprotinin channels in platelet membranes. Each year offers a variety of new studies and challenges. Application deadline: Feb 21, 1997. Contact Peter Michael, Summer Student Research Program, Medical Research, Methodist Hospital of Indiana, Inc., 1701 N. Senate Blvd., Indianapolis, IN 46202. Phone: (317) 929-8861. Email.

National Institutes of Health, "Summer Internship Program in Biomedical Research." This program is intended to provide students with exciting research experiences in our research laboratories in Bethesda, Maryland and selected NIH off campus locations. While at the NIH, students have an opportunity to work side-by-side with some of the leading scientists and researchers in the world. In addition to the laboratory experience, students may also attend a summer seminar series where senior NIH investigators discuss the latest developments in biomedical research. Stipends for college students are based on educational level: $1200 per month for two years of college and $1300 per month for three years of college. There is no housing on campus but program officials provide information on housing in the area. Application deadline for most institutes is are February 1 although there are exceptions. Applications and catalogs can be obtained through the internet listing below.

Compiled by Ted Gurney for the ASCB Minorities Affairs Committee. See February ASCB Newsletter for the second part of this two-part listing.

 


WWW.Cell Biology Education
    01/01/1997

The ASCB Education Committee calls attention each month to several Web sites of educational interest to the cell biology community. The Committee does not endorse or guarantee the accuracy of the information at any of the listed sites. If you wish to comment on the selections or suggest future inclusions please send a message to Robert Blystone.

  1. The Gene Interactions in the Fly DataBase
    This site is maintained by CNRS Marseille (Centre National De La Recherche Scientifique). It serves as "A specialized database for interactions involved in pattern formation in Drosophila." One navigates the site through three categories: effector protein, target gene, and accession number. This WEB location is a great place for students to locate primary literature sources. One can also follow Drosophila research being done in France. If you want to practice your scientific French or see a short travelogue about French science labs, these are a part of this very unique site.
  2. Diversity and classification sites useful to phylogenetically challenged cell biologists *Five Kingdoms tutorial
    A team led by Frances Cardillo and Tonya Samuels of Manhattan College and the College of Mt. St. Vincent have put together a wonderful tutorial on plant classification according to the Whittaker five kingdom system. Several study options are possible in this plant image rich database. Links to extensive plant information sites are built into the tutorial.
  3. The Phylogeny of Life
    Phylogenetic relationships can be explored at this site which suggests it can deal with "ancestor/descent relationships which connect all organisms that have ever lived." Cladograms abound at this Univ. of California, Berkeley WEB location. One can gain an exceptional appreciation of diversity and phylogeny at this site. Under the Vertebrates is a wonderful tour of the Evolution of Flight. It is almost as good as going to a science museum.
  4. Amphibian embryology tutorial
    Jeff Hardin at the Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, has put together an excellent introduction to amphibian embryology. The tutorial emphasizes the experimental techniques used to visualize early development. Fate maps at different times and perspectives are included. Many diagrams are used to amplify the text materials. QuickTime movies abound; if you have T1 Internet connections the movies usually load in under 30 seconds. An embryology student could really benefit with a visit to this highly educational site.
  5. The Heart: An Online Exploration
    The Franklin Institute offers an excellent tour of the structure and function of the heart. Of great interest is the audio heart sounds. Several of the movies and video clips did not load at the time of review. Various activities and quizzes are given for school age children. The site represents an excellent example of a general interest learning experience over the WEB.

Thanks to Robert L. Infantino, Director of Undergraduate Studies, University of Maryland for his suggestions. The URLs in this column were checked Dec. 17, 1996.

Robert V. Blystone for the ASCB Education Committee

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