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ASCB Newsletter - December 1999


ASCB Members Elected to Institute of Medicine
Fifty-five new members were elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, including five members of the ASCB:

  • William Brinkley - Baylor College of Medicine
  • Kevin Campbell - University of Iowa
  • Michael Gimbrone - Harvard Medical School
  • Thomas Pollard - Salk Institute for Biological Studies
  • Carla Shatz - University of California, Berkeley


Annual Meeting Social Moves to American History

39th ASCB Annual Meeting
Washington Convention Center
Washington, D.C. December 11-15, 1999

ASCB Releases New Press Book
The 1999 ASCB Press Book was distributed to hundreds of members of the science writing press prior to the Annual Meeting. The Press Book, which will also be posted on the ASCB Web page, highlights 19 abstracts from the ASCB Annual Meeting that may be of special interest to journalists.

The book was written by ASCB staff writer Stephen Hart and edited by members of the Society's Public Information Committee: David F. Albertini, Gary Borisy, Rex Chisholm, Mary Dasso, Lynn Maquat, Paul Matsudaira, Robert Palazzo, Greg Payne, Joel Rosenbaum, Kip Sluder and Kathy Wilson (Chair).

Congressional Liaison Committee Reception
The Congressional Liaison Committee (CLC) invites all those interested in public policy to attend a reception and discussion. This annual meeting of CLC members, which now number over 3,000 from four scientific societies, will highlight the political organizing and state advocacy efforts in which CLC members have actively and successfully participated. Discussion will focus on member outreach, Congressional contacts, and a legislative debriefing of the most recent appropriations cycle. A brief analysis of the legislative outlook will provide insights into Fiscal Year 2001 and beyond. Don't miss this opportunity to learn how science and politics are working together to further the cause of biomedical research.

ASCB Computer Educational Tools
Demonstrations at the Education/Minority Affairs Information Booth

Sunday, December 12, 10:30 am - 12:30 pm
David Micklos, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Using Human DNA Sequencing Polymorphisms in the College Laboratory

1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Richard Hershberger, Carlow College
"Darwin 2000," a Bioinformatics Education Web Site Supporting Student Research in Evolution and Molecular Biology (1158)

3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
J. Fioretti, Y. Nevmyvaka, J.B. Patlak, C.D. Watters, Middlebury College
Investigating Membrane Structure and Fluidity with Computer Simulations (1161)

Monday, December 13
10:30 am - 12:30 pm
Robert Blystone, Trinity University
Teaching Undergraduate Biology Quantitatively Using Scientific Visualization and Graphic Display (1164)

4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
A. Malcolm Campbell, Erin Mooney, Davidson College
From Genome to Cloned Gene and Expressed Protein in One Semester (1159)

Tuesday, December 14
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Jeffrey Newman, Lycoming College
A Developmental Approach to Integrating Bioinformatics with Laboratory Experiments in Several Undergraduate Courses (1157)

Wednesday, December 15
10:30 am - 12:30 pm
J.B. Piperberg, J.A. Nuni, J.L. Pan, M. Rezk, P. Rezk, G. Roesner, D. Smith, E. Stameshkin, Millersville University
Spreadsheet Simulation of Enzyme Kinetics: A Cell Biology Laboratory Exercise (1162)

Numbers in parentheses indicate abstract number.

2000 Annual Meeting Program Suggestions Welcome
ASCB members who have suggestions for symposium or minisymposium topics and/or speakers for the 2000 ASCB Annual Meeting in San Francisco are encouraged to submit them to the Program Committee Chair, Jean Schwarzbauer, through the ASCB National Office. Suggestions received by January 1 will be given careful consideration by the Program Committee.



Postdoctoral position available immediately to characterize the myosins III A and IIIB expressed in vertebrate retina. These kinase-bearing myosins are homologs of the photoreceptor specific NINAC in Drosophila. The project will entail biochemical characterization of IIIA and IIIB,two hybrid screens for interacting proteins, light and EM immunolocalization of both gene products, and dominant negative functional studies using two expression systems: 1) GFP-tagged tail domain constructs expressed in Xenopus transgenics under control of an opsin promotor; and 2) retroviral expression of similar constructs in chick photoreceptors in vitro and in vivo. For more information. Candidates with both molecular and immunocytochemical experience are encouraged to apply. Send CV, brief description of research experience and interests, and names of three references to: Dr. Beth Burnside, University of California, 335 LSA-#3200, Berkeley, CA 94720-3200. FAX (510) 643-6791, Email.

Postdoctoral position available immediately to examine the roles of two myosin VI genes expressed in vertebrate retina. One of these VI genes shows highly enhanced retinal expression and one or both are localized in photoreceptor inner segments. Project will include biochemical characterization of the retina enhanced VI, EM, confocal, and deconvolution immunolocalization of both VI isoforms in situ and in cultured photoreceptors, and dominant negative functional studies using two expression systems: 1) GFP-tagged tail domain constructs expressed in Xenopus transgenics under control of an opsin promotor; and 2) retroviral expression of similar constructs in chick photoreceptors in vitro and in vivo. For more information. Candidates with both molecular and immunocytochemical experience are encouraged to apply. Send CV, brief description of research experience and interests, and names of three references to: Dr. Beth Burnside, University of California, 335 LSA-#3200, Berkeley, CA 94720-3200. Fax (510) 643-6791, Email.

The W. M. Keck Bioimaging Laboratory at Arizona State University seeks applications for a full time Manager who will oversee the daily operations of a multi-user facility dedicated to the application of new imaging techniques to research in the biological, medical, and bioengineering fields. This is a state-funded continuing track position. The successful candidate must have at a minimum a M.S. degree, at least 3 years of experience in bioimaging, and experience in using computer software and hardware dedicated to imaging tasks. In addition, the candidate must have the demonstrated ability to conduct training sessions, and to assist in writing grant proposals on behalf of the Laboratory. Salary will be competitive and commensurate with experience. Applicants must submit a curriculum vitae, a statement of experience and research interests in bioimaging, appropriate reprints if available, and arrange to have three letters of recommendation sent to Dr. Douglas E. Chandler, Director, W. M. Keck Bio-imaging Laboratory, Arizona State University, Department of Biology, P.O. Box 871501, Tempe, AZ 85287-1501. Application deadline is December 15, 1999, with applications reviewed weekly thereafter until the position is filled. Arizona State University is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

Applications are solicited for a tenure track Assistant Professor position in Cell Biology in the Department of Biology. The successful candidate will be expected to become involved in extramurally-funded interdisciplinary research and to initiate interdisciplinary collaborations with researchers in other departments as appropriate. A previous history of external funding will be a plus. Start up funds for research will be negotiable. The primary teaching responsibility will be at the graduate level. Applications must contain a CV, description of postdoctoral experience and a statement of present and anticipated research interests. Please include the names of three references who will agree to send letters of recommendation. Send applications to Dr. Sisir K. Dutta, Chair, Search Committee, Department of Biology, Howard University, 415 College Street NW, Washington DC 20059. Review of applications begins December 15, 1999. HU is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.

Postdoctoral position, University of Cambridge, U.K., to study misfolded secretory protein transport from the ER to the cytosol for proteasomal degradation. The successful candidate will use a combination of yeast genetics, biochemistry, and a cell-free assay system to identify and establish the roles of cytosolic factors involved in protein export from the ER to the cytosol. Experience in at least one of these areas is required. The post is funded by The Wellcome Trust. Information about the group can be found at http://www.clbc. cam.ac.uk/cellbiol/romisch.html Applications including a CV and the names of two references should be send to Dr. Karin Römisch, University of Cambridge, Cambridge Institute for Medical Research, Wellcome Trust/MRC Building, Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 2XY, U.K., or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

A postdoctoral fellowship is available to study cell-based gene therapy of bone, cartilage and tendon. The position is suitable for someone who has recently completed a Ph.D. degree or hopes to graduate this year. Experience in molecular and cell biology, protein analysis and enzyme assays would be a clear advantage. The fellowship is for one year, may be renewed for a second year and will provide opportunities for a career in musculoskeletal research. Investigations will include phage display, genetic reconstitution and cell adhesion assays. For more information contact Gary Balian, Ph.D. Phone: (804) 924-2615, Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Professor, Departments of Orthopaedic Surgery and Biochemistry & Molecular Genetics. Orthopaedic Research Laboratory, University of Virginia, School of Medicine, Box 374, Charlottesville, VA 22908 or send a c.v. with a brief statement of your research background and the names of three references.

Postdoctoral position in nucleocytoplasmic RNA transport, involving studies of nuclear RNA traffic and localization as well as intranuclear steps in assembly of the signal recognition particle. These projects involve RNA molecular biology, novel RNA tracking methods in living cells and expression of GFP-tagged RNA binding proteins. Recent Ph.D. with relevant experience required. This NIH grant-funded position is available in early 2000. Send CV including names of 2-3 references with telephone numbers (and e-mail addresses if known) to: Thoru Pederson, University of Massachusetts Medical School, 377 Plantation Street, Suite 337, Worcester, MA 01605. Fax: (508) 856-8668. Email.

Faculty Position, University Of California, Davis. The School of Medicine is recruiting for a full-time, tenure tract faculty member at the Assistant Professor level in the Department of Cell Biology and Human Anatomy. Applicants should have a Ph.D. or M.D. degree and at least two years of postdoctoral research experience. Important criteria are: 1) a record of excellence in research that demonstrates strong potential for building an independent, competitive research program and 2) communications skills demonstrating the potential to achieve excellence in teaching. The faculty member will be expected to learn and teach human gross anatomy to medical students. While excellence of the individual is more important than the area of research, those studies combine cellular and molecular approaches to study mechanisms of cell regulation or gene expression are especially encouraged to apply. Applicants should submit: a curriculum vitae; a synopsis of research and teaching goals; up to three representative reprints; and four letters of reference to: Dr. Kent L Erickson, chair, Search Committee, Department of Cell Biology and Human Anatomy, School of Medicine, One Shields Ave., University of California, Davis, CA 95616-8643. The position will remain open until filled. For full consideration, applications should be received by March 1, 2000. The University of California is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

Postdoctoral Fellow. A postdoctoral position is available to join an energetic lab focused on the molecular and developmental analyses of genes involved in murine polycystic kidney disease, skeletal abnormalities, and early embryonic patterning. Training in molecular and cellular biology with emphasis on protein localization and interactions, in situ hybridization, and cell culture desirable. Send curriculum vitae, brief statement of research interests, and names of three references to: Dr. Bradley Yoder, Dept. of Cell Biology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, MCLM 656, 1530 3rd Ave. S., Birmingham, AL 35294-0005 or Email. EO/AA.


Letters To The Editor

Crossing to the Other Side

To the Editor:

Julie Theriot was right on target with her article entitled "Crossing to the Other Side" [ASCB Newsletter, October 1999, WICB Column]. This is a must read for all faculty, project directors, students and fellows!

-Janice S. Blum



The ASCB is grateful to those below who have recently given gifts to support Society activities:

Donna G. Albertson
Kevin Hsiao
Ralph T. Kubo
W. James Nelson
Roslyn W. Orkin
Clifford J. Steer
Joan A. Steitz
Shingo Tsuyama


Grants & Opportunities

The Ford Foundation is offering postdoctoral fellowships for minorities for study in research-based doctoral programs in the life sciences, physical sciences, mathematics, engineering sciences, behavioral and social sciences, education and the humanities. Applicants must have completed a PhD or ScD degree between January 7, 1993 and March 1, 2000. Application deadline: January 7, 2000. Contact: Fellowship Office, National Research Council, 2101 Constitution Ave., Washington D.C. 20418; Phone: (202) 334-2872; Fax: (202) 334-3419; Email.

The Christine Mirzayan Internship Program of the National Academy of Sciences engages graduate and postdoctoral science, engineering, medical, veterinary, business and law students in science and technology policy and familiarizes them with the interactions between science, technology and public policy. The program will commence in both January (for 12 weeks, January 18-April 7) and June (for 10 weeks, June 5-August 11). Application deadline: December 1 for the January 2000 program, March 1 for the June 2000 program. Contact.

Awards For Basic Research In Asthma for Investigators from All Fields. The Sandler Program for Asthma Research funds basic research in asthma. Investigators from other fields are encouraged to consider how their work may apply to the study of asthma. Innovation is sought, and risk is encouraged. The program will provide up to $2.3 million in new awards each year. Senior Investigators are funded at $250,000/year for three years; Junior Investigators at $125,000/year for three years. Application is open to investigators within the United States; deadline is March 1, 2000 for funding July 1, 2000. Contact (415) 514-0730 (Phone) or (415) 514-0734 (Fax).

NIGMS is co-sponsoring Bioengineering Research Partnerships. R01s will support basic bioengineering research addressing important biological or medical research problems. The partnership must include bioengineering expertise in combination with basic and/or clinical investigators.

The National Science Foundation provides funding opportunities for Information Technology Research. Collaborative projects between computer and disciplinary scientists are particularly encouraged. For more information.


Members In The News

Donald Kennedy, an ASCB member since 1998, has been named Editor-in-Chief of Science magazine, effective June 1, 2000. Kennedy succeeds longtime ASCB member Floyd Bloom. Kennedy is President Emeritus of Stanford and former Commissioner of the Food & Drug Administration.

ASCB members Dewey C. Royal of Rutgers University and Robert O. Scott of the University of North Carolina were selected for 1999 Ford Foundation postdoctoral fellowships from the National Research Council.


Teachers Incorporate ASCB Resources in the Classroom

ASCB members Richard G. W. Anderson and Jerry Shay of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center Department of Cell Biology presented for the Society the 9th annual ASCB Current Topics in Cell Biology Symposium at the National Association of Biology Teachers annual meeting in Fort Worth.

Anderson and Shay's presentation featured videos created by UTSW medical illustration students.

Anderson's talk, Calcium Signal Trans-duction from Caveolae, illustrated how a basic cell biology discovery — potocytosis — led to the fundamental understanding of folate homeostasis during development and set the stage for treating and diagnosing diseases caused by folate deficiency.

Shay discussed The Role of Telomeres and Telomerase in Aging and Cancer. He and his collaborator, Woodring Wright, proposed and obtained experimental evidence to support a model of human cellular aging for which they have been widely recognized.

Anderson's graphic presentation of caveolae will be made available to teachers and interested scientists on Blystone's website; Shay's video will be available to teachers, without cost, through the UT Southwestern STARs program.

Eugenie Scott, who will receive the 1999 ASCB Bruce Alberts Excellence in Science Education Award, discussed Ancestors, Transitional Fossils and Evolution. Scott noted that while finding an actual ancestor is highly unlikely, finding structural transitions is not only likely but demonstrable. Scott strongly encouraged teachers to become active in school board debates on the local level about the teaching of evolution.

Teachers were drawn to the ASCB booth by the glorious ASCB t-shirts but were even more impressed by the Mitosis Series notecards. Many teachers reported that they have framed the series of cards, or scrambled them to challenge students to reason how they should be ordered. Some reported taking particular pleasure in using them to send notes home to parents. As one teacher explained, "a note to a parent on a Mitosis notecard says right up front, 'in this classroom, we are serious about science!'"

Bob Blystone, author of the Website reviews for the ASCB Newsletter (see page 4), distributed copies of the reviews. The Press Books published annually by the ASCB Public Information Committee (see page 2) elicited gratitude from teachers who use them as a teaching tool.

1994 ASCB teacher fellow Glenn (Skip) Zwanzig of DuPont Manual High School was present at the meeting to discuss his recent research in Antarctica. Zwanzig worked with ASCB member William W. Young of the University of Louisville Health Sciences Center to study retention of a Golgi glycosyltransferase in the endoplasmic reticulum.

ASCB Education Committee members Connie Oliver of the Faculdade de Medicina de Ribeirao Preto in Brazil and Bob Blystone of Trinity University organized the program for the ninth year. NABT members are almost exclusively secondary and college teachers.


ASCB Placement Service

The ASCB Placement Service continues to provide an informal, "user-friendly" setting at the Annual Meeting in which candidates and employers can meet, exchange credentials, and conduct interviews.

Candidates complete a brief Information Form to register with the Placement Service, and provide times they are available for interviews during the Annual Meeting. Placement Service registrants have access to notebooks of Employer Position Forms, a poster area containing position forms from newly registered employers, and a message center that allows them to send messages to employers and receive messages and individual interview appointments from employers.

Employers complete a brief Employer Position Form for each position they seek to fill. The Employer Reading Room provides access to copies of Candidate Information Forms in notebooks and hanging files (for their personal use) and clerks to schedule interviews. Message files are also available so that employers may receive candidate messages.

Candidate and employer ads will be developed from the registration form for each registrant and will appear in the Placement Service Brochures. A Pre-meeting Brochure, containing ads for candidates and employers who preregister with the ASCB Placement Service, and an On-site Brochure, will be produced at the close of Placement Service registration on Monday and available Tuesday. Brochures are available to Annual Meeting attendees at the Placement Service, the ASCB Booth in the Exhibit Hall, ASCB information tables, and the ASCB National Office headquarters at the Convention Center during the Annual Meeting.

Candidate and employer Placement Service Registration forms may be found on the ASCB website, or may be ordered from the ASCB. Please indicate number of copies required.

ASCB Placement Service Hours
Saturday, Dec.11, 12:00 noon - 6:00 pm
Sunday, Dec. 12 - Tuesday, Dec.r 14, 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
Wednesday, Dec. 15, 9:00 am - 3:30 pm

Saturday, Dec. 11, 12 noon - 6:00 pm
Sunday, Dec. 12 - Monday, Dec. 13, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm.

Employer Interview Scheduling
Saturday, Dec. 11, 2:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Sunday, Dec. 12 - Tuesday, Dec. 14, 9:00 am - 6:00 pm

Sunday, Dec. 12, 2:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Monday, Dec. 13 - Tuesday, Dec. 14, 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
Wednesday, Dec. 15, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm

ASCB Placement Service fees remain unchanged:

Candidates Fees:
ASCB Student Member - no charge
Non-ASCB Member Student - $20
ASCB Postdoc Member - $25
ASCB Member - $25
ASCB Nonmember - $70

Employer Fees:
Academic or non-profit institutions - $150
Companies - $400

Preregistration deadline for the ASCB Placement Service is November 5.


Program, Nominating Chairs Named

President-elect Richard Hynes has announced the appointments of chairs for the Society's Program and Nominating Committees for 2000: Jean Schwarzbauer of Princeton University will serve as Program Chair, and former ASCB President Elizabeth Blackburn of the University of California, San Francisco will serve as Nominating Chair.

Each position is a one-year appointment: the Program Chair will organize the 2000 ASCB Annual Meeting in San Francisco; Blackburn's committee will recommend a slate of candidates to run for office in the Spring to commence service in 2001.


ASCB-Glenn Award Recognizes Apoptosis Work

William Wallace, first author of an abstract entitled, A Truncated Form of Secreted Amyloid Precursor Protein Induces Apoptosis of Neurons has been named to receive the ASCB-Glenn Foundation Award at the ASCB Annual Meeting in recognition of a scientist whose work has made a significant contribution to the understanding of the mechanisms of biological aging.

The cited work was from the laboratory of John Kusiak at the NIH National Institute on Aging in Baltimore. Wallace is now a teacher at Georgetown Day School in Washington, D.C.


New Notecard Series: Meiosis

Following overwhelming enthusiasm for the "Mitosis Series" notecards introduced by the Society last year, the ASCB is offering a new set of "Meiosis Series" notecards this year. They will be available at the 1999 ASCB Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.

The cards feature images created in the laboratory of ASCB member David Asai at Purdue. They were chosen from among over a dozen submissions from ASCB members.

The Mitosis Series proved to be as popular with high school teachers as with researchers (see related article). The initial print run was sold out, but a second printing will ensure their ongoing availablity.

Both the Mitosis and Meiosis cards will be available at the Annual Meeting as well as direct from the Society for $12 for a set of 12 cards. Orders may also be placed online.


WWW.Cell Biology Education

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 nor 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. Visualization Showcase
    This site is housed at the Australian National University. Its purpose is to present the best of scientific visualization. For those familiar with ACM-Siggraph, this site compares with their Electronic Theater. The showcase page features 13 visualizations done at the ANUSF. The examples are remarkable and include 1) intramolecular dynamics, 2) 3D reconstruction from electron microscope serial sections, and 3) curvature analysis of a termite nest. At the suggestion of Education Committee member Chris Watters, I focused on "Permeations of Ions Across the Potassium Channel." This visualization was created by Chung, Allen and Ramsden at ANU. The presentation is divided into four parts: shape of the channel, molecular dynamics calculations, electrostatic calculations, and Brownian dynamics simulations. Part one models the channel and provides graphic evidence of the four peptide chains that form the selectivity filter. The excellent graphics reveal the "molecular springs" and the carbonyl oxygen atoms critical to the function of the pore. At this point the presentation departs from quality textbooks by providing the calculations and data indicating how the pore really works. Part two indicates why sodium ions do not come through the pore. The clear presentation of the electrostatic data in part three is a wonder. Part four concludes the presentation by showing the Brownian movement of the ions through the channel. A 1.4 Megabyte "Sparkle" movie concludes the presentation. The site provides quality teaching resources that go well beyond textbooks...
  2. Field-tested Learning Assessment Guide

    Student Assessment of Learning Gains
    Educational programs at all levels must increasingly show whether students are really learning. Various assessment instruments have been developed to measure student learning. An interesting Web-based instrument attracted considerable attention at the recent PKAL conference at the University of Maryland. PKAL is a national initiative for improvement of science education. The sites listed above have been developed by the National Institute for Science Education operating at the University of Wisconsin with major funding by the Exxon Foundation. The first site is called FLAG, for Field-tested Learning Assessment Guide. To quote from the introduction: "Its purpose is to offer a readily accessible, up-to-date resource of classroom-tested assessment tools for instructors who have an interest in sharing and implementing new approaches to evaluating student learning, attitudes and performance." The second site is called SALG, for Student Assessment of Learning Gains. The use of the SALG instrument consists of four steps: 1) modification of the basic SALG assessment instrument; 2) implementation of SALG instrument for Web use; 3) viewing and analyzing data; and 4) extensions. SALG is built around five broad theme questions: 1) How much did each of the following aspects of the class help your learning? 2) As a result of your work in this class, how well do you think you now understand each of the following? 3) How much has this class added to your skills in each of the following? 4) To what extent did you make gains in any of the following as a result of what you did in this class? 5) How much of the following do you think you will remember and carry with you into other classes or aspects of your life? The subsections under each question can be modified and comments can be accepted. Once the form is set up, the student can be given an account number and password. The student responds to the Web instrument by some deadline. Then the instructor can ask for the data and statistics. It is an exceptional interactive instrument for measuring student learning.

  3. The Scientist
    High school teachers often ask where they can find articles about recent scientific discoveries that they might use in their classes. This site provides that kind of information. Each week the latest issue of The Scientist is posted to the Web. The November 8, 1999 issue may be of interest to ASCB members as it describes events surrounding the research of former ASCB President GŸnter Blobel (see Profile, next page), who earned this year's Nobel Prize.

These sites were checked November 10, 1999. Previous ASCB columns reviewing Educational web sites with the links to the sites may be found at trinity.edu.

–Robert Blystone for the ASCB Education Committee

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