home page

ASCB Newsletter - August 1999


Call for Notecard Images
The Society solicits a series of images to print as the next series of ASCB notecards.

The inaugural "Mitosis Series" was introduced at the 1998 ASCB Annual Meeting and proved immediately successful. The Society hopes to introduce the second series at the 1999 ASCB Annual Meeting.

Requirements are that the images are of cells or components of cells, and that they are aesthetically beautiful.

Please send color prints or slides no later than August 27 to Elizabeth Marincola at the ASCB, 9650 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, MD 20814.



Postdoctoral position available (2yrs) to investigate mechanisms of endothelial cell injury, involving altered ion transport and intracellular ion homeostasis at the cell and organ system level. Recent work includes investigation of altered expression of ion transport sites under pathophysiological conditions. PhD/MD degree with background in cell or vascular biology, and experience with molecular approaches to the study of ion transport very desirable. Submit CV, three references/phone numbers to: M. Cutaia, MD; VA Med Ctr; Research Svc; 3900 University & Woodland Avenues; Phil, PA; 19104. Phone: (215) 823-4316; Fax: (215) 823-5171; Email.

Postdoctoral positions are open to study how bacterial virulence factors modulate P2Z receptor mediated macrophage cell death, and mammalian apoptotic processes. Should have experience in macrophage handling and cell biology of apoptosis. Send CV and names of three references to Dr. A.M. Chakrabarty, Univ. of Illinois at Chicago, Dept. of Microbiology/Immunology, 835 S. Wolcott (M/C 790), Chicago, IL 60612-7344. UIC is an AA/EOE.

A position is open for a postdoctoral fellow to work on the homologs of human polycystin found in sea urchin gametes and embryos. The goal is to determine the function of these novel extracellular proteins that may be involved in signaling. At least one homolog is developmentally regulated. One idea is that they mediate signal transduction by their interaction with the extracellular matrix. They may form ion channels that regulate the sperm acrosome reaction. Human polycystin1 is mutated in 85% of human ADPKD and human polycystin2 is mutated in about 15% of ADPKD. The frequency of ADPKD, auto-somal dominant polycystic kidney disease, is about 1 in 1000 making it the most common genetic disease of humans. The postdoctoral position is funded by an NIH grant and could be for 3 years. The laboratory is located in the Marine Biology Research Division of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD, La Jolla, CA. Phone: (858) 534-4803 Victor D. Vacquier. AA/EOE.

A postdoctoral position is available immediately to join active group studying the translational regulation of Xenopus maternal mRNAs involved in meiotic maturation and early embryogenesis including the study of 3'UTR elements and RNA-binding proteins. Applicants must have excellent background in molecular biology. Experience in protein-RNA interaction and biochemistry desireable. Send CV to: Dr. T. Musci, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94143-0556. Email.


ASCB-EMBO Membrane Traffic Meeting a Great Success

Over 175 scientists from Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Scotland, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the U.S. representing academia, government and industry participated in the meeting co-organized by the ASCB and the European Molecular Biology Organization on Membrane Trafficking and the Cytoskeleton: An Integrated View. The meeting was hosted by Daniela Corda and Alberto Luini of the Department of Cell Biology & Oncology of the Consorzio Mario Negri Sud in Santa Maria Imbaro, Italy, from June 26-30.

Organizers were George Bloom of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Viki Allan of the University of Manchester, and Jennifer Lippincott-Schwartz of the National Institute of Child Health & Human Development of the NIH. Kai Simons offered a memorial tribute to the fourth co-chair, the late Thomas Kreis.

The National Cancer Institute of the NIH, the National Science Foundation and the Keith Porter Foundation together provided funding for the participation of 17 graduate students and postdocs from the U.S. and Europe. Some students were attending their first international meeting: "this is the only place where I can find all of the important people in this field in the same room at the same time and have access to their input," remarked travel award recipient Alex Rai of Cold Spring Harbor laboratories.

The Institute juxtaposed cutting edge audio, video and computer presentation facilities with nearby Roman ruins and mediaeval churches set among vineyards and olive groves. Its roof terrace offered a striking view of the Adriatic Sea to the East and the Abruzzi mountains to the West. Dinners in moonlit gardens, a concert at the Abbey of San Giovanni in Venere and stolen moments at the beach provided relaxing interludes between intense scientific sessions.

The American Society for Cell Biology and the European Molecular Biology Organization acknowledge with gratitude the following contributions to Membrane Trafficking and the Cytoskeleton: An Integrated View Conference
Major Sponsors
The H. Dudley Wright Foundation
The Keith Porter Foundation
The National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health
The National Science Foundation
Amersham Pharmacia
Elsevier Science, B.V.

This was the fifth and final meeting in a series of biennial ASCB-EMBO meetings spanning the 1990s that were sponsored by the late Swiss industrialist H. Dudley Wright. His objectives were to stimulate scientific exchange between geographically isolated groups who would not otherwise interact, to include scientists at all levels of their careers, and to focus attention on emerging disciplines or on the confluence of formerly separate but converging fields.

Attendees were treated to much new information with respect to both cytoskeletal motor proteins and membrane trafficking. Importantly, the interplay between and interrelated nature of the data currently being generated by both subfields of cell biology was stimulating to all in attendance.

Morning and late afternoon-early evening sessions presented papers on microscopic visualization of cellular dynamics, the roles of microtubules and other cytoskeletal systems in membrane traffic, and the function of coat proteins. Current details of the secretory and endocytic pathways were revealed, as were regulatory mechanisms (for both motor function and exo/endo cytocysin). The meeting concluded with a session on the role of membrane trafficking and the cytoskeleton in disease. An article summarizing the meeting will be published in the EMBO Journal.

The Thomas Kreis Memorial Lecture, presented by Simons, Sorting of Proteins to the Apical Surface in MDCK Cells, summarized Kreis' significant commitment to the field. Among those contributing to the meeting were Kreis' first postdoc, Viki Allan, and his most recent postdoc, Lorena Griparic.

MBC Ed Board Recommends E-Biosci Participation
The Associate Editors of Molecular Biology of the Cell met in Chicago on July 14 to discuss several timely issues of importance to the journal. David Botstein, Editor-in-Chief of MBC, chaired the meeting.

The Board discussed the NIH's E-biosci proposal, with the participation of David Lipman and Andrew Trotman who had been invited to represent the NIH. The Board registered strong support for E-biomsci's goals to provide free, complete access to the biomedical research literature, and focused the discussion on defining the terms of MBC's participation. The Board further acknowledged the eventual dominance of electronic distribution for scientific publishing.

The editors recommended providing E-biosci with peer-reviewed articles from MBC two months after their publication, and eventually using E-biosci as the journal's archive. In addition, the editors endorsed the long-term goal of providing E-biosci with its peer-reviewed content immediately upon publication, and determined to revisit the question of release delay as E-biosci evolves. Finally, it was recognized that the toll-free accessibility of its material by the scientific community is likely to result in the eventual erosion of subscription income, and that the economic model to support the peer review and editing of material from MBC will have to adjust to this reality.

Limiting Page Growth
The editors also addressed the issue of the continuing growth of the journal. MBC's goal is to limit page growth to 20% over the pages printed in FY 99. The editors made several recommendations to meet that goal, including the provision of specifications for length for various sections of submitted papers and encouraging authors to publish additional material online instead of in print, particularly expanded Materials and Methods. The Board further determined to reinforce the journal's commitment to publishing only papers that meet the journal's high standard of quality.

Signal Transduction Knowledge Environment
The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) extended an invitation to MBC to participate in a project to develop a Knowledge Environment for Signal Transduction research (STKE). The editors agreed to make content from MBC that relates to signal transduction available for the project. The content will appear online in a virtual journal dedicated to signal transduction research published by the AAAS, but its source will be identified as MBC.


Grants & Opportunities

The American Association of Medical College's 1999 Women in Medicine Leadership Development Award provides free tuition to AAMC's Women In Medicine Junior or Senior Professional Development Seminar. Candidates must be nominated by an AAMC constituent, and should have made substantial, innovative and far-reaching contributions to 1) improve the educational and professional environment for women in academic medicine, 2) enhance the development of women faculty into positions of greater leadership, or 3) nurture students in their academic career development. Application deadline: September 7. Phone: (202) 828-0400; Fax: (202) 828-1125.

The American Association for Cancer Research is offering four awards, which for the first time have no restrictions on citizenship, residency or geographic location. Email for more information.

The Gertrude B. Elion Cancer Research Award for Assistant Professors who do not yet have tenure and who are conducting research in clinical, basic, translational, or prevention research. This one-year grant provides $30,000 for salary, expenses, and limited domestic travel. A separate travel grant to the AACR Annual Meeting is also provided. Application deadline: December 15.

The AACR Career Development Awards for researchers in their first or second year of a full-time, primary faculty appointment anywhere in the world. The two-year grants provide $50,000 per annum for expenses and payment to research assistants, but not PI salary. Application deadline: December 15.

The 1999 AACR Research Fellowships for scientists who have been postdoctoral or clinical fellows for at least two, but no more than five, years, providing $30,000 per annum for 1-3 years. Each fellowship also includes a supplemental travel grant to the AACR Annual Meeting. Appli-cants must be nominated by an AACR member. Application deadline: December 15.

The AACR Young Investigator Awards enhance education and training of graduate students, medical students and residents, and clinical and postdoctoral fellows by facilitating their attendance at the AACR Annual Meeting. Associate members and nonmembers are eligible. Abstract submission deadline: November 1.



ASCB Honors MBL Students & Scholars
The ASCB honored seven 1999 ASCB/ Marine Biological Laboratory minority funding recipients at a luncheon at the MBL in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, on July 8. They are:

  • Graduate student Serapio Baca of the University of California, San Diego;
  • Faculty member Lilliam Cosillos of the Autonomous University of the State of Pueblo, Mexico;
  • Graduate student Stacy Jones of the University of Virginia;
  • Graduate student Chanda Macias of Howard University;
  • Postdoc Carrie Marín Bivens of the Center for Neuroendocrine Studies of the University of Massachusetts;
  • Graduate student Eduardo Nzambi of Howard University, and
  • Undergraduate student Dianne Purves of California State University, Sacramento.

The event was hosted by ASCB Minorities Affairs Committee Chair J.K. Haynes and Executive Director Elizabeth Marincola. It was attended by over thirty MBL faculty and ASCB members.

The luncheon provides an opportunity for the recipients of MAC funds to meet ASCB members who conduct research at the MBL.


Call for Notecard Images

The Society solicits a series of images to print as the next series of ASCB notecards.

The inaugural "Mitosis Series" was introduced at the 1998 ASCB Annual Meeting and proved immediately successful. The Society hopes to introduce the second series at the 1999 ASCB Annual Meeting.

Requirements are that the images are of cells or components of cells, and that they are aesthetically beautiful.

Please send color prints or slides no later than August 27 to Elizabeth Marincola at the ASCB, 9650 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, MD 20814.


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.


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. Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes
    The Institute for Chemical Research, Kyoto University and the Human Genome Center, Institute of Medical Science, University of Tokyo has established GenomeNet WWW server in both English and Japanese. This report focuses on KEGG: Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes, a highly useful teaching and learning tool. The project leader at Kyoto University is Minoru Kanehisa. The Introduction section provides pdf documents about the project, a slide show dealing with "reconstruction of a biological organism," two tutorials, and on-line manuals on using pathway maps. The tutorials are well done and demonstrate how to navigate and understand the KEGG database. It takes some time to understand the well-thought out metaphor and the tutorials are extremely helpful in this regard. Opening the main KEGG contents page reveals a robust collection of pathway maps and molecular catalogs, genome maps and gene catalogues, and sequence similarity search tables. The information survey is extensive and contains references to representative bacteria, fungus, higher plants, nematode, insect, and mammals. The metabolic and regulatory pathways pictured are clear and well done. By clicking on key pathway points, various enzymes are displayed in greater detail and EC, PIR, SCOP 3D-folds, and PROSITE classification schemes are used. The molecular structure of various metabolites can be displayed. Differences in metabolic pathways between organisms are clearly marked. Java-based applets are extensively used. There is a search engine based on EC numbers, compound number, and gene name for pathway map searching. It is possible to download the entire database; however, it will take time to obtain the 54 Mbytes of information. It is suggested that the information could be loaded to CD and be made more portable. There is also a mirror package included. A limited, yet useful, set of links to molecular biology servers is also included. This is a quality site well worth your and your students' time. Thanks to ASCB member Malcolm Campbell for the pointer to this useful site.
  2. USDA for Kids
    The USDA maintains a major Web presence. Their various sites have been scoured to produce one place for all the information that would be useful and fun for a child. This metasite has pointers to 24 interesting places for children. The homepage opens with icons representing Smokey the Bear, Meet the Beagle Brigade, Agriculture for Kids, and RUS, the surfin' squirrel. One link to the Ohio State Extension service and "Twig the Walkingstick" takes on such questions as how do birds learn their songs?, do ducks feet get cold?, why do rabbits like carrots?, how do seedless grapes grow?, why do some cats go crazy over catnip? Some readers of this column may have wondered about these questions at some time. The Wiz Kid Activity Packet, which is part of the Science for Kids link, will definitely spark imagination. This page would be heaven for a Web surfing middle school student. I must admit that I spent about two hours poking around this exceptional site for children. If you have school age children or if you do volunteer work in school science classes, check this site out.
  3. Marshmallow Bunnies
    Peep Research
    Fun with Science

    These sites are definitely tongue-in-cheek; but, they have some very useful pedagogical features. We often ask our students to design lab experiments. These sites provide a host of "experiments" performed on marshmallow bunnies and yellow peeps candies. The tests involve lasers, heat, flames, hottubs, electrocution and radiation, among other things. The solubility test on a Peep is a classic and demonstrates the scientific method at its "best"(?) The absurdity of the subjects and tests clearly demonstrate the ideas of experimental design. The sites are good for a laugh and then the idea of student-based experimentation will emerge from the fun. The last of the three sites is maintained by the Society of Physics Students at the University of Washington.

These sites were checked July 13, 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

facebook twitter1 youtube linkedin