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ASCB Newsletter - January 1999

Society Committees Meet
  01/01/1999

Following are reports of the Society Committees whose chairs reported to Council and that convened during the Annual Meeting.

Congressional Liaison Committee
Over 60 people attended a meeting of the Joint Steering Committee for Public Policy Congressional Liaison Committee, hosted by CLC Chair Tom Pollard, President of the Salk Institute.

Steven Morin, a physician and for eleven years Science Legislator for Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was the featured speaker. Morin urged biomedical scientists to engage their Member of Congress on science. He remarked thatMembers of Congress are inundated with information and often rely on staff to synthesize complex data. Morin reflected on the 105th Congress and speculated on the 106th, indicating that in his years in Congress, he had never confronted such a chaotic and unpredictable atmosphere.

Dan Kiehart from Duke University and Kathleen Mulder from Penn State University gave testimonials on their involvement with the CLC through their state organizations. Each reported on their state visits to Washington, D.C. to meet with their Congressional delegation. Both emphasized that interaction with a Member of Congress does make an impact, and can be fun. Kiehart and Mulder reinforced the importance of maintaining contact by regularly writing Members of Congress on various biomedical topics.

Any scientist interested in joining the Congressional Liaison Committee should contact Alec Stone or visit our web site.

Education Committee
The Education Committee, chaired by Frank Solomon of MIT, met briefly to share reports on 1998 programs and to plan for 1999:

Publication of Teaching Articles
After studying options for publication of peer-reviewed education articles, the Peer Review Group, chaired by Sally Elgin and including EdComm members Robert Blystone, Malcolm Campbell, Mary Lee Ledbetter, Frank Solomon, and Chris Watters, acknowledged that presently it is impractical to continue to consider submission of articles to Molecular Biology of the Cell. The Group proposed as an alternative that a web journal be developed for presentation of educational materials, and that the journal maintain the standards and structure of a scientific journal, including its own ISBN number, a Managing Editor, an editorial board, reviewers and staff. The proposal was endorsed by the full Committee. The Peer Review Group will prepare a formal proposal for presentation to Council.

1999 Education Committee Workshop
The 1999 Education Committee Workshop will be on New Paradigms in Teaching Introductory Cell Biology and will focus on genomics, examining various means for introducing concepts into the curriculum. The Workshop will take place on Saturday afternoon, thus allowing both meeting participants and local faculty members who would not attend the ASCB meeting to be targeted as an audience. A fee of $10 will be charged to cover costs of printed materials.

Bruce Alberts Science Education Award
The first Bruce Alberts Award for Distinguished Contributions in Science Education elicited outstanding candidates. The Selection Committee agreed to reconsider 1998 candidates in 1999; the sponsors of this year’s unchosen nominees will be notified in the spring, to give them an opportunity to update the cases for their nominees if they wish. New applications will also be solicited.

Education Initiative Forum
The Committee recognized the growing excellence of the Education Initiative Forum at the Annual Meeting and solicited recommendations for presenters at the 1999 Annual Meeting.

International Collaboration
The Committee recognized the importance of encouraging collaboration between US and non-US laboratories in establishing the ASCB/European Molecular Biology Organization Conferences in 1989; the series is being reassessed now in light of improved international communication and enhanced collaboration.

Coalition for Education in the Life Sciences and National Association of Biology Teachers
The Committee is considering how best to support the Coalition for Education in the Life Sciences in consideration of its uncertain funding. The Committee reaffirmed its commitment to the National Association of Biology Teachers through participation in its annual meeting.

Career Panel
Several Committee members reported on the overwhelming attendance at and interest in the Careers Panel, chaired by Solomon and targeted to postdoc meeting attendees. Panelists, all of whom had received doctorates in the life sciences in the last several years, were Dan Curtis of Exelixis Pharmaceuticals, Ray Deshaies of the California Institute of Technology, Carol Francis of Bozicevic & Reed, Sharon Hayes of Congressman Vernon Ehlers’ office, Linda Silveira of the University of Redlands and Joyce Tsang of McKinsey & Company.

‘Opportunities’ Revision
A working group including Solomon, Elgin, Blystone, Bloodgood and Marincola met with William Wells, the science writer on contract to the ASCB to revise Opportunity & Adventure in Cell Biology, a publication targeted to high school students. The revision is slated for publication by summer, 1999.

Training Issues
Solomon reported that the Training Subcommittee will develop a proposed statement on training structure for Council to consider as a Society position.

Minorities Affairs Committee
Minorities Affairs Committee chair J.K. Haynes and Vice Chair Donella Wilson presided over the MAC meeting attended by members and other invited and interested ASCB members. The following activities and plans were discussed:

Mission Statement
Haynes reminded the MAC that the Mission Statement and Objectives (see July, 1998 ASCB Newsletter) are evolving, inviting suggestions for changes to the statement and objectives.

Minorities Special Session
Haynes recognized graduate student Ghislaine Mayer of the University of Colorado for her assistance in organizing the Saturday Session and introduced Eve McGhee of the University of California, San Francisco, who agreed to chair the Session in 1999.

Ed/MAC Booth
The Committee will seek to identify a contact in Washington, D.C. who can publicize the program to local graduate students.

Committee members continue their commitment to EdComm/MAC booth activities, which this year included a follow-up session with Scientific Writing Workshop presenter Judith Swan of Princeton and the University of Pennsylvania. The Committee hopes to make meeting presenters more accessible to meeting attendees by expanding this feature in 1999.

Poster Session
The Committee will return to a separate special poster awards session on Saturday afternoon or evening (this year it was held experimentally in the corner of the general poster area.) Although it was hoped that featuring minorities posters in the exhibit hall would increase interest and attention of more meeting attendees, Committee members felt that it may have suggested that minorities’ posters were separated from others; it was also noted that the intimacy of a smaller setting enhanced networking opportunities.

Awards Luncheon
Another networking opportunity was initiated at the MAC Awards Luncheon, where table topics relating to career directions were introduced this year. Committee members Virginetta Cannon and Vassie Ware will continue to oversee this project at the 1999 Annual Meeting.

Council Report
Wilson reported on her presentation to Council. She asked Council to:

  • expand the current brief ASCB mission statement to include a statement on diversity of membership;
  • encourage each standing committee to make a commitment to increase diversity in its membership, and
  • support appointment of liaison members to the MAC from each ASCB standing committee.
  • She further reported that Council endorsed the MAC mission statement and asked the following from the MAC:
  • suggestions for speakers for the 1999 program and chairs for sessions;
  • a directory of MAC members, and
  • suggestions for nominations for Council.

Committee members developed a list of potential speakers and their topics and will explore development of a speakers bureau similar to that introduced by the WICB Committee.

SACNAS
David Burgess, an ASCB member who is President of the Society for Advancement of Chicanos & Native Americans in Science, reported that there were 1500 attendees at the October 1998 SACNAS meeting in Washington, D.C. Over 800 of these attendees were students. Burgess thanked the MAC for its participation in and support of the meeting.

Histochemical Workshop
The MAC will continue to support the attendance of minority scientists at the Histochemical Society workshop, Microscopy of Living Cells and Tissues, which in 1999 will take place on April 17, prior to the Experimental Biology meeting in Washington, D.C.

Other Activities
Other programs discussed during the meeting included MAC activities at the Friday Harbor Laboratories and Marine Biological Laboratory, the new ASCB Visiting Professorship program, and future plans for the E. E. Just Award.

Public Information Committee - Cell Biology Merchandise
Kathy Wilson of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Chair of the Public Information Committee noted that in addition to a new t-shirt introduced this year (“Know Thy Cell”; see page 44), the Society also produced notecards depicting mitosis. The primary purpose of offering cell biology merchandise is to promote public appreciation of and interest in science.

Science Writer & Media Specialist
Council approved a proposal submitted by Wilson to provide funds for a half-time science writer and media specialist for the Society for one year. The writer will produce and circulate two or three press books for the purpose of educating the media and the public about cell biology. It is also hoped that the writer can develop plans for encouraging the interest of electronic media in members’ research.

Pressbook
Initial indications are that the 1998 Pressbook attracted greater coverage of the ASCB Annual Meeting than in any previous year, including local television and radio coverage. The Committee discussed the need to provide videotape to accompany the Pressbook in the future to prepare for television coverage. Wilson welcomed four new members of the PIC, who were recruited for their video production expertise: Paul Matsudaira, Gary Borisy, Joel Rosenbaum, and Kip Sluder. The Committee decided that next year’s Pressbook will name the funding sources for the research described in the Pressbook, and that copies will be distributed to key Members of Congress, in addition to the national press.

Educational Video
The Committee explored the idea of producing an educational video for young children. ASCB President Liz Blackburn offered to help raise outside funds for such a project. The Committee agreed to start the effort by adding educational materials, such as short video clips to the web version of the Pressbook.

Public Policy Committee - Annual Meeting Activities
The Committee reviewed 1998 Annual Meeting events including the Public Service Award, the Congressional Liaison Committee reception, the Practice of Science panel on “Sharing Science,” and “Trends at the NIH,” a presentation by NIH Director Harold Varmus.

Congressional Education Liaisons’ Report
Joint Steering Committee for Public Policy Congressional Liaisons Peter Kyros and Belle Cummins reviewed the accomplishments of 1998 including a 15% increase in the NIH budget and a 7.1% increase in the NSF budget. Kyros de-scribed the advocacy efforts that contributed to last year’s increases, including over 90 visits by scientists to Capitol Hill, speeches on the floor of the House, and letter writing. They urged the Committee to write thank you letters to all those Members of Congress who were early supporters of doubling the NIH budget over five years and to encourage them to renew their commitment to these priorities this year. There was a suggestion that the JSC might sponsor an advertisement in a Capitol Hill newspaper praising those Members who have supported the NIH.

The Committee discussed the plans for the coming year and the FY’2000 budget. Former ASCB President Don Brown and JSC Chair Eric Lander have already held high-level meetings with members of the Clinton/Gore Administration to makr the call for support of basic biomedical research. The Com-mittee reaffirmed that the biomedical research community should support all sciences, not just the NIH, particularly the NSF and other agencies that contribute to basic research relating to cell biology.

Congressional Liaison Committee
Joint Steering Com-mittee Congressional Liaison Committee Chairman Tom Pollard reported on the local organizing effort in Pennsylvania and North Carolina where the CLC has been focusing its efforts for the past year and a half. Alec Stone, the JSC’s District Coordinator, described the work of scientists in Pennsylvania and North Carolina to communicate with and educate their Members of Congress about biomedical research. Over 300 scientists participate in the program in Pennsylvania and over 100 in North Carolina. Many of them have traveled to Washington to meet with their Member or met with them in their home district, have written letters and/or made phone calls on key issues. Recently, several of them contributed to encouraging Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA), Chairman of the Senate Labor Health & Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee, to retain his Chairmanship. More Capitol Hill days for Pennsylvania and North Carolina will be organized for the Spring. The JSC is also considering expansion into a third state in 1999.

Congressional Biomedical Research Caucus
Mike Bishop, who has reaffirmed his commitment to serving as Scientific Advisor to the Congressional Biomedical Research Caucus despite his new responsibilities as Chancellor of the University of California, San Francisco, is currently developing plans for the tenth Caucus briefing session in 1999. Currently, there are 93 members of the Caucus in the House of Representa-tives; Rep. Joseph Kennedy (D-MA), who has served as Co-chair of the Caucus for two years, is retiring from Congress. Members of the Committee urged that Congressman-elect Rush Holt (D-NJ), a physicist, be recruited to join the Caucus.

Genetic Privacy
Several genetic privacy bills were introduced in the 105th Congress in response to concern about potential abuse of medical data. Any such legislation is likely to impact research in that it may limit access to health data gathered through clinical protocols. The Health Information Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 requires the Secretary of Health & Human Services to make recommendations to Congress on the privacy of health data. If Congress does not agree on legislation by August 20, the Department will issue privacy regulations for electronic claims information by the year 2000. The Committee determined to develop a simple statement urging that any legislation minimize the negative effect on research while protecting patient privacy.

Animal Research Facilities
Paul Berg reminded the Committee that the Society endorsed the recommendations for funding animal research facilities of the Institute of Laboratory Animal Research in its report, Approaches to Cost Recovery for Animal Research. Although NIH Director Harold Varmus has also indicated his support for the ILAR recommendations, there is little optimism that they will be substantially implemented by the Office of Management & Budget.

Alternative Medicine
The Committee discussed the creation of a Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the NIH as directed by Congress. The Committee will work with NIH leadership to ensure peer review and controlled studies for research funded by the new Center. The NIH is currently searching for a new Director for the Center, and hopes to recruit a researcher with clinical trial experience.

Clinical Research
Mert Bernfield reported on a “summit” on clinical research at which he represented the ASCB. The meeting was hosted by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). Bernfield served on a group which focused on basic research, but which failed to issue recommendations because there was no agreement on how best to translate basic research into clinical investigation. The NIH has already declared its commitment to increased investment in clinical research and research training.

NASA
The Committee discussed the Society’s recent report on NASA’s life science programs and the significant response it received. The NASA report was generated in part because of the disagreement of the ASCB with the recommendations of the FASEB Consensus Conference in which the ASCB participated. The Society has been contacted by NASA and asked to participate in their efforts to improve the quality of NASA’s life science research. The Committee agreed that it would be beneficial to work with NASA in this regard.

Cloning
Paul Berg reported on ongoing efforts spearheaded by the ASCB, the AAMC and other organizations to develop a regulatory solution to ensure public health and safety while allowing the advancement of important stem cell research. The proposed approach will be for a review mechanism similar to that successfully instituted to monitor recombinant DNA research twenty-five years ago (known as “the RAC”). The proposal is outlined in an editorial in Science (1998 October 16; 282: 413) by Berg and fellow Public Policy Committee member Maxine Singer. Florence Haseltine warned the Committee that a cloned human might be born in the next few months, which will spark accelerated debate in Congress. The Committee debated the merits of a regulatory approach, but agreed that it is important for the ASCB to continue to take the lead on this important and sensitive issue.

Women in Cell Biology Committee
WICB/EdComm Career Discussion Lunch
440 Annual Meeting attendees participated in the program, registering for a roundtable discussion on one of the following: Industry/Biotech; Biology and the Law; Science Journalism, Publish-ing; Bioinfomatics; Research/Management/Administration in Government, Museums, Institutes; Federal/ Local Congressional Staff/ Public Policy; Professional Opportunities in Washington, D.C.; Teaching in Primarily Undergraduate Institutions; University Research & Teaching; Obtaining a Good Postdoc Position; Job Application Strategies;Finding a Mentor; Develop-ing Collaborations; Dual Career Families; Shared Academic Positions; Preparing for Tenure; Changing Careers, and Re-entering the Job Market after a Career Delay or Interruption.

Organizer Sue Wick noted a large increase in interest in Industry & Biotech, recommending that more table hosts for this topic be recruited for 1999. After three years, Wick asked to be relieved of her organizing responsibilities; Sandra Masur and Mary Ann Stepp agreed to organize the 1999 lunch with Roger Sloboda of the Education Committee.

WICB Awards
Zena Werb presented Daphne Preuss of the University of Chicago with the 1998 WICB Junior Award, citing Preuss for developing immunoelectron microscopy of yeast cells and for defining the plant centromere. Christine Guthrie of the University of California, San Francisco received the 1998 WICB Senior Award for her pioneering contributions to the understanding of the structure and function of yeast small nuclear RNAs, as well as for her sustained guidance of students and junior colleagues. This year, the Junior and Senior Awardees were presented with a prize of $1,000 each. Werb challenged participants to contribute to establishing a fund for future WICB Junior and Senior awards. Werb opened the drive with a pledge of $500, later matched by Mina Bissell.

Evening Program: Your Students’ Career Choices: Mentoring Young Scientists into the 21st Century
Caroline Kane of the University of California, Berkeley, moderated the session. The panelists, Joseph Gall of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, Jill Fuss of the University of California, Berkeley, and Michael Alvarez of the University of California, San Francisco, discussed ways to find appropriate information, work for changes within graduate and postdoctoral training to accommodate different career interests, and overcome difficulties for those trained in Academic Careers in networking their proteges into nonacademic environments.

Affirmative Action
Kathryn Miller suggested that for 1999, a Member of Congress be asked to address Affirmative Action on a national level.

ASCB Newsletter/WICB Column
Column Editor Maureen Brandon reviewed the columns published from 1998 and those proposed for 1999. Suggestions for topics and guest column authors will be solicited from the ASCB membership through the ASCB Newsletter.

Speakers Bureau
Kane and Masur announced plans for expansion of the Speakers’ Bureau by seeking participants from outside of the U.S., and to make the resource searchable by topic.

 


1998 Annual Meeting Statistics
  01/01/1999

Scientific Participants... 6,630
Exhibit Registrants... 2,318
Total Registrants... 8,948
Companies Exhibiting... 335
Exhibit Booths... 454
Regular Abstracts... 2,912
Late Abstracts... 158
Total Abstracts . . 3,070

 


San Francisco Mayor Presents Award to Bishop
  01/01/1999

San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown presented the Fifth Annual ASCB Public Service Award to University of California, San Francisco Chancellor and former ASCB President J. Michael Bishop before a standing-room-only crowd of hundreds at the ASCB Annual Meeting.

ASCB Public Policy Chair Paul Berg cited Bishop as a "national leader in health and education policy and a tireless advocate for basic biomedical research" before introducing the Mayor (see page 25 for the full text of Berg's remarks).

Bishop, who won the Nobel Prize in 1989 with Harold Varmus, called his public service, "among the most gratifying parts of [his] career." Bishop's stunning acceptance speech, received by a sustained standing ovation, will be published in Molecular Biology of the Cell in the Spring.

Council Approves San Diego Meeting Site, Admits Over 1100 New Members, Reaffirms NASA Position.

The governing Council of the ASCB held its semi-annual meeting in San Francisco prior to the opening of the ASCB Annual Meeting. Elizabeth Blackburn of the University of California, San Francisco presided; the meeting was attended by all 17 Members of Council as well as three Councilors-elect.

Following is a brief summary of the Council's discussions and actions, exclusive of the reports of Committee Chairs and the Molecular Biology of the Cell Editor-in-Chief.

ASCB Council and Council-elect met in San Francisco prior to the Annual Meeting. Back row, from left: James Nelson, Mary Beckerle, 1999 President Randy Schekman, Tony Mahowald, 2000 President Richard Hynes, Kai Simons, Jennifer Lippincott-Schwartz, Councilor-elect Ted Salmon, WICB Committee Chair Zena Werb, Councilor-elect Mark Mooseker, Secretary George Langford, Ira Herskowitz, Treasurer Carl Cohen. Front row, from left: Mary Lee Ledbetter, 1997 President Mina Bissell, 1998 President Elizabeth Blackburn, Lydia Villa-Komaroff, Susan Strome, Pamela Silver, Councilor-elect Sandra Murray. Not pictured: Councilor-elect Eric Olson.

 


Letters To The Editor
  01/01/1999

Science Education Standards

Dear Ms. Marincola,

Thanks for printing the interesting letter to the California Board of Education by Paul Berg, Elizabeth Blackburn and Frank Solomon 1. They correctly suggest that the new California Science Standards might be so full of fact detail that teachers may be forced to decrease exciting hands-on discovery science activities in their classes, as these sorts of exercises take lots of time to do right. This contention, however, will only result if the statewide exams that will be designed to test mastery of the new standards dwell on too much fact detail and not on the basic concepts in the standards. If that happens, then teachers may indeed be fearful that their students will do poorly on these exams and hence move away from time consuming hands-on science and move towards more traditional fact-based lessons. I'm hopeful that California will understand that exciting, hands-on, inquiry-based science is very useful and will design the exams to stress fundamental concepts, instead of excessive factual detail.

Having said that, one must be also critical of some components of the national standards documents, such as the AAAS Benchmarks and the National Research Council's National Science Education Standards. Here is a quote from page 113 of the AAAS Benchmarks:

(Science for Grades 9-12) "For example, students should know that cells have certain parts that oxidize sugar to release energy and parts to stitch protein chains together according to instructions; but they don't need to remember that one type of part is a mitochondrion and the other a ribosome, or which is which [italics added]."

Is that what we want to see in our high schools? Have some of the national standards documents gone too far to the other extreme, away from some basic facts? Recently, these national standards documents have been criticized 2 as lacking specificity and detail and being based on weak studies in education research, while the American Electronics Association, representing more than 3,000 U.S.-based technology companies, including 1,500 California companies, applauded the California Science Standards.

Time will tell, though, if the California Standards went too far in the direction opposite that taken by the National Standards documents. Thank you.

Steven B. Oppenheimer, Member, ASCB; Director, Center for Cancer and Developmental Biology. California State University, Northridge, CA

1 ASCB Newsletter, October 1998

2 Journal of Geoscience Education, 46: pp. 484-487, l998

Training & Careers

Dear Ms. Marincola,

In September 1998 I attended the University of Utah Biosciences Career Symposium at which you and Frank Solomon presented your perspective on career opportunities for scientists with advanced degrees. The position which you described as a research track faculty position is virtually identical to a position which I had just begun in Mary Beckerle's lab here at Utah. Now that I have been here a few months and I can see this position evolving into a mutually beneficial situation for both Mary and me, I just wanted to add my support for such a position. After a long-term but very positive postdoc situation, I found that with a husband who is destined to remain in Salt Lake City, two small children at home, and my inability to devote the minimum 60 hours a week that seems necessary to succeed in a tenure track position, it was difficult to move onward or upward. However, this new opportunity to work with Mary as a Research Assistant Professor will allow me to apply for external funding, to stay in the lab with my own research projects, and still be available to help others in the lab with "hands-on" science. At the same time, the pay and benefits are better and the status is higher than a postdoc. Mary benefits by having a senior person who is more available to fledgling scientists in the lab, who can help with experimental details, provide some continuity to the lab etc. I could go on, but let me just say that I am not alone in believing that the American system of science works well overall, but has been overlooking a talented and useful but under-utilized population of scientists (i.e. terminal postdocs). I believe more research track faculty positions as you proposed would greatly benefit science as a whole.

Good luck with your work!

Laura M. Hoffman, Member, ASCB; Department of Biology,University of Utah

Dear Ms. Marincola,

Perhaps 25 years ago I sent a letter to the President of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) pointing out to him that there was no hope that the number of PhD's being turned out by faculty during their academic lifetimes would be able to find positions, that if every faculty member turned out 10 to 15 students with PhD's, Malthusian principles would apply. I also pointed out that the AAUP ratings of academic institutions based on the salary ranges they offered would become useless.

As I recall, he answered that everyone had a right to as much education as they desired.

Clearly my predictions, which were not predictions at all but rather a simple application of biology, have now fully come about.

Larry W. Cohen, Founding Faculty and Professor of Biology, California State University at San Marcos

 


Minorities Affairs Committee Histochemical Society Workshop Travel Awards Call for Applications
  01/01/1999

The Workshop on Microscopy of Living Cells and Tissues is on April 17, 1999 at the annual meeting of the Histochemical Society from April 16-18, 1999 at the Hyatt Regency HoPhone: in Bethesda, MD. The Histochemical Society meeting is immediately followed by the Experimental Biology Meeting in Washington, D.C. from April 17-21, 1999.

Awards of up to $600 are offered through an ASCB MAC NIH/NIGMS/MARC grant for minority graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and junior faculty.

To apply, access an application from the ASCB Website

Application Deadline: March 15, 1999
Notification of Awards: March 22, 1999

For more information, contact Daniel Friend,
Brigham and Women's Hospital,
Smith Building, Room 628, 1 Jimmy Fund Way, Boston MA 02115
Fax: (617) 525-1310

Other ASCB Minorities Affairs Committee Program Deadlines
Marine Biological Laboratories Course Application: March 2, 1999
Information and application forms available
Select "Research/Education"

Friday Harbor Laboratories Summer Quarter Application: March 1, 1999
Information and application forms available

ASCB/MAC Visiting Professor Summer, 1999, Application: March 1, 1999
Information and application forms available

These ASCB MAC programs are funded through a National Institutes of Health NIGMS Minorities Access to Research Careers grant

 


Membrane Trafficking and the Cytoskeleton: An Integrated View
  01/01/1999

June 26-30, 1999
Sixth Joint ASCB/EMBO/H. Dudley Wright Conference
Mario Negri del Sud, Italy
Deadline: May 1, 1999
Organizers:
Viki Allan, University of Manchester, England
George Bloom, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas
Thomas Kreis, University of Geneva (posthumously)
Jennifer Lippincott-Schwartz, NIH/National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Bethesda

Speakers
Name Location
Martin Baehler Ludwig-Maxmillians University Munich, Germany
Vivek Malhotra University of California, San Diego
Gary G. Borisy University of Wisconsin, Madison
Eva-Maria Mandelkow Max Planck Institute Heidelberg, Germany
Frances Brodsky University of California, San Francisco
Mark Marsh University College, London
David Burgess Boston College, Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts
Frederick Maxfield Cornell University New York, New York
Pierre Chardin CNRS Valbonne, France
Mark McNiven Mayo Foundation Rochester, Minnesota
Pascale Cossart Pasteur Institute, Paris
Ira Mellman Yale UniversityNew Haven, Connecticut
Pietro De Camilli HHMI Yale University New Haven, Connecticut
Kathryn G. Miller Washington University St. Louis, Missouri
Antonella De Matteis Consorzio Mario Negri Mario Negri del Sud, Italy
Peter Novick Yale University New Haven, Connecticut
Julie Donaldson NIH Bethesda, Maryland
Rainer Pepperkok EMBL Heidelberg, Germany
David Drubin University of California, Berkeley
Margaret Robinson University of Cambridge, England
Lawrence S.B. Goldstein University of California, San Diego Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Enrique Rodriguez-Boulan Cornell University New York, New York
Bruno Goud Curie Institute, Paris
Sandra Schmid Scripps Research Institute San Diego, California
Gareth Griffiths EMBL Heidelberg, Germany
Trina Schroer Johns Hopkins University >Baltimore, Maryland
Jean Gruenberg University of Geneva, Switzerland
Kai Simons EMBL Heidelberg, Germany
Nobutaka Hirokawa University of Tokyo, Japan
Richard Vallee University of Massachusetts, Worcester
Erika Holzbaur University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
Clare Waterman-Storer University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Kathryn Howell University of Colorado, Denver
Colin Watts University of Dundee, Scotland
Regis Kelly University of California, San Francisco
Marino Zerial EMBL Heidelberg, Germany
Kate Luby-Phelps University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas

 


Meeting Features
  01/01/1999

Careers, Policy, Education, Minorities, Women

Following are reports on special events held at the 38th ASCB Annual Meeting in San Francisco.

Affirmative Action Panel
The ASCB sponsored a panel discussion on the effects of affirmative action policy on minorities and women entering biological sciences. The panel, moderated by Elizabeth Blackburn, included ASCB Women in Cell Biology Committee member Yolanda Cruz, Ed Penhoet, Dean of the School of Public Health at UC Berkeley, and ASCB Minorities Affairs Committee Vice Chair Donella Wilson.

Blackburn expressed the Society's strong support for policies that encourage the participation of minorities and people of diverse backgrounds in research and teaching. Cruz addressed the problems with affirmative action, citing studies that suggest that students admitted under such policies are less likely to be prepared for academic challenges and thus more likely to fail. Penhoet emphasized the importance of broad participation in science at all levels, pointing to our increasingly technological society, and to the importance of understanding cultural differences in the delivery of health care. He further advocated that research on health and behavior address issues that may differently affect or be specific to individuals from different groups, noting that questions addressed by particular researchers and supported by the federal government are greatly influenced by the experiences of the researchers and administrators conducting the work. Penhoet also observed that by the time young people reach the university level it is too late to effectively recruit people of diverse backgrounds, an effort which must begin much earlier. Wilson identified isolation as a barrier to reaching individuals from diverse backgrounds. She noted a subtle prejudice toward "like kind" individuals by the majority. Wilson suggested that characteristics that make the best scientists be established and that selection criteria to evaluate these traits be employed. She also outlined strategies to help those from different backgrounds succeed, as well as ways to make those in the majority aware of incidences of bias and unfair treatment in work environments, in order to make them more receptive to minority-individuals. For their part, individuals were encouraged to select work environments that are conducive to their development and to clearly define their own goals for work and for life satisfaction.

College Program: What to Expect in Graduate School
Michael Alvarez, Director of the UCSF Career Center, moderated a panel for undergraduates featuring graduate students Erin Cram and Victor Holmes from UC Berkeley, and Arash Komeili from UCSF.

Panelists cited their reasons for choosing graduate school as loving scientific research or a need to learn more before pursuing a career in science. Interestingly, none said they chose graduate school as a means of reaching a specific career goal, but more as the next logical step in pursuing their interests.

The panel described graduate school as a much more independent experience than college, noting that it was often difficult to gauge how well one was doing, and if one was doing enough. All three panelists said that the transition to graduate school was difficult, but easier in a program offering a more structured first-year curriculum. The panel also stressed the importance of pacing oneself and of finding a good advisor.

Each panelist agreed that in choosing a graduate program, they sought one that was "fun," and that offered lab rotations. Rotations were seen as important because of the varying nature of labs even within the same institution, both in terms of the science they pursue and in their environment. The panel agreed that it is vital to find a lab that is a good fit: some labs are populated with relatively isolated scientists, each working independently; others are more interactive and collaborative. Neither one was seen as preferable, but students were encouraged to be sensitive to the differences and to choose the setting that suits best. Early exposure to different areas of research was also promoted as a way to help students to find a research focus that they find to be exceptionally interesting.

Holmes, who has served on the admissions committee at Berkeley, briefly described the qualities that graduate schools seek in a candidate: "good numbers" (grades and GRE scores), and the ability to do science and communicate clearly about science. He urged applicants to craft their personal statements to describe achievements, why they want to pursue science, and what topics interest them. He recommended against essays that are too "hokey."

Education Initiative Forum
The ASCB Education Committee presented the Education Initiative Forum between the morning symposia:

Interactive Web-Based Visualization of Macromolecular Structure
David Marcey of Kenyon College promoted visualization of 3-D structure to accelerate understanding of the important structure-function relationships of macromolecules, and noted that these tutorials have several educational features:

  • The tutorials use Netscape's browser and a browser plug-in, Chemscape Chime, so that students can access tutorials outside the class;
  • web-based tutorials allow the simultaneous viewing of a molecule while reading the tutorial;
  • the tutorials employ embedded scripts, so that one can evoke illustrative renderings of a molecule with simple button clicks;
  • the tutorials are investigative in that students are empowered to explore structural features by manipulating molecules with buttons or on their own using menu commands;
  • the tutorials allow students to learn about macromolecular structure at their own pace, and to revisit important points at will.

Using free public software, Marcey demonstrated the construction of an interactive tutorial that permitted student investigation of macromolecular structure; he also provided HTML code for several sample molecular tutorials.

The Online Macromolecular Museum.

Evolution and Creationism: The Problem that Won't Go Away
Eugenie Scott, Executive Director of the National Center for Science Education, discussed how to teach evolution. Scott noted that although the 20th century has produced information about biology on every level from the biochemical to the ecosystemic, the organizing principle of biology, evolution, is still rejected by almost half of the American public. This opposition is especially strong at the K-12 level, although more faculty are reporting anti-evolutionary views at the college level as well. Scott offered strategies for overcoming resistance to the teaching of evolution, including collaboration with clergy. She urged scientists to avoid the "Evolution vs. Creation" approach, and recommended that scientists concentrate on questions of "how," not "why."

Pennsylvania Biotechnology Associa-tion (PBA) Education Committee Model for Pre-College Science Education
June Merwin of Pfizer Pharmaceuticals reported on the activities of the PBA, which targets middle school teachers and students in Pennsylvania.The Association acts as a legislative voice, provides a monthly breakfast series, sponsors an annual symposium, and produces a scientific journal.

Merwin promoted a quarterly journal anticipated for publication, Your World Bio-technology and You.

ASCB members with topics and/or speakers of potential interest for presentation at the Education Initiative Forum at the 39th ASCB Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. are invited to direct them to ASCB Education Committee Member Chris Watters, Middlebury College, Department of Biology, Middlebury VT 05753. Phone: (802) 443-5433 Fax: (802) 443-2072).

High School Program
900 high school students, teachers and parents from public and private schools throughout the San Francisco Bay Area registered to participate in the annual High School Program, organized by the ASCB Local Arrangements Committee. Roger Pedersen and Fay Shamanski of the University of Cali-fornia, San Francisco presented One Hundred Years of Cloning Re-search to participants from thirty-three schools. Pedersen and Shamanski showed how years of research led to the cloning of "Dolly," and discussed some of the practical applications of nuclear transfer technology. They also addressed the possibility of cloning humans, touching on relevant ethical issues. After the presentation and questions, students visited the exhibit halls, where they enjoyed special hands-on presentations by 26 pre-selected exhibitors.

Minorities Poster Session & Awards Luncheon
About thirty posters were presented at the Minorities Poster Session. The winners, announced at the Awards Luncheon by ASCB Minorities Affairs Committee member Don Kimmel of Davidson College, were:

Undergraduate
Arionna N. Stevenson, Morgan State University
Honorable mention: Julissa Sosa, California State University, Northridge

Graduate
Jian-Carlo Ochoa, Yale University
Honorable mention: Sonya R. Summerour, University of California, San Diego

Postdoctoral/Faculty
Joann Trego, University of California, San Francisco
Honorable mention: Ozuem Paul Mgbonyebi, Fox Chase Cancer Center

Approximately 80 people attended the Awards Luncheon, hosted by Virginetta Cannon of Morehouse College, and MAC Vice Chair Donnella Wilson. Table discussions included topics such as "Finding a Career Path" and "Teaching vs. Research at a Small Institution."

Minorities Special Saturday Session: The Excitement of Research
Donella Wilson, Vice Chair of the ASCB Minorities Affairs Committee, opened the third annual Special Session for Minorities, which was organized by graduate student Ghislaine Mayer of the University of Colorado and Eve McGhee of the University of California, San Francisco.

The opening panel, of young research scientists, included Melissa Green of Indiana University School of Medicine, Patrick Allen of the University of Colorado, and Sonya Summerour of the University of California, San Diego.

Green emphasized the need for a "never-ending commitment to research science," and also noted the importance of a nurturing environment for success. She further cautioned that such an environment must at times be created, and also underscored the value of networking. Allen encouraged students to find an area of research with some personal relevance, observing that "if you find research that you have a vested interest in, you will pursue it with more fervor." Summerour noted that "a lot of decisions will be made in science in the next century," especially in genetics and genetic engineering, and stressed that "we [minorities] need to be at the table."

The second panel, of established scientists, included ASCB Councilor Lydia Villa-Komaroff of Northwestern University, Bruce Jackson of the Boston University School of Medicine, and Maria Elena Zavala of California State University, Northridge. Villa-Komaroff suggested "the four P's": plan, prepare, persist, and pretend. The latter, she said, means that you should pretend that you belong wherever you are, even if you are in a prestigious institution working with world-famous scientists: "pretend that you deserve to be there, because if you got there, you do deserve to be there! No one will know that you are pretending, and pretty soon you won't be pretending at all." Of research she commented that, "there isn't any high as good as finding out something that nobody else knows yet." Jackson concurred, noting that "science is getting to play detective every day. It's fun," and compared scientific discovery to "turning on lights in the universe." Jackson also strongly urged students to disregard what people say you cannot do, attributing his own achievements to ignoring nay-sayers. Zavala agreed, but also cautioned that sometimes it is in one's best interests to say no to opportunities in order to retain focus and budget time. Zavala reiterated the advice to students to "do what you love."

Jackson underscored the value of meetings like the ASCB's for networking.

Eloy Rodriguez, of Cornell University, the 1998 E. E. Just Lecturer, described the excitement and adventure of exploring tropical rainforests as a part of his research.

Session participants also attended the Scientific Writing Workshop presented by Judith Swan of Princeton University and the University of Pennsylvania.

Women in Cell Biology Evening Program
The forum sought to provide advice and information to scientists in training and their research mentors about how to prepare for careers in and out of academia. Those who train students and postdoctoral fellows in an academic environment often have little information about the requirements for careers outside academia; contacts as a consequence can be limited.

Jill Fuss, a senior graduate student in Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of California, Berkeley, described some of the issues students face in learning about multiple career choices and the preparation needed for those careers. Joseph Gall of the Carnegie Institution of Washington talked about the experiences of many of his former students who selected non-academic careers after rigorous PhD training, and how they found this training contributed to their success in those careers. He encouraged discussion of career issues between mentors and students very early in the training process, so that Ph. D. training can incorporate experiences that promote career development outside of academia. Michael Alvarez, Director of the Career Center at the University of California, San Francisco, emphasized the value of providing information early and often as well as creating an environment that encourages students and fellows to explore careers that suit their talents.

Thorny issues were raised by the audience, including how to approach a thesis advisor who has little respect for careers outside academia; how to tell a student that an academic career would not be the best choice given the student's interests and talents; the competitiveness of the job market outside academia; when students should be encouraged to enter PhD programs, and when internships or externships out-side of academia in the context of graduate or postdoctoral training are advisable.

Panelists underscored the value of PhD training in critical thinking, problem solving, open-ended question asking, skepticism and the analytical evaluation of information. The "fun" of science was also emphasized, as was the general value of being well trained in scientific thinking and methodology.

 


Gifts
  01/01/1999

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

Ueli Aebi
Donna G. Albertson
In-Ha Bae
Kathryn E. Bass
Elena Bendala-Tufanisco
Mina J. Bissell
Annette Bower
Nancy L. Bucher
Coralie A.C. Carraway
Nirupa Chaudhari
Douglas A. Cotanche
William B. Cosgrove
Dorothy E. Croall
Ellen R. Dirksen
Harrison W. Farber
Donna E. Fernandez
William H. Fletcher
Leslie I. Gold
Martin E. Hemler
A. Tyl Hewitt
Ching Ho
Kuei-Hsuan Kevin Hsiao
Ralph T. Kubo
Melanie K. Kuechle
Takashi Morimoto
Albert H. Nakano
W. James Nelson
Takeharu Nishimoto
Thorkil Ploug
Sandra Potter
Evelyn S. Ralston
Joel L. Rosenbaum
Richard E. Rutz
W. Sue Shafer
Emma Shelton
Clifford J. Steer
Yosuke Tanaka
Robert B. Vernon
Alin Vonica
David Warburton
Nakazo Watari
Zena Werb
Sue Wick

 


Members In The News
  01/01/1999

Purnell W. Choppin, President of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute since 1987 and ASCB member since 1972, announced his resignation from HHMI effective the end of 1999.

Brian Herman of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and ASCB member since 1980, was recently named Chairman of the Health Science Center’s Department of Cellular & Structural Biology.

Suzanne Pfeffer, ASCB member since 1983 and Cover Editor of Molecular Biology of the Cell, has been appointed to Chair of the Depart-ment of Biochemistry at Stanford University. She had served as the Associate Chair since 1997.

 


Classifieds
  01/01/1999

Military Research Lab Is Closing Military contractor is selling at drastically reduced prices its Perkin Elmer PDS Microdensito-meter, Joyce Loebl microdensitometer, LKB, Nova and Sorvall ultramicrotomes, Reichert Polycut S motorized sliding microtome, refrigerated and rotary microtomes, LKB knife maker, AO knife sharpener, Gatan dual ion mill and stereo microscopes. For spec sheets call (202) 544-0836.

Grants & Opps
The National Research Council is offering approximately twenty summer internships under the Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Graduate Student/Post-Doctorate Internship Program. These internships are designed to engage science, engineering, medical and law students in the creation of science and technology policy and to familiarize them with the interactions of science and government. The 1999 internships will run from May 31 - August 6. The internship stipend is $3,500, which is to cover all living expenses. An additional $500 in travel expenses is available as needed. To apply, submit the application at the web site, including one letter of reference, by March 1. Decisions will be made mid-to-late March. For more information, contact the NRC at (202) 334-2455.

The National Institute of General Medical Sciences announces two pharmacogenetics initiatives designed to promote research in this rapidly expanding field that aims to determine the genetic basis for individual responses to drugs for details.

Federation of American Societies For Experimental Biology
Executive Director

The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) in Bethesda, MD, invites applications and nominations for the position of Executive Director to begin service on or after June 1, 1999.

Qualified applicants should have executive/administrative experience in planning and resource allocation with a record of achievement and leadership in management of academic, association or other non-profit organizations. The Executive Director must have the ability to work in a multi-centered environment, a commitment to coalition building, an interest in the applications of technology to the management of associations and familiarity with public policy issues of importance to biomedical and life scientists.

Qualified candidates should send resume with covering letter in confidence by March 15, 1999, to:

William R. Brinkley, Ph.D.
FASEB President
Attn: Human Resources
9650 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, MD 20814
Fax: (301) 571-0684
EOE

FASEB Summer Research
Conferences

June 12-August 20, 1999

Locations: Saxtons River, Vermonth
Copper Mountain, Colorado
Snowmass Villiage, Colorado

The FASEB Summer Research Conferences are developed to give experimental biologists an opportunity to meet and explore new approaches to current research in areas of scientific development. Emphasis will be on the cutting edge research. Post-doctoral students and senior pre-doctoral canidates are encouraged to participate in the conferences. Se the FASEB web site for the conference schedule. The preliminary programs wlil be posted in February.

For additionnnal information and a copy of the meeting information booklet, you may contact: FASEB Summer Research Conferences Fax: (301) 571-0650

Women In Technology International - WITI Hall of Fame
WITI launched the annual Hall of Fame to honor, promote and recognize the outstanding contributions women make to the scientific and technological communities, as well as to society. Recipients will be chosen by an independent panel of judges and inducted on June 10, 1999 during WITI’s annual conference, The Technology Summit, at the Santa Clara Convention Center. Deadline: January 7, 1999

CEO Recognition Award
WITI established the CEO Award as part of its commitment to keep the vision, goals and recommendations of the Glass Ceiling Commission alive. Recipients will be honored on June 9, 1999 during WITI’s annual conference, The Technology Summit, at the Santa Clara Convention Center. Deadline: January 19, 1999

Women in Science and Technology Month
Every day during June we profile a different woman who is remarkable, inspiring, smart, gusty, tenacious, successful, admirable, or any combination thereof. Profiles will be posted on WITI’s Web site and available throughout the year. Deadline: January 15, 1999.

For more information or to submit nominations, please see WITI’s Web site or call (800) 334-9484.

LOUISIANA TECH UNIVERISTY
FACULTY POSITIONS
BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING

Louisiana Tech University is seeking qualified applicants for three tenure track positions in Biomedical Engineering. All ranks will be considered. Current research interests include: biomedical sensors and instrumentation, biomolecular engineering and tissue engineering. We are especially interested in candidates with research activity in biomedical applications of micro-sensors/devices; two of these positions will have the opportunity for a joint appointment with the Institute for Micromanufacturing (IfM).

Applicants must have a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering or a closely related field. The position requires a person with excellent written and oral communications skills, the ability to build and sustain an externally funded research program, as well as supervise doctoral students in research projects. Excellence in teaching and a commitment to high quality professional service is expected.

Send curriculum vitae, statement of teaching and research goals, and names and contact information for at least three references to:
Chair of Biomedical Engineering Search Committee
College of Engineering and Science
Louisiana Tech University
P.O. Box 10348, Ruston, LA 71272
Phone: (318) 257-4562
Fax: (318) 255-4175
Email.

Applications will be reviewed starting December 1, 1998 until the position is filled. The starting date for the position is September 1, 1999. Louisiana Tech University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply. For additional information on these opportunities as well as the Institute for Micromanufacturing, College of Engineering and Science, and the university, please refer to the website.

ASSISTANT PROFESSOR
The Department of Anatomy, Cell & Neurobiology at the Marshall University School of Medicine reopens the search for a tenure-track position at the Assistant Professor level with a proposed starting date of July 1, 1999. This position provides a unique opportunity in a developing program of excellence.

A Ph.D. and/or M.D. degree, postdoctoral experience, a record of publication in quality journals, and qualifications to teach cell biology to medical and graduate students are required. The successful candidate will be provided a research laboratory to develop and/or maintain an imaginative, externally funded research program.

All applications are welcome and individuals with expertise in cell signaling, molecular biology, single cell analyses, and grant support are especially invited to apply. Candidates should send an introductory letter addressing their teaching experience and philosophy, research accomplishments and future research plans, a curriculum vitae, copies of 2 or 3 recent publications, and arrange for at least three letters of reference to:

William B. Rhoten, Ph.D., Dept. of Anatomy, Cell and Neurobiology, Marshall University School of Medicine, 1542 Spring Valley Drive, Huntington, WV 25704-9388. Screening of applications will begin 4 January, 1999.

Marshall University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action/ADA Employer and especially encourages applications from women and members of minority groups.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, how much is a movie worth?
Illustrate your research with video material through Molecular Biology of the Cell. The online version of MBC provides the opportunity to publish videos and large data sets. Check out the videos in the July issue of MBC Online

For details on preparing and submitting video files, see the Instructions to Authors at MBC Online.

 


WWW.Cell Biology Education
  01/01/1999

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

The focus this month will be on educational Web sites that were identified at the ASCB Annual Meeting held December, 1998. Many ASCB members are developing some wonderful resources for cell biology instruction. If you would like to call attention to your Web-based course materials, please e-mail me at the address above.

  1. Lab Books: Diffusion, Osmosis, and the Nernst Equation
    ASCB member Chris Watters of Middlebury College along with Joe Patlak of the University of Vermont have developed a very nice teaching demonstration of diffusion, osmosis, and the Nernst Equation. The interactive exercises are based on Java Applets and as a result one’s Internet browser must be Java compliant. Being applet-based, several of the exercises take a little time to load (especially when using a modem); however, the wait is worth it. The diffusion lesson begins with two molecules wandering about a box. The viewer can reset the molecular movement and follow the random paths of the molecules. The lesson then follows two groups of 100 particles down a concentration gradient. The lesson logically introduces the rate of particle movement across a partition which concludes with a nice discussion of Fick’s equation. The diffusion lesson ends with a simulation of a selectively permeable membrane. The second lesson concerns osmosis and begins with a discussion and visualization of a solution. From this point solvent movement between two compartments is introduced with several excellent simulations over which students have some control. Students can follow the concept of differential flow between two compartments which leads to a clear quantitative representation of osmotic pressure. The third and last lesson gets to the heart of the matter with a wonderful interactive exercise dealing with an electrochemical equilibrium across a membrane. Students can change voltage potentials and see through a very nice molecular animation of the effects on cation diffusion. The lesson concludes with a discussion of the Nernst Potential and the Nernst Equation.

    Thanks to ASCB member Chris Watters for this excellent instructional Web site.

  2. IDH as a Model Enzyme for Teaching Biology
    ASCB members Malcolm Campbell and Don Kimmel and their colleagues at Davidson College have added some very nice teaching ideas to their previously reviewed Web site. Working with NSF funding, members of the Davidson Biology Department have been exploring the idea of using isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH) as a model enzyme for teaching. Their thinking is that by following one enzyme through different applications in different subjects, students can get a better grasp of the “big picture.” Exercises based on IDH have been developed for teaching laboratories in Introductory Biology, Genetics, Developmental Biology, Molecular Biology, as well as Undergraduate Independent Research. The Introductory Biology lab exercise outlines a three-week course of action assisting students in learning the concept of spectrophotometry and hypothesis building using IDH as a model enzyme. The Molecular Biology lab exercises provide the protocols for a variety of experiments. The descriptions for Genetics and Developmental Biology labs will be posted soon. The linking together of labs from several different biology courses using a common enzyme is an excellent idea. Campbell’s evolving Web site describes a process that some may want to emulate.
  3. The Online Macromolecular Museum
    David Marcey of Kenyon College demonstrated this site at one of the Education Initiative Sessions at the recent 38th Annual Meeting of the ASCB. “Oohs” and “Aahs” came from many in the audience as he demonstrated spinning three-dimensional models that are in the public domain. David has developed a museum metaphor for cataloguing collections of three-dimensional molecular models. He currently has Halls of Introductory Exhibits, DNA polymerization, DNA recombination, DNA modification, oxidoreductases, cell adhesion, and prions. Planned for the future are Halls of transcription factors, signal transduction, and RNA processing.The detail and the utility for teaching of these 3-D models are simply amazing. I was particularly impressed with the visualization of fibronectin which would have considerable utility in a developmental biology course. In order to view these wonderful models, a public domain plug-in called Chime must be loaded. Instructions are provided as to where to obtain the software and how to install it in a Web browser. The models were built using RasMol, a public domain molecular modeling software package previously reviewed in this column. RasMol can be scripted with Protein Data Bank information to build models. The site provides links to tutorials on how to build custom molecules for either teaching or research purposes.

These sites were checked December21, 1998. Previous ASCB columns reviewing Educational web sites with the links to the sites may be found online.

—Robert Blystone for the ASCB Education Committee

 


News
01/01/1999

1116 Candidates for Membership Admitted
Society Secretary George Langford presented the names of 1116 member applicants for admission to Society membership (see page 35), and seven regular members applying for Emeritus membership. All were approved. Langford reviewed membership trends, noting that while the number of members has increased steadily in the past several years, attrition has kept incremental growth in the range of several hundred annually. He further noted the spike in membership at the introduction of a postdoc rate in 1997, indicating the success of this incentive for post-doctoral fellows to join and remain members of the Society.

Financial Review
Society Treasurer Carl Cohen presented the audited results for the Society for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1998, which produced revenues in excess of expenses of $274,000. It was noted that this was the first budget year in which the Annual Meeting was held in Washington, D.C. when the Society's revenues exceeded its expenses. Council approved a budget for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2000, with projected revenues in excess of expenses of about $85,000 — substantially a break-even budget. The Treasurer further noted with satisfaction that the ASCB is close to meeting its goal of growing Society reserves, which serve predominantly as self-insurance for the organization, to equal half of its operating budget of about $4 million.

Molecular Biology of the Cell
David Botstein, MBC Editor-in-Chief, reported a 20% increase in manuscripts submitted and a 30% increase in pages published in MBC in 1998 over 1997. Botstein also noted that in its first full year of online publication, the journal enjoyed a steep rise in the number of online users. This trend appears likely to be carrying over into 1999, as access to MBC Online is limited to institutional subscribers and those members who choose the online version instead of or in addition to print. So far, 47% of ASCB members have requested access to the online version of MBC.

Botstein lauded the efforts of Jennifer Lippincott-Schwartz and James Nelson, who serve as editors for the newly-introduced video feature in MBC Online. Since July 1998, MBC Online has published 57 videos by 11 authors.

Botstein noted that the ongoing growth of the paper journal, coupled with the community's increasing use of the online version, presents authors the opportunity to publish a greater volume of material electronically compared to print. The Editorial Board will be encouraging authors to take advantage of this feature in the coming year, in an effort to provide as much scientific information as possible to MBC's readers without straining the capacity of the print version.

Sites Reserved Through 2009
Richard Hynes, Chair of the Ad Hoc Committee on Future Annual Meeting Sites, presented the Committee's recommendations for ASCB Annual Meeting sites through 2009. Assumptions made by the Committee were that the membership wishes to maintain the current meeting configuration of morning noncurrent symposia, posters combined with exhibits, and afternoon simultaneous minisymposia; that hotels should be close enough to the meeting site for participants to walk; that hoPhone: and convention center rates should be as low as possible (by agreeing to multi-year contracts); that Eastern and Western locations are desirable while favoring the West for December meetings; that overlap with Chanukkah should be avoided where possible, and that attendance should be maximized by choosing sites with large local biomedical research communities. Cities considered and ruled out for one or more of the cited reasons included Chicago, New Orleans and Boston. Council approved the Committee's recommendation that following the current contracts committing the Society to sites through 2005, the Society meet as follows:

2006 San Diego
2007 Washington, D.C.
2008 San Francisco
2009 San Diego

Modifications to EB Wilson Award Selection Process
Blackburn and past president Mina Bissell indicated that they felt that the current selection process for the E.B. Wilson Award is suboptimal because of variations in the nominating packages, and because of the lateness of the nomination and consideration of candidates. The Council resolved to de-couple the nominating process from the Call for Abstracts, recognizing the effectiveness and timeliness of the ASCB Newsletter as a communication medium for the membership (see page 14 for Call for Nominations). Council also resolved that a minimum of three letters of support would be re-quired for each candidate. It reaffirmed that the Award, the Society's highest honor for contributions in cell biology, would be open to members and nonmembers, but that the privilege of nomination would be limited to ASCB members. Finally, it determined that in addition to serving as Chair of the EB Wilson Award Selection Committee, the immediate past president of the Society would introduce the Awardee and present the E.B. Wilson medal.

Undergraduate Registration Rate to be Introduced
The Council determined to introduce a special rate for undergraduates wishing to attend the ASCB Annual Meeting, to be further discounted from the existing student rate. The action was taken in recognition that although activities for undergraduates are few and a small number attend, those that do are highly motivated and often pay registration fees personally.

ASCB NASA Position Reaffirmed
Larry Goldstein, ASCB representative to the FASEB Board of Direc-tors, reported on the recent FASEB Consensus Conference which ap-proved a FASEB position on NASA which substantially contradicts the ASCB position issued in July, 1998. The Council reiterated its support of the ASCB position, developed by a panel chaired by former ASCB President Donald Brown of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, and resolved to request that the ASCB's dissent from FASEB's position be formally noted in the FASEB Consensus Conference Report.

Council Declines to Form "Fellows"
Council considered but declined to enact a proposal to establish "ASCB Fellows" for distinguished members of the Society. The proposed program was rejected in part because it was felt that the emphasis and resources of the Society should be on encouraging less established members, rather than on further honoring those who may have already been amply recognized.

Last Day Reconfiguration Reconsidered
At the May, 1998 meeting of Council, a plan was approved to reconfigure the last day of the ASCB Annual Meeting to encourage greater exhibit hall traffic on that day. The new schedule would add a general reception on Wednesday afternoon, delaying the closing time of the exhibits. In response to concern conveyed to the Society by some exhibitors, the Council determined to poll exhibitors on their preferences and to reconsider the issue based on the data gathered. (Subsequent to the meeting of Council, Wednesday afternoon exhibit hall traffic proved to be strong without the reconfiguration that was to have been effected in 1999.)

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