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ASCB Newsletter - December 2000

Congress 101 to Feature Eshoo, Berg

The popular “Congress 101” event at the 40th Annual Meeting will feature ASCB Public Policy Chair Paul Berg of Stanford, and his Representative in Congress, 4th term Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA).

The forum, to be held on Monday, December 11 at 9:30 a.m., will focus on how scientists can form mutually productive partnerships with the Members of Congress in support of science. Most of the time will be devoted to audience interaction.

Eshoo has an established record of support for biomedical research. In Congressional hearings this year, she was in great part accountable for proving that claims of illegal profit-taking from the sale of fetal tissue (“baby body parts”) were unfounded.


Society Welcomes 10,000th Member

Gregory Longmore of Washington University became the Society’s 10,000th member when his application was approved by the ASCB Council this month. This is the first time ASCB membership has topped the 10,000 mark since its founding.

Total membership for 2000 reached 10,100 members. Longmore was one of 1,199 members who applied through the “First-Time Partial-Year Membership” option.

The ASCB was incorporated in 1961 with charter membership of 744.


ASCB To Roll Out Eighth T-Shirt in Popular Series

Couch potato cell biologists will enjoy the Society’s latest t-shirt, “Actually, on a Cellular Level, I’m Really Quite Busy.” The shirt will be on sale at the 40th Annual Meeting in San Francisco and is available directly from the ASCB.


Annual Meeting Receives Record Abstracts

3,130 abstracts of scientific research were accepted for presentation at the 40th Annual Meeting of the Society being held this month in San Francisco. 2,946 appear in the Molecular Biology of the Cell abstracts issue and 184 were received as late abstracts to be distributed on-site at the meeting.

The number represents the largest number of poster presentations ever at a regular meeting of the ASCB. More than 4,200 abstracts were accepted when the ASCB hosted the International Congress on Cell Biology in 1996.The number represents the largest number of poster presentations ever at a regular meeting of the ASCB. More than 4,200 abstracts were accepted when the ASCB hosted the International Congress on Cell Biology in 1996.


Teachers Come Away Happy

“Your Booth is like Christmas for a New Teacher”
Teachers happily took home Exploring the Cell and other ASCB materials from the annual meeting of the National Association of Biology Teachers in October. Brochures, lesson plans, posters and flyers produced by the ASCB and provided free to teachers introduced high school, community college and college faculty members to the Society and its programs. Elementary and middle school teachers appreciated the Letters to Young People Program, and everyone wanted to win note cards, a tshirt or a copy of the video CELLebration.

Hundreds of teachers visited the ASCB booth on the first evening of exhibits; many teachers who visited the booth later said that they could not get close the first day because of the crowd.

Friday was Cell Biology Day as National Human Genome Research Institute Director Francis Collins provided an overview of the Human Genome Project and its implications for teaching. A standing ovation followed the Institute’s presentation of the multimedia educational kit “The Human Genome Project: Exploring our Molecular Selves.”

In the afternoon, over 80 teachers attended the ASCB Education Committee Symposium, Current Topics in Cell Biology, at which ASCB members Mary Kimble and Melissa Rogers of the University of South Florida, Tampa, presented The Cytoskeleton: From Boring Framework to Dynamic Partner and Life and Death Decisions Influenced by Retinoids, respectively. Kimble provided the teachers a lab exercise on “Analysis of cytoskeleton function and expression of chimeric proteins by fluorescence microscopy and western blotting;” Rogers discussed mutations and diseases caused by excessive or inadequate intake of retinoids.

ASCB Education Committee member Connie Oliver organized ASCB activities at the meeting.


WWW.Cell Biology Education

The ASCB Education Committee calls attention each month to 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. LibrarySpot Encyclopedias, Maps, Libraries, and More LibrarySpot is an extremely useful metasite. Advertising itself as “a free virtual library resource center for educators and students, librarians and their patrons, families”, it does carry commercial advertising. It is published by StartSpot Mediaworks based in the Evanston Research Park in Illinois. It also proclaims to be “the first in a family of vertical information portals designed to make finding the best topical information on the Internet a quick, easy and enjoyable experience.” It delivers and more; however, because of its size, an educator will have to spend some time on the site to identify the specific areas of educational utility. The homepage has three major divisions based on a library theme: Libraries, Reference Desk, and Reading Room. The libraries online section gives pathways to public libraries, academic libraries, and uniquely school libraries. There is a very thorough and current list of Medical/Health Science Libraries on the Web, including foreign countries. If one wants to “surf” libraries, this is the place to begin. The reference desk path has most anything one would ever want from a library reference desk. I found the links to statistics and professional associations URLS to be of particular interest. The site is massive and its sheer size will take some time to master; however, it may well be the largest library one can currently enter.
  2. Alternative Routes to Quantitative Literacy for the Life Sciences The topic of how the life sciences can become more quantitatively oriented is gaining considerable interest. Louis Gross, a professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, is at the forefront of this quantitative biology effort and whose highly successful work has been funded by the NSF. The Web address listed above represents one of his efforts, which may be of interest to cell biology educators. Listed at the site are a collection of draft modules designed to test the competency of undergraduate biology students in the area of quantitative skills. Its purpose is to help a student identify the mathematics skills they will need for introductory biology. The competency test was developed as part of the Mathematics Across the Curriculum Project at the University of Nevada at Reno. Additionally, the site references a statistical and mathematical appendix to the cell biology section of the general biology lab manual for the Univ. of Tennessee. Students can refer to the appendix for help in working quantitative problems associated with the course. The site also provides numerous links to other Web resources for mathematics training of biology students. If you are interested in the development of quantitative reasoning skills for students, this is a good place to start. One may also find a somewhat dated archive of molecular biology software as a part of this effort.. Related to this quantitative skills issue and which will be reported in greater detail in a future column is the effort of the Mathematics Association of America to redefine how undergraduate mathematics is taught so as to be more supportive of science education in general.
  3. Annals of Improbable Research The journal called Annals of Improbable Research is a humor magazine of science, medicine, and technology. It is best known for its annual Ig Noble awards. To quote from its Web page: “The Ig Nobel Prize honors individuals whose achievements cannot or should not be reproduced. Ten prizes are given to people who have done remarkably goofy things—some of them admirable, some perhaps otherwise. ... The Igs are intended to celebrate the unusual, honor the imaginative—and spur people’s interest in science, medicine, and technology.” The concept may at first seem trivial; however, the scientific works cited are usually real, peer-reviewed work in reputable journals. Students can gain a very different perspective of science and members of the profession will have more than a chuckle from the cited works. By reviewing the awards listed over the last ten years, one can find how imaginative some scientific research can be. This year’s Ig Nobles included winners from psychology, literature, biology, physics, chemistry, economics, medicine, computer science, peace and public health. The winning entry for medicine recognizes a 1999 British Medical Journal article and I will say no more. A short book section for interesting children’s science books lists one title that suggests how one can make a dinosaur out of chicken bones. This is a fun site that has some very serious educational overtones about the process of science.

These sites were checked November 10, 2000. Previous ASCB columns reviewing Educational WEB sites with the links to the sites may be found online.



Assistant Professor, Tenure Track. Ph.D. Candidate responsibilities: To teach undergraduate classes in Cell Biology, Histology, and Tissue Culture. To develop upper division specialty courses in the area of candidate’s expertise within cell biology. To establish an externally funded research program in the area of cell/tissue culture with a molecular biology emphasis that involves both undergraduate and graduate students. Attributes sought—Fields: Cell Biology; Skills: Potential for excellence in undergraduate teaching. Potential to teach courses in cell biology, histology, tissue culture and histology, and to develop specialty courses within cell biology. Established capability in conducting independent research in a specialty within cell biology. Potential to develop a research program involving undergraduate and Master’s level graduate students. Ability to obtain research funding especially external funding. Knowledge and skills in cell biology and tissue culture required. Knowledge and skills in histology, histopathology and environmental toxicology are a plus. Applicants must send letters of intent, completed application form, curriculum vitae, three recent letters of reference, and two additional referees (with telephone numbers for all) to: Biological Sciences Department, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, 3801 W. Temple Avenue, Pomona, CA 91768-4032. Initial review of applicants will begin December 1, 2000 and continue until the position is filled.

Postdoctoral Position. Available immediately, at the University of Southern California, School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA. Development of targeted delivery system for anti-angiogenic agent. Background in biochemistry and molecular biology is required, and experience in signal transduction is a plus. Experience with animal model systems is also a prerequisite. Please contact: Dr. Frank Markland: Phone (323) 224-7981 at the ASCB Meeting in San Francisco, Monday Dec 11 or Tues. Dec. 12.

Microscopy Facility Manager. Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Biology. The Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Biology (LCMB), Division of Basic Sciences, of the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health (http://rex.nci.nih.gov/RESEARCH/basic/lcmb/labcellbio.htm) has a long tradition of excellence in the investigation of signal transduction pathways involved in both normal cellular function and malignant transformation. Several members of this Laboratory are currently using live cell imaging to study complex signaling pathways. The Laboratory has one confocal and two fluorescence microscopes all equipped with state-of-the art imaging capabilities. We are looking for a highly motivated individual to head and grow our microscope facility. Main responsibilities include, but are not limited to, microscopy supervision, training, optimization and development of techniques, and upgrades of imaging software and equipment.Salary will be commensurate with education and experience. Qualified applicants should submit curriculum vitae and names of three references by December 31, 2000 to: Ms. Michelle Porturica, Executive Secretary, Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Biology, DBS, NCI, Building 41, Room A101, Bethesda, MD 20892-5055; Phone: (301) 435-2515. Candidates must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents. The NCI is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Science & Technology Policy Fellowships. The American Association for the Advancement of Science invites scientists and engineers to apply for one-year science and technology policy fellowships in Washington, DC, beginning September 2001. These programs are designed to provide each Fellow with a unique public policy learning experience and to bring technical backgrounds and external perspectives to decisionmaking in the U.S. government. Applicants must be U.S. citizens and must have a Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree by the application deadline (January 10, 2001) from any physical, biological or social science or from any field of engineering. For application instructions and further information about AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellowship Programs, contact: 1200 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20005. Phone: (202) 326-6700.

Post-Doctoral Fellowship. Two positions are available in the Section on Connective Tissue Disorders, NICHD, NIH. We are interested in abnormalities of osteoblasts and bone matrix in the genetic disorder osteogenesis imperfecta, using material from patients and from our knock-in Brittle mouse.

  • Project 1: Involves intracellular processing of mutant collagen by osteoblasts, including chaperone proteins, response of cells to growth factors, matrix composition and structure. Strong cell biology background desired.
  • Project 2: Involves gene therapy of Brittle mouse by hammerhead ribozymes, including development of expression constructs and transgenic mice. Strong molecular biology background desired.

Candidates should have M.D. or Ph.D. and less than 5 years postdoc experience. Send CV and three references to Joan Marini, Heritable Disorders Branch, National Institutes of Health, N1CHD, Building 10, Room 9s24l, MSC-1830, 10 Center Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892-1830. NIH is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

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