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ASCB Newsletter - January 2000

Hynes Takes Office

Richard Hynes of MIT took office as ASCB President on January 1. Following is his statement to the membership.

It is an honor to serve as President of the ASCB, albeit somewhat daunting. The Society exists to serve the interests of its members (now almost 10,000) and to promote the field of cell biology. It is a privilege to share in these endeavors along with the dedicated ASCB staff and the many ASCB members who volunteer their time and energy in furthering the Society’s activities in education, publishing, public policy, etc.

Cell biology has never been in a more vigorous phase of growth and activity, as evidenced by the recent Annual Meeting. This year’s meeting will honor the 40th anniversary of the ASCB and will highlight some of the past achievements of cell biology as well as serving as a forum for presentation and discussion of the latest advances in our science. Those advances impact increasingly on societal concerns and it is incumbent on the ASCB to provide information, education and advice concerning issues that arise from, or affect, the rapid progress of cell biological discovery.

In the coming year, the ASCB will continue its active involvement in public policy, in collaboration with other scientific societies. We look forward to enlisting more of the ASCB membership in these and other activities. The state of our profession is in flux, as cell biology permeates industry, health care and public policy, and the Education Committee will continue its efforts to analyze and propose improvements in the career structure. It is a truism that the postgenomic era will engender radical changes in the way that cell biology is done, as will other technological advances. The growth and productive application of cell biological knowledge are expanding rapidly and we need to anticipate the challenges and opportunities offered.

This is a very exciting time in cell biology and its related disciplines and I look forward to working for and with the ASCB membership and staff, as we meet those challenges and exploit the opportunites.



The Department of Cell Biology at the University of Virginia has available a tenure track position at the Assistant or Associate Professor level. The department seeks candidates whose research will complement existing strengths in cellular, reproductive, and develop-mental biology. Candidates are expected to develop and maintain independent programs of investigation and to participate in graduate education. Applications are welcome from junior investigators as well as from mid-level investigators with established research laboratories. A program of training and reduced initial responsibility is available for medical teaching in cell biology/histology or anatomy. Opportunities for productive collegial interactions include interdisciplinary programs in cell and molecular biology, reproduction, development, neuroscience, cancer, signal transduction, cardiovascular biology, cell-matrix biology, biophysics, and structural biology, as well as participation in translational research with clinical faculty. Additional information about the department is available online. Candidates should submit curriculum vitae and description of research, and request that three letters of recommendation be sent to: Dr. Charles J. Flickinger, Chair, University of Virginia Health System, Department of Cell Biology, School of Medicine, P.O. Box 800732, Charlottesville, VA 22908-0732. The position will remain open to applications until filled. An Equal Opportunity/ Affirmative Action Employer.

Postdoctoral Research Associate position available immediately for recent Ph.D. or M.D./Ph.D. graduate in cellular or molecular biology with an interest in angiogenesis. The project involves the study of bioactive lipid metabolites of arachidonic acid produced by tumor cells which produce dramatic effects onhost vasculature angiogenesis. Preliminary data supports an exciting and novel mechanism of tumor cell induced angiogenesis. Work involves state of the art molecular and cellular biological techniques. Successful candidates should have demonstrated experience with standard molecular biology and cell biology techniques. Previous work with endothelial cells or in the area of angiogenesis is desirable. Preference will be given to candidates with demonstrated research ability and strong written communication skills. Minimum salary of $30,000 dependent upon experience. Please send 1) a brief statement of your research insterests, capabilities and goals; 2) curriculum vitae; 3) address, fax/telephone numbers and 4) three references to: Dr. Kenneth V. Honn, Wayne State University, 5101 Cass Ave., Rm. 431, Detroit, MI 48202.

Postdoctoral Research Associate position available immediately for recent Ph.D. or M.D./Ph.D. graduate in cellular or molecular biology with an interest in lipoxygenases. The project involves the study of novel lipoxygenases found in tumor cells and examination of their regulation at both the transcriptional level and post-translational level. Successful candidates should have demonstrated experience with standard molecular biology and cell biology techniques. Previous experience with arachidonic acid metabolism is desirable. Preference will be given to candidates with demonstrated research ability and strong written communication skills. Minimum salary $30,000 dependent upon experience. Please send 1) a brief statement of research interests, capabilities and goals; 2) curriculum vitae; 3) address, fax/telephone numbers and 4) three references to: Dr. Kenneth V. Honn, Wayne State University, 5101 Cass Ave., Rm. 431, Detroit, MI 48202.

Postdoctoral position, University of Wisconsin-Madison, to study aspects of intracellular lipid traffic. The position is available in February 2000. Research topics include sterol transport from the ER to the plasma membrane in yeast, phospholipid flip-flop in the ER and in bacterial cytoplasmic membranes, and synthesis and trafficking of glycosylphosphatidylinositols (GPIs) in mammalian cells. Experience in molecular cell biology including subcellular fractionation, protein purification, membrane biochemistry and/or lipid biochemistry is essential. Applications, including a cv and the names (+ contact information) of two references, should be sent to: Anant Menon, Department of Biochemistry, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 433 Babcock Drive, Madison, WI 53706-1544, USA, or by email.

Postdoctoral position available immediately to investigate the molecular mechanisms of intracellular protein traffic in lymphocytes. Current projects include the elucidation of the granule fusion machinery in cytotoxic T lymphocytes and the regulation of protein traffic to and from lysosomes in antigen presenting cells. We are specifically interested in the role of SNARE proteins in constitutive and regulated secretion in these cells. Information about the group can be found online Successful applicants will have a strong background in basic cell and molecular biology. Send CV, brief description of research experience, and names of three references to Dr. Paul Roche, Experimental Immunology Branch, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Building 10, Room 4B36, Bethesda, MD 20892. Fax (301) 496-0887.



Society Committees Meet
ASCB Business Meeting

ASCB President Randy Schekman announced Council's decision not to renew membership in FASEB effective 2001.

Secretary George Langford presented a graph of the growth in membership over the past ten years. Total membership has doubled from 4,849 in 1989 to 9,652 in 1999.

Langford reported that a polling firm had been contracted to conduct focus groups with member and nonmember meeting attendees. The Society hopes to be able to use the resulting analysis to better accommodate existing members as well as to attract new members.

Langford named the ten members who had died in 1999: Arthur Cohen, Jonas Richmond, Werner Risau, Russell Ross, Paul Srere, J. Herbert Taylor, Mathew Thomas, Benjamin Volcani, John Watson and Jerome Wolken.

Gary Ward, a member of the ASCB Finance Committee, presented financial statements for the fiscal years ended March 31, 1995 to 1999 (see November, 1999 ASCB Newsletter).

Schekman noted that the 2000 meeting will be the 40th Annual Meeting of the ASCB and that a committee had been appointed to recognize the anniversary.

Schekman thanked ASCB membership and staff for facilitating his service as President. He passed the gavel to Richard Hynes, who will succeed Schekman on January 1.

Education Committee
Committee Chair Frank Solomon reported on the progress of the Committee's work on Graduate Training and the career structure in biomedical sciences. This work builds on the findings of the 1996 ASCB Education Committee survey of professional expectations and career development of ASCB members. In the current phase, the ASCB is collaborating with economists at the National Bureau of Economics Research and Harvard University to study the economic and scientific feasibility of the proposal to create a permanent staff scientist position whose productivity would not depend upon training others. This work, funded by the Sloan Foundation, involves analysis of laboratory situations through interviews of lab heads and trainees.

The Committee is developing a proposal for a web-based journal to disseminate articles relevant to education in cell biology. Committee members Bob Blystone, Sally Elgin and Linda Silveira are formulating the aims and scope of the project, with the goal of establishing the journal during this year.

Connie Oliver reported the continued sponsorship of the ASCB Symposium at the National Association of Biology Teachers annual meeting through the participation of local ASCB members. Oliver has identified members from Tampa who will speak at the NABT meeting in Orlando in October, 2000.

The Committee will repeat the highly successful Genomics Workshop at the 40th ASCB Annual Meeting in San Francisco in 2000. Elgin, working with Silveira, will again chair the organizing group.

Chris Watters solicited suggestions for Education Initiative Forum presentations for the 2000 ASCB meeting. Watters plans to continue offering three diverse programs: a web-based/electronic presentation, an undergraduate teaching exercise presentation, and a presentation of broader issues.

The Committee also discussed its other programs at the ASCB meeting: the Education Poster area, the inclusion of demonstrations by poster presenters in the EdComm/MAC Information Booth, and the Career Panel.

New Cell Biology Booklet
The Education Committee, Chaired by Frank Solomon of MIT, introduced Exploring the Cell, What Cells Do and How Cell Biologists Study Them, a high school publication which succeeds Opportunity & Adventure in Cell Biology. Thousands of copies of the booklet, produced by a gift from SmithKline Beecham, will be distributed in response to requests from students, teachers, parents and counselors; they are also provided at the ASCB High School program, at the annual meetings of the National Association of Biology Teachers and the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science.

Minorities Affairs Committee
Chair J.K. Haynes reviewed his report to the ASCB Council, reiterating his satisfaction with Council's support of MAC programs and budget.

Haynes expressed concern that although the number of MAC Travel Awards granted have remained constant, the pool of applicants for some programs has dropped by as much as 50%. Exacerbating the problem is the difficulty of maintaining contact with young awardees, who move frequently.

If approved, the NIH/NIGMS/MARC grant will fund a new Linkage Program and additional ASCB staff support to improve communication between the MAC and seven identified institutions. It is hoped that the program will stimulate increased awareness by underrepresented minority students and their mentors and will correspondingly increase the pool of minority students who take advantage of the awards offered by the ASCB MAC.

Wilson circulated the Statement of Objectives for the Society as approved by Council two days before. The objectives are a result of a MAC request that the Society state its support of minorities in science.

E. A. "Lenny" Dawidowicz of the Marine Biological Laboratory reported on the reorganization of MBL programs. Dawidowicz will oversee Education programs, including the Summer Program in Neuroscience (SPINES). Dori Chrysler Mebane, for several years the lead contact between the ASCB MAC and the MBL, has announced her resignation from the Laboratory. The Committee expressed its gratitude to Mebane for her support of the ASCB and the MAC.

Bruce Jackson of Boston University School of Medicine and MAC member Sandra Murray reported on an NSF-sponsored meeting on minority scientist funding held at Emory University. The organizers determined to start an organization of black biological scientists with the goal of providing opportunities to share experiences, build collaborations and mentor the careers of students and scientists. The MAC will consider a formal proposal for endorsement of this effort, and expressed support for the group, asking Murray to serve as liaison to it.

Ad hoc Committee member Eva McGhee of the University of California, San Francisco, reported on the ASCB MAC Saturday Session, which has grown from about 35 attendees to over 100. Conrad Messam of the NIH, who will serve a two-year term as an ad-hoc member of the MAC, has agreed to chair the 2000 session.

Molecular Biology of the Cell
David Botstein, MBC Editor-in-Chief, reported on the continued strong growth of the journal, reflected in the 12% increase in manuscripts submitted and the 24% increase in pages published in 1999 over 1998. Botstein reported a 4% increase in insitutional subscribers to MBC over the past year, as well as a continued steady increase in online users. He also noted that 48% of ASCB member subscribers to MBC selected the online version of the journal over the print journal in 1999. Botstein commented that he expected the use of the online journal to continue to increase, particularly as MBC becomes available via Pub Med Central in January.

Botstein emphasized that the MBC Editorial Board will encourage authors to publish shorter papers, providing the option to include additional material in the online journal. He described a new page charge structure to provide an incentive to authors to achieve this goal: authors will be charged $65 for the first 12 pages published, and a premium fee of $120 for each additional printed page over that amount. Members of the ASCB will receive a 20% discount on their total page charges. The new rate structure will be implemented in January, 2000.

Public Information Committee

Science Writer
Stephen Hart, ASCB's new science writer, was introduced to the ASCB Council and Public Information Committee. Hart coordinated the development of this year’s Press Book for the Annual Meeting, organized a press room at the Annual Meeting and developed a journalists' "newsroom" on the ASCB web page. He has worked closely with the Committee to develop story ideas for the media and will continue to look to Society membership for new ideas.


The 1999 Pressbook attracted over 50 members of the press to cover the ASCB Annual Meeting, significantly more than in any previous year. This year's Pressbook included 19 fully illustrated research reports. The Committee discussed how to improve the process for obtaining high-quality images for use by the media.

Press Room
1999 marks the first year that the Society provided a pressroom for journalists covering the meeting. Members of the press used the room to file reports, conduct interviews and view information about the ASCB on the Web. For the first time, the Society held a press conference to highlight some of the research included in the 1999 Pressbook. Fourteen reporters and journalists attended the hour-long discussion, asking many questions of the six participating scientists. Initial press coverage has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Nature, Reuters News Service, Science, and web-based and local publications.

Educational Video
The Committee explored the idea of producing a PBS-style series of programs on cells and the cellular basis of life and disease. A representative from the American Society for Microbiology, which recently produced a PBS series called "Intimate Strangers," reported on the ASM's experience. Production would require storyline generation and fund raising. The Committee was enthusiastic about pursuing the project.

Public Policy Committee
Annual Meeting Activities

The Committee reviewed 1999 Annual Meeting events including the Public Service Award, "Congress 101, " the Congressional Liaison Committee reception, the Practice of Science Panel on "Graduate & Postdoctoral Training: Challenges for the New Millennium," and the Peer Review Panel.

Joint Steering Committee for Public Policy

Congressional Education Liaisons' Report

Joint Steering Committee for Public Policy Congressional Liaisons Peter Kyros and Belle Cummins reviewed progress in 1999, including a 15% increase in the NIH budget and a 6.5% increase in the NSF budget. Kyros described the advocacy efforts that contributed to last year’s increases, including over 80 visits by scientists to Capitol Hill, speeches on the floor of the House, and letter writing. They urged the Committee to write and to ask Congressional Liaison Committee members to write thank you letters to all those Members of Congress who supported doubling the NIH budget over five years and to encourage them to renew their commitment to this goal in the coming year. CLC members will also be encouraged to publish letters-to-the-editor and op-eds in their local newspapers.

The Committee discussed plans for the coming year and the FY2001 budget. That week, ASCB Public Policy Committee and JSC member David Botstein held meetings with senior officials of the Clinton/Gore Administration to urge continued support of basic biomedical research in the FY 2001 budget. The Committee reaffirmed support for all sciences, not just the NIH, particularly through the NSF and other agencies that contribute to basic research relating to cell biology.

Congressional Liaison Committee
Joint Steering Committee CLC Chairman Tom Pollard reported on the local organizing effort in Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Illinois where the CLC has concentrated its work in recent years. Alec Stone, the CLC's National Coordinator, described the work of scientists in those states to educate their Members of Congress about biomedical research. Mem-bership has reached 380 in Pennsylvania, 185 in North Carolina and 150 in Illinois. Many CLC members have traveled to Washington to meet with their Member or Congressional staffs, while others have met in their home district. Hundreds of letters and phone calls have been made on key issues. More Capitol Hill days for Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Illinois will be organized for the Spring.

The Committee discussed plans to expand the local organizing effort in California, which will require a dedicated coordinator to be based in California. Funds for this project will be raised in the state.

The Committee also discussed the recent decision by Council to not renew its membership in FASEB and how that decision might impact the JSC's activities.

Congressional Biomedical Research Caucus
J. Michael Bishop, Scientific Advisor to the Congressional Biomedical Research Caucus, is developing plans for the eleventh season of Caucus briefings. Currently, there are over 100 members of the Caucus in the House of Representatives. On January 26, Harold Varmus will return to the Caucus as a private citizen to speak to the group to celebrate its 10th anniversary.

Genetic Privacy
The Department of Health & Human Services has issued new draft privacy regulations for electronic health information and the Committee discussed plans to submit public comment. The Committee will recommend that regulations minimize the inhibitive effect on research while protecting patient privacy.

Animal Research Facilities
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. The Office of Management & Budget recently announced that most of the costs of housing animals for research purposes will be allowable as indirect costs.

Stem Cell Research
The Committee discussed the ASCB's year-long leadership in the debate over stem cell research on Capitol Hill. With the recent release of the new NIH draft stem cell guidelines for federally funded researchers, the Committee determined to write a letter of public comment on the guidelines, indicating that they are a step in the right direction toward allowing federally funded researchers to conduct stem cell research, but expressing concern about the bureaucratic hurdles that would remain for scientists wishing to obtain cells for research. An alert will be sent to the ASCB membership urging comment on the draft guidelines.

NIH Directorship
The Committee discussed the resignation of NIH Director Harold Varmus. President Randy Schekman and Chairman Paul Berg recently submitted a list of suggested candidates for a successor to HHS Secretary Shalala upon her request. The group expressed concern that if an appointment is not made soon, the next Director will not be installed until significantly after the next presidential election. The Committee determined to redouble its support of the NIH in the interim.

Genetically Modified Foods
Daphne Preuss expressed concern about public and political opposition to genetically modified foods and its impact on plant research. She noted that public opposition to genetically modified crops has virtually shut down plant biology in Europe. She suggested that the ASCB adopt a policy on this issue and participate in public debate in the U.S. The Committee agreed to develop a recommendation to Council.

H-1 Visas
David Botstein suggested that the Committee consider supporting a special H-1 visa category for foreign academics, thus removing university faculty from the limited pool of all technologically trained people who receive visas under strict quotas in the U.S. The Committee urged Botstein to explore this approach and report back to the Committee.

Women in Cell Biology Committee

AXXS Excellence
The group debriefed the highly successful workshop sponsored by the ASCB just before the Annual Meeting.

Affirmative Action Forum
The Committee discussed plans to organize a presentation on Unwritten Rules for Advancing Your Career for the 41st Annual Meeting WICB Evening Program.

WICB Column
WICB Column editor Maureen Brandon reviewed with Committee members articles published in 1999 and discussed topics for 2000. Membership suggestions for topics and/or guest authors are welcome.

Speakers' Bureau
Kane and Masur discussed how to expand and circulate the Resource Bureau. The Committee resolved to broaden the Bureau by developing a web form through which ASCB members could voluntarily register demographic information in addition to their scientific interests.

Saturday Workshop
In response to the success of the WICB Evening Program on Negotiating Strategies featuring David Botstein, Joan Brugge, Eva Nogales and Keith Yamamoto, the Committee hopes to sponsor a more comprehensive, four-hour Saturday workshop on Negotiating at the 40th ASCB Annual Meeting.

Postdoc Member
Chair Zena Werb invited Leanna Topper of the University of Virginia to be the first post-doc member of the WICB.


Annual Meeting Social Moves to American History

Annual Meeting Special Events

Following are reports of special events held at the 39th ASCB Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.
Bruce Alberts Award
College Student Program
Congress 101: How to Talk Science with Your Representative and Why
Congressional Liaison Committee
EdComm-MAC Booth
Education Committee Workshop
Education Initiative Forum
High School Program
Minorities Poster Session
Minorities Saturday Session
WICB/Education Committee Careers Discussion Lunch
WICB Evening Panel
ASCB-Zeiss Road Race

Bruce Alberts Award
The Bruce Alberts Award for Excellence in Science Education was presented to Eugenie Scott of the National Center for Science Education. Alberts' introduction of Scott follows:

It is a pleasure to be able to be here to present this ASCB award for Science Education to someone who has made a huge difference to us all.

But first, let me state, as I did last year, that this award should be named after someone else after a decade or so. It is important that the award carry the name of someone whose science is still fresh to make the critical point to young scientists that paying attention to education as a civic duty is an indispensable part of the life of a scientist. Science moves so fast, with its ethos of continuous progress, that active scientists naturally assume that whatever we older folks did in the past should have been quite easy to discover. At any rate, reputations are very fleeting among scientists. Possibly, someone in this audience will have their name attached to this honor after me, and I think that this is only appropriate.

The ASCB selection committee had no problem in determining this year's awardee. Eugenie Scott is the Executive Director of the National Center for Science Education, a tiny non-profit organization located near Berkeley, California. Its purpose is to "explain the nature of science to the public," day in and day out. This effort has put Genie on TV — Donahue, Geraldo, Firing Line, Cross-Fire, and so on — as well as on the radio. There she has often come face-to-face with people who think quite differently than scientists do about such issues as biological evolution, the age of the earth, or the age of the universe.

As one of her nominators wrote, "Genie has been the primary voice of reason in this country, offering a détente between the positions of the committed religious fundamentalist and the pragmatic scientist, the harassed school principal and the perturbed parent. Not only is she capable of dealing substantially with the attacks on evolutionary science, she is both sensitive and deeply knowledgeable in exploring the religious issues."

Eugenie received her Ph.D in anthropology from the University of Missouri in 1974 for a thesis entitled "Dental Evolution in Pre-Columbian Coastal Peru." She then served for 12 years as a professor of anthropology, writing increasingly about evolution debates, before moving to California to begin her second career as an educator of all Americans.

Her task is a critical one. The issue today is not just about whether or not biological evolution should be taught in schools. The real threat concerns the role of science in our society.

Because science derives explanations from confirmable data, it has been tremendously successful in explaining natural phenomena. Scientists have developed explanations for the movements of the sun and stars, the structure of matter, the history of life on Earth, and many other natural occurrences. By the same means, we also have deciphered which substances in our environment are harmful to humans, developed cures for diseases, and generated the knowledge need-ed to produce innumerable labor-saving devices.

To disregard what we know from science for the sake of political expediency threatens the rationality that our society depends on to make wise judgments. This is why the debate over the Kansas State School Board decision represents such a critical wake-up call for scientists. We cannot take our world views for granted. And we must work much harder to spread the understanding and values of science throughout society. For example, when we teach first-year college students only the "facts" that have been learned through science, we fail to give them the understanding required to determine what is and what is not science. They graduate with no way of distinguishing scientific knowledge from any other way of knowing, leaving society extremely vulnerable to misinformation of all kinds.

No one has taken up the cause of science with more energy, courage and skill than Eugenie Scott. It is with great pleasure that I present her with the ASCB [Bruce Alberts] Science Education Award.

College Student Program
Robert Jensen from Johns Hopkins was the 1999 ASCB College Program speaker. A yeast geneticist who studies mitochondria, Jensen addressed about 75 college students from D.C., Maryland and Virginia with a movie demonstrating the dynamic nature of mitochondria in cells at both the light (fluorescence) and electron microscopic levels. In addition to the scientific presentation, a panel of students and post-doctoral fellows, Jason Holder, a student in Nancy Craig's lab at Johns Hopkins, Shelley Meeusen, a student in Jodi Nunnari's lab at the University of California, Davis, and Mark Eckley, a post-doctoral fellow in Trina Schroer's lab at Hopkins, addressed questions from the audience about graduate school. Questions included the average graduate student salary ($15,000-17,000/year with tuition remission for a Ph. D. program), the average number of hours worked per week (50+, but depended on the state of the ongoing experiments), the average time to a Ph.D. (about five years), whether it was worth getting a Master's degree first (it was pointed out that there are few positions that require a terminal Master's and few places that grant such degrees in areas of biomedical interest). In addition, the panel talked about opportunities for learning how to teach and to write scientific papers.

Congress 101: How to Talk Science with Your Representative and Why
Representative Connie Morella (R-MD), Chair of U.S. House Science Subcommittee on Technology whose Maryland district includes the NIH, joined ASCB officer-elect Larry Goldstein of the University of California, San Diego and HHMI in "Congress 101," a discussion on how scientists should talk science with their Congressional representative, and why it is important.

Morella and Goldstein focused the discussion on process. Morella described the bipartisan support for biomedical research on Capitol Hill and emphasized the importance of constituents communicating with their Representatives. Much of the presentation involved audience participation.

Key points from the presentation were:

  • Biomedical research is beginning to enjoy a serious hearing on Capitol Hill despite the very small number of scientists who are in Congress.
  • Congressional offices typically reply to phone calls and letters. E-mail is acknowledged, but does not receive a personal reply. Postcards are usually not acknowledged.
  • Scientists should communicate with their Member via a visit to the Washington or district office, a one-page letter or by phone.
  • Letters should be one page and to the point. When meeting with a Member, the visitor should bring a one-page document which reviews the major points made.
  • Scientists should not hesitate to accept and offer to meet with a Representative's staff member, especially if the Representative is unavailable.
  • Scientists should contact their Representative on a specific issue as early as possible and before it comes up for discussion or a vote.
  • Constituents are given preference for appointments over those who live or work elsewhere. Groups of constituents are a higher priority than individuals.

Scientists should learn in advance if their Representative is a member of the Congressional Biomedical Research Caucus. If so, thank her. If not, urge her to join.

Congressional Liaison Committee
On December 13, Congressional Liaison Committee members gathered at the ASCB Annual Meeting to discuss the organizing successes of the past year. Congress increased the funding for the NSF and agreed to another 15% increase for the NIH, keeping the NIH on track to double its budget over five years.

Tom Pollard, Congressional Liaison Committee Chair for the Joint Steering Committee, reminded the 70 people present that the CLC effort relies on biomedical scientists at the grassroots. ASCB Public Policy Director Tim Leshan introduced Ellen Murray, Clerk for the Senate Minority Labor/HHS Committee, who spoke about the importance of contacting Members of Congress. Murray noted that the science community has a unique role to play in conveying to Members of Congress the importance of biomedical research. By emphasizing science rather than politics, CLC members — through the Congressional Biomedical Research Caucus, Capitol Hill Days and district meetings — have been able to persuade their Representatives to continue to increase federal funding for biomedical science. Murray commented that one person can make an impact and that frequent contact with a Representative is important in creating a real, positive effect on the legislative and budgetary process.

Three CLC members, Judith Glaven, Rebecca Hughey and Monica Torres, gave impassioned testimonials about how Capitol Hill Days changed the way they viewed Members of Congress and the legislative process: they feel less intimidated and more active in communicating with their Members of Congress, providing them with vital information on biomedical research.

Rebecca Hughey described a visit with her Representative and two colleagues, in which they discussed how hospitals are critical for rural communities to fill the old manufacturing void.

Other CLC members spoke about the general lack of understanding by Members of Con-gress about where and how biomedical research dollars are spent. They suggested that a good way to educate a Representative is to extend an invitation to tour a lab and explain how science impacts the community.

Larry Goldstein used his relationship with his Congressman as an example of how a scientist can influence the position of a Member. At first, Goldstein was unsure if talking about his science would be sufficiently compelling. Now he is a regular advisor to his Congressman — especially important around controversial issues that previously his conservative Representative would have rejected out of hand.

To join the CLC, contact Alec Stone, National Field Coordinator, at (301) 571-7781

EdComm-MAC Booth
The Education and Minorities Affairs Committees remain committed to this shared feature at the Annual Meeting. MAC travel award recipients staffed the booth with Committee members. Meeting attendees were provided information on programs and fellowships of interest to students and teaching scientists, including copies of the new ASCB brochure, Exploring the Cell (see page 16), MAC member Joe Hall's compilation of "Summer 2000 Undergraduate Research Programs in Cell Biology" (see page 45) and reprints of EdComm member Bob Blystone's regular column, Reviews of Websites of Educational Interest.

EdComm member Sally Elgin selected Workshop, poster or Forum presentations that would be enhanced by access to the Internet and invited presenters to expand their presentations at the booth; included were Richard Hershberger of Carlow College who demonstrated "Darwin 2000: a Bioinformatics Education Web Site Supporting Student Research in Evolution and Molecular Biology"; C.D. Watters of Middlebury College who demonstrated "Investigating Membrane Structure and Fluidity with Computer Simulations"; Robert Blystone of Trinity University who demonstrated "Teaching Undergraduate Biology Quantitatively Using Scientific Visualization and Graphic Display"; A. Malcolm Campbell and Erin Mooney of Davidson College who demonstrated "From Genome to Cloned Gene and Expressed Protein in One Semester"; Jeffrey Newman of Lycoming College who demonstrated "A Developmental Approach to Integrating Bioinformatics with Laboratory Experiments in Several Undergraduate Courses"; J.B. Piperberg of Millersville University who demonstrated a "Spreadsheet Simulation of Enzyme Kinetics: A Cell Biology Laboratory Exercise"; and Melanie Fields of Sidwell Friends School and Mark Ellisman of the National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research (NCMIR) at the University of California, San Francisco who demonstrated their "Telemicroscopy" program.

Education Committee Workshop
New Paradigms in Teaching Introductory and Cell Biology

The ASCB Education Committee workshop on Genomics: How Do We Teach in the Middle of a Revolution?, co-chaired by Sarah Elgin and Malcolm Campbell, considered the changes in the knowledge base and research/teaching tools in the area of genomics, and examined several different strategies for bringing the field into the classroom and student lab. About 140 people attended. At the meeting:

  • Michael Gottesman of the National Institutes of Health emphasized in his keynote address that while the revolution in genomics is based on technical advances, major conceptual changes are driving organizational changes in how we do research, with profound ethical, legal, and social implications.
  • David Micklos of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory described Using Human DNA Sequencing Polymorphisms in the College Laboratory, an exercise that allows students to analyze their own mitochondrial DNA using PCR techniques. Amplified student samples may be sequenced on site, or submitted to the Sequencing Service of the DNA Learning Center, which will generate student mt DNA sequences and post the results via the Internet for a modest fee.
  • Melanie Fields of the Sidwell Friends School in Washington DC reported on Variation in the Thigmomorphogenic Responses of Plants: A High School Research Experience. Examination of the growth response of monocots and dicots to touch (or other mechanical stimulation) has led these second-year biology students into a consideration of cell signaling, focusing on the role of calmodulin.
  • Maureen Munn of the University of Washington described Involvement of Students in an Authentic Research Project Based on DNA Sequencing. Students are contributing to an investigation of human genetic variation in the nicotine receptor gene, using a non-radioactive sequencing method with biotin-tagged DNA. An ethics module guides students through a decision-making process to determine whether or not they would want presymptomatic testing for a genetic disease.
  • Jeffrey Newman of Lycoming College discussed A Developmental Approach to Integrating Bioinformatics with Laboratory Experiments in Several Undergraduate Courses, in which students use the DNA sequence of a plasmid to predict the restriction fragments they then generate in the lab — using Gen-Bank to compare the cDNA and genomic clones of the clotting factor IX gene, identifying primers used in the lab to amplify a segment of the gene for cloning, and conducting a BLAST search using the 16S rRNA sequence.
  • Richard Hershberger of Carlow College described "Using Darwin 2000, an Interactive Web Site for Student Research into the Evolution of Genes and Proteins." The site provides interactive tutorials on the use of GenBank, carrying out BLAST homology searches, using multiple sequence alignment to study evolutionary relationships, and using molecular graphics tools to study 3D protein structures.
  • Campbell led a discussion on Formation of a Con-sortium for Teaching Genomics: Genome Consortium for Active Teaching (GCAT), to assist teachers in obtaining the necessary shared resources and design appropriate experiments to incorporate DNA chip technology in an undergraduate teaching lab.

Education Initiative Forum
On Monday through Wednesday of the Annual Meeting, the Education Committee offers brief presentations of interest to science educators during the morning coffee break. The programs are organized by EdComm member Chris Watters of Middlebury College.

Robert Blystone of Trinity University discussed Teaching Undergraduate Biology Quantitatively Using Scientific Visualization and Graphic Display. He observed that techniques associated with scientific visualization can move two-dimensional anatomical data into four dimensions and increase student comprehension. Noting that the graphic display of data permits the student to move to a greater level of interaction with a data set, Blystone demonstrated several graphic exercises. A PowerPoint version of the presentation is online here.

Alternatives to the Use of Animals in Research (AUAR) was presented by Joanne Zurlo of Johns Hopkins University, who noted the dramatic advances in the use of alternative study methods. High throughput screening, use of bioluminescent assays, and genetically engineered, differentiated cells in culture, particularly human cells, were discussed.

Sam Silverstein of Columbia University described the Columbia University summer program initiated in 1990. Silverstein reported that for at least two years after teachers complete the program, students of participating teachers show significantly higher interest and achievement in science than students of non-participating teachers. Columbia has been awarded a $1.6 million NSF grant to study teacher-scientist programs at seven sites throughout the U.S.

ASCB members with topics and/or speakers of potential interest for presentation at a future Education Initiative Forum should submit them to ASCB Education Committee Member Chris Watters, Middlebury College, Department of Biology, Middlebury VT 05753.

High School Program
Francis Collins, Director of the NIH National Human Genome Research Institute, delivered an informative, stimulating lecture on the status and future directions of the Human Genome Project to high school students at the ASCB meeting.

Over 300 students and their teachers from the Washington-Baltimore area attended the session. In addition to describing the excitement around the completion of the human genome sequence, Collins made students aware of the related ethical, legal and social issues. Collins remained for twenty minutes following his address to answer students' questions, which ranged from DNA sequence patents to ethical questions of humans altering their own evolution.

Following Collins' presentation, students spent two hours visiting selected exhibitors' booths, where they received demonstrations in small groups.

Minorities Poster Session
Twenty-two posters were presented at the Minorities Poster Session to provide additional opportunities for minority scientists to network with interested senior scientists and to provide guidance and reinforcement to young minority scientists. Cash awards for outstanding posters were sponsored by the Leadership Alliance. Winners were recognized at the MAC Awards Luncheon by Dan Chavez of Southern Illinois University, Co-chair with Don Kimmel of Davidson College of the Poster Awards Committee.

Minorities Poster Session Winners

Margarita Sifuentes, University of Southern Colorado
Hon. Mention: N. Dowling et. al., Norfolk State University

Raul Rojas, University of Pittsburgh
Hon. Mention: Alma Rodenas-Ruano, University of Central Florida

Timothy Lewis, Trudeau Institute
Hon. Mention: Annette Gonzalez, Northwestern University Medical School

Belinda Pastrana, University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus
Hon. Mention: Winston Thompson, Morehouse University Medical School

Minorities Saturday Session
The Minorities Saturday Session, organized by MAC Chair J.K. Haynes and Eva McGhee of the University of California, San Francisco, featured speakers offering opportunities and advice for potential researchers at and/or facilitated by the NIH, the Department of Energy and the National Academies.

Alfred Johnson, President of the NIH Black Scientists Association, described the purposes of the NIHBSA: to provide a support network for black scientific and administrative personnel; to work toward full minority representation at all occupational and executive levels; to monitor institutional support of minorities, and to facilitate community interaction.

Keynote speaker Bruce Jackson of Boston University suggested that involvement in grammar school science programs is the best method to increase the number of minorities in science. "Science is a profession that must be taught consistently and vigorously... Finish your degree first and get good. Then go out and [nurture] the scientific and intellectual prowess of primary school students," he urged.

Jackson also reflected philosophically on pursuing a career as a minority in science "There is always going to be this effort," he cautioned, "to minimize your achievements... and unless you have a very stalwart opinion of yourself, it's going to work... people will tell you what you cannot do. Do it anyway," Jackson insisted.

David Burgess, ASCB member and President of the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science, also underscored the importance of establishing one's own scientific reputation to be better able to help foster the interest and careers of young people. In addition, he emphasized the importance of study section service, as well as advisory councils to NIH institutes.

Burgess praised the ASCB for its advocacy for biomedical research on Capitol Hill, and challenged the Society to lobby Congress "to address the issues which President Clinton has identified as national priorities... health and educational disparities." He noted that Representative Connie Morella (R-MD) (see page 4) had appointed a Committee to address the issues of advancement of minorities and women in science.

Burgess indicated optimism about current trends for minorities in science. He noted that 14% of undergraduate natural science graduates are minorities, about the same as the population of minority college students. Burgess remarked that research opportunities for minorities are underutilized, especially summer research opportunities for undergraduates, which provide vital experience and contacts for admission to graduate schools. "No, there aren't enough [opportunities]," he admitted, "but it's encouraging how many there are."

Christine O'Brien of the National Research Council suggested that it is more important for faculty who write fellowship recommendations to know the applicant and her research well than that the recommender be well-known. In applications, "don't hold back," O'Brien urged, "when talking about your excitement and dreams for future research." She also advised that if an application is not successful, to ask for the written comments made by reviewers and consider reapplying.

Daniel Drell of the Department of Energy and Eve Barak of the National Science Foundation discussed a variety of opportunities at all educational levels. Click here for a complete list of recommended websites.

WICB/Education Committee Careers Discussion Lunch
This year's luncheon, organized by Sandra Masur, Mary Ann Stepp and Trina Armstrong, was an amazing success. 484 people signed up to attend (a 16% increase over 417 in 1998), suggesting that this program is filling an important need.

Table leaders were remarkably accomplished individuals who generously gave time and information to the participants.

The presentation at the lunch of Junior and Senior WICB awards to Yixian Zheng and Ursula Goodenough by Zena Werb provided an appreciative and appropriate audience.

This year, Biotech & Industry was the most commonly designated discussion topic. Bioinformatics as an emerging area of great interest was added to the traditional topics on university oriented research, job application strategies and other career issues. The initial feedback was enthusiastically positive. Decisions for next year's programs will draw from information gathered from participants.

WICB Evening Panel
Hundreds of ASCB members attended a panel on Negotiating Strategies, sponsored by the ASCB Women in Cell Biology Committee, where they were treated to two lively role-playing scenarios demonstrating the do's and don't's of negotiation in a laboratory environment. Eva Nogales and Keith Yamamoto represented a highly recruited assistant professor prospect and a department chair, respectively. Joan Brugge and David Botstein represented the department chair and a senior faculty member in need of more department resources.

The demonstrations combined humor and serious advice from the panelists, and the evening sent many away with new insight into some of the issues, foibles, mistakes and caveats in a successful negotiation.

Building on the success of this event, the WICB plans to organize a more involved negotiating program at next year's Annual Meeting.

ASCB-Zeiss Road Race
Winners of the race were: Men's 5K: Ashley Davis, Cytoskeleton, Inc.; Women's 5K: Bente Dzamba, Univ. of Virginia; Men's 10K: Andeas Merdes, Univ. of Edinburgh; Women's 10K: Marjan Huizing, NICHD/NIH.


Council Endorses Society Objectives

Council Endorses Society Objectives, Plans ASCB 40th

Randy Schekman of U.C. Berkeley presided over the semi-annual meeting of the ASCB Council in Washington last month. Regular business included reports from committee chairs and the Editor-in-Chief of Molecular Biology of the Cell, which appear on pages 16-21. The agenda was dominated by the discussion of the ASCB's membership in FASEB (see article above). Below is a summary of other issues.

Schekman noted the establishment of the new ASCB-Promega Award for Early Career Life Scientists, given the first year to Raymond Deshaies of Cal Tech. Future awardees will be designated early in the year so that a major symposium at the ASCB Annual Meeting can be planned around the awardee's participation.

Schekman recognized and thanked outgoing officers Elizabeth Blackburn, George Langford, Ira Herskowitz, Pamela Silver, Kai Simons and Lydia Villa-Komaroff for their service to the Society. He extended special recognition to Langford, who completed two terms, six years, as Society Secretary.

Executive Director Elizabeth Marincola reported on the 1999 Annual Meeting. Registration, exhibit booth sales and sponsorship income had all exceeded projections. She also announced the recruitment of a new Director of Membership & Fund Development, Michael Murphy.

Langford presented the names of 1,079 candidates — 417 students, 308 postdocs and 354 regular — for membership in the Society. The Council unanimously voted to admit all candidates to Society membership. Langford further proposed eleven members for Emeritus membership; these candidates were also approved unanimously. Finally, Langford called attention to the ten members who had died in 1999 . Net membership grew by 116 since the previous year and with the approval of new members totaled 9,748 for 1999.

Treasurer Carl Cohen presented financial results for the fiscal year ended March 31, 1999, which produced an excess of revenues over expenses of $288,011 (see November, 1999 ASCB Newsletter for detail). He further presented the budget recommendation of the Finance Committee for the fiscal year to end March 31, 2001. The FY01 budget, which was approved by Council, projects a very small excess of revenues over expenses of less than $9,000. Cohen noted that the current market value of the Society's investments is nearly $2 million.

2000 Program Chair Jean Schwarzbauer presented preliminary suggestions for Program Committee members and speakers for the 2000 Annual Meeting. Council offered several recommendations; Schwarzbauer noted that she is also receiving helpful suggestions from the membership. The Committee will develop the program in the first months of the new year.

Richard Hynes presented the preliminary report of the ASCB 40th Anniversary Committee, chaired by former President Elizabeth Hay and other former and current officers Hynes, Schekman, Schwarzbauer, Marincola, Joseph Gall and Robert Trelstad. Ideas being developed are the production of a video about the history of cell biology, a special issue of Molecular Biology of the Cell featuring critical papers published in the field of cell biology, an historical display, and social and ceremonial events to be held at the 40th ASCB Annual Meeting in San Francisco from December 9-13, 2000.

In response to a request from the ASCB Minorities Affairs Committee, Council developed Society objectives, which were approved (below). They will be published in future editions of the ASCB Directory of Members.


Statement of Objectives for the American Society for Cell Biology

The purpose of the American Society for Cell Biology is to promote and develop the field of cell biology. In recognition of the interdependence of all the sciences, the Society extends this mandate beyond cell biology.

To achieve the Society’s purpose, the ASCB seeks to:

  1. support cell biology research by organizing and hosting the world’s most influential Annual Meeting in the field of cell biology, and by publishing a major scientific journal to disseminate critical scientific research of interest to the membership;
  2. educate and provide expert advice to Congress, the Administration and federal agencies on the importance of federal support for biomedical research and on policies relevant to basic biomedical research;
  3. increase public awareness of the importance of high-quality basic biomedical research;
  4. support the profession of cell biology, by guiding national policy on the education, training and career development of basic biomedical researchers, and by contributing to local and national efforts to enrich early science education;
  5. promote and develop the careers of historically under-represented constituencies in biomedical research, including minorities and women, and
  6. ensure the viability and health of the Society through sound governance and management of operations, and serve the membership through communication, inclusion and responsiveness.


New Cell Biology Booklet

The Education Committee, Chaired by Frank Solomon of MIT, introduced Exploring the Cell, What Cells Do and How Cell Biologists Study Them, a high school publication which succeeds Oppor-tunity & Adventure in Cell Biology.Thousands of copies of the booklet, produced by a gift from SmithKline Beecham, will be distributed in response to requests from students, teachers, parents and counselors; they are also provided at the ASCB High School program, at the annual meetings of the National Association of Biology Teachers and the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science.The publication is online and is available upon request to ASCB members.


ASCB Will Not Renew FASEB Membership

At its semi-annual meeting last month, the Council of the ASCB determined not to renew the Society's membership in the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology effective January 1, 2001.

The decision, following four hours of deliberation, overwhelmingly favored not renewing. ASCB President Randy Schekman had appointed an ad hoc committee last Spring to consider the Society's FASEB membership (see June, 1999 ASCB Newsletter). The Committee, chaired by former ASCB President Marc Kirschner, also included other former presidents Elizabeth Blackburn and Tom Pollard, President-elect Richard Hynes, former Councilor Suzanne Pfeffer, and Schekman. The Committee worked for several months, interviewed over 30 key participants in ASCB and FASEB activities, including former presidents of both organizations, and presented a report to Council.

Both the Committee and the Council acknowledged the importance of FASEB in advocating for basic biomedical research over the past decade, and the ASCB's critical contributions to FASEB's effectiveness. The 1990s have seen a major commitment on the part of biological scientists to explain the value of biomedical research and its impact on the nation's health and prosperity. Schekman commented, "both ASCB and FASEB have made many important contributions to these advocacy efforts and we are confident that both will continue to do so. The ASCB has vigorously supported FASEB in these efforts and is committed to continuing to collaborate in our common purpose of promoting biomedical research." Council expressed confidence that the ASCB's departure from FASEB would not affect the Federation's continued effectiveness.

Council's central considerations were the costs and benefits to the ASCB of the Society's membership in FASEB. Over the ten years of the ASCB's membership, FASEB membership has grown from seven to fifteen societies, ranging from under 2,000 members to the ASCB's nearly 10,000 — one of the two largest FASEB societies. At the same time, FASEB governance is based on the Senatorial model of equal representation for each member, regardless of society size. This arrangement, it was felt, significantly diminished the ASCB's voice in FASEB decision-making. In contrast, the ASCB pays dues to FASEB in proportion to its size, not its representation. FASEB's continued commitment to both unabated growth and to nonproportional representation was reaffirmed at the FASEB Board of Directors meeting held last month just days before the meeting of ASCB Council.

FASEB member societies designate volunteer scientist representation on several committees as well as the Board of Directors. While FASEB's policy decisions have in the majority of cases been consistent with the ASCB's, those cases where the Federation and the Society have diverged have demanded a very significant investment of time and effort on the part of ASCB representatives and staff.

The primary reason for the decision was to allow the ASCB to focus its energies and resources by optimizing the Society's commitments of time, effort and money for other ongoing public policy activities. Hynes indicated, "we are convinced the ASCB will continue to contribute a strong voice on behalf of biomedical research, as will FASEB. Where our agendas coincide, as they often do, we will work together as in the past. Where ASCB has particular interests or concerns, we can act most effectively in the context of a more focused group." The Society will concentrate the ASCB's public policy efforts on issues of particular relevance to its members through its own Public Policy Committee and the Joint Steering Committee on Public Policy, a collaborative group involving the ASCB, the American Society for Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, the Biophysical Society and the Genetics Society of America.

Council's action was announced just prior to the opening of the 39th ASCB Annual Meeting. That week, the annual business meeting of the Society was held and the decision was discussed. Several expressed disappointment that the question was not put to the membership for a vote. Both the Committee and Council considered this possibility but decided against it for several reasons. First, the decision to join the Federation initially was made without a membership vote, and with the intention that if at some future time the cost-benefit balance of FASEB membership shifted, the Society would be free not to renew. Second, Council felt that as the governing body elected by the membership, it was entrusted and indeed required to make appropriate policy decisions on behalf of the membership. Third, the Council felt that the costs and benefits of ASCB membership in FASEB were sufficiently deep and complex that it was most appropriate to have a representative group explore in depth the pros and cons of FASEB membership for the ASCB rather than demanding that the ASCB membership expend the significant time needed to fully familiarize itself about the relevant issues. Finally, the Council and the ad hoc committee felt that vocal public debate about the advantages and disadvantages of membership in FASEB would be damaging to ongoing public policy initiatives being pursued by FASEB and the ASCB. The Council was particularly sensitive to criticism it had received from other FASEB member societies when the same issue was considered previously, in January 1996. At that time a headline in the ASCB Newsletter, "Council Debates FASEB Membership" elicited no response from the ASCB membership but was viewed as potentially weakening to FASEB. The Society was urged to debate this issue less publicly so as not to harm unnecessarily the Federation in the event the ASCB decided not to withdraw.

The ASCB is widely credited for its contributions to elevating the level of biomedical research advocacy in the early 1990s. The Society's efforts, both within FASEB and independently, have helped to bring the importance of biomedical research before the public and the Congress. These efforts have borne fruit in the commitment by Con-gress and the President to strengthen support for the NIH and NSF. "Moreover," commented Hynes, "as cellular and molecular biology have ever greater impact on society, there is a responsibility to offer informed counsel, advice and education. For example, profound issues such as stem cell research arise directly from, and will have a great impact upon, cell biology. It is our responsibilty to serve as a resource of informed discussion of these issues as well as the broader ones of overall support for biomedical research."



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

Robert S. Adelstein
Milton Adesnik
Eugene Bell
Keith W.T. Burridge
Christopher P. Carron
Laura A. Cisar
Douglas A. Cotanche
Matthias M. Falk
Emmanuel Farber
Christine M. Field
Susan E. Johnson
Siro Kawaguti
Ulriche Lichti
Michael S. Marks
Molly F. Mastrangelo
Ben A. Murray
Thoru Pederson
Thomas D. Pollard
Nancy K. Pryer
Jurgen Roth
Richard E. Rutz
Edward D. Salmon
Takashi Tsuruhara
Michael T. Watkins
Eleanor R. Witkus


Grants & Opportunities

A new RFA entitled “New Therapies for Diabetic Foot Disease” solicits both basic and clinical applications relevant to understanding the etiology and pathogenesis of diabetic foot ulcers, and to developing effective prevention and treatment modalities. This RFA may be of interest to those who are studying the basic biology of wound healing.

The Hamdan Award for Medical Research Excellence offers three awards of Dhs.100,000 (approximately $27,000) for 1999-2000, for published articles in the following topics: genetics in diabetes, recombinant vaccines in infectious diseases, and therapy in leukemia. Send nominations by March 1 to: The General Secretariat, Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for Medical Sciences, P O Box 22252, Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Tel: +971-42275-888, Fax: +97-42272-999; e-mail: Email Website.

The NIH has allocated $1 million to fund applications relevant to The Role of Endothelial Dysfunction in Diabetic Complications. This PA may be of interest to investigators doing basic research on endothelial cells or those studying vascular biology. See their website.

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, in conjunction with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, is offering 30 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellow-ships. Freshmen, sophomores, women and minorities are particularly encouraged to apply. Application deadline: January 24. See their website or contact Claudia Washburn at (217) 333-7903.


Minorities Poster Session Winners

Margarita Sifuentes, University of Southern Colorado
Hon. Mention: N. Dowling et. al., Norfolk State University

Raul Rojas, University of Pittsburgh
Hon. Mention: Alma Rodenas-Ruano, University of Central Florida

Timothy Lewis, Trudeau Institute
Hon. Mention: Annette Gonzalez, Northwestern University Medical School

Belinda Pastrana, University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus
Hon. Mention: Winston Thompson, Morehouse University Medical School


Members In The News

Cornelia Bargmann of the University of California, San Francisco, an ASCB member since 1995, will receive the 2000 C.J. Herrick Award from the American Association of Anatomists.

H. Robert Horvitz of MIT, an ASCB member since 1988, and Alexander Varshavsky of Cal Tech, an ASCB members since 1991, were selected by the Gairdner Foundation to receive the Foundation's 1999 International Award for outstanding discoveries or contributions to medical science.

N. Ronald Morris of the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey, an ASCB member since 1979, will receive the E.C. Hansen Foundation's Gold Medal for 2000 in recognition of his work on the genetics and cell biology of the cell cycle.

Thoru Pederson of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, an ASCB member since 1966, was recently awarded the Bernhard Medal at the Wilhelm Bernhard Workshop Series in Prague.

Gerald M. Rubin of the University of California, Berkeley, an ASCB member since 1990, became Vice President for Biomedical Research for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute on January 1.

Michael Shelanski of Columbia University, an ASCB member since 1968, was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.


Society Appoints Membership & Fund Development Director

Michael Murphy became the ASCB’s Director of Membership & Fund Development on January 3.Murphy, who worked for ten years at the American Psychiatric Association, will develop ASCB membership programs.



The purpose of the American Society for Cell Biology is to promote and develop the field of cell biology.In recognition of the interdependence of all the sciences, the Society extends this mandate beyond cell biology.

To achieve the Society’s purpose, the ASCB seeks to:

  1. support cell biology research by organizing and hosting the world’s most influential Annual Meeting in the field of cell biology, and by publishing a major scientific journal to disseminate critical scientific research of interest to the membership;
  2. educate and provide expert advice to Congress, the Administration and federal agencies on the importance of federal support for biomedical research and on policies relevant to basic biomedical research;
  3. increase public awareness of the importance of high-quality basic biomedical research;
  4. support the profession of cell biology, by guiding national policy on the education, training and career development of basic biomedical researchers, and by contributing to local and national efforts to enrich early science education;
  5. promote and develop the careers of historically under-represented constituencies in biomedical research, including minorities and women, and
  6. ensure the viability and health of the Society through sound governance and management of operations, and serve the membership through communication, inclusion and responsiveness.


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.

The Education Committee Workshop at the recent ASCB annual meeting was a goldmine of information concerning genomics and teaching. ASCB members Sally Elgin and Malcolm Campbell organized a wonderful program titled "Genomics: How Do We Teach in the Middle of a Revolution?" The next several WWW columns will review excellent websites demonstrated or mentioned at the ASCB genomics workshop.

  1. DNA Learning Center

    This site was reviewed in April, 1999; however, improvements suggest another look. The mission statement for this site provides an overview of its purpose: "The DNA Learning Center (DNALC) is the world's first science center devoted entirely to public genetics education and is an operating unit of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, an important center for molecular genetics research. The DNALC extends the Laboratory's traditional research and postgraduate education mission to the college, precollege, and public levels." The Learning Center is very well funded and the posted materials reflect well spent resources. The initial page offers six branches. The "About" section gives a clear overview of the site and the statistics section provides a unique presentation of how people are using the site.

    The path titled "Resources" gives teachers and students alike some real tools to get at modern genetics learning. "BioServers" has three bioinformatics tools: 1) a Sequence Server with 652 human mitochondrial sequences; 2) allele server which allows human population analysis using Alu polymorphism pv92; and 3) simulation server, a Hardy-Weinberg simulator. The path called 3DNA from the Beginning2 introduces, using computer graphics, the basic concepts of inheritance as well as methods of DNA analysis (this was the portion reviewed earlier). Also within the Resources section is an Animation Library (with six quality animations) and a Plasmids sequence library; all providing excellent teaching tools. To insure that one's computer will work with all the graphics, there is a testing device to discover if your computer can run everything. Links are provided to obtain the missing software. The "Products" path outlines some useful resources that can be purchased and used in teaching. A lab manual is listed which has been thoroughly tested. This site is well worth the time if you are looking for teaching resources for molecular genetics.

  2. 21st Century Biology

    This site is produced by the Sidwell Friends High School of Washington, D.C. Sidwell students are no strangers to the ASCB or the Society for Neuroscience as they have been presenting papers at our annual meetings for several years. The page referenced above has the following stated purpose: "21st Century Biology is an experimental course that discards the usual method of teaching and replaces it with a research approach. This exposes students to modern research techniques while promoting critical thinking and problem solving that is student centered and teacher facilitated." Two laboratory exercises are outlined in detail: Thigmomorphogenesis and Electric Fish. Thigmomorphogenesis has to do with the touch response of Arabidopsis and deals with calmodulin, second messenger pathways, and immunocytochemistry. A wide variety of information is sprinkled throughout the Arabidopsis experiment including an onion DNA extraction. Many items of use to an undergraduate student are embedded in "Thigmomorphogenesis." The "Electric Fish" material is equally as delightful. One can discover here that electric fish can be categorized into two groups: hummers or clickers. Aspects of natural history and physiology are blended together and with care an instructor can discover all matter of learning resources. This site shows what well motivated and directed students can do, especially in a high school environment.

  3. The Lycoming College Macromolecular Modeling and Bioinformatics Page

    This site was created by ASCB member Jeff Newman, an Assistant Professor of Biology at Lycoming College in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The stated purpose is "a developmental approach to integrating bioinformatics with laboratory experiments in several undergraduate courses." The courses and approaches are Introductory Biology (Mr. Green Genes), Genetics (Cloning the Human Clotting Factor IX Gene) and Microbiology (rRNA Sequencing to Identify an Unknown Microbe). The material listed is rich in teaching and learning resources. Focus here will be on the exercise "Cyber-Cloning of a Human Clotting Factor IX Gene Fragment." The step-by-step procedure begins with obtaining Factor IX sequences from the GenBank. The software package DNASTAR is used. Additional steps include: examination of the intron-exon organization; identification of the amplified fragment; alignment of the DNA sequences; comparison of the protein sequences; construction of the recombinant; and recombinant plasmid mapping. An extremely helpful feature is included in the exercise: critical molecules have been reconstructed using CHIME and these molecules can be rotated and examined. Information is provided to relate the molecule back to the “text.” It will take time to sort out all of the information; however, one can see how an effective undergraduate exercise dealing with bioinformatics can be constructed. Hats off to Jeff Newman for this wonderful resource.

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

–Robert Blystone for the ASCB Education Committee


Annual Meeting News and Statistics

Annual Meeting Statistics

Scientific Participants - 5,743
Exhibit Registrants - 2,273
Press - 56
Total Registrants - 8,072
Companies Exhibiting - 335
Regular Abstracts - 2,685
Late Abstracts - 161
Total Abstracts - 2,846

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