|Elgin, Wilson, Committee Chairs|
ASCB President-elect Gary Borisy has announced the appointment of Chairs of the Society’s Education and Minorities Affairs Committees.
Sarah “Sally” Elgin, of Washington University, will serve as Chair of the ASCB Education Committee, succeeding Frank Solomon who served for six years; Donella Wilson, of the American Cancer Society, will serve as Chair of the Minorities Affairs Committee, succeeding J.K. Haynes who will succeed Wilson at Vice Chair.
Elgin and Wilson will begin their threeyear terms this month.
|Varmus Steps Up to Policy Coalition Leadership|
Memorial Sloan-Kettering President and CEO Harold Varmus was appointed Chair of the Joint Steering Committee for Public Policy, succeeding Eric Lander of MIT and the Whitehead Institute. Varmus served as Director of the National Institutes of Health from 1993-1999.
The JSC, founded by the ASCB in 1989 under the chairmanship of Marc Kirschner, is a coalition of scientific societies which advocate for biomedical research funding and policy. It convenes the Congressional Biomedical Research Caucus and organizes the Congressional Liaison Committee.
|ASCB-Zeiss Road Race Winners and Times|
Men’s 5K Spencer Shelly, 17:29
Men’s 10K Andreas Merdes, 35:28
|Audio Link to Annual Meeting Sessions|
Audio Links to Select 2001 ASCB Annual Meeting Sessions are Accessible online. Events Available Include:
|Are You A Post-Doc?|
Do You Care How the ASCB Meets Your Needs?
|ASCB Holds Extraordinary Meeting|
Following great uncertainty about the potential impact of the tragedy of September 11 and the subsequent anthrax threat on the 41st Annual Meeting in Washington last month, the event came off with extraordinary success. Indicators including attendance, breadth and depth of scientific presentations, exhibits and special activities on education, careers, minorities issues and public policy all exceeded expectations Society leadership had undertaken extensive analysis and developed contingency plans to prepare for eventualities that may have significantly effected attendance, or even forced cancelation of the meeting. The Society also coordinated closely with the District of Columbia government to ensure the safety of attendees with provisions ranging from the lockdown of the Convention Center ventilation systems to uniformed and plain clothes security at the Bioterrorism Symposium and the Public Service Award.
The only category of participation that suffered was registration from overseas; some foreign scientist were not able to procure travel visas due to the tightened policies of their home countries on U.S. travel after September 11. Total attendance and abstract submission set records for a Washington meeting, driven by the outstanding scientific sessions and special events.
Several Capitol Hill staff members attended the reception to interact with attendees in small groups, including Kevin Casey from the office of Rep. Joseph Crowley (DNY), Brian Daniels from the office of Rep. James Langevin (D-RI), Diane Jones from the House Science Committee, and Rebecca Smith from the office of Rep. George W. Gekas (R-PA).
For more information on the Congressional Liaison Committee, contact Matt Zonarich, CLC National Coordinator, at (301) 347-9309. Scientists in California should contact Michelle Grifka, California Coordinator, at (858) 822-1804.
MAC Mentoring Symposium
150 student attendees discussed effective use of the Internet in research and career development. l Keynote speaker Eric Green of the National Human Genome Research Institute discussed the Human Genome Project l A panel focused on useful tips for undergraduate students for graduate school search, postdoc search, CV writing and interviewing strategies. l Gemeda Mekbib of Hunter College demonstrated the Just Garcia Hill website, a broad minority scientist database. l Adolphus Toliver of the NIH MARC Program and Maria Elena Zavala of the University of California, Northridge, discussed applying for grants.
High School Program
Honey and Sting, a 5-act play, is a love story about two young people who come from families with widely differing perspectives on genetic manipulations. Set in 2030, the audience learns that the dyslexic “Romeo” is living with a disability that would have been entirely correctable by gene therapy had his parents allowed it. His “Juliet” had a “remodeled gene pool,” and would never have been born if it weren’t for these futuristic genetic manipulations.
High school students from the Washington Metropolitan area were recruited on stage to participate, impromptu, in the production. Extemporaneous monologues and dialogues introduced the audience to definitions and concepts prerequisite to understanding ethics. The audience witnessed the developing relationship between the protagonists as they struggled with the implications of genetic manipulations. Ultimately, of course, their relationship becomes strengthened, but limited, by past and future decisions about their own genetic alterations. The audience was treated to punctuations of comic relief and dramatic emphasis by various subplots. One character was a “Gene Queen,” adept at altering her skin color to black.
Following the play, a question-answer period was led by Local Arrangements Committee Chair Yixian Zheng of the Carnegie Institution of Washington and Nikola Baumann and Christiane Wiese from the University of Wisconsin, Madison . Teachers and students took turns at the microphones to ask a range of questions relating to gene therapy and their disease targets. Following the show, students toured selected exhibits, courtesy of exhibiting companies who had volunteered to demonstrate their products.
—Susette Mueller, ASCB Local Arrangements Committee
College Student Program
Goldstein likened the design of the intracellular transport system to “urban planning for the cell,” with microtubules and microfilaments for highways, motor proteins for cars and trucks, and organelles and vesicles for cargo. He discussed research from his lab and others’ on kinesin microtubule motors and their roles in development and disease. Transport in algal flagella or vertebrate photoreceptor cells, movement of cilia in mouse embryos and human sperm, motor neuron function in fly larvae, and the formation of amyloid plaques in Alzheimer’s patients were all related back to the basic biology of kinesin.
The underlying theme for Goldstein’s talk was how research on basic problems in model organisms can lead to startling revelations about human health. He peppered the presentation with vignettes from his own career, including how he decided to pursue a career in research instead of medicine, intended to give students a feel for what it’s like to be a cell biologist.
After the talk, many students gathered to continue the discussion, asking questions about careers, model organisms, motor proteins and human disease.
—Orna CohenFix and Maggie de Cuevas, ASCB Local Arrangements Committee
Education Initiative Forum
Karla Marz, graduate student from Washington University, described the Summer Research internship of the Young Scientist Program (YSP) for under-privileged high school students in the St. Louis metropolitan area.
Jerry Honts described computational biology course at Drake University designed to introduce students to bioinformatics after they have taken an introductory course in biology.
Paula Lemons described Duke’s development of a program to award a Certificate in Teaching College Biology.—Chris Watters and Linda Silveira, ASCB Education Committee
WICB/Education Networking and Career Lunch
Minorities Poster Session Winners
|Member Memorial Award|
Members are encouraged to memorialize colleagues by making a gift in any amount to support the ASCB Member Memorial Award. A competitively selected Award Winner is named annually from among outstanding students and post-docs attending the Society’s Annual Meeting.
The membership is notified of gifts received through the ASCB Newsletter, and family of the deceased is notified by letter. Families will learn that contributions received will support a young person in the field.
The American Society for Cell Biology is a nonprofit 501 (C) 3 organization.
|Council Supports Post-Doc Guidelines|
At its meeting last month, the Council of the ASCB endorsed ten action points issued by the National Research Council’s Committee on Science, Engineering & Public Policy (COSEPUP). The recommendations are:
ASCB and Public Policy Committee member Maxine Singer, who serves as Chair of the COSEPUP, was present to discuss the report and the action items with Council.
The meeting was presided by Elaine Fuchs. Other business conducted by the Council included the approval of 1,125 new members of the Society
|Education Initiatives, Exhibits Discussed at Business Meeting|
Society President Elaine Fuchs presided over the meeting. She noted the extraordinary efforts of Paul Berg, Larry Goldstein and the Public Policy Committee in educating Congress about critical issues of biomedical research.
Fuchs noted her personal interest in science education and lauded the impending launch of Cell Biology Education. She indicated that CBE will provide a forum for dissemination of teaching material at a college level.
Fuchs introduced for the first time to the ASCB the K12 Lunch Educating our Cell Biologists of the Future, connecting teachers and scientists to foster better science education.
The resignation of Frank Solomon, who completed two three-year terms as Education Committee Chair, was announced. Solomon was praised for outstanding service. He will be succeeded by Sarah C.R. “Sally” Elgin of Washington University, a longtime Committee member Fuchs commented on the success of the WICB/ED Com Lunch which hosted a record number 554 participants. The resignation of WICB Column Editor Maureen Brandon was announced, and nominations for a successor were solicited. In other Committee business, Fuchs reported that Katherine Wilson had accepted another three-year term as Public Information Committee Chair.
Fuchs announced the resignation of J. K. Haynes as Chair of the Minorities Affairs Committee, to be succeeded by Donella Wilson, who had been Vice-Chair. Haynes agreed to serve as Wilson’s Vice-Chair.
Fuchs thanked Program Chair Joan Brugge for her extraordinary efforts in planning the 41st Annual Meeting, particularly for the last-minute organization of the very successful Bioterrorism Symposium.
Secretary Larry Goldstein gave an overview of membership issues and read the names of ASCB members deceased in 2001: A. L. Dounce; William H. Fishman; Sasha Malamed; Linda E. Malick; Fritz Miller; Takashi Morimoto; David Paretsky; Van R. Potter; Walter Rubin; Richard W. Schrieber; Yanyu Wang and Alan Paul Wolffe. Goldstein asked for a moment of silence in their memory.
Goldstein commented that the first Member Memorial Travel Awards were selected this year. He indicated his hope that the membership will support the Award.
Goldstein noted that membership had plateaued in the past year. He said he plans on concentrating efforts on retention of student and post-doc members.
Cohen gave his last report as Treasurer. He completes two three-year terms, and is succeeded by Gary Ward of the University of Vermont.
Cohen revealed that at its fall meeting, the Finance Committee analyzed the possible effects on the 2001 Annual Meeting of the terrorist attacks and the subsequent anthrax threat. All options were considered, including the voluntary and/or forced cancellation of the meeting. He indicated that such an occurrence would have had a material financial impact on the Society, but that the Society is sufficiently healthy that it could have recovered from the financial disruption. Cohen reported that the ASCB’s investment account is valued at $2,159,000, equal to about onehalf of the Society’s annual operating expenses. Cohen further reported that Molecular Biology of the Cell is contributing net revenue to the Society even without members’ dues allocation.
Members present raised the issue of the location of the Society’s Annual Meeting. Members also voiced a preference for extending exhibit hours, indicating frustration that it’s difficult to find sufficient time to view exhibits without missing scientific sessions. Society management recruited several members to advise the Society on optimizing the exhibit program.
Finally, Elaine Fuchs acknowledged and thanked Richard Hynes as he completed his duties on Council. Fuchs handed the President’s gavel to Gary Borisy, who adjourned the meeting.
|MBC in Press Launched|
The Molecular Biology of the Cell Editorial Board was convened by Editor-in-Chief designate Keith Yamamoto. He announced the promotion of Randy Schekman and Pamela Silver to the position of Editor.
Yamamoto announced that MBC is expected to have received a record of new manuscript submissions in 2001. He attributed this performance to institution of the journal’s new online submission system and the efficient handling of manuscripts by staff, Associate and Editorial Board members, and reviewers. Yamamoto noted that the preliminary data indicate an average reduction of 13 days from first receipt to final decision using electronic versus paper submission.
Managing Editor Stephanie Dean reported that approximately one third of submissions are currently received online, but that proportion is increasing steeply.
Dean presented MBC in Press, which publishes accepted papers in manuscript form at www.molbiolcell.org. MBC in Press is expected to make articles available 2-3 months ahead of the printed journal. The first MBC in Press articles, which correspond to the January 2002 issue, were uploaded in early December.
The Board praised the quality of the Genome Annotation Series papers initiated by Essay Editor Thomas Pollard and published in the April and October 2001 issues.
Dean discussed other changes: color figure charges will drop to $450 per color figure, with no price premium on the first figure; page charges will remain $65 per journal page for the first 9 pages but increase to $130 per page for 10 pages and over; institutional subscribers will pay $75 additional to receive the print issue and members will pay $45 for the print issue. Page charges are discounted 20% for ASCB members. Online subscription prices remain unchanged, and members will continue to receive the online version of MBC as a benefit of membership. Dean also noted that in an effort to improve figure quality, MBC has been designated a dedicated scanning team at the printing facilities, and the journal is being printed on heavier and whiter paper and on higher quality presses.
|Cell Biology Education Holds First Editorial Board Meeting|
Samuel Ward, Editor-in-Chief of CBE, welcomed editors to the Cell Biology Education Editorial Board meeting. The Board discussed the appropriate balance among education and problem-based articles to be published in the journal. A CBE website, was launched in July 2001. It includes Instructions for Authors, links to useful educational resources, and names of CBE Editorial Board members. The revised target date for the first issue is May 2002.
The Board discussed featuring regular columns in the journal; possibilities discussed included Methods in Cell Biology Teaching, Technology, and ASCB Education Committee columns.
Dean reported that CBE has been advertised in several teaching publications as well as cell biology journals. The Board suggested additional advertising ideas.
The Board reported enthusiasm on the part of their colleagues for the concept of the journal and discussed ways that this spirit can be channeled to create a unique, scholarly publication that reaches a wide audience. The editors agreed that CBE will be enthusiastically received by both educators and cell biologists.
|Education Committee Supports Post-Docs Efforts to Organize|
Chair Frank Solomon welcomed Committee members Robert Bloodgood, Sarah Elgin, Elizabeth Gavis, MAC Liaison Raquell Holmes, Arthur Lander, J. Richard McIntosh, James Nelson, Linda Silveira, Sam Silverstein, Roger Sloboda, Elisa Stone, Christopher Watters and staff Dorothy Doyle and Elizabeth Marincola.
The Committee discussed the Late Career Panel organized by Dick McIntosh, indicating its hope that it would become an ongoing function. They also discussed the new lunch “Educating our Cell Biologists of the Future”. The resource listing published for the lunch will be available online.
Postdocs attending the ASCB Annual Meeting met to consider proposals for programs and activities to enhance support of postdocs through the ASCB. Liz Gavis and W. James Nelson met with postdoc representatives; Nelson presented the postdocs’ proposals to:
EdComm members urged the postdoc group to expand its membership to be more representative of the ASCB as a whole (see box below). Arthur Lander agreed to serve with Gavis and Nelson as liaison to the postdoc group.
Solomon presented the final report of “Careers and Rewards in Bio Sciences: The Disconnect Between Scientific Progress and Career Progression” which was funded by the Sloan Foundation. He reported that a summary of the analysis would appear in the December 14 issue of Science, and that the full analysis is available on the ASCB Web site.
|Public Information Committee Reconfigures Press Book|
A new name and new uses for the annual Press Book and a possible new venue for the Public Information Committee to spread the word about cell biology marked the Committee’s meeting.
Although it was originally intended as a tool for journalists covering the ASCB Annual Meeting, the annual Press Book has become popular with Society members who use the news stories about current research in undergraduate and secondary education. To help serve that dual purpose, the “Press Book 2002” will be renamed “Cell Biology 2002” with a cover sticker on copies mailed to journalists that will identify it as the a press book. Further, the old Press Books will be disassembled electronically into individual stories so they can be downloaded from www.ascb.org as freestanding articles. The stories will be made more “browser friendly” to highlight the ASCB’s basic research mission to medical Web searchers.
The PIC is also considering an ASCB appearance at the AAAS meeting by organizing a symposium on a cell biology topic. The ASCB Annual Meeting typically draws 50-60 science journalists while the AAAS Annual Meeting is “the world’s largest press conference,” attracting 1200 science journalists from around the world, according to PIC member Bob Goldman. The PIC may scout the AAAS meeting this February in Boston, reasoning that if the Committee’s mission is to hook journalists on cell biology, the fishing might be better where there are more fish.
Public Policy Committee Tackles Funding, Bioterrorism Policy, National Leadership
The ASCB Public Policy Committee met for a full day, breaking to attend the special Symposium on Bioterrorism. Members in attendance were Larry Goldstein, Ursula Goodenough, Florence Haseltine, Richard Hynes, Dan Kiehart, Doug Koshland, Richard Lifton, Eric Olson, Bob Palazzo, Tom Pollard, Daphne Preuss, Randy Schekman, Maxine Singer and Keith Yamamoto. Also present were ASCB staffers Michelle Grifka, Peter Kyros, Elizabeth Marincola, Nancy Moulding, Kevin Wilson and Matt Zonarich. The Committee discussed the following issues:
Federal Budget Outlook:
Education and health care issues appeared to be the major obstacles to approval of the appropriations bill. Earlier this year, the House of Representatives approved a budget of $22.874 billion, an increase of $2.6 billion for the NIH, consistent with the President’s request. The Houseapproved amount fell short of the goal to double the NIH budget between 1999 and 2003. But the Senate approved an increase of $3.4 billion, enough to meet the doubling goal.
Kyros indicated that if Congress approves only the House-passed increase of $2.6 billion for fiscal year 2002, a $4.4 billion increase will be required to meet the doubling goal in the following year’s budget. If the Senate level is approved, only $3.6 billion will be needed to reach the goal. Either way, the new budget demands driven by the events of September 11 will make any increase difficult next year and may require that the doubling program be extended an additional year.
Kyros reported positive news for the NSF. Days before, President Bush signed into law the Veterans Affairs and Housing & Urban Development Appropriations bill which funds the agency, including an increase of 8.2% for the Foundation, compared to the 1.2% requested by the President in February.
Joint Steering Committee for Public Policy:
The JSC continued to work closely with the Congressional Biomedical Research Caucus, with membership of over 110 Members of Congress, to host ten briefings on a wide range of scientific topics.
Kyros also reported that the Steering Committee had arranged monthly Hill Days to bring members of the scientific community to Washington, DC to meet with members of the House and Senate and with Congressional staff.
Joint Steering Committee member Tom Pollard noted that a JSC nominating committee was currently searching for a new Chair to succeed Eric Lander. Lander has served as Chair for six years; his successor will take office January 1.
Congressional Liaison Committee: National CLC Coordinator Matt Zonarich reported on fundraising income for 2001, totaling $65,000. Zonarich and California Coordinator Michelle Grifka reported on recruitment efforts; as of November, CLC membership was at 3,430.
NIH Director: The Committee discussed at length the need for an NIH Director and the reasons for the delay of an appointment. The ASCB continues to be in close communication with the Administration to help facilitate an effective recruitment.
Bioterrorism: The Committee engaged in a detailed review of the four anti-bioterrorism bills currently being considered by Congress. It resolved to work closely with science advocates in Congress to ensure that legislation is effective in preventing bioterrorism and that it does not unnecessarily interfere with scientific research or communication.
Stem Cells: The Committee discussed the release of the NIH Human Embryonic Stem Cell Registry with some skepticism, but agreed that the appropriate response is to revisit the registry when more is known about the viability and accessibility of the cell lines it includes.
Cloning: The Committee reviewed the new policy statement recently released by the Society (see page 34). Larry Goldstein described the threat posed by some of the existing legislation, recent activity by the Society and recommended future action.
Genetic Discrimination: Rick Lifton raised the issue of genetic discrimination. He indicated that potential legislation is circulating in Congress and continues to make progress. Lifton urged the Committee to launch a detailed review of potential genetic discrimination legislation to help prevent insurance and employment discrimination based on individual genetic profiles.
WICB Reviews Programs, Launches Column Editor Search Committee Chair Zena Werb welcomed new members Leslie Leinwand, Randy Schekman, Jean Schwarzbauer, Pamela Silver and Marcia Steinberg.
The Committee reviewed and discussed programs at the Annual Meeting, including the Career Options & Issues Lunch, Evening Program and Career Recognition Awards. Caroline Kane reported on the Evening Program to feature Randy Schekman, Florence Haseltine, Henry Bourne, Susan Wente and Maria Elena Zavala. Werb announced that WICB Column Editor Maureen Brandon will resign as Editor effective January 1, but she will continue to remain an active member of the Committee. A search for a new volunteer editor is underway. Membership is encouraged to send suggestions for topics and authors via email.
Caroline Kane and Sandra Masur reported that they have written a letter which will appear in Science, on the Speakers Bureau.
Werb announced that the ASCB/WICB Junior and Senior Awards will be presented at the Evening Program this year to Laura Machesky of the University of Birmingham and Joan Brugge of Harvard Medical School.
|Cell Biology Amply Represented at Nobel 100th Jubilee|
While thousands of Society members were in Washington at the ASCB Annual Meeting, some select dozens were in Stockholm to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Nobel Prize. The milestone coincided with the award of the 2001 Medicine or Physiology Prize to cell biologists Lee Hartwell, Tim Hunt and Paul Nurse.
Statement of Objectives for The American Society for Cell Biology
To achieve the Society’s purpose, the ASCB seeks to:
|Call for Nominations WICB Career Recognition Awards|
The WICB Committee recognizes outstanding achievements in cell biology by presenting two Career Recognition Awards at the ASCB Annual Meeting. The Junior Award is given to a woman in an early stage of her career (assistant professor or equivalent) who has made exceptional scientific contributions to cell biology and exhibits the potential for continuing a high level of scientific endeavor while fostering the career development of young scientists. The Senior Award is given to a woman or man in a later career stage (full professor or equivalent) whose outstanding scientific achievements are coupled with a long-standing record of support for women in science and by mentorship of both men and women in scientific careers.
The ASCB is grateful to those below who have recently given gifts to support Society activities:
|Members In The News|
1990 ASCB President Günter Blobel of the Rockefeller University and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, an ASCB member since 1973, was named a member of the Orden Pour le Mérite, a German honorary Society.
Kevin Campbell of the University of Iowa College of Medicine and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, an ASCB member since 1978, received the 2001 S. Mouchly Small Scientific Achievement Award from the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
Arthur Horwich of the Yale University School of Medicine and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, an ASCB member since 1991, won the 2001 Hans Neurath Award from the Protein Society.
Arthur Mercurio of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, an ASCB member since 1986, was appointed Honorary Professor of Signal Transduction and Tumor Progression at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark.
Pietro Motta of the University of Rome La Sapienza, an ASCB member since 1970, received the Albert Schweitzer Golden Medal from the Polish Academy of Medicine and the Golden Medal of Excellency in Anatomy by the Japanese Society of Anatomy.
Joseph S. Takahashi of Northwestern University and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, an ASCB member since 2000, received the W. Alden Spencer Award for contributions to neural research from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Keith Yamamoto of the University of California San Francisco, an ASCB member since 1990 and Editor-in-Chief of Molecular Biology of the Cell, was appointed Vice Dean for Research at UCSF School of Medicine.
|Grants & Opportunities|
WISC Research Program and Grants. The American Association for the Advancement of Science seeks applicants with recent doctoral degrees for its Women’s International Science Collaboration Program 2001-2003. Application deadlines is July 15.
ELAM Executive Leadership. The Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine Program at Hahnemann University invites applicants for its 2002-2003 class. Deadline is February 1.