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ASCB Newsletter - November 2003

Session Examines Large Science Consortia

Keith Yamamoto will moderate the Practice of Science session, Small Science on a Big Scale, at the ASCB Annual Meeting in San Francisco. Students, postdocs and senior researchers are encouraged to come armed with questions, comments and ideas. The session will be held on Monday, December 15 at 5:30 PM in Room 220 of the Moscone Convention Center.


Cell Biology Highlighted at Biology Teachers’ Meeting

A thousand high school and college biology teachers attended the National Association of Biology Teachers meeting in Portland, Oregon last month where ASCB members Bruce Schnapp and Roger Cone of the Oregon Health & Science University were the featured speakers at the ASCB Symposium Current Topics in Cell Biology.

Using animation and real-time footage, Schnapp described molecular motors that organize protein traffic in cells in a way that teachers can present to their students. Cone gave an epidemiological presentation on the increase of obesity in the United States, using it as a basis to discuss the neurologic and genetic regulation of energy homeostasis.

The program was organized by ASCB Education Committee member Victoria May, who chaired the session.

The talks were enthusiastically received by teachers. They were supplemented by distribution of ASCB educational materials by Cell Biology Education Associate Editor Karen Kalumuck of the San Francisco Exploratorium.


Society for Advancement of Chicanos & Native Americans in Science Meets in Austin

ASCB members participated last month in the annual conference of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) in Austin, Texas, serving as mentors, judges and speakers.

The ASCB sponsored a Cell Biology Symposium at SACNAS for the third consecutive year. ASCB member Maria Elena Zavala of the University of California, Northridge, Richard Goldsby of Amherst College, Charles Russell Middaugh of the University of Kansas and ASCB member Lydia Villa-Komaroff of the Whitehead Institute, discussed Pharming: Stem Cells, Cloning and Drug Development.

ASCB education materials were distributed to teachers. The ASCB Minorities Affairs Committee selected two undergraduate poster presenters, Elisha Peterson of the University of Pittsburgh and Andrea Medina of the University of California, Santa Barbara, to receive travel awards to attend the ASCB Annual Meeting this December. Medina’s poster was on “Mapping Chromosome Breakage Junctions of Tetrahymena Thermophila” and Peterson’s was on “The Effect of Reactive Oxygen Species on Matrix Metalloproteinases.”


Annual Minority Student Meeting Features Cell Bio Plenary

2,600 meeting participants, including 1,800 students, gathered in San Diego last month for the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS). The meeting is sponsored by the NIH/NIGMS Division of Minority Opportunities in Research. “Grabbing the Cat by the Tail: Studies of the Packaging of DNA by Single Ph29 Bateriophage Particles Using Optical Tweezers,” the ASCB-sponsored plenary session, was presented by Carlos Bustamante of the University of California, Berkeley. His title was taken from Mark Twain, who claimed he knew a man who grabbed a cat by the tail and learned 40% more about cats than the man who didn’t.

The ASCB distributed copies of Exploring the Cell, Career Advice for Life Scientists and Job Hunt Strategies to undergraduates and graduate students.

The ASCB sponsored four of eight cell biology poster awards; 30% of over 1,000 posters presented at the meeting were on cell biology. Poster awards were announced by ASCB MAC member Sandra Murray. Awardees are Miguel Cabrera of the University of Puerto Rico, Cayey; Oluwakemi Johnson of the University of Pittsburgh; Melissa Moreno of St. Mary’s University, San Antonio; Jessica Montoya of the University of Texas, El Paso; Joyce Osanyingbemi of Cornell University; Cara Person of Morehouse School of Medicine; Arun Sivanandam and Jerry L. Perris of the VA Medical Center, Loma Linda, California and Shetia Washington of the University of California, Irvine.


2003 ASCB PreDoctoral Travel Awards

The following students were selected competitively by the ASCB Education Committee to receive travel awards to attend the 43rdASCB Annual Meeting. Special congratulations to the top-ranked students, whose awards are supported by the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, The National Science Foundation, the Schering-Plough Research Institute, and Worthington Biomedical Corporation.

ASCB/Worthington Predoctoral Travel Awardees
Emily S. Clark, Vanderbilt University
Sevil Grabeklis, Moscow State University, Russia
Iyare Izevbaye, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa
Porfirio Nava Dominguez, Center of Research and Advanced Studies, Mexico
James Robblee, Yale University
Aruni S. Arachchige-Don, University of Iowa

ASCB Predoctoral Travel Awardees
Ramzey J. AbuJarour, University of Texas at Dallas
Christian Antolik, University of Maryland School of Medicine
Katya Arnold, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel
Elisabeth L. Bair, University of Arizona
Philip Berardi, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Sergiy Borysov, University of South Florida
Keren Bracha-Drori, Tel Aviv University, Israel
Lance C. Bridges, University of Oklahoma Health Science Center
Brandon J. Burbach, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Anna C. Callan, Manchester University, UK
Xinwang Cao, University of Science & Technology of China, China
Mirco Castoldi, European Molecular Biology Laboratory
Cecilia Colonna, University of Buenos Aires, Argentina
Jonas F. Dorn, The Scripps Research Institute
Nicole A. Ducharme, Vanderbilt University
Jasmin N. Dynek, New York University
Hongbo Gao, Michigan State University
Cheryl Lynn Gatto, University of Massachusetts Medical School
Stacey D. Gilk, University of Vermont
Anastasia R. Goloudina, Institute of Cytology, Russia
Roseanne S. Greenberg, Mount Sinai School of Medicine
Jody L. Groenendyk, University of Alberta, Alberta, Canada
Liqiong Gui, University of Rochester
Stephanie L. Gupton, The Scripps Research Institute
Marie-Eve Habel, Laval University, Quebec, Canada
Sachin S. Hajarnis, Colorado State University
Laurin Michelle Hanft, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Elizabeth S. Harris, Dartmouth Medical School
Mathieu Houde, Universite de Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Carol Huang, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada
Peggy P.C. Huang, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Ann Icking, University of Frankfurt Medical School, Germany
Zainab R. Jagani, Harvard Medical School
Shanti Kalipatnapu, Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, India
Basheer Khadaroo, Observatoire Océanologique, France
Dae J. Kim, Pennsylvania State University
Tanya A. Kranenburg, Centre for Immunology, Australia
Kalpana Lal, The Natural History Museum, London, UK
Megan L. Landsverk, Baylor College of Medicine
Kyeng Gea Lee, Hunter College
Peter Lenart, European Molecular Biology Laboratory
Peter A. Leventis, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada
Willmann Liang, University of British Columbia, Canada
Jie Liu, University of Nebraska Medical Center
Galia Luboshits, Tel Aviv University, Israel
Michael R. Luke, University of Melbourne, Australia
Joshua A. Mayer, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Simon S. McDade, Queens University, Bangladesh
Kirk J. McManus, University of Alberta, Alberta, Canada
Ann L. Miller, Yale University
Jeffrey K. Moore, University of Rochester
Sabyasachi Moulik, East Tennessee State University
Claudia G. Naber, University of Alberta, Alberta, Canada
Edmund D. Nesti, University of Vermont
Nang Nguyen, University of South Florida
Joy Olbertz, Idaho State University
Tatiana A. Omelchenko, Rutgers University
Deniz Ozaslan, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Fabiola Mara Ribeiro, Robarts Research Institute
Anindya Roy, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, India
Leonardo Sacconi, University of Trento, Italy
Elbert W. Schmitt, University of Missouri
Mehul Shah, New York Medical College
Himani Sharma, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, India
Stewart J. Sharp, University Of Birmingham
Andrey Ivanovich Shukalyuk, Institute of Marine Biology, Russia
Christina Siemes, Institute for Cell Biology, Australia
Tracey M Small, Emory University
Maria-Grazia Spiga, University of Miami
Melanie L. Styers, Emory University
María Gabriela Thomas, University of Buenos Aires, Argentina
Evangelia Tomai, German Cancer Research Centre, Heidelberg
Vicente Armando Torres, University of Chile, Chile
Susanne Trautmann, University of Massachusetts Medical Center
Maria T. Vassileva, Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health
Sarah Veatch, University of Washington
Gaël Vidricaire, Laval University, Quebec, Canada
Franco Joseph Vizeacoumar, University of Alberta, Alberta, Canada
Deepika Vuppalanchi, University of Delaware
Lei Wang, Children’s Hospital Research Foundation, University of Cincinnati
Linda A. Ward, La Trobe University
Matthew J. Wargo, Dartmouth College
Ravisha R. Weerasinghe, North Carolina State University
Adina Weinberger, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel
Bonney M. Wilkinson, Baylor College of Medicine
Stephanie Woo, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Rieko Yagi, Northeast Ohio University College of Medicine
Michael S. Zastrow, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine


2003 ASCB Minorities Affairs Committees Travel Awards

The ASCB Minorities Affairs Committee has selected the following students and scientists to receive ASCB Annual Meeting travel awards, which are funded through an NIH NIGMS MARC grant:

Derek Applewhite, Northwestern University
Michael Baker, Morgan State University
Ruben Baler, National Institutes of Health
Lisa Banner, California State University, Northridge
Carollyn Boykins-Winrow, Norfolk State University
Celestine Burrell, Spelman College
Skyla Carney, North Carolina Central University
Dwane Clarke, Morgan State University
Alicia Cleveland, Tennessee State University
Mauricio Cortes, University of Chicago
Ian Cushman, Baylor College of Medicine
Claudette Davis, City College of New York, CUNY
Emmanella Delva, Emory University
Maria De Oca, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Tarrah Ezell, Morgan State University
Courtney Fields, Morgan State University
Pierre Fotso, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Annette Gonzalez, Northwestern University
Sabrice Guerrier, University of North Carolina Medical School
Karmella Haynes, Washington University
Karen Hubbard, City College of New York
Duane Johnson, Dillard University
Jacqueline Jordan, Clayton College and State University
Carlos Lopez-Colon, University of Puerto Rico, Mayaquez
Jose Lopez, University of Arizona Cancer Center
Shanta MacKinnon, North Carolina Central University
Mark Maloney, Spelman College
Becky Marquez, Cornell University
Joel Martínez, University of California, Irvine
D.C. Ghislaine Mayer, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases/NIH
Allison McNamara, University of North Carolina, Pembroke
Andrea Medina, University of California, Santa Barbara
Sommer Miller, University of Pennslyvania
Ayana Moore, University of Washington
Vivian Navas, University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez
Elsie Pares-Matos, University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez
KiTani Parker-Johnson, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center
Elisha Peterson, University of Pittsburgh
Omayra Rivera-Denizard, University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez
Felix Rivera Molina, University of Puerto Rico, San Juan
Deniliz Rodriquez, Long Island University
Jasma Rucker, University of Pittsburgh
Claudia Toledo, California State University, Northridge
Ana Vélez, University of Puerto Rico, Mayaquez
Jeanine Vélez, University of Puerto Rico, Mayaquez
David Vigerust, Vanderbilt University
Selwyn Williams, Brooklyn College/CUNY
Jamie Lee Wilson, Boston University School of Medicine
Elethia Woolfold, Meharry Medical School
Velinda Woriax, University of North Carolina, Pembroke


2003 MAC Travel Awards

The National Institute on Aging has selected the following students, who do aging research, to receive NIA MAC travel awards:

Maryam Boseman, Dillard University
Robert Klees, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Myla Patterson, Meharry Medical College


ASCB Members Elected to IOM

Sixty-five people were elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, including seven ASCB members.

  • Henry Bourne University of California, San Francisco Member since 1984
  • Brian Druker HHMI/Oregon Health & Science University Member since 2002
  • Andrew Engel Mayo Medical School Member since 1964
  • Michael Gottesman The National Institutes of Health Member since 1978
  • H. Robert Horvitz Massachusetts Institute of Technology Member since 1988
  • Harold Moses Vanderbilt University Member since 1968 Keith Yamamoto University of California, San Francisco Member since 1990


Letters To The Editor

Defending ‘Upbeat’ Claim

In response to my August ASCB Newsletter WICB column, “Academic Research Career Opportunities An Upbeat Assessment,” two responses [October 2003, ASCB Newsletter] question the premise of my assertions.

Ilana Goldhaber-Gordon suggests that data should be available to address my contention that the increase in Federal and private funding of biomedical science will lead to greater employment prospects for our PhD graduates. Perhaps such data are available, but I believe it will take a few years for this investment to reach fruition. In the meantime, the NIH has compiled statistics on the increase in investigator-initiated (R01) support in the recent five-year period.

Perhaps more relevant to my argument, the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), the agency most responsible for funding basic cell biology research, has compiled data showing that support for beginning investigators has doubled during the past five years, that the proportion of new investigators funded by NIGMS has increased during this period, and that the absolute number of grants directed to new investigators has increased by 20% since 1997.

Frank Solomon and Shirley Tilghman challenge my use of “anecdotal evidence” to bolster my claims. Among the “anecdotes” are the very tangible and substantial increase in the NIH budget cited above and the numerous examples of new research institutes being built and dedicated around the country. My position is that these investments represent a qualitative and quantitative improvement in the climate for biomedical science in the brief period since the publication of the studies compiled by Solomon and Tilghman.

I do not question the value of the studies on employment in the life sciences conducted by the ASCB and the National Research Council. Rather, the “spin” placed on the data leads unnecessarily to discouragement as is reflected in the letter by Goldhaber-Gordon. Indeed, as can be seen in data presented in the Tilghman report, the prospect of faculty employment in a PhD granting institution for someone of Goldhaber-Gordon’s excellent training background did not decline in the 22 year period covered by the study (48% vs. 45%;1973-1995). Ph.D. training in the life sciences in the U.S. has never been a secure “ticket”, but rather provides the tools for creative inquiry for those drawn to it. We do our young scholars a disservice by not providing the encouragement necessary to consider a career as an academic biomedical scientist.

—Randy Schekman University of California, Berkeley


Members In The News

Peter Agre of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, an ASCB member since 1988, will be one of the recipients of the 2003 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Agre shares the Prize with Roderick MacKinnon of the Rockefeller University/HHMI. The Prize will be awarded in Stockholm on December 10

Cornelia Bargmann of the University of California, San Francisco/HHMI, an ASCB member since 1995, will receive the 2004 Dargut and Milena Kemali Foundation International Prize for Basic and Clinical Neurosciences at the Congress of the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies in Lisbon, Portgual.

Elaine Bearer of Brown University, an ASCB member since 1981, gave the Distinguished Marine Neurosciences Lecture of the Marine Freshwater Biomedical Sciences Center and the Neurosciences Program of the University of Miami.

Morris Birnbaum of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine/HHMI, an ASCB member since 1992, was elected to membership in the Association of American Physicians

David Botstein of Princeton University, an ASCB member since 1985, Elaine Fuchs of the Rockefeller University/HHMI, an ASCB member since 1980 and 2001 Society President, and Phillip Sharp of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an ASCB member since 1991, received the Novartis Drew Award in Biomedical Research.

Patrick Brown of Stanford University/HHMI, an ASCB member since 1998, received the first annual BioTech Helinski Prize and the American Society for Microbiology’s 2003 Promega Award.

Brian Druker of Oregon Health & Science University/HHMI, an ASCB member since 2003, received the David A. Karnofsky Memorial Award from the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

B. Brett Finlay of the University of British Columbia, Canada/HHMI, an ASCB member since 1989, was elected to fellowship in the American Academy of Microbiology.

Randal Kaufman of the University of Michigan Medical School/HHMI, an ASCB member since 1991, received the 2003 Van Wezel Prize from the European Society for Animal Cell Technology.

Norka Ruiz Bravo, an ASCB member since 1986, has been appointed Director for Extramural Research at the National Institutes of Health.

John D. Scott of Oregon Health & Science University/HHMI, an ASCB member since 2000, was elected to the Royal Society of the UK.

Allan Spradling of the Carnegie Institution of Washington/HHMI, an ASCB member since 1991, won the 2003 Edwin Grant Conklin Medal from the Society for Developmental Biology.

Xiaowei Zhuang of Harvard University, an ASCB member since 2003, received a MacArthur Fellowship for her research tracking the behavior of individual molecules.



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

Ueli Aebi
Michael Berns
Daphne Blumberg
Henry Brown
Steven Cala
J. David Castle
Laura Cisar
J.S. Clegg
Douglas Cotanche
Victor DeLeon
Noel Florendo
Douglass Forbes
Clara Franzini-Armstrong
Barbara Gibbons
Leslie Gold
Paul Goldsmith
Merrill Hille
Hideyasu Hirano
Ching Ho
Jean Hugon
Jonathan C.R. Jones
Yohko Kohno
Molly Mastrangelo
Satoru Matsuda
Yuki Mimori-Kiyosue
Christine Montague
Minoru Morikawa
Shoshana Paglin
Joel Rosenbaum
David Samols
Joshua Schnell
Wolfgang Scholz
Jean Schwarzbauer
Robert Sealock
W. Sue Shafer
Samuel Silverstein
Peter Sonderegger
Mary Lee Sparling
Joan Steitz
Bayard Storey
Robert Trelstad
Nakazo Watari
Christine Wiese


Grants & Opportunities

NSF Awards. The National Science Foundation solicits nominations for the Director’s Awards for Distinguished Teaching Scholars, individuals who are both meritorious scholars and exemplary teachers. Nomination deadline: November 19.

NIAID Fellowships. The NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases solicits applications from biodefense training and development researchers of prevention, detection, diagnosis and treatment of diseases caused by potential bioterrorism agents. Support includes grants, fellowships and career development awards.

NIH Loan Repayment Programs. The National Institutes of Health Loan Repayment Programs offer up to $35,000 per year to repay student loans of scientists, physicians, dentists, and other health professionals willing to commit to a career in clinical, pediatric, health disparities or contraception and infertility research. Applicants must have a doctorate and be able to commit at least 50% of their time for two years conducting qualified research. Application deadline: December 31.

MARC Grants. The NIH NIGMS Minority Access to Research Careers solicits applications for predoctoral fellowships. Application deadlines: April 5 and December 5.

Grand Challenges in Global Health Initiatives. The Foundation for the National Institutes of Health solicits innovative solutions to 14 critical research problems. Deadline: January 9, 2004.

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