Smallpox Safe for Now

first_imgGENEVA–The World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) governing board agreed yesterday to delay destruction of the last known samples of smallpox, now kept on ice at two high-security facilities in Russia and the United States. The decision reflects a new consensus that the stocks may be needed to defend humanity against the possible use of smallpox as a bioweapon.Smallpox was eradicated in 1980, and the stocks were slated for destruction in 1993, but two developments helped persuade the WHO to delay that order. A well-placed defector revealed that the Soviet Union had amassed tons of weaponized smallpox. And in the wake of the Gulf War, United Nations weapons inspectors reported that Iraq may have sought to weaponize smallpox through research on camelpox, a close cousin that does not harm humans.The WHO board acted on a recommendation from Director-General Gro Harlem Brundtland, who based her decision on a report last month from a scientific advisory committee. In staying an execution scheduled for this December, the board handed a dramatic victory to researchers hoping to design drugs and a better vaccine. One intriguing development is a potential animal model for smallpox developed by virologist Peter Jahrling of the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases in Fort Detrick, Maryland, and his colleagues. The model could prove important for testing drugs and vaccines.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)But some countries are troubled by an open-ended research effort. China, Cuba, and several other nations are expected to lobby hard for a deadline out of fear that an open-ended program increases the risk that terrorists could steal the virus or that the virus could escape in a lab accident. Observers speculate that the World Health Assembly could set a deadline of 2005 or 2006 to destroy the stocks when it meets in May.The heightened concern about bioterrorism has led some health experts to question the central tenet that stocks of any microbial killer should be destroyed once it is eradicated in the wild. That reaction concerns Jonathan Tucker, director of the Chemical and Biological Weapons Nonproliferation Program at the Monterey Institute of International Studies in Washington, D.C. “The smallpox situation sets a troubling precedent for other infectious diseases, such as polio and measles,” he says.last_img read more

Putin Promises New Money for Russian University Research

first_imgRussian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin last week announced a batch of new funding to “modernize higher education in Russia.” Totaling some $1.3 billion, the money will support a string of new universities as well as providing grants for researchers and boosting research infrastructure. In line with the government’s recent policy on research, the money is focused on applied science. “It is important for us to orientate scientific research at Russian universities towards the development of technologies which are in demand in the real economy, and to boost cooperation between business and higher education,” Putin said in his speech at Novosibirsk State University. As a result, Putin added, the government expects “serious return on its investment, [including] patents for inventions and the creation of small productive enterprises.” While researchers welcome the new funding, many bemoan the continuing lack of support for fundamental research and point out that channeling money into universities, rather than the better equipped Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS), could be a mistake. A large chunk of the new money will go to supporting five new federal universities which the government created last year: the Arctic University in Arkhangelsk, the Urals University in Yekaterinburg, Kazan University, the North-Eastern University in Yakutsk, and the Far-Eastern University in Vladivostok. Each of these, Putin said, will get about $13 million per year for 3 years. But these institutions have the status of “autonomous establishments,” which means that the government will provide no more than 60% of their funding.Some $400 million of the new funding will be distributed as grants to researchers and about $645 million to support R&D infrastructure and larger research teams. The grants will not be given to institutions, Putin says, but to “researchers who present the most promising and interesting projects in terms of Russian science and economy.” Putin added that the government was ready to subsidize industrial R&D projects carried out at universities, even taking on as much as 50% of costs for projects that lead to new products that go into production. Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)The plans emphasize the government’s enthusiasm for applied science. Although the audience in Novosibirsk welcomed Putin’s presentation, it drew criticism from some researchers. “The scientific level of many universities is so low that even the most modern equipment is used to solve primitive tasks,” says Mikhail Gelfand, deputy director of the RAS’s Kharkevich Institute for Information Transmission Problems in Moscow. “University researchers are encouraged to immediately earn money using this equipment, that is, to offer services instead of doing research. That’s why all these big expenditures will be extremely ineffective.” Gelfand and others argue that the government should avoid grand gestures and instead create a Western-style funding system. “It is important to begin not with global plans but with the creation of a normal grant system with international peer review of big projects. In that case, funding and equipment would go to strong teams, and those teams would support universities by overheads,” Gelfand says.last_img read more

NIH Scientists See Crackdown on Consulting as Too Restrictive

first_imgFive years ago after a scandal erupted over employees who were consulting for drug companies, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) banned most such relationships by in-house scientists. A new study finds mixed effects. The rules apparently haven’t hindered scientific productivity, the survey finds. But a whopping 80% of NIH scientists find the rules too restrictive, and many say they have hampered the agency’s ability to recruit new faculty members. NIH banned most industry consulting by its staff members after a newspaper investigation found that some senior researchers were earning large sums of money from companies. Intramural scientists warned that the strict rules would drive staff away. Darren Zinner of Brandeis University, Eric Campbell of Massachusetts General Hospital, and colleagues have now published the first peer-reviewed study on the rules’ impact. It is based on a survey from October 2008 through January 2009 sent to 900 senior investigators and administrators; 70% responded. Not surprisingly, industrial ties are now fewer—only about 33% reported an industry relationship, down from about half before the 2005 rules. This hasn’t affected the average researcher’s output of papers and patent applications, the survey finds. And nearly half of those surveyed say the new rules have improved NIH’s public image. But 80% say the rules are too stringent, 77% think it is now harder to accomplish NIH’s mission, and 66% are less satisfied with their jobs. 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Although NIH may have gained public credibility, the rules “also made it more difficult for the organization to complete its mission,” the authors of the study conclude in the November issue of Academic Medicine. NIH officials put a positive slant on the study in an accompanying commentary. Interactions with industry “have continued relatively unaffected,” writes Michael Gottesman, NIH deputy director for intramural research, and NIH ethics officer Holli Beckerman Jaffe. They point to trends in new cooperative agreements between NIH researchers and companies (known as CRADAs), which, after dropping in 2006, have risen to previous levels of more than 30 per year. Yet the rules, they acknowledge, “have challenged NIH’s ability to attract and retain some of the most qualified scientists.” NIH is now preparing to tighten the rules for extramural scientists as well, watching outside consulting in particular—although mainly by asking researchers to report more information to NIH and their institutions. The planned changes would not restrict what grant recipients can do as long as potential conflicts of interest are reviewed and managed. Interestingly, despite their unhappiness with the much tighter rules at NIH, two-thirds of the intramural NIH researchers surveyed think the same rules should apply to their NIH-funded peers at academic institutions.last_img read more

Indian Scientists Plan to Delve Deep for Earthquake Precursors

first_imgNEW DELHI—Indian scientists are about to embark on an ambitious effort to drill into the Indian plate to monitor tremors and other seismic signatures of impending earthquakes. Indian science minister Ashwani Kumar announced last week that the National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI) in Hyderabad will launch a $75-million, 30-month-long project to drill an 8-kilometer-deep borehole in Koyna, a region in western India that experiences frequent small- to moderately-sized earthquakes. The borehole will be laced with sensors that measure chemical, electrical, and gravitational perturbations. “The Koyna site is ideal since a copious swarm of earthquakes, both induced and natural, occur all the time,” says NGRI seismologist Harsh Gupta, the team’s leader. The odds of observing signals of impending earthquakes, he says, are “very high.” The project, to be done in collaboration with the International Continental Scientific Drilling Program, will be the fourth such earthquake observatory. Similar boreholes have been drilled on the Kola Peninsula in Russia; in Bavaria, Germany; and on the San Andreas Fault in California. The earlier efforts all have taken place at the boundaries of tectonic plates; the Indian site will be the first intraplate borehole designed to look for earthquake precursors. Koyna is also unique because the borehole will be near a large dam, where the rise and fall of reservoir water levels frequently induces earthquakes. Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) Antinuclear activists worry that the drilling could increase regional seismicity and therefore increase the risk of a massive nuclear power plant in Maharashtra, 64 kilometers away. Roger Bilham, a seismologist at the University of Colorado, Boulder, dismisses that notion. “Drilling a hole will have no weakening effect,” he says, “because the earthquakes in Koyna are in fact triggered by water in many thousands of water-filled cracks in the region. One additional hole is a drop in the ocean.”last_img read more

Gut Bacteria Conspired in Melamine Poisonings

first_imgIn 2008, nearly 300,000 infants in China got sick from milk formula tainted with melamine, a plastics additive that was used illegally to bulk up the formula’s apparent protein content. Now, a study in rats implicates bacteria living in the gut as unwitting accomplices in this mass poisoning. The work helps clarify how melamine toxicity arises and also drives home the key role that gut bacteria play in human health. Melamine is an industrial chemical used as a fire retardant and a stabilizer for plastics. In 2007, a rash of kidney stones in dogs and cats in the United States was traced to melamine-contaminated gluten from China. Then in September 2008, scores of infants in China were hospitalized for kidney stones; at least six died. Subsequent investigations uncovered melamine in powdered infant formula and fresh milk produced by more than 2 dozen companies. To stretch profits, milk brokers and other individuals had diluted milk and then added melamine to make the products pass spot checks for required protein content. Typically, melamine-induced kidney stones are crystals of melamine comingled with a chemical relative called cyanuric acid. “It only takes a small amount of cyanuric acid to trigger the stone formation and kidney toxicity,” says Wei Jia, a pharmacologist from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. The contaminated pet food contained both additives. But cyanuric acid was not in the infant formula, so it was initially unclear why kidney stones formed in the children. Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) Jia first began to suspect microbes after he and his colleagues noticed that metabolites produced by gut bacteria in rats are different after exposure to melamine. They wondered if bacteria had converted some melamine to cyanuric acid. They tested this idea by giving rats antibiotics for 4 days before exposing them to melamine for 2 weeks. Kidney stones and damage was much less pronounced in those rats compared with rats that didn’t get the antibiotics, they report today in Science Translational Medicine. Moreover, the rats on antibiotics excreted twice as much melamine, likely because there were no bacteria present to convert melamine to cyanuric acid. Jia’s team put rat feces in a container with nutrients and melamine. Over 36 hours, the amount of melamine decreased and cyanuric acid appeared in the container, demonstrating that bacteria in the poop were converting melamine to cyanuric acid. The researchers winnowed down the suspects to bacteria called Klebsiella and found that this microbe on its own processed melamine into cyanuric acid and other byproducts. Kidney damage was worse if rats were given these bacteria before they were exposed to melamine, the researchers report. “They very methodically demonstrated through a huge number of experiments that these products are generated by the gut microbes,” says Andrew Patterson, a molecular biologist at Pennsylvania State University, University Park, who was not involved with the work. “That they were able to nail down a culprit out of the whole mess of the bacteria in the gut was very impressive.” During the 2008 adulterated milk incident, less than 1% of infants who drank the tainted dairy products got sick. That’s approximately the same percentage of people who carry Klebsiella in their guts, Jia points out. He suspects that only those children with the melamine-converting bacteria were harmed. “They make a pretty compelling argument,” Patterson says, “but it will be a very hard thing to prove unequivocally that this is what happens in humans.” Given stepped-up monitoring, the likelihood of another melamine incident is small, adds David Goldfarb, a nephrologist at New York University School of Medicine in New York City. Nonetheless, he says, the study “shows that [gut bacteria are] a very important part of our health.”last_img read more

Radioactive Microbes Nuke Tumor Cells

first_imgDespite the advances made against many types of cancer, pancreatic cancer remains grimly resistant to treatment. Only about 4% of patients survive for 5 years, mainly because of the disease’s vicious ability to metastasize, or spread to other parts of the body. Now, a group of researchers has hit upon a novel way to halt its spread: delivering radiation directly to the cancer cells using genetically modified bacteria. In a study of mice carrying human tumors, the therapy shrank the rodent’s primary tumors while sparing healthy tissue; it also blasted cancer cells that had spread throughout the animals, reducing their number by up to 90%. The cancer-targeting microorganism, Listeria monocytogenes, is a rod-shaped bacterium that penetrates the cells of the people and animals that it infects. Although the pathogen can cause severe illness, such as meningitis, a healthy person’s immune system can usually destroy it before any damage is done. Because of the bacterium’s ability to burrow inside key immune cells called macrophages, some researchers use weakened Listeria with bits of tumor DNA attached to teach the body’s immune system to recognize and destroy cancerous cells that might otherwise slip by unnoticed. As part of this effort, immunobiologist Claudia Gravekamp, then at the California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute in San Francisco, was studying such an attenuated Listeria-based vaccine in mice carrying a highly aggressive, metastatic form of breast cancer. In 2009, Gravekamp and her colleagues found that the bacteria did more than spur the immune system to attack the cancer cells. The microbes infected and killed the cancer cells directly, while having no effect on healthy tissue. Encouraged by these results, the scientists wondered if Listeria could be used to deliver cancer-fighting therapies straight to tumor cells, including metastatic ones. Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) Moving to the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, Gravekamp teamed up with radiobiologist Ekaterina Dadachova and colleagues to combine modified Listeria with the radioactive compound rhenium-188, which they attached to an engineered protein called a monoclonal antibody that sticks to the bacterium. Over the course of 16 days (including a weeklong break), they injected mice already infected with a highly metastatic form of pancreatic cancer with the “labeled” bacteria. The radioactive bacteria treatment reduced the number of metastatic cells by 90% compared with mice given a saline solution, the team reports online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The attenuated Listeria alone decreased metastatic cells by 50%. The treatment’s effect on the original tumor was less dramatic, but still impressive: The combination of Listeria and radiation shrank the tumor by 64%, and Listeria alone by about 20% compared with saline-treated mice. There was also very little damage to healthy tissue. The treatment’s extreme precision results from its ability to turn the cancer cells’ own defenses against them, Gravekamp explains. In healthy tissue, the immune system swiftly clears out the modified bacteria. Cancer cells, however, have ways of shutting down immune activity in their vicinity. For example, they produce proteins called cytokines that tell infection-fighting immune cells to back off and recruit “suppressor” cells directly from the bone marrow that help cancel the immune attack. “By turning off the immune cells that would have protected them, the cancer cells make themselves uniquely vulnerable to the treatment,” Gravekamp says. “We envision this approach as a second-line therapy, which would follow either surgery or radiation to remove the primary tumor,” she says. Co-author Dadachova adds that although a 90% reduction in metastatic cells is impressive, the remaining 10% are still potentially fatal. She believes that it’s possible to get the success rate to 100%, by using longer-lasting forms of radiation. “This is an innovative and promising approach for a bad, bad disease,” says Fred Gorelick, a clinician and researcher at Yale University who specializes in diseases of the pancreas. He cautions, though, that some issues should be addressed in further research to make the treatment a realistic approach for humans. For example, although early clinical trials of Listeria-based vaccines have shown that the neutralized bacterium produces only mild flulike symptoms in human patients with cervical cancer, the various methods of genetically disarming the bacteria should be explored to find the safest approach for people gravely ill with pancreatic cancer, because these patients are likely to already have weak immune systems. Gorelick would also like to make sure that no dangerous levels of radiation are released as the bacteria die, noting that some buildup was seen in the kidney tissue of the mice treated in the new study. But, he says, “the number of new cases of pancreatic cancer every year is 40,000, and the number of deaths every year is 40,000.” The prospects for that condition are bleak enough to allow for a degree of risk that might not be acceptable in less serious types of cancer, Gorelick concludes.last_img read more

U.S., India Discuss Anti-submarine Warfare

first_imgIndia and the United States are in talks to help each other track submarines in the Indian Ocean, military officials say, a move that could further tighten defence ties between New Delhi and Washington as China steps up its undersea activities. Related Itemslast_img

With Political Stability, Expats Return to City

first_imgWith the past now forgotten and the present painting a picture of calm and development, an impressive number of foreign professionals from the US, UK, France and Canada are trooping into the city’s IT corridor – or Hyderabad’s own Silicon Valley, as they prefer to call it! Related Itemslast_img

Show us your puppy dog eyes!

first_imgScientists have discovered that when dogs gaze into our eyes, they activate the same hormonal response that bonds us to human infants. We want to see your puppy dog eyes! Recreate this cover pose with your dog and send us your photo for the chance to be published online in Science, get your pup’s face on a (fake) Science cover, and win a Science swag bag!How to enter:Recreate the above cover pose and send your photos to sciphotos@aaas.org, or post them to @sciencemagazine on Instagram and Twitter using the tag #upwardfacingdog by 27 April!Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)In submitting your image(s), you agree to the User Submissions terms within our Terms and Conditions, which are online here.Selection process: We’ll post the entries online, and a panel of Science writers (and dog owners) will select the top 10 contenders, each of whom will receive a recreated Science cover featuring their #upwardfacingdog shot! That’s not all—each top 10 pup will also be entered into a competition to win a Science swag bag. We’ll post the top 10 contenders online and let the public vote for their favorite, and the final winner will receive a variety of Science swag (puppy not included).For more on man’s best friend, see Science’s latest coverage of doggy science.last_img read more

Our favorite #upwardfacingdog photos: More of your submissions so far

first_img Submitted by @lykaios Submitted by @nat94122 Submitted by @scufflebug Submitted by @dypsygypsy Submitted by @marieandlady Submitted by Amana Tan Submitted by @katrinaholland Submitted by @kegavrilov Submitted by @kimmy_darling Submitted by @mcuboid Submitted by pat_peacock Submitted by Amana Tan Submitted by @freshyill Submitted by @koolwave center_img Submitted by @svignieri Submitted by @DrMurrayRudd Submitted by @picsoritdidnthappen Submitted by @nikki_jay355 Submitted by @DanClery Submitted by @DanClery Submitted by @scufflebug Submitted by @nat94122 ‹› By Meghna SachdevApr. 27, 2015 , 3:00 PM Our favorite #upwardfacingdog photos: More of your submissions so far Our #upwardfacingdog competition ends today! Thanks to all of you who have shared your charming, adorable, and goofy pets with us! We’ve been overwhelmed by the response, and quite frankly, we never want it to stop—all of these doggy photos have had a fantastic effect on office morale. (And now we know why.)But although you can keep the photos coming, today is the last day to enter your pup to win a (fake) Science cover and the chance at snagging a Science swag bag! Send your photos to sciphotos@aaas.org, or post them to @sciencemagazine on Instagram and Twitter using the tag #upwardfacingdog by the end of the day.In the meantime, check out some of the most engaging, entertaining, and doggone delightful entries we’ve gotten so far!Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)For more on man’s best friend, see Science’s latest coverage of doggy science.last_img read more

How grad students get paid affects where they work

first_imgThree kinds of supportFirst, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the lead federal agency in funding the training of the next generation of biomedical researchers. NIH support for graduate students typically comes in three flavors: As a research assistant (RA) on a faculty member’s grant; As the recipient of a competitive fellowship; or As a participant in a training grant awarded to their university. The mechanisms provide differing amounts of autonomy for the student and leverage by NIH. RAs, for instance, exist primarily to help faculty members carry out their research, and students run the risk of being treated as simply another pair of hands. Fellowships, in contrast, give students the greatest leeway in picking a lab that meshes with their interests. But that freedom may come at a cost if their advisers are less invested in developing their skills. Training grants are designed to provide students with a high-quality, well-rounded research experience that includes career counseling, and institutions must have a clear plan to achieve those goals. But their supply is limited: They are awarded to a relative handful of universities to address shortages in a particular field of science.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)NIH is not the only player in graduate education. The new study found that only 21% of students in the biomedical sciences at a particular university are being supported by NIH at any given time. It’s also not unusual for students to switch from one mechanism to another during their graduate training, say, from a university fellowship for their first year of classes to an NIH-funded traineeship as they explore different disciplines, and then to an NIH-funded RA as they settle down to complete their dissertation. But as the 800-pound gorilla, NIH exerts a huge influence on how all graduate education in the biomedical sciences is financed, from the size of stipends to eligibility requirements.RAs most common—and most questionedRAs make up by far the biggest slice of the pie. The number of students supported with NIH-funded RAs is about double the combined total for the two other mechanisms and has quadrupled over the past 3 decades, to more than 25,000 in 2010, while the other two mechanisms have grown only modestly. The number of RAs largely tracks the NIH budget, rising sharply in good times while holding steady or even declining in times of fiscal restraint.With U.S. universities now routinely turning out more biomedical Ph.D.s than the academic market can absorb, many leading scientists think that NIH should be more aggressive in managing the supply of scientists. In particular, several recent blue-ribbon panels have recommended that NIH shift the balance away from RAs and toward fellowships and traineeships. Their arguments are based both on the fact that NIH has more control over these mechanisms and on the belief that RAs may provide an inferior educational experience.  But it’s not that simple. Controlling RAs is an inexact science because faculty members, not NIH, decide whether to put a student on their grant. In addition, their close connection to NIH annual budgets creates a quandary for policymakers. A rising NIH budget, something biomedical scientists crave above all else, would spawn more RAs, who would then add to the workforce glut. At the same time, nobody wants to reduce the number of RAs if the price is a falling NIH budget.Moreover, it’s not simply a numbers game. NIH must also take into account the impact of altering the mix on the diversity of the biomedical research workforce. Specifically, foreign students are ineligible for NIH fellowships and traineeships but comprise a disproportionately large share of RAs. So reducing the number of RAs could shrink their presence in U.S. graduate schools unless the eligibility rules were changed. On the other hand, women and groups underrepresented in the scientific workforce receive a greater share of NIH-funded fellowship and traineeship slots than research assistantships. So offering more of those mechanisms might bolster their numbers.A surprising findingThe new study, by economist Margaret Blume-Kohout, points to a silver lining for the much-maligned RAs: Students in the biomedical sciences whose primary support was an NIH-funded RA were 11% more likely to have taken a research-related job right after graduation than were NIH-funded trainees and fellows.Blume-Kohout looked at 41,580 students who earned Ph.D.s at 121 research universities between 2001 and 2010. She was particularly interested in their professional prospects at the time they completed their doctorate. To get the answer, she combined data from a National Science Foundation (NSF) survey of graduate students on the eve of completing their degree, a follow-up sampling of the doctoral-level workforce, and institutional records of how graduate students are funded. To eliminate differences between institutions, programs, and external factors affecting the job market, she compared students who graduated from the same university in the same field and the same year.Nobody had tried to link funding mechanisms with first jobs for newly minted Ph.D.s, so she couldn’t predict the answer. “But we did not expect the results we found,” says Blume-Kohout, a visiting professor at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts.The study does not weigh into the debate over what students should do after earning their degrees, she says. “We are absolutely not saying that research careers are better than the alternatives.” Instead, she says, it addresses a more fundamental question: “If NIH is funding them to become scientific researchers, then the end point should be whether they have become scientific researchers. And if some of the specific mechanisms intended to make them researchers are not doing that as well, then maybe there’s a problem with the mechanism.”One reason for the different outcomes, she speculates, could be the mentoring that students receive under the various funding mechanisms. “Previous studies have found that students on fellowships and traineeships, although they enjoy greater freedom, complain that their advisers seem less interested in what they are doing if it’s not a part of their grant,” she notes. Conversely, faculty members might well pay more attention to RAs because their productivity is essential to the project’s success—and affects their chances of getting the next grant.A student working directly on a grant, as an RA, may also be more inclined to “buy in” to the research enterprise, Blume-Kohout speculates. It could also make them more visible to the research community, an important factor in attaining an academic research position. Her study did not measure the quality of mentoring, however. If fellows and trainees end up receiving guidance from less experienced and less productive faculty members, she says, they might have less interest in taking a research job after graduation.Among all graduates taking research jobs, according to the study, 84% were headed to a postdoc. In addition to being more likely to take such a job, students who had been supported primarily as RAs were also more likely to take nonpostdoctoral research positions, often in industry. “That’s what told us that maybe something interesting is going on here,” she says.Interest, but skepticismThe findings are drawing extensive interest, but also skepticism, from others who study the biomedical workforce.The study was funded by NIH’s National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) in  Bethesda, Maryland, which has the largest portfolio of training programs within NIH’s stable of institutes. The institute’s director, Jon Lorsch, heard Blume-Kohout describe the study in a talk last week at a workshop co-sponsored with NSF on the science of science policy held on the NIH campus. He says the study “has generated a lot of interest at NIH.” But Lorsch is far from being persuaded by her conclusion.“We’re looking to see the results of additional studies in hopes that they will converge,” he says. “But I think it’s interesting that Meg has turned the negative implications of being on a grant on its head and said that in some circumstances there are implications that might be beneficial.”Paula Stephan, a labor economist at Georgia State University in Atlanta who has written extensively on the academic research enterprise, thinks that the study may reflect recent efforts to give graduate students a better sense of their job prospects. “I spend a lot of time talking to unhappy postdocs, people who haven’t taken the time to think about whether it’s something they really want to do,” she says. “So maybe what this is suggesting is that fellows and trainees are exploring other career options, rather than seeing a postdoc as the automatic next step.”Several researchers questioned whether the study accurately measures student interest in pursuing a research career. They note that graduating students may not spend much time answering the survey that provided data for the study, be unsure of their future, or be unfamiliar with how their graduate education was financed.Blume-Kohout acknowledges those potential problems with the data but says that her econometric models support the actual findings. She also hopes that incorporating 2013 data not yet available to researchers will help her address another criticism, namely, that the study’s window is too short to provide a solid picture of the career paths of young scientists. “It would be more informative to look 7 to 10 years post-Ph.D.,” notes Howard Garrison, who tracks workforce issues at the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology in Bethesda, Maryland.Even so, the experts praise Blume-Kohout for making headway on what they say is a very complex subject. “I tried to tackle some similar issues and could not find a satisfactory path,” says Jeremy Berg, Lorsch’s predecessor as head of NIGMS who is now at the the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in Pennsylvania. “It is a very hard problem given the available data sources.”center_img It’s only one study. But a novel analysis finding a link between how U.S. graduate students in the biomedical sciences are funded and their first job after earning their Ph.D. turns one piece of conventional wisdom on its head: Students supported on a research grant are more likely to take a research job than those funded by other mechanisms.That finding, which appears in the July issue of Research Policy but was posted online last week, adds fuel to an already heated debate over the best way to prepare the next generation of biomedical scientists. It’s also causing some serious head scratching among researchers who study the U.S. biomedical workforce. To understand why, here’s some background on support for graduate education in the sciences.last_img read more

Top stories: Black Death reservoirs, ovarian cancer risk, and the world’s biggest cache of pirated scientific papers

first_imgWho’s downloading pirated papers? EveryoneIn increasing numbers, researchers around the world are turning to Sci-Hub, a website created by a 22-year-old graduate student in Kazakhstan for illegally accessing scientific papers. The site hosts 50 million papers covering every scientific topic, from obscure physics experiments published decades ago to the latest breakthroughs in biotechnology. In this in-depth investigation, reporter John Bohannon dives into the data to figure out who’s downloading the papers—and why.Same bottom line hides sharp disagreement in Congress over energy researchSign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)For years, observers have been warning that the U.S. commitment to ITER, the gargantuan fusion experiment under construction in Cadarache, France, has been squeezing other Department of Energy (DOE) basic research programs. That tension shows through clearly in the House of Representatives and Senate versions of the budget for DOE for fiscal year 2017, which begins 1 October.Irregular periods could boost ovarian cancer riskYoung women with irregular menstrual periods may be at higher risk of developing—and dying from—ovarian cancer later in life, researchers found in a 50-year study of California women. The new research provides the first evidence linking abnormally long cycles or missed periods to higher ovarian cancer risk. It also challenges a longstanding hypothesis that such risk rises progressively with a woman’s total number of ovulations.Tired of short-term contracts, Spanish postdocs sue their employerThe past few years, many postdocs at the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) have obtained a permanent position in an unusual way: by suing their employer. The researchers, along with many technicians and administrative staff, have successfully asked the courts to make CSIC comply with Spanish labor laws and turn their short-term contracts into indefinite employment.How Europe exported the Black DeathThe medieval Silk Road brought a wealth of goods, spices, and new ideas from China and Central Asia to Europe. It also brought the deadly bubonic plague. Later outbreaks in Europe were thought to have arrived from the east via a similar route. Now, scientists have evidence that a virulent strain of the Black Death bacterium lurked for centuries in Europe while also working its way back to Asia, with terrifying consequences.Now that you’ve got the scoop on this week’s hottest Science news, come back Monday to test your smarts on our weekly quiz!last_img read more

Lawmakers decry Trump plan to slash NIH 2018 budget

first_img Stephen Voss/Redux National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins in 2013. Collins made no mention of the president’s 2018 budget request, which will officially be released next week, in his oral testimony. Appearing alongside the heads of five of NIH’s 27 institutes and centers, Collins instead offered examples of how NIH research has led to new drugs for cystic fibrosis and cancer treatments that help the immune system fight tumors.“You don’t have to comment on the budget, but we have to comment,” DeLauro observed at one point. The closest any lawmaker came to asking Collins for his thoughts on the White House’s plans for NIH was when Lowey asked whether private investment could make up for the cuts. In response, Collins described a White House meeting last week where biotech CEOs and academic scientists explained how companies relied on NIH-funded basic research. The biotech leaders “were quite clear … that their stockholders would not necessarily appreciate their putting money into things that are not directly connected to a product,” Collins said.DeLauro asked NIH officials to explain the role of the Fogarty International Center, which the Trump proposal would eliminate. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Bethesda, reeled off examples of how Fogarty has trained health experts in Africa and South America to fight diseases such as HIV and Zika that are threats to the United States. “Even though they [the people being trained] are foreigners, they are helping us to be protected from disease,” Fauci said.Legislators also asked about the payments that NIH makes to universities to cover the overhead costs of NIH-funded research. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price has suggested that eliminating these so-called indirect cost payments could shrink NIH’s budget by $5.8 billion without reducing the level of research funded. At the hearing, Representative Andy Harris (R–MD), who shares that view, asked why NIH pays out about 30% per grant in indirect costs whereas many foundations pay only 10%.Collins defended the payments, noting that universities are able to accept grants from funders that reimburse at a much lower rate only because they represent a small portion of overall research funding. Even NIH’s rate doesn’t cover the full costs of supporting NIH-funded research, Collins added. If the payments matched what foundations paid, he said, some universities, particularly state schools, would not be able to continue hosting NIH-funded research.Another question concerned a new NIH policy to boost the fortunes of young scientists by capping the number of grants held by an individual investigator. Collins said that this Grant Support Index, which in effect would limit an individual to three bread-and-butter grants, is a topic of “intense conversations” at NIH and in the community. “We will need to have an exceptions process” to avoid doing harm to exceptionally productive labs, Collins said.The White House plans to release details of Trump’s 2018 budget request on Tuesday. Congress then will have barely 4 months to take action before the 1 October start of the 2018 fiscal year. Lawmakers decry Trump plan to slash NIH 2018 budgetcenter_img Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle in the U.S. House of Representatives today voiced their displeasure with the Trump administration’s proposed $5.8 billion cut next year to the budget of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland. But they avoided asking NIH Director Francis Collins for his thoughts on the topic, perhaps knowing that it would put him in a very uncomfortable spot.During a hearing on “advances in biomedical research”, Representative Tom Cole (R–OK), who chairs the House appropriations panel that oversees NIH’s budget, said he was “very proud” of a $2 billion increase, to $34.1 billion, that Congress approved for NIH in 2017. That action overrode President Donald Trump’s request for a $1 billion cut. Cole added that he was “disappointed” with Trump’s 2018 proposal in his “skinny budget” released in March to cut NIH by 18%. That would “stall progress” and “potentially discourage promising young scientists” from pursuing biomedical research, Cole said.Representatives Rosa DeLauro (D–CT) and Nita Lowey (D–NY) said the president actually wants to cut NIH’s next budget by $8 billion, using as a baseline the amount that NIH had been appropriated for 2017 when the skinny budget was issued. That 24% drop would mean 5000 to 8000 fewer grants. Such a decline would “decimate biomedical research and the economy” by eliminating 90,000 jobs, said Lowey, citing a new analysis by United for Medical Research, an advocacy group based in Washington, D.C.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) By Jocelyn KaiserMay. 17, 2017 , 5:15 PMlast_img read more

Dueling preprint servers coming for the geosciences

first_img NASA “We favor a completely open approach independent of any publishers,” Narock says. “We would like a community-led, transparent, and open-source effort. The AGU approach is a collaboration with a major publisher and is built on top of proprietary software.” That could bring complications down the line, Narock says, if, for example, their servers add the option for researchers to route their preprint studies as submissions to various journals for publication. The question, he says, is whether AGU and Wiley would allow submissions to journals that neither publishes.ESSOAr will have an open programming interface, allowing outside developers to add function to it, says Brooks Hanson, AGU’s senior vice president of publications. (It’s plausible such an extension could include outside journal submissions.) Wiley is also well-versed in managing conflicting roles, Hanson says. He notes that Atypon, a Wiley subsidiary that will furnish the software for ESSOAr, also provides the backend for the journal Cell, which is owned by Wiley’s rival, Elsevier. Likewise, this isn’t the first time that for-profit publishers have gotten involved in the preprint game: Last year, Elsevier bought SSRN, a social sciences preprint server, for example. It remains to be seen whether researchers working in more sensitive areas of the geosciences, such as climate science, will embrace posting their work prior to peer review. But some space scientists have long made use of arXiv, and a subset of the earth scientists who published in the journals of the European Geosciences Union (EGU) have already become accustomed to such openness, as EGU has posted studies online prior to review for more than 15 years, says Ulrich Pöschl, an atmospheric chemist at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz, Germany, who helped found the journals. “I had suggested and recommended such a move [for] many years to colleagues and representatives of AGU,” he says.At times, the EGU journals have led to confusion among reporters unused to preprints in the geosciences. For example, a prereview study by James Hansen, the former director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, that warned of catastrophic sea level rise garnered wide coverage in July 2015, but most news reports glossed over or elided its preliminary status. The paper underwent substantial revisions before being accepted for publication in February 2016. For that reason, it will be important for scientists to make clear to the press and public the preliminary status of research found on ESSOAr or EarthArXiv, Hanson says. But this is a manageable risk, he says. “ArXiv.org has dealt with ‘Einstein is wrong’ papers for a while.”The most original part of AGU’s preprint service is that it will look to provide a permanent home for meeting posters, and not just their abstracts, Hanson says. At AGU’s fall meeting, for example, there might be 17,000 posters, and much of that work gets lost after the meeting, hung in a hallway or tossed in the trash. ESSOAr will host such posters, building on AGU’s initial experiments into digital posters.Though leaders behind the two preprint efforts are in talks about standards for prescreening papers and ways of collaborating, right now the plan for EarthArXiv is to continue forward independently. “This doesn’t change our plans,” Narock says. Their effort could face long odds, as the AGU has an advisory board filled with fellow scientific societies, including the Geological Society of America and the Japan Geoscience Union.A little competition isn’t so bad, Hanson insists. It could lead to more buy-in from researchers, and experimentation on what works is important. “There’s initiative and energy around this,” he says. “I think all of that is good.”*Correction: 25 September, 9:55 a.m.: A previous version of this story stated that ChemRxiv is run on Highwire software; in fact, it is BioRxiv that runs on Highwire. Also, the story stated that ESSOAr could be ready by December; in fact, only a demo will be ready by then. By Paul VoosenSep. 22, 2017 , 1:05 PM Dueling preprint servers coming for the geosciencescenter_img Early findings from across the geosciences will soon have not one, but two online servers ready to post preprints. Are climate scientists ready to air preliminary findings—mistakes and all—before their papers are reviewed?That question will soon be put to the test. The American Geophysical Union (AGU) in Washington, D.C., the giant of earth and planetary science publishing, announced plans yesterday to launch a preprint server that—much like arXiv.org and its descendants, bioRxiv and ChemRxiv—would host studies prior to peer review. The site, called the Earth and Space Science Open Archive (ESSOAr), should open early next year, with a demo at the AGU’s fall meeting in December.ESSOAr will have company. In a separate initiative, a grassroots group of scientists will start, as soon as next month, EarthArXiv. That preprint site would be powered by the Center for Open Science, a nonprofit based in Charlottesville, Virginia, that has provided similar support for several nascent servers, including SocArXiv and engrXiv. Though AGU’s effort is partially funded by Wiley, a for-profit publisher, and built on their software, EarthArXiv would remain independent, says Thomas Narock, a data scientist at Notre Dame of Maryland University in Baltimore, who is helping to lead the effort.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)last_img read more

Could ultraviolet lamps slow the spread of flu?

first_img Could ultraviolet lamps slow the spread of flu? Hospitals and laboratories often use ultraviolet (UV) light to kill microbes, but the practice has one major drawback: It can harm humans. So UV lights only do their killing in places such as empty operating rooms and under unoccupied lab hoods. Now, researchers have discovered that people might be safe around a shorter wavelength of microbe-slaying UV light, theoretically turning it into a new tool that could slow the spread of disease in schools, crowded airplanes, food processing plants, and even operating rooms and labs.UV lights disinfect by disrupting the molecular bonds that hold together microbial genetic material or proteins. The most commonly used lights have a wavelength of 254 nanometers (nm), which has a relatively short UV wavelength—the so-called “C” category—but can penetrate the skin and eyes, leading to cancers and cataracts. So for the past 4 years, a group led by physicist David Brenner at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City has tested shorter wavelengths, known as “far UVC light” that can’t penetrate the outer layers of the eyes or skin. The researchers found that far UVC eliminated bacteria on surfaces and did not harm lab mice.Brenner and his co-workers next addressed whether far UVC could address a major health concern in many public settings: airborne microbes. The team first aerosolized influenza viruses inside a chamber and exposed them to UVC light with a wavelength of 222 nm or, as a control, to nothing. The researchers then collected liquid samples from the chamber and spread them on dog kidney cells susceptible to the flu. Unexposed samples could infect the cells, but the UVC-treated ones couldn’t, the researchers reported in a preprint study published online 28 December 2017 on bioRxiv. If the studies pan out, “that could really be beneficial in disrupting disease transmission,” says Shawn Gibbs, an industrial hygienist who has studied the disinfectant properties of UVC at the Indiana University School of Public Health in Bloomington. Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Brenner became interested in UVC’s germicidal properties 5 years ago, after a friend went to the hospital for a minor surgery and became infected with drug-resistant bacteria that took his life. “I declared my own personal war on superbugs,” Brenner said in a TED talk he gave in April 2017.  Brenner works at a radiological research facility founded by Marie Curie, where he has long specialized in ionizing radiation, x-rays, and gamma rays—paying little attention to UVC’s germicidal properties. But after his friend’s death, he started to wonder. “People had certainly shown that far UVC light kills bacteria, but they hadn’t put it together that it wasn’t able to penetrate human cells,” he says.Brenner’s team took advantage of recent improvements in excimer lamps, best known for their use in LASIK eye surgery. The lamps mix krypton and chlorine gases to produce single-wavelength photons—as opposed to a broad spectrum—that can range from 207 nm to 222 nm. The researchers added filters to the lamps to remove all but the desired wavelength. “Our idea wouldn’t have been much use if there hadn’t been a technology to produce mono light of that wavelength,” Brenner says. The cost per lamp is less than $1000, which could drop significantly if the technology proves itself and a company mass produces them, he says. He would not discuss his own commercial plans.James McDevitt, an industrial hygienist at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health who has studied UVC’s germicidal properties, says he is “surprised” at the killing efficiency Brenner and colleagues reported, given predictions made by “commonly presented” calculations. Their methods seem sound at first glance, he adds, but notes that the new paper has yet to go through peer review. McDevitt also cautions that even if 222 nm does prove relatively safe, there are still exposure limits. Furthermore, it may not work against as broad a spectrum of bacteria and viruses as 254 nm. Finally, lamps hung in the upper parts of rooms may work on aerosolized bacteria and viruses but have little impact on microbe-contaminated surfaces.Brenner and co-workers plan to conduct more studies with far UVC light and microbes, both to better assess its safety and effectiveness at different doses. If all continues to go well, he says they may have enough data to seek regulatory approval within the next few years. By Jon CohenJan. 3, 2018 , 5:25 PM Anucha Maneechote/Shutterstock.com/Adapted by David Brenner Researchers envision that safe ultraviolet lights could one day help disinfect airports.last_img read more