Articles for ASBMB Today magazine

ASBMB Today is a publication distributed to all members of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

Retrospective: Biochemist-turned-cryptozoologist hunted
Loch Ness monster and other mysterious beasts.

An open letter to press officers who won’t promote unembargoed research papers: You’re disappointing me.

Colorful characters: An exhibition in California featured drawings in crayon of Nobel prize-winning work.

An open letter to our contributors: Those of us in the writing world talk (and write) a lot about why we should or should not give away our work for free.

Pulling back the curtain on biotech careers: Bio-Link website shows students that the scientific enterprise has the room — and the need — for workers of all sorts.

Q&A with the brains behind Coursera’s neuroscience offering: Coursera, one of the outfits offering massive online open courses, has had almost four dozen life sciences classes since its launch in April 2012. Henry Lester, professor of biology at the California Institute of Technology, earlier this year wrapped up a Coursera class of his own design. (I took his class!)

Editor’s note about crafting an online presence (for our special section on school and professional development): Creating an online presence — be it a blog, a Twitter account, a portfolio of your work or a simple re-creation of your CV — is pretty important today, regardless of your field.

Editor’s note about our 2013 personal essay series: It gives me great pleasure to present the first essay in our special series “Derailed but Undeterred.” To my knowledge, this is the first personal essay series in the magazine’s history.

Editor’s note about our EB2012 poetry contest: I would like to express my gratitude for all of those who appreciated and believed in the creativity, emotion and levity that this little poetry contest experiment of ours promised.

A life of, and for, change: Where Dave R. Wilson grew up in rural New Mexico, opportunities for upward mobility – and, well, even neighbors – were few and far between. Nestled in the Navajo Nation Reservation not too far from the Four Corners, his hometown had only four houses, and his school was an 18-mile bus ride away.

New Kirschstein biography: The National Institutes of Health last month released a new biography of Ruth Lillian Kirschstein, the late deputy director of the agency and the longtime director of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences.

Speak, tweet and drink up! As the annual meeting approaches, here we offer a few tips for those who want to get their research noticed and take part in the on-site and online discussions.

Mounting a campaign for a cure: When Deb Johnson called the Journal of Biological Chemistry offices in August 2010, she had a unique request: She needed a few copies of the journal that she could tear up and turn into art.

We need your input: Take one of the ASBMB surveys evaluating gender issues in academic science.

New Tabor young investigator award winners: Amy Walker, an instructor at Harvard Medical School and the Center for Cancer Research at Massachusetts General Hospital, received the Journal of Biological
Chemistry/Herbert Tabor Young Investigator Award for her studies of how metabolic pathways are linked to transcriptional programs and other aspects of cell biology. Chun-Hong Chen, an assistant investigator at the National Health Research Institute in Taiwan, won for his work with engineering disease-refractory mosquitoes to prevent transmission of dengue fever.

Inaugural Tabor award winners announced: Erin Greiner, a doctoral candidate in the department of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of California, Los Angeles, was named the first recipient of the Herbert Tabor/Journal of Biological Chemistry Young Investigator Award.

Reflections on the biosynthesis of “a small but beautifully organized protein”: Many of us catalogue the chapters of our lives with turning-point texts — books, articles, maybe even songs — that mark shifts in thinking, tweaks or wholesale reversals in career courses, and revelations when we needed them or, perhaps, didn’t expect them at all.

How to write top-flight manuscript titles: Pick up any newspaper or magazine, and one of the first things you’ll notice are the headlines. Copy editors put a great deal of time and care into developing just the right combination of words to synthesize the facts of stories, to echo the tones of the writers and to entice readers to immerse themselves in the tales that are about to unfold on the page. In scientific publications, titles carry the same importance, only the manuscript author must act as both article composer and title writer extraordinaire.

Amyloid: misfolded and misunderstood? Researchers who study the fibrous protein aggregates known as amyloid are beginning to come around to the idea that amyloid’s bad reputation may be unfairly one-sided, because its ruinous role in debilitating and sometimes lethal neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases is only part of the story. As the study of amyloid structure and function advances and as more organisms that use its biophysical properties to their advantage are identified, the current understanding of amyloid is being re-evaluated to accommodate such nonpathological functions.

Short reviews, long-term impacts: nuclear receptors and molecular heart beats: The Journal of Biological Chemistry’s thematic minireview series aim to round up the best of cutting-edge research and present it in an approachable format, establishing guideposts for scientists in near and far fields.

Thick and thin: a tale of friendships and findings: You’ve probably seen the television commercials that go something like this: A healthy-looking middle-aged woman, likely on the tennis court or grocery shopping, reminds you to talk to your doctor – like she did – about how regularly taking a low dose of aspirin can lower your risk for heart attack, stroke and blood clots.

Go ahead, brag a little: Learn how to work with your institution’s communicators and with reporters to tell the world about your research: Learn how to work with your institution’s communicators and with reporters to tell the world about your research.

Arthur E. Johnson to give ASBMB-Lipmann Lectureship: Arthur E. Johnson, a distinguished professor at the Texas A&M Health Science Center’s College of Medicine, has been chosen to give the Fritz Lipmann Lectureship at the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology annual meeting in April in Washington, D.C.

Two high notes for ‘Eddy’ Fischer in the JBC: The Jan. 21 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry contained two classic articles by Edmond H. Fischer, who shared the 1992 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine with Edwin G. Krebs for their research on reversible protein phosphorylation.

Christine Guthrie recognized with ASBMB-Merck Award: Christine Guthrie, a leading figure in the field of RNA processing and a dedicated mentor to young scientists, has been named the winner of the 2011 American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology-Merck Award.

Brown and Goldstein honored with ASBMB’s inaugural Stadtman award: The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology has named Nobel laureates Michael S. Brown and Joseph L. Goldstein, pioneers in the study of cholesterol metabolism, the joint winners of its first Earl and Thressa Stadtman Distinguished Scientist Award.

Axel T. Brunger wins inaugural ASBMB DeLano Award: Stanford University professor Axel T. Brunger has been named the winner of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology’s inaugural DeLano Award for Computational Biosciences.

The JBC gets a new editor: The Journal of Biological Chemistry’s new editor in chief, Martha Fedor, talks about her background, her research and her plans for the journal.

ASBMB education award goes to Cheryl A. Kerfeld: Cheryl A. Kerfeld, a structural biologist and the head of the U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute’s Education and Structural Genomics Programs, has been named the recipient of the 2011 ASBMB education award.

ASBMB headquarters to be relocated: The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology will be relocating from its current headquarters on the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology campus to a new, more modern, commercial space.

Yusuf Hannun receives Avanti Award in Lipids: Yusuf Hannun, professor and department chairman at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, S.C., is the winner of the 2010 ASBMB-Avanti Award in Lipids.

2010 William C. Rose award goes to Melissa J. Moore: Melissa J. Moore, a professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, has been named the winner of ASBMB’s 2011 William C. Rose Award.

ASBMB Ruth Kirschstein award goes to Arthur Gutierrez-Hartmann: Arthur Gutierrez-Hartmann of the Anschutz Medical Campus of the University of Colorado-Denver School of Medicine has been named the recipient of the inaugural ASBMB Ruth Kirschstein Diversity in Science Award.

Job Dekker to receive 2011 ASBMB Young Investigator Award: It recently was announced that Job Dekker of the University of Massachusetts Medical School has been awarded 2011 ASBMB Young Investigator Award.

Charles E. Chalfant wins ASBMB Avanti Young Investigator Award: The recipient of the 2010 ASBMB Avanti Young Investigator Award in Lipid Research is Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine associate professor Charles E. Chalfant.

ASBMB announces 2011 award winners: The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology named 12 scientists the winners of its annual awards. The recipients will give talks at the annual meeting April 9 -13 in Washington, D.C.

Award winner lauded for teaching: Colleagues and students don’t hold back when asked to evaluate University of Richmond associate professor of chemistry Lisa Gentile. They gush about her enthusiasm and about how she always delivers. They say she “rolls up her sleeves, gets out the chalk and goes to work.” They also call her a “dynamo.” If you average such reviews, add them to her laundry list of responsibilities as a department head, sprinkle in a dash of her K-12 outreach efforts and analyze the results, you don’t need an advanced degree to conclude — unscientifically, of course — that she must be superhuman, or pretty close to it.


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