Awesome @radiolab episode on CRISPR and Cas9 DNA editing!! #science

Check out this podcast episode from Radiolab focusing on CRISPR and its potential applications.


Out drinking with a few biologists, Jad finds out about something called CRISPR. No, it’s not a robot or the latest dating app, it’s a method for genetic manipulation that is rewriting the way we change DNA. Scientists say they’ll someday be able to use CRISPR to fight cancer and maybe even bring animals back from the dead. Or, pretty much do whatever you want. Jad and Robert delve into how CRISPR does what it does, and consider whether we should be worried about a future full of flying pigs, or the simple fact that scientists have now used CRISPR to tweak the genes of human embryos.

Retiring NCI director Harold Varmus reports on the condition of cancer research!! #science

Check out this insightful NYTimes article/interview with Harold Varmus, retiring director of National Cancer Institute, on what he considers the current condition of cancer research.

In a letter to colleagues announcing his departure as the director of the National Cancer Institute, Dr. Harold Varmus, 75, quoted Mae West. “I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor,” he wrote, “and rich is better.”

The line was characteristic of Dr. Varmus: playful and frank, not what one might expect from a Nobel laureate. But it also distilled a central question facing biomedical research today. Is the decline in funding that has shaken universities and research labs here to stay? If so, what does that mean for scientific research?

Dr. Varmus, whose last day at the cancer institute is Tuesday, recently reflected on financial constraints in science, the fight against cancer and his own efforts to remain healthy.

Read the great interview here!!!

Watch ‘Cancer: the Emperor of all Maladies’ Tonight on PBS! #KenBurns

On March 30, 31, and April 1, from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET, PBS will air a three-part documentary on cancer, based on Siddhartha Mukherjee’s 2010 Pulitzer Prize winning book, The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer.  The film is produced by Ken Burns and directed by Barak Goodman.

Live-tweeting is encouraged during the film, follow the #CancerFilm on Twitter and join in.  PBS News Hour will also be doing a live discussion beforehand with Ken Burns (@KenBurns), and you can follow along with #NewsHourChats

Excited that Ken Burns has taken up this project, and looking forward to the three-part special!

Oliver Sacks – The Man Who Turned Life Into Magic – @MGleiser @npr13point7


Be sure to read this beautiful piece by Marcelo Gleiser praising the work of neurologist, writer, and chemist Oliver Sacks (The Man Who Turned Life Into Magic), who recently revealed in the New York Times that he has terminal cancer. I have had the pleasure of reading a number of Sacks’ books and seeing him give a terrific talk in Philadelphia a few years ago. Oliver Sacks is among the strongest of my inspirations for studying the brain!!

Oliver Sacks is a rare soul-reader among us, a golden heart that beats in resonance with an enlightened intellect and a refinement of feeling that finds the humanity cloistered in the deepest recesses of a damaged life. The stories he tells are the stories of his patients, but also his own; he knows and tells us, beautifully, how each experience touches and transforms his own, how each tale he narrates becomes part of his own narrative, his own life story. In this, and in writings such as Uncle Tungsten or Altered States, his New Yorker essay on hallucinatory drugs, we learn that to Oliver life is a grand experiment of the human condition, an experiment that can only bear fruit if we have the courage to engage fully with it. Oliver is the bravest man I know.

Anti-Science Quotable: Nevada Assemblywoman Michele Fiore – Cancer is a fungus…. #science

I assure you Michele, Cancer is not a fungus. Unbelievable… more info here.

If you have cancer, which I believe is a fungus, and we can put a pic line into your body and we’re flushing with, say, salt water, sodium cardonate (I think she means bicarbonate), through that line and flushing out the fungus. These are some procedures that are not FDA-approved in America that are very inexpensive, cost-effective.

-Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, citing a widely debunked theory that the American Cancer Society warns about!

Fashioning Cancer

Fashion and Science don’t seem to have much in common… but not for long!  Recently, Jacqueline Firkins, a costume designer in the Department of Theatre and Film at University of British Columbia (UBC), approached Chris Naus, a professor of cell biology in the UBC Faculty of Medicine about a collaboration using his cell images on clothing to raise public awareness of breast cancer (More details in the ASCB blog). The result: a beautiful collection of gowns featuring microscopic images of cancer.  Check out the full collection: Fashioning Cancer: The Correlation Between Destruction and Beauty.

Models of the Fashioning Cancer Collection. Photo credit: Tim Matheson - See more at:

Models of the Fashioning Cancer Collection. Photo credit: Tim Matheson – See more at:

Today is World Cancer Day!

World Cancer Day is marked on February 4 to raise awareness of cancer and to encourage its prevention, detection, and treatment. World Cancer Day was founded by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) to support the goals of the World Cancer Declaration, written in 2008. The primary goal of the World Cancer Day is to significantly reduce illness and death caused by cancer by 2020.

For more information and to get involved, check out:

President Obama – Precision Medicine Initiative and support for science and research! #SOTU

MORE SCIENCE. LESS FEAR! – Sloan Kettering ad campaign should take over as a meme #mynewmantra


Over the weekend I rode on a NYC subway train with ads that are THE BEST THING EVER. Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in NYC had ads all over the train with different statements about treating cancer (see above), plus the slogan ‘More Science. Less Fear.’ While the Sloan Kettering ads are obviously focusing this slogan on scientific research for cancer treatment, I think this slogan should be applied much more broadly. Can we make it a viral meme?

Does ebola have you scared? More Science. Less Fear!

Worried about climate change? More Science. Less Fear!

etc etc etc.

Alex’s Lemonade Stand Video (@AlexsLemonade): 30 ways to support childhood cancer in 30 days

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month! Check out 30 ways to support childhood cancer in 30 days from Alex’s Lemonade Stand.

We’re giving our supporters 30 different ways to support childhood cancer during the 30 days of September. Follow us online to discover a new way each day.