Harold Varmus knows what makes America great! #SCIENCE #RAawards16 @ResearchAmerica

Research America hosted its annual Advocacy Awards this week, which included honoring Dr. Harold Varmus with its Legacy Award.

Dr. Harold Varmus received the Legacy award for his lifetime commitment to advancing research.  In the 20 years we have hosted advocacy awards evenings, this is only the 4th time we have bestowed the Legacy Award.  I hope you will take a moment to consider the timely challenge Dr. Varmus delivered to us all via his acceptance remarks, in which he refers to science as representing the best of what we have been and must continue to be as a nation.

Dr. Varmus made an amazing speech during his acceptance of the award promoting science and research in America. Can Varmus run for President? He actually knows what makes America great!

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@gordonconf UPDATE: BRAIN researcher John Ngai to give Seminar keynote #HongKong

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UC Berkeley Professor and BRAIN initiative researcher Dr. John Ngai will give the keynote at the 2016 Gordon Research Seminar on Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology – Disruptive New Technologies in Studying Neural Development, Plasticity, and Diseases. Ngai’s research is described on the UC Berkeley website:

How does the olfactory apparatus of vertebrates detect and discriminate thousands of odors? Our approach to elucidating the mechanisms of olfactory discrimination involves the characterization of odorant receptors and the neural pathways that they activate. We are also interested in the developmental mechanisms responsible for specifying odorant receptor expression in olfactory neurons and the pathfinding of these cells’ axons to their appropriate targets. Finally, our lab is developing DNA microarray technologies to elucidate genome-wide patterns of gene expression in the nervous system.

Learn more about Professor Ngai’s BRAIN initiative funded research here.

This Seminar is associated with the Gordon Research Conference on Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology, but is tailored for students and postdocs. Both meetings are in Hong Kong, and feature terrific speakers. Check out the links for more info, registration info, and applications.

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Celebrating 90 years since Robert Goddard’s rocket launch – @NASA #space

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NASA is celebrating 90 years since Robert Goddard’s rocket lifted off, launching the era of spaceflight.

Ninety years ago, on March 16, 1926, a rocket lifted off – not with a bang, but with a subtle, quiet flame – and forever changed the scope of scientific exploration. This event ties directly to the birth of NASA more than 30 years later.

None of this would be possible without the experiments of Massachusetts physics professor Robert Goddard, best known for inventing the liquid-fueled rocket. The namesake of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, he dreamed as early as 1909 of creating an interplanetary vehicle. While he couldn’t achieve that in his lifetime, his inventions in the first half of the 20th century became the engineering foundation for the rockets that first took humans to the moon in the 1960s and for today’s rockets, which look further into space than ever before.

 

After nearly 17 years of work, Goddard successfully launched his creation on March 16, 1926.

@GeneticLiteracy top 6 new stories this week! #GMO #GLPTop6

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  1. Debunking 11 popular GMO Myths: Part I: Frankenfoods and Franken-corporations || Part II: Do GMOs pose health and ecological dangers? by Michael Hess & Peter Hess

  2. Making monkeys just to suffer: Is new autism model ethical? by Meredith Knight

  3. Stopping global hunger will require mix of high-tech, GM, organic methods by Andrew Porterfield

  4. Genetics might be able to save the world’s coral reefs by Andrew Porterfield

  5. With global gene editing slow down, what’s the future of ‘designer babies?’ by Nicholas Staropoli

  6. Genes identified that extend life by Ben Locwin

@NOAA validates what you already knew about this winter… its warm. #fewersnowmen

tave-anom-201512-201602NOAA reports that this winter has been very, very warm, especially when compared with previous average temperatures. This shouldn’t surprise anyone that is paying attention (or anyone who leaves their house now and then), given that NOAA and NASA found 2015 be the warmest year on record. Climate change… ya think??

  • Forty-six states across the contiguous U.S. had a winter temperature that was above average. Much-above average winter temperatures were observed across the West, Great Plains, Midwest, Southeast, and Northeast. Each of the six New England states had a winter temperature that was record warm.

  • Alaska had its second warmest December-February with a statewide temperature of 14.2°F, 10.6°F above average. Several locations across Alaska were record warm including Barrow and King Salmon, while Anchorage and Juneau had their second warmest December-February.

See the full report here.

Spectacular eruption of Italy’s Etna volcano! #science

Italy’s Mount Etna erupted yesterday in spectacular fashion – more info at Eruptions blog by Erik Klemetti.

AFTER WHAT HAS been a quiet 2015, Etna saw one of its first paroxysms of the year. Over the last few weeks, the Voragina crater on Etna has been restless, with low level Strombolian activity that was mainly confined to the crater. However, last night, the Voragine crater unleashed a lava fountainthat reached 1 kilometer (~3,200 feet) over the volcano with an accompanying ash plume that topped 3 kilometers (~9,800 feet). Even with all that intensity of eruption, the paroxysm was over in only 50 minutes.

This was Etna’s first significant eruption since May 2015, when the activity was centered at the New Southeast Crater, but the Voragine Crater had been sputtering lava occasionally since the start of the year.

Problems and solutions in #science education and postdoc training @NatureNews

This week Nature has a number of editorials, commentaries, and news features examining graduate education and postdoctoral training. They are all extremely interesting and make TONS of good points!

My favorite, in part because I am living it, is a piece by Jessica Polka (@jessicapolka) and Viviane Callier (@vcallier)- Fellowships are the future. I have to be honest, I could not agree more with this article… even if I wrote it myself. A must READ!!

If postdocs receive greater independence, PIs will lose some control, so they may have to find other resources to conduct their research. But this could be good for science: having postdocs strike out away from the beaten path will bring fresh ideas and approaches to the table. For both of us, getting a fellowship enabled us to cut a path that was separate from the dominant research area in each of our mentors’ labs. The experience of trying to define a new scientific direction has been most useful for us, even as our paths diverge.

Next an editorial – Make the Most of PhDs – highlights the need for graduate education reform, for the good of science and graduates.

The number of people with science doctorates is rapidly increasing, but there are not enough academic jobs for them all. Graduate programmes should be reformed to meet students’ needs.

Last, Julie Gould’s news feature – How to build a better PhD – addresses the problems in scientific graduate education and how to improve it to build better PhDs.