David Kirkpatrick

February 19, 2010

ResearchGate — Facebook for scientists

Filed under: Media, Science, Technology — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 8:43 pm

Via KurzweilAI.net —  I guess this idea was inevitable. It could be looked at as the latest upgrade to the original ARPANET ideal.

Researcher creates ‘Facebook for Scientists’
VentureBeat, Feb. 18, 2010

ResearchGate has built a social network of more than 250,000 researchers from 196 countries.

Over 1,000 subgroups have been formed for specific disciplines, and 60,000 research documents have been uploaded for sharing with others on the site
Read Original Article>>

November 18, 2009

The stimulus package and science

Scientific research wasn’t left out of this year’s stimulus plan to the tune of $21 billion, and a federal website tracks all that stimulus.

From the link:

The stimulus plan passed by the US Congress earlier this year provided $21 billion for scientific R&D to be allocated through the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Energy, and other agencies. (The full text of the bill is available in this large pdf file.) The debate still rages amongst politicians and economists about just how many jobs the $787 billion bill has created. In the meantime, the government has launched an interesting website detailing where that scientific R&D money went.

Call it propaganda–the site is called ScienceWorksForUS–but it’s interesting to browse through the detailed list and see which research projects were funded and for how much.

September 10, 2009

Reporting on the International Space Station

Filed under: Science, Technology — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 11:51 am

News from NASA hot from this morning’s inbox:

NASA Publishes Report About International Space Station Science

HOUSTON, Sept. 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Advances in the fight against food poisoning, new methods for delivering medicine to cancer cells, and better materials for future spacecraft are among the results published in a NASA report detailing scientific research accomplishments made aboard the International Space Station during its first eight years.

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20081007/38461LOGO)

The report includes more than 100 science experiments ranging from bone studies to materials’ research.

“This report represents a record of science accomplishments during assembly and summarizes peer-reviewed publications to date,” said Julie Robinson, program scientist for the station at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. “As we enter the final year of station assembly, this report highlights the capabilities and opportunities for space station research after assembly is complete.”

One of the most compelling results reported is the confirmation that the ability of common germs to cause disease increases during spaceflight, but that changing the growth environment of the bacteria can control this virulence. The Effect of Spaceflight on Microbial Gene Expression and Virulence experiment identified increased virulence of space-flown Salmonella typhimurium, a leading cause of food poisoning. New research on subsequent station missions will target development of a vaccine for this widespread malady.

Another experiment produced a potential medical advance, demonstrating a new and powerful method for delivering drugs to targets in the human body. Microgravity research on the station was vital to development of miniature, liquid-filled balloons the size of blood cells that can deliver medicine directly to cancer cells. The research was conducted for the Microencapsulation Electrostatic Processing System experiment.

One of the most prolific series of investigations aboard the station tests how spacecraft materials withstand the harsh space environment. The results of the Materials International Space Station Experiment already have been used to develop solar cells for future commercial station cargo ships. This experiment has significantly reduced the time needed to develop new satellite systems, such as solar cells and insulation materials, and paved the way for materials to be used in new NASA spacecraft such as the Orion crew capsule.

The report compiles experiment results collected from the first 15 station missions, or expeditions, from 2000 to 2008. Results of some of the summarized investigations are complete. Preliminary results are available from other continuing investigations.

NASA’s research activities on the station span several scientific areas, including exploration technology development; microgravity research in the physical and biological sciences; human physiology research; Earth science and education.

The report details 22 different technology demonstrations; 33 physical science experiments; 27 biological experiments; 32 experiments focused on the human body; Earth observations and educational activities. In addition to science important to long-duration human spaceflights, most findings also offer new understanding of methods or applications relevant to life on Earth.

In 2008, station laboratory space and research facilities tripled with the addition of the European Space Agency’s Columbus Laboratory and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s three Kibo scientific modules, adding to the capabilities already provided in NASA’s Destiny Laboratory. In 2009, the number of crew members increased from three to six, greatly increasing crew time available for research.

The stage is set for increased station scientific return when assembly and outfitting of the research facility is completed in 2010 and its full potential as a national and international laboratory is realized. Engineers and scientists from around the world are working together to refine operational relationships and build on experiences to ensure maximum use of the expanded capabilities.

The International Space Station Program Scientist Office at NASA’s Johnson Space Center published the report. A link to the full NASA Technical Publication, which provides an archival record of U.S.-sponsored research through Expedition 15, is available at:

http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20090029998_200903090 7.pdf

For more information about the space station, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/station

Photo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20081007/38461LOGO
AP Archive:  http://photoarchive.ap.org/
PRN Photo Desk photodesk@prnewswire.com
Source: NASA

Web Site:  http://www.nasa.gov/

March 14, 2009

Scientists cheer Omnibus Bill

It’s always a good sign for R&D when scientists once again cheer actions from Washington. May the theocrats go hide away in caves and read their fairy tales by the light of candles and campfires.

The release:

APS applauds Senate passage of FY09 omnibus bill

Funding will enable scientists to continue transformational research, leading to innovation, job creation and economic prosperity for the nation

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The American Physical Society (APS) is elated that the Senate has approved the FYO9 Omnibus Bill, which will allow scientists to continue cutting-edge research that will lead to innovation, job creation and economic growth for the United States.

Specifically, APS lauds the bill’s support of research programs at the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Scientists, who receive funding from these agencies, can now further their research on developing solutions to some of the country’s most pressing challenges – developing clean, affordable energy, improving health care and strengthening science and math instruction in our schools.

“At a time when the nation is coping with a deep recession and striving for an economic recovery, federal investments in science and technology are more critical to America’s future than ever,” said Michael S. Lubell, APS director of public affairs. “Crises provide opportunities for creative outcomes. It is gratifying to see science high on Congress’ priority list.”

APS applauds the leadership of Congress and President Obama on the importance of funding science, the seed corn of new discoveries, job growth and economic prosperity for the nation. As policymakers seek solutions to the nation’s many challenges, funding in the FY09 Omnibus Bill, as well as predictable, sustainable increases in the future, will ensure that they can count on scientists to lead in developing those solutions.

 

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About APS: The American Physical Society is the world’s leading professional organization of physicists, representing more than 46,000 physicists in academia and industry in the U.S. and internationally. It has offices in College Park, Md., Ridge, N.Y., and Washington, D.C.

November 28, 2008

Take research papers with a grain of salt

Filed under: Media, Science — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:57 pm

I post a lot of science press releases and many are on research papers. This post from the excellent new blog, Secular Right, makes a great point.

Just because something was published does not make it correct. Not too sure about the stats statistic since it looks like a casual sample, but it should remind you to keep your skeptical mindset whatever the source.

From the link:

Just a quick addendum to my previous post where I advised caution about skepticism of science.  A biomedical scientist recently told me that the journal Virology had a statistician audit all their papers within a 1 year interval with statistics to see if they were using them correctly. Turned out that 2/3 of the papers which had statistics made basic elementary errors!  The moral here is to be very cautious of, and therefore skeptical of, new science, especially sexy new science.  Junk statistics are especially an issue with medical science because of the incentive structure of these research.

(And on another note for all those at Secular Right — thanks for the shoutoutfor my shoutout. That’s right, I’m thanking you for thanking me for thanking you for starting the blog. Er, or something.)

September 7, 2008

Latest DC BS on stem cells

The entire issue around stem cell research just makes me mad. It’s ridiculous that a country like the United States allows Dark Age ideals and intelligence to influence science. This year’s GOP platform includes a call for a ban on any form of stem cell research public or private.

At any rate, here’s the release:

Updated guidelines for stem cell research released

WASHINGTON — The National Academies today released amended guidelines for research involving human embryonic stem cells, revising those that were issued in 2005 and updated in 2007. The Academies originally produced the guidelines to offer a common set of ethical standards for the responsible conduct of research using human stem cells, an area that, due to an absence of comprehensive federal funding, was lacking national standards. Since their initial release, the guidelines have served effectively as the basis for oversight of this research in the United States. In addition, a standing advisory committee — a joint project between the Academies’ National Research Council and Institute of Medicine — was established to monitor and review scientific advances and determine any need for revisions.

Embryonic stem cells have the potential to produce all of the body’s cell types. Researchers are working to harness stem cells’ ability both to regenerate themselves and produce specialized cells that may lead to medical treatments that replace certain types of cells damaged or lost to debilitating illness and injury, such as nerve cells.

One reason for the 2008 modifications is to provide guidance on the derivation and use of new human stem cells that were first developed last year. These cells — called “induced pluripotent cells” — are made by reprogramming nonembryonic adult cells into a stem-cell-like state, in which they can be manipulated to form a wide array of specialized body cells. Although induced pluripotent stem cells can be derived without using embryos, the ethical and policy concerns related to their potential uses are similar to those pertaining to human embryonic stem cells. For example, issues arising from mixing human and animal cells in a single organism are relevant for stem cells from both embryonic and nonembryonic sources. However, derivation of induced pluripotent stem cells does not require special stem cell expertise and is adequately covered by current Institutional Review Board regulations, the report says.

At this time it is still undetermined which stem cell types will prove the most useful for regenerative medicine, as most likely each will have some utility, noted the committee that wrote the report. Therefore, the need for research with human embryonic stem cells still exists despite the availability of new cell sources.

The amended guidelines also clarify that “direct expenses” for reimbursement to women donating their eggs for use in stem cell research may include costs associated with travel, housing, child care, medical care, health insurance, and actual lost wages. This language extends the 2005 guidelines, which stated that women who undergo hormonal induction to generate eggs specifically for research purposes should be reimbursed only for “direct expenses” incurred as a result of the procedure, although they did not specify which expenses qualified as direct. The committee stressed that reimbursement for lost wages is not a payment for eggs; the intent is to leave all donors neither better off nor worse off financially.

To instill a high level of confidence that institutions and their researchers are conducting stem cell research responsibly, the guidelines recommend that the public be informed about the types of stem cell research under way and how the research conforms to the institution’s established procedures. Moreover, the committee strongly suggested as a good management practice that institutions conducting human embryonic stem cell research carry out periodic audits of their embryonic stem cell research oversight (ESCRO) committees to ensure proper performance and make the findings of the audits available to the public. The audits should document decisions regarding the acceptance of research proposals and verify that cell lines in use were acceptably derived.

Additionally, the new guidelines clarify that an institutional ESCRO committee may conduct expedited review for research done exclusively in a laboratory dish or test tube that does not create new lines of stem cells but uses previously derived human embryonic stem cell lines. The original guidelines stated that research is “permissible after currently mandated review and proper notification of the relevant research institution.” However the word “notification” led some experts to question if the requirement could be fulfilled by merely informing ESCRO committees that the research would occur. Although allowing for expedited review, the guidelines still require an ESCRO committee to determine if the human embryonic stem cells have been acceptably derived.

Future committee deliberations will consider items for which additional information-gathering and more extensive debate and discussion may be necessary. For example, the National Institutes of Health determined that the human embryonic stem cell lines declared in 2001 by President George W. Bush to be eligible for federally funded research were derived from embryos donated with informed consent and without financial inducement. Based on this determination, the Academies’ 2007 guidelines had deemed those lines to have been acceptably derived. However, questions about their derivation were raised when this report was near completion. In addition, a breakthrough in the ability to “reprogram” adult cells from one type to another in a living animal was recently announced. The committee will continue to monitor developments in stem cell research to decide whether any future changes to the guidelines are warranted.

 

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The report was sponsored by the Ellison Medical Foundation, the Greenwall Foundation, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and National Research Council make up the National Academies. They are private, nonprofit institutions that provide science, technology, and health policy advice under a congressional charter. The Research Council is the principal operating agency of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering. A committee roster follows.

Copies of 2008 AMENDMENTS TO THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES’ GUIDELINES FOR HUMAN EMBRYONIC STEM CELL RESEARCH are available from the National Academies Press; tel. 202-334-3313 or 1-800-624-6242 or on the Internet at HTTP://WWW.NAP.EDU. Reporters may obtain a copy from the Office of News and Public Information (contacts listed above).

[This news release and report are available at HTTP://NATIONAL-ACADEMIES.ORG ]

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL

Division on Earth and Life Studies

Board on Life Sciences

and

INSTITUTE OF MEDICINE

Board on Health Sciences Policy

HUMAN EMBRYONIC STEM CELL RESEARCH ADVISORY COMMITTEE

R. ALTA CHARO, J.D.1 (CO-CHAIR)
Warren P. Knowles Professor of Law and Bioethics
Law School and School of Medicine and Public Health
University of Wisconsin
Madison

RICHARD O. HYNES, PH.D.1, 2 (CO-CHAIR)
Investigator
Howard Hughes Medical Institute; and
Daniel K. Ludwig Professor of Cancer Research
Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research and Department of Biology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge

ELI Y. ADASHI, M.D., M.S., FACOG1
Professor of Medical Science,
Former Dean of Medicine and Biological Sciences, and Frank L. Day Professor of Biology
Warren Alpert Medical School
Brown University
Providence, R.I.

BRIGID L.M. HOGAN, PH.D.1, 2
George Barth Geller Professor and Chair
Department of Cell Biology
Duke University Medical Center
Durham, N.C.

MARCIA IMBRESCIA
Trustee
Arthritis Foundation; and
Owner
Peartree Design
Lynnfield, Mass.

TERRY MAGNUSON, PH.D.
Sarah Graham Kenan Professor and Chair
Department of Genetics; and
Director
Carolina Center for Genome Sciences
University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill

LINDA B. MILLER, O.T.R., M.S.1
President
Volunteer Trustees Foundation
Washington, D.C.

JONATHAN D. MORENO, PH.D.1
Senior Fellow
Center for American Progress; and
David and Lyn Silfen University Professor and Professor of Medical Ethics and of the History and Sociology of Science
Center for Bioethics
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia

PILAR NICOLE OSSORIO, PH.D., J.D.
Associate Professor of Law and Bioethics
Law School
University of Wisconsin
Madison

E. ALBERT REECE, M.D., PH.D., M.B.A.1
Vice President for Medical Affairs, and Dean
School of Medicine
University of Maryland
Baltimore

JOSHUA R. SANES, PH.D.2
Professor
Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, and
Paul J. Finnegan Family Director
Center for Brain Science
Harvard University
Cambridge, Mass.

HAROLD T. SHAPIRO, PH.D.1
President Emeritus, and
Professor of Economics and Public Affairs
Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs
Princeton University
Princeton, N.J.

JOHN E. WAGNER JR., M.D.
Professor of Pediatrics, and
Scientific Director of Clinical Research
Stem Cell Institute
University of Minnesota Medical School
Minneapolis

STAFF

ADAM P. FAGEN, PH.D.
Study Co-Director, Board on Life Sciences

BRUCE M. ALTEVOGT, PH.D.
Study Co-Director, Institute of Medicine

FRANCES E. SHARPLES, PH.D.
Director, Board on Life Sciences

1 Member, Institute of Medicine
2 Member, National Academy of Sciences