Incoming chief scientist at Texas cancer agency discusses her role

Incoming chief scientist at Texas cancer agency discusses her role

Margaret Kripke, the newly appointed chief scientific officer at the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT), took questions from reporters in a 25-minute teleconference this afternoon.  Kripke takes the job on 7 January, filling the shoes of Nobel laureate Al Gilman, who resigned in October. Since Kripke accepted the job a couple of weeks ago — a fact only announced yesterday — the agency’s chief commercialization officer has left, and, today, the departure of its executive director, Bill Gimson, was announced. Thirty of its scientific reviewers have also resigned.  Here is a summary of today’s news conference  … Read more

Pre-Columbian fossil collectors unearthed

Excavation pit house at the Harris Archeological Site in southwestern New Mexico.

Native Americans that lived in the Mimbres Valley of southwestern New Mexico more than a millennium ago are well-known for their distinctive pottery but now may have a new claim to fame: They collected fossils — apparently for ritual use within their homes, and probably from a site dozens of kilometres from their village.  Read more

New York research facilities feel Sandy’s wrath

It was sometime around 8:00 pm on Monday night when the surging East River, driven by Hurricane Sandy, broke its banks and a deluge of brackish water came pouring into the basement of New York University’s Smilow Research Center at 30th Street. For neurobiologist Gordon Fishell, who was weathering the storm at his home in Larchmont, New York, it was the worst-case scenario for his research.  Read more

Egg freezing enters clinical mainstream

Egg freezing enters clinical mainstream

Egg freezing is no longer an experimental procedure, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), which on 22 October issued new guidelines on the controversial practice. The change in policy is expected to accelerate the growth of clinics that offer egg freezing to women who face fertility-damaging treatment for cancer or other conditions,  and to women wishing to delay having a baby — although the society stopped short of endorsing the procedure for that purpose.  Read more

Cleared of misconduct, polar-bear researcher is reprimanded for leaked e-mails

A US Department of Interior (DOI) researcher whose observations of drowned polar bears rallied advocates for action on climate change has been exonerated of scientific misconduct. But the public release on 28 September of an investigation by the DOI’s Inspector-General (IG) reveals that the researcher, Charles Monnett, has been reprimanded on another matter: leaking emails that helped environmental groups sue the government over its approval of plans by Shell Oil to conduct oil and gas exploration in the Arctic.  Read more

Updated – Transgenic cassava armed with dual disease resistance

George Osodi/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Long a food staple in Africa, the humble cassava may be poised to grow even further in significance as other crops like maize wither in the heat and drought of a warming climate. But agricultural scientists know that the hardy tuber has an Achilles Heel — disease — that could curb its future potential.  Read more

US House nixes bill to increase visas for foreign scientists

Lawmakers in the US House of Representatives have voted down legislation that sought to grant permanent residency —  commonly referred to as ‘green card’ status — to thousands of foreign researchers with graduate degrees in science and engineering from US universities. The measure, which required a two-thirds majority to pass, failed in a 257 to 158 vote on 22 September.  Read more

US budget extension to keep research funds flowing

As the clock runs out at the end of this month on the US government’s 2012 fiscal year and with no sign of agreement in Congress on a budget for 2013, the House of Representatives passed a bill on 13 September that would maintain funding — including for key science agencies and departments — until 27 March, 2013.  Read more