AACR: (Too) sunny San Diego

Greetings from San Diego — or, as I’ve come to think of it, ‘the surface of the sun’. Normally I’d spend this introductory, ‘scene-setting’ blog entry whining about how I’d rather be out playing in the Pacific. Not today. It was absurdly, oppressively, unjustly sunny outside. The sun streamed into the windows of the convention center, and attendees squinted and winced down the hallway. Some sat out on the patio, stretched out with their feet up on chairs sunbathing, but I don’t know how they did it. One trip out of the convention center for lunch left me sunburned and sapped. A darkened conference room offered sanctuary, but the doorway opened into one of those sun-drenched hallways. From inside the room, the hallway was nothing more than a blaze of white light.  Read more

AAAS: You are what you breathe

I arrived to this morning’s session on air pollution and heart disease breathless and soaking wet. It was pouring rain and my commute from across the river involved a lengthy wait at the bus stop. (I knew I was in trouble when a tow truck rumbled by hauling the very bus I had wanted to board…)  … Read more

AAAS: Viral chatter

Earlier today, UCLA researcher Nathan Wolfe gave a fascinating talk on the intricate art of ‘viral forecasting’. Viral forecasting takes disease surveillance a step further than public health agencies normally go: instead of waiting for an outbreak and then rushing to contain it, Wolfe tries to find new viruses before they find us.  Read more

AAAS: Caution! Reporters in the room.

This afternoon we had a press briefing about a session called “The Father and the Fetus: Revisited”. The session discussed consequences for future offspring when men are exposed to nasty chemicals. Researchers almost always focus on mom, so there’s not a lot of data on dad yet. The ‘revisited’ in the title refers to a previous session at a 1991 AAAS meeting. Gladys Friedler of Boston University was candid about why she organized the discussion this year: the 1991 session didn’t lead to the increase in attention and, ahem, funding that she hoped, so she’s giving it another try.  Read more

AAAS: The ballerina in the exhibit hall

I met Lina Colucci yesterday evening when the smell of free food lured me into the exhibit hall. (Years of graduate school have left me with a finely tuned sense of where to go to find free food.) There might have been a few hundred people milling around the hall, but Lina was easy to spot, standing there looking professional and confident in her grey suit and pink ballet toe shoes.  Read more