Of Schemes and Memes Blog

Best of nature.com blogs, SciLogs.com and Scitable: 6 – 12 July

Who needs paper?

Your online CV

An online CV is now an everyday part of the job hunt, and this week the Nature Jobs Blog are offering some simple ways to make sure your CV catches the eye of a potential new boss:

If you’re planning on uploading your CV to Naturejobs, use the following checklist to get your CV to the top of the list.

Stay current. Make sure your online profile is complete. Provide as much information about yourself as possible so a potential new boss knows exactly who you are and what makes you tick. Check your CV is up to date, and do that regularly, topping it up with any new information on, say, public speaking, awards or new publications. If you have been shortlisted by an employer, they will be alerted every time you update your CV.

More top tips can be found in their post.

Toddler’s death prompts reflection on bioengineered tissue transplants

The youngest patient to ever receive a bioengineered trachea, seeded with her own bone marrow–derived stem cells, sadly died this week. Elie Dolgin elaborates on this news in the Spoonful of Medicine Blog:


Hannah Warren, who was born without a windpipe, received the artificial trachea at Children’s Hospital of Illinois in Peoria in April. It was only the sixth procedure of its kind and the first to be performed in the US. She would have turned three next month.

Doctors involved in the girl’s treatment told the New York Times that her death was not related to the bioengineered organ. Rather, her native tissue around the esophagus didn’t heal properly, necessitating another operation. She ultimately died from complications of that second operation. “The trachea was never a problem,” said Paolo Macchiarini, a surgeon at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, who led the girl’s tracheal implant and has spearheaded the protocol around the world.

Further information can be found in Elie’s post. 

Nature Seeks Outstanding Mentors From Italy

Nominations for the 2013 Nature Awards for Mentoring in Science are now open and this year’s award focus is on Italy:

Established in 2005, the Nature Awards for Mentoring in Science are annual prizes presented by Nature in recognition of researchers and academics who have devoted their careers to the nurturing of young scientists. Two prizes of €10,000 are awarded, one for a mid-career mentor and one for life-time achievement in mentoring.

Full details and nomination forms are available on the 2013 Award page and more information about the Nature Awards for Mentoring in Science is available on the community section. The closing date for entries is 20 August 2013.

Away from home: Sailing my mast

Rohit Saluja

Every Wednesday, the Indigenus Blog hosts an ‘Away from home’ post featuring an Indian postdoc working in a foreign lab. This week’s post is from Rohit Saluja:

Rohit is a PhD from the Central Drug Research Institute in Lucknow, India and currently a postdoc fellow at Charité – Universitätsmedizin, Berlin, Germany. He invests his energies in making use of the newly discovered “good” functions of mast cells and to find ways of controlling effects of “bad” mast cells. His postdoc tip: look for a salary if you are headed for Germany, not a fellowship.

Share your experiences in the comment thread. 

Senate bill would boost NIH budget to $31 billion in 2014

The US Senate subcommittee that funds the biomedical agency voted this week to boost its budget by nearly US$2 billion, to $31 billion in 2014:

The proposed budget, part of a broader spending bill , would increase top-line NIH spending from the current level of $29.15 billion to $30.955 billion, just shy of the $31.1 billion that President Barack Obama requestedin April. The increase would include $84 million new dollars for Alzheimer’s disease research at NIH’s National Institute on Aging and $40 million for the much-watched Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies Initiative announced by the White House in April.

The Senate panel would also quintuple, to $50 million, funding for the Cures Acceleration Network, an effort by NIH’s new translational medicine centre to speed bench discoveries to the bedside. And the bill would extend to other agencies in the Department of Health and Human Services a requirement that is now operative only at NIH: that researchers deposit their taxpayer-funded manuscripts in a publicly accessible database.

Find out more in the News Blog. 

Management row threatens to blow Sahara solar dream

Plans to supply Europe with electricity generated in North Africa suffered another blow this week when the DESERTEC Foundation, pulled out of the industrial consortium which is trying to advance the €400-billion (US$514-billion) project. Mohammed Yahia discloses more in the House of Wisdom Blog:

The split, agreed upon during an extraordinary DESERTEC board meeting on 27 June, is the climax of growing tensions between the founders of the project and the Dii consortium — including Deutsche Bank and German energy utilities Eon and RWE — over management and strategy issues. Solar power capacities are expanding throughout North Africa and the Middle East — but Dii has recently scaled back ambitions, hinting to political and technical problems with transmitting massive amounts of electricity from North Africa to Europe.

The DESERTEC foundation — sole owner of the project’s brand name — has been increasingly unhappy with how internal discussions over the future of the project leaked to the press.

Hear what Thiemo Gropp, director of the DESERTEC Foundation, has to say on that mater in Mohammed’s post.

Why Do We Sigh?

Scitable blogger Jordan Gaines, explains why we sigh in her latest blog post:
In a series of studies, Teigen and colleagues at University of Oslo explored the context in which people sigh-when are people doing it, and how is it perceived by others?

First, the researchers distributed questionnaires to participants to explore what “emotional” words are associated with sighing: active vs. passive? intense vs. subdued? Additionally, they were asked how frequently they sigh, and whether they do so alone or in company.

In general, the experimenters noted that sighs are associated with a negative mood—a sign of disappointment, defeat, frustration, boredom, and longing. Not too surprising. In addition, the students reported that they sigh in public roughly as often as they do in private, suggesting that it may not be a form of communication, per se.

Learn more about this research in Jordan’s post.

The amygdala, fear, and carbon dioxide
SciLogs blogger Pete Etchells is discussing in his post the latest research on anxiety and how psychologists are trying to understand what happens to our bodies when we become anxious:

Psychologists are increasingly trying to understand what happens to our bodies and our behaviour when we become anxious, so that we might better understand how and why things go wrong in anxiety disorders. An ideal experiment would be to grab a load of participants, divide them into two groups that have similar characteristics, and run some sort of study while one of the groups is anxious, and the other group isn’t, to see what differs between them. The trouble is, it’s quite hard to make people anxious – some studies get participants to give a talk in front of a crowd, while others have tried setting people really hard anagram puzzles so that they deliberately fail. Ingenious ideas, but they come with problems. Not everyone gets nervous talking in front of people, and some people don’t really care about puzzles. In both cases, chances are that people will be anxious during the tasks, and you’re only able to test them in your experiment afterwards. What you need, ideally, is for people to be anxious during testing.

What does the future hold for this type of research, continue to Pete’s post to find out.

Cockatoos crack complex locks to get the nut

GrrlScientist reveals in her latest SciLogs blog post, that ten cockatoos demonstrated their strategic and spatial reasoning abilities by opening a series of five locks in sequence to obtain a reward — without prior training:

“Muppet”, a goffin’s cockatoo, Cacatua goffiniana, solves the bolt-type lock on a puzzle box. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0068979.s001 Image: Alice Auersperg/University of Vienna.


Further, the cockatoos then applied their knowledge to open the locks after their specific order was changed. These findings suggest that cockatoos are capable of persistently working towards a particular goal and they are sharp-eyed observers who can determine how physical objects interact with each other. They can then flexibly apply their knowledge from previous tasks to solving the job at hand instead of merely reproducing a learned series of motions.
Continue to her post to find out more about this research.


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