March 2013

Reader comments, podcasts and a rap

Letter to the Editor: A wake-up call on mentoring,
January 2013

I want to thank Fred Maxfield for his thoughtful mentoring column in the January issue about what we as individuals and what educational institutions can do to make science students aware of the many career options available to them. Clearly ASBMB has a role in this process as well. This month ASBMB is sponsoring two regional career symposia, one at Stony Brook University in New York and one at the University of Cincinnati in Ohio. Three more will be announced soon, and information on past events is available online as well. I encourage undergraduate and graduate students — and their advisers — in those regions to consider attending these symposia to broaden their professional networks and to hear from people with science backgrounds who are applying their skills and knowledge in various fields. We also encourage institutions to use information from past meetings as a source of topics and speakers to develop local meetings on their campuses. All ASBMB members can play a role and mentor local students and postdocs who apply to host ASBMB-sponsored career meetings in their areas in the next call for applications.
Terri Goss Kinzy, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey Robert Wood Johnson Medical School 

Banner art: new JBC podcasts
JBC podcasts logoParkin deficiency and myocardial infarction
Åsa GustafssonÅsa Gustafsson from the University of California, San Diego, talks about her JBC Paper of the Week, “Parkin Protein Deficiency Exacerbates Cardiac Injury and Reduces Survival following Myocardial Infarction.” The paper delves into the cardiac defects brought on by a protein involved in Parkinson’s disease.
MDEG hyperactivation and caspase-8 activation
Wei-Xing ZongWei-Xing Zong of Stony Brook University talks about his group’s Journal of Biological Chemistry Paper of the Week, “Hyperactivation of the mammalian degenerin MDEG promotes caspase-8 activation and apoptosis.” The paper and interview investigate how misregulation of the degenerin family of ion channels leads to cell death.
Best of the JBC for 2012
JBC Best of 2012 logoJohn DenuTwenty-two JBC papers — out of the more than 4,000 published last year — won Best of 2012 designations. This podcast features a conversation between JBC Associate Editor Joel Gottesfeld of The Scripps Research Institute and John M. Denu of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who authored two papers given the designation. All of the Best of 2012 papers are freely available at

ASBMB representing at #scio13
Geoff Hunt, ASBMB’s public outreach coordinator, joined ASBMB Today science writer Rajendrani Mukhopadhyay at ScienceOnline 2013 last month. The seventh annual conference, which draws hundreds of researchers, teachers, bloggers, journalists and communicators to North Carolina’s Research Triangle, provided an opportunity for Hunt to throw down a new science rap. (Maybe you’ve heard of his performance of “99 Problems and the Lab Ain’t One” at a past ASBMB annual meeting?) Here, we reprint lyrics from his newest creation, a commentary — which he wrote on the train from D.C. to Raleigh — on the disparity between communicating in the real world and communicating in the virtual world.

Watch Geoff’s performance here:


Banner art: Poisoning With Words
Online they say no one knows you’re a dog
Whether you tweet or post or comment or blog
Action so thick it all becomes a fog
Who are you, why you think that you’re a vital cog?

Do you talk with facts?
Or just grind your ax?
Speak your mind?
Bust a rhyme?
Waste my time?
Join the slime

What I hear in my ear it don’t sound too clear
This one says pray and that one says fear
You my peer? Far or near? Telling lies or sincere?
Is your story allegory or should I shed a tear?
All the words that you write will all disappear
Talk at me in circles and still I end up here

Internet shouter
Can’t get no louder
Trust your router
Silence the doubter

Exclaim, emphasize, create, capitalize
Retweet, reply, shake your head, realize
Hashtags, dislikes, snark shown in all size
Come in peace, come in truth or just antagonize
The right to write whets your appetite
Pounding at the keys all day and night
Logic as a metaphor
Going to settle a score
I am right, you are wrong, repeat repeat
Yet from here in my seat it’s all just empty heat

Got new toys to make signal from noise
Everyone’s wired, all the girls and boys
iPhone, iPad, laptop, Android
So how’s the real world supposed to be employed?

Online, you shine, might be a big star
But you know you only famous as an avatar
What happens if you meet
Your idol on the street?
Will it match your dream
Or leave you incomplete?

Are fact and fiction cool or do they spar?
Does what you say define who you are?
Sheltered from revenge, commenting from afar?
Verbal or physical, it leaves the same scar

So just remember when you trying to rally the herds
Comrades or crazies or jocks or nerds
How the virtual world makes reality blurred
And heed the danger of the poison of words
found= true2217