January 2013

The merits of Google Plus

Rajini Rao writes, "There is an insatiable appetite for quality science among the Google crowd, which is composed largely of tech-savvy and educated readers. I write about anything and everything that catches my interest: how a bee’s foot fits snugly into the conical cells of a petunia flower buffeted by the wind, the optics of the compound eye or the gating mechanism of a potassium channel."


Vytas Bankaitis: new director of the Lipid Research Division

Vytas "Vyto" Bankaitis is the E. L. Wehner-Welch Foundation chairman in chemistry at the Texas A&M University Health Science Center Department of Molecular and Cellular Medicine in College Station, Texas. He has been involved in lipid research for more than 20 years and has made seminal contributions to the field.


A Café Scientifique program for teens

How do you capture the attention of teenagers in an age of Facebook, YouTube and iPhones? Given the scientific and technical underpinnings of these 21st century phenomena, it would seem self-evident that science would naturally appeal to teenage minds. Unfortunately, experience shows that teenagers have a limited interest in, and understanding of, the nature of science and the fruits it bears beyond what they learn in school. As scientists and educators, we were motivated to reignite interest in science among teenage audiences by rekindling their curiosity and ability to ask, “Why?” Our solution was to found a science café program for teenagers: Café Scientifique New Mexico.


A wake-up call on mentoring

In a recent American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology survey of biochemists and molecular biologists in the early stages of their careers, nearly 40 percent reported that they were unsatisfied or very unsatisfied with the career mentoring they had received.


Things to look for in a thesis adviser

On the scale of human interactions, the relationship between a graduate student and his or her thesis adviser (a.k.a. major professor) lies somewhere between that of roommates locked into a long-term lease and a marriage. Finding a good match among the faculty typically is the single most important determinant of the quality of a graduate-school experience.


Thematic minireview series commemorates the discovery of the cys-loop ligand-gated ion channel superfamily

It has been 25 years since the identification of two proteins that facilitate communication between nerve cells — a significant achievement that revealed a group of related proteins. In recognition of this advancement, The Journal of Biological Chemistry has published a series of articles that assess what we know about each family member in this group and where that research is headed.


Role of sterols in the formation and function of sperm

The formation of mammalian sperm involves a complex developmental process. In a recent review in the Journal of Lipid Research, Simon Horvat at the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia and colleagues discuss the dramatic changes that take place in membrane lipid composition during spermatogenesis.


Metabolic profile of clinical depression

A diagnosis for clinical depression is based on psychiatric reviews, which can be subjective. In a paper in Molecular & Cellular Proteomics, Chinese researchers described a test that could objectively diagnose the illness.

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