News and Events: Research!America’s hardline on “Sophie’s Choice” House NIH funding bill, Designer baby patent, and 2013 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine

Posted: October 7, 2013 in Ethics, Events, Funding

“The 2013 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has been awarded to James Rothman, Randy Schekman and Thomas Südhof.

The three take the prize for “their discoveries of machinery regulating vesicle traffic, a major transport system in our cells”, the Nobel Assembly says. Vesicles are structures that can transport molecules around cells and deliver them to where they are required.”

“The Government Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 ended on September 30, 2013 at midnight EST and an Appropriation Act for FY2014 has not been passed leading to a lapse in Federal funding.  We are providing the following information to answer questions you may have on the impact this lapse in appropriation will have on your grant/cooperative agreement or the availability of NIH’s systems and services.”

“You may have heard that the House passed a bill yesterday to fund NIH, along with several other stand-alone appropriation bills (funding it at an unacceptably low level, I might add — below FY12 levels). Beyond the fact that this piecemeal, slow-walking avoidance tactic of finding a solution to the government shutdown is dead on arrival in the Senate and the White House, this “Sophie’s Choice,” cherry-picking approach to better health has no place in a functioning research and innovation ecosystem, and we spoke out against it. That said, it was gratifying that NIH was singled out as publicly popular and good to see the possibility of new champions emerging who recognize the importance of NIH funding during the floor debate on the bill. But make no mistake, had we and other advocates supported this ill-conceived measure, we would have been supporting the decline of science in this nation.”

“Not only are government researchers barred from their own labs during the government shutdown, but they cannot travel anywhere else, either.”!

Keynote talk presented at Naturejobs Career Expo 2013 discussing the “alternative careers” available for Ph.D.’s.

“Microsoft co-founder and philanthropic billionaire Paul Allen appears to have his sights on a new project focused on cell biology. At a 26 September symposium celebrating the Allen Institute for Brain Science’s 10th year, Allen called understanding cell biology “another holy grail” and admitted he was interested in developing a devoted institute, according to a Puget Sound Business Journal report. And in a recent interview with NBC News, Allen said he believes “it’s the right time to start a big initiative in cell biology.””

“23andMe, the test-your-own-genes company, has come under fire on moral grounds today for patenting a DNA prediction service that critics say could lead to “designer babies.””


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