News and Events – New NIAAA director, Contentious House Grant Act, and More human gene patents struck down

Posted: November 4, 2013 in advocacy, Ethics, Events, Funding, Jobs, Life as a post-doc, Policy, Science

“The recent agreement in Congress provides funding until January 15, but the long-term budget remains to be worked out. You can authentically speak about the future of biomedical research and its importance to all of us. Your perspective is needed and has often been overlooked in Congress. There is growing awareness that young scientists increasingly are exploring other career opportunities that threaten America’s leadership in biomedical research.

Use one of the links below to enter the legislative action center at the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and send a personal message by email to your representative and two senators in Washington, DC. ”

“The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced yesterday that it has tapped neurobiologist George Koob of the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego, California, to direct the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), starting January 2014. The move signals the end of a long period of limbo for the agency, which has operated under an acting director for several years while NIH deliberated on whether to merge the agency with the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). ”

“The author of legislation that would alter how federal agencies manage competitive grants says his bill isn’t aimed at research agencies and “would not change” how those agencies do their jobs. He also said he plans to fix several provisions that are causing the most heartburn among academics and their institutions.

Last week, Representative James Lankford (R-OK) introduced the Grant Reform and New Transparency (GRANT) Act (H.R. 3316). The bill would force government granting agencies to, among other requirements, post funded applications on the Web, provide lists of reviewers, and enable unsuccessful applicants to request a “debriefing” from agency officials. Lankford says the legislation, a slightly revised version of something he proposed in 2011, is intended to level the playing field for grant applicants and give those who aren’t funded “the opportunity to learn from the experience.””

“The Supreme Court’s June decision banning certain kinds of human gene patents is making waves again this week, threatening to submerge diagnostic tests in legal wrangling. On Wednesday, a U.S. district court in San Francisco invalidated a patent on a new, blood-based prenatal test for Down syndrome. The reason, according to the judge, is that the patent poses a “risk of preempting [other uses of] the natural phenomenon” that the test focuses on—fetal DNA that can be isolated from the mother’s blood.”

WARNING: Before you read this article, beware that the more scientifically literate you are, the more likely you are to misinterpret this information in a way that supports your own ideology.”

“In a paper published today in the British Medical Journal, Christopher Jones, a physician at Cooper Medical School of Rowan University in Camden, New Jersey, and his colleagues looked at 585 clinical trials registered on the US government’s website and officially completed as of January 2009. For 171, or 29%, of those, the team found no existing peer-reviewed publication. Although some of these had reported their results on, 133 trials had no results on this site or in published journal papers.”

“The UK Environment Agency is to slash its staffing numbers, raising fears that its ability to function will be compromised.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s