Archive for the ‘Ethics’ Category

final-poster

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http://news.sciencemag.org/environment/2014/07/greening-food-pyramid

“Advice about a healthy diet might soon take the planet itself into account. The next version of Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the major nutrition report from the government agencies that brought you the food pyramid, seems likely to contain advice about sustainable food choices. The prospect is already generating controversy.”

 

http://news.sciencemag.org/people-events/2014/07/hivaids-field-shocked-death-leading-researcher-mh17-crash

“As thousands of researchers gathered here today to attend the 20th International AIDS Conference, which starts Sunday, the usual joyous hugs of greeting between far-flung colleagues were replaced by hugs of sorrow at the loss of Dutch HIV scientist Joep Lange, a leading light in the field, and at least five others heading to the meeting who were on the Malaysian Airlines flight shot down over Ukraine on 17 July.”

 

http://blogs.nature.com/news/2014/07/wellcome-trust-looks-to-youth-and-high-risk-research.html

“The United Kingdom’s largest biomedical charity is to shake up the way it forks out its funding, with an increased emphasis on ‘high-risk’ research and stronger support for less-experienced scientists.”

 

http://news.sciencemag.org/asiapacific/2014/07/australia-scraps-carbon-tax

“Bucking global efforts to curtail carbon pollution, Australia’s conservative government yesterday abolished a national carbon tax that it had long opposed. The move to “ax the tax”—as Prime Minister Tony Abbott is fond of saying—makes Australia the first country in the world to abolish a functioning carbon pricing scheme.”

 

http://nexus.od.nih.gov/all/2014/07/17/formula-for-innovation-people-ideas-time/

“To meet the changing needs of the biomedical workforce, NIH is piloting the concept of awarding longer grants that provide more stable support for investigators at all career stages. It is our hope that with more sustained support, investigators will have more freedom to innovate and explore new lines of inquiry. The NIH Pioneer Award, supported by the Common Fund, represents a compelling example of such an approach. Pioneer Awards supports individual scientists of exceptional creativity, who propose pioneering – and possibly transformative approaches – to major research challenges. This award allows for $500,000 annually in direct costs for five years, and, in a recent evaluation, was shown to facilitate a high level of innovation and productivity.”

 

http://news.sciencemag.org/scientific-community/2014/07/1-scientific-publishing

“Publishing is one of the most ballyhooed metrics of scientific careers, and every researcher hates to have a gap in that part of his or her CV. Here’s some consolation: A new study finds that very few scientists—fewer than 1%—manage to publish a paper every year.”

 

http://news.sciencemag.org/asiapacific/2014/07/researcher-sues-block-retraction-golden-rice-paper

“A researcher whose nutrition study in Chinese children was found in breach of ethical regulations is going to court to salvage a paper describing her results. Nutrition scientist Guangwen Tang is suing the American Society for Nutrition (ASN) and Tufts University, where she has worked for more than 25 years, to prevent the retraction of her 2012 paper in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.”

 

 

http://blogs.nature.com/news/2014/05/nih-to-require-sex-reporting-in-preclinical-studies.html

“The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) will require grant applicants to report the sex of animals and cells used in preclinical studies, officials said today….

Under the new NIH policy, which will begin to take effect in October of this year, grant applicants will have to describe how they plan to balance the sexes for cells and animals used in their studies….

Yet the problem is bigger than just sex bias: factors such as age and genetic background can all greatly influence how an animal responds to a treatment. Brad Bolon, a veterinary pathologist at Ohio State University in Columbus, thinks the new NIH rules ignore the real problem. “By drawing so much attention to matter of sex, it avoids the whole crux of the issue,” which is too little transparency on the details of experimental design as a whole, he says.

Bolon also worries about added costs that may result from the new rules. To get enough statistical power to draw conclusions about each sex, researchers may need to double the number of animals used in the study. “Arbitrarily saying that research must be done in both sexes, especially early on, is going to take money out of testing truly novel hypotheses,” he says.”

 

http://news.sciencemag.org/policy/2014/05/u.s.-senate-shelves-long-debated-patent-troll-bill

A U.S. Senate bill intended to crack down on frivolous patent lawsuits has floundered after months of negotiation between key stakeholders. The bill aimed to discourage so-called patent trolls—companies that amass patents with no intention of making any product and instead generate revenue by filing suits against allegedly infringing firms. But opponents of the bill—including university groups and biotech firms—feared the Senate’s offensive against patent predators would make it too costly for legitimate patent holders to protect their claims.”

 

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=314737115&ft=1&f=

Setting his sights on Republicans who reject climate change, an environmentalist billionaire is unveiling plans to spend $100 million this year in seven competitive Senate and gubernatorial races, as his super PAC works to counteract a flood of conservative spending by the Koch brothers.”

 

http://news.sciencemag.org/biology/2014/05/nih-will-no-longer-require-special-review-u.s.-gene-therapy-trials

In a milestone for the field of gene therapy, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will no longer subject all proposed gene therapy clinical trials to review by a special federal advisory committee.”

 

http://blogs.nature.com/news/2014/05/uproar-as-anti-gm-vine-activists-acquitted-in-france.html

“French scientists are up in arms over the recent court acquittal of 54 activists who destroyed 70 experimental genetically modified (GM) grapevines in eastern France in August 2010.”

 

http://news.sciencemag.org/health/2014/04/first-global-drug-resistance-overview-paints-grim-picture

“Without urgent, coordinated action by many stakeholders, the world is headed for a post-antibiotic era, in which common infections and minor injuries which have been treatable for decades can once again kill,” wrote Keiji Fukuda, WHO’s assistant director-general for health security, in a press statement.”

 

http://news.sciencemag.org/climate/2014/05/u.s.-climate-changes-white-house-embraces-science-never

The White House has just released its new National Climate Assessment (NCA), and its central scientific message will be familiar to climate scientists and the White House press corps. Climate impacts are already apparent in the United States, they are likely to worsen, and communities should begin factoring climate change into all kinds of decisions. From Hawaii to Maine, from the fishing industry to manufacturing, the report’s 30 chapters emphasize that “evidence of human-induced climate change continues to strengthen and that impacts are increasing across the country.””

 

http://blogs.nature.com/news/2014/05/uks-royal-society-still-trails-us-national-academy-of-sciences-in-female-members.html

“The Royal Society — the United Kingdom’s national science academy — today announced that it has elected 50 new fellows, who get to put the prestigious letters ‘FRS’ after their name….Just 14% of the new fellows are women, meaning that the Royal Society still lags behind the US National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in terms of female representation. The NAS had 21% women among the 84 newly elected members it announced two days ago, and consistently elects a higher proportion of women than its UK counterpart (see chart).”

 

http://news.sciencemag.org/health/2014/05/calling-polio-international-emergency-who-recommends-travel-requirements

Citing “extraordinary” circumstances, the World Health Organization (WHO) today declared the international spread of wild poliovirus a public health emergency of international concern. It is just the second time that WHO has declared an emergency, saying the recent export of polio from three nations to adjoining areas could threaten global efforts to eradicate the disease. “

 

http://news.sciencemag.org/asiapacific/2014/05/mega%E2%80%93marine-reserve-going-limits-fishers

The government of the Pacific island nation Kiribati has announced that it will close one of the world’s biggest marine reserves to all commercial fishing at the end of the year. The Phoenix Islands Protected Area, about the size of California, is home to the world’s last major stocks of tuna.”

 

http://blogs.nature.com/news/2014/05/uk-politicians-wade-into-pharma-mega-deal.html

“Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has attempted to reassure UK politicians over its attempts to buy AstraZeneca, as political parties traded blows over the potential merger.”

http://news.sciencemag.org/biology/2014/04/u.s.-biomedical-research-unsustainable-prominent-researchers-warn

The U.S. biomedical science system “is on an unsustainable path” and needs major reform, four prominent researchers write in an opinion piece published today by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Researchers should “confront the dangers at hand,” the authors write, and “rethink” how academic research is funded, staffed, and organized,according to Science Careers (published by AAAS, which also publishes ScienceInsider).”

 

http://blogs.nature.com/news/2014/04/ipcc-report-calls-for-climate-mitigation-action-now-not-later.html

“The world is heading towards possibly dangerous levels of global warming despite increasing efforts to promote the transition to a low-carbon economy, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns in its latest report today.”

 

http://news.sciencemag.org/europe/2014/04/pro-life-citizens-initiative-worries-e.u.-scientists

A group of European pro-life organizations is mobilizing against embryonic stem cell research in a way that the European Commission cannot ignore. One of Us, a so-called European citizens’ initiative, has collected 1.7 million signatures from all 28 E.U. member states for a proposal that would block funding for research in which embryos are destroyed; under E.U. rules, the European Commission must now consider turning the proposal into legislation.”

 

http://blogs.nature.com/news/2014/04/acid-bath-stem-cell-scientist-apologizes-and-appeals.html

“Haruko Obokata, the Japanese scientist at the centre of a controversy over studies purporting to turn mature cells to stem cells simply by bathing them in acid or subjecting them to mechanical stress, today apologized for her errors in the work.”

 

http://news.sciencemag.org/health/2014/04/armed-new-data-researchers-again-challenge-effectiveness-antiflu-drug

BMJ has published the latest volley in a battle over one of the most controversial drugs of the 21st century: the anti-influenza compound oseltamivir, better known as Tamiflu. A working group of the Cochrane Collaboration, an international network of scientists that performs systematic reviews of the medical literature, has carried out the most exhaustive meta-analysis yet of the drug’s efficacy—and its conclusions are, once again, pretty damning.”

 

http://news.sciencemag.org/people-events/2014/04/white-house-budget-director-lead-health-and-human-services

President Barack Obama today nominated Sylvia Mathews Burwell, director of the White House budget office, to replace Kathleen Sebelius as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).”

 

http://blogs.nature.com/news/2014/04/former-nih-stem-cell-chief-joins-new-york-foundation.html

“Stem-cell biologist Mahendra Rao, who resigned last week as director of the Center for Regenerative Medicine (CRM) at the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), has a new job. On 9 April, he was appointed vice-president for regenerative medicine at the New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF), a non-profit organization that funds embryonic stem-cell research.”

 

http://news.sciencemag.org/environment/2014/04/u.s.-park-service-nixes-immediate-genetic-rescue-isle-royale-wolves

The next chapter in the long-running scientific story of Michigan’s Isle Royale wolves will not include a dramatic genetic rescue. After 2 years of consideration, the National Park Service (NPS) announced this week that it will not introduce mainland wolves to revive the genetically inbred and declining wolf population on the isolated island. “The decision is not to intervene as long as there is a breeding population,” Isle Royale National Park Superintendent Phyllis Green tells ScienceInsider.  “

http://news.sciencemag.org/funding/2014/03/first-step-first-bill-exposes-party-differences

“Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives today laid out their arguments for keeping the National Science Foundation (NSF) on a short leash. It was the latest salvo in a yearlong battle with Democrats over the nature of federal support for basic research.

The setting was a markup of controversial legislation, H.R. 4186, by the research panel of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. The bill, called the Frontiers in Innovation, Research, Science, and Technology (FIRST) Act, would reauthorize research and education programs at NSF and the National Institute of Standards and Technology and provide greater oversight of federal efforts in science education. ”

 

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2014-03-11/news/chi-durbin-calls-for-150b-spending-on-biomedical-research-20140311_1_durbin-biomedical-research-nih-research

“Sen. Dick Durbin today called for $150 billion more in federal spending on biomedical research over 10 years, saying America’s place as the world’s innovation leader is at risk because it no longer invests enough in basic science.”

 

http://news.sciencemag.org/policy/2014/03/animal-rights-extremists-increasingly-targeting-individuals

“Animal rights activists have dramatically shifted their tactics over the last decade, targeting individual researchers and the businesses that support them, instead of going after their universities. That’s the biggest revelation to come out of a report released today by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), the largest coalition of biomedical research associations in the United States.”

 

http://blogs.nature.com/news/2014/03/ancient-hominin-little-foot-older-than-thought.html

“Little Foot, the world’s most complete hominin fossil, dates back much further than the widely thought 2.2 million years, and should help scientists narrow down the identity of the first human ancestor, according to new research published today in the Journal of Human Evolution*. The findings were announced at simultaneous press conferences in Paris and Johannesburg.”

 

http://news.sciencemag.org/asiapacific/2014/03/evidence-mounts-against-reprogrammed-stem-cell-papers

“Amid mounting allegations of problematic images and plagiarism, the lead author and two co-authors are considering retracting two controversial papers describing a simple method for creating stem cells known as STAP (stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency). Their written statement was released during a press conference here today at which an investigating committee confirmed finding problems in the papers but stopped short of rendering a judgment on research misconduct.”

 

http://nexus.od.nih.gov/all/2014/03/12/collecting-data-on-postdoc-benefits/

“NIH’s biomedical research workforce initiatives, which implement Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD) recommendations, include improving graduate student and postdoctoral research training through a number of measures, including increasing postdoctoral stipends to reflect years of training, and considering policies on benefits. In February we announced increases to NRSA stipend levels in the NIH Guide. Today, I’d like to talk about how we are proceeding with evaluating postdoc benefits.”

 

http://blogs.nature.com/news/2014/03/switzerland-to-provide-grants-while-european-funding-is-on-hold.html

“The Swiss government is stepping in to support individual researchers currently excluded from receiving grants from the European Union.

Hundreds of Switzerland-based scientists who had applied, or intended to apply, for European Research Council (ERC) grants have been badly hit by the fallout of a referendum last month which obliges the Swiss government to restrict immigration into the country. In response, the European Union suspended talks with Switzerland over its association with the EU’s €80 billion Horizon 2020 research programme, of which the ERC is a part.”

 

http://blogs.nature.com/news/2014/03/us-senate-votes-to-confirm-france-cordova-as-nsf-director.html

“The US National Science Foundation (NSF) has a new leader. The US Senate voted today to confirm astrophysicist France Córdova to lead the agency, roughly a year after former director Subra Suresh resigned mid-term.”

http://news.sciencemag.org/funding/2014/03/1000-nih-investigators-dropped-out-last-year

“Has the cull begun? New data show that after remaining more or less steady for a decade, the number of investigators with National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding dropped sharply last year by at least 500 researchers and as many as 1000. Although not a big surprise—it came the same year that NIH’s budget took a 5% cut—the decline suggests that a long-anticipated contraction in the number of labs supported by NIH may have finally begun.”

 

https://chronicle.com/article/Strapped-Scientists-Abandon/144921/

Powerful article on the negative effects continued flat funding and budget cuts have had on the research force in the US (and especially on young scientists). Focuses on a poll of over 10,000 basic science researchers. Nothing too new in the poll’s findings, except that whereas even just a few years ago you would be hard pressed to find even 10% of lab heads encouraging their mentees to seek out non tenure-track positions and career alternatives, based on the poll, now more than 50% responded that they currently encourage this type of “alternative” career planning. Subscription required unfortunately.

 

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/sns-wp-blm-news-bc-research-bias03-20140303,0,528842.story

“Scientists continue to neglect gender in medical research, endangering women’s health by focusing on males in studies that shape the treatment of disease, according to a report released Monday.”

 

http://www.nature.com/news/obama-s-budget-plan-defies-spending-cap-1.14793

“US President Barack Obama’s budget proposal for the 2015 fiscal year seems destined to please no one. The US$3.9-trillion plan, released on 4 March, exceeds the spending limit approved for the year by Congress by about $56 billion, drawing quick rebukes from lawmakers. But it also proposes almost flat budgets for key research agencies, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF), which has disappointed science advocates.” For a supposedly science friendly president who has repeatedly claimed a strong commitment to basic biomedical research, his request for essentially flat funding for the NIH is very disappointing and disheartening.

“According to the agency’s Biomedical Research and Development Price Index, which calculates its purchasing power, the cost of doing research is expected to rise by 2.9% in fiscal year 2015, far outpacing the NIH’s 0.7% budget hike.” Case in point for why flat funding is actually a budget cut for the NIH.

See also: http://news.sciencemag.org/funding/2014/03/major-u.s.-science-agencies-face-flat-prospects

 

http://nexus.od.nih.gov/all/2014/03/05/comparing-success-award-funding-rates/

From Dr. Sally Rockey’s blog Rock Talk: Success Rates, Award Rates, and Funding Rates”

 

http://blogs.nature.com/news/2014/02/south-korean-supreme-court-confirms-hwangs-sentence.html

“The South Korean Supreme Court has upheld a 2010 ruling that sentences disgraced cloning expert Woo Suk Hwang to a one-and-a-half-year prison term for embezzlement and violation of the country’s bioethics law. The term comes with a two-year probation, however, and if Hwang does not commit a crime during that period, he will not have to serve jail time at all. This is the final judgment on a trial that started in 2006 andreached its first verdict in 2009 after 43 hearings involving 60 witnesses.”

 

http://www.topuniversities.com/subject-rankings/2014

QS World University Rankings by Subject 2014, published on 25 February. University of Washington does quite well, with 23rd for medicine and 24th for biological sciences.

 

http://www.nih.gov/news/health/mar2014/nichd-05.htm

“Women whose male partners have high concentrations of three common forms of phthalates, chemicals found in a wide range of consumer products, take longer to become pregnant than women in couples in which the male does not have high concentrations of the chemicals, according to researchers at the National Institutes of Health and other institutions.”