Friday, April 25, 2008

I profiled Marja Makarow, a Finnish scientist who is now leading the European Science Foundation, for Nature. In doing so I learned the word sisu. It refers to a Finnish personality trait -- think resiliency -- that means "the ability to move through stone." Makarow has it. Shouldn't everyone who works in policy?

I wrote several articles for a Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine newsletter. I profiled six "new recruits" for the Dean's Discovery Report (click Spring 08 for PDF), including Steve Negus, a drug abuse researcher I know from my scientist days. I wrote the "patent spotlight," about a chemist who makes marijuana-like compounds and has brought in more licensing revenue to the university than anyone else. And I wrote the "back page," about a faculty member who was once an auto mechanic and now restores vintage cars.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

I profiled Dave Tapolczay, the new chief of technology transfer at the UK's Medical Research Council (MRC), for Nature. This is no small shakes, as licensing revenue from MRC intellectual property ran to $92 million last year, and start-up companies based on ideas developed by MRC-supported scientists the (17 in the last two decades) create both jobs and revenue for the country.

I covered a symposium on predictive toxicology, diagnostics, and personalized medicine, all under the rubric of Toxicogenomics for the New York Academy of Sciences. The symposium was fascinating, with five speakers covering a wide array of practical applications of human genetics. For example, using a genetic marker to predict which patients will suffer a serious side effect -- even so-called idiosyncratic ones -- after taking a pharmaceutical. Also in breast cancer patients , predicting who will benefit from chemotherapy and who will not -- and therefore shouldn't be subjected to its side effects. Unfortunately for you NYAS nonmembers, you can only view the opening screen of the web presentation (the e-briefing).