ScienceScope

Science  16 Aug 2002:
Vol. 297, Issue 5584, pp. 1107
  1. Stem Cells by Intel

    The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), last week announced a $5 million gift toward a $20 million fund that will allow its researchers to expand their work on embryonic stem cells.

    CREDIT: PAUL SAKUMA/AP

    Intel chair Andrew Grove (above) said that he would match every gift between $50,000 and $500,000, up to $5 million, to help the university set up the Stem Cell Discovery Fund and a research program to cultivate and study newly derived cell lines. UCSF is one of two U.S. universities to produce human embryonic stem cell lines listed in NIH's Stem Cell Registry, but the new fund will let its researchers go beyond those derived before President George W. Bush's deadline of 9 August 2001.

  2. New Path for Ph.D.s

    A National Research Council (NRC) report has proposed a fellowship program for newly minted Ph.D.s who want to work with kids. The program would provide schools with expertise that's hard to come by and young scientists with an alternative career path.

    The 2-year, $35,000-a-year fellowships would train scientists to use their skills in the classroom, at science museums, or in other education settings. “They probably won't be teaching fourth-grade math, but they could be a tremendous resource specialist for an elementary school,” says panel member Margaret Cozzens, vice chancellor at the University of Colorado, Denver. “We think there'll be a big demand,” says panel chair Patricia Morse, a marine biologist at the University of Washington, Seattle.

    The report, Attracting Science Ph.D.s to K-12 Education, estimates it would cost $2.5 million a year to support 30 fellows.

  3. Big Green Donation

    An international fund to protect the global environment won a $700 million boost last week after the United States agreed to increase its contribution. The agreement comes days before the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa.

    After months of negotiations (Science, 31 May, p. 1596), the donor countries of the Global Environment Facility approved a $2.92 billion budget for the next 4 years. CEO Mohammed T. El-Ashry says the money will support continuing efforts to protect biodiversity and mitigate climate change as well as new work on combating persistent organic pollutants and desertification. Some $70 million of the $500 million U.S. contribution will be tied to the fund's performance.

  4. Pleading His Innocence

    A former government scientist says that he's being made “the designated fall guy” for the FBI's failure to find a suspect in last fall's anthrax mailings that killed five people.

    Speaking last weekend at his lawyer's office in Alexandria, Virginia, Steven J. Hatfill, a virologist at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) from 1997 to 1999, said he “never, ever worked with anthrax in my life.” Hatfill has not been named a suspect, but the FBI has searched his home twice and the media and Internet sites are full of speculation about his role in the attacks.

    CREDIT: RICK BOWMER/AP

    Hatfill is on paid leave from his current position as an associate director of the National Center for Biomedical Research and Training at Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, after being laid off in April from his job at Science Applications International Corp. He complained that the authorities and the media have turned his life into “a wasteland.”

  5. Biodefense Buzz

    U.S. labs are positioning themselves to compete for the lavish sums available for bioterrorism research next year. At a meeting in Gaithersburg, Maryland, last week, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) officials revealed details of its plan to cover the country with some 10 “regional centers of excellence” to conduct basic and clinical research, train the next generation of biodefense scientists, and help out in case of a new attack.

    The centers—the first four to be picked next May—will serve as “beehives of activity,” program director Rona Hirschberg told more than 300 eager scientists and administrators. Each center will get $4 million to $6 million a year, but researchers expect that their special status will help them rake in additional funds, including hundreds of millions of dollars in regular NIAID grants. “It's a tremendous opportunity,” says microbiologist Joel Baseman of the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, part of a Texas consortium that plans to apply by the 15 January deadline.

    NIAID also plans to spend $450 million over the next 2 years to build and operate half a dozen new regional high-level biocontainment facilities that will be associated with the new centers.