Newsmakers

Science  20 Jan 2006:
Vol. 311, Issue 5759, pp. 333
  1. Jobs

    Watershed.

    Pioneering ecologist and co-discoverer of acid rain Gene Likens announced last month that in 2007 he will step down as director of the Institute of Ecosystem Studies (IES) in Millbrook, New York. Likens, 71, plans to return to full-time research. “I'm not ready to retire,” he says.

    CREDIT: HO PHOTOGRAPHERS

    In the 1960s, Likens, F. Herbert Bormann, and other colleagues working at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in New Hampshire found that the rain was abnormally acidic and suggested that air pollution was to blame. The group also devised long-term, ecosystem-scale experiments examining, for example, the impact of logging throughout an entire watershed. “The small watershed approach revolutionized the way that ecosystem science developed from the 1960s on,” says Jerry Melillo of the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.

    In 1983, Likens founded IES, which has since blossomed with 15 full-time ecologists, a dozen or so postdocs, and an endowment of $90 million. “IES is clearly in the crème de la crème,” Melillo says, “largely because of Gene and his leadership.”

  2. Nonprofit World

    Undaunted.

    Even as the Russian government clamps down on social reformers, nuclear proliferation expert Rose Gottemoeller eagerly took the reins this week at the Moscow office of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “It's a very exciting period in Russia,” says Gottemoeller, 52, as the country holds the rotating G8 presidency and is a key participant in efforts to resolve nuclear crises in Iran and North Korea. But, as Science went to press, President Vladimir Putin was poised to sign a new law that would tighten restrictions on nongovernmental organizations. Carnegie would face “onerous reporting requirements” under the law, Gottemoeller says.

    CREDIT: CARNEGIE ENDOWMENT FOR INTERNATIONAL PEACE

    “Rose is both a policy leader and a problem solver,” says veteran Russia analyst Gerson Sher. Before joining Carnegie in October 2000, Gottemoeller was deputy undersecretary for defense nuclear nonproliferation in the U.S. Department of Energy. During her 2- to 3-year tenure in Moscow, she says, expect Carnegie to hold more roundtable discussions on nuclear proliferation and on topical areas such as energy security and the health of Russia's declining population.

  3. Politics

    Making Lemonade. The scandal in which South Korean researcher Woo Suk Hwang faked the generation of cloned human embryonic stem (ES) cells has its bright side—or so says the science community's new leading advocate for stem cell research. Sean Tipton, who took over last month as president of the 97-member Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research, says Hwang's fraud highlights the importance of allowing federally funded research on human ES cell lines derived after 9 August 2001, which President George W. Bush has prohibited by executive order. “When you don't allow [National Institutes of Health] funding, you drive this research into the private sector and into other countries” where oversight is less stringent, Tipton says.

    Tipton, whose full-time job is handling public affairs for the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, says the coalition's priority will be to win Senate approval of a bill that would overturn the presidential restrictions. The House passed the bill last year, and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN), after missing earlier deadlines, has promised to schedule a vote by Easter. “We think we're getting real close to a veto-proof margin” in the Senate, says Tipton about the 67 votes needed to override an expected presidential veto.

  4. Two Cultures

    Out There. Astronauts may have the right stuff to survive in space, but can they endure the petty squabbling of “reality television”? We'll soon find out, as former astronaut Dan Barry will be on Survivor, the popular program in which contestants band together to scratch out a living in the wild but also vote each other off until only the winner remains. Taped earlier, the latest Survivor series begins 2 February on the American network CBS.

    Barry, 52, holds an M.D. and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering and computer science. He flew on the space shuttle three times and in 1986–87 was associate director of the Grass Fellows program at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. Stay tuned to Newsmakers to find out whether a scientific background helped Barry cope with the jungle on an island off the coast of Panama—and with 15 conniving competitors.

  5. Movers

    Stem Cell Gold.

    The lure of California has proven irresistible for two U.S.-born stem cell scientists now based in Australia.

    CREDIT: GILLIAN PERA/USXC HEALTH SCIENCES

    Next month, biologist Martin Pera (right) is leaving Monash University and the Australian Stem Cell Centre (ASCC) in Melbourne, where he headed embryonic stem cell research, to become director of the new Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. A colleague, geneticist and patent law expert Dianna DeVore (below), has resigned as ASCC chief operating officer to participate in an as-yet-undisclosed commercial venture in San Diego to bring stem cell technologies, many developed in Australia, from the lab to the clinic.

    CREDIT: AUSTRALIAN STEM CELL CENTRE

    Pera and DeVore say they were drawn by the rosy funding outlook for stem cell science in California, where the state plans to spend $295 million annually on the field over the next 10 years. By contrast, the Australian government has given ASCC—the nation's flagship stem cell enterprise—a total of $55 million through 2011. California also offers a flexible regulatory framework that permits somatic cell nuclear transfer, a technology currently outlawed in Australia.

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