Science  30 May 2008:
Vol. 320, Issue 5880, pp. 1145

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  1. Push for Antimatter Search

    1. Andrew Lawler

    A controversy over whether to put an experiment to detect antimatter aboard the space station has reached a high boil. The NASA authorization bill approved by the House Science and Technology committee's space subcommittee last week proposes $150 million for the launch of the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer aboard the space shuttle. NASA last year knocked the experiment out of the shuttle queue, arguing that its first priority is to finish construction of the station. But several House lawmakers say that NASA's failure to carry out the international project would jeopardize the reputation of the United States as a reliable science partner. The bill is expected to be considered by the full House this summer.

  2. Dream Teams to Tackle Cancer

    1. Lauren Cahoon

    The London-based charity Cancer Research UK (CRUK) has begun appointing scientist “dream teams” to collaborate with pharmaceutical companies on emerging cancer therapies. The handpicked teams will include up to five experts from different fields and will receive $1 million over 2 years, after which CRUK hopes industrial partners will take the therapies to market.

    CRUK announced this week that its first team, led by Nicol Keith of the University of Glasgow, will focus on cell senescence, the mechanism by which aging cells stop dividing. Although the group includes only U.K. researchers, CRUK says future teams will enlist scientists from around the world and tackle topics such as cancer stem cells and chromatin modification. The goal, says CRUK's Simon Youlton, is to fill the gap between “what's coming out of academic research and what's being pursued by the pharmaceutical companies.”

  3. NIST Funds Bricks and Mortar

    1. Eli Kintisch

    The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has announced a competition to give out $29 million for the construction of science facilities at two or three academic or nonprofit institutions. Federal agencies generally don't like giving universities grants for bricks and mortar, but Congress inserted the provision in a spending bill last year.

    Such funding has ordinarily come only in the form of earmarks. But Tobin Smith of the Association of American Universities says the competition is a good idea in view of tight state budgets. If the idea catches on, he says, it could help replace some science earmarks with grant competitions.