Science  23 Jun 2006:
Vol. 312, Issue 5781, pp. 1741


    CONSERVING FORESTS. The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) in Indonesia has chosen policy research manager Frances Seymour to advance its efforts to conserve forests and help local communities use forest resources wisely. Seymour, now at the World Resources Institute in Washington, D.C., will move this fall to the center's headquarters in Bogor Barat to succeed director general David Kaimowitz, who is joining the Ford Foundation.

    “It's at that sweet spot between academic research and pure advocacy,” Seymour, 47, says about her new job at the center, whose $17-million-a-year budget comes mainly from national governments and the World Bank. “We make the case for the contribution of forests to the development agenda and poverty reduction.”

    At CIFOR, Seymour hopes to manage forests in a way that “meets the needs of the poor” by working with communities and agencies on a local and national level. That may include developing technologies for forest management and improving governments' capacity for research. “I think the real challenge is to get the message out to those who don't think of themselves as caring about forests,” she says.



    BACK IN BUSINESS. British biochemist Michael Morgan, who once managed the genomics portfolio of the United Kingdom's biggest private sponsor of biomedical research, has been hired to set Canada's primary genome research program on a new course. Genome Canada is abandoning open competitions in favor of directed grantsmaking in thematic areas proposed by scientists, and Morgan hopes to inspire researchers to “think outside the box” and come up with bold proposals.

    Morgan, 63, retired in 2002 as chief executive officer of the Wellcome Trust Genome Campus in Hinxton, U.K., to become an international consultant but is eager “to get back into the scientific harness” as chief scientific officer for an organization that has spent $560 million since it was created in 2000.

    He “is a fantastic catch,” says Thomas Hudson, a genomicist at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. “With Genome Canada shifting to a problem-based approach, you need a consensus builder [like him].”



    STORM'S OVER. The embattled dean of Oregon State University's College of Forestry, Hal Salwasser, has won a campus vote of confidence in his attempts to heal the bitterly divided college.

    Long-simmering tensions within the college blew up in January when a group of faculty members tried to delay the publication of a high-profile paper about ecological damage from postfire logging (Science, 10 February, p. 761). Salwasser was criticized for not supporting the graduate students who were among the authors and for appearing to side with the logging industry.

    In last week's nonbinding online vote—by faculty, students, and staff—66% said they have confidence in Salwasser's ability to lead. And 63% favored his ideas for change. Salwasser plans to appoint two additional faculty members to the college's leadership committee and keep asking for input. “I'm taking advantage of lessons learned,” he says.



    BENCH TO BEDSIDE. Although translational medicine is a buzzword in biomedical research these days, it's still rare for scientists to shepherd their discoveries from the lab to the clinic. Cancer biologist Napoleone Ferrara of Genentech in San Francisco, California, did just that with vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and reaped a rich reward for it last week: the $250,000 General Motors Cancer Research Prize.

    Ferrara began the research at Genentech in 1988, taking advantage of a company policy that allows scientists to pursue their own projects on company time. After discovering that VEGF guides new blood-vessel growth, Ferrara developed an antibody that targeted VEGF and injected it into mice with cancer. Their tumors melted away. The work led to the development of the drug Avastin, which was approved by the U.S. in 2004 to treat advanced colorectal cancer. Last year, Genentech reaped revenues of more than $1 billion for Avastin.

    “Even at the very beginning, [VEGF looked] very unique,” says Ferrara. He's still puzzling over why some patients are resistant to the drug. Meanwhile, the find has spawned another anti-VEGF drug for macular degeneration.


    “I didn't fancy the thought of being handed over to the Inquisition like Galileo.”

    –Cosmologist Stephen Hawking, joking about a comment made by the late Pope John Paul II at a cosmology conference some years ago that scientists should not study the beginning of the universe because it was God's work. Hawking recounted the pope's remarks during a lecture at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology last week.

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