Science  17 Oct 2008:
Vol. 322, Issue 5900, pp. 355


    SPEEDING. Many biologists get hooked on science as children, but Kelsey Curd Ladt's early experiences go far beyond the norm. A premed senior majoring in biology at the University of Kentucky (UK) in Lexington, the 13-year-old Ladt worked this summer in a neuroscience lab at the U.S. National Institutes of Health—probably the youngest NIH researcher ever, NIH officials say.

    The daughter of a chemical engineer and a human resources consultant, Kelsey finished elementary school at age 7 and entered UK at age 11. NIH waived the requirement that summer interns be at least 16 because of her abilities, says NIH's Rita Ward. Working for Eric Wassermann of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, she recruited patients, ran experiments, and analyzed data for a study on whether transcranial magnetic stimulation can be used to assess how the human brain responds to a potential reward.

    “Having someone young and excited with a different take on things, that makes science fun,” says Wassermann, who expects Kelsey to be a co-author on an upcoming paper. Kelsey isn't planning to slow down, either: She plans to return to his lab after graduation before beginning an M.D./Ph.D. program in 2010.


    PARTIAL DISCLOSURE. Charles Nemeroff, the chair of psychiatry at Emory University School of Medicine, has stepped down from his post while the Atlanta, Georgia, university investigates Senate allegations that he failed to report at least $1.2 million in income from drug companies.

    Nemeroff is the latest target of a probe by Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) into financial conflicts of interest at more than 20 universities (Science, 27 June, p. 1708). According to documents released by Grassley last week, Nemeroff reported only half of at least $2.4 million that he earned from drug and device companies between 2000 and 2007 on financial disclosure forms. In 2004, for example, Nemeroff promised Emory officials that his income from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) would not exceed $10,000 a year. But company records show that he was paid $282,000 from 2004 to 2007. At the time, Nemeroff was conducting a National Institutes of Health-funded study testing GSK drugs.

    Possible outcomes of Emory's investigation could include firing Nemeroff, a university official has told reporters. Nemeroff said in an Emory statement that “to the best of my knowledge, I have followed the appropriate University regulations concerning financial disclosures.”


    MIMICKING NATURE. A Harvard University alum is donating $125 million to the university to foster advances in biomedical engineering.

    Hansjörg Wyss (below), the former head of Synthes—a global multibillion-dollar medical devices company—is a Swiss-born engineer who got an MBA from Harvard in 1965. His gift will create the Hansjörg Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, which will build on recent advances in nanotechnology, genetics, and cellular engineering.


    Donald Ingber, a cell biologist and bioengineer who will be the institute's new director, says Wyss asked the university to develop a plan for bringing together faculty members from different schools of engineering, medicine, and Harvard's affiliated hospitals before making the donation, which will be given out over 5 years. Getting those departments and researchers on the same page, says Ingber, “took a lot of forethought and planning.”


    PRIVATE GOOD. Business Wire founder Lorry Lokey, 81, jokes that he has a selfish reason for donating $75 million for a new stem cell research center at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. “I expect to live 20 years longer because of it,” he says of the gift, announced last week. The 1949 Stanford journalism graduate, who made his fortune by establishing a wire service for distributing press releases, says he was also motivated by the Bush Administration's restrictions on federal funding for stem cell research.


    The gift comes with few conditions on how it should be spent: Lokey says the recipients should be able to pick the paint color on their buildings. Officials at Stanford's School of Medicine are planning to break ground this month on an 18,580-m2 facility, likely to be the nation's largest devoted to stem cell research.

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