Archive for July 7, 2011

What would you like to see more on this blog?

July 7, 2011 1 comment
Categories: Editorials

9-fold ring of centrioles

July 7, 2011 Leave a comment

For 50 years researchers have puzzled over how the animal cell manages to organize a critical component of cell division into a microtubule-rimmed cylinder with a distinctive nine-spoked cross-section. Now, Pierre Gönczy, at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, and colleagues have discovered that the three-dimensional structure of a key protein component directly specifies this unusual pattern.

Barrel-shaped organelles, the centrioles organize the spindle fibers that pull paired chromosomes apart during cell division. They also form the basal bodies of cilia and flagella in all eukaryotes possessing these appendages. Centriolar structure has long been a curiosity among researchers because nobody could figure out how the ninefold structure formed. It’s a “big question that has always perplexed people,” says Andrew Fry at the University of Leicester.

(click for rest of story).

The Scientist editorial – link to original.

The paper: D. Kitagawa et al., “Structural basis of the 9-fold symmetry of centrioles,”  Cell, 144:364-75, 2011. Free F1000 evaluation

Categories: Uncategorized

Glowing shrooms

July 7, 2011 Leave a comment

Dennis Desjardin from San Francisco State University recently rediscovered a species of mushrooms from Brasil that haven’t been seen since 1840. This mushroom, Neonothopanus gardneri, produces bioluminescence similar to fireflies and jellyfish, but unlike these organisms which produce bioluminescence in spurts, these mushrooms glow 24 hours a day, as long as there is plenty of light and oxygen available and the mechanism of this chemical reaction remains unclear.

Maybe we’ll be seeing a new flavor of fluorescent tags in the near future? Read more about the article at

Categories: Interesting link

Women scientists that give awesome seminars

July 7, 2011 1 comment

Re-post from a blog by a young PI that is trying to get tenure. You can also follow her on Twitter @Gerty-Z.


One of the committees that I sit on is the seminar committee. I generally like this as service work goes, because it gives me some say in what seminars I will be sitting through the next year, provides an opportunity for me to network, and doesn’t actually take that much time. Usually just one meeting to go through lists of speakers that have been proposed by other faculty members, and then go to a few dinners during the seminar series. I’m OK with that, really I am!

This year when we were putting together the list of speakers, I noticed that there very few women (4/22). I brought this up to the rest of the committee and was pretty quickly swatted down. I was told that “we don’t need to have ALL women”, and then the conversation went on as though I hadn’t said anything. Being the only untenured person in the room, I didn’t really push the issue further.

Anyway, later that day I was asked to add another 2-3 folks to the list. I figured that they should all be women. Women that give EXCELLENT talks. So I went to twitter and asked the tweeps to start throwing out names of women that do kick-ass science and can rock a seminar (we used the #xxtalk hashtag). Here is the list of what we came up with*. I have included extra information that was provided by twitter.

from the #xxtalk twitter stream, in no particular order:
Anna Marie Cuervo (Albert Einstein)
Bonnie Bassler (Princeton)
Jennifer Lippencott-Schwartz
Michelle Swanson
Frances Brodsky
Rachel Green (JHMI)
Nicola Clayton (spacial memory in scrub jays)
Angela Christiano (Columbia)
Erica Rosenblum (color evolution in desert lizards)
Leslie Voshall
Anne Brunet (Stanford)
Susan Lindquist
Rebecca Heald
Liz Miller (Columbia)
Phoebe Stewart

Please add your own suggestions in the comments, and we’ll make this a handy archive forever!

*I haven’t seen all these women speak (yet), so I can’t personally vouch for them.

Link to original posting.

Link to original blog.

Categories: Uncategorized