- About the Library
- Harvard Links
- Digital Resources
- Digital Exhibits
Nature Newsblog - Fri, 2013-05-24 11:27
The financially stressed MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, seems to have invested at least US$1.5 million in capital funds in a new ‘corporate’ office suite that will be home to Lynda Chin, the wife of MD Anderson president Ronald DePinho. The revelations come in an article published today in The Cancer Letter.
The Letter used the Texas Public Information Act to obtain 680 pages of documents that describe the project as “Dr. Chin Office Renovation”. However, the article argues:
A renovation it was not. The 25,000-square-foot suite, much of it south-facing, is new, located on the sixth floor of the just-constructed South Campus Research Building III.
Chin, who moved to MD Anderson when DePinho became the cancer centre’s president in 2011, is the scientific director of the fledgling Institute for Applied Cancer Science (IACS), a drug-discovery centre, and chair of the cancer centre’s department of genomic medicine. The office was built to house the genomic medicine department and the IACS, which aims to enlist drug companies in promising collaborations. For instance, the IACS in December announced a partnership with drug-maker GlaxoSmithKline, with the goal of producing cancer-fighting antibodies.
Among the itemized expenses reported in The Cancer Letter article are nearly $28,000 for settees, lounge chairs and occasional tables for the IACS, and about $210,000 for translucent walls in the 2,323-square-metre space. The spending on the walls required a variance, or special permission, from the University of Texas system’s executive vice-chancellor for health affairs, Kenneth Shine. (An architect’s rendering of some of the translucent panels is pictured above.)
In a statement to Nature, MD Anderson defended its actions, noting that IACS has raised $15 million in donations:
The renovations of space for the Institute for Applied Cancer Science and Department of Genomic Medicine — both new entities for MD Anderson — transformed a traditional academic office suite to a work environment and meeting area for a science/business enterprise, a concept new not only to MD Anderson, but most of academic medicine….The existing space was not configured to support this new concept.
The “redesigned” space, it added, would “create an open environment of communication, provide an appropriate meeting space with high-level industry decision makers and support a new suite in computational biology”.
This is not the first time that Chin has landed in the public spotlight since she arrived at the huge, high-profile centre. Last year, there was an outcry after an IACS team headed by Chin was awarded an $18-million grant from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) that bypassed scientific peer review.
The 17 May issue of The Cancer Letter (available only to subscribers) reported that DePinho announced austerity measures — such as suspension of merit raises and slowing of hiring — in an e-mail to MD Anderson employees on 15 May. It read, in part:
For most of Fiscal Year 2013 (FY13), our operating expense has exceeded our operating revenue — meaning that we’ve spent more than we’ve made from providing our patient care services. What we’re facing today is much like what you’d face with your own checkbook if you spent more than you were paid each month for several months.
Updated with new comments from MD Anderson.
Nature Newsblog - Fri, 2013-05-24 11:06
An extraordinarily deep earthquake shook Russia’s Far East this morning. The magnitude-8.3 quake took place nearly 610 kilometres below Earth’s surface, according to preliminary estimates from the US Geological Survey.
Normally rocks at this depth are too hot to rupture quickly in a quake; instead, they deform slowly, like hot wax flowing rather than cold wax shattering. But beneath the Sea of Okhotsk, north of Japan and west of Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula, the sea floor — a slab of old Pacific crust — is diving beneath Eurasia. The crust is descending fast enough — about 8 centimetres per year — to remain cool enough to rupture even at great depths. The diving plate is thus seismically active down to 650 kilometres or greater.
The epicentre of today’s quake was about 400 kilometres northwest of the city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. Deep quakes cause less damage than shallow ones, and early news reports suggest that injury and damage were minimal, although the shaking was felt as far away as Moscow. (Pictured, at right, is the seismic signal as recorded in Ruedersdorf, Germany.) A tsunami warning was issued and lifted soon thereafter.
A series of smaller quakes, up to about magnitude 6.0, had shaken just south and east of Petropavlosk-Kamchatsky over the past several days. But they were far shallower. Figuring out how the shallow earthquake swarm and the large deep quake are related — if they are — is likely to be a topic of intense study.
The Okhotsk quake rivals and perhaps surpasses the magnitude-8.2 quake that hit northern Bolivia on 9 June 1994. That one occurred 631 kilometres deep, reshaping geologists’ ideas about how earthquakes could occur so far down.
Biology News - Wed, 2013-05-22 19:10
The carnivorous pitcher plant Nepenthes bicalcarata (A) and the ant Camponotus schmitzi (B) team up to fight fly larvae (C) that steal the plant's prey. An insect-eating pitcher plant teams up with ants to prevent mosquito larvae from stealing its nutrients, according to research published May 22 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Mathias Scharmann and colleagues from the University of Cambridge and the University Brunei Darussalam.
Nature - Wed, 2013-05-22 13:45
Voyager: Outward bound
Nature 497, 7450 (2013). http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/497424a
Author: Alexandra Witze
Ed Stone has spent 36 years guiding the twin Voyager spacecraft through the Solar System. Next stop, interstellar space.
Nature - Wed, 2013-05-22 13:45
The big fat truth
Nature 497, 7450 (2013). http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/497428a
Author: Virginia Hughes
More and more studies show that being overweight does not always shorten life — but some public-health researchers would rather not talk about them.
Ernst Mayr Library Blog - Thu, 2013-05-16 09:41
Australian lizards: a natural history.
By Steve K. Wilson. Collingwood, Vic.: CSIRO Pub., c2012. HOLLIS# 013668050
QL666.L2 W55 2012
Birds of prey of Australia: a field guide.
By Stephen Debus; illustrated by Jeff Davies. 2nd ed. Collingwood, Vic.: CSIRO Pub. in association with Birdlife Australia, c2012. HOLLIS# 013668069
QL696.F3 D43 2012
A cameo from the past: the prehistory and early history of the Kruger National Park.
By U. de V. Pienaar and contributors, E.J. Carruthers … [et al.]; translated by Helena Bryden. 1st ed. Pretoria : Protea Book House, 2012. HOLLIS# 013668052
SB484.S5 P5413 2012
Designing wildlife habitats.
John Beardsley, editor. Washington, D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, c2013. HOLLIS# 013657310
Field book of giant fishes.
By J. R. Norman and F. C. Fraser. New York, G. P. Putnam, . HOLLIS# 002594877
A healing landscape: environmental and social history of the site of Mass Audubon’s Boston Nature Center.
By Steven Pavlos Holmes. Lincoln, Massachusetts: Mass Audubon, . HOLLIS# 013673137
QH76.5.M3 H65 2013
Life: the state of South Africa’s biodiversity 2012.
Pretoria: South African National Biodiversity Institute, c2013. HOLLIS# 013673141
QH77.S62 L53 2012
Report of the Expert Workshop on Greenhouse Gas Emissions Strategies and Methods in Seafood: Rome, 23-25 January 2012.
Expert Workshop on Greenhouse Gas Emissions Strategies and Methods. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2012. HOLLIS# 013675986
TD885.5.G73 E96 2012
Text by Jean-Franois Mongibeaux ; prefaces by Jacques Perrin and Jean Dorst ; Galatée Films photographers, Mathieu Simonet … [et al. ; English translation by David Wharry]. San Francisco, Calif.: Chronicle Books, c2003. HOLLIS# 013673120
The world of the bottlenosed dolphin.
By David K. Caldwell and Melba C. Caldwell. [1st ed.]. Philadelphia, Lippincott, [c1972]. HOLLIS# 013673125
QL737.C432 C27 1972