A letter to the editor has recently been published in the Journal of Neurophysiology by authors Ringach and Jentsch. You may recall that these individuals are neuroscience researchers who have come under attack by extremist animal rights activists. These brave investigators have been stepping up in public to defend the conduct of animal research. The letter asks for your help, DearReader, as do I. Ringach and Jentsch conclude their letter as follows:

Despite being in the spotlight, our work is not different from the majority of articles appearing in the pages of this Journal and has always been in compliance with all the regulations on the use of animals in research. Investigators using primates, mice, or flies have been assaulted, so nobody can feel at ease. With an expanding list of investigators listed in the extremists’ crosshairs, it is clear that anybody could be next.
Enough is enough! We believe time has come to express our outrage at the activities of animal rights extremists and to request from our political representatives the security we and our families need to carry out our work. We believe that time has also come to discuss, debate, and express our opinions on the importance and ethics of animal research. Perhaps, most important, the time has also come to defend our research collectively and not to let only those under attack confront their plight alone.

One place to start is to stay aware. Follow @RaisingVoices and read / bookmark the Speaking of Research pages on ARA activities / talking points and research facts.
Sign the Pro-Test petition in support of the use of animals in well-regulated and responsible research.

Evoking a Thirst

September 11, 2009

The Flying Trilobite has posted a compelling endorsement of GrrlScientist’s bid to become the blogger selected for a Quark Expeditions journey to Antarctica.

I have wished to find another review of art -any art- that speaks so favourably it evokes a thirst to experience the art through the critic’s eyes.

When Open Laboratory 2008 came out, I was stunned by one contribution in particular. In that anthology of blog posts is one by GrrlScientist about John James Audubon, the ornithologist and painter, the only scientific illustrator found in most fine art survey texts. The blog post, entitled, Audubon’s Aviary: Portraits of Endangered Species rings with well-deserved reverence and love for the artwork. Grrl laments the loss of the birds now gone that Audubon lovingly captured full of inquisitive life. It’s a blog post I find moving and inspiring and that has changed how I look at Audubon and scientific illustration.

There’s more, go read Flying Trilobite’s post.
And then go and use all your valid email addresses to vote for Grrl. Only 50 or so needed to pass ol’ Don Osmond Jr!

New Investigator Data trends

September 11, 2009

Occasional commenter microfool has pointed to a very interesting powerpoint slideset in a comment over at MWE&G. The comment referred specifically to an observation from writedit that NHLBI is planning to phase out special, more lenient funding line considerations for those New Investigators who are not Early Stage Investigators* in 2010. The discussion then landed on the distinction between ESI and New Investigators in NIH-speak and microfool brought some data to the discussion.

You can see hints of this unintended consequence on slide 11 of this slide deck where we see nice little blips in ages of First Time Investigators at ages 60, 66, 72, and 87.

Let’s take a look…

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