Custom Search

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Pfizer's $50-Million Drug-Discovery Partnership

Pfizer has partnered with the University of California’s San Diego Health Sciences (UCSD) in a drug-discovery collaboration that could see Pfizer invest up to $50 million over the next five years in the development of new therapies. The partnership will leverage UCSD’s expertise in neurosciences, cancer, inflammation, metabolism, clinical pharmacology, HIV, and pain.

The collaboration was formed through Pfizer’s Centers for Therapeutic Innovation (CTI). Pfizer established the CTI initiative last year, with the aim of creating a network of collaborative partnerships with research institutions to help bring new breakthroughs into the company’s pipeline. Pfizer currently has CTIs in California, Massachusetts, and New York.

“The collaborative partnerships formed through the CTI between Pfizer and academic medical centers, such as UCSD, allow leading medical and clinical experts to join with Pfizer’s highly skilled scientists—using Pfizer’s resources and expertise and each institution’s advanced drug development capabilities to speed the translation of innovative science into medicine for patients,” Jose Carlos Gutierrez-Ramos, senior vice-president and head of BioTherapeutics Research and Development for Pfizer, said in a statement.

The $50-million figure represents an estimate of the total support for research programs and potential milestone payments to UCSD for successful projects. The collaboration will include laboratory space at Pfizer’s R&D campus in La Jolla, California, to enable scientists from both Pfizer and UCSD to work closely together. Pfizer has also said that it will provide access to some of its antibody libraries and technologies.

“Public-private partnerships are increasingly important in scientific research, especially in an era of decreasing federal grant support when resources are needed to commercialize innovations related to healthcare,” Gary Firestein, dean and associate vice-chancellor of Translational Medicine and director of the Clinical and Translational Research Institute at the UCSD School of Medicine, explained in the statement.

Firestein added that the main aim of the collaboration was better testing of clinical hypotheses and an increase in the speed at which medicines can be developed.

Sunday, August 14, 2011


American Association of University Women - International Fellowships (for non US citizens)

International Fellowships are awarded for full-time study or research in the United States to women who are not United States citizens or permanent residents. Both graduate and postgraduate study at accredited institutions are supported. Several fellowships are available for study outside of the U.S.

Deadline: Dec. 1, 2011.

Disciplinary Category:
Environmental & Life Sciences; International Opportunities; Medical - Basic Science; Physical Sciences & Engineering; Social Sciences; Arts & Humanities.

Award Amount:

2012 – 2013 Academic Year
Master's/Professional Fellowship: $18,000
Doctoral Fellowship: $20,000
Postdoctoral Fellowship: $30,000
Applications available: August 1 – December 1, 2011
Application deadline*: December 1, 2011
Fellowship year: July 1, 2012 – June 30, 2013

* All supporting documents must also be received by this date. If an application deadline falls on a weekend or holiday, supporting documents must be received the next business day.

International Fellowships are awarded for full-time study or research in the United States to women who are not United States citizens or permanent residents. Both graduate and postgraduate study at accredited institutions are supported. Several fellowships are available for study outside of the U.S.

Questions about applications must be directed to the Iowa City office. Please do not contact the AAUW office in Washington, D.C., or local branches for application information. Please call 319/337-1716 ext. 60, e-mail, or write to the customer service center at

Dept. 60
301 ACT Drive
Iowa City, IA 52243-4030

Apply now
Submit an application for an International Fellowship.

Request a Brochure
Order copies of the AAUW fellowships brochure that includes general descriptions for each fellowship program at

Directory of Fellowship and Grant Recipients
Meet current and past fellowship and grant recipients funded by AAUW.


UNCF / Merck Postdoctoral Science Research Fellowships

Awards up to $92,000. At least 10 postdoctoral fellowships will be awarded in 2012. Each fellowship provides a maximum of $92,000, which includes a Stipend of up to $77,000 and a Research Grant of up to $15,000 to the hosting department. The stipend is intended to provide 12-24 months of fellowship tenure. A maximum of $55,000 of stipend may be received in any 12 month period. The Research Grant is intended to support the research needs of the Fellow.

Each UNCF/ Merck Postdoctoral Fellow will be mentored by a Merck scientist. Fellows are expected to maintain frequent contact with their Merck mentor. Each Fellow is also required to visit the Merck Research Laboratories to present a progress report to the Merck research staff during the last half of the fellowship tenure. Each Fellow must also submit a two-page research summary of their fellowship research and updated Curriculum Vitae to UNCF at the end of their fellowship tenure.

Eligibility Criteria

To be considered for a UNCF / Merck Postdoctoral Science Research Fellowship, you must be:

  • African American (Black)
  • A Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree recipient in a life or physical science by the end of academic year 2011-12
  • Appointed as a new or continuing postdoctoral fellow by the end of the 2012 calendar year at an academic or non-academic research institution in the USA (private industrial laboratories are excluded). This postdoctoral appointment must be for a minimum of 12 months
  • A citizen or permanent resident of the United States.

A UNCF/ Merck Selection Committee consisting of educators and Merck scientists will select the award winners based on ability, record of accomplishment, and the soundness of the proposed postdoctoral research.


Sunday, August 7, 2011


Pfizer Looks to Sell Nonprescription Lipitor

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Pfizer is looking to sell an over-the-counter version of Lipitor, the world's best-selling drug, according to reports.

Pfizer loses patent protection on the drug in November. The drug takes in yearly sales of about $11 billion.

The Wall Street Journal said Pfizer is likely to have difficulty selling a nonprescription form of Lipitor because the Food and Drug Administration previously has rejected the idea of allowing over-the-counter versions of cholesterol drugs in the same class as Lipitor, known as statins.

Pfizer declined to either confirm or deny its intention to The New York Times.

"We can confirm that we have strategic plans in place for Lipitor's loss of exclusivity and will comment no further at this time," Raymond F. Kerins Jr., a spokesman for the company, told the Times.

A person close to the situation told the Times a nonprescription version of Lipitor wasn't the only option pursued by Pfizer. Another would be a so-called branded generic version. The company might pursue both options, the newspaper reported.

by Joseph Woelfel

Monday, August 1, 2011


New International Journal By and About Postdocs Publishes First Issue

The Journal of Postdoctoral Affairs, aka the Postdoc Journal, has launched on the Web. Run by a group of postdocs based mostly in California, the new peer-reviewed online publication aims to be an "international platform for addressing conceptual and practical issues that pertain to the foundations and contexts of the postdoctoral experience," declares a mission statement fully worthy of the academic enterprise to which its founders aspire. Volume 1, Number 1 lists the range of materials the journal expects to carry, including scholarly articles on postdocs and their working lives and video presentations of postdocs' research.

"Anyone can write articles [for] this journal provided they are related to postdoc affairs," says editorial board member and first-issue contributor Hady Felfly of the University of California-San Francisco, by e-mail. The journal gives instructions for submitting articles and videos for consideration for future issues. In addition, it has a job-announcement section, which already carries an opening in Germany. Besides scholarly papers, which will undergo "a rigorous peer-review process conducted by an expert editorial team," according to the mission statement, the journal also seeks opinion articles, letters, and comments and hopes to reach a wide range of readers and contributors, including "current and former postdoctoral scholars, their faculty advisors, postdoctoral policy analysts, administrators and labor affair specialists."

In the first issue, a paper by Jennifer M. Miller of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill's department of public policy explores the surprisingly large but apparently inconclusive literature on why people declde to become postdocs. A video by Tzuling Cheng of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center explains her work on metabolic flux analysis in cancer. Other authors look into the workings of postdoctoral associations and the factors influencing the international movement of scientists.

For now, like much else in the postdoc world, Postdoc Journal appears to be running on a shoestring, but organizers are seeking ads and sponsorships, Felfly says. Readers can get free access for the first 30 days, after which a $15 annual subscription is required.

"Postdocs on the editorial board mostly don't have much experience" running a journal, "and we're getting it as we go," Felfly writes. "We expect it to get better over time." Still, for a group of amateurs with little more than a bright idea and a lot of gumption, their first effort is already an intriguing and impressive job.



Randy Schekman to Lead New Journal

Randy W. Schekman, a distinguished cell biologist and the 14th editor of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, has been named the first editor of a new journal that the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Max Planck Society, and the Wellcome Trust aim to launch next year.

“It is my strong feeling that there is a need for a scientific journal at the very high end that is run by active practicing scientists embedded in an academic environment, individuals who experience both the frustrations and satisfactions of research,” says Schekman. “The scientific journals that are now at the high end are doing some things right, but I think there is room at the top for an alternative approach.”

Schekman will assume his new responsibilities in August. His first priorities will be recruiting a managing executive editor responsible for overseeing the journal’s business functions and identifying the scientific editors, including two deputies, 10-12 senior editors, and a larger board of reviewing editors.

Sir Mark Walport, Director of the Wellcome Trust, says, “Randy Schekman is an outstanding cell biologist who has edited the PNAS with great distinction. We are delighted that he has agreed to lead the new journal that we are founding, which will provide a major new vehicle for publication of the world's best research in the life sciences. Randy and the new journal share the values of our organizations - this journal will support the brightest minds in science.”

Leaders of the three research organizations announced their intention to launch the new journal at a London press conference on June 27 and outlined their fundamental goals: publication of highly significant research; an independent editorial team comprised of active, practicing scientists; and a rapid and transparent peer review.

Professor Herbert Jäckle, Vice President of the Max Planck Society, says, “Publishing top science requires the leadership of the best active scientists to reliably judge the quality of the submitted work and the reviewers’ responses, and to take rapid and unbiased decisions that are transparent both for the authors and the scientific community. Randy’s commitment as a founding editor of the new journal guarantees that these essentials become reality."

Expected to launch in about a year, the journal will be online and open access. Schekman says he does not expect the journal to hold the copyright to the literature, but to utilize Creative Commons licenses so that the data can be widely shared.

Schekman has been an HHMI investigator at the University of California, Berkeley, since 1991. He will devote half of his time to the new journal, but will also help guide PNAS until the National Academy of Sciences identifies a successor.

For more than 30 years, Schekman’s research has focused on the molecular machinery that enables proteins to be trafficked within cells. Working in yeast, he made fundamental discoveries about how vesicles bud off from the cell’s endoplasmic reticulum – a membranous network inside the cell – and transport proteins for further processing for internal or external use. Schekman and his colleagues identified more than 50 genes involved in the process, methodically determining the order and role each played. He shared the 2002 Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award with James Rothman, now of Yale University, and has received other major awards including the Gairdner Foundation International Award and the Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize.

Robert Tjian, President of HHMI, says, “Randy is the ideal founding editor in chief; his scientific judgment is impeccable, he is broadly knowledgeable, widely regarded as fair minded, and highly respected internationally. Perhaps equally important is his extensive experience as an editor in chief and his obvious zeal and commitment to making the new journal the most successful in a generation.”

Schekman has served as editor of PNAS since 2006, succeeding the late Nicholas R. Cozzarelli. Like Cozzarelli, he focused on elevating the quality and visibility of the journal by increasing the number of direct submission articles that are subject to rigorous peer review. Under Schekman’s leadership, PNAS earlier this year also launched an online-only option for direct submission articles. Called PNAS Plus, it provides for a longer digital article and a companion summary in the print journal.

“I have a track record of making independent decisions, but I think this journal also has an important founding principle: We will seek the best research papers from all over the world and will not favor scientists supported by the founding organizations,” Schekman says.

Schekman reports that editors will be appropriately compensated, noting for example that senior editors will be expected to devote 20 percent of their time to the journal and would be paid accordingly. He has already begun speaking with potential scientific editors.

For the first three to four years, to help establish the journal, no fees will be charged to authors. Once the journal is established, it is anticipated that authors will be charged an article processing fee to cover some of the ongoing costs of publication.

“My priority will be to launch the new journal promptly and with great visibility,” says Schekman. “Open access is the future and we will build on the pioneering efforts of the Public Library of Science so that scientists will have access to this literature and the data anywhere they are.”


June 27, 2011 Leading Research Organizations Announce Top-Tier, Open Access Journal for Biomedical and Life Sciences

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Max Planck Society and the Wellcome Trust announced today (June 27, 2011) that they are to support a new, top-tier, open access journal for biomedical and life sciences research.

The three organizations aim to establish a new journal that will attract and define the very best research publications from across these fields. All research published in the journal will make highly significant contributions that will extend the boundaries of scientific knowledge.

A team of highly regarded, experienced and actively practicing scientists will ensure fair, swift and transparent editorial decisions followed by rapid online publication. The first issue of the journal, whose name has yet to be decided, is expected to be published in the summer of 2012.

The three research organizations developed their plans following a workshop in 2010 at HHMI’s Janelia Farm Research Campus attended by a number of leading scientists. The participants concluded that there was a need for a model of academic publishing that better suits the needs of the research community.

Dr. Robert Tjian, President of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, says: "The message from the research community was clear: we are fortunate to have many excellent journals, but there is need for a different, more appropriate and efficient publishing model."

Professor Herbert Jäckle, Vice President of the Max Planck Society, says: "A journal which aims to represent and publish the very best research outcomes needs an editorial team of experienced – and, crucially, actively practicing – scientists. It must also be editorially independent of those who provide the financial support."

Sir Mark Walport, Director of the Wellcome Trust, says: "We will attract the most outstanding science for publication by establishing a journal in which researchers have confidence in robust editorial decisions taken by their scientific peers. This will be a journal for scientists edited by scientists. The ethos of the journal will be to avoid asking authors to make extensive modifications or perform endless additional experiments before a paper can be published."

Recruitment is under way for an Editor-in-Chief who – together with the journal's editorial team – will be an experienced, active scientist. The editorial team will be editorially independent of the funders. They will rely on their scientific expertise and active research experience to identify the best papers, make scientifically-based judgments and exercise leadership in steering these papers through peer review.

The journal will employ an open and transparent peer review process in which papers will be accepted or rejected as rapidly as possible, generally with only one round of revisions, and with limited need for modifications or additional experiments. For transparency, reviewers' comments will be published anonymously.

As the journal will only exist online, it offers an opportunity to create a journal and article format that will exploit the potential of new technologies to allow for improved data presentation. The journal will be an open access journal, i.e. the entire content will be freely available for all to read, to reproduce and for unrestricted use. This open access system will also enhance opportunities to share content and to more directly engage the reader.

The three organizations have made a commitment to cover costs of launching the journal to ensure its success. The long-term business model will be developed by the incoming Editor-in-Chief and the team they build.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]