Nature reading

11 05 2006

The following is some brief article from today’s Nature alert,  interesting or meaningful. Share with all here.

1. 50 & 100 years ago [URL]


The longest earthworm in the world, Megascolides australis, is found in Gippsland, Australia, and grows up to eleven feet in length…When disturbed, the worm squirts out a series of pairs of jets of fluid from a line of pores opening down each side of the body. The effect can be most spectacular, for these jets rise as high as eighteen inches or two feet into the air. Although there are reports that the fluid has a corrosive action, it is only slightly alkaline and contains some dissolved salts, body wastes like urea and some proteinous materials and cells. The fluid comes from the worm’s body cavity and is squirted out by violent contractions of the body-wall which force the fluid out under great pressure through the pores. There is no record of the fluid having anything but a mildly irritating effect on the skin of human beings. The fluid is used for lining or lubricating the burrows of the worms.

From Nature 12 May 1956.



"The bicentenary celebration of the birth of Benjamin Franklin" — The oldest scientific society in the new world is, I believe, the American Philosophical Society of Philadelphia…founded by Benjamin Franklin… An altogether exceptional feature of the ceremony was that a degree was conferred on the King, who was represented by Sir Mortimer Durand, H.M. Ambassador at Washington. In announcing this degree the Provost read with great effect the celebrated speech on England from Henry V. It is pleasant to record the enthusiastic cheers which the whole audience gave, standing, as the Ambassador was hooded… An American dinner is managed somewhat differently from our own, for the toast-master is not, as with us, a servant with a stentorian voice, but is the most highly honoured of the hosts of the occasion… Those who have taken part in such festivals in America need not be told that the organization was admirable and the hospitality unbounded.

From Nature 10 May 1906.


2. What makes a good PhD student? [URL]

there are some tips from this article, about how to be a good PhD student. Also, a more detailed article about the guide to PhD student could be downloaded (RECOMMEND!!! by Sterding).  I think it’s not only for a PhD student, but also useful for the other students, and the other field.

  • Choose a supervisor whose work you admire and who is well supported by grants and departmental infrastructure.
  • Take responsibility for your project.
  • Work hard — long days all week and part of most weekends. If research is your passion this should be easy, and if it isn’t, you are probably in the wrong field. Note who goes home with a full briefcase to work on at the end of the day. This is a cause of success, not a consequence.
  • Take some weekends off, and decent holidays, so you don’t burn out.
  • Read the literature in your immediate area, both current and past, and around it. You can’t possibly make an original contribution to the literature unless you know what is already there.
  • Plan your days and weeks carefully to dovetail experiments so that you have a minimum amount of downtime.
  • Keep a good lab book and write it up every day.
  • Be creative. Think about what you are doing and why, and look for better ways to go. Don’t see your PhD as just a road map laid out by your supervisor.
  • Develop good writing skills: they will make your scientific career immeasurably easier.
  • To be successful you must be at least four of the following: smart, motivated, creative, hard-working, skilful and lucky. You can’t depend on luck, so you had better focus on the others!


3. The inner-nuclear-envelope protein emerin regulates HIV-1 infectivity [URL]

Jean-Marc Jacque1,2 and Mario Stevenson1

Primate lentiviruses such as human immunodeficiency type 1 (HIV-1) have the capacity to infect non-dividing cells such as tissue macrophages1. In the process, viral complementary DNA traverses the nuclear envelope to integrate within chromatin2. Given the intimate association between chromatin and the nuclear envelope3, we examined whether HIV-1 appropriates nuclear envelope components during infection. Here we show that emerin, an integral inner-nuclear-envelope protein, is necessary for HIV-1 infection. Infection of primary macrophages lacking emerin was abortive in that viral cDNA localized to the nucleus but integration into chromatin was inefficient, and conversion of viral cDNA to non-functional episomal cDNA increased. HIV-1 cDNA associated with emerin in vivo, and the interaction of viral cDNA with chromatin was dependent on emerin. Barrier-to-autointegration factor (BAF), the LEM (LAP, emerin, MAN) binding partner of emerin, was required for the association of viral cDNA with emerin and for the ability of emerin to support virus infection. Therefore emerin, which bridges the interface between the inner nuclear envelope and chromatin, may be necessary for chromatin engagement by viral cDNA before integration.





2 responses

11 05 2006

Re: What makes a good PhD student?
by Boris Lenhard – Thursday, 11 May 2006, 03:08 PM

Very nice Just a few comments:2. Get involved and take responsibility for your project.
I hope that is clear. The question "What do I do next?" is not a telltale sign of a future independent researcher. And neither is "Are these results good?" You have to have some idea how to answer both. Others can help you get to the answer, but should not do all the answering for you.
3. Work hard. Don抰 think you can get away with a 38-hour week.This is obviously against the predominant Norwegian philosophy of life and work, but should be obvious. If we stick to 38 hours/week (feel free to measure how much you actually work) and if our competitor who works 70 hours/week scoops us, I am afraid it is our fault. Some people say – we don\’t have to work 70 hours per week, this ain\’t no Harvard. Well, that is exactly the reason why this ain\’t no Harvard… Sure, we can fool ourselves that we are smarter than others and can achieve more in less time. In most cases this simply won\’t be true.9. Be active, not passive, in your approach to research. Seek information and advice, and don抰 assume that it will just diffuse into your head. Your supervisor won抰 know everything (and may be technically less than competent anyway!), so find the right people for advice and don抰 be afraid to ask for it. Don抰 go for weeks without talking about your research with your supervisor and other members of the lab. If your supervisor doesn抰 seek you out regularly, go and talk to him/her. When you are inexperienced it is very easy to get off track and waste valuable time and resources. Those students and post-docs who sit back and wait for the magic to happen, or work in a vacuum, never get anywhereEnough said…

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