STEM

While You Were At the Bench: Week 39

In case you were glued to your lab bench, here is a roundup of this week in science.

The US House of Representatives fell 20 votes short of passing a bill that would allow foreign students with advanced degrees in STEM fields to obtain an employment-based green card.  Options???  Why not work 12 miles off shore.

Scientisits at UC Berkeley have discovered that cytokeratin found in the eye produce antimicrobial peptides.  This has the potential to lead to a new class of antimicrobial compounds.

This African spiny mouse can regrow skin complete with hair follicles and sweat glands similar to salamanders regrowing limbs.  The molecular mechanisms behind this phenomenon might be possible in humans.

Pregnant rats exposed to dioxin, a compound found in agent orange, promotes epigenetic mutations leading to increased instances of ovarian, prostate, and kidney diseases in F1-F3 generations.

For the first time, the radius of a black hole has been measured.  By linking together 3 radio dishes, scientists were able to observe matter surrounding the black hole referred to as the ”event horizon.”

As a scientist, I admire Einstein.  As a neuroscientist, I admire Einstein’s brain even more.  Now you can too!  Available on the iPad for $11.

Lucky number 113.  Japanese scientists have recently discovered the elusive atomic element 113.  Now they get first crack at naming rights.  Might I suggest Mothranium.

Have a great weekend and remember to check out RateMyPI.com!

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Entrepreneurship in Science

I was browsing the internet the other day and saw a link for “Grants to Encourage Entrepreneurship in Science and Technology for Women”.  Being a woman in science and a new entrepreneur, I decided to click on the link.  What it took me to was a slightly informative, and incredibly self-serving article in Forbes written by the United States Chief technology Officer, Todd Park.  The title was “What Efforts Has President Obama Made While In Office To Encourage Entrepreneurship And Innovation?”  I read on hoping to get to the part that is specific to women entrepreneurs in science…

“Promoting high-growth entrepreneurship” where I learned that the Administration has committed to match $2 billion private investments in high growth companies, is trying to make it easier for graduates to manage their student loans, and is taking credit for Startup America Partnership connecting startups with private-sector funding.  Why is our government so interested in funding startups?  As someone heavily invested in a startup, I think it is great, but as a taxpayer I think that there are several other places that you can go to fund a startup, such as angel investor groups, the bank, and other private-sector funding/grants.  Our country is in enough debt.  Let’s put our capitalistic roots to good practice.  Dreams can and do come true in America, but it is not the government’s job to supply us with the seed money.

Under “Helping accelerate technology breakthroughs” I learned about the Obama Administration’s advancements in space exploration…umm, aren’t we moving away from NASA and towards privatization of space exploration? 

Finally, we are starting to get into the research part…apparently, “President Obama has implemented the largest increase in federally funded research and development in history”.  Wow, I am really glad to hear that!  Just one question…Does anyone know any scientists in the US that thinks it is actually easier to get funding or that there is more money available for research???  We would love to hear from you.

Sadly, there was nothing on opportunities for women entrepreneurs in science.

The article also reiterates the Administration’s stance on science and technology and that more people need to go into science.  In the next decade they plan to have an additional 100,000 science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) teachers and graduate 10,000 more engineers every year.  However, the article did not acknowledge that if you do decide to pursue the STEM path that it is going to be hard to get a position in academia and the funding that is often required to obtain said position.  Leaving the other main option of going into industry where the positions are also scarce due to outsourcing and downsizing.  Maybe that is why the article focuses on entrepreneurs.  With the overabundance of highly educated and specialized STEM workers, we are going to need to be able to fabricate our own jobs. 

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