Featured Interviews> March 2011

Current Author Commentaries

In these interviews, scientists talk to ScienceWatch.com and offer behind-the-scenes insights into their research: reflections on what led them to their chosen field, the motivation driving their work in a given direction, and the challenges encountered along on the way. These authors also offer their views on why their work has wielded particular influence in the scientific community, as indicated by Thomson Reuters citation data, and on how research in their respective fields has progressed over time and will likely unfold in the future.

Featured Interviews for March 2011


Robert Benezra

"We don't publish much but it's nice to hear papers we do publish do get cited for whatever reason or sparking at least new thinking and new development. It is a very long process. And when you're working with mouse models specifically, it can take years. So what happened with that paper is that we had developed a reagent, namely the Id knockout mouse and the fact that it failed to make a good vasculature allowed us to ask the question, can we rescue that defect with bone-marrow derived cells? We had a model..."
Featured Scientist, March 2011


Robert J. Cava

Robert J. Cava of Princeton University, who was one of the leading lights in research on high-temperature superconductivity in the 1980s, has once again found himself in the midst of a hot field with his recent work on topological insulators. These materials constitute a new electronic state of matter, in which electrons behave completely differently from those in other states. Cava made early contributions to what is now a thriving area of research.
Science Watch® Newsletter Interview, March 2011


Peter Friedl and Katarina Wolf

"...we developed several tools to visualize MMP-14 localization and activity in fixed and also live-cell cultures, so we could see precisely which collagen fibers were cleaved and which were not. By combining molecular and structural imaging, here using confocal reflection microscopy which we had already introduced in live-cell imaging back in 1997 with fluorescence, the fate of cleaved fibers could be detected. After cleavage, the loose ends of fibers still remain in contact with the cell surface and become..."
Fast Moving Fronts, March 2011


Catherine Lozupone & Rob Knight

"This paper primarily describes a new methodology for bioinformatics analysis of sequence data, but also is a synthesis of knowledge, since we illustrated UniFrac's effectiveness by analyzing published sequence libraries from the bacterial communities in marine sediment, water, and ice. We were able to demonstrate that by comparing sequences from environmental samples across diverse environments that were generated from different research groups, we could provide insights that went beyond the analysis of..."
Fast Moving Fronts, March 2011


Jeffrey Martin

Jeffrey Martin is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Management and Marketing in the Culverhouse College of Commerce at the University of Alabama. Here he discusses his paper, coauthored along with Professor Kathy Eisenhardt of Stanford University: "Dynamic capabilities: What are they?" (Eisenhardt KM, Martin JA, Strateg. Manage. J. 21[10-11]: 11-5-21, October-November 2000). This paper was the Current Classics selection for August, 2010 from the field of Economics & Business.
Podcast Interview; MP3 ¦ WMA, March 2011

G. Balakrish Nair

"I have been trained as an environmental microbiologist, so I am basically a laboratory person. Over the past 30 years of working on cholera we have written a substantial number of papers on the laboratory aspects, which evolved from conventional techniques to more modern molecular methods including analysis of the genome of this elusive pathogen. Most of the papers in the past decade continue the story of laboratory research as applied to understanding the molecular epidemiology of the pathogen..."
Special Topic of Cholera, March 2011


Vardit Ravitsky

"...question that is challenging and has important social and ethical implications: when should researchers disclose individual results to participants in genetic research? Traditionally, researchers were not used to sharing individual findings with participants for two main reasons. First, in the context of research the significance of such findings is often not clear yet. Second, researchers did not see disclosure as a part of their role, since research is supposed to produce "generalizable knowledge," not to address the..."
Fast Moving Fronts, March 2011


Pamela Ronald

"The mechanisms of plant and animal defense against microbes have historically been presumed to be separate and distinct. Beginning around the 1870s, studies of animal responses to infection revealed the existence of both “natural” or innate immunity, which involved the cells and molecules mediating host inflammatory responses, and adaptive immunity, which permitted the generation of cellular receptors with immense diversity and exquisite specificity for foreign macromolecules of almost any kind. Lacking..."
New Hot Papers, March 2011


Jan Scholz

"In our work we presented evidence that the adult brain changes in response to a relatively short period of juggling practice. With non-invasive magnetic resonance imaging we imaged the brain of a group of healthy adult volunteers before they started practicing and following the six-week training period. We found evidence for structural changes in cortical areas and underlying connections. Our work was the first to suggest that such changes occur in the adult brain’s connections after motor training..."
New Hot Papers, March 2011

Dennis Selkoe

"...there is an imbalance between the production and the removal of a small hydrophobic protein called amyloid beta that triggers the process we call Alzheimer's. I believe that imbalance arises from a lot of different, more fundamental causes. What I'm saying is that amyloid beta is both necessary and, at least in some cases, sufficient to cause Alzheimer's disease, but there are many other factors. If we had to choose one, and I think the clearest, path to treatment, it would be targeting amyloid beta rather than..."
Special Topic of Alzheimer's Disease, March 2011

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