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  • Pandemic H1N1 Virus in Canadian Pigs Smells Odd

    Ever since Canadian officials announced in May that pigs on an Alberta farm harbored the novel H1N1 virus causing the swine flu outbreak, scientists have struggled to explain its origins. Researchers had hoped a close look at virus isolates from the pigs would clarify matters, but new sequences posted on a public database yesterday had many unusual mutations that raised more puzzling questions.

  • UC President Announces Furlough Plan

    The Golden State is on the verge of going broke, and the 170,000 faculty and staff of the University of California (UC) are feeling the pinch. Today, UC President Mark Yudof released a furlough plan that would shave $184 million from the university's projected $813 million shortfall in state funding over the next 2 years. Last month, Yudof floated three proposals for salary cuts and/or furloughs.

  • House Panel Gives NIH a 3.1% Raise

    A House of Representatives spending panel today approved a $942 million raise for the National Institutes of Health that would bring its 2010 budget to $31.3 billion. That 3.1% boost is roughly double what President Barack Obama had requested. According to Representative David Obey (D–WI), chair of the House Appropriations Committee, the new money would be spread equally across NIH's 27 institutes and centers. (Details of the spending bill are not yet available.)

  • Planetary Scientists Sharpening Their Pencils

    WASHINGTON, D.C.—With NASA mired in budgetary woes, scientists this week gathered here at the National Academy of Sciences to begin planning the next decade’s missions to the solar system. The steering group for the next planetary science decadal survey—a prioritized list of recommended missions categorized by cost—heard how dire space science’s situation is at NASA. And they were reminded of the previous decadal survey’s spotty record estimating costs.

  • New EMBO Director on Open Access, Reaching Out

    Yesterday, Maria Leptin was appointed the new director of the European Molecular Biology Organization. EMBO is an honorary organization with more than 1300 members and a budget of €18 million. It administers a well-known fellowship program, sponsors meetings, and publishes four journals. Leptin, a developmental biologist at the Institute for Genetics at the University of Cologne in Germany, will take over from Hermann Bujard, who will step down at the end of the year.

  • White House to Nominate Collins as NIH Director

    It's official: The White House intends to tap geneticist Francis Collins to lead the National Institutes of Health. President Barack Obama's announcement today ends months of speculation that Collins, leader of the international Human Genome Project, was about to be named to head the $30.6 billion agency. Collins has been rumored to be interested in the job since he stepped down as director of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) last summer.

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