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Research Clips

A weekly roundup of research news items curated from the professional development groups within the AAMC’s Scientific Affairs cluster, and other sources.

From the Council of Faculty and Academic Societies (CFAS)


As tax reform legislation moves forward in Congress, Republican leaders in the House and Senate have abandoned the proposal to tax tuition waivers of graduate students, along with other proposals opposed by higher education leaders, including removal of student loan interest deductions, reported the Washington Post.
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A recent survey asked 66 prominent U.S. scientists and engineers whether they would advise President Trump, reported Science. Half of the respondents said they would consider the offer. The article included a strategy for successful engagement with the Trump administration from the chair of the AAMC’s Board of Directors, M. Roy Wilson, MD, president of Wayne State University: “Stay fact-based, and stay away from politics. Stand firm on what is known from evidence. There’s nothing to be gained by disengaging.”
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A variety of recommendations for how to preserve and revitalize peer review came out of a meeting of the French Academy of Sciences, the German Leopoldina, and the UK Royal Society, reported Nature. Among the recommendations were providing reviewers the time and training to examine scientific contributions thoughtfully without depending on bibliometric summaries and without overassessing and rereviewing.
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Meanwhile, AAMCNews published a piece this week addressing the research replication crisis, focusing on what medical schools and teaching hospitals are doing to help early career researchers learn best practices and improve writing skills for research reproducibility.
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The NIH awarded the Global Biological Standards Institute (GBSI) $2.3 million to train students in good experimental design to combat the reproducibility crisis, reported an interview in Retraction Watch. The first week of the program will be hosted at Harvard Medical School, according to the interview with Leonard P. Freedman, PhD, founding president and chief scientific officer of GBSI, and Vivian Siegel, PhD, the education director of the program.
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FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, and NIH Director Francis Collins, MD, PhD, testified on the implementation of the 21st Century Cures Act, saying that the legislation is already bringing positive changes to their respective agencies. The story was covered by The Herald-Palladium.
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Michael Rosbash, PhD, an American researcher who shared this year’s Nobel Prize for medicine, decried President Trump’s proposed cuts to NIH funding, according to the AP. “We benefited from an enlightened period in the postwar United States. Our National Institutes of Health have enthusiastically and generously supported basic research ... (but) the current climate in the U.S. is a warning that continued support cannot be taken for granted,” said Dr. Rosbash.
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Breakthroughs in biology, especially genome editing, often outpace ethical frameworks designed to govern them, wrote Jeantine Lunshof, PhD, a visiting fellow in genetics at Harvard Medical School’s Center for Bioethics, in the Washington Post. “At most, there are lines in the sand that are washed away by the next wave of discovery. The theoretical ethics quest for deep answers is slow, remote from and outpaced by the developments at the bench,” she wrote.
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An editorial in Nature profiled the Nature Awards for Mentoring in Science, which is a competition to find outstanding scientific mentors in a particular region.
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An international team of researchers, supported by Ionis Pharmaceuticals, has created IONIS-HTTRx, the first drug to target the cause of Huntington’s disease, reported the Washington Post.
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The editorial boards of major scientific journals do not represent the increasing diversity and international nature of science, said Phys.org. The article covered a study in PLOS Biology that showed a persistent lack of international representation on editorial boards in environmental biology. “People think that the scientific community is agnostic, but as with any established institution, be it the boardroom, Wall Street, or Hollywood, it's a club,” said Emilio M. Bruna, PhD, one of the study’s authors.
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From the Research on Care Community Health Equity subgroup (ROCChe)

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