Congratulations to Annual Reviews Authors on NAS Awards

Congratulations to the following Annual Reviews contributing authors for receiving these National Academy of Sciences awards:

Barbara Dosher, of the University of California, Irvine, won the Atkinson Prize in Psychological and Cognitive Sciences “for her groundbreaking work on human memory, attention, and learning.” She wrote for the 2017 Annual Review of Vision Science.

She shared the prize with Richard Shiffrin, of Indiana University, who was recognized “for pioneering contributions to the investigation of memory and attention.” He wrote for the 1992 Annual Review of Psychology.

Günter Wagner, of Yale University, won the Daniel Giraud Elliot Medal “for his book  Homology, Genes, and Evolutionary Innovation, which makes fundamental contributions to our understanding of the evolution of complex organisms.” He wrote for the Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics in 1989 and 1991.

Mark E. Hay, of the Georgia Institute of Technology, won the Gilbert Morgan Smith Medal “for his research into algal science, with implications for the world’s imperiled coral reefs.” He wrote for the Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics in 1988 and 2004, and the Annual Review of Marine Science in 2009.

James P. Allison, of the University of Texas MD Anderson Center, won the Jessie Stevenson Kovalenko Medal “for important discoveries related to the body’s immune response to tumors.” He wrote for the Annual Review of Immunology in 1987, 1991, and 2001, and the Annual Review of Medicine in 2014.

Howard Y. Chang, of Stanford University, won the NAS Award in Molecular Biology “for the discovery of long noncoding RNAs and the invention of genomic technologies.” He wrote for the Annual Review of Biochemistry in 2009 and 2012.

Rodolphe Barrangou, of North Carolina State University, won the NAS Prize in Food and Agriculture Sciences “for the discovery of the genetic mechanisms and proteins driving CRISPR-Cas systems.” He wrote for the Annual Review of Food Science in 2012, 2016, and 2017, and the Annual Review of Genetics in 2017.

Marlene R. Cohen, of the University of Pittsburgh, won the Troland Research Award “for her pioneering studies of how neurons in the brain process visual information.” She wrote for the Annual Review of Neuroscience in 2012 and 2018.

Etel Solingen, of the University of California, Irvine, won the William and Katherine Estes Award “for pathbreaking work on nuclear proliferation and reducing the risks of nuclear war.” She wrote for the Annual Review of Political Science in 2010.

Jennifer A. Doudna, Annual Reviews Contributing Author, Wins Kavli Prize, NAS Medal

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Photo: Doudna Lab, UC Berkeley

Congratulations to Jennifer A. Doudna, of the University of California, Berkeley, who won the 2018 Kavli Prize in Nanoscience and the National Academy of Science Award in Chemical Sciences.

Dr. Doudna shared the Kavli Prize with Emmanuelle Charpentier, of the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology, and Virginijus Šikšnys, of Vilnius University, “for the invention of CRISPR-Cas9, a precise nanotool for editing DNA, causing a revolution in biology, agriculture, and medicine.” 

She received the NAS Award “for co-inventing the technology for efficient site-specific genome engineering using CRISPR/Cas9 nucleases.”

Read her articles on the topic here.

2018 Kavli Prize in Neuroscience Goes to Annual Reviews Authors Hudspeth, Fettiplace, Petit

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Congratulations to A. James Hudspeth, of Rockefeller University; Robert Fettiplace, of the University of Wisconsin–Madison; and Christine Petit, of the Institut Pasteur, who shared the 2018 Kavli Prize in Neuroscience “for their pioneering work on the molecular and neural mechanisms of hearing.”

Click on their names to find the articles they wrote for the Annual Review of Biophysics, the Annual Review of Cell and Developmental Biology, the Annual Review of Neuroscience, the Annual Review of Genomics and Human Genetics, and the Annual Review of Physiology.

Annual Reviews of Astronomy and Astrophysics Co-Editor Ewine van Dishoeck Wins Kavli Prize, NAS Medal

Screen Shot 2018-06-04 at 11.13.24.pngCongratulations to Ewine van Dishoeck, of Leiden University, who won the 2018 Kavli Prize in Astrophysics and the National Academy of Science James Craig Watson Medal.

The Co-Editor of the Annual Review of Astrophysics received the Kavli Prize “for her combined contributions to observational, theoretical, and laboratory astrochemistry, elucidating the life cycle of interstellar clouds and the formation of stars and planets.”

The James Craig Watson Medal was awarded to her “for improving our understanding of how molecules, stars, and planets form.”

Dr. van Dishoeck has co-edited the journal with Sandra Faber since 2010. You can find her articles about planet, star, and molecule formation here.

Making Realistic 3D Printed Organs to Plan Surgery

What if a surgical model not only could mimic the look and feel of a patient’s organ but also give surgeons quantitative feedback as they use it to practice the procedure? A team of scientists in the McAlpine Research Group at the University of Minnesota have been trying to answer this question, creating a prostate model that accomplishes exactly that.

In their article for the Annual Review of Analytical Chemistry, titled “3D Printed Organ Models for Surgical Applications,” Kaiyan Qiu, Ghazaleh Haghiashtiani, and Michael C. McAlpine from the University of Minnesota, review current materials used in 3D printed patient-specific organ models used in surgical pre-planning, as well as the state-of-the-art materials and techniques that allow them to replicate many kinds of human tissue.

The use of 3D models in medicine and anatomy is not new. Centuries ago, they were fashioned out of clay, wax, wood, glass, plaster, or even ivory, and they served as teaching tools or as illustrations of the mechanisms of disease, without having to resort to human dissection.

More recently, the boom in 3D printing technology has allowed medical professionals to visualize organs that might require surgery. Using data collected with imaging techniques such as CT scans, MRIs, or ultrasounds, these models can be fabricated to the exact specifications of a person’s organ.

This is of vital importance. A recent study has shown that an average of more than 250,000 people die each year in the United States as a result of medical errors, including more than 4,000 “never events” in surgery — events that should never have happened. Although complete elimination of errors is impossible, proper surgical planning and rehearsal can be key to reducing their occurrence. Model organs are quickly becoming invaluable tools to help prepare for surgery, not just allowing doctors to get a better feel for the organ on which they must operate, but also letting them plan the procedure. Recently, a 3D printed model of a patient’s hip joint changed the surgical team’s minds about the best treatment plan and resulted in performing a hip replacement instead of reconstruction of the damaged hip joint.

Current materials used in 3D printing have limitations, however. Compared to 2D slices of MRI or CT scans, 3D hard plastic models have helped increase the accuracy of surgeons by helping them to visualize the organ. They can also help inform the patients about their conditions and show inexperienced surgeons what to expect from the operation. Their main flaw is that they are not pliable enough to allow for surgical rehearsal. In contrast, rubber-like materials can provide a tactile feel closer to the actual organ they are meant to model and allow for cutting and suturing, but their properties do not precisely match those of an actual organ in elasticity, hardness, or color.

“These present the correct anatomy, but they’re incapable of providing quantitative feedback or even accurate tactile sensation,” said Dr. Qiu, a postdoctoral researcher in the McAlpine group and lead author of the article.

To remedy this, the three co-authors and their team have developed silicone-based 3D printing materials, or “inks,” that can be finely tuned to mimic these properties. Using a customized direct-write assembly 3D printer with a fine nozzle, they were able to construct a prostate model whose dimensions were obtained with MRI imaging and whose physical properties were established by mechanical tests on actual patient prostate samples, which informed their inks.

Screen Shot 2018-03-28 at 11.52.08They were also able to print and integrate electronic sensors onto and within the model that, when connected to a computer, provided quantitative feedback. This capability could enhance surgical precision in an actual procedure, as well as help train surgeons for steadiness, flexibility, and dexterity, just like a high-tech game of “Operation,” where a loud buzz goes off every time the player is too heavy-handed.

“When surgeons practice using different surgical tools, they can know how much force to apply as they get real-time feedback,” said Dr. Qiu. “They can adjust it and use that knowledge in real surgery to avoid damaging tissue.”

They’re not stopping there, setting their sights on more complex 3D models. Some could account for different types of tissue simultaneously printed with different inks. “We could replicate cancerous tissue and healthy tissue within the same model,” says Ms. Haghiashtiani. Another direction is to develop dynamic models, such as a 3D printed heart that can beat like a real one. A third idea is to create models that integrate sensors capable of taking various types of measurements at once, like temperature and multidirectional pressure.

Ultimately, they say, it is possible that their models could replace real organs.

“We are also working on bioprinting, where we can print organs that can replicate biological functions,” said Dr. Qiu.

“If we could get to this point, if we have the technology, you could say ‘why not use this for transplants?’” added Ms. Haghiashtiani.

Read more about prior limitations, current progress, and future perspectives in this important area in their Annual Review of Analytical Chemistry article. 

The Annual Review of Analytical Chemistry, first published in 2008, provides a perspective on the field of analytical chemistry. The journal draws from disciplines as diverse as biology, physics, and engineering, with analytical chemistry as the unifying theme.



“Queen of Carbon Science” Mildred Dresselhaus Dies

Screen Shot 2017-02-22 at 17.20.21.pngMildred S. Dresselhaus, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) physicist known as the “Queen of Carbon Science,” died at the age of 86 years in Cambridge, Massachusetts on Monday, February 20, 2017. She was the first woman at MIT to attain the rank of full, tenured professor, and the first woman to receive the National Medal of Science in Engineering.

Dr. Dresselhaus spent her career studying the properties of carbon and was instrumental in developing carbon nanotubes, which have shown promise in the creation of better electricity conduction and stronger materials. She also contributed to the development of thermoelectric materials, which can transform temperature difference into electricity.

Read her autobiographical article in the 2011 Annual Review of Condensed Matter Physics.

Vision Science: How Do We See in 3D?

How do we see in 3D when we start with a 2D projection on our retinas? How can a flat painting give the illusion of depth and perspective?

In the video describing his latest article in Annual Reviews, Andrew Welchman, a researcher at the University of Cambridge, explains how our neurons put all this information together to produce 3D views.

Read the full article from the Annual Review of Vision Science.

Runners-Up for Person of the Year: CRISPR Scientists

Time Magazine named U.S. President-Elect Donald Trump its 2016 Person of the Year, but amongst the runners-up are the scientists who identified the mechanisms and developed the technique of gene editing using clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR), as well as those who are attempting to find direct applications in human health.

The implications are significant for the treatment of diseases with genetic components. If gene sequences can be altered, they can also be corrected to eliminate the risk of illnesses such as cystic fibrosis or Huntington’s Disease. They can also be used in the treatment of certain cancers. The technique is all the more revolutionary because it is cheap, very accurate, and easy to use.

While many of the scientists involved in these discoveries co-signed a letter urging caution in the use of CRISPR, wary as they are of genome modifications that could be passed on to offspring, this new technology also offers a lot of hope for many diseases that have not yet found a cure.

Jennifer Doudna, of the University of California at Berkeley, along with Emmanuelle Charpentier of the Max Planck Institute, developed a way to simplify this technology and apply it to all kinds of DNA. Feng Zhang, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, showed it was possible to use it on human DNA. Carl June, of the University of Pennsylvania, is now attempting to harness CRISPR to treat cancer.

Congratulations to all of them.

Browse Dr. Doudna’s articles for Annual Reviews:

U.S. Public Opinion and the Environment

Two authors scheduled to write for the 2017 Annual Review of Political Science signed a piece in the Washington Post exploring how much resistance U.S. President-Elect Donald J. Trump’s appointee to the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) may face.

Citing work they have done for the next volume of our journal, Political Scientists Patrick J. Egan, of New York University, and Megan Mullin, of Duke University, show that of all the issues, the environment is where the political divide between Republicans and Democrats is starkest. While polarization has been growing between left and right, they most disagree on spending to protect the environment, above the reduction of poverty, childcare, schools, and science.

They conclude that President-Elect Trump’s nominee for the EPA, Scott Pruitt, while being the most conservative appointment for the agency since 1981, will probably not see much political resistance for his agenda to reduce regulation to curb climate change.

MIT Astrophysicist Sara Seager Profiled in NYTimes

Sara Seager, astrophysicist and planetary scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and contributing author of the Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics, was interviewed in The New York Times Magazine of Dec. 7, 2016.aa480631-f16

Dr. Seager’s work has taken her to seek exoplanets—planets that orbit stars outside our own solar system—and, more specifically, exoplanets that would share characteristics with Earth. A rocky planet that would be far enough from its star that its water would be liquid and life on it possible.

Her research allowed for the discovery of the first exoplanet atmosphere. Using light, she is able to identify the elements and gases that exist in these atmospheres. The ultimate goal, she says, is to determine whether we are alone in the universe.

Read Dr. Seager’s article for the 2010 Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics: