Biophysical Society Newsletter - August 2016





President's Message


Officers President Suzanne Scarlata President-Elect Lukas Tamm Past-President Edward Egelman Secretary Frances Separovic Treasurer Paul Axelsen

In the April newsletter, I wrote an article about ways to make more funding available to researchers from The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — although some ideas might be generalized to other agencies. Here, I would like to summarize some of the responses that I’ve received from you. Surprisingly, all of them were very positive. A few of you also made additional comments that I would like to share with our member- ship, and with NIH. One member pointed out that when NIH makes its case to Congress for funding, they should estimate the enormous amount of time and money lost by scientists’ never-ending fights for funding. While I am sure that they already do this, it might be nice to survey our membership for estimates on their time spent writing grants versus doing research-related work.

Council Olga Boudker Jane Clarke Bertrand Garcia-Moreno Ruth Heidelberger Kalina Hristova Robert Nakamoto Arthur Palmer

Suzanne Scarlata

Gabriela Popescu Joseph D. Puglisi Michael Pusch Erin Sheets Joanna Swain

Some investigators pointed out that NIH institutes do not clarify the nature of the science they fund, but most of this confusion could be alleviated by calling program officers before working on a grant. There was a concern about the demographics of the Pioneer awardees in that at least half work at Ivy League institutions and 90 percent work on either the East Coast or the West Coast. These awards should be made available to all deserving scientists. There were two ideas that many of you would like to see instituted. 1. Most would like to see the step cut-off (i.e., where all scores below a line are funded and all above are not) eliminated. The general consensus is that tapering down the proposals that are funded over at least 10 percentage points would be a good way to keep more investiga- tors working in the lab rather than re-writing grants. 2. The idea of sunset funding is very appealing. Some older investigators are not ready for retirement but don’t want to take funding away from young people. Keeping a senior lab alive with only one technician or research associate would be a good solution. There were several ideas of how to do this such as having a PI’s R01 extended over longer funding peri- ods with decreased direct costs or having 4–5 year funds funding at a lower level. If anyone has any other ideas, please send them to me at

Biophysical Journal Leslie Loew Editor-in-Chief

Society Office Ro Kampman Executive Officer Newsletter Catie Curry Beth Staehle Ray Wolfe Production Laura Phelan Profile Ellen Weiss Public Affairs Beth Staehle Publisher's Forum

The Biophysical Society Newsletter (ISSN 0006-3495) is published twelve times per year, January- December, by the Biophysical Society, 11400 Rockville Pike, Suite 800, Rockville, Maryland 20852. Distributed to USA members and other countries at no cost. Canadian GST No. 898477062. Postmaster: Send address changes to Biophysical Society, 11400 Rockville Pike, Suite 800, Rockville, MD 20852. Copyright © 2016 by the Biophysical Society. Printed in the United States of America. All rights reserved.

Jane Dyson (Continued from page 1) As part of her vision for the Journal, Dyson intends to target turnaround times and attract- ing submissions from new areas. She wants to ensure efficiency and consistency in the review and evaluation process across scientific areas, and plans to continue the many excellent initia- tives started by her predecessors.

“I am excited that Jane will become editor in chief in 2017. The Society has been fortunate to have had great editors leading BJ, and we are continuing this tradition with Jane’s appoint- ment. She will bring a new perspective and thoughtful leadership at a time when scholarly publishing is facing many changes and challeng- es,” says Society President-Elect Lukas Tamm .

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