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Pro-Test: standing up for science
Pro-Test: Standing Up For Science
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Archives for: 2009

25/12/08

Permalink 12:26:33 am, by Tom, 412 words, 1689 views   English (UK)
Categories: Information

Looking back, looking forward

As 2008 comes to a close it's a good opportunity to look back on the year, and what a year it's been. Support for animal research at Oxford remains high and in November the University announced that work on the construction of the new biomedical facility has been completed. This new facility, which prompted angry and sometimes violent opposition from animal rights campaigners but also unprecedented demonstrations of public support from scientists, students and ordinary members of the public, will enable Oxford scientists to build on an excellent record that sees work of many of its medical researchers rated as either world-leading or internationally excellent.

We're also excited to see that the prestigious research journal Science has named reprogramming cells as its "Breakthrough of the year" (1), and notes that:

"The feat rests on a genetic trick, first developed in mice and described 2 years ago, in which scientists wipe out a cell's developmental "memory," causing it to return to its pristine embryonic state and then regrow into something else. In 2008, researchers achieved another milestone in cell reprogramming. In an elegant study in live mice, they prompted cells to make the leap directly from one mature cell into another--flouting the usual rule that development of cells is a one-way street. These and other advances in tweaking cells to assume new identities add up to make the now flourishing field of cellular reprogramming Science's Breakthrough of the Year."

We are delighted to see that this exciting work, which we have discussed on a couple of occasions of occasions on our science blog and more recently on the blog of our sister organization Speaking of Research, recognized in this way. Another interesting technique we reported on, the use of advanced GFP technology to track embryonic development was one of 10 runners up, ranging from the detection of planets outside our solar system to calculating the forces that bind sub atomic particles, chosen by Science. We all know that animal research is held in high regard by the scientific community, but the decision made by Science is further proof if any were needed that it is held in the highest regard.

With new members and continuing support from students at Oxford and beyond we will strive to build on our successes and make 2009 another year to remember. We wish all our supporters a very Merry Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous New Year!

Regards

Paul Browne

1) Vogel G. "Breathrough of the year: reprogramming cells" Science Volume 322 (5909), pages 1766 1767 (2008) DOI: 10.1126/science.322.5909.1766

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