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Heeding The Call Essay

  • A King raised by wise men. Chapelle, Tony // Black Collegian;Jan/Feb93, Vol. 23 Issue 3, p140 

    Focusses on the student days of Martin Luther King Jr. Intellectual prodigy; Morehouse College; African-American male mentors; Morehouse college president Benjamin Mays; Reverend Joe Barbour; Ghandi's example of `non-violent resistance'; Crozer; Boston University; Coretta Scott; `The Purpose of...

  • A King day in Arizona. Warren, R.; Edmond Jr., A. // Black Enterprise;Jul90, Vol. 20 Issue 12, p20 

    Reports that after three years of protest by civil rights groups and millions of dollars lost as a result of boycotts against the state, Arizona once again has a holiday in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., signed into law by Gov. Rose Mofford.The governor also cancelled a referendum...

  • Timely leader. Haskins, Jim // Cobblestone;Feb1994, Vol. 15 Issue 2, p2 

    Asserts that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was the right man at the right time. The influence he exerted in the struggle for civil rights; His practice of the nonviolent principles of Mohandas Gandhi to attack the problem of racial segregation in the US; National Association for the Advancement of...

  • Friendship and betrayal. Williamson, A. // Essence (Essence);Jan1990, Vol. 20 Issue 9, p110 

    Opinion. Argues against the public clamor for gossip, fed recently by the Reverend Ralph Abernathy's account of Martin Luther King Jr.'s alleged private life, which the author says is distracting the nation's attention from civil rights issues.

  • Statue of King erected in Kalamazoo, Mich.  // Jet;10/23/89, Vol. 77 Issue 3, p38 

    Reports on the two-year effort by residents of Kalamazoo, Mich., that recently ended in the dedication of a bronze statue of the late Martin Luther King, Jr.

  • The night Dr. King saved the lives of two white men. Johnson, R.E. // Jet;1/21/91, Vol. 79 Issue 14, p6 

    Relates an incident in 1956 when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. saved the lives of two white men, Montgomery, Ala. Mayor W.A. Gayle and Police Commissioner Clyde Sellers, who were investigating a bomb blast at King's home. The men were saved from angry mob that had gathered outside King's home.

  • After 28 years, how much of Dr. King's dream has come true?  // Jet;1/20/92, Vol. 81 Issue 13, p12 

    Presents comments by several black leaders on how much of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream, spoken about in his 1963 `I Have a Dream' speech, has come true 28 years later. Included are comments by his widow Coretta Scott King, Virginia Gov. L. Douglas Wilder and Andrew Young, former...

  • King family sues auction house for speech outline.  // Jet;11/30/92, Vol. 83 Issue 6, p6 

    Announces that the estate of the slain civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is suing Superior Galleries, a Los Angeles auction house, for the six-page outline of a speech Dr. King delivered 26 years ago. Speech became a prelude to King's book `Where Do We Go From Here'; Speech traces...

  • 25th anniversary of death of Martin Luther King, Jr. is observed across USA.  // Jet;4/12/93, Vol. 83 Issue 24, p4 

    Recounts several of the observances held across the US to mark the 25th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on April 4, 1968. Ceremony at King's gravesite in Atlanta attended by his widow, Coretta Scott King, their children and others; Mrs. King's comments; Rally in...

  • Change, Change, Change: Heeding the Call

    “Do not follow people that stand still.”

    The future of any field of science depends on its ability to capture the imaginations and harness the energies of the next generation. Over the course of the past 50 years, cell biology has proven to be among the most successful fields in actually doing this, perhaps because of its enthusiasm for adopting new technologies, crossing disciplinary divides, and broadening its horizons.

    As we contemplate the next 50 years, cell biologists should own this proud tradition of embracing change, especially as we enter an era of seemingly limitless scientific possibilities coupled with all-too-limited resources. For example, established investigators need to be open to innovative programs and creative funding solutions aimed at fostering the development of the next great minds in cell biology. And we need to figure out new ways to jump start the careers of those just entering the field (Collins, 2010). Over the past 25 years, the proportion of researchers between the ages of 31 and 33 receiving National Institutes of Health grants has fallen from 10% to 1%. In fact, researchers age 70 and older received more grants in 2007 than those under age 30 (NIH Extramural Data Book, 2007).

    This trend is a cause for concern. One thing that I have learned from my years in the laboratory is that researchers in the early stages of their careers have fire in their bellies and are not afraid to tackle the really hard biological questions. If we fail to support these fresh, creative minds in their high-risk, high-reward pursuits, we will eventually pay the price in terms of the quality of our cell biology, our biomedical research, and, ultimately, our health care.

    For their part, early stage cell biologists must learn to expect a gradual disapperance of traditional disciplinary boundaries. If they target their expectations too narrowly, not only may they face disappointment but also they may miss out on exciting and unexpected opportunities to advance the entire field. The most successful cell biologists I know are the cell biologists who read voraciously about genomics, physiology, biochemistry, bioengineering, imaging, clinical research, and so on. You do not need to be an expert to take an observation that has occurred in another field and apply it to what you know or to find a collaborator who can help. That is often the way major revelations occur.

    In my own experience, I have found the interactions between my genomic research lab and cell biologists to be extremely productive. In 2003, my lab identified the genetic mutation responsible for Hutchinson–Gilford progeria syndrome (HGPS), which is a rare disorder that causes the most dramatic form of premature aging (Eriksson et al., 2003). However, years before we tracked down that mutation in a gene that codes for a protein called lamin A, cell biologists had figured out lamin A's normal structure and function, which is to hold together the cell's nuclear scaffold. Thanks to this solid foundation, we were able quickly to build a rewarding collaboration with cell biologist Robert Goldman and swiftly determine that the mutant protein disrupts the cell's nuclear structure (Goldman et al., 2004). That allowed us to screen cells from HGPS patients for compounds that slowed or reversed that process (Figure 1; Capell et al., 2005). The result was one of the fastest translations on record of a basic research discovery into a promising clinical trial for a previously untreatable and fatal disorder (Kieran et al., 2007).

    Figure 1.

    Left, dramatic nuclear blebbing of fibroblasts from a patient with Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome (HGPS). Right, nuclear blebbing of HGPS fibroblasts corrected by treatment with a farnesyl transferase inhibitor. Credit: Brian Capell, nHGRI.

    Clearly, cell biology is a rapidly expanding discipline that can benefit—and benefit from—many other areas of biological research. Those of us in other areas of biomedical research desperately need cell biologists with the tools, interest, and persistence to unravel the many unsolved mysteries of the cell. Meanwhile, cell biologists need the comprehensive data sets, systematic approaches, and integrated knowledge offered by developmental biologists, neurobiologists, immunologists, biochemists, computational biologists, and geneticists. So, as cell biology moves forward into its next half century and beyond, its most significant change may be to encourage a new spirit of collaboration. We can all benefit from the approach colorfully articulated for a quite different set of problems by President Woodrow Wilson: “I not only use all the brains that I have, but all that I can borrow.”


    • Address correspondence to: Francis S. Collins (collinsf{at}mail.nih.gov).

    This article is distributed by The American Society for Cell Biology under license from the author(s). Two months after publication it is available to the public under an Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike 3.0 Unported Creative Commons License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0).


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