Thursday, 25 February 2010

Did you know?

Why is blue for boys and pink for girls?
In ancient times, it was believed that certain colors could combat the evil spirits that lingered over nurseries. Because blue was associated with the heavenly spirits, boys were clothed in that color, boys then being considered the most valuable resource to parents. Although baby girls did not have a color associated with them, they were mostly clothed in black. It was only in the Middle Ages when pink became associated with baby girls.

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Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Spanish Scientist, co-discoverer of the human oncogene

Mariano Barbacid Montalbán spent most of his professional career in the United States. In 1998, his return to Spain after a 24-year absence was greeted with extensive coverage in the media, not just in the medical trade press, but in the mainstream newspapers and magazines as well. His return, he said at the time, was not due to a sudden bout of homesickness but came after receiving an "offer no researcher could refuse".
The Spanish Minister of Public Health gave Barbacid the chance of heading a no-expense-spared national cancer research facility, the "Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Oncológicas Carlos III" (CNIO). With 100,000 square feet of lab space the center, the first of its kind in Spain, occupies an old disused hospital in Madrid, restored and converted at a cost of some $25 million and due to open in 2001. Meanwhile, his team's initial work was being carried out in borrowed lab space, with a grant from the pharmaceutical company Pfizer.

It is a personal triumph for Barbacid, co-discoverer of the human oncogene, who had criticized the lack of funding for cancer research. In modern Spain "this is one of the last remaining challenges", he has said. Half the center's annual budget of $30 million is paid out of Spain's National Health System and the other half from research grants.

Mariano Barbacid was born in Madrid in 1949. At age 25, shortly after receiving his doctorate in Science and with work offers from six American research centers, he moved to the United States. Between 1974 and 1988 Barbacid worked for the US National Cancer Institute in Maryland, first as a basic scientist investigating molecular and genetic oncology, and later carrying translational research into early diagnosis of cancer. In 1982 the team headed by Barbacid was one of three to first isolate a human oncogene, a major breakthrough which shed new light on the molecular basis of cancer.

Barbacid later worked for the Department of Molecular Biology at Bristol-Myers Squibb in Princeton, New Jersey, until March 1998 when, turning down another offer from the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, he returned to Spain.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Biographies of important people

Rosa Louise Parks was nationally recognized as the "mother of the modern day civil rights movement" in America. Her refusal to surrender her seat to a white male passenger on a Montgomery, Alabama bus, December 1, 1955, triggered a wave of protest December 5, 1955 that reverberated throughout the United States. Her quiet courageous act changed America, its view of black people and redirected the course of history.

Mrs. Parks was born Rosa Louise McCauley, February 4, 1913 in Tuskegee, Alabama.

After the arrest of Rosa Parks, black people of Montgomery and sympathizers of other races organized and promoted a boycott of the city bus line that lasted 381 days. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was appointed the spokesperson for the Bus Boycott and taught nonviolence to all participants. Contingent with the protest in Montgomery, others took shape throughout the south and the country. They took form as sit-ins, eat-ins, swim-ins, and similar causes. Thousands of courageous people joined the "protest" to demand equal rights for all people.

She was voted by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most Influential people of the 20th century.