Catalytic Reactions

Below are comments we received for topics raised in the July-August issue, along with some general reactions.

On ethics column on "Authorship and Ownership"

Thank you for writing a clear article on authorship and ownership. It was the first time that I can recall hearing about the Guidelines for the Conduct of Research in the Intramural Research Program. Is this available in the NIH Library, or do I need to look elsewhere?

- Bill Bennett, NCI

I'll be happy to send you a copy of the research conduct guidelines. Other intramural researchers who are interested in obtaining a copy of the guidelines should contact the Office of Intramural Affairs (phone: 496-3561).

- Joan P Schwartz , NINDS

[for a copy of the research conduct guidelines, click here.]

On a "burning issue" at NIH

Federal regulations forbid smoking inside NIH buildings. Smoking is, however, permitted on the NIH campus, and employees taking a "smoke break" tend to cluster around the entrances of the buildings, thereby exposing everyone who enters and leaves the building to second-hand smoke. Smoking around the Clinical Center entrances was prohibited as of July 1, and there is further discussion about whether the no-smoking zones should be extended to include all entrances to all buildings on campus. The direct benefit to all NIH employees and visitors is reduced exposure to second-hand smoke. The cost for smokers is some inconvenience, personal responsibility to minimize littering, and exposure to the elements in inclement weather.

Discussion of further smoking restrictions on the NIH campus leads to a more general policy question. Should NIH, a renowned center for health- related medical research, be a permissive partner with smokers? Or should NIH enforce a strict interpretation of the federal policy to provide a smoke-free, drug-free work environment and seek to reduce and eventually eliminate smoking on campus? The state of Maryland and the American Medical Association have taken activist roles to reduce smoking, particularly in public places, and FDA is currently examining the classification of tobacco as a drug-delivery system. NIH could also establish an active leadership role by reducing exposure of employees to toxic materials (e.g., tobacco smoke) and by helping its employees eliminate habits, such as smoking, that are linked to debilitating disease. NIH could achieve these goals in a manner that does not infringe on personal choice or privacy, perhaps, for example, by establishing programs to help interested people break these habits, and also by offering reduced health- and life-insurance rates for nonsmokers.

-Gerry Dienel, NIMH

On the National Institutes of Dent

Dent is a genius. The toiling, the drudgery, the cynicism-our world, captured in detail. Dare I say that his cartoon strip is the best thing in The Catalyst?

-Daniel Fierer, NIAID

Catalytic Reactions

In this issue, we are asking for your reactions in four areas: safety and security, NCI's changes, tips for our Hot Methods Clinic, and postdoc concerns.

Send your responses on these topics or comments on other intramural research concerns to us via e-mail:; fax: 402-4303; or mail: Building 1, Room 334.

1) What do you think poses the greatest health or safety risk to NIH staff? What specific suggestions do you have for improving safety and security at NIH?

2) What is your reaction to the changes under way in NCI's intramural program? What advice would you give the institute's new director?

3) Do you have any suggestions or comments about the flow cytometry techniques featured in this issue's Hot Methods Clinic? What methods would you like to see covered in future issues?

4) We plan to devote our next issue to postdoc concerns, so now is the time for postdocs and their mentors to fire away. What do you think is the biggest challenge facing postdocs at NIH today? What can be done to improve the postdoc experience? And, postdocs, what are your pet peeves about life at NIH?

Calendar Convenience

It's happened again. You've misplaced your Yellow Sheet, and that interesting seminar you planned on attending this afternoon turns out to have taken place yesterday. Maybe it's finally time to enter the computer age and sign up for an electronic subscription to NIH's weekly Calendar of Events. To receive the calendar via e-mail, send an e-mail message to with the message

Catalyst Mailing List

We are working toward improving our distribution system for The NIH Catalyst. Over the past year, many labs and offices have moved to other locations at NIH, and we are doing our best to keep the mailing list up-to-date. If you have recently moved and want to remain on our mailing list, let us know. Intramural researchers arriving at or leaving NIH should also contact us to be added to or deleted from the mailing list (phone: 496- 0450; fax: 402-4303; e-mail:

Safety and Security at a Glance

If you have questions about course work on laboratory safety or other concerns about the safe use of chemicals or biological materials in the lab, contact Deborah Wilson at the Occupational Safety and Health Branch (phone: 496-2960). For nonemergency questions about fire hazards or regulations, contact the NIH Fire Department (phone: 496-2372) or John McCabe with Fire Prevention (phone: 496-0487). For nonemergency questions about crime risks or other security issues, contact Patrick Coajou with the NIH Police (phone: 496-5685).


The Interinstitute Interest Group Directory, pages 12-13 of the July-August issue of The NIH Catalyst contained an incorrect e-mail address for Janet Yancey-Wrona, who is the contact for the Nucleic Acid Biochemistry Interest Group. Yancey-Wrona's correct e-mail address is

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