April 09, 2008
Superbug, super-fast evolution
Fascination with tiny microbes bearing long, difficult-to-pronounce names is often reserved for biology classrooms — unless of course the bug in question threatens human health. MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) now contributes to more US deaths than does HIV, and as its threat level has risen, so has the attention lavished on it by the media. At this point, almost any move the bug makes is likely to show up in your local paper. Last month saw reporting on studies of hospital screening for MRSA (which came up with conflicting results), stories on MRSA outbreaks (involving both real and false alarms), and media flurries over the finding that humans and their pets can share the infection with one another. Why is this bug so frightening? The answer is an evolutionary one.
Where's the evolution?
MRSA is resistant not only to the antibiotic methicillin, but also to whole other suites of our drugs, making it very difficult to treat and, occasionally, deadly. Modern strains of MRSA did not, however, show up out of the blue. In the early 1940s, when penicillin was first used to treat bacterial infections, penicillin-resistant strains of S. aureus were unknown — but by the 1950s, they were common in hospitals. Methicillin was introduced in 1961 to treat these resistant strains, and within one year, doctors had encountered methicillin-resistant S. aureus. Today, we have strains of MRSA that simultaneously resist a laundry list of different antibiotics, including vancomycin — often considered our last line of antibacterial defense.
April 02, 2008
Three instersting "PostDoc News" caught my eyes & attention this week. One is the news from Canada, where postdocs are in the process of getting labour board approval to unionize....!!. The second news is the University of Alaska PostDocs finalized negotiation with the university through the union.
The third news, some universities are making huge changes to PostDoc Policies by increasing salaries and benefits as much as $9,000 to 10,000 increase in salary and benefits (I lost the reference, I will list it soon). At the outset, thought things are happening bit slow, I am very delighted to see that postdocs are slowly getting their due recognition. And, appropriate steps were taken to compensate their toil and their educational qualifications. But, who does the initiative and leg work for PostDocs??, check out.
(Image courtesy: Stephen Nowers / Anchorage Daily News)
PostDoc Union news:
The latest of those three news is from "newminor.com" an alaska local news site. Staff Writer Christie Hang (Contact staff writer Christi Hang at 459-7590) writes about the contract negotiations took place between University officials and the local union represented by AFT. This same very American Federation of Teachers was the gem of our UCONN Postdocs when we got unionized few years ago. Good Job University of Alaska and Local AFT!..
University of Alaska finalizes contract negotiations with unions
Four groups agree to contracts through 2010
By Christi Hang
Originally published Tuesday, April 1, 2008 at 12:01 a.m.
Updated Tuesday, April 1, 2008 at 10:22 a.m.
"Members of United Academics-AAUP/AFT, which represents 940 university faculty, counselors, librarians, Cooperative Extension agents and post-doctoral fellows primarily employed at the main campus, will receive an annual salary increase of 3.3 percent over three years".
UA approves union contracts
A separate union representing more than 1,000 part-time non-benefited faculty negotiated a contract giving them a 4% raise each year for three years.
A separate group of about 260 custodians and maintenance employees will get a 1-time $800 transition payment as the union's salary schedule is compressed. The university's health care contributions also will be reduced.
Information from: Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, http://www.newsminer.com/
University of Washington, yet another top notch higher education/research institute known for an impressive history and record setting, rig...
Finally, despite all the odds of science funding cuts and change in politics, policies in DC, Francis S. Collins and Thomas E.Perez's...
www.Vadlo.com by Peter Ze Tang
PostDocs in research labs face pierce competition because a colleague or a graduate student is working along the same problem or area in whi...
UCONN Postdocs- Chronology of Unionization (to be updated...!)
- March 17, 2004, Uconn Health Center Postdocs ratify contract
- PostDocs Join UHP-AFT Local:-Amendment of Contract
- August 28, 2003, Votes Counted Postdocs won
- Sept 3, 2003, By Pete Keefe, Health Center PostDocs Vote to Join Union
- Aug 28 Won the Election
- August 28, 2003 UCHC Postdocs Voting Day
- 2003, Uconn Postdocs vote for Union
Here is the PostDoc Wheel of PRO/UAW, this is like the Wheel of Dhamma of Lord Buddha's that is a symbol of justice and liberation. The latest news from PRO/UAW is very promising to the 5000 or more postdocs in different campuses of University of California System.
The Union for Postdoctoral Researchers at the University of California
PRO/UAW is the Union for over 5,000 Postdoctoral Researchers at the University of California. By signing up a majority of Postdocs, we can exercise our legal rights to bargain with UC. Postdoc representatives we choose will survey us to determine priorities and will then negotiate a contract with UC. We can negotiate for improvements in wages, hours, benefits, and terms and conditions of employment. Postdocs will then have an opportunity to democractically approve the agreement that UC and our bargaining team reach, before it becomes a binding contract.