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Holiday Auction Set, Dec. 6

The Clinical Center's department of laboratory medicine will hold its 30th Holiday Auction fundraiser on Friday, Dec. 6 in Bldg. 10, Rm. 2C310, which is the department's conference room and library.

Organizers welcome donations of items, and remind donors that their contributions are tax-deductible. There will be a white elephant sale table, bake sale, pizza lunch and silent auction. The bake sale, with coffee and tea, begins at 9 a.m., followed by the silent auction and white elephant sale at 10. Pizza will be served at 11 a.m., and the silent auction ends at 2 p.m.

To make donations call Sheila Barrett, 496-5668, or Norma Ruschell, 496-4475.

'Messiah' Sing-Along Set for Dec. 1

The sixth annual Messiah Sing-Along will take place on Sunday, Dec. 1 at 2 p.m. at Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda. Presented by the NIH Community Orchestra and the Bethesda Little Theatre, the event will feature the orchestra along with a chorus and soloists. Come prepared to sing your part or just listen and enjoy the music.

Tickets are available at the door and are $10 for adults and $5 for seniors. Children 12 and under are admitted for free. The concert will benefit NIH charities. For more information visit or contact Gary Daum at (301) 897-8184 or

Chamber Singers Offer Concerts

The NIH Chamber Singers will perform two free holiday concerts of festive secular and sacred a capella favorites on Monday, Dec. 9 at noon in Lister Hill Auditorium, Bldg. 38A and on Sunday, Jan. 12 at 2 p.m. at North Chevy Chase Christian Church, 8814 Kensington Pkwy. All are welcome.

Symposium on Oligonucleotides, Dec. 16-17

The therapeutic oligonucleotide interest group will hold its 6th symposium, "Therapeutic Oligonucleotides: Antisense, RNAi, Triple-Helix, DNA-Decoy and DNA-Chip," on Dec. 16-17. The meeting will be held in Masur Auditorium, Bldg. 10 from 7:55 a.m. to 5:20 p.m. In addition to scientists from NIH, FDA/CBER, Georgetown, Johns Hopkins and the Carnegie Institution of Washington, speakers will be coming from the University of Pennsylvania, Thomas Jefferson University, Columbia, UC-San Diego and biotech companies in the U.S. and Canada. Speakers are also coming from the Institut Gustave-Roussy, France; University of Zurich; University of British Columbia and the University of Naples. There will be 35 speakers in all. Registration is not required. Contact Dr. Cho-Chung ( for more details.

NIAMS Reports Grantee Research Results

Scientists supported by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases have found that people with facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD) have an exclusive association with one of the two different forms, or alleles, of the chromosomal region linked to the disease.

Dr. Silvčere van der Maarel and his colleagues at Leiden University Medical Center and University Medical Center Nijmegen in The Netherlands examined the alleles 4qA and 4qB in 80 control individuals and 80 individuals with FSHD. The alleles occurred with roughly equal frequency in the control group, but in the FSHD group the affected allele was always of the 4qA type. Their work may lead to a better understanding of the instability of FSHD's genetic locus.

FSHD, the third most common genetic disease of skeletal muscle, affects approximately one in 20,000 persons. Symptoms may begin during infancy, late childhood or early adulthood. The first sign is usually facial weakness, with difficulty smiling, whistling and closing the eyes. Later, there is difficulty raising the arms or flexing the wrists and ankles. The disease occurs in both sexes and in all racial groups.

'Marathon Mouse' Shows Increased Staminas

A new mouse expressing a particular energy-metabolizing protein has shown significant increases in "slow-twitch" muscle fibers — the kind that give distance runners their muscular stamina.

With partial support from NIAMS, a team of scientists from Boston and Dallas created a transgenic mouse that expressed the protein PGC-1-alpha in muscles. The presence of this protein, which had been shown to activate genes controlling cell metabolism, resulted in the formation of more slow-twitch (Type I) muscle fibers, with fewer of the fast-twitch (Type II) fibers coveted by sprint runners. Tests of individual PGC-1-alpha-laden muscles showed that they have roughly twice the stamina of normal mouse muscles.

The finding has caused some to speculate that further work in this area could benefit research efforts against muscle-wasting diseases like the muscular dystrophies.

The study was carried out at Harvard Medical School and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, with additional funding from NIDDK, NHLBI and the American Heart Association.

NIH Lectures Premier on Cable TV

The recently concluded Medicine for the Public lecture series, now in its 26th year as a public service of the Clinical Center, was taped for future airing on television. The 2002 lecture series began its weekly broadcast/webcast on ResearchChannel on Nov. 19, but some air dates are still upcoming. Check the ResearchChannel broadcast/webcast every week at these times (Eastern): Tuesdays at 6 a.m., 11 a.m., 4 p.m., 9 p.m.; Wednesdays at 1 a.m.

Programs in the series include: The Genetics of Speech and Communication Disorders, premiering Nov. 26; Nutritional Therapies for Age-related Eye Diseases, premiering Dec. 3; Coping with Anxiety and Depression in Uncertain Times, premiering Dec. 10; The Teen Brain, premiering Jan.7, 2003; and Endometriosis: Scrambled Eggs and Killer Cramps, Jan. 14.

To watch the webcast, go to the web site at and select Watch. To view the program as it is being broadcast select Webcast. If you want to view a program that has previously aired select Video on Demand.

STEP Session on Forensic Science

The staff training in extramural programs (STEP) committee will hold a Science for All lecture on "Forensic Science: Unraveling the Riddles," on Friday, Dec. 13 from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in Lister Hill Auditorium, Bldg. 38A.

It was a dark and stormy night — the butler's night off. A shot rings out — a body falls. Do we have a crime? Only clues remain. How do modern technologies solve current mysteries and historical riddles? The session will explore the fascinating world of forensic science. Speakers will include experts in police work, forensic science, medicine and law. The topics will cover crime scene investigation as well as forensic medical issues of historical significance.

Wednesday Afternoon Lecturese

The Wednesday Afternoon Lecture series — held on its namesake day at 3 p.m. in Masur Auditorium, Bldg. 10 — features Dr. Pamela A. Silver on Dec. 4, speaking on "From Genes to Pores — Nuclear Transport and Growth Control." She is professor, department of biological chemistry and molecular pharmacology, Harvard Medical School and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

On Dec. 11, Dr. Roberto G. Kolter will lecture on "An Ecological Role for Pseudomonas Virulence Factors." He is professor of microbiology and molecular genetics, Harvard Medical School.

For more information or for reasonable accommodation, call Hilda Madine, 594-5595.

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