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NIH Record  
Vol. LXIV, No. 4
  February 17, 2012
NIH Celebrates Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Microscope Technique Turns Fluorescing Blobs into Well-defined Molecules
NINDS Launches NeuroNext
Wilson To Lead NIMHD’s Coordination Efforts
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New Tools, New Rules
NIH Releases Social & New Media Policy

Let’s face it. To get your message across these days, you most likely have to blog it, tweet it or post it on Facebook. In other words, you have to employ some form of social media. As use of such networks (also called “new media”) has become more widespread in pop culture over the last decade, it’s also presented tantalizing new ways for the medical research community to connect with more people. Naturally, along with any new tools come new responsibilities and rules for users. Enter the recently released “NIH Social and New Media Policy” (also known affectionately as “Manual Issuance 2809”).

“These days of new media are very much like the first days of the Internet,” said John Burklow, NIH associate director for communications and public liaison. “We see social media as valuable—and powerful—new resources for communicating and engaging audiences. We want to harness that power in thoughtful ways.”

Communication with Consideration

More than 2 years in the making, the social media policy was published Nov. 4. Led by the Office of Communications and Public Liaison, two other Office of the Director components—the Office of the Chief Information Officer and the Office of Management Assessment—worked together to develop the guidance. Their challenge? How to use the new technologies to relay science and health messages effectively while also protecting the privacy of our partners in research—patients, the public, and NIH’s reputation and electronic resources.


Botstein’s ’Bots
Evolution in Yeast Yields Clues to Tumor Development

Dr. David Botstein delivers 2nd Nirenberg Lecture.
Dr. David Botstein delivers 2nd Nirenberg Lecture.
Much of what science has learned about genetics in recent decades has yeast to thank for the insights, and few people in American science are putting yeast through a more rigorous curriculum than Princeton University’s Dr. David Botstein, who gave the second annual Marshall Nirenberg Lecture at NIH on Jan. 4.

In a lecture titled “Evolution and Cancer,” Botstein showed reams of data gleaned from some 600 cultures of yeast that are being put through hundreds of generations of growth by his collaborators Greg Lang and Michael Desai, using robots for the scut work. By watching evolution at work, they hope to understand the processes that engender out-of-control cell growth, or cancer.