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In this issue:
Symmetry Wins Golden Trumpet Award
People Today: Stained Glass by Richard Dubois
Two Negatives Make a Positive at SSRL

SLAC Today

Wednesday - April 12, 2006

Symmetry Wins Golden Trumpet Award

Symmetry, the joint publication of Fermilab and SLAC, recently won the 64th annual Golden Trumpet Award for excellence in public relations efforts in the newsletters/magazines category. The award recognizes publications that illustrate special creativity, address an issue to improve quality of life, or exhibit exceptional overall public relations. The Golden Trumpet—which is the most prestigious public relations award in the Midwest—is given by the Publicity Club of Chicago, the nation's largest independent public relations membership organization.

Launched in October 2004, symmetry magazine explores concepts and developments in the field of particle physics, and how they relate to other aspects of science, policy and culture. "One of the goals of symmetry is to reach out to non-scientists and share the excitement of the science that we all do," said Editor-in-Chief David Harris. That's why it's great to be recognized for our efforts by communication professionals outside of science." The magazine includes commentaries, essays, and graphical explorations of the devices, people and history of particle physics and related sciences. You can find the most recent issue here.

(Weekly Column - Profile)

Stained Glass by GLAST's Richard Dubois

(Photo - Richard Dubois)

Richard Dubois, GLAST Experimental Physicist, was introduced to stained glass in his youth by his uncle who sent him gifts of glass light catchers.

Years later when Dubois was remodeling a 1928 Tudor house, a plain wall called for a focal point. Why not a glass panel? His uncle said, "You design it, I'll build it." So Dubois created a particle physics design of colliding beams. At the same time, he took a stained glass class in Burlingame and immediately knew, "I love this!"

Then Gene Mayo of Stained Glass Images in San Carlos took Dubois under his wing. Mayo, who publishes books of patterns for glass panels, asked him to make a few panels. He learned fast and well and, due to a "mutual aid" kind of exchange, received training, glass, and the use of a kiln in return for taking care of Mayo's computers. Dubois now has his own kiln.

Dubois' creations range widely, from bowls and jewelry to large panels. He loves to experiment with technique. He found that subjects "come to life" with a multi-layered technique which can make glass look three dimensional. Using a metal coated glass called dichroic (two-colored), Dubois also creates stunning broaches and necklaces, as well as GLAST logos—complete with satellite, Milky Way and sky. "It's fun to make pieces based on the work I do," says Dubois. "It's something completely different from my work that I can do for a long time."

See more of Dubois' creations...

Two Negatives Make
a Positive at SSRL

(Graphic - AL-DNA complex)

One method of sticking anionic lipids and DNA together for gene therapy uses positively charged ions as glue.

Gene therapy can potentially cure many hereditary and acquired diseases, such as cancer, hemophilia and cystic fibrosis, by delivering a healthy copy of a gene to the cells that need it. Researchers at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory (SSRL) have been working on ways to deliver genes safely and effectively to the right locations.

One promising approach is to use negatively charged lipids that reside in cell membranes of mammals. The idea is to pack a gene, made of DNA, into a lipid pocket, which then fuses with a cell membrane and empties the gene into the cell. The advantage of these anionic lipids (AL) is that they do not evoke an immune response. The disadvantage is that the lipids don't stick well to DNA because both are negatively charged.

Researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the National Institutes of Health used x-ray techniques at SSRL and at the Advanced Photon Source in Illinois to investigate how to stick lipids and DNA together. They made AL-DNA complexes using different kinds of positively charged ions as glue. The researchers found that these different AL-DNA structures can be understood in terms of a simple theoretical model, which can serve as a recipe book for designing the next generation of gene delivery agents.

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