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Grand Roundup: Top posts for the week of Dec. 9

The five most-read stories on Scope this week were:

How to make alcoholics in recovery feel welcome this holiday season: As we move through this holiday season and plan gatherings with friends and family, adding rum to our eggnog and whisky to our mulled wine, Anna Lembke, MD, an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford, encourages us to spend time thinking about how to make these events as warm and welcoming as they can be for those in recovery, while still continuing time-honored traditions of serving alcoholic beverages to those who are not. She offers some tips in this entry.

NIH funding mechanism “totally broken,” says Stanford researcher
: Stanford researcher John Ioannidis, MD, DSci, and his colleague, Joshua Nicholson from Virginia Tech, recently published an analysis (subscription required) in Nature questioning the way the organization funds research proposals. In the paper,  Ioannidis and Nicholson argue that the peer-review process, in which groups called study sections review and rank research applications submitted by their colleagues, is inherently flawed and encourages “conformity, if not mediocrity.”

Video of Brian Kobilka’s Nobel lecture
: On Dec. 10, Brian Kobilka, MD, chair of molecular and cellular physiology at Stanford, was honored at a banquet in Stockholm for receiving the 2012 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Kobilka won the award alongside Robert Lefkowitz, MD, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator at Duke University, for his work on G-protein-coupled receptors, or GPCRs, which serve as one of the body’s main methods of conveying chemical signals. During his Nobel lecture, Kobilka’s provided an overview of his lab’s efforts to understand the structural basis of GPCRs signaling.

Stanford scientist sets sail on new publishing model with launch of open-access, embargo-free journal
: eLife, an open-access, embargo-free journal, debuted this week featuring a number of interesting studies, including new research from Stanford molecular and cellular physiologist Axel Brunger, PhD. In this entry, Brunger comments the new publishing model and his decision to submit his study to eLife.

Stanford forum on how food policies affect our nation’s obesity rates posted online
:  The Stanford Health Policy Forum recently hosted an event examining the reasons why we get fat and how different diet trends and food policies affect our nation’s obesity rates. The forum featured a conversation between science writer Gary Taubes and Christopher Gardner, PhD, director of Nutrition Studies at the Stanford Prevention Research Center. Video of their discussion is now available online.

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