Why haven't we beaten cancer yet, or learned how to repair spinal cord injuries? Arguably, it's because we still don't understand cells well enough. Science’s special news section, titled Mysteries of the Cell (available free with registration), which appeared in the 25 November issue, highlights how much we still need to know about our cells. In it, researchers address fundamental but still niggling questions such as how cells know their size and how they position the billion-plus proteins inside them. These pursuits could provide fodder for future Ph.D.s, or even Nobel prizes. After decades of study, where are scientists still coming up short when it comes to cells? What are researchers doing to solve these dilemmas? How can the answers bring us closer to realizing new treatments for diseases such as cancer?
Join us for a live chat about the mysteries of the cell at 3 p.m. EST on Thursday, 1 December, on this page. You can leave your questions in the comment box below before the chat starts.
Bruce Alberts, a prominent biochemist with a strong commitment to the improvement of science and mathematics education, serves as editor-in-chief of Science and as a United States Science Envoy. Alberts is also professor emeritus in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of California, San Francisco, to which he returned after serving two 6-year terms as the president of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS).
Dr. Simon Atkinson is a cell biologist with a basic research background in cytoskeletal proteins who is now Chair of Biology at the joint Indiana University-Purdue University graduate school in Indianapolis. Dr. Atkinson served as a postdoctoral fellow under Tom Pollard at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. In the Pollard lab, he was involved in research that revealed how both healthy and cancerous cells moved by extending their cytoskeletal edges in a growing latticework of proteins. In 2009, he was named Chair of the American Society for Cell Biology’s Public Information Committee.