|T H E N I H C A T A L Y S T||J A N U A R Y - F E B R U A R Y 1 9 9 8|
SCIENCE WRITERS ENTERTAINED BY HIGH-POWERED BATTLE OF THE BANDS
(IF MUSIC BE THE FOOD OF SCIENCE, PLAY ON)
Scientists are often amused by the artistic struggles of the Washington science press corps as they try to make science "sing" through their prose. In December, the tables were turned as members of the D.C. Science Writers' Association (or "Duck-Swa") were entertained by a battle of the biomedical bands. Opening the evening was NIH's (scientific, if not musical) all-stars: "The Directors," with Francis Collins (guitar and vocals day gig: director, NHGRI), Chuck Ellerson (drums postdoctoral fellow, NICHD) Steve Katz (guitar and vocals director, NIAMS), Rick Klausner (guitar and vocals director, NCI), John O'Shea (bass guitar and mandolin research scientist, NIAMS), and Tracy Rouault (keyboard research scientist, NICHD). High points of "The Directors" performance were bio-political rewrites of popular folk, gospel, and rock tunes, including "Will our Funding Keep on Growing?"-- a take-off on "Will the Circle Be Unbroken?"--and "Clone-away," based on "Runaway."
Following this warm-up act was the rock band "Wild Type," led by keyboard player (and Johns Hopkins cancer geneticist) Bert Vogelstein. Other members of "Wild Type" are Pat Morin, (guitar and postdoc in Vogelstein lab), Ellie Carson Walter (vocals and postdoc in Vogelstein lab), Ken Kinzler (drums and codirector of Vogelstein lab), Chris Torrance (guitar and postdoc) and Bob Casero (base and toxicology lab chief).
Outcome of the Battle of the Bands: "Wild Type" is phenotypically stronger for true rock traits the more folksy, clever "Directors" would be well advised to keep up their day jobs.
Getting Down and Wigging Out: "Directors" guitarist Francis Collins (above, foreground) breaks loose to "Wild Type" (as does another NIH notable [deep background, cleverly disguised by his necktie])--as "Wild Type" keyboardist Bert Vogelstein (right) lets it all hang down.
The Dueling Bands: "The Directors" (left) brought back the old days (and nights), singing their hearts out with great spirit (and even decent voices), faithful to the beat and in sync with each other and the admiring crowd, but it was "Wild Type" (below-right) that really got the joint jumping till the wee hours (wee hours for the National Academy of Sciences, that is).
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