Temp.Assistance Program East (TAPE)

G.K.Valet valet at vms.biochem.mpg.de
Fri Feb 7 06:48:34 EST 1997

Dear colleagues,
    In amplifying on Spizek's and Paul's concern, I want to 
contribute a few thoughts and proposals.
    As a person who has conscientiously seen the end of world war II 
and personally experienced the difficulties of the postwar period,
I believe, the temporary assistance to Eastern European scientists, constitutes
a high moral duty to us. It seems fundamentally important to help those
who in spite of unpaid salaries, non entertained buildings and outdated
instrumentation remain attached in  thinking and action to their scientific

   Outstanding scientists are working in or have come from these
countries and during better times, these regions have actively 
contributed over long periods to the extension of worldwide
scientific knowledge. Our intended effort should therefore aim to
maintain and extend the intellectual attachment of Eastern European
scientists  to the  current developments in our discipline during the
present economic depression in these countries.

   While it is certainly neither within the capacity of individual scientists 
nor of scientific organisations like ISAC or national cytometric societes to
replace missing research budgets, the maintenance of the intellectual
attachement  by electronic networking seems a comparatively feasable
and centrally appropriate task for us scientists as genuine carriers
of the present intellectual and experimental knowledge.

   Before elaborating an action plan, such a program should be clearly
identifyable by a forward directing name. Temporary Assistance
Program East (TAPE) or Paul's more general Scientist Assistance
Program (SAP) seem reasonable approximations to our intentions.

    The following actions seem profitable to Eastern European scientists
and feasable by us:

1. to *distribute* the Purdue CD with its original or slightly modified
content. The CD could additionally contain the table of contents and
the abstracts of Cytometry and CCC (by kind permission of J.Wiley)
and ACP (IOS-Press) in addition to the generously  offered but
nevertheless more cost limited numbers of copies of both journals
provided free of charge by either Wiley/Liss or by ISAC/CCS.

2. to *collect*  E-mail addresses of Eastern European scientists
and of cytometry organisations or local interest groups e.g. around
larger cities in these countries. 

3. to *install* E-mail servers in adjacent countries profiting from the fast
access lines i.e. in Germany and Austria. These mail servers could
be operated in English  but more  realistically in the respective native
or in a split mode.  Their Internet transcripts could be displayed or
mirrorred on the
CytoRelay or Purdue Internet nodes. This would permit the intercommunication of
locally distant research groups and may facilitate the foundation (see e.g. EFCS
discussion experience  at: http://www.biochem.mpg.de/valet/efcs.html) of
organisations in Eastern Europe. Such interest groups may be in many cases more
efficiently addressable  e.g. for the organisation of courses, access to and
redistribution of information (e.g. CD's),  generation of specific
documentation in
the respective native languages etc. than individual scientists.
    While the provision and maintenance of mail servers is comparatively
easily feasible e.g. via the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft in my personal case, the 
production of *Internet transcripts* of the E-mail messages and their
linking into
the Internet *requires work* despite the existence of particular software 
(e.g. at Purdue).
    Considering, however,  the *Off-line Internet* concept, explained
in: http://www.biochem.mpg.de/valet/offint1.html, agreed scientists in Eastern
European countries can prepare the transcripts of the radiated E-mail messages
themselves, zip  and e-mail them to Paul or to me for a direct link into the 
*CytoRelay* or *Purdue* nodes. One would in other words follow the same 
procedure, presently used for the maintenance of the mutual CytoRelay/Purdue
 www-mirrors. Once on the Internet, the information could be *incorporated*
into the regularly updated Purdue CD or onto a special East European CD. 
A special CD may also be of interest to commerical companies for specific
product advertisement i.e. the production and distribution of the CDs could be
covered by industrial sponsors.
    Native language pages should create a particular impact e.g. on US,
Europe or
elsewhere located emigrant/immigrant scientists of these countries who will
intuitively develop a better feeling for the needs of their compatriotes.  

4. to *collaborate* on the substantial problems of multiparameter data
analysis in conjunction with the intelligent computer interpretation of
such results. Many of us are aware of the traditionally very highly developed
mathematical disciplines in the Eastern European countries. Pairing the existing
experimental knowledge with their mathematical modelling expertise may well
generate entirely new concepts for multiparameter data processing and 
interpretation. The inherent advantage of this is that one needs intellectual
concepts, experimental data  and electronically linked PCs but not necessarily
high research budgets. I am personally trying to organize an electronic 
collaboration with Prof.Zemskov and Dr.Vasilyev of the National Immunology
Institut in Moscow.
    A particular stimulator towards such work could be a supplement in
Cytometry on
 "Current Concepts of Multiparameter Data Analysis in Cytometry" with the 
inclusion of contributions from Eastern European Countries. This would
define the
state of the art and emphasizes our concern  for the joint development of more
efficient strategies of data analysis. Jan Visser and Brian Mayall as Cytometry
Editors are challenged at this point.

5.  to *organize* cytometry related courses. The already existing practical
experience is that such activities are highly welcome to scientists in
Eastern countries. The lecturers so far cover the own travel costs from
their travel budgets, commercial companies provide instrumentation and
contribute financially to lower the local expenses of the course participants
and lecturers.
   An interesting option for the inclusion of qualified students or technicians 
to operate the instrumentation or teach methodology at such courses may
exist e.g. during a holiday trip to Eastern Europe. ISAC could issue
certificates to individuals proposing themselves for such missions. Such
certificates seem helpful for further professional life as proof of personal
initiative and devotion to tasks of public interest.      

6. to *provide* laptop and notebook computers which are too slow to
support e.g. time intensive computations e.g. under Windows95 but still
very useful for Internet access, data display, document editing, table
database operations and as network servers. It should be self evident that only
correctly functioning computers from e.g. 80486/487 processors upward 
should be considered for such purposes. While the transport of the usual tower
computers with their heavy monitors is excluded for weight and space reasons, 
laptop and notebook computers would be welcome as one piece equipement of
small size. The same is true for telephone modems or TCP/IP  PCMCIA 
or parallel interface plugin cards for network access.
   The property transfer could be organized e.g. via publically registered 
organisations like ISAC or  DGZ into the property of Eastern European
   While export regulations would in all likelihood not be against such
it will be important to clarify custom regulations before anything practical is
undertaken  in this sense.

   It seems evident from the above that substantial help can be given
without need 
for high a priori financing. Nevertheless we should not forget  financial
aspects. In
remembering Spizek's earlier effort to collect money for such purposes, we
ask for industrial sponsoring of Spizek's ISAC account. As members of cytometric
societies we should furthermore urge the officiers in the various national
societies to establish *partnerships* with individual Eastern European
This would permit  coorganisation of courses or meetings, personal invitations,
mailing of CDs or  transport of PCs by the various societies in a forseeable and
not too costly manner. Such contacts will also establish the urgently needed
interpersonal relations, required  for long term planning of joint research
e.g. within EU programs.

     The Soros foundation for Eastern Europe may be approachable in addition,
and  EU coordination program funds devoted to scientific contacts with Eastern
Europe may prove useful. Such action will, however,  require longer time
for setup and  visible signs of  our efforts in the first place.

*** Conclusion:
   Without being exhaustive, I believe that a multitude of immediate and
actions can be taken by motivated scientists in this matter without a priori 
need for a substantial financial assistance. 

Best regards


Prof.Dr.Guenter K.Valet
Max-Planck-Institut fuer Biochemie
Cell Biochemistry
Am Klopferspitz 18a
D-82152 Martinsried
Tel: +49/89/8578-2518, -2525,  Fax: +49/89/8578-2563
E-mail:  valet at vms.biochem.mpg.de
Internet:  http://www.biochem.mpg.de/valet/cellbio.html


J.Paul Robinson, Purdue University Cytometry Labs
Professor of Immunopharmacology
robinson at flowcyt.cyto.purdue.edu PH:317-494 6449 FAX:317-494 0517
web http://www.cyto.purdue.edu

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