ASBMB reaction to AARP ad, July 5, 2011

American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Media contact: Angela Hopp
Office: 240/283-6614 
Cell: 713/471-4541 
Twitter: @angelahopp 


ASBMB issues statement critical of AARP ad disparaging basic scientific research projects

Society notes that AARP’s own members are beneficiaries
of such studies that lay foundation for therapies, cures

ROCKVILLE, Md., July 5, 2011 – The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology issued a statement today critical of a recent TV ad by AARP that singles out federally funded research projects it says represent wasteful government spending. 

ASBMB, which represents more than 12,000 biomedical researchers, said the advertisement, launched June 16 as part of AARP’s “Protect Seniors” campaign, is just the latest example of advocacy groups mischaracterizing the scientific endeavor “for their own political gain.” 

“While the members of ASBMB – some of whom are AARP members as well – can understand the frustrations with the partisan political atmosphere and difficult fiscal environment, AARP’s attacks on groups like the National Science Foundation and National Institute of Food and Agriculture are simply misplaced,” said Ben Corb, public affairs director for the society. 

In the statement, ASBMB said AARP, formerly known as the American Association of Retired Persons, should reconsider both its targets and it message, as AARP’s own members are among the countless beneficiaries of basic research that lays the groundwork for therapies and cures. 

The advertisement contains a montage of actors insisting that Congress could soon “cut a deal” that reduces entitlements while maintaining funding for “treadmills for shrimp” and “pickle technology.”   

In the ASBMB statement Corb asks: “Has AARP forgotten that NSF research led to the development of retinal implants – bringing vision back to more than 6 million Americans with retinal degenerative diseases? Or tissue engineering that promotes bone growth in osteoporosis patients?”   

He added that AARP should not attempt to“micro-manage” research agencies but should be building alliances with the scientific community “to promote policies that will both improve human health and strengthen the American economy.”   

To read the full statement from ASBMB, visit For more information about ASBMB’s advocacy efforts, contact Corb at or 240-283-6625.        



About the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 
The ASBMB is a nonprofit scientific and educational organization with more than 12,000 members worldwide. Most members teach and conduct research at colleges and universities. Others conduct research in various government laboratories, at nonprofit research institutions and in industry. The Society’s student members attend undergraduate or graduate institutions.  For more information about ASBMB, visit