University of South Alabama Mitchell Cancer Institute
What is your research focus?
My research focuses on understanding chemotherapeutic-drug resistance in cancer cells. Basically, our goal is to identify the molecular mechanisms in drug resistance to develop alternative cancer treatments, resulting in a higher cure rate.
Have you ever done anything like this before?
I have not had the opportunity to discuss policy before with a member of Congress. However, I have had the opportunity to discuss the importance of research with high school students and members of the community, in various forms.
What are your career plans?
I plan to remain in academia with a future goal to head my own lab.
Why do you think scientists should be involved in politics, and what do you think is the most important issue in science policy?
During the past few decades, medicine has advanced dramatically. The reason for these advances is increased technology and understanding due to research. Research is not possible without funding. The biggest problem currently facing scientists is the availability of funding. Many labs have been forced to downsize or all-out close their doors to research, due to the inability to get funded. The recent downturn of events will stall the forward progress in developing new treatments for diseases.
Members of Congress are the people whom we elect to change the policies for the betterment of our country. If they are not aware of the problems regarding funding that are facing scientists now, they will not have any influence on budgets and policies before it is too late. Therefore, for research to progress, scientists must become involved in politics. The more involvement scientists have with policymakers, the more we will continue to advance medicine and other sciences.
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