November 2010

Sarah Bergeron

Hill-Day-Attendees,-BergeronGraduate Student
University of Iowa

What is your research focus? 
My research focuses on investigating the effects on actin function of actin mutations that lead to heart disease and deafness. The results will provide insight into the molecular basis of heart disease and deafness that these mutations cause, as well as provide insight into the molecular mechanisms that govern normal heart and hearing function in humans.

Have you ever done anything like this before? 
I have never participated in any program like this.

What are your career plans? 
My research thus far has led me to conclude that I would like to follow one of two different career plans, either as a project leader in industry or as an outreach scientist bridging the gap between the public and the scientific community. Both career paths would allow me to further develop my teaching skills and to maintain my drive to progress scientific research to the benefit of society.

Why do you think scientists should be involved in politics, and what do you think is the most important issue in science policy?
The issue I feel to be most important in science policy is the successful continuation of scientific discovery and maintenance of scientific research to benefit the well-being of the human race. The fluctuations in funding policy for research support through such programs as the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation make it difficult, if not impossible, for established scientists to continue their work and for new investigators to begin their work. Many scientific policy decisions are made by uninformed lawmakers or the general public. To combat this, both parties must be educated, and there is no one better suited for the task, the most knowledgeable individuals, namely, the scientists themselves. The public must understand the science and why development of science and technology are fundamentally important to the advancement of the human race. Sustained federal commitment to scientific research is the only way to promote the science required to keep up with the ever changing needs of our population. As researchers, it is our responsibility to give decision-makers the necessary tools to support science progress.

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