The syndrome often affects some tissues (disciplines) more than others. As interest in basic research declines in favor of translational or big science research, some tissues suffer from a lack of support. Additionally, investigators often find their research takes them into areas where their fields historically have been unappreciated. In our field, lipid researchers have found that as they venture into areas where the importance of lipid research has not been recognized, finding expert review on study sections becomes difficult. The ASBMB Lipid Research Division is working with NIH administrators more fully to understand this aspect and provide researchers with a cadre of eligible, mid- to senior-level investigators who are willing to sit on various study sections.
The above solutions depend on organizational interventions. Clearly, members of the community must help alleviate this syndrome through active participation and prodding of action at all levels (within departments and academic centers, through representative societies, and by voicing studied opinions in national forums).
In conclusion, by presenting the current crisis in biomedical research as a syndrome approaching epidemic proportion, it is hoped that it becomes the subject of serious study and analysis. Collective and individual efforts are required. This should, in turn, stimulate innovative and exciting insights – and eventually cures – for this pervasive syndrome.
Yusuf A. Hannun (email@example.com) is the Ralph F. Hirschmann professor and chairman of biochemistry and molecular biology at the Medical University of South Carolina as well as chairman of the ASBMB Lipid Research Advocacy Committee.
Daniel M. Raben (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a professor in the department of biological chemistry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and director of the ASBMB Lipid Research Division.