February 2013

‘How Scientists Can Save the World’

We hope you’ll attend the public affairs session at the annual meeting in April

Whether it’s by conducting research that leads to breakthroughs, treatments and cures for the costly diseases that ravage the population; providing cutting-edge medical care for an aging population; feeding a global community that is taxing our current resources; or identifying new, sustainable sources of energy, the biochemists and molecular biologists of today — and those training for tomorrow — hold the keys to unlocking solutions to some of the biggest problems facing the nation and the world in the 21st century. These global challenges coincide with the greatest fiscal challenges the U.S. has faced since early in the 20th century and at a time when U.S. policymakers are making crucial decisions about the nation’s ability to support and invest in science.

The scientific community should embrace its leadership role and advocate strongly for the future of the research enterprise. The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology public affairs symposium at Experimental Biology 2013, titled “How Scientists Can Save the World,” will focus on how individual investigators can ensure scientific progress. With the adage about catching more flies with honey than vinegar in mind, this program seeks to shine an appreciative, enthusiastic and supportive light on the scientists who toil every day in university and industry laboratories across the nation and world.

Helping to deliver this message will be two individuals who exemplify what determination and enthusiasm can do for the scientific enterprise. First will be Craig Mello, a biologist and professor of molecular medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Mello won the 2006 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine along with Andrew Z. Fire for the discovery of RNA interference. Mello’s research breakthroughs have not only revolutionized molecular medicine but also have launched a multibillion-dollar RNAi therapeutics industry built on his initial findings. Additionally, Mello is a proven advocate for federal support for investments in biomedical research and has participated in congressional briefings in the past. Mello is a staunch advocate for National Institutes of Health funding and for scientists to have their voices heard in the political discourse.

Joining Mello will be former U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy. During the Democrat’s time representing Rhode Island in Congress, Kennedy was a vocal supporter of federal investment in biomedical research, particularly in the areas of drug abuse, addiction and neuroscience. Influenced by his own struggles with addiction, Kennedy long has supported federal efforts to better understand addiction to help other Americans overcome it. His support for basic research was emboldened as his father, the late U.S. Sen. Edward (Ted) Kennedy, struggled with and ultimately died of brain cancer in 2009. Additionally, Patrick Kennedy is a member of the board of directors of one of Washington’s most revered biomedical funding advocacy groups, Research!America.

Join us for an informative and inspirational discussion on the important role scientists play in advancing the nation’s scientific enterprise, solving our most pressing problems and maybe even saving the world.

Benjamin CorbBenjamin Corb (bcorb@asbmb.org) is director of public affairs at the ASBMB.

found= true2169