August 2010

Encouraging Innovative and Translational Research

FASEB’s “Forum on the Critical Role of Basic Scientists in the Translational Research Enterprise” aims to encourage and facilitate the participation of basic scientists in translational research, particularly at the T1 stage, where their knowledge of basic biological processes is often important to understanding and treating human disease. However, moving discoveries from bench to bedside is challenging. For example, just as clinical researchers may not understand fundamental mechanisms of the diseases they study, basic scientists aren’t always aware of how their work applies to clinical problems. In addition, regulatory complexities, particularly navigating human subjects’ protection processes, could deter basic scientists from entering into translational research. There are also obstacles at the institutional level. In addition to the organizational and structural issues that make collaboration a challenge, many basic scientists are concerned that it will be harder to publish translational research, that they will not have the support of their departments and that their work will not be rewarded with tenure and promotion.
 
FASEB aims to explore these issues from basic scientists’ perspectives in hopes of elevating their excitement and involvement. The steering committee currently is organizing a symposium to explore opportunities for basic scientists in translational research, the obstacles to their participation and how to overcome them.

Anne M. Deschamps (adeschamps@faseb.org) is a science policy fellow in the Office of Public Affairs at FASEB.

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