Researchers to advocate for fundamental science on Capitol Hill
Researchers from universities across the United States will arrive at the U.S. House and Senate on Wednesday for meetings with lawmakers and their staffs about the importance of fundamental science and funding for the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy Office of Science.
Their advocacy is particularly crucial this year in light of the current tense negotiations over raising the debt ceiling, which threatens non defense discretionary funding, including for scientific research, public health and many other aspects of federal government funding.
The researchers participating in Hill Day are members of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Public Affairs Advisory Committee, chaired by Richard Page, a professor and associate vice president for research and innovation of at Miami University. Current ASBMB President Ann Stock, a professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at Rutgers University, and past ASBMB President Toni Antalis, a professor of physiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, will also be present. They have a number of pressing issues, such as funding for the National Institute of General Medical Sciences specifically, related to fundamental science funding to discuss with policymakers and their offices.
The 16 researchers will meet with, among others, the staffs of U.S. Sens. Bill Hagerty R-Ten., Marco Rubio R-Fla., Maria Cantwell D-Wash., Deb Fischer R-Neb., J.D. Vance R-Ohio., Chris Van Hollen D-Md., Kirsten Gillibrand D-N.Y., Robert Menendez D-N.J., Cory Booker D-N.J., Tim Kaine D-Va. and Ted Cruz R-Texas.
Meetings have also been scheduled with U.S. Reps. Dan Newhouse R-Wash., Tom Cole R-Okla., James McGovern D-Mass., Frank Pallone D-N.J., Russ Fulcher R-Idaho, Don Bacon R- Neb., Rob Wittman R-Va. and Mark Green R-Ten.
The meetings will take place on the Hill for the first time in four years. Marc Gillespie, a professor of pharmaceutical sciences at St. John’s University and ASBMB PAAC member, participated in last year’s virtual Hill Day and found the experience very rewarding and effective.
“Any opportunity to voice the needs of the scientific community to our representatives is well appreciated,” Gillespie said. “The (COVID-19) pandemic and other social factors have stressed the need for clear scientific discourse and public explanations of what science can achieve and what resources are needed to reach those goals.”
Steve Caplan, a professor of medicine at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and ASBMB PAAC member, Stock and others will be returning to the Hill after past participation to continue advocating for fundamental science funding.
“It is unique to see such passion and universal support among PAAC committee members for our mission of advancing science at all levels, and it is equally gratifying to see such strong support from our representatives on Capitol Hill,” Caplan said.
The 2023 Hill Day participants will include:
- Toni Antalis, professor of physiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine
- Steven Caplan, professor of medicine at the University of Nebraska Medical Center
- Katherine Friedman, associate professor of biological sciences at the Vanderbilt University
- Kevin Gardner, professor of chemistry and biochemistry at City College of New York Advanced Science Research Center
- Matthew Gentry, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Florida College of Medicine
- Shantá Hinton, professor of biology at the College of William & Mary
- Jill Johnson, professor of biological sciences at the University of Idaho
- Karen Lewis, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry at Texas State University
- Mary Lipton, staff scientist at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
- Richard Page, professor of chemistry and biochemistry at Miami University
- Emily Pitsch, graduate student at the University of Utah
- Nick Rhind, professor of biochemistry and molecular biotechnology at the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School
- Ann Stock, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at Rutgers University
- Ronald Wek, professor of biochemistry at the Indiana University School of Medicine
- Ann West, professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Oklahoma
- Jeffrey Wilusz, professor of RNA biology and virology at Colorado State University
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