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34. Re: Out of the Blue Jan 26, 2013, 12:04 sauron
 
Cutter wrote on Jan 25, 2013, 18:44:
sauron wrote on Jan 25, 2013, 10:27:
Good article on Neil Degrasse Tyson's speech. A lot of it is true - government can fund basic science like nobody else. Other organizations always have a specific goal - curing a disease or making money.

Interestingly, the NIH has deliberately shifted towards translational research over the last 5 years. That means research focused on addressing human disease. For people like me, that's fine since I work on diseases of the brain and spinal cord. But if I was working on fly or worm development or something basic, I'd be in trouble.

You may not think that fly and worm development are very important, but most of the genes we know about today that are linked to human disease originally came from exactly those studies. It just takes a while for the studies to go from flies, to mice, to humans.

If what he said was true private enterprise would be all over it. It's not though so it's just another entitlement plea so that someone else pays for him to do stuff he wants to do. Get a real job. I'm not saying it isn't interesting or important it's just not John Q. Taxpayer's job to pay for it when his major concern is keeping a roof over his head, 3 squares a day and retiring without becoming homeless.

Government's only job - apart from basic oversight - should be to keep religious kooks from meddling in science's affairs. Think about how far stem research would be by now.

Actually, we have a clinical trial starting next month in patients, that is happening as a direct result of federally-funded research we have done in my laboratory. I was the Principal Investigator on the federal grant and the corresponding author on all the papers, and am also co-PI on the clinical trial. The trial is likely to improve quality of life for patients with an especially unpleasant form of an autoimmune CNS disease.

Bringing the relevant multinational biotech company on board would not have been possible without the work financed directly by the NIH. I can give you at least another 50 examples of similar stories, from other labs in my field, and many, many other fields.

Your tax dollars spent on scientific research make a direct contribution to human health. To think otherwise is absolutely misguided. The feds finance the initial research which is then used by the entire research pipeline - federal, nonprofit and for-profit biotech.

Also, Research Science is a real job. I am currently sitting in my office finishing another federal grant application on a Saturday afternoon while you are probably playing videogames.
 
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