basic research

On April 22, I will be at the March for Science Los Angeles, engaging with fellow scientists and advocates as a biochemist and communications intern with Research!America, a nonprofit advocacy alliance, to raise awareness about the important and exciting biomedical research taking place across the country and the need for increased federal funding. The march is a celebration of the countless ways in which research and innovation impacts society and touches our daily lives. As a graduate student in biochemistry, I conducted federally-funded research at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College, studying component parts to recreate the molecular machines that are at work inside our...
A century of basic scientific research on retroviruses was required for the current advances in cancer and HIV prevention, diagnosis, and treatment and gene therapy to be achieved. Furthermore, our understanding of normal cell growth, human development, genetics, and evolution would be immensely impoverished if it were not for scientists pursuing their curiosity about peculiar animal viruses for over 100 years. Finally, numerous valuable technologies and commercial products have emerged from studies investigating how retroviruses are transmitted. The viruses that are now known as the avian sarcoma and leukosis viruses were discovered in 1908 and 1911. It was remarkable that birds could get...
Dear Research Advocate: The short answer to what defense and public health have in common is that they are critical long-term investments for the nation. We have been hearing a lot of talk about funding increased investment in defense by taking it "off budget," and now former House Majority Leader, Eric Cantor, is calling for the same approach for investment in research. Cantor made the case today in the Huffington Post for increasing non-defense discretionary spending, specifically by increasing scientific and medical research, citing the “stimulative” economic power of innovation and basic research. Former Majority Leader Cantor’s call may resonate particularly strongly in the current...
Transforming the current disease-specific non-profit funding model and the outlook for FY16 budget levels for research were among the topics addressed by Alex Silver, chairman and co-founder of EB Research Partnership and Representative Chris Van Hollen (MD-08) at Research!America’s Annual Members meeting held at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C. on March 11. Silver became an advocate for research after learning that his son Jackson, who is now seven years old, was diagnosed with a severe form of Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB), a debilitating and potentially deadly genetic condition that causes internal and external blisters all over the body causing constant pain. In addition to...
From advances in diabetes research to record approval of drugs to treat rare diseases , taxpayer funded research and the effective employment of regulatory tools played a significant role in improving the health and wellbeing of Americans in 2014. Below is a year-end roundup of research highlights and scientific achievements from the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Science Foundation, Food and Drug Administration and Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. NIH 2014 Research Highlights CDC Year in Review: Mission Critical NSF Discoveries FDA 2014 Drug Approvals: Speeding Novel Drugs to Patients Who Need Them AHRQ 2014 Impact Case...
Dear Research Advocate: People everywhere are captivated by the world-class athletes competing at the Winter Olympics. The personal commitment, dedication and motivation on display is certainly an essential ingredient for medalling, but it is not sufficient: Each nation fielding a team must commit to supporting sustained excellence. And both the public and private sectors play a role. There are some interesting parallels to science and innovation ’€” we don’€™t see it in the public eye every day but when it comes to the fore, it’€™s the kind of success that affirms the human spirit in a compelling way. When lives are saved with a new therapy or new vaccine, we all take heart and we...
Dear Research Advocate: During his State of the Union address Tuesday, President Obama acknowledged the important role federally funded research plays in maintaining our global competitive edge and referenced the harm done to basic science by sequestration. Using the example of vaccines, he highlighted the importance of applied research, not only for our health but for the strength of our economy. See my statement about the address here . For the president to succeed in achieving a ’€œbreakthrough year for America’€ ’€” a theme in his address that he is repeating in appearances across the nation ’€” we urge him to put science and innovation at the forefront. I emphasized this in a letter...
January 29, 2014 It’s heartening President Obama chose to emphasize in his speech the significance of federally funded basic research and the need to undo the damage that has been done to it in recent years with deep spending cuts. The president used language the science community epitomizes – he spoke of working for “breakthroughs” and a nation motivated by opportunity. But actions speak louder than words. Congress and the White House must treat research and innovation as the health and economic imperative it has always been and invest in expanding our nation’s research capacity. It bears on business and job creation in both the research and manufacturing sectors; it bears on our nation’s...
Dear Research Advocate: Yesterday, the Budget Conference Committee, chaired by Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI-01), met for the first time. The committee only has until December 13 to accomplish its task of producing at least a short-term budget. Expectations are modest considering the short timeline, the House and Senate recess schedules, and the number of issues declared “off the table.” There is some talk of replacing sequestration, at least for the remainder of FY14, with selected cuts. In order to assure that research is not cut and in fact is prioritized for an increase, many stakeholders must speak up. It is essential that our issue is discussed as a priority every...
Dear Research Advocate: I am sending out my letter early this week so that you can plan now, if you are not able to be with us in person tomorrow in Washington, to join us electronically for our National Health Research Forum. With the theme of ’€œStraight Talk,’€ our first-rate panelists will speak candidly about where our medical and health ecosystem is headed today ’€” what the possibilities are, if we give research and innovation every chance to succeed ’€” and what the policy and funding challenges are as we go forward. We thank Lilly, our lead sponsor; all our additional sponsors; and WebMD for live-streaming the event on their website at www.webmd.com/researchforum . On the funding...

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Without research, there is no hope.
The Honorable Paul G. Rogers