Francis Collins

Excerpt of an article by Ariana Eunjung Cha, published in the The Washington Post . A year ago, Yuntao Wu was on a roll. The George Mason University researcher had just published a study hailed by the scientific press as ’€œgroundbreaking’€ that reveals why HIV targets only a specific kind of T-cell and, separately, found that a compound in soybeans seemed to have promise for inhibiting infection. These days, Wu ’€” one of thousands of scientists who lost his grant in the wake of sequester cuts ’€” says he spends much of his time hunched over a desk asking various people and organizations for money. The deep across-the-board cuts in government spending that took effect March 1 have sent...
Dear Research Advocate: Although Congress officially returns next week, many Members are back in Washington as the debate about the crisis in Syria commands center stage. Members also face looming fiscal deadlines, with only nine legislative days scheduled in September to act on those and a large backlog of other legislation. Given all this, it is not hard to predict how Congress will handle the long- or short-term budget resolutions, debt ceiling, the future of sequestration, tax and entitlement reform, and a myriad of other interconnected items: They will put off decision-making. Thus a continuing resolution (“CR”), extending FY13 budgets, looks likely, once again kicking the can down the...
Dear Research Advocate: Although Congress officially returns next week, many Members are back in Washington as the debate about the crisis in Syria commands center stage. Members also face looming fiscal deadlines, with only nine legislative days scheduled in September to act on those and a large backlog of other legislation. Given all this, it is not hard to predict how Congress will handle the long- or short-term budget resolutions, debt ceiling, the future of sequestration, tax and entitlement reform, and a myriad of other interconnected items: They will put off decision-making. Thus a continuing resolution (“CR”), extending FY13 budgets, looks likely, once again kicking the can down the...
Excerpt of an op-ed by columnist George F. Will, published in The Washington Post. ’€œThe capacity to blunder slightly is the real marvel of DNA. Without this special attribute, we would still be anaerobic bacteria and there would be no music.’€ ’€” Lewis Thomas The pedigree of human beings, Thomas wrote, probably traces to a single cell fertilized by a lightning bolt as the Earth was cooling. Fortunately, genetic ’€œmistakes’€ ’€” mutations ’€” eventually made us. But they also have made illnesses. Almost all diseases arise from some combination of environmental exposures and genetic blunders in the working of DNA. Breast cancer is a family of genetic mutations. The great secret of...
Excerpt of an op-ed by columnist George F. Will, published in The Washington Post. ’€œThe capacity to blunder slightly is the real marvel of DNA. Without this special attribute, we would still be anaerobic bacteria and there would be no music.’€ ’€” Lewis Thomas The pedigree of human beings, Thomas wrote, probably traces to a single cell fertilized by a lightning bolt as the Earth was cooling. Fortunately, genetic ’€œmistakes’€ ’€” mutations ’€” eventually made us. But they also have made illnesses. Almost all diseases arise from some combination of environmental exposures and genetic blunders in the working of DNA. Breast cancer is a family of genetic mutations. The great secret of...
After more than four months of discussions, the National Institutes of Health and the family of Henrietta Lacks have reached a mutual agreement that will serve to both advance medical research and protect Lacks’€™ descendants. In 1951, Lacks died of cervical cancer at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. Before her death, doctors removed some of her tumor cells. And something amazing happened. Her cells had a property not seen before: They could grow in a lab. Those cells, now called HeLa cell, were everlasting. ’€œWe have agreed that NIH-supported researchers will deposit any DNA sequences derived from HeLa cells into NIH’€™s dbGAP database, and have established a process through which...
After more than four months of discussions, the National Institutes of Health and the family of Henrietta Lacks have reached a mutual agreement that will serve to both advance medical research and protect Lacks’€™ descendants. In 1951, Lacks died of cervical cancer at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. Before her death, doctors removed some of her tumor cells. And something amazing happened. Her cells had a property not seen before: They could grow in a lab. Those cells, now called HeLa cell, were everlasting. ’€œWe have agreed that NIH-supported researchers will deposit any DNA sequences derived from HeLa cells into NIH’€™s dbGAP database, and have established a process through which...
Photo credit: Smithsonian This month ’€œGenome: Unlocking Life’s Code,’€ first state-of-the-art exhibition about genome science, opened at the Museum of Natural History in partnership with the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) . The exhibit boasts cutting-edge interactives, 3D models, custom animations and engaging videos of real-life stories. According to Dr. Eric D. Green, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), one of the 27 institutes and centers that make up the National Institutes of Health (NIH), “This exhibition reflects a remarkably productive collaboration between components of two scientific icons of the U.S. government – the Smithsonian...
By Olivera J. Finn and Robert E. Schoen An excerpt of an op-ed by Olivera J. Finn, PhD a distinguished professor and chair of immunology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Robert E. Schoen, MD, MPH professor of medicine and epidemiology at Pitt’s School of Medicine and Graduate School of Public Health published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette . Olivera J. Finn, PhD Robert E. Schoen, MD, MPH Every day, physicians and scientists see the hope and promise that medical research brings to patients and families. For nearly 70 years, research funded by the National Institutes of Health has increased understanding of the causes of disease, contributed to longer life expectancy and...
By Megan Kane, PhD Megan Kane As reported on Research!America’€™s blog and in numerous media channels, scientists are facing a difficult funding environment made even worse by sequestration. I am one of the members of the ’€œentire generation of scientists at risk’€ that NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins and others have referenced in their warnings about the long-term harm of sequestration. Due to tightening budgets in research laboratories, I was forced to make a decision earlier this year: either delay my graduation from my doctoral program or look for immediate employment outside of a lab environment and possibly never get back to the bench. A colleague pointed me to the advertisement...

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