Francis Collins

By Neal Sweeney, PhD, President. Sweeney is a postdoctoral scholar at UC Santa Cruz studying stem cell therapies for eye disease. Chartered in 2008, UAW Local 5810 represents over 6,000 postdoctoral scholars at the University of California, or approximately one tenth of all postdocs nationwide. Our members work at the cutting edge of the most sophisticated research in the world in a wide variety of health-related fields and beyond, and their contributions and discoveries move society forward in important ways. The contract that our union negotiated with the University of California in 2010 includes a minimum salary scale that matches the NIH/NRSA scale, a stable and comprehensive benefits...
Dear Research Advocate, House of Representatives Science Committee Chair Lamar Smith’€™s (R-TX) proposed legislation, the “ High Quality Research Act ,” would undermine, rather than achieve, “high quality” in research, since it would create several new hoops for approval of NSF-funded grants. These appear to be based on the mistaken idea that science follows a linear path to a single metric for success or failure. And the bill requires the NSF director to attest in advance to the success of each funded proposal! Letters penned by former NSF directors and National Science Board chairs and former NSF assistant directors warn of the “chilling and detrimental impact” this legislation could have...
Recently, a group of scientists, clinicians and patients gathered in a suburb of Washington, DC to discuss scientific progress in the study of a rare premature aging disorder. This disease, Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome’€”often referred to as HGPS or simply progeria’€”is one you may not have heard of, yet. But the Progeria Research Foundation and families of progeria patients have been working hard to increase awareness and raise funds for research into this rare disease that results in death at an average age of only 13. Among the list of speakers at the conference was the Director of the National Institutes of Health, Francis Collins, MD, PhD and researchers from a number of...
Dear Research Advocate, President Obama spoke to the National Academies of Science on Monday. I commend his remarks to you. He charged the members of the Academy, and by extension the science community writ large, to engage at ’€œthe center and the heart of our public debate.’€ He said that IF scientists do so, the nation will be assured of continued prominence. IF is a tall order — it makes most scientists very uncomfortable, but it is essential that we get out of our comfort zone right now. The president didn’€™t pound his fist on the podium in stressing this, so I will. The science community simply cannot step away from the public and political fray right now; not if we want to see the...
On April 24 th , representatives from members of the Coalition for Health Funding gathered on Capitol Hill to visit with Members of Congress. As a member of CHF, Research!America participated in these informational visits with offices of freshman Congressmen and Senators. The theme of the day was ’€œhealth is everywhere,’€ and advocates sought to communicate the important role of health and research in the lives of Americans and in our economy. During the meetings, advocates spoke about how adequate funding for agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and others can help address soaring...
Just because you’re not in Washington, DC doesn’t mean you can’t still watch the Rally for Medical Research! Cokie Roberts of National Public Radio will emcee the event featuring members of Congress, cancer survivors like actress Maura Tierney ( ER, NewsRadio), leaders from the scientific community including NIH Director Francis Collins, MD, PhD, and Research!America Chair, Hon. John Edward Porter. Here’s the video: Take a moment and contact your Congressperson and Senators today, tell them to make medical research a higher national priority! Follow updates from the Rally on Twitter via @ResearchAmerica or #RallyMedRes .
President Barack Obama unveiled the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative on Tuesday. Described in a White House press release as one of the administration’€™s ’€œGrand Challenges,’€ the goal of the initiative is to bring private and public sector research together to accelerate the development and application of technology and research into the function of complex neural networks. President Obama laid the ground work for today’€™s announcement during his State of the Union address in January, calling for an increased investment in research to achieve ’€œa level of research and development not seen since the height of the space race.’€ The...
Dear Research Advocate, Congress has passed a spending bill for what remains of the current fiscal year, which ends September 30. Preliminary agency funding levels have been reported by Nature . The appropriations process remains important for making up some small amount of the ground lost to sequestration, but as long as sequestration remains the law of the land, annual cuts to NIH, FDA and our nation’€™s other health research agencies are all but assured ; and with it, the insidious ripple effect of damage to grantees, vendors, and the pharma, bio and device industries that partner with researchers to develop the products patients await. That’€™s the bottom line. We must remind our...
Dear Research Advocate, Medical research advocates are being heard by those urging a halt to across-the-board budget cuts scheduled to go into effect March 1; your voices are being picked up in the media and echoed by decision makers. But as the deadline approaches, no progress has been made, with many Members of Congress insisting that sequestration go forward. As much as we, and the public at large, have railed against Congress when it ’€œkicks the can down the road,’€ this is a time to call for just that! Delaying sequestration would create the opportunity (of course, not the promise) of a ’€œgrand bargain’€ before the continuing resolution ends March 27. (In order to avoid shutting...
Dear Research Advocate, Setting a breathtaking goal for Congress and the nation, the president called for returning our nation to levels of R&D investment not seen since the height of the space race in his State of the Union address Tuesday evening. He spoke of the potential to defeat Alzheimer’€™s and to assure an ’€œAIDS-free generation’€; and he used the human genome project to illustrate the economic as well as human return on taxpayer investment in research. We were thrilled that the president listed medical research among the nation’€™s top priorities ’€“ along with defense, education and energy ’€“ right at the beginning of his speech, when he described the devastating damage...

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Luck shouldn't play a role in why I'm alive.
Laurie MacCaskill, a seven-year pancreatic cancer survivor