NIH

Postdoctoral researchers (postdocs) comprise a large part of the scientific community and have been instrumental in many scientific advances. Unfortunately, there is currently no nationwide standard to guide how they are mentored as they transition to the working world. This needs to change. Since its inception in the 1920s, postdoc training has gone through several changes, and there are currently many variations in how it is carried out, but the primary objectives remain the same: to give new Ph.D. scientists direct mentorship and hands-on experience as they transition to tenure-track faculty positions, and to free up time for professors to teach, complete administrative tasks and write...
The “House of Hope,” also known as Building 10, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Center, offers patients with limited treatment options the opportunity to participate in experimental clinical trials. The Discovery Channel has filmed an in-depth look into how medical discovery takes place at the Center. With the consent of thousands of staff members and patients, the resulting documentary First in Human , narrated by actor Jim Parsons, will air in a three-part series August 10, 17, and 24 at 9:00PM ET/PT on Discovery. This unprecedented access to ongoing research invites the public to learn more about the clinical trial experience. In a recent survey commissioned by Research!...
Dear Research Advocate: Earlier this week, I met the new dean of the Duke Medical School, Dr. Mary Klotman. She invited me to talk with young MD-PhD investigators who are part of Duke’s Robert Lefkowitz (A Nobel Laureate) Society. It is extremely powerful to be in a room with so much talent, commitment and promise; I encouraged these accomplished young leaders to look for ways to convey their passion for research outside academia, and offered to help. Young scientists’ innovation and energy are vital, not only to science but to science advocacy. The distinction a ‘laureate’ conveys is inspiring to scientists and non-scientists alike. In recognition of that, Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and...
Dear Research Advocate, I was honored to speak yesterday to a group of early-career global health researchers, plus alums and mentors, gathered for orientation and training under the auspices of NIH’s Fogarty International Center. Following my prepared remarks we had a terrific informal discussion. A question from a researcher who had grown up in Kentucky triggered a thoughtful exchange: “how do I explain the value of my work to a resident of rural Kentucky, including why her taxes should pay for it?” These two linked but separate questions can seem quite daunting if, like most researchers, you have never been oriented, much less trained, to consider the public context of research. We’re...
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the “crown jewel of federal spending,” said Dr. Keith Yamamoto at a Capitol Hill briefing sponsored by the Coalition for the Life Sciences and the Congressional Biomedical Research Caucus on July 14 titled, NIH 101: An Introduction to the National Institutes of Health. Yamamoto, vice chancellor for research at the University of California, San Francisco and Research!America board member, was the featured speaker at the event, sponsored by the Coalition for Life Sciences and the Congressional Biomedical Research Caucus. He discussed the mission and budget of the NIH, as well as the rigorous scientific review process that ensures the budget achieves...
Dear Research Advocate, Former Congressman John Porter, Research!America’s esteemed Chair Emeritus, does not mince words in his Washington Post LTE today, cautioning against state-level education policies that could be misused to subvert science education. Treating knowledge that has been affirmed by years of scientific exploration as negotiable jeopardizes our nation’s ability to meet the challenges and seize the opportunities before us. It is a path to decline rather than progress. We cannot afford to shy away from straight talk about misguided policies. Fortunately for our nation, John never does. This afternoon, the House Labor-H Subcommittee, formerly chaired by Mr. Porter, “marked up...
Growing up in a rural community in upstate New York, I was not exposed to academic research at a young age. I knew I wanted to learn about diseases and the development of new treatments, even if I didn’t quite know exactly what that looked like at the time. A scholarship supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) made it possible for me to attend Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York where I studied biology and chemistry. The Ronald E. McNair Scholarship, a STEM program that provides under-represented populations with access to research, provided funding for my studies at the University of Rochester where I worked in the Gorbunova laboratory studying the obscure naked mole rats...
Dr. Barbara McCrady recalls interviewing a woman who used to pass out on her bed before her husband came home from work. Suspecting something was amiss, the couple spent two years visiting sleep specialists and neurologists. Nobody suspected that the cause of her early slumbers was alcohol. The woman was drinking one liter of alcohol per day. McCrady, distinguished professor of psychology, University of New Mexico and Director, Center on Alcoholism, Substance Abuse, and Addictions, was among the speakers for a congressional briefing titled, The Changing Patterns of Women’s Drinking and Their Impact on Public Health, at the Rayburn House Office Building on June 22, 2017. “This underscores...
In the 18 months since former President Barack Obama announced the Cancer Moonshot Initiative (CMI), led by then-Vice President Joseph Biden, great strides have been made in the mission to accelerate the pace of cancer research. Among the goals of the initiative is to increase collaboration between public- and private-sector organizations, and government agencies to develop new methods of targeting cancer. CMI’s emphasis on innovation – specifically immunotherapy – and new approaches to research are especially important for rare cancers such as mesothelioma because traditional research and treatment methods often do not work. Immunotherapy, which uses a person’s own immune system to help...
Dear Research Advocate, Last Friday, I joined ASM CEO Stefano Bertuzzi and Georgetown McDonough School of Business professor and social marketing guru Bill Novelli in a lively session on advocacy for science. Bill emphasized the pivotal role strong leaders play in securing paradigm shifts such as a cultural shift in the value Americans assign to science and innovation. I thought of this when the welcome news broke that President Trump reappointed Dr. Francis Collins as NIH Director. Dr. Collins is second to none in his ability to connect the dots for the public and policymakers on the wide-ranging impact of research and innovation. More good news: the House E&C Committee passed the FDA...

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You can change the image of things to come. But you can’t do it sitting on your hands … The science community should reach out to Congress and build bridges.
The Honorable John E. Porter