Research!America President and CEO Mary Woolley moderated a powerhouse panel of federal officials who spoke to the discovery, development, and delivery spectrum. National Science Foundation (NSF) director France Cordova, Ph.D., congratulated Louisiana scientists for their pivotal contributions to the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) Scientific Collaboration at the Livingston facility, and discussed NSF’s role in advancing basic research.
“We are in debt to Louisiana that the NIH even exists,” noted Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Dr. Collins spoke of the key role Louisiana played in the founding of NIH -- late Senator Joseph Ransdell (D-LA) laid the groundwork for its creation in the Ransdell Act of 1930. Dr. Collins also addressed the importance of collaborative networks to advance research. He highlighted the Louisiana Clinical and Translational Science Center (LACaTS), which brings together multiple institutions to advance chronic disease prevention and treatment with a focus on underserved populations.
Janet Woodcock, M.D., director of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), brought the discussion to its conclusion by stressing the societal and economic benefits of expanding Louisiana’s clinical trial infrastructure and advanced manufacturing capacity.
A subsequent panel on building public-private partnerships included guest speakers Douglas Greene, M.D., chief scientific officer and executive vice president at Ikaria, Inc., and Mark Trusheim, visiting scientist at MIT Sloan School of Management. The discussion, moderated by Laura S. Levy, Ph.D., vice president for research at Tulane University, focused on the role of partnerships in strengthening both research capacity and economic development.
Findings from a recent public opinion survey of Louisianans commissioned by Research!America shows a population strongly in favor of investing in medical research -- with nearly all Louisianans (89%) saying it is important for the state to be a leader in medical and health research. And 81% of Louisianans agree that the government should support basic research, compared to 70% of the general U.S. population.
The program also included an interactive poster session featuring major areas of research, ranging from chronic conditions to health disparities, as well as existing collaborative networks in the state.