“Sixteen years ago we had in front of us, for the first time ever, the order of the three billion letters that make up the human genome,” began Dr. Eric Green , Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) . Genetic sequencing and genomics have come a long way since 2003, when the Human Genome Project announced the completion of the first full sequence of the human genome. At the “ Human Genome to Precision Medicine ” briefing hosted by the Congressional Biomedical Research Caucus and the Coalition for the Life Sciences , Dr. Green discussed the triumphs, advances, and ongoing challenges unfolding around genomics. The cost of sequencing that first genome was around $1...
“Every two minutes, one more woman dies from cervical cancer,” stressed Anna Giuliano, PhD, of the Moffitt Cancer Center . One of several speakers at the briefing “Let’s End HPV-Related Cancers” on June 27, Dr. Giuliano emphasized the severity of cervical cancer and other cancers that are linked to human papillomavirus (HPV). This should give us pause because HPV is the most common STI – most people will be exposed at some point in their lifetime, and it has been referred to as the “common cold of STIs.” Like the common cold, HPV has different strains that have different effects on humans. At its least harmful, HPV can result in no symptoms, but at its most dangerous, it can lead to deadly...
Dear Research Advocate, Our guest author this week is Jenny Luray, Research!America’s Senior Advisor. Before traveling home for the August district work period, the House finally passed legislation to raise the budget caps by a vote of 284 - 149. Monday evening brought the welcome announcement that the White House and congressional leadership had reached a bipartisan, bicameral budget deal . The deal lifts the caps, increasing federal spending levels in FY2020 and FY2021, and also raises the debt ceiling. Specifically, the deal increases non-defense discretionary spending by $27 billion in FY20 and $2.5 billion in FY21. It prevents a $55 billion cut from occurring and instead bolsters the...
Dear Research Advocate, Our guest author this week is Ellie Dehoney, Research!America’s Vice President of Policy and Advocacy. Some long-awaited, promising news regarding the budget caps: congressional leaders and the White House have agreed in principle on a deal that would raise the discretionary budget caps for Fiscal Years 2020 and 2021 and raise the debt limit sufficiently to avoid another “cliff” for at least two years. There are (as there always seem to be) caveats: the amount by which the caps would increase is not yet public, negotiations continue on such variables as offsets, and we don’t yet know how the deal will fare with other than those members of Congress in leadership roles...
Infectious disease outbreaks. Opioid overdoses. Chemical exposures. When threats like these arise, we rely on public health surveillance efforts to identify and address them. However, our current systems are outdated and disjointed, hindering the ability of public health professionals to respond to such crises in a timely manner. On June 27, 2019, the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL), the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE), the Healthcare Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS), and the National Association for Public Health Statistics and Information Systems (NAPHSIS) held a Capitol Hill briefing focused on the critical need to update America’s...
Dear Research Advocate, For the remainder of the summer, we will have a series of guest authors writing Mary’s Weekly Letter. This week’s author is Mike Coburn, Research!America’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. Members of Congress are back in town following the Fourth of July holiday, and talks are taking place between Congressional leaders and the Administration to resolve the issue of the budget. Complicating matters is the need for Congress to pass and the Administration to approve an increase in the debt limit. Research!America sent a letter to Congressional leaders and the White House urging swift action. While news reports indicate the Administration is...
Just three months remain in the current fiscal year, and lawmakers in the House have made significant progress in moving 10 of 12 appropriations bills across the floor. These bills include significant and meaningful funding increases for health research and public health, exciting advocates about the potential to reinvigorate and advance innovation after years of funding cuts, budget stagnation, and making up lost ground. Lawmakers have made clear their support for science in both words and deeds. Unfortunately, making these promises a reality hinges entirely on Congress and the White House’s ability to stave off devastating cuts — 10% across the board — that are scheduled hit defense and...
More women die from pregnancy-related complications in the United States than in any other comparably developed nation . Around 700 women die from pregnancy-related causes annually in the U.S., with an additional 60,000 women suffering severe, pregnancy-related complications. Approximately three out of every five pregnancy-related deaths are preventable. “In a country of this size and wealth and level of innovation, [this] is an injustice,” said panel moderator Dr. Laurie Zephyrin, Vice President of Delivery System Reform at The Commonwealth Fund. She continued, “This is also about race — black women and native-American women are more likely to die.” Indeed, across the United States, black...
Dear Research Advocate, “Not only is it important to ask questions and find the answers, as a scientist I felt obligated to communicate with the world what we were learning.” Stephen Hawking This apt quotation serves as the preface to a newly released survey from ScienceCounts and the Alan Alda Foundation for Communicating Science. Their findings, coupled with those reported a few weeks ago by SigmaXi and Research!America, signal recognition that if science is to thrive, scientists themselves must help make the case. Both surveys indicate that scientists are very willing to become engaged -- more so than ever before, in my experience! This week, members of Congress are back home, but not...
On June 12, 2019, the Alliance for Aging Research, in partnership with the Michael J. Fox Foundation , held a Capitol Hill briefing on Parkinson’s disease. The briefing marked the release of the Parkinson’s Disease Fact Sheet , the latest publication in The Silver Book series, an almanac of resources on chronic diseases compiled by the Alliance for Aging Research. The fact sheet features a new study conducted by the Lewin Group on the economic burden of Parkinson’s Disease in the United States. The Michael J. Fox Foundation received the Research!America Isadore Rosenfeld Award for Impact on Public Opinion in 2003. Congressman Gus Bilirakis , Co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Parkinson...

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If concerted, long-term investments in research are not made, America will lose an entire generation of young scientists.
Brenda Canine, PhD; McLaughlin Research Institute, Montana