My Journey to the March for Science Los Angeles
On April 22, I will be at the March for Science Los Angeles, engaging with fellow scientists and advocates as a biochemist and communications intern with Research!America, a nonprofit advocacy alliance, to raise awareness about the important and exciting biomedical research taking place across the country and the need for increased federal funding. The march is a celebration of the countless ways in which research and innovation impacts society and touches our daily lives.
As a graduate student in biochemistry, I conducted federally-funded research at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College, studying component parts to recreate the molecular machines that are at work inside our bodies. Understanding how these tiny machines operate helps us more efficiently determine the causes of disease, develop therapeutics and find cures.
My thesis research focused on mitochondria, which are frequently referred to as the “powerhouse” of the cell because of their famous ability to produce energy. Like all machines, mitochondria undergo wear and tear over time and require the occasional “tune-up” to keep operating efficiently, and I worked to understand how molecular tools helped conduct these mitochondrial “tune-ups.”
Grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) support research in every state and around the world, funding 300,000 scientists at more than 2,500 universities, medical schools and other research institutions. These grants lead to exciting scientific breakthroughs that advance medical progress and save lives. However, most Americans (67%) cannot name an institution, company or organization where medical or health research is conducted, and 81% cannot name a living scientist, according to a public opinion survey commissioned by Research!America.
Thousands of living scientists are expected to participate in the Los Angeles march and other marches across the country and overseas. The event in Los Angeles will take place from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. in Pershing Square Park and will include a science expo with interactive and family-friendly demonstrations. Scheduled speakers include prominent scientists, Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA-30) and Hidden Figures screen writer Allison Schroeder.
The website for the March for Science includes information about the event in Washington D.C., as well as links to the more than 400 sister marches worldwide. For more information about the March for Science Los Angeles click here.
Anna Hatch is a Biochemistry PhD and Research!America Communications Intern.