Leading Scientists Rocked Capitol Hill With Rock Legend Aerosmith's Joe Perry
WASHINGTON—September 25, 2009—Some of the nation's top scientific minds, including Francis Collins, MD, PhD, director of the National Institutes of Health and Rudy Tanzi, PhD, Kennedy Professor of Neurology at Harvard University, joined Aerosmith's Joe Perry to speak and perform as the "Rock Stars of Science" (Rock S.O.S) campaign came to Capitol Hill for an unprecedented event at the Capitol Visitors Center Auditorium September 24.
Created by the Geoffrey Beene Foundation, Rock S.O.S is a public education campaign to create awareness and support greater funding for medical research across diseases. It pairs celebrities with leading scientists to highlight the "rock star" genius that drives scientific innovation. The Capitol Hill event was presented by the Geoffrey Beene Foundation, Research!America, Wyeth, Elan, the Alzheimer's Association and GQ magazine, in cooperation with the Congressional Biomedical Research Caucus and the Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer's Disease.
The Rock Stars of Science who gathered and were honored yesterday included the first mappers of the human genome, architects of treatment breakthroughs that made HIV a manageable condition and researchers leading global fights against diseases like cancer and Alzheimer's.
The event was moderated by Terry Moran of ABC News and included panel discussions and interviews with a focus on promoting cures and improving therapies for cancer, Alzheimer's disease, HIV/AIDS and PTSD.
The day began with Moran interviewing co-chairs of the Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer's Disease—Representative Edward Markey (MA), Representative Chris Smith (NJ) and Senator Mark Warner (VA)—followed by a research forecast about Alzheimer's by Jeffrey Cummings, MD, of University of California Los Angeles; Steven DeKosky, MD, of the University of Virginia; Samuel Gandy, MD, PhD, of Mt. Sinai and Ron Peterson, MD, PhD, of Mayo Clinic.
Aerosmith's Joe Perry was joined by a back-up band of NIH Director Francis Collins, MD, PhD, and Harvard's Rudy Tanzi, PhD, in a rock musical tribute to Congressional champions of research.
Dr. Collins and Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, spoke about priorities for NIH and the latest research on HIV/AIDS and H1N1, respectively.
Film producer and Stand Up to Cancer (SU2C) co-founder Laura Ziskin, SU2C Scientific Committee Member Laura Shawver, PhD, of Phenomix Corporation, and Australian singer/actress Delta Goodrem-all three, cancer survivors-participated in a panel discussion on the state of cancer research with The Wall Street Journal's Amy Dockser Marcus. The group noted the importance of not only funding research, but structuring and funding research models to improve the chances for success, translating research from bench to bedside in shorter periods of time.
The Rock S.O.S public service campaign, launched in the May issue of GQ Magazine, pairs celebrities with experts from the country's leading medical research institutions and seeks to build a broader base of support for research as a national priority; encourage more young Americans to become scientists; improve techniques of early diagnosis; and stand together to refuse to accept "NO CURE" as a prognosis across diseases.
"This is our moment in history: An aging boomer generation that grows older and at greater risk for serious illness every year; historic levels of chronic disease; and the global spread of pandemics," explained Tom Hutton, Trustee of the Foundation and CEO of Geoffrey Beene. "Our only hope is to support leadership in science, with our hearts and imagination as well as our tax dollars."