Bench to Bmore Blog

The Rise of the Resistance: How Antibiotics Work

In 1928, Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin, the first antibiotic discovered by mankind. He would eventually go on to win the Nobel Prize for this achievement, a well-deserved honor undoubtedly. The discovery itself is a bit of a humorous story, one of those moments in science that manifested as less of a “Eureka!” and more of “Hmmm, that’s interesting…” Regardless, the discovery would ultimately revolutionize the medical field and help usher us into the modern age of medicine. Although science history is fun to know, this post is not about where we’ve been; it’s about where we are now. We are...

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Our Picks in Science Policy April 16th-April 23rd

Written by Ben Wolfson Originally published at https://wp.me/p8tLO8-2j Of course, the big news this week was the Science March. With practically every news outlet hosting think-pieces and op-eds about the march, it seemed like other articles about science and science policy were pushed out of the public eye a bit. I’ll share a list of science march articles at the end, but for now here are a few of my favorite non-march related articles from the past week. 1. Diversity Problems in the March for Science Ok, one march related article. This is a great summary of the diversity problems that...

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Our picks in Science Policy April 9th-15th

Written by Ben Wolfson Originally published at https://wp.me/p8tLO8-2e 1. The problems with cancer research cell lines As a cancer biologists, there are several breast cancer cell lines I use every day. Some of these are derived from human tumors, some from mouse tumors that closely mimic what we see in human patients. However, we’ve known for a long time that cell lines don’t cut it in research. They’re good for the basics, but findings must be verified in an animal before it can even be attempted to be brought into the clinic. The NCI-60 was a panel of 60 human cancer...

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Our picks in Science Policy writing April 1-8

Written by Ben Wolfson Originally published at https://wp.me/p8tLO8-26 Why does it matter that the President has no Science Advisor? One of the positions that remains unfilled in the Trump white house is that of science advisor. In this article, Obama’s science advisor, John P. Holdren, goes into what the presidential science advisor does, what the history of the role is, and why the role is important. In short, science and technology impact almost all policy decisions made, whether they’re related to the economy, public health, energy, agriculture, the environment, national security, diplomacy etc. The role of the science advisor and Office of...

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No Science Funding? Sad!

Authored by Benjamin Wolfson President Trump recently released his first budget proposal, which would go into effect in 2018. This budget proposal contains major funding cuts to science, significantly increasing military funding while drastically cutting the budgets of the Environmental Protection Agency, National Institute of Health, Department of Energy, and numerous other scientific agencies. While the outcry against these cuts from the scientific community has been unanimous, it’s easy to forget the specific reasons why cutting science funding is such a bad idea. Typically, when we talk about the benefits of research, we discuss them in terms of the material benefits that are received (better medicine, computers, etc.) or...

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The Murder of Kim Jong-nam Is A Bigger Deal than Anyone Is Saying

Authored by Eric Lumsden At the time of Kim Jon-nam’s assassination there was very little buzz surrounding the methods employed to kill him. Most of the media attention focused on the assassins, including the fascination with one woman’s ‘LOL’ shirt. Both claimed to be confused, thinking they were on a reality show. The White House was slow to issue a statement and news outlets followed suit with little focus on the seriousness of the infraction. Of course the facts were reported, but very few articles provided context for just how serious the organophosphorus (OP) nerve agent VX is. Some articles,...

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The Age of Aged Scientists

Authored by Eric Lumsden Tyler Cowen published a blog post this morning highlighting a study that shows the average age of scientists has increased from 45 to 49 over a 17 year span. This coincides nicely with a piece I wrote earlier this month outlining why younger scientists need to take a bigger stand on advocacy, specifically the section discussing the plateauing of funded grants and the increased age of primary investigators. More senior faculty members are hanging on to their jobs longer while, simultaneously, grant funding is stagnating. The study points out this ‘crowding out’ of younger scientists and...

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The Argument for Scientists to Get Involved in Politics – a Student’s Perspective

Authored by Eric Lumsden It’s a confusing time to be a scientist. While we strive for balanced conclusions dependent on evidence, the world around us picks and chooses what to believe. Facts are changed or lied about, graphs are pulled out of context or manipulated to alter their meaning, snowballs are brought inside the capitol to prove the globe is not warming. Individuals unfamiliar with the scientific method pick the “correct” science based on what supports their ideology, clinging to ‘their science’ and shouting down conclusions from the opposition. Overwhelmingly agreed upon principles suddenly become topics of debate when politics...

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Trump’s fetishization of The Great Man Theory

Authored by Benjamin Wolfson By misunderstanding the role of regulation in science and drug discovery, Trump puts the public at risk. At his first speech in front of both houses of Congress last night, President Trump used Megan Crowley, a survivor of Pompe’s Disease, as a prop to promote his goal of cutting regulations across the Government. As infants, Megan and her brother Patrick were both diagnosed with the neuromuscular disorder Pompe’s Disease. Frustrated with the lack of treatment options, their father John Crowley left his management position at Bristol-Myers Squibb to be the CEO of Novazyme Pharmaceuticals, a company...

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