It’s been a fun week watching people pop up here and there — some in unexpected places.
Steven Ekker, Ph.D., head Mayo Clinic’s zebrafish research program, was part of Elizabeth Pennisi’s article on that up and coming animal research model in this week’s issue of Science. He and his team recently published findings on new tools to make zebrafish easier to use for researchers — that was in Nature.
Jan van Deursen, Ph.D., and collegue Darren Baker, Ph.D., made both Science’s news section and then were “picked up” on Wired’s website for their Nature Cell Biology findings on the impact of the protein BubR1 on extending the health span of mice. Over expression of this gene kept tumors and other aspects of aging at bay for most of the lives of the mice.
And then we have to share a link to NIH director Dr. Francis Collins’s appearance on the unlikely venue of Wait,Wait, Don’t Tell Me, the current events comedy quiz show on National Public Radio. The good Dr. Collins held his own with the panel of comedians as he played It’s Not My Job, as he answered trivia questions about baseball stars. Or tried to. He got only one right answer out of the three asked, but then as we all know in science there’s no such thing as batting a thousand. Still, it was a great job of putting the National Institutes of Health on a general audience program and explaining what NIH does — most of the American public has never heard of it. Dr. Collins understands the first rule of communicating: know your audience and where to find them. More researchers should be brave and insightful enough to wade into general programs — even if it’s outside of their comfort zone — to convey the importance of science to the public.