• Question: My Question- Will your research save lives ?

    Asked by cmooney650 to Amy, Drew, Julia, Kimberley, Sara on 15 Jun 2011. This question was also asked by rmcaneney950, shigamoo19, holliewalls, 09barnesc, rosacrawford, nathanf1, sophier111.
    • Photo: Sara Imari Walker

      Sara Imari Walker answered on 14 Jun 2011:

      Hi cmooney650!! Are you working for the National Institutes of Health? Just kidding! But that does seem to be a question a lot of funding agencies, and the public ask of scientists. I think it is fantastic if scientific work can produce results that will save lives. But sometimes this is not directly measurable. For example, electricity wasn’t discovered because people thought it would save lives, but soooo many people’s lives have been dramatically changed by having electricity available in every home. So I am a fan of doing science for the sake of discovery. I think that is what is really neat about being human. We can figure stuff out about the way our world works, and sometimes this directly benefits society with new vaccines or cures to terrible diseases. But sometimes it advances our knowledge – like the invention of computers, and the internet, all based on great science that preceded these discoveries! I look at my work in the same way – it doesn’t have a direct benefit like saving lives, but the potential impact for discovery is exciting. And, who knows down the road where it will lead?

    • Photo: Drew Rae

      Drew Rae answered on 14 Jun 2011:

      Hi Cmooney650. At the moment the governemnt is very keen to know the impact of research, so you’re very current with your thinking. My research is about stopping accidents. If it is successful, it will save lives. This is hard to measure, since you can’t point to accidents that didn’t actually happen. That’s one of the big challenges – testing to see if our research in safety actually does its job properly.

    • Photo: Julia Griffen

      Julia Griffen answered on 14 Jun 2011:

      Hey Cmooney & Rmcaneney….
      I dont know about saving lives… but hopefully i’ll make some molecules (in a clean manner if u see ‘Does your work effect the environment?’ question) that can be tested as medicines possible for diabetes…
      I like sara’s example of the electricity… sometimes scientists find new things with out even realising their potential.. Now that is the holy grail of research! finding a whopper of an idea… that would be cool!

    • Photo: Kimberley Bryon

      Kimberley Bryon answered on 15 Jun 2011:

      It probably won’t save lives but it might be able to help people remember things. If we can understand how memory works then we can design drugs to improve it.

    • Photo: Amy MacQueen

      Amy MacQueen answered on 15 Jun 2011:

      In the long term – yes!! The protein in the cell that my lab is interested in is very important in a lot of conditions – in cancers as well as autoimmune things like severe asthma, arthritis and lupus. There are already drugs moving into clinical trials for these…and the more we know about how these proteins work the better we can design these drugs to do their job to help treat really sick people! 🙂