Show Congress the Face of Biomedical Research—Your Face

ASCB’s third annual We Are Research campaign needs you and your labmates to put a face on biomedical research. At your next lab meeting, lab happy hour, or lab karaoke party, round up the gang, snap a photo of your team, and submit it ASCB’s third annual We Are Research campaign needs you and your labmates to put a face on biomedical research. At your next lab meeting, lab happy hour, or lab karaoke party, round up the gang, snap a photo of your team, and submit it here by October 17. Last year’s We Are Research campaign collected 203 photos, which went to 418 members of Congress, showing them the real live people involved in biomedical research who live, work, and even vote in their home constituencies. It’s an effective reminder, according to ASCB’s science policy advocates.

Beyond the satisfaction of promoting basic research, your lab can win a catered lunch. If your lab finishes in the top three with a photo that shows your congressional representative or senator how local scientists pursue life, vital biomedical knowledge, and even outside interests in their district, ASCB will buy the whole crew lunch. ASCB will send $200 to the first place lab, $100 to the second, and $50 to the third. (Hey, it’s pizza money). The first 200 entries in We Are Research will win free ASCB t-shirts.

Your lab photo can make a difference in Washington, says Brian Storrie, an ASCB member at the University of Arkansas, “After having done a few congressional visits, I became a firm believer that it is worth the effort to leave a lab photo in the congressional offices,” he reports. We Are Research photos make an important point to politicians, he says. His lab employs three postdoctoral fellows, two graduate students, two technicians, and a summer intern from around the country and abroad. “It’s a diverse group,” Storrie says, “People look at the photo and see these really are people; it looks like the face of American society today. The photo leaves an impression.”

Storrie’s lab works on secretion or, as he explains it in Washington, “How you put together parts of the cell to release things like hormones and other things.” One of those other things is platelets, says Storrie. “With platelets, we want to know how you can get a neat orderly release so you don’t bleed to death. If you don’t have these things at the right place at the right time you have tragedy.” The pictures from We Are Research are also a way to show Congress that a research lab does more than immediate research. “In the lab it’s people that one trains and people that one works with.” That’s what the lab photos show, according to Storrie.

Storrie adds, “My hope is that [We Are Research] can reach every state in every single district, because without basic research, you can’t do any translation [to medicine]. We’re the starting point. I can look at many things that happened over my career that had starting points in basic research like personalized medicine and DNA sequencing.”

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