In response to the ALS ice bucket challenge I would like to show you my ice bucket for basic science research. Unfortunately, I am stuck in my office, writing grant after grant to fund my lab, and have no time to actually be at the lab bench and perform experiments. So instead this is a picture of my graduate student’s ice bucket. My lab does basic research to find out how neurons, the cells in your brain that signal and mediate your behavior, learning and memory, acquire their functional shape during embryonic development. This is basic research that seeks to define fundamental cell processes. While it isn’t directed toward curing a specific disease, our hope is that a better understanding of how neurons develop and function will be the foundation for future therapeutic improvements and understanding of neurodevelopmental syndromes, neurodegeneration, and nerve injuries.
Today, a generation of scientific explorers is unable to launch research programs due to inflation and federal budget cuts. As time goes on there will be fewer and fewer stories like these to tell, and progress managing health challenges will slow. Everyone, scientist or not, can be a good citizen and let their representatives in Congress know how important basic, foundational research funding is to scientist and non-scientist alike. Make a phone call to your senators and representative. Write them a letter. Here’s a link to get you started:
Stephanie Gupton, Assistant Professor in the Department of Cell Biology & Physiology at UNC, took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, but in a very different way and for very different reasons. While CauseScience fully supports the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, we have also posted about how the challenge highlights the recent struggle for funding for ALL scientific research. Kudos to Dr. Gupton for starting the ‘new’ Ice Bucket Challenge for awareness of the horrific state of science funding. Go ahead and start posting your ice buckets!!!