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Showing posts from November, 2013

Recap: Adam Katz of Research!America- How (and why) to engage Congress as a research scientist

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Adam is the Policy and Advocacy Specialist at Research!America, where he leads a variety of advocacy initiatives to make science and medical research a higher national priority. When he visited PSPG on Nov. 12th he spoke about how and why scientists, especially those in academia, should engage in the political system. Academic scientists in particular are heavily supported by federal funding and taxpayers, so it is important to initiate and maintain a dialog between researchers, politicians and the American people. Research!America has conducted numerous polls to understand the relationship between these three groups, and they have found that while Americans believe scientific research should be a top priority, the public does not have a clear understanding of how this research is funded (only a small fraction of those polled identified the NIH as the main source of basic biomedical research funding). Therefore it is important that we as scientists, taxpayers and constituents take it…

Penn Science Spotlight: Manipulating gene expression in single cells

An informal discussion with Dr. Paul Offit: recap

Dr. Paul Offit stopped by PSPG to lead a discussion on snake oil and pseudoscience and how scientists can combat misinformation. An excellent example of this issue is the ubiquitous use of dietary supplements to treat everything from colds to weight loss to depression. Dietary supplements are not regulated by the FDA and are not rigorously tested for safety and efficacy and yet millions of Americans believe that multi-vitamins and supplements keep them healthy. These daily supplement capsules are packed with more vitamins than a person could possibly get from a normal diet, and yet there is no evidence that more is better. Because supplements are unregulated, what you see on the bottle is not necessarily what you get: there have been instances in which the supplement was actually 30x more concentrated than what the label claimed, and there have been cases of contaminated supplements causing death. So why is the general public so easily fooled? Because they believe they're ingestin…