Needed: a quantum leap  pg. 8

“The second one, it won’t surprise you to hear, is renewable bodies. I think the concept of keeping my body healthy, healthy aging, is very interesting and fascinating… The public has a great appetite to increase their body’s natural ability to replenish and repair itself.”

More consistent research funding. Partnering with industry. Diversified support. Investing in education. Selling science’s story to the public. Good ideas all.

But there is one more quality that is essential for keeping biomedical research high on the nation’s agenda -- leadership.

Hamm argues for “a 100-year national strategy for investment in scientific research leading to breakthroughs in our understanding of disease,” while Magnuson calls for a presidential cabinet-level position to help guide the nation’s science and technology enterprise.

For Melton, it’s a matter of “setting the tone.”

National politics and policy debates have “devalued” science in recent years, says Melton, despite the fact that “science as a way of knowing has proved to be the most powerful way of understanding the great questions of life and, fortunately also a great economic engine.”

“It’s not that I mean we should have experiments going on in the White House,” he says. “I’m talking about setting the tone… That’s why we have a central government—to ask what’s important for our society, how do we solve problems and set a tone that engages society to help others.

“That’s what I mean by leadership.”

“What made America great?” asks Vanderbilt’s Caprioli. “In the early 1900s, we launched into the world. Why? What was in our spirit, our culture that allowed that meteoric rise? Is there something in our history that can give us a glimpse of what our solution should be?

“This goes very deep into the fabric of who we’ve become,” he says. “Who we’ve become is not all good. We have to understand the parts that are limiting us and get past them.”

Lisa A. DuBois contributed to this story

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