The future of proteomics  pg. 4

I think is a disservice to the public at large to lump the less than stellar use of science with the cases where it is obviously beneficial. And I think that sometimes the media misses the distinction between those two things.

“One of the challenges now is to develop tools that go beyond just looking at the overall blueprint. Scientists now want to look at the individual differences among large populations of individuals to help identify changes that might lead to disease or to identify why some individuals remain healthy. The tools that are required to look at those differences across a large number of individuals are pretty substantial, as opposed to tools used to decipher the basic blueprint of life.”
Michael W. Hunkapiller, Ph.D.
Lens: Is collaboration between academia and industry important for the development of the field of proteomics and for drug development, and, if so, why?

White: It’s valuable. I think the key is that everybody has to know what they want to get out of the relationship, and if the relationship can be structured so both parties can accomplish what they want to accomplish, it’s a good thing.

Hunkapiller: It’s a tradeoff. The academic world has a mission to create new knowledge and make that available for other people to build upon. Companies have an imperative to increase value for their shareholders. Certainly where those missions are in concert, there is synergy between the two, and an opportunity for fruitful collaborations, such as when basic discoveries are developed into practical applications to help people.

Clearly one has to be mindful of the fact that there occasionally are conflicts in determining what are the goals. Mechanisms have to be in place to minimize those conflicts. But the university system is a source of a lot of basic knowledge that is applied towards practical applications. Congress recognized that a long time ago, by fostering within the biological area programs that push universities to get some of their basic discoveries into the commercial world.

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