Sci has, of course, returned from #EB2011 (that's Experimental Biology 2011 for those not on Twitter). She is still in the later stages of recovery. I don't know about you guys, but conferences always end up with me being ill from something or other. Be that as it may, Experimental Biology Blogging CONTINUES. Though I've covered all of the straight up science, now I'll be going through some of the other sessions I went to, sessions on outreach and funding, from the NIH director Francis Collins to sessions on grad students and outreach.
So far, the sessions I went to can be summed up easily in one sentence: SCIENTISTS NEED TO SPEAK UP. But for many scientists, it's not quite that simple.
The first session I went to was a session on Saturday afternoon called "Science, Scientist, Advocate: Making the Case for Increased Funding for Biomedical Research" sponsored by the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. The panel featured several speakers talking about aspects of federal research funding, and what we need to do to increase it (the answer: speak up). But what caught my attention was two of the speakers speaking on animal research, namely the sessions "Legislative issues and advocacy: use of animals in biomedical research" by M. R. Bailey of the National Association for Biomedical Research and "Advocating for animal research – what's a grad student to do?" by E. J. Burnett, one of the current Hayre Fellows for Public Outreach with Americans for Medical Progress. I found both of these sessions to be incredibly informative (the first kind of the depressing, the second uplifting), and had the luck to be able to sit down with the Hayre Fellow and the Vice President for Americans for Medical Progress, Kristen Bocanegra, where we talked a little more about the situation with Animal Research Activism, and what scientists can do to promote their work and the ethical use of animals in research.
The following is a summary of our conversation (being a not real reporter, I has no tape recorder), and some of my thoughts. So I guess it's kind of an editorial? Anyway.