CHALLENGES IN THE NEW
the millennial divide, fellows in the NCI Division of Clinical Sciences
hosted their first symposium, in July, on "Research in the
21st Century: Challenges for the Next Generation of Biomedical Investigators."
Some of the
research challenges of the next millennium, as remarked upon by
NCI speakers Philippe
Liu, and Susan
Lord, sounded familiar: weathering the effects of public policies
and politics on the conduct of research; and vectoring ideas between
the clinic and the lab, a two-way street for both basic and clinical
scientists, to conquer diseases.
lucky enough to enter the millennium at NIH, however, will have
access to "big science," like vaccine development, gene
therapy, genome mapping, transgenic modeling, and bioinformatics,
Liu pointed out.
Gottesman presented a David Letterman-like "top 10 list
of biomedical research challenges til the year 2009 (see below)"
His list, he said, was not meant to be completeomitting such
broad areas as infectious diseases and vaccine development, for
instancebut rather to "appeal to DCS fellows" and
also to reflect his "own personal research agenda."
Top Ten Research Challenges
10. Accurately predict
a proteins tertiary structure from its amino acid
9. Use the knowledge of
a proteins structure to predict its interactions with
8. Describe how transcription
factors and post-transcriptional regulation affect gene
expression for each human gene.
7. Provide the complete
directory of genes with altered expression or function in
each of the common cancers.
6. Write a complete time
course for all gene products expressed at each stage of
5. Develop highly effective
and specific anti-cancer drugs based on the knowledge of
altered gene products in cancer.
4. Stimulate stem cells
to differentiate into specific tissues for use in tissue
remodeling and organ transplantation; develop biomimetics
for the same purpose.
3. Introduce genes specifically
into cells to correct genetic defects.
2. Apply information about
cell and molecular biology to treat degenerative diseases
of the central nervous system and the major psychoses.
And: the top biomedical
challenge for 2009 [add a drum roll and a little levity,
1. Devise a molecular/integrative
description of the brain functions involved in thinking
about the Top Ten Biomedical Challenges for 2009.