University of California Davis scientist, John Roth, speaking this morning at the Cold Spring Harbor 60th anniversary phage course symposium, discussed the tendency towards bacteria and phage laboratories becoming increasingly marginalized at many universities. It?s ironic, really, given their still powerful role for elucidating molecular mechanisms. One reason, he suggests, may be as simple as poor PR and a failure to communicate science appropriately. With so much research couched in abstract intellectual questions, he says, it becomes accessible to a smaller number of people. ?We haven?t made it clear to people - the importance to them.? And that, says Roth, is ?to our detriment.? This sentiment echoes back to a conversation I had last night with four scientists over drinks. One individual mentioned his frustrating experience being interviewed by a journalist with no science background. After spending an hour and half explaining basic concepts to the journalist, he ended up...
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