Gavin Fischer gfish at
Wed Mar 20 10:13:07 EST 1996

Alexander Berezin (berezin at MCMAIL.CIS.MCMASTER.CA) wrote:

: [ snip ]

: > +REFORM MUST COME, just as it did with HUD and old HEW.  It can be
: > +SUDDEN and PAINFUL, or GRADUAL and less so.
: > +
: > +Scientific Community, the choice is yours!
: > +
: > +
: > + Bert Gold, Ph.D.                         
: > + University of California, San Francisco  

: >  What about ending that huge medical school subsidy for
: > research, as in YOUR job.  Are you in favor of that too?  Let the
: > private doctor fund medical genetics.  See how far you get.  Have
: > fun.
: > 
: >     REFORM MUST COME.  Your job should be FIRST.  Let it be
: > 
: >     Try your own medicine.
: > 

: Reply to the above author (crtitics of Bert Gold):

: Dear ???

: In some way I am sympathetic to what you are saying.

: As a university professor I am doing my living on
: (essentially) teaching and, in spite of all the 
: occasional songs about the professors, do not see
: myself (neither any of my colleagues in these ranks)
: be much different from the college of a high school
: teacher with possible exception of having a hobby of
: writing so called scholarly ('peer reviewed') article
: (glorified form of recycling pulp). Tenure system is 
: crambling and for all practical purposes is unlikely 
: to survive for much longer. Many of my age group
: (50 +) and younger are quitely preparing various
: moonlighting escape routes.

Tenure system already doesn't exist at several schools- so what
(BU is one of them). In every other field of life the same thing
is happening right now. People are being layed of at a great rate-
and they are complaining about it too. Why should we be different?

: Furthermore, benig unfunded (zero NSERC grant) for 
: the last few years and nonetheless finding ways to 
: continue my research and publish (to serve my
: abovementioned hobby), I do indeed see not much 
: reason why external funding of university professors 
: should continue. At least, it should be nowhere close 
: to the present level when half-a-million annual research 
: budgets per (single !) professor at NIH is not that 
: rare. Contrary to what some optimists are saying, I don't
: see too much use of all these Big Biomedical Studies 
: for real medicine and, what IS done on this side could 
: almost unexceptionally done 10 times less expensive.

Nonsense. Reagents for work in biomedicine are expensive. 
Your choice is either don't do any work in those fields with
expensive reagents (and once you throw everyone out of the field
and decrease the usage- the reagents will get more expensive).
This I beleive would shut down most of gene therapy- most of the 
lab our labs work in signal transduction- and probably a million
other fields. No- we are not a big lab- 9 people only (PI included).
Your previously stated $10,000 would fund us at current spending levels
for about 8 weeks and we are thrifty.

: Yes, I would close (or at least greatly reduce NIH),
: stop luring young people in non-existent job prospects
: and leave it all (that is medical research funding) up to 
: practicing doctors.

X-rays never would have been found. How many doctors do you
know that stay on top of the basic research fields? They exist
but are much rarer than those who don't. Therefor- how can they
be expected to run research. They don't have the knowledge to 
do that- and I for one would rather have my doctor good at
healing me than at the signalling pathwayts in a cell that 
may or may not be important. 

The Job statement. Please name a field that young people can
go into where they are guarenteed a job. Please name anything
in life that is guarenteed (other than death). I am a second
year student and do not think that I am the exception when I say
that I know the job situation (I was a tech for 3 years first) and
am willing toaccept the risk. Any young student who hasn't figured
out the risk early in the carreer needs to talk to post docs more.

 Let's see, if they (doctors) want 
: to fund it - and if they don't, it means they don't need it. 
: And if THEY don't, nobody else does even more so.

How do they know which leg of basic research is going to pan out.
The need a cure for B-CLL. How are they going to get it? They can
fund work only on that- and maybe get it- or they can continue with
the current system and maybe get it. 

: Oh, yes. Secrets of Nature, legacy to future generations 
: (if there still any left), beauty of science as such...
: **********************************
: Alexander A. Berezin, PhD
: Department of Engineering Physics
: McMaster University, Hamilton,
: Ontario, Canada, L8S 4L7
: tel. (905) 525-9140 ext. 24546
: **********************************

You have to admit that science is only reflecting society right
now. Jobs are tight everywhere. "It is not like it used to be"
is the statement that I hear out of older faculty a lot. The reply
is "Deal with it". Yes there is uncertainty and no job security.
That is a thing of the past in every field. 

Gavin Fischer
BU program in Immunology

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