On translational science

Amongst scientists, one of the greatest feelings of disconfort is the absence of a meaningful goal after the time, patience, effort and money invested during years, decades and even generations of research. Many of us begin our scientific careers based on a self-created idealism of saving human kind. By the middle of our doctorate degrees we discover that science is just another enterprise…

After long hours of thoughts and discussion, tears of desilution, and rages of frustration, I have tried to convince myself that the importance of basic research resides in the need for understanding how biological systems function and interact amongst each other. This understanding will ultimately lead to the discovery of mechanisms by which we can confront diseases, if correctly applied, contributing this way to the wellbeing of our kind.

But why this need of contribution. Why do I feel that I need to help cure infectious diseases? Why not follow the generalized apathy and work for my own personal satisfaction? At the end of the day, satisfying my goal is what will lead to results. So just as I write these words I think I have reached the ideal argument for peace of mind; as Machiavelli states “the end justifies the means”. A “pure thought” will not contribute more or less to the advancement of scientific discoveries. The key is to be smart enough to figure out how to translate these discoveries into actions, and for this probably our training, or mine I should say, is not necesarly enough. Although the unconfortable feeling of emptiness that acompanies the unchangable last line of grant proposal “…and this will contribute to the discovery of new therapeutic alternatives for (put your disease of preference).”, my mind somehow rests in the thought that my passion for science will direct me to creat interesting research avenues that someday (and here is when I pray) someone more inteligent and visionary will translate these basic discoveries into actions that will benefit individuals in need.

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