Tuesday, May 13, 2014

On Funding and Research Interests

I have read some papers by Paul Lindahl lab and I strongly suggest that you should read his publications too. Today, I was checking something on his lab website and ended up reading "History of the Lindahl Lab." I noticed that he quit a few projects due to lack of funding and interest. 

"Despite publishing a couple of good papers on hydrogenase, I never obtained funding for these studies, so I eventually dropped the project."
It's not clear from the text how many years he spent doing research the project he mentioned above, but even if it took just one year, it must have been really hard to quit a project. After all, it is something that bothers your mind and with all your curiosity, you want to explore it. Unfortunately, if nobody gives you money for that, you end up switching to a different project. I don't know the details of that project but I am wondering how he felt when other people moved on that or a similar project and kept discovering new things.

"Meanwhile it became increasingly difficult to entice new graduate students to work on ACS/CODH, as attitudes had shifted. Why study an enzyme that does not cause or cure any disease, they asked? Responding that the chemistry was interesting simply wasn't enough."

In this case, he says that he couldn't find students with interests in his research projects. I understand that people are looking for more "interesting" projects. But, it is hard to accept that someone finds a project uninteresting just because it has no role in a disease. Well, isn't it one of the reasons for scientific research? Maybe there are no known pathways or roles yet, but you will discover that the enzyme indeed has a role in Disease X or something else. Especially when it comes to diseases and biology, I don't think you can rule out anything in an organism. Every component of a cell has a role in something. There are countless pathways. I might be totally wrong, but that's what I think.

By the way, here is a recent review article on carbon monoxide dehydrogenase and Acetyl-CoA Synthase.

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