science funding


Is Bad Science Undermining Big Science? A Conversation Between Guests and Audience

One can look at funding for science and break it up into Big and Small Science. Funders of Big Science would be large corporations, foundations, and the government, whereas Small Science relies on VC, startup funds, small businesses and entrepreneurs. Big Science comprises those big projects like the sequencing of the human genome and the war on cancer. But are such big projects yielding results that justify the massive spending?

Best of Mendelspod 2012

Thank you to all our 2012 sponsors and underwriters! Your support enables us to tell some great stories from the front row of a fascinating, ever unfolding industry.

Our final show of 2012 is a compilation of highlights from throughout the year. If you remember, it started off with some great buzz about sequencing. Both our series on sequencing and what to do with all the data is represented. 23andMe’s Anne Wojcicki came on the program to talk about her direct to consumer approach. This year we spent time with some folks who are attempting to shake up the industry and we’ve included two of them in today’s show. Finally we end with a selection from our series, Science and the 2102 Election.

(See Guests for speakers' bios.)

Listen (2:09) Paul Billings talks up the Ion Proton from CES in Vegas

Listen (8:37) Sultan Meghji weighs in on Roche bid for Illumina and the future of genomics

Listen (3:12) Anne Wojcicki answers questions from the audience

Listen (8:28) Big Pharma's Apostle of Innovation speaks out

Listen (4:56) Bill Frezza insists that the life sciences need a Grand Awakening

Listen (2:10) Chris Mooney: if scientists are the new world rulers, they don't know it

Listen (:48) Year end note to our audience

Happy New Year! from the Mendelspod Team

Lee Hood: Salesman for Science, Part II

Podcast brought to you by the upcoming Personalized Medicine World Conference taking place in Mountain View, CA, January 28-29. Over 100 speakers in three tracks will discuss how best to navigate the changing landscape of personalized medicine.

Guest:

Dr. Lee Hood, Founder, Institute for Systems Biology Bio and Contact Info

Listen (11:04) Pharma's core problem - good at making drugs, poor at finding drug targets

Listen (2:11) Are scientists the world's new rulers?

Listen (2:35) The Montana Factor

Listen (3:38) NIH funds Small Science

Today's interview covers some very broad topics and comes in two parts. It could only be done with an industry Titan, a scientist, an entrepreneur, a visionary, and a great salesman. Our guest is Lee Hood, founder of the Institute for Systems Biology.

I've been looking forward to having Dr. Hood to the program since we started, and delighted that it worked out now. During the interview, you'll hear Lee's take on some of our common topics here at Mendelspod. First, I explore Lee's foresight in bringing together biology and engineering. This has proved a beautiful marriage and led to Lee's direct involvement in the design of the automated DNA sequencer. This discussion has further implications for Dr. Hood, as this was the first of several paradigm shifts he's been part of. In fact, paradigm shifts have been a study of his and a theme throughout his career. He says an early mentor at Caltech urged him to "be on the cutting edge."

It's not easy being at the cutting edge, breaking paradigms. Dr. Hood had to leave the university system to found his dream environment for research and education, the Institute for Systems Biology. Dr. Hood talks about that step as a defining moment for him and his ideas. He explains the core ideas on which the Institute is founded and relates them to the broader picture of healthcare. Rather than healthcare, he predicts we'll call it the wellness industry.

Another favorite topic at Mendelspod is the role of the scientist in society. More and more,scientific discoveries and technology dictate the course of human life. When asked whether scientists are the world's new rulers, Dr. Hood tells the anecdote of his brief flirtation with the idea of running for senator in Montana.

It's obvious that Lee's home state played an important role in his life. He attributes his confidence to the independence he felt at the behest of his mother and the opportunity to hike and experience the wilderness. He was exposed to an academic setting in highschool and recalls that often academic pursuits were combined with trips into the wild.

Finally I ask Dr. Hood a question that came from the audience about whether tax dollars should fund bad science. His answer is nuanced and thoughtful. He warns of being to cynical of 'bad science' or non-reproducable research. He goes on to make the point that there is Big Science and Small Science. He calls the NIH a funder of small science.

Dr. Hood's experience is vast. He's a great thinker. He's an innovator, concerned with a big vision. He's also been able to sell his vision, achieving remarkable success. We've split the interview into two because I just couldn't bring myself to stop Dr. Hood after 30 minutes. A listen through to both shows brings one very close to understanding what our industry is all about.

(Editor's Note: On 12/21/12, Dr. Hood was awarded a National Medal of Science.)

Lee Hood: Salesman for Science, Part I

Podcast brought to you by the upcoming Personalized Medicine World Conference taking place in Mountain View, CA, January 28-29. Over 100 speakers in three tracks will discuss how best to navigate the changing landscape of personalized medicine.

Guest:

Dr. Lee Hood, Founder, Institute for Systems Biology Bio and Contact Info

Listen (2:08) Where did you learn to be such a great salesman for science?

Listen (11:45) What led you to be at the confluence of disparate disciplines?

Listen (4:15) Emancipation from the university system

Listen (8:40) At the end of 2012 how far along are we on the journey to P4 Medicine?

Today's interview covers some very broad topics and comes in two parts. It could only be done with an industry Titan, a scientist, an entrepreneur, a visionary, and a great salesman. Our guest is Lee Hood, founder of the Institute for Systems Biology.

I've been looking forward to having Dr. Hood to the program since we started, and delighted that it worked out now. During the interview, you'll hear Lee's take on some of our common topics here at Mendelspod. First, I explore Lee's foresight in bringing together biology and engineering. This has proved a beautiful marriage and led to Lee's direct involvement in the design of the automated DNA sequencer. This discussion has further implications for Dr. Hood, as this was the first of several paradigm shifts he's been part of. In fact, paradigm shifts have been a study of his and a theme throughout his career. He says an early mentor at Caltech urged him to "be on the cutting edge."

It's not easy being at the cutting edge, breaking paradigms. Dr. Hood had to leave the university system to found his dream environment for research and education, the Institute for Systems Biology. Dr. Hood talks about that step as a defining moment for him and his ideas. He explains the core ideas on which the Institute is founded and relates them to the broader picture of healthcare. Rather than healthcare, he predicts we'll call it the wellness industry.

Another favorite topic at Mendelspod is the role of the scientist in society. More and more,scientific discoveries and technology dictate the course of human life. When asked whether scientists are the world's new rulers, Dr. Hood tells the anecdote of his brief flirtation with the idea of running for senator in Montana.

It's obvious that Lee's home state played an important role in his life. He attributes his confidence to the independence he felt at the behest of his mother and the opportunity to hike and experience the wilderness. He was exposed to an academic setting in highschool and recalls that often academic pursuits were combined with trips into the wild.

Finally I ask Dr. Hood a question that came from the audience about whether tax dollars should fund bad science. His answer is nuanced and thoughtful. He warns of being to cynical of 'bad science' or non-reproducable research. He goes on to make the point that there is Big Science and Small Science. He calls the NIH a funder of small science.

Dr. Hood's experience is vast. He's a great thinker. He's an innovator, concerned with a big vision. He's also been able to sell his vision, achieving remarkable success. We've split the interview into two because I just couldn't bring myself to stop Dr. Hood after 30 minutes. A listen through to both shows brings one very close to understanding what our industry is all about.

(Editor's Note: On 12/21/12, Dr. Hood was awarded a National Medal of Science.)

Chris Mooney: More Science in Politics!

Podcast brought to you by: See your company name here. - Promote your organization by aligning it with today's latest trends.

Guest:

Chris Mooney, Journalist, Author Bio and Contact Info

Listen (1:40) Can you tell our audience of geeks how to be more sexy?

Listen (5:42) Why hasn't science been an issue in this election?

Listen (1:05) US has a long history of publically funding basic science

Listen (1:49) When will we have an atheist in the White House?

Listen (12:16) Obama's liberal brain the reason he lost the first debate

Listen (3:30) If scientists are the new world rulers, they don't know it

Listen (6:20) To adapt, or not to adapt..

Chris Mooney wants to see more science in politics. Pundits who actually know something about climate change, for example. A media which doesn't resist scientific research just to sell a sound byte. His most recent of four books (the guy is only 35) is The Republican Brain: They Science of Why They Deny Science - and Reality. Chris says research shows fundamental differences between the conservative and liberal brain. These differences explain why Obama lost the first debate. Chris has been actively involved in getting science into presidential debates (see ScienceDebate.org). Unfortunately, this year science has been a non-issue. Until Sandy hit. Hear Chris' take on the election, on when we might see an atheist in the White House, and whether scientists are the new world rulers.

See An Election Debate about Science and Climate moderated by Chris.

Science and the 2012 Election with Bill Frezza

Guest:

Bill Frezza, Columnist, Bio-IT World, General Partner at Adams Capital Management Bio and Contact Info

Chapters: (Advance the marker)

0:37 Will you rate the presidential candidates on science?

7:07 Let's just fund the top rate researchers

12:46 How do you measure success in the War on Cancer

15:48 Nothing has brought us more progress than the free market

17:57 What about the Manhattan Project?

22:14 How do we keep our edge in the world without strong science funding?

27:40 Who is going to fund life science start-ups?

31:55 BioLeap - designing drugs "de novo"

Bill Frezza is a venture capitalist and columnist at Forbes and Bio-IT World. As one can see from the name of his column, "The Skeptical Outsider," Bill is not shy about questioning the status quo. Today we get him to weigh in on the two presidential candidates and how the outcome of the election will affect science funding. Frezza is a free market advocate and feels that we are funding second and third rate research and creating a surplus of science PhD's. We talk about the War on Cancer and compare it to The Manhattan Project. At the end, Bill discusses the venture capital world and his own new venture, BioLeap.

A Grand Awakening: Bill Frezza, Columnist

Guest:

Bill Frezza, Columnist, Bio-IT World, General Partner at Adams Capital Management Bio and Contact Info

Listen (5:15) Speaking as an outsider

Listen (7:53) Life science needs a grand awakening

Listen (4:13) Physics and math eventually takes over everything

Listen (2:16) What do you say to detractors?

Listen (11:24) PI's and their indentured servants

Bill Frezza is a Boston-based venture capitalist and a regular columnist at Bio-IT World, Forbes, and Real Clear Markets. Calling himself an outsider to the life sciences, Bill penned a column some weeks back "How to Save the Life Sciences from Technological Torpor." I ask him what he means and this leads to a discussion of what he calls a broken industry in need of some math and physics. Bill is not shy with his opinion, so we plan to have him back soon.

The Best of Times, the Worst of Times with Bruce Jenett, DLA Piper

Podcast Sponsor: Ingenuity - iReport, the fastest and most accurate way to get biological meaning from your expression data. www.ingenuity.com/get iReport/

Guest:

Bruce Jenett, Partner, DLA PIPER Bio and Contact Info

Chapters: (Advance the marker)

0:49 Taking a macro look at the industry

3:54 The dirty secrets of VC

9:59 The myth that no one funds early stage company

17:31 An attorney in Silicon Valley is expected to help a company get funded

22:50 We're digging a gold mine with a teaspoon

27:58 What do you think of open collaboration?

36:10 Where do you go for your information?

Bruce Jenett is a partner at the global law firm, DLA Piper. Bruce has been in the industry for 30 years representing life science customers. He says the job of an attorney in this industry is to help their clients raise money. Bruce came up with the Dickensian title for today's show. From his perch, Bruce offers a macro picture of the industry and shares some of the dirty little secrets he's picked up along the way.



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