The Science Soapbox team always values an opportunity to talk with someone who brings multiple perspectives on science policy. So we were obviously thrilled to lend our soapbox to Dr. Harold Varmus, winner of the 1989 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, previous head of the National Institutes of Health from 1993-1999, President and CEO of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center from 2000 – 2010, and head of the National Cancer Institute from 2010 – 2015. He currently runs a lab at Weill Cornell Medical College working on the molecular mechanisms behind the spreading of cancer. In this episode, Dr. Varmus shares his insights into setting priorities for a national agency, the purpose of Ph.D. training, and science funding reform.
Here are some of the links and references mentioned during the show:
- We discussed Dr. Varmus and his colleagues’ now famous paper entitled Rescuing US biomedical research from its systemic flaws
- Avital mentioned the NIH’s brief plan to impose grant caps based on what was called a Grant Support Index, or GSI. You can read about the plan and its quick reversal on Science
- You can read more about Dr. Varmus and his son’s foray into genes and jazz in The New Yorker, PBS News Hour, and Disease Models and Mechanisms
This episode was recorded on July 26, 2017 at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Special thanks to Visager for music.