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Basic Science Research

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The Time is Now: The need for more basic science research

In times of fiscal austerity, the tendency is to seek instant, inexpensive gratification. In the case of biomedical research, this often means finding the shortest path to implementation while starving creativity and forfeiting the power of future scientific research and discovery. It is critical that the public look at basic science research as an investment and the power it has in leading to many clinical solutions, as well as its potential to act as the driving force in the search for understanding and treatment of human disease.

When we do research, it is because we are looking for answers to questions that others may not even think to ask. Often, and especially in regard to children’s hospitals, most people do not think to ask those questions because the people who would potentially benefit from the answers are invisible to them. How many people realize that children get cancer and stroke and arthritis and diabetes and kidney failure? How many people understand that adult disease starts as high blood pressure or obesity or mental illness or poor nutrition in childhood? And what regular venture capitalist would invest in something knowing that the pay-off will come in the years beyond his or her lifetime? Those who choose to work to solve the problems of the under-recognized and underserved and those who fund their endeavors are visionaries investing in a legacy. They believe that the chance the future will be brighter than the present is return on investment enough.

The role of basic science in understanding complex findings, in taking risks and making unexpected discoveries, the importance of innovation, training, education, and maintaining the national biomedical enterprise is increasingly lost, but unquestionably vital to our future. Conducting research, communicating results, and implementing findings is a long process, often taking many years of work. Science of the past two decades is only now being adapted and applied for the good of humankind. Therefore, transmittable information of the future depends on the science we develop now.

The greatest risk society can take is deciding to not take the risk of investing in basic science research. A bridge must be built, connecting laboratories to clinics to our communities. Without doing this, we will be forfeiting the future of medicine and its absolute potential.

Do you have the capacity to fuel a vision? Would you like to be part of the opposition to the forces that threaten to halt advancement in child health and prevention of disease throughout the lifespan? Are you excited by the prospect of making discovery happen and contributing to the nurturance of the next generation of inventors, discoverers, and visionaries? Learn more about our endowed chairs, funds to support research, and how to be a part of a research endowment by visiting the “Make a Gift” section of our giving site at www.givetokids.urmc.edu. Give and join the advocates for children and families who make the future happen!

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