Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Lost in translation...al research!

According to Wikipedia, translational research is a way of thinking about and conducting science to make the results of research applicable to the population under study. In the field of medicine, for example, it is used to translate the findings in basic research more quickly and efficiently into medical practice and, thus, meaningful health outcomes. In other words, the classical mantra "from bench to bed side".

But how dificult is this transition from the lab to the society? Are we scientists qualified to make this transition?
I believe I am not qualified myself to make this transition. Actually I consider it is not my job to do so. This bench-to-bed transtion requires the concerted action of several stakeholders and, of course, a lot of money. This is not a task for a lonely rider lab.

However, I do believe it is my imperative duty to think my research in a translational way. In other words, not only to tackle problems important for society in a broad way. But also to do it with a trnaslational perspective such way that others may easily build up upon our knowledge. I am proud of the discussions of our papers where, at the end, we always try to put our findings in a clinical context. I do not know whether this is helpful for others but, at least for us, it makes sense. I tell my students that for sure we are not going to cure anything but I am confident that our work will certainly help others to do so sooner or later.

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