Isaac was born to fight. Arriving more than five weeks early by emergency C-section, it wasn’t just his way of coming into the world that made him different from his three brothers. While he initially looked healthy, his parents soon realized Isaac’s health was something he and the entire family would need to be fighting for every single day.
From Travis’ appearance and attitude, you’d never believe that, inside his body, many things are wrong. His legs are different lengths, his bones are prone to breaking, and he has a long, “deep” tumor running from his lower spine down across his hip to below his knee. He also has lower back pain from constant irritation to the nerves in his spine.
Countries that grow poppies used to hold a monopoly on the ingredients to the main opiate painkilling drugs. Then in 1979, Dr. Kenner Rice of NIDDK’s Laboratory of Medicinal Chemistry (he is now at NIDA) discovered the critical chemical reaction enabling large-scale production of totally synthetic morphine, codeine, and thebaine, the three basic raw materials in opium.
Recently, I had the privilege of presenting a journal article to my lab group’s journal club in the PAIN (Pain And Integrative Neuroscience) lab for Dr. Catherine Bushnell. One goal of our lab is to look at the relationship and differences between itch and pain. So, what is the purpose of a journal club?
We are all given a name by our parents, nicknames by friends, roles and titles in school and at work. In my life, I have been known as “Goose,” “that blonde girl over there,” and, most commonly, “Lucy.” Here at the NIH, my most important title is that of “postbac,” or, more endearingly, “fledgling scientist.” Although this title does not necessarily command awestruck wonder, it does indicate recent graduates’ integral roles in labs at the NIH. The road to success is long, yet well worn, and we all have our own starting points.
Let’s start with some numbers: 30,000 neuroscientists, five days, and 20 pages of notes. It all adds up to a week well spent at the recent Society for Neuroscience (SfN) conference in Washington, D.C. Researchers from around the world, many from the NIH IRP, descended on the Washington Convention Center to share their most recent research, discoveries, thoughts, and future ideas.
Here’s an example of how basic science can lead to clinical applications: Dr. Julius Axelrod’s discoveries about neurotransmitters and the metabolism of the nervous system lead to the development of a pain reliever, a new class of antidepressants, and a Nobel Prize.