Friday, December 12, 2014
Posted on behalf of Peter Durda
Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Epidemiology; Investigator meeting
Steven Cummings, M.D. University of California, San Francisco
Dr. Cummings presented his thoughts on translational collaborations and his history with these endeavors. Through his work as a principle investigator of the Health, Aging, and Body Composition study (an NIH funded cohort) he has been instrumental in leading the Longevity Consortium – a number of cohorts studying the genetics of longevity and aging. Dr. Cummings emphasized that collaborations are nothing more than relationships; and they are tough and they take work. When scientists from different disciplines are brought together they must overcome differing views on experimental design and funding priorities as well as different languages. Epidemiologists, basic scientists, and statisticians do not speak the same language and they need to understand each other. Dr. Cummings sees future mechanistic studies with basic scientist resulting from these consortia. Another point of emphasis of the talk was the need to find/have alternative funding. One example of private funding sources is Calico; a Google company established in 2013 for the purpose of identifying drugs to extend longevity. Calico will fund a ‘super’ cohort of >5000 participants over the age of 95. The two take home messages from this talk were: 1) Translational collaboration involves hard work on relationships; and 2) There is a funding shift to private sources and there are funds available, Dr. Cummings cited the Nature 2012 article entitled “Alternative funding: Sponsor my science”.
Posted by Sylvie Frisbie at 12/12/2014 02:19:00 PM