March of Dimes award winners interviewed

The June issue of Nature Reviews Genetics (10, 351; 2009) features an interview with Kevin Campbell of the University of Iowa, one of the joint winners of the 2009 March of Dimes Prize in Developmental Biology. The other winner is Louis Kunkel of Harvard Medical School and The Children’s Hospital, Boston. The researchers were honoured for their pioneering work in identifying the genes and proteins that are disrupted in muscular dystrophies. The prize recognizes researchers whose work has contributed to understanding the science that underlies birth defects.

Nature Reviews Genetics talked to the winners about their scientific careers and their views on biomedical research. The interview with Louis Kunkel will appear in next month’s (July’s) issue; here are a couple of the questions that Louisa Flintoft asked Keven Campbell:

Your bachelor’s degree is in physics. Have you found that useful as a biologist?

The problem-solving aspect is what I find really helpful today. Especially early on in your career I think it’s important not to be too specialized, and having a diverse scientific background is really helpful. You never know where a research topic is going to lead.

Does the media report disease-related research in a useful way?

The media is really important in getting information to the general public. Sometimes it gets inflated and that’s scary. Even scientifically I think we’re having a problem. If you search for “rescue for mdx” there are so many papers, but in most cases those are not going to be directly translated into therapies. I think that leads to a lot of people thinking that these diseases are about to be cured. I try to make sure that we don’t do that.

See the current (June) issue of Nature Reviews Genetics for the full interview.


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