By Catherine Choi
The annual Ori Rotstein Lecture in Translational Research was held on October 4th featuring keynote speaker, Dr. Molly Schoichet, who spoke on the topic of, “Harnessing the Power of Stem Cells to Repair the Central Nervous System”. In her lecture, Dr. Shoichet emphasized the importance of stem cells in the area of regenerative medicine in not just stopping the regression of a disease but in actually inverting it. She also spoke about hydrogels that stimulate healing and gave the example of its use in retinal repair with photoreceptor transplantation and stroke recovery with endogenous stem cell stimulation.
The keynote address was followed by an excellent panel discussion on the “Role of Science in Society and Government” with distinguished scientists Dr. Ana Andreazza, Dr. Andreas Laupacis, Dr. Molly Shoichet, Dr. Andy Smith, and Dr. Jim Woodgett. The panel explored the current context of scientific discovery and agreed on the importance of knowing who the audience is in science communication. During the panel discussion, Dr. Molly Shoichet, one of the founding partners of Research2Reality, encouraged trainees to explore all the great platforms that are available to them to share their research – such as blog posts, radio and science art. The panelists each shared their respective ideas in combating ‘fake’ news or ‘bad’ science reporting, and how to effectively communicate scientific discovery:
“Before we release any news about energy metabolism we have run it by different stakeholders from patient advocates, clinicians, scientists to communities or politicians…until that message is clarified and unified in a voice that all the community can understand.” – Dr. Ana Andreazza
“You’re an expert. Start somewhere and practice – whether on Twitter, or with peers.” – Dr. Andy Smith
“Sometimes being out there in the media is not that comfortable, but you need to do it.” – Dr. Andreas Laupacias.
“The size of your audience doesn’t matter. What matters is that you put a fact-based argument out there. It makes a real difference.” – Dr. Jim Woodgett.
“You definitely can make a difference and so I encourage you to step up and do that… If you want to deliver a message, you need to tell a story… It doesn’t matter if you’re talking to your grandmother or a politician – what matters is how you tell the story.” – Dr. Molly Shoichet.
The IMS would like to thank the host Dr. Ori Rotstein, keynote speaker and panelists for the brilliant lecture and insightful and engaging panel discussion.