Cannabis Derived Pharmaceuticals The Next Frontier?

Posted in BioBusiness

I wrote an article on the emerging medical marijuana and cannabis-derived pharmaceuticals market for Life Science Leader.

Please click here to view!

It was a very interesting article to research and fun to write Please let me know your thoughts and feedback!!!

 

Until next time….

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting (not when you are high of course)

Improving Science Literacy and American Innovation

Posted in BioEducation

Politicians, educators and business leaders love to complain about the America’s dwindling competitiveness in math and science and the growing lack of innovation that seems to be pervasive among many American high school and college-aged students. This is the same mantra that I have been hearing for the past 20 years. Unfortunately, while the powers at be like to complain about these things, no government agencies, educational groups or private sector businesses seem to be able to come up with approaches or solutions to these problems (talk about lack of innovation!). 

Luckily, as Thomas Friedman pointed out in an Op-ED in this past Sunday’s New York Times, there are individuals and not-for-profit entities that have come up with two possible approaches to improve science and math preparedness and American innovation. 

The first of these novel ideas is called National Lab Day (NLD). It was introduced last November by a coalition of educators and scientific and engineering associations. NLD’s goal is to inspire future scientists, engineers and innovators by pairing experienced scientists and engineers with students in grades K-12 to work on hands-on science project around the US. Participating organizations that have pledged support for NLB include pledged support for National Lab Day are the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the National Science Teachers Association, the National Science Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Jack D. Hidary Foundation, the American Chemistry Society, the National Institutes of Health; and the Business Roundtable.

Conspicuously absent from the list are large organizations like the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Medicine, the American Society of Microbiology and others. Moreover, no academic institutions or research foundations or life sciences companies have offered to participate. See what I mean about lots of complaining and no action? To learn more about the program or offer support visit NationalLabDay.org

Another program that Friedman mentioned was the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship or NFTE. NFTE works with middle and high school teachers to help them teach entrepreneurship. The centerpiece of the program is a national contest for start-ups with 24,000 low-income students participating. Each student has to invent a product or service, write up a business plan and then implement it.

While the scope of NFTE is limited to only low income students, I learned first hand what an important skill entrepreneurship is on the world stage. In the early 2000s while working as a management consultant, I was invited to dinner by the CEO of an Australian life sciences company. During dinner, I candidly asked her why an Australian biotech company was interested in hiring an American as a management consultant. She told me that while Australians do great science they are awful when it comes to translating the science into a viable business. “We simply don’t have the entrepreneurial understanding and spirit that most of you Americans seem to have. Our society doesn’t focus on individualism and innovation, we like to maintain the status quo” she said. After the meeting, I realized that we Americans take our entrepreneurial skills for granted and if we can no longer excel in this area than the US is truly doomed.

Finally, since this post is about science literacy and improving the public understanding of science, I wanted to mention a cool website called Sense About Science that you ought to check out. Although it is a UK-based organization, what it is trying to promote has global relevance. According to the website:

“Sense About Science is an independent charitable trust promoting good science and evidence in public debates. We do this by promoting respect for evidence and by urging scientists to engage actively with a wide range of groups, particularly when debates are controversial or difficult.

We work with scientists to

  • respond to inaccuracies in public claims about science, medicine, and technology
  • promote the benefits of scientific research to the public
  • help those who need expert help contact scientists about issues of importance
  • brief non-specialists on scientific developments and practices

Sense About Science is governed by a Board of Trustees and run by a small office staff. We are supported by an Advisory Council and over 2,000 scientists and other specialists, ranging from Nobel Laureates to postdoctoral fellows, who are signed up to our database, Evidence Base. We also work with younger scientists in our VoYS (Voice of Young Science) programme, which you can read more about here.”

Until next time….

Good Luck and Good Learning!!!!!!!!

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