How do you deal with the frustrations of scientific research?

Pardis Sabeti: Well, yeah. So it’s always-- That’s a very important question because you have to learn to love whatever you do in the failures as much as the successes because there’ll probably be a lot more failures than successes and so that’s a very important lesson to learn early on, and I learned it early in my career ‘cause my PhD really got off to a pretty poor start and so there was a long period of time where I had to say, “Is this worth it?” And many of my friends were just sort of saying, “You’re already accepted in to medical school. Why do you even need this?” And I think I was just really- the puzzle that I was sort of trying to figure out was just compelling enough to me that I kept going with it.

So I think in science you have to be very patient and you have to enjoy the process and it’s nice to think about where the process will take you but it’s important to enjoy each aspect of the process itself. And so I think that we’re lucky ‘cause we’re in a time right now that there are so many tools available that there are many discoveries being made. So there are just many opportunities to advance the field and it’s coming from all directions so that’s a lucky time but obviously there will be droughts where we figure we’ve kind of tapped the genome to its full potential and looking for the next thing and the difficulties with each aspect of changing paradigms. So there will be periods-- I’ve already experienced some, maybe not the biggest I could experience, but I’ve definitely experienced long periods of failed work and I just- I still enjoy it. I just enjoy the day to day and that’s important.

 

Recorded on: June 29, 2008

 

You have to learn whatever you do, the failures as much as the successes, as there will probably be more failures than successes.

Why the ocean you know and love won’t exist in 50 years

Can sensitive coral reefs survive another human generation?

Videos
  • Coral reefs may not be able to survive another human decade because of the environmental stress we have placed on them, says author David Wallace-Wells. He posits that without meaningful changes to policies, the trend of them dying out, even in light of recent advances, will continue.
  • The World Wildlife Fund says that 60 percent of all vertebrate mammals have died since just 1970. On top of this, recent studies suggest that insect populations may have fallen by as much as 75 percent over the last few decades.
  • If it were not for our oceans, the planet would probably be already several degrees warmer than it is today due to the emissions we've expelled into the atmosphere.
Keep reading Show less
Image source: Topical Press Agency / Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Though we know today that his policies eventually ended the Great Depression, FDR's election was seen as disastrous by some.
  • A group of wealthy bankers decided to take things into their own hands; they plotted a coup against FDR, hoping to install a fascist dictator in its stead.
  • Ultimately, the coup was brought to light by General Smedley Butler and squashed before it could get off the ground.
Keep reading Show less

Health care: Information tech must catch up to medical marvels

Michael Dowling, Northwell Health's CEO, believes we're entering the age of smart medicine.

Photo: Tom Werner / Getty Images
Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • The United States health care system has much room for improvement, and big tech may be laying the foundation for those improvements.
  • Technological progress in medicine is coming from two fronts: medical technology and information technology.
  • As information technology develops, patients will become active participants in their health care, and value-based care may become a reality.
Keep reading Show less