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Stanford Medicine Summer 2009: Basic scientists no longer top dogs

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Are science funders giving basic medical researchers--for decades medicine's elite--the cold shoulder?

The summer issue of Stanford Medicine magazine answers with a qualified yes. Although millions of dollars from the National Institutes of Health (medicine's biggest backer) still flow to scientists engaged in research with no immediate bearing on health, many of these scientists are feeling a distinct chill.

This just-published report, "Pure science: Has the test tube lost its appeal?" gives readers a look at the world of basic research, with perspectives from the driven scientists working around the clock to the policy-makers to social historians.

Among the stories in the report:

An article on the funding of basic science, focusing on NIH: In the crosshairs

A Q&A with U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin on re-creating America as a wellness society: Harkin's hope

The story of the friendships, heartbreak and sheer grit behind chemical and systems biology professor Tobias Meyer's lab's elucidation of a major biology puzzle -- the cellular mechanism for calcium influx: Anatomy of an experiment

Also in the issue:
A feature on a family grappling with their young son's brain cancer, while a Stanford/Packard team creates the first lab culture of this deadly tumor. Warning: Nearly everyone who reads it cries: Superheroes

An article on the burgeoning study of our internal microbial ecosystem, focusing on the pioneering work of David Relman, professor of infectious diseases: Caution: Do not debug

Illustration by Jonathon Rosen

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