The Power of Science
Solve the most important public health problems by incubating, accelerating, and translating groundbreaking research.
To champion the best in public health research, we proposed to 1) transform our research ecosystem to propel major discoveries that depend on interdisciplinary collaboration and innovative approaches; 2) invest in programs that foster our competitive advantage as one of the few accredited schools of public health where researchers collaborate on the full spectrum of scientific inquiry, from bench science to policy implementation; and 3) further promote translation and discovery into real-world solutions.
Reflections on the Changing Landscape
The School’s ability to respond quickly and collaboratively to urgent health challenges was dramatically highlighted by our global response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath. COVID-19 research led by School investigators illustrated our multidisciplinary research portfolio: contributing to the development of novel diagnostics and therapeutics, characterizing the infectiousness of variants, measuring economic and mental health impacts, and modeling resource needs in the U.S. and globally.
We were reminded that the biomedical research establishment is key to protecting the public’s health, and it requires our ongoing and substantive investment. At the same time, we learned that new discoveries will not help control a pandemic if governments and communities are reluctant to follow the science. The pandemic reinforced for us the need for closer partnerships among scientists who develop vaccines and medicines with the social scientists and communications experts adept at motivating the public to make use of best practices and lifesaving technologies.
Out of necessity, we also learned how to think more creatively and efficiently about our research process while ensuring the safety of our research participants, students, staff, and faculty. We rapidly developed processes, including faculty review committees, to approve specific approaches to ensure safe engagement in laboratory, human subjects, and field research activities, while also transitioning our Institutional Review Board activities into a fully remote process. We must carry these lessons into the future to fully realize our potential for collaboration within the School, across the University, and with outside organizations.
We begin with discovery. Then we change the world.
Arturo Casadevall, MD, PhD
Bloomberg Distinguished Professor
Alfred & Jill Sommer Professor and Chair, Molecular Microbiology & Immunology