On Thursday, March 3, the C. Kenneth and Dianne Wright Center for Clinical and Translational Research (CCTR) sponsored a symposium titled, “Science in the Service of Human Health.” A brain child of the VCU chapter of the American Physician Scientist Association (APSA), the symposium brought together Clara Abraham, MD, associate professor of medicine (digestive diseases) for Yale School of Medicine, and Stuart J. Knechtle, MD, liver transplant specialist and pediatric liver transplant specialist for Duke Health.
An internationally recognized investigator, Abraham presented on “Perturbations of Intestinal Immune Homeostasis in Inflammatory Bowel Disease,” in Sanger Hall, Room 1-044. Simultaneously, Knechtle, whose research laboratory has been NIH-funded since 1992, presented his seminar titled, “Training Surgeon-Scientists,” in the Molecular Medicine Research Building, Room 1009.
After a brief lunch recess, Abraham and Knechtle came together for an intimate discussion on careers in translational research and their own pathways to discoveries.
Knechtle reflected on his experiences mentoring young students and seeing them mature into successful researchers.
“The research field and the funding associated with it are becoming lean,” Knechtle said. “It’s more important than ever that researchers be driven and motivated.”
Abraham stressed the importance of reevaluating research questions and what direction one’s findings are taking them.
She quoted Warren Buffett who once said, “Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”
Using this quote, Abraham encouraged audience members to be persistent in their research and understand that rejection is a part of the research process.