Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Comprehensive Cancer Center, Ohio State University, USA
The secret to a successful interdisciplinary collaboration? I think the key to successful interdisciplinary collaboration is having different research areas compliment each other and respect the expertise of other groups. Our current collaboration with a team of pulmonologists is a good example of this. Our team brings analytical measurement strategies to the table, whereas the pulmonologists bring expert knowledge in lung function and disease. These distinct research areas create a complimentary, productive, and enjoyable collaboration.
Book for scientists? Dave Russell at Texas A&M recently explained that he encourages his incoming grad students to read “Grit” by Angela Duckworth. It’s about not giving up when things get tough. Given the amount of criticism and rejection that is inherent in research, I agree with Dave that all scientists should embrace ways to be grittier. I now also recommend this book to everyone starting in my research group.
Additionally, scientists that work with tissue culture should read “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot. It explores the impact of the HeLa cell line – both in terms of the positives for scientific research and the detrimental impact it has had on her family. Thankfully, we now have patient protections in place so that samples can’t be taken without consent. However, many of our existing, commonly used cell lines have questionable origins. I think that any scientist who employs cell culture should be aware of the history and human impact.