Q&A with Aled Edwards, Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC)
1. How would you describe the goal of SGC to your mom?
To increase our knowledge of human disease so that we can invent better medicines, faster. To do this, we formed a group of scientists in academia and industry who collaborate and create expensive tools to study human genes and proteins. Unlike the norm, where such tools are patented and provided to scientists under highly restrictive legal constraints, we make them available to the research community around the globe with no strings attached. The widespread use of these tools has already led to science that has stimulated new clinical trials and taken us a step closer to cures for diseases such as cancer.
2. Leading SGC goes beyond the scope of a regular day-job. What keeps you motivated you to stay at it?
In the current drug discovery ecosystem, and with the resources at hand on this planet, there is no way we can invent new medicines for all the diseases and sub-diseases that we are discovering with genomic studies. If we do nothing, the promise of genomics will not be realized for generations. I believe with all my heart that what we are doing is the best way to translate promise to reality.
3. What has surprised you the most about SGC? What weren’t you expecting?
How much fun it has been, and I was not expecting the incredible support that we are getting from scientists in the pharmaceutical industry. Indeed, pharma appears to be ahead of the curve on open access compared with governments.
4. If you could trade places with anyone in the world for one week, who would it be?
Not the Brazilian goalkeeper! (On this day, Brazil loses to Germany 1-7 during the semi-finals FIFA World Cup game).
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