Dear Mass General Research Community,

Welcome to our special summer edition of From the Lab Bench!

This jam-packed, sun-splashed issue is dedicated to the importance of communicating our science to the general public.

As researchers, it is critical that we develop the ability to explain the significance of our work to lay audiences.

It seems obvious, right? But it’s not always easy.

We sometimes get buried so deep in our research that we forget to take a step back to explain the basics of our work—the problems we are trying to solve and the science that drives our efforts.

When you get right down to it, our science stories are mysteries, adventures, puzzles and problems to be solved — all wrapped into one.

Just think about some of the questions our investigators are asking in our labs each day:

  • What tricks do tumor cells use to grow unchecked in the body, and what strategies can we use to outsmart them?
  • What scientific insights will finally help us crack the mystery of Alzheimer’s disease?
  • Can genetic clues identify those at risk for severe food allergies before they have their first adverse reaction?

It’s up to us to challenge ourselves—and each other—to find ways to communicate stories like these clearly and effectively.

At the Mass General Research Institute, we are working on ways to help you strengthen your communication skills.

Next month, we will be hosting “The Art of Talking Science,” a fun and friendly science competition during HUBweek that will give eight researchers a chance to present their science before a panel of judges and a live audience.

Later this fall, the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science will be coming to Mass General for a plenary session on science communication.

Below, you’ll find our "8 Great Tips for Communicating Science," some helpful links on science communication, and an award-winning video from Florie (Charles) Mar, PhD, that perfectly describes the importance of supporting fundamental science (Florie is a former summer student and tech in my lab who went to graduate school at UCSF).

Thanks, and enjoy the rest of your summer. I’m off to the beach!

Until next month,

Sue

Susan A. Slaugenhaupt, PhD
Scientific Director,
Mass General Research Institute

 
 

Our8 GreatTips for Communicating Science

Brad Bernstein, MD, PhD
  1. Keep it simple—focus on a few key points and stick to them.
  2. Start with a bang—open with an interesting story to grab the audience's attention.
  3. Use plain language—avoid scientific jargon whenever possible.
  4. Set the stage—what is the problem you are trying to solve, and how are you trying to solve it?
  5. Explain the process—how is your approach unique?
  6. Plot your course—where are you in the process? Where did you start? Where do you hope to arrive?
  7. Save time for questions.
  8. Smile, make eye contact, speak up and have fun!

 

 
Funding Basic Science to Revolutionize Medicine
*Winner* Funding Basic Science to Revolutionize Medicine, 2013 FASEB Stand Up for Science
This award-winning video from Florie Mar, PhD, a former MGH summer student and lab tech, makes a great case for supporting unrestricted fundamental science.
 

Additional Resources for Communicating Science

 
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