Besides the Eureka moment of making an important or, at least, useful discovery the most satisfying experience I had in research was receiving a fundable rating on my federal grant applications from other scientists. In this process, notable scientists would sit in committees in Washington DC, called study sections, and discuss the merits of hundreds of grant applications and then vote on them resulting in scores that were above or below the fundable level. On a few occasions I was invited to become an ad hoc member of such committees because of the nature of my expertise. The next most satisfying experience was having a research paper accepted for publication; this also happened as a result of peer review; and I published about 60 research papers during my career – the more prestigious the journal, the greater the feeling of accomplishment. The next most satisfying event was seeing others pick up on my findings and extend them to something more valuable. This form of satisfaction usually comes several years later. I checked the citations of my papers recently and found that some of my papers are still being cited as references some 15 to 30 years after the papers were published.
One protein that I discovered and named plastin continues to be investigated as a biomarker and possible drug target for diagnosing and treating various forms of cancer. Read the rest of this entry »