物理中的生命世界分享 http://blog.sciencenet.cn/u/sunon77

博文

庭前花开花落,天外云卷云舒:对诺贝尔奖不要太当真 精选

已有 7433 次阅读 2012-10-9 01:16 |个人分类:SystemsBiology-系统生物学|系统分类:科研笔记|关键词:诺贝尔奖,生理学或医学| 诺贝尔奖, 生理学或医学

我在四年前的一篇博文中介绍了Yamanaka的工作:

谈谈生物物理(7)--- 细胞的七十二变

我们小组主要工作是做细胞分化和转化的研究,刚刚跟Sui谈到了今年的诺贝尔奖。Sui是目前细胞转化的领军人物,前年英国皇家学会邀请全球15位研究干细胞和细胞转化的顶尖的科学家(自然也包括Ynamanaka)做这一领域的十年前瞻,Sui名列其中。他告诉我不要把诺贝尔奖太当真,能给科学家真正的荣誉是“大自然”,而不是人类自身。诺贝尔奖就像奥斯卡,说他有价值不过是一年一度向大众科普一下科学家正在做的工作。(Sui Huang系统生物研究所的网页:)

Sui讲了一段趣事,他在剑桥做细胞转化讲座的时候,Gurdon迟到但在会后向他道歉。原因不是他摆谱,真正的原因是他以78岁高龄还在亲手做实验!Sui还提到,可惜的是Thomas Graf,他从80年代开始就开始做细胞人工转化的工作,那时的主流意见都不认可细胞转化,因此他破天荒的工作:使用GATA-1将Myeloblast转化为MEP 细胞,却默默不为人知。他向杂志投稿,得到的反馈是 “It is the editorial policy of the journal not to publish articles that are based on overexpression experiments.” 2004年他向MIT的Ruedi Jaenisch (细胞转化领域的另一位牛人, 2011年获得Wolf医学奖) 提议使用皮肤细胞转化为胚胎干细胞。Ruedi Jaenisch断然拒绝,因为他认为chromatin上的化学键改变会使这一转化不可能。Thomas Graf 在Cell:Stem Cell的Review 附于文后。

Sui还指出,Yamanaka的前瞻性工作固然重要,但是他的博士生Takahashi也因该得到承认。Yamanaka在NIH的讲座中提到,他在给博士生们提出这一工作的时候,他心里也没底。这一段Youtube录像最能体现他当时工作的艰辛。

Sui今天给小组发的Email:
“‘One of the rare non-surprising and I would say, well-deserved Nobel Prizes in medicine! At least this year it is on a cell that everyone has heard of! Don’t forget Sir John Gurdon (> 78 years old) for his famous textbook experiment (frog intestinal cell nuclear transfer) also got the Noble prize – so that is fair. I am very happy for him. And you are right: in 10 years iPS may be viewed more as an academically interesting research tool of little clinical utility. They are close to cancer attractors, and cases of cancer from stem cell therapy have been reported. Same fate as gene therapy perhaps.
 
For you as a young scientist this is what I have to say:  Don’t take it too seriously,  view  the NP’s like Oscar–equivalents in science. Focus on what nature tells you is good science, not what humans tell you is good science.NP’s are highly political, and capricious, not only those that go to Obama and Krugman and Carter and Kissinger…. Noble prizes  reflect the collective mood and relative ignorance of mankind so  one shall not  overanalyze them in scientific terms. They are good for communicating once a year to the non-scientists on this planet what is going on in science.
 
But on the science in this case:  As you said, stunningly, both Gurdon and Yamanaka are not so much keen on understanding the underlying systems biology basis of reprogramming. Sir Gurdon, with whom I had the honor to discuss a few times when I gave talks in  Cambridge, is at the very least politely, and perhaps even intrinsically, interested in networks and attractors, had sharp provocative qualitative questions but I not am sure if he “gets it”. (e.g.: he believes in trinary and n-ary  branching processes which is of courses a mathematically very very unlikely singularity as opposed to binary branching, much as “trifurcation” is not a generic property of dynamical systems as opposed to bifurcation).  John Gurdon works (still!) on the mechanisms of erasing epigenetic memory in  the sense of chromatin modification.  But very admirable, fascinating person. He apologized for joining late in  the seminar I was giving because he was still pipetting! (at the age of 78!!).

Yamanaka  has been approached many times by Kuni Kaneko (strange attractor = cell type guy) and he told me that Yamanaka is neither interested nor has a clue about attractors. This is of course evident in his attempts to comment on the stochastic nature of reprogramming as we all know.
 
Also I think the postdoc should be acknowledged, and also Thomas Graf who was lonely for many years in his struggle for recognition of the idea that cells can be reprogrammed across lineages by TF overexpression (following Weintraub’s tradition). Postdocs need to be recognized because: The idea is simple – many a PI has suggested the same experiment of overexpressing Oct4, etc. to their postdocs (e.g. Ruedi Jaenisch has tried to convince his postdocs long before Yamanaka to do it but no one believed in it – they preferred the at that time less pedestrian looking, technically challenging nuclear transfer!). Thus, recognizing the importance of a project and doing it is actually the rate limiting factor in science – not having the idea!!  Sadly, in biology, ideas, theory and deep understanding are on the backseat.

So in summary, the lesson for you, is: unlike in physics and math, in biology the doers not the thinkers and those who understand rerum causas get the recognition. But the latter is much more fun!  (felix qui potuit cognoscere rerum causas), 知因求果者得其乐)。

Sui

<END>


整个细胞转化的研究小史

典型的细胞转化

更多详细:
Thomas Graf 在Cell:Stem Cell的Review 






2012年诺贝尔奖
http://blog.sciencenet.cn/blog-3468-620531.html

上一篇:系统生物学的冬天
下一篇:对科学良好兴趣的培养,可能比科研能力的培养更重要

16 戴德昌 李宁 曹聪 刘全慧 李泽波 李土荣 李璐 曹裕波 屈林 梁建华 曾杰 苏力宏 王新宇 hangzhou fansg yunmu

该博文允许注册用户评论 请点击登录 评论 (8 个评论)

数据加载中...

Archiver|手机版|科学网 ( 京ICP备14006957 )

GMT+8, 2019-10-16 02:40

Powered by ScienceNet.cn

Copyright © 2007- 中国科学报社

返回顶部