Drinking from the source

Yesterday I had a meeting with one of the authors of this paper:

I came across the paper in the University of Tokyo Newsletter. It was really impressive and related to what we are working on at www.tupac.bio so I wanted to learn more. mRNA Therapy is a very promising area and if you aren’t aware of Moderna, one of big players (the biggest?) in the space, you should be.

One of the things that makes me happy is when I get to meet superstar researchers in person. Reading a research paper shows a carefully revised narrative of their work, but when you meet researchers in person they give you the uncensored story, which is usually a lot more interesting. You get to hear what they tried that didn’t work at all, and what key insight they had that put them on a successful research path. Sometimes researchers also just tried a bunch of hypotheses without any special insight, and after they have results that show a significant effect, they found evidence from other sources that support their original hypothesis. In a paper you can carefully craft a narrative which is probably only part of the whole story.

Yesterday I probably learned more in the one hour I spent in the meeting than if I read ten papers because I could learn what is actually difficult in the research and why, and even got to see confidential new data. If you are truly interested in someone’s research, talk to them to get the real story.

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