Growing pains in chemical biology


Each month, Nature Chemical Biology includes an editorial; these typically center around an issue of general importance to chemical biologists and seek to raise questions that will be significant in the further development of the field. In the July issue, we talk about how universities and departments may support the development of chemical biologists . As science has expanded from the strict disciplines of chemistry, biology, and physics, certain challenges of redefining scientific borders and academic structure have been met. Yet the experience of researchers working in chemical biology suggests that they face a uniquely difficult task in finding a home for themselves and their work. Everyone involved would benefit from brainstorming on how the integration of chemical biology can be improved or made easier. As such, we would like to initiate conversation among our readers as well as those who have gone through similar fundamental shifts in scientific organization.

Some of the thoughts on our mind:

What is your experience in starting a lab/changing fields/getting funding for chemical biology research?

Are there specific changes that your university has made or could make to support you?

Do you think chemical biologists can continue to work within the confines of diverse (other) disciplines, or do you support the move toward chemical biology departments?

How can we find common ground when self-identified chemical biologists work on extremely disparate topics or use widely varying techniques?

It is our hope that, by sharing ideas and concerns, we can improve the overall understanding of and support for our growing community.

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