Photo by Adélaïde Bernard

Humans of UCSF: Ready. Set. Science!

Graduate Division

Science communication and media coverage are needed now more than ever. The importance of research never seems to be emphasized enough in the public sphere, and, since so much of it is funded by tax payers’ money, it is in a way one of scientists’ responsibilities to explain their work and its importance to the general public.

Yet, what I would rather like to emphasize is how crucial it is for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to engage with the media.

I was fortunate to have some of my PhD work featured on Time magazine. How many times was my name mentioned? Zero. It is thus imperative to embrace opportunities to talk about your work independently of your advisor.

But be careful with what you tell reporters and interviewers. I was also fortunate to be interviewed about that same work, and I realized how even simple concepts completely escape those who are not as well versed in science.

Oh, and don’t promise that we’ll have a cure for whatever disease you’re working on tomorrow. One wouldn’t want to come across as naïve or further desensitize the public to the advances being made in science to the point of taking them for granted. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Leonardo Ramos Ferreira , PhD
Postoc in Qizhi Tang (Department of Surgery) and Jeffrey Bluestone lab (Diabetes Center)