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NIH director speaks on budget trade-offs, science outreach, and Ebola vaccines

Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, gave the annual Karl Taylor Compton Lecture in Room 10-250 last Tuesday.

Collins discussed the budget limitations that force the NIH to strike a balance between supporting basic science research and specific medical applications, as well as how scientists can encourage authorities to ease those limitations by explaining their work and its impact to as many people as possible. He also talked about the NIH’s search for Ebola vaccines that began in the 1990s and two potential vaccines that will enter Phase II (drug efficacy) clinical trials in December.

Collins noted that MIT has received the most NIH Brain Initiative grants of any institution and called on MIT to “reflect on what our role is as scientists and citizens of the world.”

The Karl Taylor Compton Lecture Series honors the late Karl Taylor Compton, a former president of MIT and chairman of the MIT Corporation, and aims to expose the MIT community to important ideas and the people who have been a part of them.

—Sanjana Srivastava