The Keynote Medical Research Council (MRC) Lecture, Guiding Signals through Anchored Enzyme Complexes: Implications of Disease, was presented on March 26, 2014 by John D. Scott, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Pharmacology, University of Washington during the 53rd SOT Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona. Following this lecture, Dr. Scott met informally for discussion with SOT student and postdoctoral scholar members and a summary of this event is below.
After what I considered to be the best lecture at the conference thus far, I was happy to be one of the few students who was able to sit down and have a discussion with the MRC Lecturer John Scott. I felt the lecture beforehand benefitted from Dr. Scott’s calm and direct way of presenting his ideas, two traits I am sure have helped him on the road to great discoveries. In the session, Dr. Scott fielded questions from around 20 students gathered in one of the smaller breakout rooms in the Phoenix Convention Center.
He spoke on a number of topics, from the importance of written and oral communication, to advice on staying humble with your peers and competitors but fearless in the face of scientific adversity. I can say the most important tidbit of information I learned was that good science will shine, provided you are able to communicate well. The best scientists, including all of the previous MRC speakers, are not driven by the plaudits they gain, but are driven by a hunger to do the basic science required to discover something new expanding knowledge in a field. If you only are driven by possible glory, it is unlikely you will enjoy your career. It is a trait that is difficult to accept for some, but imperative in science. Overall, the discussion was refreshing, the hour flew by, and I am happy to say I was fortunate enough to get a seat in the room.