Rebecca Scalzo, PhD
On the importance of team science, women’s health, and the impact of the Ludeman CenterLudeman Center Jul 1, 2018
What would you say the impact has been for you working with the Center for Women’s Health Research?
I was awarded a Junior Faculty Research Development Award to look into the sex differences in muscle in the context of diabetes. With that funding, I have generated data that suggests a potential reason for why women with diabetes experience poorer health outcomes compared with men with diabetes. I am now using these preliminary data to support my next funding opportunities. Additionally, once you’re junior faculty, you’re invited to participate in many different opportunities – training and networking events. At these events, I have met other Ludeman Center faculty on campus who I share common research interests with such as Elizabeth Wellberg, PhD, Mike Rudolph, PhD, and Kristen Boyle, PhD. My interactions with these faculty members as well as the entire Ludeman Center team have helped me develop a network for collaboration and mentorship across campus.
What is the value of practicing team science?
In my opinion, I think team science is how we’re going to make big advances in biomedical research. Two heads are better than one, so if we think about questions together, we can make greater steps forward. Everything works better when you can get into a group and share ideas; individuals bring their own strengths to a group which improves the outcome when you’re working within a team. I think that most researchers are interested in being life-long learners and team science is a way to continue your education and stay engaged intellectually.
Why is it so important to study women’s health?
Historically everything we’ve done in biomedical research has been focused on men. Because of this past practice, we don’t fully understand what’s happening with women and their physiology. For women to receive optimal health care we need to understand how diseases and treatments specifically impact women. The importance of women’s health research needs to be communicated because it will drive funding to start answering these questions.