24.05.2016

Rabinovich: ‘It is good to be able to do disruptive science’

Senior researcher of CONICET and flamboyant member of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America developed his entire career in the country and believes that collective changes are the ones that will change the social fabric.

Rabinovich: “Es bueno poder hacer ciencia disruptiva”

El investigador superior del CONICET cree que los trabajos colectivos son los que van a cambiar el tejido social.

The truth is that just a few years ago I did no think I could be part of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America’. After his affirmation, Dr. Gabriel Rabinovich smiles, sits comfortably on his chair and is sets for a new conversation, a broader conversation, one after his lengthy round of interviews as a result of his appointment as an Associate Foreign Member of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. During his speech, he stated: ‘I thought my career had not been orthodox, in the sense of not doing a post-doctorate abroad and did not have a sponsor at a laboratory abroad, but I carried out my entire career at the Public University’. That is why he describes the news of his incorporation to the Academy as something ‘I thought happened to others, people who had done great things in the USA or other countries around the world’.  He feels that the simple fact of being nominated was an honour itself, he confessed that ‘due to the cycles of evaluation, I thought this could happen in my 60’s but it happened long before’. Some indicators occurred before publishing his papers on the CELL Magazine in 2014 – were he described a mechanism that allows us to treat some tumours until they become resistant to conventional therapies- article that created a curve knee point in the sense of many foreign researchers including his work topic and replicating the results obtained by his team.

‘Instead of bringing things from abroad we should search to enlighten ourselves from inwards. This is something I have always looked for and now it may be working out,’ stated Rabinovich.

Currently, Dr.Rabinovich works at the Institute of Biology & Experimental Medicine (IBYME, CONICET-FIBYME) and is Head Professor at the University of Buenos Aires (UBA).

He is a Glycobiology & Immunology specialist that identified the function of Galectin-1; a protein has shown different fundamental roles in infection mechanisms and in pathologies such as cancer or multiple sclerosis. ‘ Instead of bringing things from abroad we should search to enlighten ourselves from inwards. This is something I have always looked for and now it may be working out,’ stated the researcher, that last week led together with his colleague Dr. Raúl Mostoslavsky the organization of the International Symposium ‘Winning the war against cancer’ from RAICES Program (Network of Argentine Researchers & Scientifics from abroad). A very productive interaction was created among Argentine Scientifics and their pairs from abroad for the purpose of cooperating in depth among all the ones dedicated in the research of this illness.

When this existing dichotomy between basic science and applied is consulted, one of the approaches is to divide science in science itself on a more useful reach-Rabinovich cuts short: ‘we can not divide transfer science to basic science. I stand in the middle and believe it is very important to make basic quality science. I do not defend the bottom line of basic science with no reason but we should have basic science that is disruptive.’ At the same time claim ‘that moment of creativity where scientists can produce that knowledge that can change the way of thinking about a discipline’ and consider that producing a fast transfer science ‘can solve a mini problem, but for a macro problem something else is needed. I believe that we can not walk on a place of transfer of quality without first making basic quality science. One feeds the other, the basic science is a space of transference and in order to do that it is crucial to count on institution support like CONICET o the Ministry of Science itself.’

We should bear in mind that the role of research on Galectin-1 protein since 2010 has received funds for $1.780.00. -, from National Agency for Scientific and Technological Promotion depending on the Ministry of Science, Technology & Productive Innovation as well as CONICET and  support from University of Buenos Aires, Sales Foundation and other donations from the Ferioli & Ostry family.

He is a team leader of about 30 people, among researchers, scholars, technicians- ‘almost an institute in another institute’- Rabinovich is always generous and claims the role that each of them perform: ‘As a researcher I feel encouraged by my scholars and that motivates me very much because they are like my scientific children’. He believes that the collective work is what will change the social fabric. If we do not think so, it is just because science is being made to fill in a curriculum. I firmly believe that collaborating creates good products and everybody involved makes it worth it, independently if the person is the first one or last involved in the paper’. With that conviction, this referral of the Argentine Science, concludes the interview with a maxim that he applies to all his vocation, not only scientific: ‘When I talk about the people at the Faculty, I tell them not to be afraid of the crisis and on making their way differently. We have to produce collective science where each of us can do what we do best. We have to learn to identify the talent in each of us and create working teams with productive milestones.’

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Rabinovich: “Es bueno poder hacer ciencia disruptiva”

El investigador superior del CONICET cree que los trabajos colectivos son los que van a cambiar el tejido social.

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