Today's Curiosity is Tomorrow's Cure : The Case for Basic Biomedical Research book cover
1st Edition

Today's Curiosity is Tomorrow's Cure
The Case for Basic Biomedical Research

ISBN 9781003202974
Published November 9, 2021 by CRC Press
224 Pages 20 Color & 6 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Basic curiosity-driven biomedical science has delivered many of today’s most significant medical advances. This book provides clearly explained examples from recent biomedical history and includes convincing arguments for sustaining a robust portfolio of basic research. Intended as

an engaging read, which will delight undergraduate and graduate students, as well as scientific researchers, it is full-throated advocacy of basic science. Illustrations and examples include the discoveries of penicillin and insulin, and the breakthrough elucidation of the genetic code. Providing both compelling rationale in support of basic science, and a fascinating look through the history of modern biomedical research, this book highlights with stirring examples why basic biomedical research is so important, and how so many key advances in medicine are derived from basic research. The book also offers a rationale for scientific inquiry and a broader understanding of the history of modern biomedical research missing from today’s classrooms.

Key Features

1) Provides clear explanations of great scientific discoveries

2) Illustrates connections between basic research findings and modern medicine

3) Includes compelling graphics/diagrams/illustrations

4) Accessible to the general public

5) Offers background for more specialized readers, including researchers as well as those with advanced degrees.

Related Titles

Staddon, J. Scientific Method: How Science Works, Fails to Work, and Pretends to Work (ISBN 978-1-1382-9536-0)

Helliwell, J. R. Skills for Scientific Life (ISBN 978-1-4987-6875-7)

MacRitchie, F. Scientific Research as a Career (ISBN 978-1-4398-6965-9)

Table of Contents




1. The Birth of Genetics

2. The Dawn of DNA

3. DNA as the Transforming Principle

4. The Structure of DNA Lends Itself to a Model for Its Duplication

5. Tying It All Together: tRNA, mRNA, Ribosomes, and the Genetic Code

6. The Practicality of PCR: The Technology that Drove the Biotechnology and the Molecular Biology Revolution

7. Genetic Engineering and Beyond: From Animal Models to Silencing RNA

8. CRISPR, a New Technique for Gene Editing

9. Connecting Mutations to Disease: Abnormal Proteins as a Cause of Disease

10. Penicillin: The Dawn of a New Age of Antibiotics

11. Easy to Stomach: The Gutsy Discovery that Helicobacter pylori Causes Ulcers

12. Insulin: A Hormone Controlling Metabolism

13. The Stem Cell: The Mother of All Cells

14. Antibodies: A New Way to Harness the Immune Response

15. Onto Oncogenes: Discovering the Molecular Basis of Cancer

16. The Age of Angiogenesis: Discovering How Blood Vessels Are Generated

17. Telling the Tale of the Telomere and Telomerase: The End of the End-Replication Problem

18. The Primary Cilium: Novel Functions for an Old Organelle

19. The Discovery of the Golgi Complex: A Pivotal Organelle with Multiple Functions

20. The Lysosome: A Trash Bin and End of the Road for Many Cellular Molecules

21. The Ubiquitin-Proteasomal Pathway: Targeted Protein Degradation and More

22. Receptor-Mediated Endocytosis: Gateway to the Cell

23. Mitochondria: The Metabolic Powerhouse of the Cell

24. The Light at the End of the Tunnel: Discovery of the Green Fluorescent Protein


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Steve Caplan is Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE. He also serves at the Director, UNMC Advanced Microscopy Core Facility at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and as Vice Chair for Administrative Affairs, Dept. of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha. His basic research has been consistently supported for more than a decade by the National Institutes of Health as well as other granting agencies. He has been the author or co-author of dozens of scientific peer reviewed journal articles.


"I’m a MD. PhD scientist that loves the history of ideas, how concepts evolve and become medical breakthroughs. This book is a great way to dive into the process that brings science to our daily life. When you talk about doing a PCR test for COVID. Do you know the history behind PCR? How many Nobel prices are behind this? How many people did work for this to happen? If you are a curious mind, please get this book. Clearly written and nicely illustrated. Ideas are presented for anyone that took science classes in high school while keeping content attractive for PhDs. I’m planning to organize a class around this book to teach how science is done. Great job."

- Victor Faundez,  5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read from High School to Graduate School