Pipettes in lab giveaway

There are people in Seattle who organized a lab-supply giveaway, no kidding, just for the sake of getting those beakers and pipettes to a better home.

One small gesture, on one January afternoon, but it is emblematic of Seattle science. My scientist friends tell me this is not universal. When I interviewed Lee Hartwell, before he retired from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, he said, “this city is different.”

When I interviewed Clay Siegall from Seattle Genetics, he praised the science climate of Seattle. I’ve heard similar things from a dozen of the leaders in life sciences – that this region nourishes a culture (pardon the pun) where collaboration is prized.

I would never accuse Lee Hood, the founder of the Institute for Systems Biology, of lacking a competitive spirit. But he won the National Medal of Science recently from  President Barack Obama and Lee definitely has nourished a posse of colleagues and biotech spinoffs from his own work in systems biology.

Do you want other examples? What about the crowdfunding site – Microryza? They help scientists post “wish lists” for research funds.

What I hope to do at this blog is celebrate intersections and overlaps and shares and crowdfunding and seeding and inspiration. Some of that inspiration may come from patients themselves and not researchers.

When I was reporting a story on malaria research, a source told me that the U.S. Army granted some research money for human clinical trials here because “we are known for having a willing public” that will sign up for such trials.

I’ve met some of those patients, and I’ve met many many scientists. I hope to bring you more stories from this Seattle science zone.

Health: Fred Hutch provides phone service

Read the full article in Seattle Magazine, November 2011.

The calls come in from anywhere and everywhere, landing in a quiet warren of cubicles inside a South Lake Union building. “I just found out I have Stage 4 cancer in my throat,” drawls a voice that drips Texas. “I need to get all my teeth removed.”

Wizards of Transparency

Read the full article in Seattle Business, September 2011.

Tucked away in a Pioneer Square building, some of the human machinery of the U.S. government’s transparency program hums along, sharing a treasure trove of data with consumers. Providing this service is Socrata Inc., a 4-year-old Seattle startup with just 20 employees.