Category Archives: Philanthropy

Verdant Commits Scientific Expertise to Patient Advocacy

Scientists operate in service to research, academia, and industry; but never in service to people directly. And that’s unfortunate, because scientists can offer unusually deep expertise with a range of topics spanning medicine, regulation, and business. We believe that a medical scientist makes the best possible advocate for patient care, and we’ve seen this belief reinforced by success after success. When a medical doctor and a medical scientist work in unison for the individual, they form a patient care dream team. It creates a level of focused, highly effective care that most have only witnessed in television medical drama.

Scientists Stand With Sci-Hub

Sci-Hub

Sci-Hub provides unfettered access to nearly every scientific article ever written. It is the closest we have ever come to a compendium of all human knowledge, and it’s available to anyone for free. Despite this, the American Chemical Society recently sought and was awarded a default judgment of $4.8 million & ISP Blocking against Sci-Hub. Those demands are causing many scientists to question whether the ACS (the world’s largest scientific organization) is still acting in the best interests of science. And it’s no surprise that scientists are taking a clear side. A growing majority of scientists have used Sci-Hub in their research; but can’t recall a time when ACS has done anything but send them a bill.

The ACS could almost be compared to a real estate mogul that buys up all of the land in an area in order to raise the prices – except they don’t actually pay for the articles. Scientists are expected to pay several thousand dollars on top of relinquishing all claim to copyright. It’s no accident that we say “publish or perish”. If you don’t agree to their terms, you don’t publish. If you don’t publish, you don’t get funded or employed. So what exactly are their terms?

Verdant Joins Grand Buffet in Holiday Drives for Less Fortunate

Grand Buffet is one of my favorite local businesses for several reasons, and I’m happy to support them. The owner pours a lot of energy into important causes like community involvement and recycling cooking oil into biofuel. This year I was honored to help with their Thanksgiving dinner for the less fortunate, and will be teaming up again for a Christmas toy drive!

Their team did an astounding job with the dinner. Simply organizing an event of that scale is stunning, and they managed it all while open for regular business! They prepared food for 400 families in two hours with only three cooks in the kitchen – while serving their normal customers! For me personally, the event was especially timely, because it brought together an entire community. And with it came the reassurance that – despite impressions to the contrary from the news or social media – people still care about each other. Community involvement is the best way to remind ourselves that we are all more alike than different, and that common ground can bring us together with greater force than differences can divide.

If you’re local to the Southeastern Indiana / Greater Cincinnati region and would like the help with the upcoming toy drive, there are a number of ways to contribute:

Microscope Adapter Expands Science Education

Smartphones are a part of daily life, and each new feature developed is an opportunity for innovation. One example is an inexpensive adapter recently developed by Verdant which allows a smartphone to interface with a microscope. Designed as a minor convenience, its impact on science education was completely unexpected.

With educational budgets stretched thin, schools are frequently forced to choose other priorities over microscopes. Institutional quality microscopes cost several hundred dollars each, and camera attachments run into the thousands. But educators are no longer forced to do without while the necessary tools rest in their pockets.

Why We Help – A Story from the Founder

Why we help

It began when when a person with ALS asked me: “If you had this disease, what would you be doing?”

In other words: Would being a scientist lead me to different choices, give me better options, or provide some sort of advantage? I had helped ALS patients for several years, but I had never thought about it that way. I would occasionally translate scientific articles into plain English; explaining what it meant for patients, and how they could put the knowledge to practical use. But I’d never considered the perspective… “What if it were me?”

I concluded that, if it were me, I would use all of the scientific technology and research at my disposal to identify the root cause, identify the safest and most promising potential therapy, and pursue it at all costs. In fewer words – precision medicine.

But it would require more than just the scientific knowledge to propose a treatment. It would also require an intimate understanding of the industries involved, the regulatory landscape, and the unseen factors influencing outcomes. It would require a healthcare provider that understood of all this and was willing to participate. It would require a professional network willing to align with those goals. And the biggest hurdle of all – it would require the ability to motivate pharmaceutical companies to participate.

That’s a tall order for a patient to handle on their own. While dealing with a terminal condition, it would be impossible. But for a scientific business, it’s just a day in the life.

So that is where we began. Along the way I also discovered that it is far more rewarding to work for people than businesses. Many professionals have volunteered their time and services because they believe it’s a worthy cause. As a result, Verdant is now one of the most innovative scientific businesses, and the only scientific patient advocacy organization available to individual people.