Article Abstract

Physical scientists research biomedicine: a call for caution

Authors: Yì-Xiáng J. Wáng


It is noticeable that nowadays there are more and more scientists with physical science or engineering background working on or started to work on biomedical projects, but rarely vice versa. This reflects the multi-discipline nature of some projects, however, also at least partially can be explained that biomedical research is seen as trendy, fundable, and likely to get more citations and with results more publishable in high impact journals (1,2). It is also apparent with some publications and lectures that not all these physical scientists/engineers are well-prepared to work on projects which do not align with their own expertise. Some studies are against very basic principles of pharmacology or biology, while others try to solve medical problems which do not exist clinically. I reviewed a number of submissions including a few from prestigious American universities to Nature journals which made no sense with the study design. Much of manpower and financial resource are being wasteful spent. There are also examples of clinical trials which were ill-planned right from the start and in the end only causing much inconvenience to patients to say at the least. In addition, ample examples exist where experienced physical scientists worked with inexperienced medical scientists and resulted in avoidable failures.