Dr. Phil Horner and Dr. Nick Marsh-Armstrong discuss what is unique about the Catalyst For a Cure research consortium.


Dr. Horner: Typically as scientists, we keep our better ideas from our competitors, because science is very competitive. And one wonderful aspect of being in a consortium is that my world is multiplied, in terms of my ability to share data that isn't ready for prime time, that isn't ready for publication, to throw out ideas. And we actually do that in a way that Dr. Vetter, Dr. Marsh Armstrong, and Dr. Calkins can tell me, "That's a really bad idea," and we'll still be friends, we're still going to work together tomorrow. But we give each other feedback, open feedback, on very early ideas, and that's very useful because, a lot of times, scientists get a long way down a road before they get to present it to the community and find out maybe it's not the best idea.
And so here, I think we get to incubate ideas at a very early stage, and it's very rewarding. Plus, I get insight into what my colleagues are doing and see their very earliest data. And that's one of the things drives me. Again, my passion is to see those very early looks, new concepts. And I think that's very unique to consortial type of research.

Dr. Marsh Armstrong: If I can add to that, one of the things that the Glaucoma Research Foundation has done so well by us, for us, is in providing this opportunity for collaborative research. But even further than that, they have gifted us with a collection of absolutely fantastic advisers. We are just coming from a meeting where we're sharing some of these very early stage ideas, and we get the critical feedback from other very smart people who care passionately about this disease and, furthermore, from some of the smartest scientists out there, who can critically evaluate what we are proposing, give us their honest opinion, and what they say doesn't leave the room. That is, we get honest feedback at a very early stage. More of that should happen in science, and it doesn't. But we are gifted by having this opportunity to do what we consider to be very high quality and important work.

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