Medical science can seem to zig and zag from one study to the next. But there’s a method to that madness. It’s called the scientific method. And over time, those zigzags straighten out and point to the best answer science can provide. How that scientific process starts is the subject of a new exhibit at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, called “Discovery Science: Building a Medical Map of the Body.”
Discovery science is the study of how we work on the smallest level, the cell. Scientists in this field can imagine the body as a roadmap. They first need to fill in the map, finding the grocery stores, laundromats, and garbage dumps of cells. Then they begin to understand the traffic patterns to these areas: what molecules visit, what they metaphorically buy, wash, or throw away; and what disrupts these actions.
With that information, physician-scientists can see where to act—to provide an extra zap of electricity to keep the communication lines flowing in the heart, or build a protein to block an overactive enzyme.
The new exhibit explains the work of discovery researchers within Mayo Clinic’s Center for Biomedical Discovery as they map the routes that lead to cancer and fibrosis, but also within cell processes such as aging, metabolism, and immunity. By discovering information on the root of disease, these researchers are able to provide a firm foundation for ideas that can be tested in clinical trials and lead to patient treatments or cures.
For those visiting the Rochester campus, the Mayo Clinic Research Information Center is located in the Gonda Building lobby and is open from 8am to 5pm on week days. The discovery science exhibit will run through October 2018.