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WashU Experts: Science cuts would cause ‘chilling effect’

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Proposed federal budget cuts to two major programs could translate into fewer treatments, fewer cures, fewer drug findings, fewer researchers and fewer breakthroughs in areas where the United States is a world leader, say science and health experts at Washington University in St. Louis.

President Trump unveiled March 16 plans to slash $6 billion from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and potentially almost $1 billion from the National Science Foundation (NSF), according to news reports.

“The NIH provides one of the primary sources of support for biomedical-, psychological- and neuroscience-based research in the United States,” said Deanna Barch, chair in psychological and brain sciences, professor of psychology and professor of radiology.  


“This funding has made the U.S. the world leader in these research areas. These successes have been a primary driver of innovation, new technologies and successful treatments, and have been a major force in the economic success of this country.  

“President Trump’s massive proposed budget cut for the NIH would have a devastatingly negative impact on our ability to continue these critical efforts in understanding the causes of many major public health concerns, including mental illness.  It would have a chilling effect on our ability to develop more effective and targeted treatments and prevention approaches. Further, such dramatic cuts would serve to discourage many of our best and brightest from pursuing careers in health-related scientific research, significantly undermining our ability to improve the health and well-being of Americans.”

Two leading researchers at the School of Medicine, studying antibiotic resistance and Alzheimer’s, were quoted in a March 16 story in STAT News about the proposed cuts.

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