Washington University ProSPER

Graduate student group at Washington University in St. Louis dedicated to promoting science policy, education, and research.

ProSPER Blog posts are educational exercises intended to develop students’ communication skills. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of ProSPER or Washington University in St. Louis.

Federal Restrictions on Access to Fetal Tissue Threaten Medical Research

Federal Restrictions on Access to Fetal Tissue Threaten Medical Research

On June 5th, the Trump administration announced extreme restrictions on lifesaving medical research. Under the administration’s new policy, researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have been forced to halt any research that utilizes human fetal tissue acquired from elective abortions. Additionally, funding for this type of research has become far more difficult for scientists […]
Reflection: Health Disparities in St. Louis

Reflection: Health Disparities in St. Louis

There are many factors which can cause disparities in who has access to healthcare and the quality of the care they receive. To learn more about the specific issues facing St. Louis and how they are being addressed we invited Angela Brown, acting CEO of the St. Louis Regional Health Commission, Dr. Bettina Drake, Associate […]
“Necessity” of Red Tape Handcuffs Scientists

“Necessity” of Red Tape Handcuffs Scientists

Before coming to WashU, I was a PhD student in Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB), a premier research institute in India. Being a fifth-year student, I was working with a tight deadline and could not wait to finally begin collecting data. But life as a researcher is not so easy and straightforward. I […]
Genetics, Genealogy, and Personal Privacy

Genetics, Genealogy, and Personal Privacy

On TV, DNA evidence is portrayed as a slam-dunk way to pin a suspect to a crime. But what if you have DNA, but no suspect? In April 2018, Joseph James DeAngelo, better known as the "Golden State Killer," was arrested over 30 years after committing burglaries, rapes, and murders that terrorized Californians. This arrest was […]
It’s a Microbe’s World

It’s a Microbe’s World

I worked nearly every summer of my teenage years at a summer camp for Cub Scouts. On the first night of each new session the staff would officially welcome everyone by hosting an “Opening Campfire.” The campers and their families would gather on wooden benches set before a stage on the edge of the lake, […]
On the Origins of “The March of Progress”

On the Origins of “The March of Progress”

The image is iconic: A lineup of six figures. At the rear is an ape-like figure, crouched-over and walking on all fours. Ahead of it is a similar-looking figure, but one who's walking on two feet. This trend continues, with each successive figure becoming a little taller, a little less hunched, and little less hairy […]
CRISPR-edited Babies Scandal Highlights Inconsistent International Policy

CRISPR-edited Babies Scandal Highlights Inconsistent International Policy

On November 25, news broke that a Chinese scientist, Dr. He Jiankui, had allegedly produced the first CRISPR-edited babies, twin girls named Lulu and Nana. This set off a firestorm within the international scientific community. He has been accused of violating numerous scientific conventions, ethical safeguards, and the global consensus on human germline gene modification. The scandal has been described […]

Ballot Issue Breakdown: Missouri $12 Minimum Wage Increase Measures

The Missouri 2018 general election ballot will include Proposition B, a proposed state statue to change the minimum wage. Minimum wage changes are based on the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W), a consumer price index that reports annual consumer prices. Currently, the minimum wage in Missouri is $7.85/hour while […]