Thursday, April 21, 2016

[Yasmin_discussions] Fwd:

drhu deb, a cancerologist - tells us his lessons learned from his art
science hybrid practice
roger malina

-- From Dhru Deb

Truly honored to be in the list as I'm only a postdoc and not a
tenured/seasoned faculty. Hence, I probably have more questions like
those 5 young scientists than answers to provide. On the other hand, I
may provide a fresh perspective of someone who is currently going
through the grind himself.

1. Science (and Art) background: B.Sc. in Biotechnology, M.Sc. in
Bioinformatics, Ph.D. in Cancer Biology, currently a postdoc in
Therapeutic Oncology and Internal Medicine. Also currently, a BA
(Hons.) visual art student.

2. Motivation for hybrid Art-Science: Although I practiced studio
based art all my life, art and science were not joined. In 2011, I
experienced a personal loss that made me re-evaluate the purpose of my
life. This is when I decided to combine scientific methodologies with
artistic practices to help advancing prevention, diagnosis and cure
for cancer.

3. The major obstacles: Finding a job that will allow me to do both
cancer research and visual art in parallel.

4. Greatest opportunity/breakthrough: Finding I'm not alone.
Leonardo/ISAST and its activities: LEAF, LASER, and several other
art-science collaborative groups such as ASCI, SciArt Center etc.
provide a lot of stimulating networking. I get to meet the descendants
of my art-science idols (Alfred Copley's daughter Una Dora Copley and
Frank Malina's son Roger Malina) and I have "Midnight in Paris"
moments. I founded world's first "Cancer ART-SCI Network" that
currently has ~50 members worldwide. I managed and curated a
cancer-based-art show recently in Dallas. I am contributing to the
science outreach part of several grant applications. With Roger's help
I created a "Art and Cancer" special section to document studies where
including artistic practices in mainstream cancer research advanced
our understanding. Above all, now I live the life I love.

5. What I would have done differently: Nothing. I did the best I could
in my own unique situation. I have no regrets.

6. Advice for potential footstep walkers: Cancer research must be done
in the lab generating reproducible data and analyzing them. But, try
to be liberal and open-minded to artist's perspectives. Supplement
your science with philosophy. Miracles will happen.

Dhruba Deb, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Researcher, Therapeutic Oncology, UT Southwestern Medical
Center, Dallas, TX, USA

Founder, Cancer ART-SCI NetworkGuest Editor, "Art and Cancer",
Leonardo, MIT Press
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