Medical School dean Steven T. DeKosky is a “Rock Star of Science,” according to the June issue of GQ magazine. He exchanged his lab coat for designer menswear as part of the Rock S.O.S. campaign for greater funding for medical research. And to prove that science is a career with cachet. A recent survey found that Britney Spears has more influence than Stephen Hawking among most Americans. In fact, nearly three-fourths of Americans can’t name a single living scientist. “We have always known that science isn’t quite as sexy as rock ’n’ roll, but when we are so far outside the public consciousness, then funding for medical research is in danger and it’s time to spruce up our image,” says DeKosky.
DeKosky’s neuroscience laboratory studies changes in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s disease. The lab was the first to demonstrate the relationship of nerve cell contacts (synapses) and severity of cognitive impairment in Alzheimer’s patients. Recently, DeKosky’s clinical trial of 3,000 subjects showed that ginkgo biloba does not prevent the onset of dementia.
“The reality is that the most important medical breakthroughs are impossible without broad support, and support needs mainstream recognition,” says DeKosky.