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n my many years of pursuing academic research, I’ve learned a thing or two. One is that research teams don’t always work well together. Scientific egos and ambition sometimes collide, and competition trumps collaboration. That’s anything but the case, however, with two researchers featured in this issue, Rafi Ahmed and Christian Larsen. As a matter of fact, they get along so well that the NIH often turns to them for relationship advice to pass on to other less collegial groups. (I should note that Ahmed and Larsen did have one recent disagreement when each wanted the other to take credit as principal investigator on an NIH grant exploring protective immunity.)
     I obviously like telling stories of successful collaboration. When new ideas bump up against each other, they spark true innovation and progress. In the medical school, we’ve placed a
premium on cutting-edge research and interdisciplinary work, which has paid off in the amount of federal funding we attract. Over the past few years, we have been one of the fastest growing schools in research funding in the nation. Our interdisciplinary environment and collaborative spirit are making Emory an attractive campus for internationally renowned recruits such as Richard Cummings, an expert in glycomics and the new chair of our biochemistry department, and Edward Mocarski, who joins us as professor of microbiology this summer.
     In this issue of Emory Medicine, almost every page touches on new projects, centers, and research that rely on interdisciplinary collaborations—from a newly funded nanotechnology center to research trials in cancer, from partnerships to move new discoveries to the marketplace to improving maternal and infant survival in Russia. Our new national screening center for drug discovery would have been impossible without the close relationships forged between researchers in the medical school’s Department of Pharmacology and Emory College’s Department of Chemistry. Our Alzheimer’s program would not have received recent designation from the National Institute of Aging without demonstrating many partnerships among basic scientists, clinicians, memory and sleep researchers, radiologists, and geneticists.
     These articles barely scratch the surface of the collaborative spirit throughout the medical school and the larger university. This climate opens new vistas for our school. It encourages visionary innovations in medicine. It makes Emory an exciting place to be.

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