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BPS Member Robert Dempski: Keeping the door open to international scientific collaboration

Telegram & Gazette

This past August, while traveling by train across Europe to continue research at a new university, I reflected on the importance of international scientific collaboration, concerned that a lack of awareness and shortsighted policies in the U.S. are impeding this crucial endeavor.

I previously spent six years at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysics, and I’m now settling in at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences, where I will spend the upcoming year. International collaboration is essential to my work as a biophysicist, providing countless advancements across a range of scientific fields.

At Germany’s Max Planck Institute, my advisor, Ernst Bamberg, was one of the originators of the field of optogenetics, which utilizes a light-activated protein to control neurons. While Bamberg was a pioneer in this field, subsequent advances would not have occurred without collaborations. Professors from countries including Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States and Japan have all made important discoveries within optogenetics, including the initial discovery and development of methods within this field. These discoveries further our understanding of how to apply this protein to improve the quality of life for those afflicted with debilitating diseases like Parkinson’s and even those suffering from vision and hearing loss.

Read more at the Telegram & Gazette. 



Robert E. Dempski, of Holden, is an Associate Professor, Chemistry & Biochemistry at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.