|Dr. Raja Kittappa, stem cell researcher and candidate for Congress|
Of the 541 members of Congress there are plenty of lawyers (173 in the House and Senate) lots of business people (130) and even a decent number of medical professionals (32) but there are only two scientists (one microbiologist and one physicist). That number might increase by 50 percent if one stem cell researcher has his way.
Raja Kittappa, Ph.D., is running for Congress as a Democrat in Pennsylvania’s 16th District, saying he was convinced he should run by cuts in funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Kittappa knows about the importance of federal funding for science. He used to work at the NIH where he did some groundbreaking research in isolating the dopamine-generating cells in the brain, the cells that are lost to Parkinson’s disease. His work is now being used by researchers around the world to search for a cure for Parkinson’s.
He also has a personal reason for his research. His grandmother died of Parkinson’s and he feels that any cuts to federal research dollars can have a huge impact on our ability to find new treatments.
“Even one day lost in the fight to cure diseases like the one that afflicted my grandmother is one day too many.”
Kittappa’s local newspaper picked up his story.
We also have a strong focus on Parkinson’s disease research, spending more than $43 million on 24 different projects.