Daniel Bastardo Blanco

Daniel Bastardo Blanco is a Venezuelan PhD student of the Integrated Biomedical Sciences Program of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, in Memphis TN. He is receiving his scientific training at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital; his work focuses on understanding how T cells consume and process nutrients to produce energy and be able to fight off diseases, tumors, and infections. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from Elmira College, in Upstate New York.

Daniel Bastardo Blanco is a Venezuelan PhD student of the Integrated Biomedical Sciences Program of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, in Memphis TN. He is receiving his scientific training at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital; his work focuses on understanding how T cells consume and process nutrients to produce energy and be able to fight off diseases, tumors, and infections. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from Elmira College, in Upstate New York.

Why I March For Science

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams” — Eleanor Roosevelt

We wouldn’t be where we are if it hadn’t been for science. We couldn’t dream of a better future if it were not for science. The establishment of science as an integral part of society might be the most important achievement and most complex endeavor of humanity. From erradicating smallpox to taking humans to space, science has never stopped pushing the boundaries of knowledge. What now seems impossible, science finds the way to make it possible. Science makes dreams happen.

As a young immigrant scientist with big dreams and aspirations, I’m every day more worry about the current environment surrounding science and the scientific enterprise in the US. It’s of great concern for me to see a rise in the anti-vaccination movement, the elevation to positions of power within our education system of evolution deniers, the complete disregard by the current administration for climate change, the absence of scientific advisors to the President, the glorification of so-called “alternative facts”, the dangerous attack against diversity and international collaboration within Science in the name of nationalism, and the ever growing budgetary deficit for research, especially in the basic sciences.

Needless to say, we live in a very complex world. Infectious diseases are getting more difficult to treat due to antibiotics resistance, and environmental catastrophies are becoming more recurrent due to human error in our ever more complicated endeavors and, believe it or not, climate change. The truth is that the more we know, the more complicated our questions become. And with complexity comes more expensive approaches to test hypothesis and a greater need for knowledge integration and collaboration.

This is not the time to stop discovering, to stop exploring, to stop finding cures, to stop dreaming. No matter the circumstances, I am not stopping and this is why I am marching. I am marching for the progress we have made, for the lives we have saved, for the many times we have touched the sky. But most importantly, I’m marching for the one and only planet Earth we have, for those who are coming after me, for the only field that powers the world, protects humanity, builds the future, and inspires us to dream. I’m marching for my dream to touch people’s lives with my work. I’m marching for Science.