Salt Lake scientists join global march for science on Saturday

Salt Lake scientists join global march for science on Saturday (Photo: MGN)

(KUTV) About 600 cities around the world will join the March for Science on Saturday, April 22 — which is also Earth Day.

In Salt Lake City, the march will start at City Creek Park on the corner of North Temple and State Street at 3 p.m.

Scientists will leave their labs to raise their voices in support of science and funding for scientific research following President Donald Trump's threat to slash billions of dollars from the National Institutes of Health, which funds research all over the country.

At the University of Utah, assistant biochemistry professor Claudio Villanueva will join his colleagues and other science professionals at the march in Salt Lake City.

His lab is studying fat molecules that make fat cells.

The goal of his team is to make the scientific discovery that will one day lead to development of a medication that will fight diabetes in obese people.

“We have the potential to impact millions of people with diabetes,” he said.

But if the NIH loses $6 billion in funding, then the work in his lab will be impacted, as Villanueva said it will be very difficult to get government grants.

“For my lab, it would mean I couldn’t hire scientists to work in the lab and make some of these discoveries," he said. "It would certainly slow down the progress we are doing.”

Villanueva said funding research will also make sure the United States stays competitive in the field.

“These discoveries have to be made — if we don’t make them, other countries will,” he said.

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