Who would have thought a song parody video from a research lab would be packed with humor and great information?
As a former research scientist, I can say it is full of insider humor that I find very funny. Yet, the parody provides a rare glimpse into the world of laboratory research, showing lay people how scientists think, work, and are funded.
Using humor and flair, the parody tells a deep story about what we have learned about all living things from research using humble baking and brewing yeast, including the cycles of success and failure of the research process. Just by paying close attention, a lay viewer can grasp the magnitude of the new knowledge arising from research using yeast. Teachers and college professors will find ways to use this parody in teaching deeper biological concepts to students. Given the current emphasis on STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics), this is a good thing for the lay public and students.
Since this kind of research is not directly for a disease or health issue, federal funds are about the only way basic science research moves forward. The results from these kinds of research experiments are those that lay the foundation for new medicines, materials, or our understanding of the universe. The scientists who do this type of research are highly specialized grant writers. In the federal sector research funding priorities change with time, information, and fashion. A cutting edge topic today could be a dead topic for funding in a few years. This is a reality for scientists and the parody makers know that.
Like grant writers in nonprofit organizations concerned with specific needs, scientists too must match research ideas with agencies and interests of those agencies. Scientific knowledge probably will never be complete, but shifting research interests affect priorities even in good budget years. Tough budget years affect all. In both the nonprofit and research communities, it is still about asking a question and finding an answer.