Elias Nerad works at The Netherlands Cancer Institute, Amsterdam Netherlands.
What first drew you to your field of research?
Halfway through my residency I did not have any experience with research, but during my mandatory one-year stint in an University Medical Center I completely changed my view because of research driven radiologists with PhD’s that were also excellent in their clinical work. Needless to say, after that year (in the middle of my residency) I started a PhD candidacy in my own spare time/own funds, which I will be finishing in the nearby future.
What is your particular area of research, and why is it important?
My particular area of research is the staging of colon cancer, it is important because colon cancer is a top 3 killer (of all cancer types) and we need new treatment strategies. However without accurate staging (i.e. determining how advanced the tumor is), it is nearly impossible to develop these new strategies. My goal is to increase this accuracy, or at least shed light on how accurate our current staging is.
Has your (and your peers’) work expanded discussion in the scientific community or the broader public?
My work on this topic has been cited in other peer-reviewed articles and when I present my work during a congress or other meetings it usually sparks a good discussion. But this works both ways, I respect the work of other authors on this subject and I very much like discussing this with them whenever I can.
How crucial are structures that support interdisciplinary review to the publication of your research?
My research involves radiology, but its true power is its consequences for surgeons and medical oncologists and changing treatment options from A to Z. I think it is important to publish in peer reviewed journals that are NOT radiological as it confirms the importance of my work beyond the scope of my own discipline. Furthermore peers from other disciplines might give you very valuable insights as they usually have a different point of view on the same topic. I hope that makes sense.
At what time in your career did you start thinking about Open Science, and why is it important to you?
I think Open Science has huge benefits, the more people you reach the better. Science should be as transparent and accessible as possible because it should be reproducible and confirmed by others, that is what gives science its power; being factual/objective and not a matter of opinion or subjective. I guess I realised the true power of open science just recently when I decided to submit my article in PLOS.
In summary, what drives you in your career in science?
In my humble opinion I think (medical) science is the only way to improve the well being of people on a large scale. Do not get me wrong, you can save/improve individual lives every day no matter who you are or what your job is and that is phenomenal but investing some of your time in science might have positive consequences for many others all over the world and possibly even for generations to come. To me it feels rewarding no matter how big or small my contribution is.