Biology is complex, and perhaps cancer is one of the most complex diseases; however, for the last decade, my laboratory has posed a simple, two-word question to try and answer – why cooperate?
Cooperation is taught to us as children where we are asked to work with our friends at school or siblings at home. It is woven throughout society within our sports teams, manufacturing process, trade policy, and education system. Cooperation though, is not just a human behavior, but rather is observed across numerous species – think about a herd of zebras, pack of wolves, and colony of ants. In fact, one of my favorite cooperative organisms is a microscopic amoeba that initiates a Voltron-like move where single-cells connect to form a complex, multicellular slime-mold overnight!
So, why cooperate? Usually, the simple answer (though there are many theories) is that there is greater success for the group in working together as opposed to alone. I find this concept relatable to our approach here - cooperation at Winship and Emory is, and will always be, vital to our success. Whether it is scheduling a patient for a first visit, implementing a multi-departmental recruitment, changing the landscape of patient care, or our team science, it is through cooperation that we have and will continue to achieve success.
While we still do not fully understand why cells work together, I think we work together to make Winship a better place for our patients, our community, and for ourselves. I am always proud to be a part of such a collaborative environment and connected culture that you create every day.
Till next time,
Adam Marcus, PhD
Interim Executive Director
Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University