Chemistry and Biophysics. Conversation with Jesús Jiménez-Barbero

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Chemistry and Biophysics need, and embrace, multidisciplinarity. They both look at problems from many different perspectives. However, while we should not hide behind the walls of disciplines, we cannot ambition to be experts on everything. "We are not in Leonardo's times. Collaboration is essential, as the way to reach far outside our own background knowledge". From his intense career dedicated biomolecular interactions, Jiménez-Barbero knows well how important it is for a chemist working close to spectroscopists, microbiologists, cell biologists. Multidisciplinarity should generate attraction and be inclusive. It should be a way to integrate knowledge and expertise from others disciplines into yours. But Jiménez-Barbero also recognizes the risks and dangers of multidisciplinarity Science, which one should be ready to overcome. This means being prepared to speak and understand the multiple "languages" of the Science. Frontier disciplines may also have difficulties to fit within the classical areas of Science, which may end up with underestimation and even exclusion. By being multidisciplinary you may feel yourself as a stranger within your mother field! Furthermore, the difficulties to assess multidisciplinary work might turn into disadvantage when competing for positions and financial support. Is it more difficult for multidisciplinary projects to get funded?, I ask. "In Spain, this can still be an issue, but the biggest problem is the scarcity of available funds, specially in recent years. This is really what makes it difficult for everyone". And he ends this enlightening conversation with a desire: "We should strengthen collaboration between Chemistry and Biophysics. We have a lot to win on that. After all, many of us are players in the two teams!"
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Salgado Benito, Jesús 2015 Chemistry and Biophysics. Conversation with Jesús Jiménez-Barbero Biofísica Magazine 2 15 17