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A community-wide study is an open and self-organized discussion among all the scientists in a particular field. Particle physicists use this collaborative process to define the most important scientific questions and to identify promising opportunities to address them. We are grateful to the leaders in this field of physics that have taken the time to help us understand how their collaboration methods have evolved. They found that the community study plays a key role in making sure that all innovative ideas are considered and in convincing the rest of society to allocate the resources they need.

Research on philanthropy shows that significant resources would be available for potentially transformative biomedical projects. Several important philanthropists have previously developed platforms that create online communities and networks of connections between individuals and between companies. They could therefore also contribute key intellectual insights.

Cell-cell communication is a fundamental aspect of biology and medicine. It makes multicellular life possible and it is hard to think of a disease that is not affected, at least indirectly, by cell-cell communication. We have received inputs from scientists at different stages of their careers, ranging from senior winners of major awards to students and postdocs. The decision to focus on this problem and the initial outlines of the scientific questions and research frontiers to be addressed originate from these consultations.

Anyone with relevant expertise is welcome to contribute ideas to the Forum. A Prize is available for the best contribution from early career scientists. The Forum also includes Interviews and dialogues with experts in topics relevant for the study of cell-cell communication.


Anindya Bagchi

Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute

Giovanni Paternostro

Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute

Joshua Graff Zivin

School of Global Policy and Strategy and Department of Economics

University of California, San Diego


Napoleone Ferrara

University of California, San Diego

2013 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences

2010 Lasker Award

Guy Salvesen

Graduate School Dean

Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute

Christopher Wills

Professor Emeritus of Biology

University of California, San Diego

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