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Curiosity is a the key feature of living beings. Curiosity drives the exploration and takeover of new niches, thus allowing each species to perpetuate itself despite an ever changing environment. Scientific research is a special display of curiosity. It produces models of the world which permit us to anticipate the future and to construct relevant scenarios to construct the future of our children.

Two major trends in the way research is organized are often considered: research driven by pure curiosity (exploration of the Cosmos, for example) and research motivated by an incentive to satisfy real or imaginary needs important for our immediate well-being. The latter, however, can only be efficient if it applies previous discoveries that have been the result of curiosity-driven research. Louis Pasteur illustrated in a particularly vivid way how one could combine both aspirations. The key idea is to motivate upstream research by concrete societal demands. This explains why Pasteur studied the diseases of beer and wine, or the silk-worm diseases, while paving the way of modern microbiology, way upstream from the initial social demand.

The business model of AMAbiotics is inspired by this way to motivate research. While this is usually not known, much of the present problems of our societies are causing, and caused by implicit metabolic disorders. For example, our health is negatively affected by inappropriate behaviours, in particular in food consumption, long term medical treatments, ageing of the population... Visible and invisible alterations of the environment (soil and water pollution) are modifying the microbe communities, resulting in bioavailability of toxic compounds. It becomes therefore necessary to restore proper metabolism of complex commmunities of living organisms. This requires construction of a rich, much wanted, upstream knowledge: what is the metabolism of large communitites of organisms, such as those which make the human microbial flora associated to the skin, the mouth, the gut... We participate in the creation of the corresponding knowledge, which we will make freely available to the academic community, in order to speed up the advent of further discoveries. It is the applications of this knowledge which will be submitted to intellectual property rights, as we are proposing concrete solutions to specific questions of economic interest.

A text that illustrates the originality (unfortunately long forgotten since) of the research of Louis Pasteur
Donald E. Stokes
Pasteur’s Quadrant,
Brookings Institution Press, 1997  

see also :
A Danchin
Motivated research
EMBO Reports (2010) 11: 488 . Reprint available on request


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