Friday, October 10, 2003

It was quite gratifying for me this week to hear that one of this year's Nobel Laureates in Chemistry went to a fellow-traveling structural biologist working on big membrane-bound protein complexes; in Roderick MacKinnon's case, potassium ion channels. Ion channels in general are an enormous research subject. I had attended a conference in Kansas City some years back, and you couldn't go anywhere without seeing some lab's work on any given ion channel.

The best scientists out there take advantage of good luck. MacKinnon's luck was getting his big membrane-bound complex to form crystals after only two years of trying. Two years in membrane protein crystallization, while not a blink of an eye, is actually a fairly short span of time - the group in Japan that solved the structure of the important respiratory complex cytochrome c oxidase tried for about 20 years to get suitable crystals, and they were still the first ones to get that structure.

About the Limbaugh-junkie thing. Someone close to the investigation confirms that El Rushbo's housekeeper's allegations that she was Limbaugh's pain pill connection are credible. And this someone told Scoobie Davis all about it. You go, crasher!

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