Crystallography in the News
In Oct 2014 Nature published a list of the 100 most highly cited papers of all time. Six of the top 100 (ranked 13, 22, 23, 71, 82 and 95) concerned crystallography. At 13 on the list, George Sheldrick's 2008 paper in Acta Cryst. A is the highest ranking paper published in the last 20 years. Other publications describing the tools of the crystallographic trade that rank in the top 100 include PROCHECK (Leskowski, MacArthur, Moss & Thornton, J. Appl. Cryst., 1993), the HKL suite (Otwinowski & Minor, Methods of Enzymol., 1997), MOLSCRIPT (Kraus, J. Appl. Cryst., 1991), the graphics program O (Jones, Zou, Cowan. & Kjeldgaard, Acta Cryst. A, 1991) and a compendium of ionic distances in halides and chalcogenides (Shannon, Acta Cryst. A, 1976).
An article about 87 year old Nira Rosebrough Roberts describes her career in science and the fact that she is a coauthor on the most cited scientific paper of all time (305,782 citations by Dec 2014). The paper described the Lowry method for measuring the amount of protein in solution. Her essential contribution to the work as a technician was appropriately acknowledged with co-authorship.R. Mukhopadhyay, ASBMB Today, March 2015.
Ian Wilson, a plenary lecturer at the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) Meeting in March 2015, was interviewed in the most recent Newsletter of the ASBMB. Ian described working on the structural biology of influenza virus, HIV and hepatitis C virus at the Scripps Research Inst. and efforts to understand how these viruses are recognized by the immune system. Ian's comments on advances in crystallography during the course of his career and his passion for structural biology included the following observations.
'The technology for X-ray crystallography just continues to improve, so the bottleneck goes back to the expression of proteins you are interested in…..My all time favorite structure, stemming from my postdoctoral work, is influenza virus hemagglutinin…… Choose a problem that you're passionately interested in but that is also challenging. If you find a good problem, you can pursue it for the rest of your life. I've been working on influenza hemagglutinin since 1977, and it's still very exciting and topical.'Excerpted from an interview by R Mukhopadhyay, ASBMB Today, March 2015.
Robin D. Rogers, teacher, ionic liquids researcher, crystallographer, green chemist, entrepreneur and journal editor with the red jacket, has pulled up his southern roots and moved to Canada. Rogers has taken a position at McGill U. in Montreal, to spearhead an applied research program designed to forge partnerships with Canadian industries. At McGill, Rogers will look to help the Canadian forestry industry go beyond making paper and use nanocellulose and waste lignin to develop renewable polymeric and composite materials. He also will work with the country's commercial fishing industry to use waste chitin from shrimp and crabs. 'If properly developed, materials derived from chitin could make shrimp shells more valuable than the shrimp for food.'Excerpted from Chemistry and Engineering News, Feb 16, 2015 by S. K. Ritter.
David Eisenberg received the ASBMB's Bert and Natalie Vallee Award in Biomedical Science. In 2005, Eisenberg's group published the first atomic-resolution structure of an amyloid fiber. Eisenberg's work enabled the development of algorithms to predict segments of proteins with high propensity to form amyloid fibers and provide useful hypotheses for amyloid-forming mechanisms in many disease-related proteins.Excerpted from ASBMB Today, March 2015.
On July 1 2015, Janet Thornton will be stepping down from her position as director of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, where databases for DNA sequences, protein structures and other biological data are stored. She will be replaced by joint directors Ewan Birney and Rolf Apweiler, who are already at the EBI in Hinxton, UK.