Even standing still, Cathy H. Wu gives the impression of being on the move. In the foyer of the National Biomedical Research Foundation (NBRF) at Georgetown University, she listens while founder and president Robert S. Ledley tells an anecdote to a visitor. Wu, diminutive and neat in a lilac blouse and dark slacks, smiles and almost imperceptibly fidgets in place until it's time to lead a visitor away. Then she's off, veering around the corner toward the library like a commuter spotting a gap in Beltway traffic.

She zips past some of the dozen staff in glass-fronted offices or workspaces formed by filing cabinets and bookshelves. Though no hulking IBMs or Crays crowd the corners of this modest basement office, it nevertheless houses the world's largest publicly available protein sequence database, called the Protein Information Resource (PIR).1 And since 1998, Wu has been its bioinformatics director.

Courtesy of Georgetown...

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