Paul Greengard of Rockefeller University shared the 2000 Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology for his work on signal transduction in the brain. He and Per Svenningsson, of the Rockefeller and the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, write on page 40 about the discovery of DARPP-32 and its subsequent characterization as a master regulator in the brain, integrating signals involved in drugs of abuse as well as schizophrenia and depression. "One of the major challenges was to prove that these pathways were physiologically relevant," Greengard says. "We know much more now that I would have guessed possible 25 years ago."
In 2000, Gene Logic CEO Mark Gessler realized his company was sitting on a potential treasure drove of data from tissue from surgery patients on some form of medication: the data could conceivably be used to identify new uses for marketed drugs. The only problem was that the company lacked the...
Since well before he illustrated the first "How It Works" in January of last year (see p. 78 for this month's installment, on patch clamping), Andrew Meehan has been studying why engines hum and horns honk. A freelance illustrator with a degree in automobile design from Creapole-ESDI in Paris, Meehan is used to delving into the gritty details of technology. "My training is in understanding complex things and then figuring out how to put them together," he says. "This is the inverse, where I am taking something and breaking it down to understand it."
Kirsten Weir, who has a master's in science and environmental reporting from New York University, has written for magazines including National Geographic Explorer! and Natural History. She remembers "a tiny little no-name lake" in Michigan where she spent her summers and went swimming. On page 22, she writes about John, who enjoyed swimming with his friends too, but his bones were so dense that they threatened to drag him underwater. Weir describes how scientists spurred each other on to ultimately identify the mutation that caused John's condition.
Intern Chandra Shekhar has a PhD from the University of Southern California in electrical engineering. After publishing a long list of research papers and co-founding a computer imaging company, he was itching to explore new frontiers. This summer he earned a master's in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. His interests include evolutionary genomics, bio-imaging and pathogenic organisms. On page 73, Shekhar writes about Coleen Murphy, a scientist with a passion for understanding the biochemistry of aging.