David Baker is professor of biochemistry and an HHMI investigator at the University of Washington. When he started there in 1994, the problem of "computing the structures of naturally occurring proteins and designing brand new ones [was] considered to be almost impossible," he says. His group has since created ROSETTA, a program that searches for lowest energy structures to do just this, and on page 34 he describes how it's being used to design an endonuclease to attack malaria and a potential vaccine for HIV.
Six years ago when Lee M. Silver, professor of molecular biology and public affairs at Princeton University, spent a nine-month sabbatical backpacking through Asia with his wife and three children, his eyes were opened to spiritual perspectives on issues such as genetically modified crops and stem cell research. In an excerpt from his new book Challenging Nature (p. 48), he argues that the concept of a Mother Nature master plan has biased even Westerners who don't profess to be religious against biotechnology. "Because of these culture differences," he warns, "Asia is going to leap ahead of the West."
Terry Sharrer, curator of health sciences at the National Museum of American History, has worked for the Smithsonian Institution for 37 years. His research focuses on molecular medicine and cancer epidemiology. On pages 22 and 88 he tells the story of Henrietta Lacks, the black Virginian woman behind the immortal HeLa cell line that has outlived her by 55 years - and counting. "Through her suffering she has taught us more about cancer biology than any other person who has ever lived," says Sharrer, who last month joined the magazine as a contributing editor.
Since joining The Scientist in 2000, senior editor Jeffrey M. Perkel has overseen the magazine's coverage of lab tools and technology. "I've been continually amazed by the depth and breadth of tools and techniques that researchers have at their disposal, and by the creativity of scientists in pursuit of a problem," says Perkel, who earned a PhD in molecular biology from the University of Pennsylvania. Jeff is leaving Philadelphia for Pocatello, Idaho, where his wife, also a scientist, will be starting a new job. He'll continue writing his column (page 65) and other pieces as a correspondent.
Editorial administrator June Holloway has been with The Scientist since 1998. As the bridge between our editorial and production departments, she is responsible for coordinating photos (such as her own, to the left) and permissions and a host of other tasks too long to mention in this space. "Just getting a photo that's the right size should be really simple but it's not," Holloway says. "People don't have it or they don't know what I'm talking about."