When James Whisstock finished his PhD at the University of Cambridge in 1996, he was in the mood for an adventure. So he didn't have to think too hard when Monash University biochemist Stuart Stone offered him a postdoc to study the serpin superfamily of protease inhibitors in Melbourne. "I just thought, bugger it, I'm going to do something dramatic."
Drama indeed ensued. Stone died just weeks before Whisstock was to start work. He found himself nearly 21,000 km from home, without a primary investigator, and wondering what he'd gotten himself into. After talking it through with two other new arrivals from Cambridge he decided to stay. "Looking back on it," he says, "I think I was completely insane."
Serpins were the main reason he stayed. Whisstock had spent his PhD analyzing their remarkable conformational variability. Teasing...
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