Group Leader, Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Medical Research Council. Age: 36
The typical biologist’s desk is strewn with reprints and lab notebooks, maybe a coffee cup, perhaps a small model of a DNA molecule. Structural biologist Andrew Carter’s workspace has all these things, but a cluster of framed dog photographs stands out amid the clutter: his collection of corgi pictures. “Good science, good beer, and corgis are three of Andrew’s passions,” says his postdoctoral advisor, University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), biologist Ron Vale. He teasingly parodies his advisee: “’When times get tough, all I have to do is to look at these pictures of corgis for release and genuflection.’”
Carter’s “good science,” structural biology, is a discipline that didn’t necessarily come easily to the young researcher. “When you’re taught structural biology as an undergrad, it seems impossible,” Carter says. “It was so mathematical...