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  • An Update on Vibrational Theories of Smell

    I’ve written a few times over the years about the vibrational theory of olfaction (VTO), the hypothesis that (at least some) olfactory receptors work by sensing vibrational levels of various functional groups, rather than using traditional stereoelectronic interactions. At a deeper level, this could involve electron tunneling at the receptors… Read More
  • Biological News

    GPCRs: Peeling The Onion Some More

    I like to say that when I was first working on G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) as drug targets, that after I while I thought I really understood a lot of what was going on. But that was the peak. Further experience eroded that confidence, and even though I’ve learned a lot more about them over… Read More
  • Biological News

    Cells Like Turbulence. Well, Some Cells.

    Let’s talk cell culture – specifically, how weird it is. There are an awful lot of ways to grow cells, naturally – different media of course, different scales, differences in how crowded you let them get, how often you split them, add nutrients, wash them, all those things. All of those make sense to me… Read More
  • Chemical News

    Get With the Radical Program?

    I learned the basics of organic synthesis some years ago (at the hands of the recently retired Tom Goodwin, which for those who know him will seem quite fitting). But the way I learned it is still pretty similar to the way that students are learning it now, I think. Looking at textbooks (and every… Read More
  • Analytical Chemistry

    How Close is Cryo-EM To Riding Over the Horizon?

    OK, all this cryo-electron microscopy stuff is great, new protein structures, things that are huge, that can’t be crystallized, fine, fine: but when, the medicinal chemists in the audience ask, will we be able to use it for structure-based drug discovery? This new review tries to answer just that question. The first thing that you… Read More
  • Inorganic Chemistry

    A Room Temperature Superconductor? Well. . .

    Superconductivity is one of those places where chemistry and physics cross paths. That’s especially true as people search for higher-temperature materials, because that seems to involve more and more complex synthesis and characterization of the results. Very tiny changes in conditions or starting materials can make for huge differences in th… Read More
  • Chemical Biology

    Only Bind

    Here’s a new piece by Stuart Schreiber that lays out a shift in thinking that many people in the chemical biology field have been experiencing over the last few years. Medicinal chemists are used to making functional drug candidates – and by “functional” I mean compounds that make protein targets do something. For an enzyme… Read More
  • In Silico

    Machine Learning’s Awkward Era

    The whole machine learning field has a huge amount to offer chemistry, medicinal chemistry, and biomedical science in general. I don’t think that anyone seriously disputes that part – the arguing starts when you ask when this promise might be realized. In the abstract, the idea of tireless, relentless analysis of the huge piles of… Read More
  • General Scientific News

    A Restful Seminar Indeed

    All right, let’s take on a really important topic today. I noticed people on my Twitter feed yesterday talking about reading theirs during seminars, which led to comments about falling asleep during them (and waking up). So let’s hear them: your worst moments (yours or those you’ve witnessed) about people losing consciousness or f… Read More
  • Drug Assays

    PAINs Filters In the Real World

    Here’s a look (open access) at Eli Lilly’s screening collection in terms of PAINS filters, and there are things for everyone to argue about in it. The entire concept of these filters has been occasion for argument, of course. Allow me to caricature some of the opinions that you hear in these: at one extreme, it… Read More
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