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Posts tagged with "Life in the Drug Labs"

  • Life in the Drug Labs

    Home Sweet Home

    Chemistry labs aren’t known for the diversity of life forms – other than chemists – that inhabit them. It’s true that I used to see the occasional mouse run across in an old building I worked in, and no, it was a little grey wild-type, not an escaped C57 Black from downstairs. Now, once you… Read More
  • Life in the Drug Labs

    . . .And That Settles It

    You know, after all the philosophical wrangling that’s gone around here the last couple of days (I refer to those record-setting comment threads below), I have to say that there’s something about scientific research that I really appreciate: things get resolved. Not everything gets resolved, true, which is also part of the fun. But enou… Read More
  • Life in the Drug Labs


    I do a fair amount of complaining (maybe I could just stop and put a period there. No?) about how people don’t realize the difficulty of taking an idea for a new drug all the way to the market. But I shouldn’t be the tiniest bit surprised, because depictions of research skip most of the… Read More
  • Life in the Drug Labs

    The Latest in Pharmaceutical Technology

    I’ve been spending some time with a batch of compound recently, boiling it in ethyl alcohol all day long. I distill out the ethanol, then add more and boil it up again. And again. Why am I being so darn productive, you ask? Well, this is some material we received from a contract synthesis company… Read More
  • Life in the Drug Labs


    There are some pretty big cultural divides in the drug industry. The preclinical research people and the development people always think that they have one of the biggest, but that’s not true. They do argue a lot, but the arguments are phrased in terms that each side understands. “Your synthetic route can’t provide enough compound… Read More
  • Life in the Drug Labs

    A Sensitive Guy

    Well, my poison ivy has abated, which is good news on several fronts. Besides the obvious one, it also means that I wasn’t exhibiting a reaction to a particular reagent that I was using a lot of at the same time, an aryl isocyanate. Those are reactive little creatures, and they’re known to bother some… Read More
  • Life in the Drug Labs

    Having the Hands

    After working so many years in organic chemistry labs, I notice that I have all these little motions and flourishes in my technique. For example, when I’m draining the bottom layer out of a separatory funnel, I always drain it down almost to the bottom, and stop. Then I swirl it around a little bit… Read More
  • Academia (vs. Industry)

    Differences Between Academia and Industry, Pt. 4

    You hear an awful lot about teamwork when you’re in industry. (Personally, my fist clenches up whenever I here the phrase “team player”, but perhaps that’s just me.) But there’s a bit of truth in all this talk, and it’s something that you generally don’t encounter during graduate training. As a chemistry gr… Read More
  • Life in the Drug Labs

    Let’s Check This Blank Page, Here

    I think that most of the large (and some of the small) drug companies have by now made the switch to electronic lab notebooks. It couldn’t have come too soon for me. My merits as a scientist are up for debate, but my virtues as a record keeper are inarguable: I stink. And have stunk… Read More
  • Drug Assays

    Seven Questions

    As a drug discovery project moves along, we synthesize lots of new compounds, test them, and pick the best ones to make in large quantities. Simple, eh? Try your hand, then, at some of these questions, all of which have come up in the course of my career so far: 1. If you’re running an… Read More