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Posts tagged with "Uncategorized"

  • Inside Theranos: Yikes

    I always wondered what sort of place Theranos must be (have been) to work at, and now this piece at Vanity Fair answers the question: hellish. The treatment of chief scientist Ian Gibbons, as presented in the article, will illustrate the point: Gibbons, who was diagnosed with cancer shortly after joining the company, encountered a… Read More
  • Chemical News

    The New Age of Organic Synthesis

    Earlier this year I wrote about a couple of new coupling methods that use carboxylic acids to alkylate aryl groups. Now there’s another winner to report: the MacMillan group is out with a nickel-catalyzed reaction that does something similar, only it forms aliphatic C-C bonds. This is the sort of reaction that people have been… Read More
  • Chemical News

    Rip Up Your Prolines

    Here’s an interesting paper in the “modify at the last step” genre from Christina White’s group at Illinois (press release here). They’ve been investigating oxidative C-H functionalization by iron species (which takes me back to the days when I used to attend Sir Derek Barton’s consulting sessions at my first job… Read More
  • Merck Expanding on the West Coast

    It’s good to occasionally mention that a drug company is opening a new facility and is looking to hire people. Merck is looking to open a newBay Area research site and employ up to 100 researchers there. Now, this is mixed news if you don’t feel like doing drug discovery around either San Francisco or Boston/Cambridge… Read More
  • Current Events


    I’ve been thinking about “right to try” laws, the ones that are trying to open up access to not-yet-approved drugs for patients who wish to take their chances with them. There are a lot of practical considerations that bear on this idea (differences with existing “compassionate use” programs, effect on clinical trial e… Read More
  • The Limits of Sweet Reason

    Here’s a meta-question for you: to what extent can we scientists explain what we do, and to what extent does that change anyone’s mind? That sounds like a cry of despair, but it’s not. As someone who writes about science for a mixed audience, though, it does cross my mind. A few recent examples: here’s an… Read More
  • Evolution in Action – Literally

    David Liu’s group at Harvard has been working on a technique for a few years now called PACE, and I keep meaning to write about it. A new paper in Nature gives me the opportunity. The acronym stands for “Phage-assisted continuous evolution”, and it’s as neat an example of directed evolution as I’ve ever seen. Read More
  • A Plan For New Antibiotics

    The Pew Trust has come out with a document that I hope makes an impression: their Roadmap for Antibiotic Discovery. Every year the the bacterial resistance problem gets a bit worse, and the most we can do is make it get worse at a slightly slower rate. As long as we want to kill bacteria, we’re… Read More
  • Epigenetics For the Spirit

    You may have come across Siddhartha Mukherjee’s article in the New Yorker on epigenetics, and if so, you may also have noticed that it didn’t make a big hit with biologists who are actually working in the field. Here’s Mark Ptashne giving chapter and verse: the short version is that Mukherjee’s article lets people who… Read More
  • Mutants Among Us

    Looking back on the Human Genome Project, it’s becoming increasingly odd to read the articles at the time about how we were about the sequence “the human genome”. As if there were only one! Even at the time, of course, it was clear that we weren’t capturing human genetic diversity, but that was seen as… Read More