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  • The Scientific Literature

    Scientific Prose

    Many folks have noted this advice from well-known novelist Cormac McCarthy on writing scientific papers, usually with a sense of disbelief that he has anything to do with scientific papers at all. I felt the same way, but he’s been associated with the Santa Fe Institute (physics and math) for some years now, and has… Read More
  • Analytical Chemistry

    The Return of Kekulene

    Kekulene! This is one of those molecules that someone who’s learning organic chemistry might sketch out on a whiteboard, wondering if it really exists. It does, but it’s not like we have a lot of recent information about it. There was a preparation of it in 1978 (from the Staab group at the Max-Planck Institute… Read More
  • Analytical Chemistry

    More on Covalent Compounds, And Covalent Fragments

    At a previous company some years back, I was interested in getting a “covalent fragment” collection going, and did to a small extent. It got screened against some antibacterial targets, but never became all that popular. That was partly because fragment-based screening was a younger field, and combining it with covalent drug discovery … Read More
  • Analytical Chemistry

    Fragment Binding, All the Way Down

    I remember the time before anyone did fragment-based drug discovery, when I heard high-micromolar binding ligands described as “carpet lint” or “stuff from the bottom of your shoe”. And you only heard then when the assays themselves even read out at that level, which certainly wasn’t a given. When I started, a suggesti… Read More
  • Biological News

    One Amino Acid Can Be Enough

    You know, we’re all mutants. No, not just those of us reading (or writing!) this web site, I mean all of us. We all have regions of our genome that are highly variable, of course – the sequences (often based on number of repeat markers) that are used in forensic DNA analysis or the mitochondrial… Read More
  • Chemical News

    Copernicium Is A Strange Element Indeed

    OK, let’s talk about something with pretty much no practical relevance whatsoever: the element copernicium. That’s #112, just below mercury in the periodic table, and its longest-lived isotope has a half-life of 29 seconds. Which is actually pretty impressive – that’s one of the longest-lived elements up there at those atomi… Read More
  • Biological News

    Resisting Protein Degradation: The Cells Fight Back

    With all the work going into targeted protein degradation now (recent review), we’re discovering a lot of things about it that weren’t apparent at first. To pick an obvious one, these things have several steps in their mechanism (binding to the target protein, binding to a ubiquitin ligase to form a ternary complex, ubiquitination of… Read More
  • Chemical News

    Lithium Ion Batteries: The 2019 Chemistry Nobel Prize

    I am very pleased to write up a blog post on the 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, because it is well overdue. People have been saying that about recognition of the discovery of lithium-ion batteries for many years now, and like many others I’m just glad that the committee was able to recognize John Goodenough… Read More
  • Chemical Biology

    A New Way to Make Azides

    I wanted to mention this paper that’s out in Nature, especially since I was mentioning azide/alkyne click chemistry the other day. If you’re using that system in any sort of chemical diversity sense, you’ve run into problems on the azide end. There are not a whole lot of commercially available azides out there (although definitely… Read More
  • Biological News

    The 2019 Medicine Nobel

    So we have the first prize of the 2019 Nobel season, Medicine/Physiology for William Kaelin Jr. (Dana-Farber), Peter Ratcliffe (Oxford), and Gregg Semenza (Johns Hopkins), for their work in cellular adaptation to oxygen levels. This was not one of the outcomes that was in the top of the betting range, but it sure wasn’t in the… Read More
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