The Biochemist Blog

Finding the founding fathers of molecular biology

By Lisa Strittmatter, University of Cambridge, UK

My motivation to do a PhD at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge was driven by its place at the forefront of science. During my time here, I have come to realise how little I know about the origins of molecular biology. In 1957, the MRC institute was named ‘unit for Molecular Biology’. I decided it was high time to find out more and who better to narrate its history than its contemporary witnesses?

Youyou Tu and the discovery of artemisinin

By Isabel Vincent, University of Glasgow

Female scientists often struggle disproportionately compared to their male counterparts, but every now and then a woman will manage to break through the misogyny and show the world the potential that is often missed. Youyou Tu received the Nobel prize for medicine/physiology in 2015 for the discovery of the anti-malarial drug artemisinin – a remarkable achievement for a woman with no medical degree, no doctorate and no overseas experience.

Accessing our inner clock

By Helen Albert, Editor

We all have an inner clock that allows us to respond appropriately to our immediate environment according to the time of day or night. The existence of such biological clocks has been known about for some time, but the specific mechanism of action was unclear. In the 1980s, three American scientists – Jeffrey Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael Young – succeeded in isolating a gene called period that had previously been linked with disruption of the biological clock in fruit flies.