The Biochemist Blog

Mimicking molecular machines

By Arwen Nugteren, University of Queensland, Australia

Rotors were used in early combustion engines and are still used in electric engines and turbines today. That means that when we first built cars, back in 1886, they used rotors in their engines simply because that was just what worked.

ATP synthase was discovered in 1960 as an essential enzyme in aerobic cellular respiration, but it wasn’t until the 1990s when John E. Walker partnered with crystallographers to determine its structure.

Hints & tips for preparing your first poster presentation

By Valentina Gifford, University of Oxford

In March, I attended the The Dynamic Cell III meeting in Manchester, where, with great excitement, I presented my first poster. The meeting started with the Students/Postdocs symposium, where we got the chance to warm up and have a quick taste of the amazing research that was about to follow. Then, a perfect mix of more experienced and early-career scientists set the context for an inspiring scientific discussion, that brought together a wide variety of topics, all focusing on understanding cell functions, such as motility and cell-cell interactions. The quality of the presentations was outstanding and everybody was able to share his enthusiasm.

Venom: killer but also a potential cure

By Steve Allain, Imperial College London

One of my biggest pet peeves as a herpetologist is the trouble that some people have with distinguishing between a venom and a poison – I thought I’d address this early on as I don’t wish to confuse anyone. There is an easy way to remember which is which, a venom has to be injected and a poison has to be ingested. It is very likely that if you ingested a venom it wouldn’t have any effect on your body due to the same protective properties in the stomach that protect us from pathogens, such as the change in pH.