In one of my favorite science fables, Sydney Brenner supposedly opened a seminar that was meant to be a celebration of structural biology at the storied LMB by saying: ‘I think we can all agree that hydrogen bonds and beta-pleated sheets are boring’. I tell new students and post-docs this legend when we discuss where they want to explore following the Resolution Revolution in cryoEM. We can now determine the atomic structure of just about anything, but we didn’t come here to collect structures. “Seeing is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees” - and each of our projects started with this optimism: structural biology can be discovery biology. Our efforts to see the cell’s machinery directly will teach us how living matter works and, with some luck, may shed light on how living matter emerged.
Listed in chronological order since we started the lab in the summer of 2011, below are the sources of support for our work. We wouldn’t be here without them and the vision they share with Mary Lasker. The diversity in the sources of financial support and the biological problems we are trying to solve is by design: our lab believes in ecological edge effects: positive changes in imagination and intellectual ingenuity in communities that occur at the boundary of two or more habitats. As the edge effects increase, the boundary habitat allows for greater diversity of thought.