Bio Chair Wins Nobel

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As you well know, Columbia has a long history of Nobel Laureates, and now the presitgious group can also claim Martin Chalfie, Chair of the Biological Sciences Department, who, along with a professor from UC San Diego and a professor emeritus from BU Medical School, won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry today. 

Their Nobel nod came after they discovered the gene for the protein that makes jellyfish glow — the protein is the tricky looking thing at right. The protein, which has become famous as Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP), has since been used in a myriad of important experiments looking at cellular development in neurons and cancer cells. 

Good luck trying to get into his class — this semester he is only teaching a Genetics class for Biology Ph.D. students.  The Biological Sciences Department also has a more jargon-y explanation of Chalfie’s work.

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  1. jellyfish queen  

    The jellyfish should win their own prize. Maybe they would reconsider their imminent plan to destroy us all...

  2. nicely put  

    "to better watch them developing"

  3. lol  


    He only found out about winning the prize when he looked online. Apparently he slept through his phone call.

  4. Alum

    "Their Nobel nod came after they discovered the gene for the protein that makes jellyfish glow . . . ."

    Not quite. Osamu Shimomura, one of this year's other winners, made this discovery. Chalfie subsequently discovered how to clone the glowing protein and insert it into other cells. The third winner, Roger Tsien, then discovered how to modify the protein to glow in different colors, thus allowing scientists to monitor different concurrent processes in the same cell.


  5. I kind of

    resent that this was a prize in Chemistry and not Biology. Of course everything always boils down to physics, but GFP is actively used by biologists, and is a genuinely biological phenomenon.

    Also, I hate chemistry.

  6. Chalfie Labee  

    Congratulations to Marty

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