Wednesday AM October 29th, 2008

Increasing numbers of scientists are entering the field of biological macromolecules, and there's a reason. The chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Houston-based Welch Foundation says that's because of that field's possibilities and potential implications. Ed Mayberry reports.
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The talks were research-level at the 52nd Welch Foundation Chemical Research Conference at the Hilton Houston North.  The Welch Foundation's James Kinsey says that included discussion about things like molecular pumps.

"These are things that operate in a cell and pump things like nutrients from the outside into the cell, or pump waste products from the inside to the outside.  If you're trying to target that cell with some antibiotic, the cell may mutate in such a way that it develops the ability to pump out that stuff that's poisonous to the cell that we're trying to kill."

Kinsey says understanding how that pump works enables people to search for a way of getting around the ability of a cancer cell to develop immunities.  He says a lot of students are interested in this way of looking at things at the molecular level.

"It's very open, and I've often seen a student walk up to a Nobel Prize winner and shake hands and undertake a conversation and ask some questions and the way to start, make contacts and also to just see that these great women and men are, after all, just humans and react well to young investigators."

Kinsey says collaboration is the key to the future of this field, and conferences help foster the exchange of ideas. 

Ed Mayberry, KUHF Houston Public Radio News.




Bio photo of Ed Mayberry

Ed Mayberry

Local Anchor, All Things Considered

Ed Mayberry has worked in radio since 1971, with many of those years spent on the rock 'n' roll disc jockey side of the business...