Category Archives: Chemistry

Gertrude B. Elion

For every Nobel Prize there is a story. Gertrude B. Elion has made enormous contributions to the medical and pharmaceutical world, but in order to understand her achievements we must first take a look at her past.

Gertrude Elion http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gertrude_B._Elion#mediaviewer/File:Gertrude_Elion.jpg CC BY
Gertrude Elion
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gertrude_B._Elion#mediaviewer/File:Gertrude_Elion.jpg
CC BY

Born in New York in 1918 Gertrude spent a lot of her childhood in Manhattan, later moving to the Bronx.  Even through her earlier years of education, she was a very bright student that was driven by an”insatiable thirst for knowledge“. However, when Dr. Elion was only 15, she witnessed a familial tragedy; the death of her dear grandfather whose life had been taken by cancer. This event pushed Gertrude even further towards a path in science so that she could eradicate the tragic health issues that affect so many innocent people, including her own family. By the age of 19, Gertrude impressively graduated summa cum laude in chemistry, her motivation no dimmer than it had been before. While continuing her education, she also worked as a part-time lab assistant and substitute teacher. Alongside of a honorary Ph.D. from the Polytechnic University of New York, Dr. Elion also received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Harvard University.

With an excellent educational background Gertrude started working for Burroughs-Welcome in 1944, with Dr. George H. Hitchings. Unlike many scientists at that time, she used a unique approach, studying diseased cells to create medicine. To block viral infections they designed drugs by examening the biochemical difference between cells. This new perspective provided much success, allowing Dr. Elion to create drugs treat issues such as leukemia, AIDS, herpes and transplant rejection. Throughout her carreer she created 45 medical patents and gained so much respect and praise in the scientific community.  Dr. Elion’s contributions got her 23 honorary awards, a Nobel Prize in Medicine and she was even recognized as an adviser for the World Health Organization.  Gertrude Elion’s perseverance and pharmaceutical journey has provided us access to drugs such as Nelarabine (cancer treatement), Azathioprine (first immuno-suppressive), Trimethoprim (meningitis) and many more. Her hard work payed of by saving and improving so many lives over the past few decades and Dr. Elion will surely be remembered for innovation in biochemistry and pharmacology.

 

 

 

A Future In Science

“Field trip!”, two words that get just about anyone excited, including myself.  Just a few moments ago, I got back from the StemCell Technologies lab and I was feeling really inspired. After getting a tour of the location where stems cells are proliferated to be shipped all over the world, I’ve been feeling more excited about a future in science. Since an early age, I’ve been aware that I wanted to grow up to become a scientist, but this recent field trip has got me wondering about different possibilities in the realm of science. So what are the most open employments for modern scientist?

The future is in our hands. "World1" by Shevateganeshd - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:World1.jpg#mediaviewer/File:World1.jpg
The future is in our hands.
“World1” by Shevateganeshd – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:World1.jpg#mediaviewer/File:World1.jpg

Continue reading A Future In Science

Fact or Fiction: Emotion-influenced Water Molecules

I have always been fascinated by the complex yet stunning configurations of snowflakes, and how such mesmerizing patterns are formed by nothing more than water. When I first looked into Dr. Masaru Emoto’s work on the configuration of water molecules, I was quite amazed at his findings, which was about how the structure of frozen water molecules could be influenced by one’s emotions. However, after a more in-depth look into the topic, I became more skeptical of his claim, and for various reasons. Continue reading Fact or Fiction: Emotion-influenced Water Molecules