Learning from bacteria
Every time he peers into Nature's voluminous bag of
biochemical tricks, Craig Townsend, professor of chemistry,
comes away amazed.
"Nature is absolutely the master of
organic chemists," Townsend says. "There's a lot to learn
from the master."
Townsend, postdoctoral fellow Rong-Feng Li
and graduate student Tony Stapon have been taking an
"apprenticeship" from streptomyces and erwinia, families of
bacteria. The topic of study is production of a prized class
of antibiotics, carbapenems, originally created by these
Group designs and fine-tunes the
instruments of science
As Gregg Scharfstein's classmates were feverishly sending
out their resumes this past spring, prepping for interviews
and fretting over crucial decisions on job offers,
Sharfstein had considerably less on his mind.
Finals, definitely. The start of Yankees
baseball, maybe. But a job? Nope, he already had that in
the bag. For Scharfstein, graduation was simply the climax
of an extremely enviable feat: Not only had he found the job
of his dreams before graduation, he kept it after he
graduated. He had been, and would continue to be, a
mechanical engineer for the Johns Hopkins Instrument
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