- One of the most transformative experimental techniques in the rise of modern molecular biology and biochemistry was the development of high-resolution sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, which allowed separation of proteins—including structural proteins—in complex mixtures according to their molecular weights. Its development was intimately tied to investigations of the control of virus assembly within phage-infected cells. The method was developed by Ulrich K. Laemmli working in the virus structural group led by Aaron Klug at the famed Medical Research Council Laboratory for Molecular Biology at Cambridge, UK.
- This Reflections article is focused on the 5 years while I was a graduate student (1964–1969). During this period, I made some of the most significant discoveries of my career. I have written this article primarily for a protein biochemistry audience, my colleagues who shared this exciting time in science, and the many scientists over the last 50 years who have contributed to our knowledge of transcriptional machinery and their regulation. It is also written for today’s graduate students, postdocs, and scientists who may not know much about the discoveries and technical advances that are now taken for granted, to show that even with methods primitive by today’s standards, we were still able to make foundational advances.
- My career in research has flourished through hard work, supportive mentors, and outstanding mentees and collaborators. The Carman laboratory has contributed to the understanding of lipid metabolism through the isolation and characterization of key lipid biosynthetic enzymes as well as through the identification of the enzyme-encoding genes. Our findings from yeast have proven to be invaluable to understand regulatory mechanisms of human lipid metabolism. Several rewarding aspects of my career have been my service to the Journal of Biological Chemistry as an editorial board member and Associate Editor, the National Institutes of Health as a member of study sections, and national and international scientific meetings as an organizer.
- My personal and professional journeys have been far from predictable based on my early childhood. Owing to a range of serendipitous influences, I miraculously transitioned from a rebellious, apathetic teenage street urchin who did poorly in school to a highly motivated, disciplined, and ambitious academic honors student. I was the proverbial “late bloomer.” Ultimately, I earned my PhD in biophysical chemistry at Yale, followed by a postdoc fellowship at Berkeley. These two meccas of thermodynamics, coupled with my deep fascination with biology, instilled in me a passion to pursue an academic career focused on mapping the energy landscapes of biological systems.