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Movers and Shakers: John Kendrew, Victor Matassa, Glyn Williams, Arnold Levine, Max Perutz


Max Perutz, the father of protein x-ray crystallography, died on February 6 in Cambridge, England, aged 87. Perutz, who was born in Vienna in 1914, came to England in 1936 and used x-rays to study crystals of hemoglobin at the Cavendish Laboratory at Cambridge University. In 1959 he determined the protein’s three-dimensional structure and shared the Nobel Prize three years later with his colleague John Kendrew, who had solved the structure of myoglobin. Perutz, who reportedly worked in his laboratory until a few days before Christmas, laid the foundation for today’s structural proteomics projects.


Small molecule microarray maker Graffinity Pharmaceuticals, of Heidelberg, Germany, has appointed Victor Matassa as vice president of R&D. Matassa will develop Graffinity’s medicinal chemistry development, as part of its drug discovery and development efforts. Prior to joining Graffinity, Matassa was senior director of medicinal chemistry at Eli Lilly Europe. Matassa has also worked as a director of medicinal chemistry at Merck and AstraZeneca.

Cambridge, UK-based Astex Technology has hired Glyn Williams to serve as director of biophysics, the structural proteomics company said last week. In his new position, Williams will oversee the company’s technology for ligand screening as part of its drug discovery program. Most recently, Williams worked at Roche in the UK, where he was responsible for the biological applications of NMR and mass spectrometry.


Rockefeller University President Arnold Levine, a renowned cancer biologist who co-discovered the p53 tumor suppressor gene, resigned this month, amid swirling controversy over an alleged on-premises sexual encounter with a female adult student while both had been drinking. Rockefeller officially said Levine was resigning for health reasons.

Levine, who will remain a professor and researcher at Rockefeller University, most recently co-authored a chapter on microarray analysis of colorectal tumors in a book entitled Microarrays and Cancer Research, which was published this month by BioTechniques Press.

The Scan

NFTs for Genome Sharing

Nature News writes that non-fungible tokens could be a way for people to profit from sharing genomic data.

Wastewater Warning System

Time magazine writes that cities and college campuses are monitoring sewage for SARS-CoV-2, an approach officials hope lasts beyond COVID-19.

Networks to Boost Surveillance

Scientific American writes that new organizations and networks aim to improve the ability of developing countries to conduct SARS-CoV-2 genomic surveillance.

Genome Biology Papers on Gastric Cancer Epimutations, BUTTERFLY, GUNC Tool

In Genome Biology this week: recurrent epigenetic mutations in gastric cancer, correction tool for unique molecular identifier-based assays, and more.