Friday, November 2, 2018

Roderick MacKinnon's Nobel Lecture

In Chapter 9 of Intermediate Physics for Medicine and Biology, Russ Hobbie and I write
Roderick MacKinnon and his colleagues determined the three-dimensional structure of a potassium channel using X-ray diffraction (Doyle et al. 1998; Jiang et al. 2003). MacKinnon received the 2003 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on the potassium channel.
When I teach my graduate class on bioelectricity, we read the Doyle et al. article (“The Structure of the Potassium Channel: Molecular Basis of K+ Conduction and Selectivity,” Science, Volume 280, Pages 69–77, 1998). In my class, usually either my students and I discuss a paper or I explain some aspect of it. However, I’ve not found a better way to describe potassium channels than to watch MacKinnon’s brilliant Nobel lecture. I suggest you watch it too, using the embedded Youtube link below. It's 45 minutes long, but well worth the time.

If you have no time to spare, listen to the much shorter (less than two minute) interview where MacKinnon explains how being a scientist is like being an explorer.


Roderick MacKinnon’s Nobel lecture.

“Being a scientist is like being an explorer.

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