Frontier science must be multidisciplinary

  • This work is part of the collection “The Citizen’s Scientific Library”, available in university bookstores

Frontier science opens paths and it must be multidisciplinary. Under this premise, Dr. Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, a researcher at the University of Cambridge, in England, teamed up with physicists, biologists and biotechnologists, among other specialists, to learn about the structure and function of the ribosome, the site where protein synthesis occurs in the cells.

In this search, the scientist from India used a particle accelerator machine; in this case, synchrotron radiation, commonly used in Physics to study matter and its properties. To do this, he prepared the ribosome in the form of a crystal and then it was analyzed with X-rays, to decipher its structure and dynamics at the micron level, explained Arturo Fernández Téllez, General Director of Scientific Dissemination of the Vice-Rector for Research and Postgraduate Studies ( VIEP) of the BUAP.

This finding earned Dr. Ramakrishnan the 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, along with Thomas A. Steitz and Ada Yonath, for their study of the structure and function of the ribosome.

During the book launch The genetic machine: The race to unlock the secrets of the ribosomeby Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, a work that narrates the journey of the aforementioned discovery, Ygnacio Martínez Laguna, head of the VIEP, said that cooperation and solidarity are important for solving a problem.

In this true story, with successes and failures, the cooperation with other working groups is realized, but also the competition between them to decipher this molecule, which has been the object of study for more than 30 years: the ribosome, a of the most elementary structures and responsible for the flow of genetic information.

“The author, Ph.D. in Physical Sciences from the University of Ohio, in the United States, narrates in a special and impressive way the work carried out by his work group at the University of Cambridge. Nothing is fictional. Through this narrative, he leads us down unknown paths. At the same time, it reveals that anyone can investigate on any subject, the importance of recognizing ignorance on a subject, knowing when to retract a mistake and looking for appropriate techniques and sites to investigate more easily”, said Martínez Laguna.

In front of students from different careers gathered in the Salón Barroco, in the Carolino Building, Omar López Cruz, INAOE researcher and coordinator of the “Citizen’s Scientific Library” (BCC) collection, assured that books invite you to discover other worlds. Later, he announced that this collection is unique in its kind for being written by great personalities, including Nobel Prize winners, who are linked to society.

The collection consists of 11 titles, one of which deals with the subject of earthquakes, and is available for sale in university bookstores. Likewise, he notified that each month a title of this collection will be presented.

During the presentation, the researchers talked with the young undergraduates, whom they invited to prepare and read this 250-page book, from the Grano de Sal publishing house, from which they recommended not skipping the methodological and technical parts of this contribution.

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Frontier science must be multidisciplinary