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HOME > ABOUT US > NEWSLETTER > No. 27 - July 2008
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Physical Biology
From Atoms to Medicine
by Ahmed H Zewail

This book brings about the confluence of various concepts and tools to address significant problems of our time in physical biology and adjacent disciplines.

The volume is structured to provide a broad perspective on current state-of-the-art methods and concepts at the heart of chemical and biological behavior, covering the topics of visualization, theory and computation for complexity; macromolecular function, protein folding, and protein misfolding; molecular recognition; and systems integration from cells to consciousness.

The scope of tools is wide-ranging, spanning imaging, crystallography, microfluidics, single-molecule spectroscopy, and synthetic probe targeting, either molecular or by metallic particles. Edited by Nobel Laureate Ahmed H Zewail, the book contains contributions from other eminent scientists, of whom three are also Nobel Prize winners. They include:

  • David Baltimore — shared the 1975 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discovery which provided the key to understanding the life cycle of HIV;
  • Roger D Kornberg — Dr Kornberg won the 2006 Nobel Prize in Chemistry (unshared). He discovered the nucleosome, the basic unit of DNA coiling in chromosomes; and

  • Roderick MacKinnon — Dr MacKinnon is currently John D Rockefeller Jr professor in the laboratory of Molecular Neurobiology and Biophysics at Rockefeller University and Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. His research aims to understand the molecular mechanisms of a class of integral membrane proteins known as ion channels. He is the recipient of numerous scientific awards, including the 2003 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Nobel Laureate Ahmed H Zewail

Dr Ahmed H Zewail is the Linus Pauling Chair Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Physics. For 10 years, he has been the director of the NSF Laboratory for Molecular Sciences (LMS) at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). Currently, he is the director of the Physical Biology Center at Caltech.

Dr Zewail was awarded the 1999 Nobel Prize for his development of the field of femtochemistry, making possible discoveries of phenomena on the femtosecond timescale. At present, the focus of his research group is mainly on the development of four-dimensional microscopy for visualization in the four dimensions of space and time, and the understanding of complexity of chemical and biological transformations.

Among the other honors he received are the Albert Einstein World Award (2006), Benjamin Franklin Medal (1998), Robert A Welch Award (1997) Leonardo da Vinci Award (1995), Wolf Prize (1993) and the King Faisal Prize (1989). Dr Zewail serves on several boards of international institutions of higher learning.

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