Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Alice Ting: Innovative Chemist

MIT Associate Professor Alice Ting does beautiful science at the crossroads of chemistry and biology. She and her lab have developed a method of connecting small fluorescent labels to proteins in living cells. Named one of the 2006 Young Innovators by Technology Review, her work makes her one of the top young chemists in the US:

"Alice Ting is a true innovator and is one of the best chemists of her generation," says Timothy Swager, chair of MIT's chemistry department. "Scores of research groups around the world are already applying her methods." One of Ting's latest projects is to fluorescently image the junction between nerve cells, illuminating a biochemical process that appears to play a key role in learning and memory. So it may be possible one day to see an actual film of how a brain learns. "Mammalian cells are so beautiful and funky," says Ting--with the appreciation of a true director.
You can watch movies of living cells on the Ting Lab web site (there is also video of a recent talk she gave at Stanford).

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