You probably thought this was going to be about Dr Robert Gallo.
Driving in to lab this morning I heard Dan Charles’ story on NPR’s Morning Edition about the unheralded scientist, Dr Douglas Prasher, who first cloned the green fluorescent protein gene from Aequorea victoria in 1992, as published in Gene. This amazing laboratory tool, you will note, was the focus of yesterday’s awarding of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Prasher freely distributed the cDNA to those requesting it, including at least two of the three recently Nobelists.
Because of funding shortfalls from both NIH and the USDA, Dr Prasher is currently driving a courtesy shuttle for a Huntsville, Alabama, automobile dealership.
The heartbreaking story, described by one scientist as “a staggering waste of talent,” will be available on the NPR site at 9:00 am EDT.
Very nice enterprise reporting by Dan Charles.