Not making covalent bonds

So… I have a ton of work this weekend and it is mainly about making constructs for our next protein expression experiments. I gotta tell you: this is opening my eyes to entirely new challenges. See, I have been trained as a synthetic organic chemist, which means (more or less) that we think how to forge COVALENT bonds between atoms. Seriously, this is what we do in synthesis (in rough terms). Typically, good things that are new and interesting come from irreversible connections between atoms (in a way protein expression is still synthesis, but you think on a different level that does not involve worrying about how the bonds are constructed). I now must admit that there are really interesting challenges out there I have not considered seriously until now. The biggest difference from what I have been trained to do is that covalent bonds do not drive progress anymore. For example, this weekend I need to think of constructs for several receptor proteins that we will hopefully be able to express in E. coli. This is a different ball game altogether and it has its own unique challenges. Not only do we want to make clones but we also want to make sure we will be able to express the proteins. The ultimate goals are varied and range from crystallization to the production of antibodies. However, I catch myself thinking that: a. I am excited about what I do; b. it is new to me and c. whatever I do is NOT about carefully orchestrating covalent bond making. This latter point is important because I have never thought that I would be interested in science that does not, ultimately, result in making new bonds. But here I am – making constructs for expression and I do not think about gluing things together. ¬†Kind of different and really interesting!

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