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GEN’s editorial staff interviews life science academic and biotech industry leaders on important research, technology, and trends. These podcasts will keep you informed with all the important details you need.

Understanding what protein complexes look like and how they operate is the key to figuring out what makes cells tick. By harnessing the unique properties of polarized light, scientists from The Rockefeller University have developed a technique that can help deduce the orientation of specific proteins within the cell.

By turning their instruments toward the nuclear pore complex, a huge cluster of proteins that serves as a gateway to a cell’s nucleus, the scientists say they have filled in the gaps left by other techniques and made important new discoveries about how the complex works.

During this week’s podcast Dr. Sandy Simon provides more details regarding the polarized light technique and talks about the significance of his team’s research. He discusses the advantages of this method versus other more traditional techniques for studying cellular proteins and describes how the polarized light approach can be used with x-ray crystallography, electron microscopy, and computer analysis to gain a better understanding of cellular protein behavior.

Dr. Simon also explores the potential uses including medical applications of the polarized light technique and how it might lead to findings that can prove promising in the clinic.

Dr. Sandy Simon uses imaging techniques to observe and clarify dynamics and interactions in living systems. Dr. Simon graduated with a bachelor’s degree in neurobiology from Princeton University in 1977. He received his Ph.D. in physiology and biophysics in 1984 from New York University Medical Center. He came to The Rockefeller University as a postdoc and was promoted to research associate in 1986. He was named assistant professor in 1989, head of the Laboratory of Cellular Biophysics in 1992, associate professor in 1994, and professor in 2000. Dr. Simon was a recipient of the John and Samuel Bard Award in Medicine and Science in 2004.

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