Episode 3 - GFP: Lighting Up Life with Nobel Laureate Dr. Martin Chalfie
Scientists have learned a lot by looking at biological systems by imaging fixed sections of tissue, though to learn more we need to see dynamics, but how? Enter Green Fluorescent Protein, known in the scientific world as GFP. It is used by researchers to investigate novel applications to report a range of information, from toxicity levels in the environment, to the expression of genes in living organisms.
But the story of how GFP came to be is a testament to the value of basic research. Over three decades went by between its discovery in 1962 and its introduction to the scientific community in 1994, when its elegant design and ease of use sparked the imagination of excited scientists, making it one of the most commonly used tools in biology.
In 2008, the Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to three scientists for the discovery and development of the protein, including Dr. Martin Chalfie, our guest for this episode. We also talk about how Dr. Chalfie implements his strategies and ideas in his work to this day as he and his lab answer questions about the development of touch receptors in the worm C. elegans.