Professor of Biochemistry and Chemistry
Hosts: Said & Dari
Aired: Wed 8.25.10 - 10:00-11:00 PM
Listen to the archived program...
Biochemist Gregory Petsko makes a convincing argument that, in the next 50 years, we'll see an epidemic of neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer's, as the world population ages. His solution: more research into the brain and its functions.
Gregory Petsko's biography, on his Brandeis faculty homepage, might seem intimidatingly abstruse to the non-biochemist -- he studies "the structural basis for efficient enzymic catalysis of proton and hydride transfer; the role of the metal ions in bridged bimetalloenzyme active sites; direct visualization of proteins in action by time-resolved protein crystallography; the evolution of new enzyme activities from old ones; and the biology of the quiescent state in eukaryotic cells."
But for someone so deeply in touch with the minutest parts of our bodies, Petsko is also a wide-ranging mind, concerned about larger health policy issues. The effect of mass population shifts -- such as our current trend toward a senior-citizen society -- maps onto his world of tiny proteins to create a compeling new worldview.