“Flowers are the sweetest things God ever made, and forgot to put a soul into.” ~Henry Beecher

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Interview with a Great Scientist

For almost three years, I’ve been practicing Bikram Yoga, a series of 26 postures that are performed in a very hot room. The experience has been a life-changing one for me. It has helped me to get into the best shape physically that I have ever been in my life and it has allowed me to move past so many of my self-imposed limitations. It has also introduced me to lots of great people who share the same values about their health and well-being. One such person is Francois Franceschi. You can meet him here:

Francois is a scientist who has spent most of his scientific career studying a structure in our cells called the ribosome. Without this large enzyme, our lives would not exist –neither would the lives of bacteria and it’s their ribosomes that are often targeted with antibiotics. For many years, Francois collaborated with Ada Yonath, another great scientist who is one of the recipients of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry this year and he made significant contributions into that work. In fact, even when it was believed that what they were trying to achieve was impossible, they never gave up, understanding that the reward would be well worth the risk of persevering. This work did finally pay off because of ingenuity and because the tools used to reach their goal became more sophisticated.

Today, Francois is still studying the ribosome, working for a company founded by a second Nobel Prize winner, Thomas Steitz (the third is Venkatraman Ramakrishnan). There, he works together with an outstanding group of people to further the studies on bacterial ribosomes in order to develop new drugs to treat infections against antibiotic-resistant bugs, which is a very real issue we face today.

Francois is one of those remarkable people whose passion and commitment to excellence is helping to improve the lives of us all. We know they’re out there when we see the fruits of their dedicated work show up and it’s even more of a blessing to personally know some of these great human beings who inspire others to follow their passions. Knowing Francois and practicing yoga with him is one of those rare opportunities for me. One for which I am truly grateful.

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