It is the start of a new academic year, and new students will be meeting their BCMB professors for the first time. If you’re just arriving at Hopkins this seems a bit overwhelming, as there are currently 107 faculty listed on the BCMB roster (though there are likely more). Let me help you out by describing just six of the professors who you will likely meet during your first days of class. For the rest of you, let’s take a trip down memory lane. Late summer is the perfect time for reflection about your scientific disposition, so let’s all answer the question “Which BCMB professor are you?”.
Mario Amzel. His slight smile reveals his amusement at the physical world. He smokes a pipe while considering enthalpy calculations for tobacco combustion. He grows crystals and mustaches with equal vigor. I also hear he throws a wonderful New Year’s party. He is a person of discriminating taste.
Dan Leahy. Summer or winter, he’s ready for a hike in his Northface® fleece vest. He’ll chat with you about electron density maps and PyMol structures over a quick coffee break. There will be a test at the end, but it’s open book, and should already know the answers.
Rachel Green. She kids you, but you’re not at all sure she’s kidding. But she is, and all kidding aside, when you’re working with RNA it’s prudent to be a bit cautious. Professor Green will prepare you for the exam, and you can bet there will be questions about ribosomes. Just make sure you know your translation initiation, or else you might think she’s calling you an APE!
Jon Lorsch. Why is Jon Lorsch a perennial student favorite? Is it his wry sense of humor? His candor? His passing resemblance to Jon Lovitz? His capacity for public humiliation? It is all of the above.
David Shortle. Nuclear Magnetic Resonance is an abstract concept. There are water molecules, and procession of solutes, and radio waves to detect it all. Nevertheless, Professor Shortle has devised a foolproof visual aid to explain it all. He is extremely accommodating. You can pick his brain after class about spin-spin coupling and chemical shifts, and it will all make sense, until the exam.
Carolyn Machamer. Carolyn Machamer is the director of BCMB, runs a productive lab, and teaches multiple classes. Even with her heavy schedule, she finds time to meet regularly with students, and her door is almost always open. If you want to know about the “ins and outs” of membrane trafficking, she’s the one to ask.
So, which BCMB professor are you most like?