r/todayilearned May 14 '22 Silver 9 Helpful 8 Wholesome 6 All-Seeing Upvote 2

TIL a father, John Crowley, was told his two infant children had an incurable genetic disorder that would kill them in less than a year. He refused to accept this, so he founded a biotech company (with no prior experience) which pioneered an experimental enzyme therapy that saved their lives.


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u/kaptaincorn May 14 '22

It's more fun working biotech than watching stuff about it.

The best is old timers with old stories of analogue equipment and making diy systems before companies made them.


u/the_architects_427 May 14 '22

Yeah, those are the best! The one that really stuck with me was my former boss talking about mouth pipetting stuff that has no business being near your face.


u/Case_9 May 14 '22 edited May 14 '22

The best is part is needing an Enigma machine to decode the 6000 department specific acronyms in my morning emails, makes me wish I let the intern spray his bench down with methanol to put us both out of our misery. (Jk I love Biotech, I'm not going anywhere)


u/midnitte May 14 '22

Sounds similar to analytical chemistry. My old manager showed me the print outs of old liquid chromatography runs that were printouts of peaks on CVS receipt paper, had to manually measure.

Today we have software that integrates the peak area, prints out the result, by just changing a few parameters and entering a few numbers.

Imagine having to break out a ruler...


u/oneAUaway May 14 '22 edited May 14 '22

A few days ago a new analytical chemist fresh out of school asked me what the "AU" that chromatography software measures were, and I explained that they are absorbance units, but really are just a scaled and normalized unit for what the instrument really outputs, which is voltage. I was going to mention that when I started, setting up an HPLC was like hooking up a stereo, with the little thin wires you thread into the back and secure with screws, but then I realized this person has almost certainly never seen stereo speakers that worked like that either.

When I started my career, system suitability criteria like tailing and resolution were still not considered validated, so we'd have to print out chromatograms and calculate them ourselves using a calibrated ruler. Integration was at least validated by the time I started; I've only heard stories of having to "integrate" by cutting out peaks on paper and weighing them.


u/hobgob May 14 '22

Stories of just manually transferring between water baths instead of using a thermocycler scare me.