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UCSD Scientist Shares Nobel Prize for Molecular Research

UC San Diego chemist Roger Tsien will share the 2008 Nobel Prize in chemistry for the discovery of green fluorescent protein and groundbreaking work to develop fluorescent molecules that enter cells and light up their inner workings, the university said Oct 8.

Tsien shares the award with Martin Chalfie of Columbia University in New York, and Osamu Shimomura of the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass., and Boston University School of Medicine.

Green fluorescent proteins are used as a tagging tool in life sciences and related research. Researchers can connect the proteins to other proteins

that would otherwise be invisible to scientists.

“This glowing marker allows them to watch the movements, positions and interactions of the tagged proteins,” the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said in its announcement.

Tsien, a Ph.D. professor of pharmacology, chemistry and biochemistry at UCSD and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, has dedicated his career to the development and application of fluorescent protein probes that enable scientists to monitor cellular function, according to a UCSD news release.

He describes his life’s work as “building molecules to look inside of cells, allowing us to see beyond what the human eye can see,” the university said.

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Reading Devices:
Last week, Sony announced it was moving operations for its portable reading device from Japan to San Diego, the home of its North American headquarters. The move comes because Sony’s Reader Digital Book device is more popular in U.S. markets than Japan, according to company executives.

However, it is widely seen as less popular than the other digital book reading device, Amazon.com’s Kindle, although neither business releases sales figures.

In August, a Citigroup analyst predicted sales of the Amazon.com Kindle book reader would hit 380,000 this year.

Both are expected to draw competition as the popularity for such devices grows. Last month, Plastic Logic unveiled a still unnamed reading device that bends like a notebook at the DEMOfall 08 technology conference in San Diego. That is expected to debut next year. And with software, readers can download and read books on Apple’s iPhone.

However, the Kindle, the first to be introduced to the market, is considered the gold standard. Like the Kindle, the Reader’s display screen can be read in bright sunlight. However, unlike the Kindle’s wireless Sprint connection, the Reader uses a removable memory card, as well as built-in memory.

The Kindle costs $359. The Reader retails for $299.

Sony will market the Reader in Europe from its San Diego headquarters.

Send technology news items to Ned Randolph at nrandolph@sdbj.com.


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