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Pink teeth


More help from my cousin Sir Charles Harrington
Dorothy Hodgkin Scientist
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Here there's a description of the isolation of insulin is given.

[Q] It's actually in the book, is it?

Yes, it's in the book. Here, 'lastly, and most important of all, we have what is called pancreatic diabetes'. And this goes on... isolation of a hormone.

[Q] So that book had a definite influence on you?


[Q] So did you meet... you called him Bobby Harrington... that meant that you must have met him and known him?

Oh, that was just what his family name was. Later on, when I met him, he was already Sir Charles Harrington, and very distinguished, but in these days he wasn't.

[Q] Did he have any other influence on you?

Yes, he did, because later he worked on insulin himself and...

[Q] He did.

And I went to consult him when I became interested in working on insulin. Actually, he said, 'Why work on insulin? It isn't really a proper protein. It hasn't got any... sugar attached to it at all'. In that sense it's true, but he regarded that as necessary for the...

[Q] Definition?

Protein activity. He suggested instead that we try to work on lactoglobulin, which he had some in his lab, which Dr Kekwick was working on. So he gave some to me to take back to Oxford, and Dennis Riley, who was working with me at the time as my first research student, took very beautiful photographs.


British pioneer of X-ray crystallography, Dorothy Hodgkin (1910-1994), is best known for her ground-breaking discovery of the structures of penicillin, insulin and vitamin B12. At age 18, she started studying chemistry at Somerville College, Oxford, then one of the University of Oxford colleges for women only. She also studied at the University of Cambridge under John Desmond Bernal, where she became aware of the potential of X-ray crystallography to determine the structure of proteins. Together with Sydney Brenner, Jack Dunitz, Leslie Orgel, and Beryl Oughton, she was one of the first people in April 1953 to see the model of the structure of DNA, constructed by Francis Crick and James Watson. She was awarded the 1964 Nobel Prize in Chemistry and is also known for her peace work with organisations such as Science for Peace and the Medical Aid Committee for Vietnam. All recorded material copyright of The Biochemical Society.

Listeners: Guy Dodson

Guy Dodson studied chemistry and physical science at the University of New Zealand, followed by a PhD on the crystallographic study of an alkaloid. In 1961, he came to Oxford to work on the crystal structure of insulin. In the mid 1970s Guy and his wife moved to York University to establish a laboratory. In addition to insulin studies the laboratory has investigated many complex molecules of medical significance, including haemoglobin, myoglobin, HIV related proteins, proteases and proteins involved in managing nucleic acids in cells. In 1993, he went to the NIMR in London to establish a crystallographic group in an environment that spanned molecular, physiological and disease-related disciplines. Here his research began on some cell signalling proteins. His interests on medically relevant proteins included prions, malarial and TB proteins, and some clinically relevant thrombin inhibitors. Guy Dodson retired in 2004 but is still finding much to do in York and the NIMR.

Tags: Fundamentals of Biochemistry, Sir Charles Harrington

Duration: 2 minutes, 25 seconds

Date story recorded: 1990

Date story went live: 02 June 2008