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DBL%20Hendrix%20small.png College chemistry, 1983

Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

Dbl%20new%20portrait%20B%26W.png After 10 years of blogging. . .

Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek email him directly: Twitter: Dereklowe

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April 24, 2005

The Consolations of Pure Research

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Posted by Derek

I mentioned the other day that I'm getting close to another run of experiments on the research idea I've been messing with for a couple of years now. For those who haven't been following this tedious tale, so far I've had - well, I've had no real success at all. I thought at one point that something might have worked, but it didn't repeat in any detail.

So, why am I coming back for more punishment? Several reasons: for one thing, I can now think of possible confounding variables in the earlier runs that could have rendered them unable to work. (Many of these are addressed in the current experiments.) Second, I still - in the face of a fair amount of evidence, I admit - believe that this whole thing should work. Some roughly similar chemistry has worked for others, and I think that my modifications (which should make the final technique much more broadly useful, I think) aren't big enough to mess up the whole system.

And the third reason is that I enjoy this kind of work very much. It's a luxury to be able to work on your own ideas in industry, outside the bounds of a particular project, that is. (When we're working on inhibitors of XYZ kinase, I'm free, naturally, to have any ideas I want to about inhibitors of XYZ kinase.) Doing this kind of blue-sky side work is a nice change.

I'll know in the next couple of days if my colleagues in the analytical group are ready for me, and the first run of experiments will take a couple of days themselves. Then there's the time it takes to analyze them (on the instruments, that is - once I see the data, I'll know in a couple of minutes if things have worked out or not.)

Every time I come back to this work, I have a clearer idea of what's going on, and a better way to see it. If you keep doing that, you eventually break through. Right?

Comments (3) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Birth of an Idea


1. Greg Hlatky on April 25, 2005 7:42 AM writes...


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2. Derek Lowe on April 25, 2005 9:48 PM writes...

I was afraid that that was the answer!

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3. qetzal on April 26, 2005 6:59 PM writes...

I think what you meant, Derek, was you eventually break down.


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