In The High Desert, Molecular Sculpture
The hum of pickup trucks pervades Kit Carson Road in downtown Taos, New Mexico. But it’s easy to escape. The street is chockablock with small art galleries, eager for out-of-towners to duck inside. And one in particular feels like home to the X-ray crystallographers who’ve descended on Taos for a Keystone Conference on G-protein coupled receptors and ion channels. It’s the Wilder-Nightingale Gallery, and it’s displaying work by one of their own.
Like those crystallographers, Edgar Meyer used to spend his days figuring out the structures of proteins. Among his more colorful conquests are a component of the venom from Eastern diamondback rattlesnakes, and proteins from fire ants and termites. He even had a hand in founding the Protein Data Bank, the online hub where researchers deposit all the structural information for the proteins they analyze.
These days, he’s stopped analyzing Nature’s structures and started sculpting ones of his own- not in protein but in wood and bronze. His work is scattered about Wilder-Nightingale’s other collections- paintings of native peoples and mountain vistas.