Welcome to the new home of Terra Sigillata, a blog about the pharmacology and chemistry of natural product drugs and dietary supplements, issues of under-represented groups in the STEMM disciplines, science and medical journalism, and the influence of science in popular culture.
Tomorrow, I’ll tell you more about the blog itself but I wanted to launch with a personal narrative of how I got here.
Hello, my name is David…and I’m a science blogger
I’m your humble blogger, David Kroll, a molecular cancer pharmacologist and professor in the pharmaceutical sciences at a state university in the southern US. If you are an old-time reader of Terra Sig, you’ll know me as Abel Pharmboy, the pseudonym I selected to honor John Jacob Abel. Abel is considered the American father of pharmacology, having founded the first US departments of pharmacology (at Michigan and Johns Hopkins) as well as the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET), the Journal of Biological Chemistry, and the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.
But feel free to call me Abel. It’s a habit for many and folks in my daily life still know me as Abel.
And if you followed me on Twitter @abelpharmboy, just go ahead and follow me now @davidkroll.
After a fantastic four year run at ScienceBlogs.com, Terra Sig has spent a month in indie blog limbo while I searched for the right home for us. Some of my very dear friends are now at the wonderful new blog collective, Scientopia. I do hope to have a presence there in an educational capacity.
But where to bring little ol’ Abel and his Terra Sigillata?
I was fortunate to have a post of mine picked up last October by Dr. Carmen Drahl, an associate editor at Chemical & Engineering News and co-blogger at the CENtral Science pharma blog, The Haystack. Carmen referenced my defense of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry to Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, Thomas Steitz, and Ada Yonath “for studies of the structure and function of the ribosome.”
On the morning of the award, I anticipated the response of my chemist friends as to this prize being given for a series of biological work. However, I noted from the prize announcement a chemical scheme representing catalysis by the ribosome and noted, “if I see electrons being pushed around, it’s chemistry.”
Carmen’s coverage of my post made it to the editor’s page of a subsequent issue of ACS Chemical Biology – I submit that pharmacology was the original chemical biology – and I had the chance to meet her at ScienceOnline2010, an international science writing and communications conference held in Research Triangle Park, NC, each January.
Truth be told, my scientific career would be nowhere if not for my collaborations and friendships with chemists. As I remind my graduate students and postdocs, you can’t PCR a small organic molecule. You have to work with someone who can synthesize it or, in our case, isolate it from plants or filamentous fungi.
The Ballad of Carmen and Rachel (with apologies to my wife)
When I left ScienceBlogs, I tweeted Carmen and inquired as to whether CENtral Science might be interested in giving a home to an itinerant pharmacology blogger who plays well with chemists. She introduced me to C&EN Online Editor, Rachel Pepling, an erudite University of Florida graduate who has worked behind the scenes to make today possible.
I have to say one thing about these C&EN folks: some of my best friends, IRL or otherwise, have been made at ScienceBlogs. But the last few weeks of e-mail and telephone interactions with Rachel and this week’s visit with everyone at the American Chemical Society meeting in Boston has been nothing but the warmest of welcomes that extends all the way up to C&EN Editor-in-Chief, Rudy Baum.
The hardened journalists here at C&EN are going to have to get used to the fact that I am a maudlin softie and must portray them as the kind people they are. A Sunday night dinner at the home of Boston editor, Amanda Yarnell, with C&EN staffers told me that I had picked the right place to come.
The right chemistry.
Today, I had the good fortune of participating in a ACS Medicinal Chemistry Lunch-and-Learn session on pharmaceutical and chemistry blogging led by Carmen. The dignitaries I served with were the legendary medicinal chemist pharmablogger, Derek Lowe (In The Pipeline), the venerable pharma business newsman and blogger, Ed Silverman (Pharmalot), and a postdoc who shows me our future is in good hands, chemist and K-12 outreach devotee, Michael Tarselli of Scripps Florida.
According to the liveblog of the session by Lisa Jarvis at The Haystack, Terra Sig joined CENtral Science at 12:45 pm EDT.
I’ll soon be porting over some classic posts, firming up the blogroll, and just generally settling in while we have the fresh-new-blog-smell. I apologize in advance to longtime readers that commenting requires registration with WordPress if you don’t already have one. But just do it once and you can comment here and at the excellent blogs here at CENtral Science.
I’m reminded that I wouldn’t have this opportunity here if it were not for your loyal readership and robust participation in the discussion threads of our posts.
Welcome to our new digs and thank you for your support over the years.
More tomorrow on why “Terra Sigillata” has anything to do with pharmacology and chemistry.