J.J. La Clair, the controversial chemist (for background, see http://www.nature.com/news/2006/060731/full/442492c.html) in the mutton chop sideburns, gave a talk today to a packed room. It was hot, stuffy, and young in there, as he talked us, mic-less, through what he called “an approach used in a number of labs that I’ve developed, optimized and made easier to use.” As far as I could tell as a layman, the approach had to do with designing synthesis of natural products with florescent labeling and biological tests in mind. I’ll leave an evaluation of the technical content to others more synthesis (or biology)-savvy than I. I’ll just mention that his first slide talked about his Xenobe Research Institute (which is pronounced “zen-OH-bee”). His slide said that the company was working on 80 studies with academe, industry and government. He must be a pretty busy man.
He acknowledged the contretemps over his claimed synthesis of hexacyclinol—and even included on his acknowledgement page a shot of the T-shirt being sold which memorializes the controversy, saying that he salutes creativity in all forms. And yes, that was my headline on the shirt, but I didn’t write it. Reporters very rarely write our own headlines—but we do get to write our own blog post titles. So I decree that the title of this post shall be: “butternut squash soup”, since that is what I am eating right now.