‘METHOD OF THE YEAR’
Intramural Cryo-EM Lab Achieves Atomic Resolution

Dr. Sriram Subramaniam reveals the innards
of a Titan Krios, used to produce atomicresolution
cryo-EM images.
Dr. Sriram Subramaniam reveals the innards of a Titan Krios, used to produce atomic resolution cryo-EM images.

In the late 1990s, Dr. Sriram Subramaniam began to feel restless at work. After a few years of studying how fruit flies see, the then-junior faculty member at Johns Hopkins University was looking for something new to do. He found himself one day sitting across from NIH deputy director for intramural research Dr. Michael Gottesman and NIH distinguished investigator Dr. William Eaton of NIDDK.

For some time, explained Subramaniam—a biochemist at heart and by training—he had wanted to “walk inside” a retina cell (or any cell, for that matter) and be able to see all of it, inside and out. He had an idea to employ electron microscopy in this quest, he told the two veteran scientists. His interests seemed to match Eaton’s and Gottesman’s desire to bring more electron microscopy to the NIH campus. Intrigued, Eaton, a longtime structural biologist, asked whether Subramaniam had much experience with electron microscopy. Not really, Subramaniam admitted, but “nobody had told me I couldn’t do it. I thought it was a worthwhile thing to do…I had never done anything like this, but that didn’t seem to bother them.”

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EXERCISE CAN COUNTERACT
Columbia’s Fried Describes Syndrome of Frailty

Dr. Linda P. Fried of
Columbia University
discusses frailty.
Dr. Linda P. Fried of Columbia University discusses frailty.

You get the feeling that if Dr. Linda P. Fried, dean of the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, were in charge of things, exercise classes for frail adults would be as common across the land as kindergarten enrollment is for youngsters.

There’s a canard among those who study older adults: A gerontologist can spot frailty at 50 yards. Fried examined it much more closely—“from cells to society”—and reported her findings Jan. 14 for an NIH audience in the Porter Bldg.

“This is something I’ve been trying to figure out for several decades,” said Fried, who explained that, for the past 60 years, the descent from resilience to frailty in some older people has been the “raison d’etre” of geriatric medicine in the United States. “Who are these people and why is this going on?”

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