About the Author(s)
Richard E. Dickerson is Professor Emeritus in the Molecular Biology Institute of the University of California, Los Angeles. It was 1957 when he received his Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from the University of Minnesota. His research (with William N. Lipscomb) involved the x-ray crystal structure analysis of inorganic molecules (boron hydrides). Postdoctoral work included fellowships at Leeds University, England (in the laboratory of Peter Wheatley of the Inorganic Chemistry Department) and Cambridge University. At Cambridge, in the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology (under John C. Kendrew), he helped to solve the first protein structure, that of sperm whale myoglobin. Later, at Caltech (1963), Dr. Dickerson solved and compared the structures of
cytochromes, electron-transport proteins from mammals, fish, and microorganisms, with the goal of understanding both how they functioned and how they had evolved from common precursor molecules. More recently, he began a study of the way in which base sequence affects the structure of a DNA double helix, and how specific DNA sequences are recognized by drugs and control molecules. His lab was the first to carry out a single-crystal x-ray structure analysis of a B-DNA helix. Having come into his own in its final years, Dr. Dickerson offers a unique perspective on the discoveries and personalities that contributed to the molecular biology "revolution."
"The book is obviously a labor of love; it is copiously illustrated and peppered with humor. The volume was prepared as a text for a course. However, beyond such course work, it is also warmly recommended for all structural chemists whether or not versed in crystallography, because it contains a wealth of information and instruction about the structure elucidation of biological macromolecules, about the history of the field, and--what is especially rare in scientific literature--it brings all this to the reader with a personal touch."--Istvan Hargittai, Struct Chem
"The book is particularly well-suited for classroom instruction. In fact, the text grew out of a graduate course in structural biology that Dickerson teaches at UCLA. His text provides most of the relevant literature in one convenient location and facilitates classroom discussion by including a set of focused conversation questions at the end of each chapter. It also provides a valuable introduction for non-structural biologists interested in the development of X-ray crystallography."--Scott A. Strobel, Structure
"The book will clearly serve its intended purpose as an outline for a graduate course on the origins and methods of structural molecular biology, but it is also highly recommended for its insights into the lives and thought processes of those who laid the foundations of the field."--Fred Eiserling, Journal of Structural Biology
"Dickerson has not only done a scholarly job of plotting a route through the scientific literature to reveal the key advances in structural molecular biology, he also introduces the experimental techniques (with many helpful diagrams) to explain X-ray diffraction and protein crystallography. The book provides the basis for a stimulating postgraduate course, or could be read by anyone who wants a better understanding of the 'giants' of 20th-century biology."--Linda A. Amos, The Quarterly Review of Biology
"A must for students of structural biology."--Richard A. Wing, Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine