Thursday, October 16, 2008

Nobel Prize contributor found working at a Toyota dealership

When his research grant ran out, Doug Prasher gave his work to a colleague. Guess who won the prize.
DealersEdge Daily Headlines

A scientist who contributed to the research behind this year's Nobel Prize in chemistry has been shut out from the glory and will remain in Alabama working as a shuttle driver for a Toyota dealership while three of his colleagues enjoy a $1.4 million payday, reports the New York Post.

Twenty years ago, Dr. Douglas Prasher was one of the driving forces behind research that earned a Nobel Prize in chemistry this week. While his former colleagues will fly to Stockholm in December to accept the Nobel Prize and a $1.4 million check, the former Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution scientist will be earning $10 an hour.

In the late 1980s, Dr. Prasher began research on a fluorescent protein found in a type of jellyfish and - working with a $220,000 grant from the American Cancer Society - was able to isolate and clone the gene that helped create it.

When his grant money ran out, he voluntarily gave copies of the genes he had developed to Columbia University's Martin Chalfie - one of three men to win the Nobel this week for their work on fluorescent proteins.

Dr. Prasher took the dealership job after a year of unemployment so he could put his kids though college.

His contribution was acknowledged by one of the Nobel laureates, Professor Chalfie, who said, “they could've easily given the prize to Douglas (Prasher) and the other two and left me out."

The Nobel committee only allows three people to share a prize. Despite his work, Dr. Prasher lost out.

According to published reports, as a result of the publicity, Dr. Prasher has received job inquiries from several research groups.


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