Glancing over the peripatetic history of the single-particle reconstruction method, from its obscure beginning in 1978 to its present wide acceptance makes me realize that the technique has succeeded in a way nobody imagined. For one, I would not have predicted that a molecule, after the harsh treatment of freeze-plunging and without support of companions in a crystal matrix, would allow us to see molecular detail at its very periphery.
Dr. Joachim Frank is a HHMI investigator, and also a Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics and of Biological Sciences at Columbia University, and Distinguished Professor of the State University of New York at Albany. Born and educated in Germany, he received his Diplom in physics from the University of Munich. In his doctoral research, conducted at the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry, Martinsried, and at the Technical University of Munich, he developed methods of digital image analysis as applied to electron microscopy. In his postdoctoral research, in the United States and at the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge, U.K., he worked on problems of electron optics and image processing. In 1975 Dr. Frank joined the Wadsworth Center in Albany, New York… Read more.