Stevens:We are not currently in any
business partnerships, nor are any
planned in the near future. We do
offer fermentation services and product
homogenization to our local colleagues
for a very reasonable rate. As
our laboratory expands and our personnel
increase, we hope to make
these services available to laboratories
outside our university.
BioPharm: As you believe the future of structural biology lies in the hard-toisolate complex protein assemblies, do you feel that youre at the beginning of a trend in returning to the use of largescale fermentors?
Stevens: It may very well be some years down the road, and certainly each large macromolecular complex will present its own technical challenges, but I think that there will be a number of structural biologists and collaborators who will choose to go this route. Roger Kornberg at Stanford University reported that crystallization of the RNA polymerase II complex from yeast required 10,000 liters of fermentation to produce the required amount of protein complex. Clearly the payoff was huge. I can see that this will be required in many other cases and that large-scale cultures will be the only way to address interesting biological problems. Investigators who employ brute-force approaches will be the ones who solve large, interesting structures.