Advisory Board

Dr. Marc Zimmer

The article Sea Coral’s Trick Helps Scientists Tag Proteins said

Dendra is the latest addition to the growing family of photoactivatable fluorescent proteins (PAFPs), innovative imaging tools first made possible by Douglas Prasher, who isolated the gene for green fluorescent protein (GFP) from a species of bioluminescent jellyfish in 1992, and Martin Chalfie, who first used GFP for labeling in 1994, said Marc Zimmer, a computational chemist at Connecticut College and author of Glowing Genes: A Revolution in Biotechnology (2005).
A major breakthrough in fluorescent protein applications came when Sergey Lukyanov first found GFP-like proteins in corals, Zimmer said. Before Lukyanov, no one had looked for GFP-like proteins in corals because they do not glow in the dark like fireflies and jellyfish. The corals’ native green and red fluorescent proteins give off light only when stimulated by higher intensity light. Lukyanov’s findings resulted in the discovery of many new GFP-like proteins in non-bioluminescent and sometimes even non-fluorescent marine organisms, Zimmer said.

Dr. Marc Zimmer is Barbara Zaccheo Kohn ‘72 Professor of Chemistry at Connecticut College and project director for the K-HHMI Modules in Emerging Fields Visiting Fellows and CCSSP, Connecticut College Summer Science Program.
Marc is author of Glowing Genes: A Revolution In Biotechnology, the first popular science book on jellyfish and firefly proteins, which can help fight cancer, create new products, improve agriculture and combat terrorism. The book presents an overview of the many uses of these glowing proteins to kill and image cancer cells, monitor bacterial infections and light up in the presence of pollution.
He has authored or coauthored Science and the Skeptic: Discerning Fact from Fiction, The Role of the Protein Matrix in GFP Fluorescence in Photochemistry and Photobiology, How to Find Students’ Inner Geek in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Mutagenesis Evidence that the Partial Reactions of Firefly Bioluminescence Are Catalyzed by Different Conformations of the Luciferase C-Terminal Domain in Chemistry, and Substrate Selectivity and Conformational Space Available to Bromoxynil and Acrylonitrile in Iron Nitrile Hydratase in Dalton Transactions, the leading and highest ranked European journal for general inorganic chemistry. Read his recent publications list!
He earned a B.S. and M.S. in Chemistry from the University of Witwatersrand South Africa, a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and did his Post-Doctorate work at Yale University. He won the 2001 John S. King Memorial Award.
Listen to Marc’s interview by Skepticality: Truth in podcasting! See some cool uses of Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP)! Read his LinkedIn profile.