3D model ribosome large subunit, obtained from transmission electron micrographs and 3D computer reconstruction. Research by Ada Yonath, Nobel Prize Laureate in Chemistry, Kevin Leonard and Talmon Arad (below).
In 1976, Talmon Arad joined the EMBL Structural and Computational Biology Unit as a Research Technician for Kevin Leonard, whose task it was to build an electron microscope lab. Talmon had a few years’ experience in this field, and was looking forward to what turned out to be an incredible nine-year learning curve. He tells us his story:
“At EMBL I learnt the most sophisticated methods in electron and cryo electron microscopy. I later developed this method at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, where it was unknown at the time. I helped grow the lab, bringing with me state-of-the-art techniques while ordering more modern microscopes. Here, I also worked with Professor Ada Yonath on the ribosome structure. Together with Kevin Leonard we were proud to take part in the research that led to her Nobel prize.
“I have worked on bone structure for many years since then, discovering information otherwise unknown about the bone at a molecular level.
“I still say that EMBL is ‘my’ laboratory, because I was there from the very beginning. I continued to collaborate with Kevin after I left in 1984, offering a course together on 3D reconstruction, and returning to use EMBL facilities. I now visit Germany annually, which always means a trip to EMBL Heidelberg.”
Although officially retired, Talmon still works as a consultant, helping students and researchers in the use of electron microscopes at the Weizmann Institute. There are currently 11 EMBL alumni living in Israel, working mainly at the Weizmann Institute, as well as various universities and hospitals.