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Christian Boehmer Anfinsen (1916–1995)

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Solid phase peptide synthesizer,
c. 1970

Donated by Dr. Christian Anfinsen, Accession 90.0007.001

Anfinsen was always trying the newest technology to advance his research. In 1963, Bruce Merrifield at Rockefeller Institute developed the technique of solid-phase protein synthesis. In this method, the peptide is bound to an insoluble support, usually a bead, and any unreacted reagents left at the end of any step in the process are removed by a simple washing. Anfinsen tried this technique, but abandoned it because it could not handle large proteins like Staphylococcal nuclease. He kept this equipment, though, in case it could be used in other experiments.

Solid Phase Peptide Synthesizer

From the collection of the NIH Stetten Museum

Read Anfinsen’s thorough history of his experiments, including a discussion of solid phase peptide synthesis, in “Principles that Govern the Folding of Protein Chains,” Science, 20 July 1973, Volume 181, Number 4096.

Artifacts