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Christian Boehmer Anfinsen (1916–1995)

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NIH Glassblowers Capillary Viscometer, 1970

Donated by Dr. Waldo R. Fisher, Accession 00.0011.001

NIH Glassblowers Capillary Viscometer

NIH Glassblowers Capillary Viscometer

From the collection of the NIH Stetten Museum

This capillary viscometer was created by NIH glassblowers especially for Dr. Waldo Fisher. Fisher had won a year in Dr. Christian Anfinsen’s laboratory (1971-72) through a U.S. Public Health Service Career Development Award. During that year, Fisher worked on the enzyme cytochrome c, using it as another example of Anfinsen’s Thermodynamic Hypothesis on the relation between a protein’s amino acid structure and its three-dimensional shape. Devices such as viscometers, which measure a liquid’s viscosity (thickness), were common in the 1960-70s, and were used in the physical characterization of proteins. This one was specially made to measure very small amounts of liquid.

Fisher went on to become a Distinguished Service Professor of Medicine at the University of Florida, where he taught, practiced clinical medicine, and did research. His work on lipid transporting proteins was important in developing treatments for high cholesterol.

Waldo Fisher illustrating lipoproteins in individuals

Photo of Waldo Fisher, winter 1973

University of Florida Health Sciences Center archives

Read the paper that Fisher wrote during his prize year in Anfinsen’s laboratory: “On the Role of Heme in the Formation of the Structure of Cytochrome c”, by Waldo R. Fisher, Hiroshi Taniuchi and Christian B. Anfinsen. Journal of Biological Chemistry, Vol. 248, No. 9: pages 3188-3195, May 10, 1973.

Artifacts