Seeing the Invisible: 50 Years of Macromolecular Visualization

A Visualization in Wood

The Richardsons were always thinking about different ways to present different aspects of protein structure. This model cut from closet-pole wood embodies the scientific idea of compact protein folding.

Wooden Cα model of BPTI

Wooden Cα model of BPTI

Wooden Cα model of BPTI
When Dave & Jane got a miter/bevel saw for building their house in Duke Forest, the first thing they made with it was the pieces for this wooden model of the BPTI protein backbone. The cuts use the same parameters as for the wire-bender models but the wood is broad enough that the parts nearly touch at backbone hydrogen-bonding distance. 

Biophysical Journal cover, Volume 63, no. 5,  1992

Biophysical Journal cover, Volume 63, no. 5, 1992

Biophysical Journal cover, Vol. 63, no. 5, 1992
The wooden BPTI model is shown on this cover of Biophysical Journal, taken from the article on Jane's National Lecture, "Looking at Proteins: Representations, Folding, Packing, and Design."