Green’s idea of fun doesn’t stop at the lab, says former PhD student Luisa Cochella, who now runs her own group at the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology in Vienna. “Rachel is always the first person out on the dance floor at any meeting. In 2002, at the Ribosome Meeting at Cold Spring Harbor Labs, we all ended up singing ‘We love the ribosome,’” Cochella says. Green sang the loudest of them all.
And it’s a love still pounding strong a decade and a half down the road. “People have asked why I care so much,” Green says. “The ribosome is this elaborate, finely tuned, efficient machine. In all parts of my career, I’ve tried to understand the order and speed of the chemical reactions that make biology work. For the ribosome, understanding these parameters can tell us how the ribosome does its magic – how it decides what to translate, and how it accurately synthesizes the tens of thousands of wildly different proteins in each of us. And in the protein-based world we now live in, this is at the core of everything.” ■
Story by Carrie Arnold
Photography by Eli Meir Kaplan