Natural organic compounds that contain fluorine are rare because living organisms—with a few exceptions—do not produce them. American scientists have now genetically engineered a microbial host for organofluorine metabolism, allowing it to produce a fluoridated intermediate known as a diketide. As reported in the journal Angewandte Chemie , the diketide could then be used as a monomer for the in vivo production of fluorinated bioplastics.
Throughout my childhood and young adulthood, I flirted with different answers to this ever-present question: teacher, pediatrician, school psychologist, child psychologist. Having earned a BA in psychology (and classics) from the University of Virginia in 2000, I settled on clinical psychologist, with the goal of teaching college students and treating patients. Since this required a PhD, I applied to several highly competitive doctoral programs but was rejected by all of them. What would have happened had I been accepted? For one thing, I would have missed becoming acquainted with George and Martha Washington.