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Lab Safety


March 14, 2020 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 98, Issue 10


Letters to the editor

Lab allergies

While working as a postdoctoral fellow at the Ohio State University in Columbus, 1974–76, in the laboratory of Garfield P. Royer, we routinely used the water soluble carbodiimide 1-ethyl-3-(3-dimethylaminopropyl)carbodiimide hydrochloride for enzyme immobilizations. It was a typical academic lab of the time and somewhat grubby. One day I decided to wipe down a hood and used a sponge and water. I did not wear gloves. Big mistake! My hands and palms turned a purple red as if they had been burned. A couple of hours later I developed hives over much of my body, which itched a lot. I went to the emergency room and was treated for an allergic reaction. Fortunately, my lungs were not involved. Thereafter, I was extremely cautious with the carbodiimide and had no further problems. It never occurred to me to say much about it at the time. Thank you for publishing this warning on allergic reactions from working with coupling agents (C&EN, Jan. 13, 2020, page 4).

Frederick A. Liberatore
Leicester, Massachusetts

Carolyn Bertozzi

I consider Carolyn Bertozzi to be the finest carbohydrate chemist of my lifetime. Now a retired (50-year American Chemical Society member) sugar/polysaccharide chemist, I recognize the range and significance of her accomplishments. That said, I believe that the phrase under the title of her profile in the Feb. 3 issue (“As she turns from building biological tools to building biotech companies”) understates her current status and impact. While building companies, she and her team also not only continue to develop tools but also advance knowledge in this extremely complex area of glycoscience. It is a pleasure to follow and learn from her research. Dr. Bertozzi was brave to enter this area “on the ground floor.”

Landis W. Doner
Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania



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