Daylight lingers at 10:30 pm. A gentle breeze from the Baltic Sea teases the curtains in Alex Evilevitch's family home in Malmö, Sweden. He is downstairs, updating what amounts to a family science museum that his grandfather, Abram, created. He notices a book co-authored by Abram and Alex's father, Mark. It stirs in Alex a childhood memory of growing up in St. Petersburg, Russia. It's where his father is known as the "Father of Lake Baikal" for his role in saving the world's most voluminous body of fresh water from industrial pollution by using bacteria to purify water.
Mark Evilevitch moved his family to Sweden, where he continued the family's scientific tradition as a professor at Anox at Ideon scientific village in Lund. He often prophesizes to Alex that biophysics would be the science of the future. The son heeded the message.
Next time you're lying in bed sick with the flu, wondering why somebody hasn't invented a cure for it, you can rest assured that Alex Evilevitch is working on it. For the first time, Evilevitch—now a Carnegie Mellon University physicist—has directly measured the energy associated with the expulsion of viral DNA, a pivotal discovery toward fully understanding the physical mechanisms that control viral infection and designing drugs to interfere with the process.
The breakthrough was recently reported in the Journal of Molecular Biology, a renowned scientific publication that publishes original scientific research concerning studies of organisms or their components at the molecular level.
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Physicist Measures Virus' Energy