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Gopinath Kartha (26 January 1927 – 18 June 1984) was a prominent crystallographer of Indian origin. In 1967, he determined the molecular structure of the enzyme ribonuclease. This was the first protein structure elucidated and published in the United States.
Early life and education
Gopinath Kartha was born in Cherthala, near Alappuzha in the state of Kerala, India. He went to school at Sanathanadharma Vidya Sala in Alappuzha. His undergraduate diploma in Math, Physics, and Chemistry was from University College, Thiruvananthapuram(Trivandrum). He obtained his B.Sc. in Physics in 1950 from the University of Madras, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. He obtained another B.Sc. in Mathematics from Andhra University in Visakhapatnam in 1951.
He began his graduate studies in 1952 at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore but followed his advisor G.N. Ramachandran back to the University of Madras. As a graduate student, he and Ramachandran worked on the triple helix structure of the collagen molecule.
After completing his Ph.D. in 1955, he worked at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai from 1955 to 1956. He did post-doctoral work at the Cavendish Laboratory in 1956 and then at the National Research Council of Canada from 1957 to 1958.
In 1959, he moved to the Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute to work with Dr. David Harker and Dr. Jake Bello. Later that year, the entire Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute's crystallography group moved to the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York. He stayed at Roswell Park until the end of his life. In 1972 he spent eight months as a visiting professor of biophysics at Kyoto University.
The collagen structure proposed by Ramachandran and Kartha was disputed by Francis Crick initially and in fact, their paper to the London-based Nature magazine was not published for five months while Crick's proposal for the collagen structure was published within a month of submission. However, their proposed structure was accepted subsequently.
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