Rosie Redfield named one of Nature's 2011 newsmakers

UBC microbiologist Rosie Redfield has been named by the journal Nature as one of “Ten People Who Mattered This Year.”

On Dec. 4 2010, Redfield blogged about a study published in Science. In the study, researchers funded by NASA claimed to have found bacteria that could incorporate arsenic into their DNA in place of phosphorus. If true, the finding showed that life could be supported by a form of biochemistry radically different from the one we know. But in her blog, Redfield said the paper didn’t “present ANY convincing evidence that arsenic has been incorporated into DNA.”

Redfield kicked off a frenzy of criticism of the ‘arsenic-life’ paper in the blogosphere and the media. Redfield has also began attempting to replicate the work in her lab at UBC and is documenting her progress on her blog. The result has been a fascinating story of open science unfolding over the year.

Nature said Redfield: “Appeared like a shot out of the blogosphere: a wild-haired Canadian microbiologist with a propensity to say what was on her mind.” To read more of Redfield’s profile, visit:

The Vancouver Sun wrote about Redfield’s achievement in the article: “Leading journal Nature names UBC professor top science newsmaker.”