Making Each Other More Human

A husband and a wife working in the same scientific discipline are ideally positioned to be collaborators, but aligning ambitions in the professional niche of fundamental research is seldom easy: Institutions must accommodate not just one scientist but a pair. And once a married couple succeeds in securing suitable positions, their respective temperaments must allow them to thrive together.

By working and living together for nearly 5 decades, cell biologists Donald and Ada Olins have shown that it can be done. Their joint signature on letters and e-mails — DnA — is apt because the architecture of chromatin, that repository of genetic material, has been the focus of their long, joint research career. The Olinses are best known for their discovery of the nucleosome, chromatin’s basic structural unit, in the early 1970s.

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