Jan 152010
Authors: Abel Oshevire

The ghost of Thomas Paine, one of the more radical Founding Fathers of the United States, has taken to haunting the Internet from a computer terminal in a Fort Collins home.

Kristopher Hite sits at his computer terminal, sometimes on a daily basis depending on how much time he has, to educate any interested Web surfers about his views on contemporary culture and fringe politics, under the name of Paine, who Hite said has inspired him as an integral purveyor of basic civil rights.

“… He remains an unsung hero of the American Revolution because of his radical beliefs and his unashamed habit of sharing them with the world,” Hite said.

But the fifth-year biochemistry graduate student doesn’t just stick to social commentary. He also uses the blog to explain in accessible terms the complexities of modern science.

“I love writing … because that way I can make science accessible to regular people,” Hite said. “I believe everybody should be aware of what happens in the world of science.”

The personal plus the academic equal a ‘balancing act’

With a research report deadline fast approaching, Hite was sitting in a laboratory the Tuesday of Thanksgiving break on the top floor of the Molecular and Radiological Biosciences Building with a rack of test tubes, bought with a recent federal research grant awarded to his mentor, Jeffrey Hansen.

While most students were at home or vacationing elsewhere, Hite was isolating and analyzing a protein that, after it develops in human fetuses, is thought to be vital for the normal function of nerve cells.

His research focuses on understanding how rare mutations in this protein lead to a form of mental retardation known as Rett Syndrome, which happens when certain nerve tissues fail to develop properly.

 Posted by at 11:33 am

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