Scientists Rock! is a monthly Q&A where we pull an AbbVie scientist out of the lab to hear what makes them tick. This month, we chat with W. Blaine Stine Ph.D., director, global biologics, discovery, AbbVie.
Blaine Stine’s passion for sports cars and racing circuits started early; just ask his 5th grade teacher who gave him an A+ for an essay detailing the legendary awesomeness of the Porsche. Back then, his burgeoning thoughts surrounded the speed, efficiency and all-around coolness of the racetrack. Now older and wiser, his fascination with automobiles remains -- on the sidelines -- as he focuses his days racing to discover the next great antibody.
Tell us the story of how you fell in love with science.
My love of science goes back to the first grade when my father encouraged my budding scientific curiosity. I remember him demonstrating how to shine a copper penny with liquid mercury (*not recommended to those unfamiliar with safety procedures as it can be quite dangerous). Sometimes he’d even bring home liquid nitrogen in his coffee thermos to demonstrate how I could freeze rubber bands and then snap them in half. One day he brought home an adventurous read titled “The Golden Book of Chemistry Experiments,” a book pulled off the shelves soon after being published because it was found to be too dangerous for its intended audience (especially me as a kid). Even so, he helped equip a small laboratory in one of our bathrooms gathering up all the proper lab equipment and solutions, and we methodically worked our way cover to cover tackling each experiment. One not-so-minor mishap which almost landed me in the hospital was when I made chlorine gas. With no parental guidance and blindly following instructions, I ended up with a face full of chlorine gas. With my dad unavailable, my panicked mother sought help from a family friend who suggested smelling salts (ammonia) and a steamy shower to help restore my ability to breathe. Needless to say, I survived to tell the tale. Fun times, indeed!