I woke up at midnight and was flipping through this book 'Ten Steps Ahead by Erik Calonius' when I came across the story of Mr. Douglas Prasher; pg. 132-134. Below is a little bite taken out of the book:
"In the late 1980s, a biochemist named Douglas Prasher received a three-year, $200,000 grant from the American Cancer Society to try to clone the gene for green fluorescent protein from Aequorea victoria, a species of Pacific Ocean jellyfish that glows bright green under ultraviolet light. The fluorescent material, it was believed, could be injected into other cells so that one might watch events that hitherto had been invisible-like the development of nerve cells in the brain or the spread of cancer cells.
... Like any good scientist, he shared his findings, passed his results and some of the cloned material to Martin Chalfie, a geneticist at Columbia University.
Prasher was set to do more when he was informed that he had failed to attain tenure at Woods Hole and would have to leave...While Prasher was bouncing from job to job, leaving him no time for Aequorea victoria, Chalfie at Columbia was making steady progress: He had been able to splice the material into E.coli and then into the roundworm C. elegans. Sure enough, the protein inside glowed green, proving that it could be used as a tag in a variety of ways.
... Things got progressively worse for Prasher. Funding was cut short at the Beltsville, Maryland, lab. Bravely, Prasher bounced from there to AZ Technology in Huntsville, Alabama. Then he lost that job in another round of cuts.
The climax came in October 2008, when Chalfie, along with Osamu Shimomura of the Marine Biology Laboratory and Boston Medical School, and Roger Y. Tsien of the University of California at San Diego, won the Nobel Prize "for the discovery and development of the green fluorescent protein, GFP".
But there as no mention of Douglas Prasher... When interviewed by National Public Radio's Inside Edition, Prasher said that he had been unable to find a job in science, his life savings had run out, and he was now working as a courtesy shuttle-bus driver for Bill Penney Toyota in Huntsville, Alabama.
In their Nobel speeches in Stockholm that winter, all three men thanked Prasher profusely.
"I'm really happy for them," replied Prasher, adding that in the face of his tough circumstances withholding the glowing material from Chalfie would not have been the right thing to do.
An honest and talented man, Douglas Prasher. He could have been a contender. He just ran out of luck.
Go to his wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_Prasher