Roger E. Karess and his two older sisters grew up in Great Neck, New York. Their grandparents were Jews from Eastern Europe, and their neighborhood consisted of other family members and people with similar backgrounds. Karess's father had a law degree but did not practice; he worked in a family business for many years and then was in insurance. His mother was a homemaker. Both parents were adamant that all three children would go to college. The older sister is a chemist in industry; the younger, after a dancing career, became a social worker. Karess discusses his upbringing as a Reform Jew; Europeans' attitudes toward Americans; racism and anti-Semitism in Europe; Karess' Jewish identity; and Roman Catholic influences on contemporary France. Karess cannot remember not being interested in science. He enjoyed the experiments in elementary school and reading the life stories of great scientists in Paul de Kruif's Microbe Hunters. His fourth-grade teacher noted his "passion" for science. In high school he took advanced science courses, and he attended a summer program for high school students at Jackson Laboratory; there he studied the effects of heavy metals on mouse embryo development and was introduced to reading scientific articles. He also attended a high-school science program at Columbia University. He was accepted at Yale University where he worked in David Ward's lab studying paroviruses. He talks about the difference between liking science and doing science; about his regret at not having taken more lab classes at Yale and about having taken courses in medieval Latin and art history. He developed an interest in tumor viruses and wrote a class paper on host virus restriction. He talks more about working in the Ward lab; about having worked on reverse transcriptase in the Ted Reid lab; and about letters of recommendation he received from Yale professors. He entered graduate school at Rockefeller University; he began early in Vincent Allfrey's lab so as to gain more lab experience. He then transferred to the Hidesaburo Hanafusa lab to study retroviruses. Here he discusses changes in his confidence as a scientist over time; his evaluation of himself as an undergraduate researcher; undergraduates in his own lab; his performance on his senior exam; his reasons for selecting Rockefeller for graduate school; Rockefeller's unstructured program; and playing softball at Rockefeller with Mark Rieman and jogging with Michael Greenberg. He goes on to describe Hanafusa as a teacher and a mentor and Hanafusa's research on tumor viruses. Karess himself sought to identify the RNA binding site for retroviruses but was thwarted by technical difficulties. Karess then talks about how William Hayward distinguishes between transformation-competent and transformation-defective virus cells; how Peter Duesberg's radiolabeling of viral RNA helps demonstrate the existence of an oncogene; Hanafusa's research on proto-oncogenes; how Karess seeks to isolate the src protein; and Raymond Erikson's discovery that src is a kinase. Karess was challenged in his attempt to identify the first known kinase and unable at the time to discover the fps oncogene. This leads to an explanation of the factors involved in scientific breakthroughs and the need to interpret data with fresh, objective eyes. He evaluates his self-confidence at the end of his doctorate. Here Karess gives his opinion on the constructive and destructive effects of competition in science and the need to take risks in research. He goes on to compare the structures of scientific research in France and the United States; the advantages and disadvantages of doing research in France; and the relative prestige of publishing in American and European journals. Karess accepted a position as a principal investigator at the Centre de Génétique Moléculaire (CGM) near Paris. When he published an article in Cell he encountered the politics of scientific publishing. He goes on to describe funding in France; the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and setting up a lab at CNRS; and his own funding. More discussion of the funding of scientific research in France leads to a discussion of Karess's funding in the United States and his opinion about the need for reforms in the way science is done in both France and the United States. Karess's research interests shifted from oncogenes to Drosophila genetics, and he developed an interest in transposable elements. He accepted a postdoc position in the Gerald Rubin lab at the Carnegie Institution of Washington, where he studied unstable alleles in Drosophila. Rubin's discovery of P elements revolutionized Drosophila genetics. Karess analyzed P transposable element function. He then accepted a second postdoc position in David Glover's lab at Imperial College of Science and Technology, University of London. He talks about trends in assigning names to Drosophila genes and the names Karess and others created. Karess applied for his first academic position and accepted an offer from New York University. Here he discusses the people in his own lab. He took up studying Leishmania. Karess moved his lab to the CGM in Paris, where he has been studying the rough-deal gene. Karess concludes with an assessment of his scientific research.
Jochen Buck was born and grew up in Reutlingen, Germany, in the Swabian Alb. His father was a teacher of science in the Gymnasium. His mother, a housewife, came from a middle-class family of butchers, and Jochen might have been expected to follow in the family business. Instead, he became interested in politics early, as a result perhaps of the Vietnam War. Instead of performing his national service in the army, he became a conscientious objector, working with disabled youths. His early interest in mathematics waned, and he decided to become a doctor. But in medical school at the University of Tübingen, he discovered that he loved scientific research; and he added to his MD studies a PhD, with his dissertation dealing with interferon. He worked in Ulrich Hammerling’s lab, where he localized cell growth caused by autocrine growth factor. He accepted a postdoctoral position at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, working with Vitamin A and discovering retro-retinoids. He stayed at Sloan-Kettering for a few years until accepting an assistant professorship at Cornell University Medical College. He is now an associate at Cornell, where his lab and Lonny Levin’s share space and where he and Levin work together on adenylyl cyclase. He lives in New York City with his wife, Chantal Duteau-Buck, and two children. He has won several awards and continues to publish articles.
Michael R. Koelle was born in Los Alamos, New Mexico but was raised mainly in Seattle, Washington, the youngest of the family's three children. Both of his parents were German emigrants (his father as an infant, his mother during the 1930s). Koelle's father worked as an electrical engineer in Los Alamos until the age of fifty when he started his own business focused on electronic identification technologies; his mother raised the children on her own in Seattle while working as a special education teacher. Koelle's older brother, who studied medicine, encouraged Koelle to study science; Koelle was also very interested in pursuing music. His first laboratory experiences were during high school when he had the opportunity to work in the labs of Barbara L. and Stephen M. Schwartz at the University of Washington, Seattle. After completing high school he attended the University of Washington where he majored in biochemistry (after taking a course on recombinant DNA technology) and worked in Theodore Young's laboratory in his junior year. Deciding to continue his study of biochemistry, Koelle pursued his doctoral degree at Stanford University with David Hogness, working on hormonal controlled development and the ecdysone hormone receptor. Following the completion of his PhD , Koelle undertook post-doctoral research on the genes involved in neural function and on the mechanics of neurotransmission with H. Robert Horvitz at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He then accepted a position at Yale University, focusing his research on G protein signaling and regulation and planning to expand his research on the molecular mechanisms of neurotransmission as a means of studying embryogenesis. Koelle spends much of the interview talking about the multiple duties of an academic scientist, like teaching, lab and research administration, mentoring, and participating in professional duties, and about his views on the practice of science in contemporary society, like, the issue of patenting intellectual property, the privatization of scientific research, competition and collaboration in science, the national scientific agenda, and educating the public. The interview ends with his thoughts on the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences and its role in his own research and scientific research generally.
Martin Latterich was born in Hamburg, Germany, though lived in Mönchengladbach, Germany until he left for college. His mother, a trained chemist who worked in quality control at a company that manufactured perfume, had a congenital kidney defect that required treatment, so Latterich spent a lot of time with his maternal grandmother, who was an accountant, and his maternal grandfather, who was an artist trained at Düsseldorf Art Academy and who started his own arts and graphics business. From a young age he was interested in his mother's work, like gas chromatography and atomic absorption spectroscopy, visiting her at her office often. With a proclivity towards science and technology, Latterich spent much of his youth performing his own experiments (with chemistry sets and the like) and taking apart pieces of electronics. In high school he entered and placed in the Jugend Forscht, a National Young Scientists Competition, with work on cadmium: he studied the toxicity of cadmium—when in ionic form compared to when taken up as an organometallic complex—in algae and in Daphnia (water fleas). Latterich chose to attend Durham University in the United Kingdom for his undergraduate degree, during which time he undertook an undergraduate research project studying pathogenesis mechanisms and crown gall tumors with Charles Shaw. For the summer after his second year at college he worked under John Boyle at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund in Manchester, England on exonucleases: he wanted experience in mammalian-type cell biology/biochemistry, which he felt Durham could not offer (its strongest focus was in plant sciences). Latterich decided to stay at Durham for his graduate degree since he was interested in working with Martin Watson and on lysosome vacuole biogenesis. He met Randy W. Schekman and decided to go to his laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley, as a postdoctoral fellow in order to research vesicular movements in intracellular transport. From there he accepted a position at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California. After some time in the academy, he decided to move into industry to gain access to resources unavailable at a university, first working for Diversa Corporation and then for Illunina, Incorporated. Ultimately, though, he chose to return to academia and accepted a position at McGill University in Montreal, Québec, Canada, researching membrane-fusion elements required for intracellular transport. During the interview Latterich discusses his family life and his career, especially his wife and daughter; setting up his various labs; learning about the history of science; and the practical applications of Latterich's research. He also talks about his funding history; the process of writing journal articles; product development in industrial science; scientific collaborations between the academy and industry; and his role on scientific advisory boards. The interview concludes with Latterich's thoughts on the privatization of research; morality and scientific research; the role of the scientist in educating the public about science; science and religion; and the role of the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences in his work.
Joseph Craft was born in Wilson County, North Carolina, one of three children. His father was a farmer, his mother a housewife. He did not leave the farm area except for school, a mile away, until he went the nine miles to University of North Carolina (UNC) in Chapel Hill. Neither parent was college-educated, but all three children attended college. Craft's siblings became teachers; Craft did very well in school so was expected to become a doctor. He liked chemistry, liking the way organic chemistry was put together. Accepted at both Duke University and the University of North Carolina, he chose UNC for medical school, where he liked the way his professors communicated and decided he wanted to be an academic clinician. Wanting further training, Craft accepted a position as house officer in internal medicine at Yale University. For him Yale represented a transition between farm and city, the South and the North. He found his teachers interesting but thought they did not add to the body of knowledge, as he wanted to do. During his three busy years of residency he considered switching to research. After a further year in general medicine he accepted a postdoc in rheumatology at Yale. He chose rheumatology because its diseases were not well-defined and had few specific remedies. While doing his postdoc he did his clinical work in his spare time. He began by studying Lyme disease, but its cause and cure already known so he switched to autoimmunity in general. Craft discusses his early publications, feeling they were solid but not innovative; he explains how the Pew grant helped him make the transition from clinic to lab; he talks about his collaborations with John Hardin and Tsuneyo Mimori. He details his funding, in particular his first National Institutes of Health grant. He talks about competition, tenure, a typical day at the lab, and his administrative duties. Craft concludes his interview with reflections on the interaction between his clinical practice and his science work. He feels that autoimmune diseases are better categorized and defined now, and he hopes to continue his current work but to do an even better job. He believes that there is a good possibility cause and cure will be discovered accidentally someday.
Alfred T. Malouf was born into and grew up in an extended Lebanese family. His father originally owned a garage, but he switched to a restaurant. Both parents and grandparents were wonderful cooks, and Alfred loves to cook also. Unfortunately, Alfred's father's heart was bad, so he had to retire from the restaurant. Alfred and his brother had begun working there when they were very young, and during high school and college they were able to manage the restaurant for their father. Alfred's upbringing was strict Roman Catholic, and his grandfather had a large influence on their family; having gone only through fourth grade he placed a high value on education and took the grandchildren to dinner at Anthony's Fish House if one got A's in school. Alfred cannot remember when he was not curious about how things worked, and he loved to take things apart, particularly clocks. He also loved the water, especially scuba diving. He had good high-school science and mathematics teachers, but he did not think especially about college. His parents and grandfather thought science was the only legitimate discipline. He entered the University of California, San Diego, as a biology major. He was fascinated by how the brain works, and he took literature and philosophy classes as part of his desire to understand. During Alfred's first year his grandfather died, a very large blow that helped Alfred focus anew on science. He took a class in pharmacology with Morton Printz, a class he found "phenomenal," and spent two years in Printz's lab. He considered getting a PhD in winemaking, but decided to study neuroscience instead, calculating that he could make wine later in his life. (He intends to do so when he retires. ) When he investigated graduate schools he found the atmosphere at Johns Hopkins University special, so he entered Joseph Coyle's lab to work on kainic acid. Next he collaborated with Ronald L. Schnaar to learn tissue culture techniques; this was lucky as it turns out that Alfred is allergic to rodents. Coyle's medical training added a valuable "bench to bed" dimension to Alfred's research. Still fascinated by how things work—in this case living cells—he accepted a postdoc in Floyd Bloom's lab at Scripps Research Institute, where he learned physiology and electrophysiology. From there he accepted a research fellowship in Philip Schwartzkroin's lab at the University of Washington, studying the physiology of the hippocampus. There he met a pharmacology student, Stephanie Orellana, whom he eventually married and with whom he has two daughters. Stephanie worked for Ellis Avner, a pediatric nephrologist, until he left for Case Western Reserve University; Avner has since recruited both Maloufs to tenure-track associate professorships. Alfred has his lab set up now, and work is now going quite well. His proposal for the Pew Scholars in the Biomedical Sciences award included his study of GABAergic neurons and epileptiform activity and the effect of zinc on the GABA system. He has taken up optical imaging of CA3 pyramidal cells and has become interested in Alzheimer's disease. Alfred finds basic science exciting, but he also loves to see clinical relevance; he tries to balance intellectual pursuit with societal goals. He also has to balance lab management with teaching; and the work of two scientists with a family that includes two young daughters.
Jerry R. Faust began his childhood on his father's farm in rural Texas. When his parents divorced he moved with his mother, a nurse, and his brother to Dallas, Texas, where he attended junior high school and high school. When he was in eighth grade he took an advanced biology class in which the newly-discovered ATP was discussed at length, but in high school he "left biology" for chemistry. He loved chemistry, a field that was really taking off at the time. A high school chemistry teacher proved an important role model, and an influential school trip to a research laboratory confirmed his desire to become a scientist. Faust's chemistry teacher was also the basketball coach, and Faust played well enough to be offered a basketball scholarship to Stephen F. Austin State University. As he says, he went to college to play basketball, not to learn, so he rejected an offer from Rice University, as studying might have gotten in the way of basketball. At Austin State he declared a major in chemistry and minored in biology, soon developing an interest in biochemistry. He considered working in biochemistry to be a way to make a contribution to society. After graduation Faust took a position as a chemist. He spent a boring year testing materials before deciding to go to graduate school. He took a biochemistry course taught by Edward Bellion, and entered his lab at University of Texas at Arlington. There he continued to develop his interest in biochemistry. He felt he had certain advantages coming to biochemistry as a chemist rather than a biologist. After finishing a master's degree, Faust accepted a position as research associate in the Michael S. Brown and Joseph L. Goldstein lab at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. Faust describes Brown's and Goldstein's backgrounds; his role in the lab's work on cholesterol metabolism; and learning opportunities in the lab. He also explains their Nobel Prize for research into LDL. After being there for eleven years he went to E. I. DuPont de Nemours and Company as a principal investigator in the cardiology unit. Faust describes the structure and research resources of the Du Pont Experimental Station and his projects there. He explains his professional satisfaction in designing and implementing research per se, irrespective of clinical applications. Faust's preference for following tangents rather than pursuing a strictly linear line of research led him next to the decision to pursue a PhD in the physiology department at Tufts University, where he entered James Fred Dice's lab. Being a student again was different and strange. Here he discusses how the need to meet funding requirements affects the direction of research; the value of funding sources that allow for creative research; and the advantages of increasing cooperation between labs. He continues with a discussion of Dice as a mentor; his own mentoring and managing style; influence on his research of the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences award; grant writing; and competition with Peter Pentchev's lab over work on cholesterol transport in Niemann-Pick type C disease. He has more to say about the competition with the Pentchev lab; differences between the grant review process at the National Science Foundation and that at the National Institutes of Health; science funding in general; and his lab's work on neuronal ceroid lipfuscinosis. Collaboration with foreign labs leads to foreign students, difficult to fund and difficult to place after graduation, especially since principal investigator positions are so scarce. He finishes with a description of how he and his partner, also a scientist at Tufts with whom he collaborates on projects, balance their work life with their home life.
Dimitar B. Nikolov grew up in Sofia, Bulgaria, the only child of a mother who is still a chemist and a father who was an electrical engineer. His paternal grandparents lived with them and cared for Nikolov while his parents worked. Nikolov often accompanied his mother to her lab, and he feels that he is a scientist because of both genes and upbringing. He attended local schools (all schools in Bulgaria were public), which he thinks gave him a broader and better education than most American children get. He always liked physics and math classes and competed in national contests, doing so well that he did not have to take the entrance exam required of everyone else and could go to whatever school he chose. He enrolled in the biotechnology program at Sofia University partly to avoid compulsory military service, as permitted by the higher educational system in Bulgaria, and he finished master's degrees in both physics and biology. He worked in Peter Antonov's laboratory on plant membrane fusion for his degree in biology. During college he also met and married his wife, who was in the same program. After the fall of the Berlin Wall it became easier for Nikolov to attend a foreign university, and since the majority of good papers were from the United States, he decided to apply to a PhD program here. He chose Rockefeller University at first for neuroscience, but he changed his mind, switching to structural biology and working on transcription proteins in Steven Burley's lab. He describes the graduate program at Rockefeller; Burley's laboratory; a typical day in graduate school; and the process of doing x-ray crystallography. He talks about his graduate work on the structure of the TATA box transcription initiation elements. Meanwhile, his wife had paused her PhD studies to have their first child and then, nine years later, their second. She has since become manager of a lab at Rockefeller. After finishing his PhD, Nikolov decided against a postdoc and accepted a very good offer of a faculty position at Sloan-Kettering Institute. He talks about setting up his lab, its make-up, and his management style. His research has focused on axon guidance molecules in early development, for which he hopes to find practical applications. Nikolov discusses his funding history, the impact of the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences grant on his research, and his belief that collaboration between academia and industrial science is important. He explains his grant-writing process, some of his professional duties and teaching responsibilities, and goes into detail about his current research in structural biology on angiopoietic receptors and ligands. He tells how he writes journal articles, how he sets his research agenda, what he thinks of competition in science, and his thoughts on how the national scientific agenda should be set. Nikolov continues with more insight into his views on improving science education in the United States and the role of the scientist in increasing public interest in science. He concludes his interview with a discussion of his professional goals and his future research on cell signaling and communication in neural development.
Paul D. Gollnick was born and mostly raised in Pullman, Washington. For one year when he was about 10 (or else in eighth grade) he and his family lived in Stockholm, Sweden, where his father was on sabbatical. Because his father was a scientist, an exercise physiologist, Paul was, from a young age, disposed to enter science himself. Reinforcing that desire were hours spent helping his father in his father's lab, and a high-school chemistry teacher who also inspired him. Paul's mother was a musician and music teacher but was unable to interest any of her children in music. Paul was not adept at most sports, he says, but he did take up and continues to enjoy golf. When he was deciding about college, he had to stay in state for financial reasons; he chose Washington State because he believed they had better science programs. He decided to major in biochemistry because he had discovered an interest in biology as well as chemistry and thought that biochemistry nicely combined the two. Biochemistry majors were new around the country at that time, so he felt also that the field would be dynamic and exciting. As an undergraduate he worked in Bruce McFadden's laboratory, producing an enzyme inhibitor. Realizing that working in pure science would require a graduate degree, he entered Iowa State University. At Iowa State Gollnick had hoped to work with Stanley Cox, who was studying gene expression in HeLa cells, but Cox was not headed for tenure, so Gollnick ended up working for Jack Horowitz. In Horowitz's lab Gollnick worked on nucleic acids and tRNA. Though he was frustrated at having to use the old-fashioned nuclear magnetic resonance technique because Horowitz had declared, "No recombinant DNA in my centrifuge," Gollnick says that, "in retrospect it was fine." While at Iowa State Gollnick met and married Sandra Oppel, a classmate. Together they went to Stanford, where for four years, Gollnick did postdoc work in Charles Yanofsky's lab and Sandra worked for DNAX. Gollnick's research was going nowhere, so when she left the lab, Mitzi Yukoda gave Gollnick her work on subcloning and sequencing mtrb. With Yanofsky's permission and with TRAP (trp RNA-attenuation protein) in hand, Gollnick applied for faculty positions. He accepted an assistant professorship at SUNY Buffalo, and his wife was able to find a job at Roswell Park Cancer Center. Gollnick continues his study of TRAP in B. subtilis and his collaborative work with Robert S. Phillips on tryptophanase. He has since become an associate professor and received tenure. Gollnick teaches a great deal and likes it very much. He also continues to publish and to work occasionally at the bench.
Ann M. Pullen was born in Eastbourne, a small town on the south coast of England, though was raised in Sutton Coldfield just outside of Birmingham, the elder of two sisters. Both of her parents were university-educated teachers who lived through World War II-era England (her father serving a stint in the military while in college): her father taught history and English, her mother English and music. Pullen was interested in science and nature from a young age, exploring the outdoors with her family on regular nature walks, keeping a "Wood Book"—a diary/log of what she discovered when out exploring—and using a microscope to dissect flies and other insects. She was always competitive in school, looking to perform the best on all of her exams and studying intently for her classes, and she had the opportunity to attend a new science-emphasized school (situated next to a pig farm) in her community while still young. By the time she was in her teens, Pullen self-selected to pursue a career in science, focusing her coursework on such a goal and attending what she felt was a more intensive pre-college school. Throughout her pre-college years, and in some cases well into them, Pullen played netball, threw the javelin on her track and field team, and also played piano. Several influential, female teachers helped guide her into a scientific career and into an appropriate university. Pullen attended the University of Bath in the United Kingdom, in part because of the university's emphasis on applied scientific training, providing students with real-world experience. While at Bath she worked for six months in a state-run agricultural lab that was a part of the University of Bristol's Department of Agriculture and Horticulture, another six months at the Technical Research Centre of Finland in Helsinki, Finland, which was a brewing laboratory, and time in a lab with Michael J. Danson at Bath working on citrate synthase; her experiences led her to pursue a doctoral degree in science instead of a medical degree. She matriculated at Cambridge University in order to study immunology with Alan J. Munro, researching Peyer's patch T cell hybridomas. Though Pullen found that Cambridge's intellectual environment was rich and quite useful to a budding scientist, the limited funding and availability of resources proved somewhat frustrating. In order to continue her career and expand it beyond the confines of the British scientific community, Pullen then went on to a postdoctoral fellowship in the John W. Kappler-Philippa C. Marrack lab at the National Jewish Center for Immunology and Respiratory Medicine in Denver, Colorado. In the Kappler-Marrack lab she focused her work on T cells, quickly discovering superantigens (antigens that were extremely potent at triggering cells) and publishing her results in Nature. From there she moved on to an assistant professorship at University of Washington, starting her lab with funds from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the National Institutes of Health. At Washington she collaborated with Michael Patrick Stuart on Mycoplasma fermentans and also began using transgenic mice to study extrathymic T cell development. At the end of the interview Pullen discusses various aspects of being a principal investigator, as well as what it is like to live the life of a scientist. She talks about dealing with administrative paperwork; the multidisciplinary focus of the Pew annual meetings; competition with other labs; the impact of research funding cuts on the University of Washington School of Medicine; problems with the tenure system; and her belief in preventive public health programs. The interview concludes with her thoughts on her participation in the Association for Women in Science and in a University of Washington biomedical faculty women's group; problems facing women faculty who decide to have children while pursuing tenure; delivering one of the university's Science in Medicine talks; balancing family life with her career; regulation of experimental animal use; animal rights activism and research; studying human T cell repertoire in patients with necrotizing fasciitis; and modeling her lab on the Kappler-Marrack lab.
Tatsuya Hirano was born and raised in Chiba, Japan—a fishing village and an agricultural suburb of Tokyo—the youngest of three siblings. Hirano's father was a civil servant who educated local farmers about methods in agricultural production, obtaining his doctoral degree later in life and, after retiring from civil service, becoming faculty at the University of Tokyo; his mother was a housewife. Hirano's childhood, according to him, was rather typical; he had an early interest in the arts (he liked drawing and carpentry). He excelled in school and decided to pursue a college education in science. He entered Kyoto University intending to study physics, but interest in contemporary advances in molecular biology pulled him much more in that direction. He was unaffected by his professors during college, as, according to Hirano, undergraduate education in Japan was much more self-directed than instructor-led. In this spirit, graduate students, unlike in the United States, usually stayed at the same university for their graduate degree as their undergraduate and only applied to a specific lab in which to work for graduate study (unlike the rotation system in the United States); Hirano remained at Kyoto University and worked in Mitsuhiro Yanagida's laboratory on the genetics of chromosome structure in fission yeast. Since there were no postdoctoral positions available in Japan, and even fewer faculty positions, Hirano decided, like many of his fellow graduate students, to undertake a postdoctoral fellowship abroad. Wanting to broaden his experience in his field, Hirano decided that he wanted to work in the United States and chose to study with Timothy J. Mitchison—someone Hirano considered one of the brightest cell biologists of his age—at the University of California, San Francisco. Hirano worked on chromosome condensation and the condensin complex in Mitchison's lab, all the while adjusting to American life and culture. From there, he accepted a position at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York, where he continued his research on condensin and cohesion. During the interview, Hirano talks about his wife's role in his lab (she worked as a technician in several Japanese and American labs before joining his own), and balancing his career with his family life. In addition, he regularly compares the American and Japanese scientific systems, talking about the "brain-drain" issue and its impact on Japanese science. As the interview concludes, Hirano discusses the impact of cultural diversity on science; his mentoring style and its relationship to the mentoring he received; the privatization of science; and the role of the scientist in public policy. At the end of the interview, he speaks more about how he met his wife and about her career; the future direction of chromosome dynamics; and being an award recipient of the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences.
Thomas F. Schilling was born in Richmond, Virginia, the oldest of four children. His father was a forester turned Presbyterian minister, his mother a housewife. When Schilling was about five his family lived in New Haven, Connecticut, for two years while his father attended Yale Divinity School. While there, Schilling spent many days at the Peabody Museum of Natural History, giving latecomers tours of dinosaurs. In addition to dinosaurs, he loved reptiles and amphibians, but especially snakes. After Yale, the family moved to North Carolina, where they stayed until Schilling was in junior high school, at which time they moved to a small town in West Virginia. Schilling did not find his education compelling and did not apply himself until he entered college. Because his parents wanted him to have a solid liberal arts foundation and thought a small college the best place to get it, Schilling matriculated into Presbyterian-affiliated Davidson College, majoring in biology. Halfway through he changed his career plan from medicine to academics. He developed an interest in the philosophy and sociology of science; undertook hospital work for class credit; and spent summers working and playing at Yellowstone National Park. Schilling found that a class in physiological psychology led to an interest in neuroscience and so he applied to neuroscience graduate programs. Despite the lack of research lab experience at Davidson, Schilling gained acceptance into the PhD program in the University of Michigan biology department. Unpleasant faculty in the department and low morale caused the exit of nearly everyone in his entering class. Ultimately he joined the laboratory of R. Glenn Northcutt to study the neuroanatomy of the visual system. Northcutt left for the University of California, San Diego, and Schilling found a new interest in zebrafish. A chance discussion with Russell Fernald at a meeting led Schilling to apply to the PhD program at the University of Oregon and take a master's degree at Michigan. At that time, only two labs were working with zebrafish, Monte Westerfield's and Charles Kimmel's. Schilling chose Kimmel's lab because he wanted to work on neural crest, and neural crest lineages in zebrafish became his dissertation topic. Schilling accepted a postdoc at Imperial Cancer Research Fund in London, England, where he entered Philip Ingham's lab to study Drosophila and to help set up a zebrafish lab. Soon after his arrival in London, Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard called Schilling and asked him to work at the Max Planck Institute in Tübingen, Germany, on craniofacial anomalies in zebrafish. After some time in Germany, he returned to London, where he spent several years in Ingham's lab. Schilling rediscovered his interest in neural crest, but he also discovered a mutation in the enzyme that synthesizes retinoic acid (RA), and RA became the second major focus of his lab. After an initial refusal, Schilling received a Wellcome Foundation grant, with Nigel Holder as his sponsor. During this time, however, Schilling also accepted an assistant professorship at University of California, Irvine. At that point he received two NIH grants, one for retinoic acid and one for his craniofacial work. At the end of the interview, Schilling discusses funding in general, and the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences grant specifically; he also compares the Wellcome grant with National Institutes of Health and other American grants. He praises the Pew meetings; he compares his Pew talk with other talks he has given; and he talks more about funding generally and about the effects of the funding situation on collegiality and competitiveness in labs and departments. He discusses his love of traveling and of outdoor activities like hiking, climbing, fishing, and biking. He goes on to reflect on benchwork, on his mentoring style, which he sees as engaged and helpful, and on the necessity of informing the public about scientific endeavors, which he believes is necessary but difficult. He talks a little more about publishing and study sections, recounting a story of encouragement for one of his students. He ends the interview with his thoughts about animal rights organizations and university oversight of animal research.
Gary Karpen was born in New York City but grew up in Norwood, New Jersey. His older sister became an astrophysicist and his younger brother an MD/PhD who does both research and clinical work. His father joined the army at the age of 17 to fight in World War II, coming home severely wounded. Forgoing the GI Bill, Gary's father did not go to college but went into his father's construction business. When he was in his 50's Mr. Karpen sold his business, got an education degree, and became a teacher of high-school shop. Karpen's mother was a college graduate and eventually got a PhD in library science. Karpen's grandparents were Orthodox Jews, so his family was observant, though tending more toward Conservative Judaism, and being Jewish was very important in Karpen's youth. In junior high school Karpen had an excellent biology teacher who fired his interest in that subject. In high school Karpen also liked French and English, particularly enjoying reading classical science fiction. He says he procrastinated and did not work especially hard, but he was nevertheless assigned to the honors track. Because Brandeis was strong in pre-med and because Karpen loved biology, he decided to apply for early acceptance, successfully, as it turned out. There he discovered that the "tinkering" he and his father had done together over the years resolved into a love of solving puzzles, of figuring out how things worked or fit together, and he knew he did not want to practice medicine but to be a researcher. From Brandeis he went to the University of Washington to be a technician in Gerold Schubiger's lab. He spent three years in this position before crossing the bridge to the genetics department for graduate school, where he worked in Larry Sandler's and Charles Laird's labs, transforming ribosomal genes into flies. He also met and married Monica Medina, and they had their first child during these years. From Seattle the Karpens went to Washington, D.C., where Karpen had accepted a postdoc at the Carnegie Institution of Washington, working on centromeres in Allan Spradling's lab. Another child, a daughter, made her appearance during this time. After his postdoc, Karpen took a position at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California. There he established his own lab, and he teaches the occasional course. He continues quite happily to work on heterochromatin chromosome inheritance and centromere identity; to explore his Jewish heritage; to seek funding; to publish his work; to mentor the people in his lab; and to hang out with his children.
Ralph C. Budd grew up in Middletown, New York, in a close and happy family that included his parents and an older brother. He attended public schools, where he had good teachers who fostered his early interest and ability in science and mathematics. He attended MIT for his freshman year of college, but found it too intense; he transferred to Cornell University, which he very much preferred for academic reasons and because it is in a rural setting. There he continued studying the organ and sang in the University choir, where he met his future wife, Lenore Fritz. While Lenore was still an undergraduate Budd began medical school at Cornell University Medical School in New York City; they married and lived the commuter life for the remaining two years. During his residency at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Budd decided to specialize in rheumatology because it offered insight into many diseases and failings of the human body. He then began postdoctoral work in Kendall A. Smith’s lab at Dartmouth College, where he found his medical practice and his research influencing each other, a pattern he continues to maintain. He went to Lausanne, Switzerland, to study T lymphocyte development in lymphoproliferative mice at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research. He returned to Stanford University to study immunology in C. Garrison Fathman’s lab. He was heavily courted by Genentech and worked there for a year, until market forces forced cutbacks. From the West Coast he went to University of Vermont, where he continues to teach, mentor, review articles and papers, and do research. He believes that basic science is crucial, that attempting to direct results is counterproductive; but he is very interested in potential therapeutic applications of his research; viz. his research into lpr mice might provide help for lupus sufferers; and he thinks that fas gene studies have potential for sufferers of autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. He and Lenore have a son, Graham, who is ten years old; and a daughter, Laura, who is five years old. The family likes to engage in various outdoor activities and sports. Budd enjoys wine and espresso; he loves classical music, and plays the organ when he can find time.
Lester F. Lau, the youngest of three children, lived in Hong Kong until he was fourteen. Lau's parents were strict, Lau was—he says—introverted, and Chinese schools stressed conformity over creativity, so when the family moved to Brooklyn Lau was able to do so well in science and mathematics that he skipped a grade. This led to difficulty in high school, as his understanding of English did not keep pace. He actually ended up seventh in his class of over 1,000, however, which was more than good enough to qualify him for City College of New York. He decided to go there in great part because it was free, but another consideration was that he had been accepted into their honors program and given a scholarship. He originally thought he might be a history major, but an organic chemistry class changed his mind. He found science to be like a puzzle or a detective story; and he was excited by the enormous addition to knowledge that science had provided. Lau began graduate school at Purdue University, studying X-ray crystallography, but he switched to molecular biology at Cornell University, entering Ray Wu's lab. He describes working with Jeffrey Roberts, manipulating synthetic DNA to study transcription and termination. Here he discusses the shift from his interest in procaryotic systems to eucaryotic systems; continuity and discontinuity in his career; and his independent research style. From there he went to Gerald Fink's lab to study yeast genetics, and he created a double-mutation yeast strain. He decided to do a postdoc in molecular biology in Daniel Nathans's lab at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and he received a Helen Hays Whitney Fellowship. Here Lau talks about the genesis and impact of Nathans's work on simian virus 40; the value of interacting with other fellows; and applying a molecular approach to studying cell cycle regulation. He continues with a discussion of the difficulties involved in differential hybridization; differential screening in other labs; encountering skepticism in the field; prior work on how genes activate cells; the usefulness of simple lab techniques; the reaction to Lau's findings; and the politics of scientific publishing. Lau gives his opinion about whether outsiders can still make contributions to science, grant review sections, and the status of women and minorities in science. He talks more about the reception given his papers and publication timing and the job market. He goes into his reasons for leaving Nathans's lab. At this point in his career, Lau began to hunt for a job. One criterion was his preference for big cities, so he accepted a position at Northwestern University Medical School in Chicago and set up his new lab. His next peroration encompasses the role of basic research in a medical school, to wit the teaching duties of research biologists versus doing research. Lau's next move was to the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Chicago, where he is now an associate professor. He discusses sequencing cDNAs; trying to determine gene functions; and his competitors. He explains how different stimuli can activate immediate-early genes; the complex process of cell cycle regulation; the need to look beyond the tissue culture model to the organism; and how he learned to make transgenic mice. He concludes by talking about his National Institutes of Health grant reviews and his plans to explore a genetics approach to isolating immediate-early genes.
Ann Marie Craig was born in Ithaca, New York, the second of three children. Her father was a graduate student in business administration at Cornell University, and her mother was a nurse. Both parents came from small towns in the Maritime Provinces of Canada, so when Ann Marie was about three years old the family moved back to Canada, where her father became a professor of business administration at Ottawa University. Ann Marie remembers liking school, particularly her third-grade teacher and a high school science teacher, but she does not claim a from-birth interest in science; that came later, after a flirtation with becoming a teacher or a nun. By the time she entered Queens College as a double major in mathematics and physics, she did know she loved the beauty of internal logic and consistency, which she found most in science. After her first year at Queens she realized that she was in the wrong field, so she began classes in psychology, interested in discovering how the brain works. Next she entered Carleton University with a major in biological psychology, which she soon switched to biochemistry. She spent two of her college summers working for the National Research Council of Canada and one purifying proteins at the University of Western Canada in Ontario. From those summers she gleaned three publications. Her work was mostly molecular neurobiology, cloning DNA, leading her into cancer research. At the time the Canadian university system did not have rotations; students were expected to find themselves a lab. Ann Marie chose David Denhardt's lab at the University of Western Ontario because she wanted to learn DNA cloning and molecular biology and transvection of mammal cells. She did her PhD research on molecular biology of cancer progression and the 2ar/osteopontin protein. After what Craig considers an unusually smooth graduate training, she revived her interest in the molecular basis of learning and memory and accepted a postdoc in Daniel Alkon's lab at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke at the National Institutes of Health. Disappointed in the progress of her research, she left Alkon's lab for a postdoc at Gary Banker's lab at the University of Virginia, changing also her research model organism, working on neuronal polarity and the clustering and trafficking of receptors in neurons. Ann Marie began learning molecular biology as an important technique in neuroscience, but recognizing that electrophysiology was key, Craig almost decided to do a third postdoc to learn electrophysiology; instead she decided to accept a position at the University of Illinois and to set up her own lab. Again her interest shifted, this time to synapses, and Washington University in St. Louis offered more scope for pursuing that research, so she accepted an associate professorship there. Her research interests continue to include the molecular mechanisms underlying synapse formation and synaptic plasticity, their regulation and functional importance; she hopes in the future to initiate research on central neuron synapse assembly, modulation, and electrophysiology.
Rory M. Marks was born in Sydney, Australia, the elder of two brothers. His parents had met in the Royal Australian Air Force, during World War II; there his father was an aircraft engineer and his mother a radio operator, but the senior Marks went into the fish business when he left the service. The family lived near the Sydney harbor, and the boys spent as much time as possible at the beach. Rory and his brother attended a rigorous Anglican school where grades were extremely important. Rory was always interested in how things work, in the elegance of mathematical explanations and the creativity of science. He thought that differential calculus was the most beautiful thing. He also liked to take things apart (and he still does). He took apart the garbage disposal to see how it worked; soon there was garbage all around the foundations of the house, as he had not put the disposal back together correctly. It was customary to attend college where one lived, so Rory went to the University of New South Wales and lived at home. Unaware that science did not have to mean medicine, he entered the medical school. Classes were large lecture classes, often on video. After his third year he did an optional year of research, working with T-cell immunity to salmonella in rats; he liked his mentors and the other students. He liked the clinical work and liked his boss, Ronald Penny, who was a very good clinician. During Christmas break he went to England, to Ian Clark's lab, then back to med school with Penny; after three or four years in the same lab he chose vascular biology for his field and wanted to go overseas. He went to Children's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, to Judah Folkman's lab and learned to grow blood vessel wall cells; then it was back to Australia. Next, he went to Griffith, Australia, a rural area, for his internship, then, no longer satisfied with his work in Penny's lab, he worked with Michael Berndt at a different hospital. Rory decided that science was best done in the United States, so he took a scholarship to the University of Michigan, working in Peter Ward's lab on oxygen-deprived free radicals in vascular tissue damage. He attended a summer class in molecular biology at Smith College, where he was impressed by a talk given by Vishva Dixit, with whom he now works closely. He grew cells for Dixit, working on complement system. He met Faye Silverstein, who is now his wife. For that reason and because science is better in the United States, he did not want to return to Australia. He is still at the University of Michigan, where he had a breakthrough in his vascular complement fixation (VCF) work after nine years. He continues his interest in tropical diseases and their vascular implications. His wife is also a physician-scientist, a pediatric neurologist, and they are working together on a project concerning angiogenesis.
Edwin L. Ferguson was born and grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was an only child and thinks that, therefore, he was more independent and self-reliant than other children in his neighborhood. His neighborhood was filled with large Roman Catholic families, whose children attended the local Catholic school. As Ferguson says, the Catholic school was the public school. Ferguson attended also for a couple of years, but the school was severely overcrowded and the education poor, so his parents transferred him to an Episcopal school, where he soon became an excellent student. When he was in high school his father became seriously ill, apparently with Alzheimer's disease, so Ferguson had to assume adult responsibilities. He decided he wanted to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to study computer science. His interest in computer science began to wane, but an introductory course in biology grabbed his interest, and a course in genetics taught by David Botstein caused him to major in biology as well as computer science. After graduation Ferguson spent a year and a half working in computer programming, but he found it increasingly boring. He decided to take an ocean ecology course in a joint program at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and MIT, and from there he entered MIT again, this time as a graduate student in biology. He went into H. Robert Horvitz's lab to work on genetics in C. elegans. From there he went to Columbia University with a postdoc in Martin Chalfie's lab, where he did "a little bit of molecular biology." From there he went to University of California at Berkeley, changing fields from C. elegans to Drosophila. He worked in Kathryn Anderson's lab, studying dorsal-ventral patterning in Drosophila; this had been Anderson's area of study when she was a postdoc in Christiane Nusslein-Volhard's lab at the University of Tubingen, and the work excited Ferguson very much. Also, he was done with worms and wanted to switch to flies. After about five years at Berkeley, he finished some work with which he was heavily involved and applied for jobs at many schools. He had a number of offers, mostly from medical schools, but settled on the assistant professorship at the University of Chicago. He is now an associate professor there, and he continues to work in developmental genetics, winning a number of awards and publishing many articles.
Lee Ann Niswander was born in Bluffton, Ohio, the fourth child of six. Her parents were moderately devout Mennonites until her father's job caused them to move to Okemos, Michigan, where they became Methodists. Both parents were musical and they taught their children to be musical as well (the family won an award in a national musical contest). Lee Ann loved school, especially mathematics and science, in both of which she did well. When she was in high school she worked with disabled people, and she began Western Michigan University intending to major in special education. Finding that boring she moved to Colorado, where she worked on dude ranches for a few years before matriculating at the University of Colorado. She wanted to take her degree in chemistry, but she discovered that she enjoyed her biology classes as well. Still not sure that she wanted to go to medical school, but not knowing what else she could do, she finished college and applied to the Peace Corps. Although she was accepted and assigned to Lesotho, she decided not to go. Instead she worked as a technician at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center for four years before deciding to go back to school. During these four years she also obtained a Master's degree and met her future husband, Richard Davis. When Davis decided to accept a postdoc at Case Western Reserve University, Lee Ann applied to and was accepted into a PhD program in developmental biology at Case Western. There she worked in two Drosophila labs, one with Anthony Mahowald; then she went to Terry Magnuson's lab to work on mouse genetics. She also spent three months in Sweden, learning microdissection and microcloning; she was working on a phenotype that arises from a deletion of a part of mouse chromosome 7 and that has an early embryonic phenotype during gastrulation. When she finished her PhD she and Davis married and went to the University of California at San Francisco, where Lee Ann had a postdoc in Gail Martin's lab. There her project involved FGF-4. From California Niswander and her husband moved to New York City, where she accepted an assistant member position at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. In addition to the Pew grant she has also won a Howard Hughes Medical Institute award and has been promoted to associate member at Sloan-Kettering. As a PI, she has three major projects in her lab: limb development in the chick embryo; neural tube patterning, or why there are different types of neurons along the dorsal-ventral axis in the neural tube; and feather bud development. She also is co-director and a teacher of a developmental biology course the cell biology course at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University. In summers she co-teaches a section of a course in embryology with John Saunders at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. Lee Ann continues to publish, to teach, to experiment, to seek funding, and to attempt to balance all this with her family life.
James A. Goodrich grew up in Honesdale, Pennsylvania, the oldest of five children. His father owned his own business; his mother was a homemaker. Both parents finished high school but did not go to college, so Goodrich felt no expectations for college himself. From about fifth grade, when he had a genuine science teacher, he gravitated toward science. His junior high school was pod-style, and he lost interest as a result until the reversion to regular classroom style. His sophomore chemistry teacher inspired Goodrich's love of chemistry and established his firm desire to be a scientist. Unusually for such a small town, his high school had excellent science and mathematics classes, including his junior-year organic chemistry class. Not realizing what other options science majors had, Goodrich decided to become a doctor. As a result he applied only to the University of Scranton, a Jesuit university nearby that had a very good reputation for placing its graduates in medical schools. He majored in biochemistry. He also had to work throughout. He did his doctoral work in Carnegie Mellon's biology department. There he worked on transcription in William McClure's lab. Goodrich here discusses his doctoral research in the McClure molecular biology laboratory; the running of the McClure laboratory; bioinformatics on transcription regulation; his marriage; and the birth of his first daughter. Next Goodrich accepted a postdoc in Robert Tjian's molecular genetics laboratory at University of California, Berkeley; there his research focused on human transcription. Here he compares McClure's mentoring style with Tjian's; he talks about living in and at Berkeley; and he explains the process of writing journal articles in the Tjian lab. Meanwhile, his wife became a lab technician in Tjian's lab. After about four years as a postdoc Goodrich accepted a position at University of Colorado, Boulder. He discusses setting up his lab and its makeup; the impact of the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences grant on his work; and his teaching responsibilities. He talks about his current research studying the molecular mechanisms of mammalian transcription; about the University of Colorado, Boulder's facilities; about competition and collaboration in science; tenure; and his administrative duties. During a recent sabbatical, he spent half of his time writing a training grant; the second half he spent in the lab. He describes the fun he had being at the bench again. He goes on to give his opinions on such issues as the small numbers of minorities in science; decreasing percentage of women in science as they progress from students to faculty members; science education in the schools; patents; funding; and publishing. He talks a little more about his current research in molecular biophysics on regulation of transcription and the practical applications of his research, and about his professional goals. He concludes by explaining how he tries to balance his work life with his life at home with his wife and two daughters.