Daniel P. Raleigh grew up in Arcata, California, the youngest of four children. His father was a professor at Humboldt State University, his mother a homemaker who had also been a teacher. In addition, all three siblings went into education. Raleigh spent much of his free time outdoors, even for reading. He attended Humboldt State University's laboratory elementary school and then junior high and high school in Arcata, California, public schools, remembering his education as being rather uninspiring, except for mathematics. His extracurricular activities focused on the outdoors: hiking, camping, and the like. He attended Humboldt State, interested in both mathematics and science at first, but an excellent chemistry faculty member inspired him to pursue chemistry. He loved math too and could have majored in it, but he felt he lacked the "spark" to be an original mathematician. Raleigh decided to do graduate studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; there he joined Robert G. Griffin's laboratory, feeling that Humboldt's strong chemistry faculty had prepared him well for graduate studies. While working in Griffin's lab Raleigh developed new theoretical and technical methods and became interested in applying his methodologies to biological problems. For that reason he chose Christopher Dobson's lab at University of Oxford for postdoctoral work in biochemistry. While he was there he met his future wife, Clare P. Grey. Partly from frustration with the relative lack of resources at British universities Raleigh and Grey decided to seek positions in the United States. A postdoc at DuPont Merck Company convinced Raleigh that he did not want to be in a corporate research environment. Like most two-career couples, Raleigh and Grey found that obtaining positions together was challenging; they accepted positions at the State University New York, Stony Brook. He immediately undertook establishing his lab, developing his own form of lab management and mentoring, while at the same time taking on administrative tasks. He purposely chose to avoid corporate funding sources, preferring the freedom offered under traditional funding in the United States. Given the nature of Stony Brook's academic environment, when Raleigh was not writing journal articles or teaching he developed seminar courses for undergraduates, discussing at length the differences between teaching undergraduate and graduate students. He is interested in the history of science, as he feels it is important to place scientific findings in a broader context. Although an academic career afforded a great degree of flexibility, balancing personal life and career has been a challenge for Raleigh. When not working, he committed himself to some environmental causes, though he admitted that he loves his work so much that he feels no sacrifice at having so little free time. His current research centers on conformational changes in proteins, and he talks a little about the practical aspects of his work. He answers the interviewers questions about patents; serendipity in science; the roles of competition and collaboration in science; ethics in science; the importance of overseeing students' work to ensure accuracy and integrity; and the problems inherent in regulating science. The interview ends with a proclamation of Raleigh's professional satisfaction; a discussion of his personal goals; and reflections on his career choices.
Yasushi Hiromi was born in Kaizuka City, in Osaka Prefecture, Japan, the elder of two sons. His father was a biochemist and his mother a housewife. When Yasushi was about ten his father took a postdoc at Yale University, and the family lived in New Haven, Connecticut, for a year. There the two boys learned to speak idiomatic English. As a youngster Yasushi was fascinated by figuring out how things work. He was always good in mathematics and liked physics and chemistry. This desire to understand things is what drew him to science. When he entered the University of Tokyo his declared major was physics, but in his last year he did a rotation in Drosophila genetics in Yoshiki Hotta's lab, and he decided to become a biologist. In Japan it is usual to stay in the same lab for graduate school, and Yasushi liked Drosophila genetics, so he stayed in Hotta's lab. There he worked on phosphorylation and eclosion, and he found the heat shock response at room temperature. While in that lab he met Walter Gehring, in whose lab in Switzerland he took a postdoc. There he discovered the ftz (fushi tarazu) gene (fushi tarazu means "not enough segments"). This led to his career interest, the developing central nervous system. He accepted a second postdoc in Corey Goodman's lab at Stanford and then UC Berkeley, where he worked with Chris Doe on the seven-up gene, which he took with him when he joined the faculty at Princeton University. He wanted to learn about the relationship between ligand and receptor and how that relationship influenced the function of a gene. Each round of experiments required three or four months. He did this for five years, never obtaining the dispositive result for which he hoped. He did, however, get publications in very good journals. Although he is going back to Japan, to the National Institute of Genetics, he says he still prefers to do risky science. Hiromi still works at the bench. He likes a small lab because he then does have time to work at bench, rather than overseeing lab members. He looks forward to the challenge of a different system of doing science in Japan, where there is less emphasis on grant-writing, and he can exploit the joy he feels in solving problems. He will take the seven-up gene and a postdoc back with him; this person will have the position of joshu. Hiromi makes a point of having dinner and spending the early evenings and some weekend time at home with his wife and children. Balancing this time away from the lab with this family time means often working in the middle of the night, but he believes it is important to be with his family as much as he can.
Erin M. Schuman was born in San Gabriel, California, though spent most of her childhood in Huntington Beach, the oldest of three siblings; her mother was a teacher at a Catholic school. She was a "serial hobbyist" with interests in painting, softball, dancing, and reading and she attended Catholic schools from the time she was a teenager. Schuman matriculated at the University of Southern California (USC), initially interested in pursuing law and deciding to major in political science, but ultimately switching her major to psychology. She worked regularly as an undergraduate, including stints as a waitress, though found the time to complete an honors thesis with Laura Baker studying memory in twins. She decided to go to graduate school for her doctoral studies, having to choose between the University of California, Irvine and Princeton University, ultimately selecting the latter because of Joseph Farley's work on learning in memory using invertebrate systems. She followed Farley to Indiana University when he left, though returned to Princeton to complete her thesis in Gregory A. Clark's lab. She then accepted a postdoctoral position at the Daniel V. Madison laboratory at Stanford University studying long-term neuronal potentiation, culminating in a series of papers on synaptic transmission (two of which appeared in Science). From there Schuman accepted a position at California Institute of Technology (Caltech), studying decentralized production of proteins at the dendrites and, more recently, synaptic feedback mechanisms and cadherins, and having the opportunity to collaborate with Masatoshi Takeichi and Norman A. Davidson. The interview concludes with Schuman discussing the advantages and disadvantages of competition in science; the issue of accountability to those who fund scientific research; sexism; the article-writing process; co-teaching courses with her husband, Gilles Jean Laurent; and balancing family and career.
Dean H. Kedes' oral history begins with a discussion of his childhood and family life. Heavily influenced by his father, also a biomedical scientist, Kedes developed an interest in science early in life. He would visit his father's laboratory at Stanford University often and he became aware of its friendly and productive atmosphere. During his youth, he traveled abroad with his family in support of his father's research. Time spent in Italy and England, while also traveling to other parts of Europe, proved enriching. Kedes applied to college while in Europe and he subsequently chose to attend Stanford University. Upon matriculation, though, the ‘living on campus' experience made it seem as if he had gone to school farther away from home than was actually true. Starting from enrollment, Kedes pursued a major in biology with the intention of applying to medical school. His coursework and laboratory research in the neurobiology laboratory of Eric Shooter, however, increased his interest in pursuing basic science as well. Kedes decided to undertake a joint MD/PhD program at Yale University. After an uninspiring first laboratory rotation working on a descriptive Drosophila project, Kedes eventually joined the laboratory of Joan A. Steitz to study pre-mRNA splicing. Upon earning his MD/PhD, Kedes returned to Stanford University to undertake his clinical residency, though he experienced difficulty transitioning between laboratory research and clinical medicine. After completing his residency, Kedes built upon his laboratory research with post-doctoral studies in Donald Ganem's laboratory at the University of California, San Francisco. There Kedes developed his interests in the molecular biology of infectious diseases including Hepatitis B and Kaposi's Sarcoma-associated Herpes Virus (KSHV). Following his successful work with Ganem, Kedes was offered a position at the University of Virginia—a location at which both he and his wife could find work—and began the “thrill and excitement” of running his own laboratory. Throughout the interview Kedes emphasized the importance of balancing family life with laboratory work and creating a positive atmosphere within the laboratory, something that he works hard to maintain at the University of Virginia. Shortly after becoming a principal investigator, Kedes was awarded a Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences award and he reflected upon the importance of the award with respect to scientific funding and collaboration. Kedes also discussed funding in the United States more broadly, especially the problem of the attrition of science students due to a lack of funds as well as the national push towards translational research. The interview concluded with Kedes' reflections on the field of biomedical science, on scientific publishing, and on the public perception of science.
Stephen Buratowski, the oldest of four boys, grew up in Iselin, New Jersey. Stephen's father was working as a programmer for a subsidiary of International Business Machines when he met Stephen's mother, who was doing data entry there. His father is an only child, but his mother is one of nine children, and the whole family is still close. In addition, his parents were devout Roman Catholics and brought their boys up in the church. Buratowski and his brothers played a lot of informal sports, went exploring in the "woods", etc. Stephen always liked to read a lot, especially science stories and mysteries (Jules Verne and Encyclopedia Brown), and knew from at least third grade that he wanted to be a scientist. When he visited relatives he loved to play their organ, so his parents bought him one, and he began his musical career. He and friends had a band throughout high school, and in college Buratowski continued with another group of friends. Although he thought his public schools were fairly good, Buratowski did well without having to work much. His parents had not gone to college, and his school's guidance counselors were weak, so Stephen had little help with the idea of college. He followed his friends' lead in trying to score well on Scholastic Aptitude Tests and in applying to colleges. When he met a Princeton University recruiter, Buratowski decided Princeton University was his first choice. He was accepted there, and the financial aid enabled him to enter what he calls paradise. In his junior year he met guest lecturer George Khoury, who read Buratowski's thesis on enhancers. Encouraged, Stephen asked to go into Khoury's lab at the National Cancer Institute during the summer after his graduation. There he did recombinant DNA for the first time. For graduate school Buratowski applied to many schools; everywhere he visited he was told that Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) was the best, so he decided to go there. Also, Phillip Sharp was there and was doing gene expression, the kind of work in which Buratowski was interested. He spent the first year in classes, and in April he entered Sharp's lab. There he worked with Steven Hahn on TFIID, from which research they published their first paper in Nature and a second in Cell. He got a "spectacular" PhD thesis from his work; this allowed him to skip the usual postdoc and go across the street to the Fellows Program at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. At about this time Buratowski married Robin Marlor, another MIT scientist, who found a postdoc at the Whitehead Institute. At the end of his fellowship he accepted an assistant professorship at Harvard University and continues to progress toward professorship and tenure. Buratowski teaches in the medical school; he serves on many committees, of which his favorite is the research computing department committee; he manages his lab of about ten people; he writes grant proposals; and he attempts to balance his work life with his life with wife and daughter, with whom he has resumed church attendance.
Yuri A. Lazebnik was born in Severomorsk, Russia. After his parents' divorce, his mother moved with him to Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), but after she became ill, he was raised, for a few years, in Shakti by his maternal grandmother before returning to his mother's rearing. His father was in the navy, his mother was the valedictorian of her high school and went to college in Leningrad, training as a mathematician until Lazebnik was born—later she worked whatever jobs she could find. Lazebnik and his mother shared a two-room apartment with another family in a building situated between other buildings that housed various academic departments at the local university. He and his mother did not have much during the Leonid Brezhnev and Mikhail Gorbechev eras; Lazebnik worked regularly through high school and college to support himself and his mother. He was an avid reader, enjoying the works of Jules Verne and other writers, though as a teenager Barry Commoner's The Closing Circle: Nature, Man, and Technology truly impacted his beliefs and made Lazebnik consider environmental science as a career. He joined St. Petersburg State University for his undergraduate degree in biology; he quickly changed his mind from pursuing ecology as a major since he could not find any advisor in that field. He progressed through the typical undergraduate coursework and applied to continue his education as a graduate student in the laboratory of Valerei Yu. Vasiliev. In Vasiliev's lab, Lazebnik's project was to study cell cycle, but in order to study cell cycle he needed a flow cytometer, a device that cost more than most departments' yearly budgets, possibly, according to Lazebnik, even more than the entire university's budget. So since he did not have the funds to purchase such a device he used the informal system of favor-swapping in Russia to obtain the materials he needed to build his own device. Lazebnik undertook postdoctoral studies in the N. N. Nikolsky laboratory at the Institute of Cytology of the Academy of Sciences, and then a short stint as a visiting scientist at the Commissariat á l'Énergie Atomique in France. Then the August Putsch of 1991 occurred in Moscow, spurring Lazebnik's decision to take a position in the United States; he received much support from William C. Earnshaw who expedited a work visa for Lazebnik. Lazebnik entered the Earnshaw laboratory at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland in November of 1991 and his family followed him the following month; he began his work on apoptosis. From Hopkins he moved on to a position at Cold Spring Harbor in New York. Throughout the interview Lazebnik reflects on life in Russia during the Brezhnev and Gorbachev years, especially as it compares to his life in the United States. At the end of the interview he talks about his community-service, editorial, and administrative responsibilities; balancing work and family life; his interest in aikido; the "corporatization" of scientific research; patents; and maintaining quality research in his lab. He concludes the interview with a discussion of moral relativism; the ethics of using animals in scientific research; the importance of learning the history of science; and the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences.
Jason G. Cyster was born and raised in Western Australia, the younger of two brothers. Cyster lived and worked on a farm for much of his early life. His father worked as a hired laborer on others' farms before buying his own (for a time later in life he made a brief foray into software engineering—due, in part, to his elder son's interests—developing software for farmers, before returning to farm life); Cyster's mother, once the children were in school, worked first as a secretary and then as a real-estate agent. Cyster's school was a seventy-five minute bus ride from his home, so commuting to and from school, school, and work on the farm did not leave much time for activities not related to academics or farm life. He did well in his local school throughout most of his childhood; both he and his older brother went to a boarding school in nearby Perth to finish the last two years of school, principally because the local public high school was close to fifty miles away. While completing high school, Cyster obtained the highest aggregate score on Australia's Tertiary exams in his state, receiving the Beazley Award. He matriculated at the University of Western Australia to pursue science rather than veterinary medicine (his older brother was there as well, though focusing on computer science). In part, his decision to study biology was based upon his own childhood inclinations and interests (he and his mother started a piggery, and he occasionally dissected a pig), and in part on the caliber of lecturers at the university. By his third year, he developed an interest in immunology and began working in the lab of, and being mentored by, Wayne R. Thomas with whom Cyster conducted his honors thesis. After receiving a Commonwealth Overseas Studentship, Cyster decided to undertake his graduate studies at Oxford University instead of remaining in Australia. At Oxford he worked with Alan F. Williams characterizing the CD43 molecule; he also collaborated with Paul C. Driscoll and Ian Campbell on a structural analysis of the T lymphocyte CD2 antigen. Early on in his graduate study Cyster began thinking of where to do his postdoctoral work, and though Australia was certainly a consideration, Cyster also entertained the notion of going to the United States. He decided to work with Christopher C. Goodnow at Stanford University studying immunological tolerance and the follicular exclusion process. From there, he accepted a position at the University of California, San Francisco. Near the end of the interview, Cyster comments on the tenure system in the United States and in Europe; his mentoring style; the Tetrad and Biomedical Science programs at University of California, San Francisco; and the broader applications of his work. He concludes the interview with thoughts on the advantages and disadvantages of competition in science; the peer review system; the role of industry in research; and the impact that the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences had, and has, on his work.
William W. Mattox was born in South Bend, Indiana, two miles from the Michigan border; South Bend had the nearest hospital to his home town, Edwardsburg, Michigan. He has two brothers and one sister. His father began as a mechanic but moved into banking, beginning as a teller and eventually becoming the president of the bank and then of a network of community banks. His mother was a housewife, with a brief foray into real estate sales. Mattox thinks he always liked science (perhaps he became interested in genetics because he is indirectly related to Sir Isaac Newton); from an early age he wanted to be a doctor. He liked and did well in school. In junior high school he had very good science classes, in particular one in which they built rockets. In high school his biology teacher, Clark Mead, introduced the class to regeneration by having them cut tails off newts. Mead's enthusiasm, encouragement, and influence determined that Mattox would become a biologist rather than a chemist. By this time Mattox had decided that medicine was not for him, but that he wanted to be a scientist, though he was not sure what specifically a scientist did. Mattox matriculated at Michigan State University; he chose it over University of Michigan because he wanted to stay close to home, tuition was low, and State was more rural, he thought. In college he won an award for being the most outstanding biochemistry student of that year; the prize was delivered by Ilya Prigogine. As a junior he worked in Leonard Robbins' Drosophila lab; as a senior in Fritz Rottman's RNA processing lab; his ideas of science and of himself evolved from being around others in science, from reading, from coursework. For graduate school he chose California Institute of Technology over Yale University partly because of its science and partly because of its climate. He worked in Norman Davidson's lab on heldup-A gene, the gene that causes some Drosophila to hold one wing up; he says data collection for his work was difficult and would have been much easier if he had had polymerase chain reaction, which was not discovered until two years after his graduation. In graduate school he became interested in sex determination when he read a paper and heard a talk by Bruce Baker, who explained that temperature differences sometimes determine sex in a number of animals. Mattox was fascinated by this and accepted a postdoc in Baker's lab, at Stanford University, one of six postdocs that year hoping to learn genetics, while Baker hoped to learn molecular biology from them. While there, Mattox met his future wife; they married after his sixth year, just before they went to MD Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas. They now have a four-year-old daughter. At MD Anderson, Mattox has found students more directed toward clinical work, while his lab stresses the importance of basic science, how things work. He teaches experimental genetics; he sits on many students' committees; he oversees a seminar series and the equipment budget; he attempts to keep up with the explosion of scientific technology and knowledge now so much more easily available; he publishes. Most important, he tries to balance all this with his life at home with wife and daughter.
Erol Fikrig was born in Istanbul, Turkey, to a Turkish physician father and Scots housewife mother. He has one younger brother. The family moved to Queens, New York, when Fikrig was a young child, so he grew up in the United States. He attended public schools until high school, when he was sent to United Nations International School. He liked and did well in school, and played a number of sports as well. Fikrig was graduated from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, where he very quickly eschewed anthropology and majored in chemistry. He decided early, influenced by both his father and his college roommate, to go to medical school. He attended Cornell's Weill School of Medicine in New York City. During his third and fourth years he studied in Brazil, where he became interested in vector-borne diseases. Interested in infectious disease and internal medicine, he did his residency at Vanderbilt University. From there he became a fellow at Yale, where he worked in Richard Flavell's laboratory. He was offered an assistant professorship in rheumatology at Yale, eventually becoming an associate professor and then full professor. He and his wife, a physician whom he met at Yale, have two children. Fikrig continues to study Lyme disease and other related diseases.
Thomas J. O'Dell was born and raised in Berwick, Pennsylvania, a small, rural town (at the time, a population of approximately 11,000) on the edge of coalfields in the northeastern part of the state, the second oldest of four siblings. His mother was a homemaker; his father was a banker and, for a time, mayor of Berwick. O'Dell spent much of his youth like any other child; being in a rural area and having grandparents who lived on a farm allowed for a lot of exploration in nature; also, like most other children in the 1960s, he wanted to be an astronaut when he grew up, though by high school he was starting to get more interested in psychology and behavior. He attended Indiana University of Pennsylvania, located in Indiana, Pennsylvania, intent on being a psychology major, but then adding a natural sciences major as well. He became interested in neuroscience after reading an article on the brain and memory in Scientific American, and planned to go to graduate school for his doctoral degree. O'Dell matriculated at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas, in part because of the financial package they were able to offer and, in part, due to scientists like Harold M. Pinsker, who used Aplysia to study the neuronal basis of behavior. He rotated through Ernest S. Barratt's laboratory, studying electrophysiology, but chose to perform his doctoral research on neurotransmitters in retinal neurons in Burgess N. Christensen's laboratory. After completing his degree he went to Bradley E. Alger's laboratory at the University of Maryland to work on calcium channels in hippocampal neurons, and undertook a second postdoctoral study in EricR. Kandel's laboratory at Columbia University in New York, New York, studying the cellular basis of memory formation and learning—specifically retrograde messengers in long-term potentiation and synaptic plasticity—and collaborating with Seth G. N. Grant, combining molecular biological approaches with physiological approaches to address research questions. At the end of O'Dell's postdoctoral fellowships, he accepted a position at the University of California, Los Angeles, working on beta-adrenergic receptors for norepinephrine and their role in synaptic plasticity and learning and memory. The interview ends with a discussion of O'Dell's role in the laboratory; his future research into the biochemical, physiological, and behavioral levels of synaptic plasticity and synaptic transmissions involved in learning and memory; the future direction of his field; and educating neuroscientists. O'Dell concludes with his thoughts on the grant-writing process; the role of the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences on his work; balancing family life and career; collaboration and competition in science; the issue of patents; and teaching responsibilities.
Roberta A. Sanchez Gottlieb grew up on a cattle ranch about eighty miles from Albuquerque, New Mexico, the youngest of three sisters, though, given the disparity in ages (five and six years older), she felt like she was raised as an only child, receiving so much attention from her parents. Her father was a uranium miner before becoming a rancher; her mother a schoolteacher before having children (becoming a substitute teacher thereafter). She was heavily influenced by her parents who valued education and curiosity, and had several influential teachers in school who contributed to her intellectual development. The family's religion also played an important role in her life. After graduating from high school as valedictorian, Gottlieb matriculated at Bryn Mawr College. Almost immediately upon entering, however, she decided that she wanted to undertake more rigorous scientific research and so she transferred (after one semester) to Johns Hopkins University. Baltimore also provided her the opportunity to continue her study of music at the Peabody Institute with Walter Hautzig. While an undergraduate Gottlieb undertook biophysical research with Michael Beers, focusing on electron microscopy. Based on this experience she developed an interest in microtubule assembly, leading her to work with Douglas B. Murphy during her junior year. Though music was certainly a profound part of Gottlieb's life, she decided to attend the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine for her medical degree, conducting research on the MAP-2 protein. Marrying during medical school presented Gottlieb with the "two-body problem" for her residency (her husband was also a physician). They chose the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, where she completed a residency in pediatrics and a hematology-oncology fellowship under William J. Lennarz and Eugenie S. Kleinerman on immune response and protein kinase C inhibition; she also worked with Steven Buescher on neutrophils in the department of infectious diseases. After residency Gottlieb began a postdoctoral position with Michael Karin in molecular biology at the University of California, San Diego and subsequently took another postdoctorate with Bernard M. Babior, where she was able to indulge her interest in apoptosis. She then moved on to a position at the Scripps Research Institute. The interview ends with Gottlieb's thoughts on the broader applications of her work; creativity in science; her future research in myocardial ischemia; the issue of patents and the privatization of research; the role of the scientist in public policy and education; gender issues in science; and balancing family life with work. She concludes the interview by elaborating on the impact of the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences for her work and improving the quality of science.
Frank J. Rauscher, III, one of five children, grew up mostly in suburbs of Washington, D. C. His father was a cancer researcher with the National Institutes of Health at first, eventually becoming director of the National Cancer Institute; his mother was a teacher and homemaker. Because of his father's important scientific career, he was often fully aware of politics and science, even shaking President Nixon's hand at the signing of the National Cancer Act. Rauscher attributed his early interest in biology to being immersed in the field because of his father's career. He was a young teen at the time of the Vietnam War and the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. , both of which amplified, to him, the fact that he lived in a city at the center of internationally important decisions. Rauscher attended Moravian College in Pennsylvania. He was familiar with the college because his father had gone there. It was only in his junior year that he decided to major in biology. The removal of a large tumor from his chest helped change his mind about becoming a doctor, and an exceptional teacher's help in mathematics helped make a science career possible. During one mid-year break, Rauscher gained research experience in Sol Spiegelman's lab at Columbia University. During his other school breaks he worked in a chemotherapy clinic at Yale-New Haven Hospital. These two different aspects of treating cancer solidified Rauscher's career choice; he made his final decision to be a scientist, and he devoted his remaining college time to science courses. Feeling that experience would stand him in good stead when he applied to graduate school, Rauscher entered Edwin Cadman's lab as a technician, where he did research on biochemical synergy as a means of killing tumors. While in Cadman's lab, Rauscher decided to go into pharmacology and began to prepare to enter a graduate program. The burgeoning field of molecular biology and oncogene research ensnared his interest, so he entered graduate school at State University of New York at Buffalo. He went into Terry Beerman's lab to study the interaction of drugs and chromatin. Then came the breakthroughs in oncogene research in the 1980s. Rauscher applied for a postdoc position in the Tom Curran lab at Roche Institute of Molecular Biology and switched from pharmacology to molecular biology. Research in the lab focused on the fosoncogene. Collaboration with Bruce Spiegelman and B. Robert Franza Jr. established a DNA-binding site for fos. The discovery that jun and fos form a dimeric complex and the discovery of leucine zippers in fos and jun spurred new work on transcription. Rauscher described the attempt to inhibit oncogenic cell growth, using transdominant mutant dimerizing proteins. Curran provided practical career advice for Rauscher, advice that helped him define a research focus for his own lab. He set up his lab as an assistant professor at the Wistar Institute. At the end of the interview Rauscher discusses the necessity of bringing in grant money and his strategy for designing grant applications; how seeking grants fosters "tactical science"; how he identified the Wilms' tumor gene DNA-binding site; the competitiveness of experimental science; the pressures on a two-career couple; and how he attempts to design a project that is both "hypothesis driven" and capable of producing solid results. He describes how he used technology from his research on WT1 to study zinc finger proteins and how his research on Krüppel-associated box and KRAB-associated protein was funded by the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences award. Rauscher concludes his interview with his explanation of the necessity for a researcher to pursue new ideas and new fields of research and with renewed emphasis on the importance of continuing basic cancer research.
Nancy M. Hollingsworth was born in San Francisco, California, but spent most of her youth moving around—to Oregon, Panama, New Mexico, California, and, finally, Arizona—with her parents and older brother. Her father was a psychiatrist (and the reason for the travel); her mother was a trained dietitian who chose not to work while her children were growing up. Hollingsworth enjoyed school from a young age, a precocious child who loved reading, schoolwork (she would also play "school" when at home), playing cards with her family, nature, and music. In high school she had a great interest in literature, mathematics, and history, though did think about pursuing zoology as a major in college. Hollingsworth matriculated at Oregon State University and felt fortunate to have Peter Dawson as her advisor and mentor—Dawson was a population geneticist who worked on the flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum and Tribolium confusum, and who also taught the undergraduate genetics class. Though maintaining an interest in history and literature, Hollingsworth began working in Dawson's lab very early on in her undergraduate career, doing crosses and measuring map distances between some genes in Tribolium. She completed her degree in zoology, moving on to a master's degree at Oregon State. She participated in a summer course at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, working under the tutelage of Lynna Hereford and Mary Anne Osley and solidifying her decision to attend the University of Washington for doctoral studies (instead of one of the three Ivy league schools that accepted her). At the University of Washington, Hollingsworth chose to work in the lab of Breck E. Byers, studying meiosis in yeast, ultimately developing a mutant screen for yeast recombination proteins and subsequently identifying the HOP1 mutant; she also had the opportunity to meet Leland H. Hartwell, with whom she also worked. From there she moved on to postdoctoral research in Gerald R. Smith's laboratory at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, studying Schizosaccharomyces pombe recombination, at which point she also met her future husband, Aaron Neiman. She transferred to the University of California, San Francisco to work with Alexander D. Johnson on Hop1 biochemistry and HOP1 alleles. She then accepted a position at the State University of New York, Stony Brook, and began her research on the recombinant promoter gene MSH5 in yeast and on the roles of the Mms4/Mus81 complex and of Mek1 in recombination. The remainder of the interview focuses on the topics of Hollingworth's lab, her mentoring style, and her thoughts on contemporary issues in science and its practice. She talks about the impact of the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences on her work; her teaching duties; how she chooses her research projects; and how she balances family (she has three children) and career. The interview ends with her thoughts on collaboration and competition in research; the national scientific agenda the role of scientists in informing the public and determining public policy; gender issues; and more on the influence of Lynna Hereford and Mary Ann Osley on her career.
Miguel C. Seabra grew up in Lisbon, Portugal, one of three sons; his father was an ophthalmologist and his mother a kindergarten teacher. Seabra liked school and did well when school was in session. Political upheaval in Lisbon caused chaos in his school in his fifth-grade year, and Seabra's uncle, who had been a minister in a previous administration, was arrested. His academic interests in high school were in science and mathematics. Seabra's parents had expectations for their children and their careers, and his father had a great influence on his decision to enter medical school. While at medical school he worked under Fernanda Mesquita and had an internship in Turin, Italy. During his travels under the aegis of the Children's International Summer Villages he met the woman who became his wife, Isabel Fernandes Pinto. Soon after, he made the decision to seek a PhD outside of Portugal and was accepted into the doctoral program at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas. His family was resistant to his moving to the United States; he had trouble, at first, with lectures in English; and he and his wife suffered quite a bit of culture shock and homesickness for a little while. Seabra was directed by Scott Grundy to Joseph Goldstein's lab, where he continued his research on cell cholesterol metabolism with Michael Briggs and Yuval Reiss and helped purify the geranylgeranyltransferase enzyme, though he chose not to write his PhD thesis on geranylgeranylation; during his graduate work Seabra published a paper on Rab escort proteins in Cell. Ultimately he transitioned to a postdoc and principal investigator position at University of Texas Southwestern, working hard to overcome challenges when setting up his own lab. After spending some time in his faculty position, Seabra decided to pursue his science abroad, moving to the Imperial College School of Medicine in London, England, for reasons that included funding growth in England, especially by the Wellcome Foundation; his wife's profession; and the language and culture. Core to his growth and development in the United States, however, was his receipt of the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences award, a topic that he talked about at length in the interview. The interview concluded with Seabra's discussion of a typical workday, a workday that has made balancing family and career a challenge. He has had little time for working at the bench, much less for leisure activities. Experiencing firsthand the extreme competitiveness that exists in the global scientific community affected his beliefs and practices about science. The interview ends with Seabra's opinions about ethics in science; the inevitability of scientific progress; and the impact of fashionable trends on the publication of scientific articles. He compares scientific collaboration in the United States and England, and explains his current research on prenylation of Rab proteins and possible applications of his research. He talks about the support he has received to cure choroideremia, and finishes with an elaboration of his personal and professional goals, an assessment of his achievements, and final thoughts on foregoing a possible Howard Hughes Medical Institute award.
Douglas R. Kellogg grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota, the second oldest of four children. He had an early interest in reading, and took classes with several influential teachers. Kellogg first chose the University of Minnesota for his undergraduate studies, but after a summer job in Alaska, he transferred to University of Wisconsin, Madison. He always had an interest in and affinity for biology; between undergraduate and graduate school, Kellogg worked as a lab technician on Drosophila genetics, influencing the path of his future research interests and studies. There was no doubt in his mind that he would become a biologist. Kellogg chose to attend the University of California, San Francisco to pursue his graduate degree, working in Bruce M. Alberts's laboratory studying pattern formation in Drosophila embryo cytoskeleton. After completing his doctoral degree, he decided to stay in San Francisco for a postdoctoral position with Andrew W. Murray and researched the role of mitotic cyclin in coordination of cell growth and cell division. After his postdoc, Kellogg took a position at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where his research has focused on cell-signaling biochemistry in the coordination, division, and regulation of cell growth. In the interview, he spoke at length about the makeup of his lab and how he manages and teaches in the lab. Kellogg also reflects upon the role of technology, critical inquiry, competition, collaboration and creativity in his research and in his science in general. The interview concludes with a discussion of the role of the scientist in educating the public about science, and how this factors in to setting his own and the national scientific agenda; he also offers advice for beginning scientists, and reflects on his favorite scientific papers.
Patricia F. Ducy grew up in Lyon, France, an only child. Her father was in insurance and her mother was a secretary. She attended a very good school a fair distance from her home, so she spent much time with her grandparents who lived near the school. She had a happy, busy childhood in a close family who all spent weekends renovating an old farmhouse. She also loved music and studying guitar. Schooldays were very long and required a lot of homework, but Ducy was self-motivated and had no trouble doing well. When she was about twelve she had a biology teacher who inspired her to go into genetics. After high school, she wanted to go into genetics but had to study pharmacy and then general biology before she was accepted into Université Claude Bernard's PhD program in genetics. She worked in Robert Garrone's histology lab, where she conducted research on actin in fresh-water sponges. She expected to stay in France and do research, but when she heard Gerard Karsenty give a talk she knew she had found what she wanted to do. She accepted a postdoc in Karsenty's lab at MD Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas. Though she had published no papers during her PhD years, she published sixteen as a postdoc; one especially—on osteoblastic-specific transcription factor—has been crucial to the field. She went back to France to look for a job, but facilities in France were limited such that she could not have the large number of mice she needed for her work, so she decided to stay in the United States, accepting a research associate position, then an assistant professorship, at the Baylor College of Medicine. Ducy and Karsenty divided their research, Ducy taking her work on osteoblasts, seeking a connection between fat and bone; they continued to collaborate, and eventually married. Then they moved to Columbia University, where they joined their labs and some of their research. Throughout the interview Ducy describes the French educational and scientific systems and compares them to the American systems. At the end of the interview she talks about getting the Pew award and about the Pew annual meetings; she analogizes science to cooking, both requiring "magic"; and she decries the need to take time away from the bench to seek funding. She speaks about continuing her work on osteoblasts, with a view to preventing and treating bone loss diseases; she also talks about how she and her husband's labs are beginning to work on diabetes.
Kuo-Fen Lee was raised in Kaohsing, Taiwan where he (the youngest) and his four siblings helped his single mother run a restaurant. Lee had what he considers a normal childhood; in terms of parental expectations, all Lee's mother wanted was for her sons to attend university. Lee and his brothers all tutored other students throughout their childhood and so doing well on the national exams was not a great challenge for Lee. He attended the National Taiwan University and developed an interest in molecular biology after taking a virology course and working in plant virology. Lee then pursued a master's degree in molecular biology form National Yang-Ming Medical College where he researched cell-surface glycoprotein antigens in hepatoma. Wanting to continue his education, he decided to pursue his doctoral degree at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, which served as his first introduction to the experience of American culture. While at Baylor, he chose to research gene regulation using transgenic technology and steroid hormone peptides in Jeffrey M. Rosen's lab. Lee then moved to a postdoctoral position at the Whitehead Institute for Biological Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He worked on crafting a genetic knockout mouse to study neural crest cell migration during development in the Rudolf Jaenisch lab and, while there, he published in Cell, Science, and Nature. After meeting Story C. Landis and Wylie Vale and attending a Gordon Research Conference on hormone action, Lee accepted a position at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California, focusing his research on neurobiological development, synapse function, and glial cell function. The interview concludes with a discussion of Lee's interest in comparing the histories of Chinese and Western science, his professional and academic duties, and his family.
Seth A. Darst was born in Virginia, where his father was in the Army, but grew up in the Seattle, Washington area, where his father built houses and his mother taught piano. When President Carter’s economic policies caused massive inflation and unemployment, Boeing Company let go many workers, and house-building was no longer a profitable business. Darst’s father moved the family to Loveland, Colorado, and started another business. Seth and his brother, just a year younger, were “typical” suburban kids, riding bikes, playing baseball, goofing around, sometimes fighting with each other.
Seth’s mother taught him to play the piano at an early age, and he became very good. He finished all the classes in his high school early and spent his senior year working for his father. He could not decide at first between music school and engineering school, but the difficulties inherent in a musical career persuaded him to go into chemical engineering at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He had never had to study hard before, but he learned fast in college. By the end of college he had decided that although he did not like the engineering part of chemical engineering, he did not want to go to medical school, so at the last minute he made a few telephone calls and almost accidentally ended up at Stanford University.
A required undergraduate class in biochemistry, taught by Larry Gold and Michael Yarus, had introduced him to the exciting topic of structural biology. At Stanford he worked in Roger Kornberg’s lab, continuing his interest in structural biology. Near the end of his master’s degree he found electron microscopy and crystallography, his ongoing interests. He was given a Lucille P. Markey Postdoctoral Fellowship, so he was able to remain in Kornberg’s lab for an extra two years, just doing what he loved, until he was offered an assistant professorship at Rockefeller University.
Darst’s wife, Elizabeth Campbell, was accepted into the graduate program in microbiology at Rockefeller, so the couple and their new daughter moved to New York. Elizabeth finished her PhD and now works in Seth’s lab. Seth has progressed through associate professorship to full, tenured professorship, Head of Laboratory. He continues his work in prokaryotic transcription, occasionally traveling to Brookhaven or Argonne National Laboratory. He and Elizabeth balance their work with their family life as well as they can.
Timothy J. McDonnell spent his first six years in Indiana and Spain; then the family moved to San Diego, California. His father was a mechanical engineer in the Navy and then the Air Force. His mother had been a weather forecaster in the military during the war and then became a police officer. She gave up work to be a housewife when her children were born. McDonnell was always fascinated with the natural world, wanting first to be a veterinarian and later a herpetologist or an oceanographer; he even worked as a bat bander for a time. He attended public schools; his grade school was very good, but his junior high and high schools less so. In fact, he felt his performance worsened the longer he stayed in school, so after his sophomore year he left high school without having been graduated and entered the United States International University. There he majored in biology, which he continued when he transferred to University of California, San Diego, although his interest shifted from organismic to cellular biology, as exemplified particularly by an interest in the causes of cancer. McDonnell then attended graduate school at the University of North Dakota, where he taught anatomy in addition to doing his own research. He entered the John O. Oberpriller laboratory; there his research on cardiac muscle demonstrated that differentiated cells are not necessarily postmitotic. After receiving his PhD , McDonnell stayed at the University of North Dakota to study for an MD degree. Because he had already had most of the first two years' medical school classes he was able to be a research assistant, teaching anatomy and doing his own research. He decided to transfer to Washington University in St. Louis for his residency in diagnostic pathology. He wanted to specialize in pathology in order to combine research with practice, so he accepted a postdoc in the Stanley Korsmeyer lab, searching for cancer-causing genes in mice. Here McDonnell talks about how he learned molecular biology techniques; established that bcl-2 is an oncogene and discovered that bcl-2 functions not by enhancing cell growth but by preventing cell death. He discusses the concept of apoptosis, programmed cell death; the slow growth rate of most cancer cells; searching for factors which supplement bcl-2 in causing cancer; Korsmeyer's research background and lab management style; and the creation and patenting of transgenic mice. McDonnell continued to be interested in cardiac muscle biology. After his second year he married Sherry Wetsch, at that time a law student. Being newly married and moving to a new city and university was challenging during his third-year, but his fourth-year internship in pathology, diagnosing frozen tissue sections, went well and was well suited to his meticulous personality. Here he explains the technique of flow cytometry. Then it was time to apply for academic positions. McDonnell accepted an appointment at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and began staffing his laboratory. He talks about his start-up package and lab space. He shifted his research focus to prostate cancer. He discusses areas of overlap between his own and Korsmeyer's research interests; he goes into his focus on the regulation of cell death and how the disruption of regulation contributes to cancer; he explains his interest in bcl-2's role in regulating transmembrane traffic. McDonnell gives a critique of traditional prostate cancer treatment and discusses the therapeutic potential of apoptosis research. He believes he has insights gained by being a combined MD/PhD He explains the degree to which cancer is associated with infectious diseases and the role of the environment in causing cancer, explaining the difference between cancer cells and normal cells. He tells why mice are models of human disease and of biological systems. Mostly he thinks experiments with animals are ethical, provided they are for health benefits—specifically cancer—but he is a vegetarian.
Manfred Frasch was born in Holzgerlingen, Germany, in Swabia. His father was what we would call a contractor, building mostly wooden roofs. This business was begun by Frasch's grandfather, and the Frasch family has lived in that area for many generations. Manfred lived on a farm, where his mother did the farming. His father's workshop was also on the farm. He was brought up in the Lutheran faith. He had an early curiosity about how things work, leading him to chemistry and biology. After finishing gymnasium, Frasch completed his compulsory military service. He entered the University of Tübingen, where he majored in biochemistry. He also studied molecular biology at the University of Munich, with which Tübingen had an exchange program. His diploma thesis concerned gene regulation in Drosophila; he found Drosophila so fascinating that he has remained in that field. Liking the projects, the atmosphere, and the independence of Tübingen, Frasch decided to stay there for his PhD , using biochemical rather than genetic techniques in his research into Drosophila. He eventually learned cloning techniques and decided to pursue genetic approaches rather than biochemical. He worked in Friedrich Bonhoeffer's lab, where he had a great deal of independence. Wanting to see more of the world and wanting to expand his scientific horizons, he applied for postdocs in the United States. He accepted a position in Michael Levine's lab at Columbia University, working on the even-skipped gene. He had always intended to return to Germany, and he accepted a position as a research fellow in Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard's lab in the Department of Genetics at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, where his focus was on mesoderm development. There, work on S59 led to the characterization of tinman and bagpipe. Frasch was not sanguine about his career prospects during his last year at the University of Tübingen, so he decided to return to the States, and accepted a position in the Brookdale Center for Molecular Biology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. There he established his own lab, where he hopes to find clinical relevance for his mesoderm and heart development research. He began as an associate professor in the Brookdale but is now a tenured associate professor. He is married to Hanh Thi Nguyen, who is also a scientist.